Monday, September 30, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Irked farmers block rail traffic
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Farmers belonging to various farmer organisations today blocked rail traffic near Chandigarh Railway station, as part of their ongoing agitation against inadequate MSP announced by the Central Government.

The farmers started the agitation at around 11 am from the Matka Chowk, where number of leaders addressed them. They warned the UT police against any action and shifted the onus on the police in case of any untoward incident. They reached the railway station at around 1 pm, where the police initially tried to stop them and urged the farmer leaders to stage the dharna outside the station. But the farmers were defiant and determined to disrupt the rail traffic.

Subsequently, they were let in with the condition of not indulging in any violence. After crossing the barricades, farmers reached the railway line and staged a sit-in on the railway tracks outside the railway station, towards the Ambala side. A goods train was stopped on the way towards the station for about three hours.

Addressing the farmers, the state General Secretary of the Bharti Kisan Union ( Ekta), Mr Gurmeet Singh Dittupur, said: ‘‘At this hour of crisis, when the farmers have been severely affected by the drought in Punjab, the indifferent attitude of the Union as well as the state government has aggravated the problem. Even according to the experts of Punjab Agricultural University ( PAU), on an average the farmers had incurred a sum Rs 659 to produce one quintal of paddy. But the Centre has announced the minimum support price ( MSP) below that level, resulting in huge losses to the farming community.’’

He lamented that the procurement of paddy had not been started so far, which had forced some farmers to indulge in distress sale, Rs 50 to Rs 100 lower than the MSP, especially in the border districts. He said hundreds of farmers had already committed suicide due to frustration and indebtedness in the state. Other farmers were being forced to sell their land to repay loans taken from commission agents and banks.

The railway officials stated that due to farmers’ sit-in on the railway tracks some trains were affected, including the Sadbhavana Express and the Paschim Express. Hundreds of passengers were left stranded on the tracks, while some trains were halted at Ambala and other stations. The Sadbhavna Express, which arrives at 11.30 am, reached the station at 4 pm and the Paschim Express, which arrives at 3.05 pm, was also late by about an hour.

Mr Jaswant Singh Samadh, another farmer leader, said: ‘‘We would continue our agitation at the Matka chowk till our demands were met. The demands included Rs 30 per quintal as bonus on paddy, as announced by Capt Amarinder Singh, at the time of elections, increase in the MSP and free power to the agriculture sector.’’

The farmer leaders lamented that though the state government was protesting against the Central Government for delaying the procurement operations and not increasing the MSP, it had failed to start procurement operations through its own agencies. Further, it had not granted any compensation to the drought-hit farmers despite the completion of the survey about a month ago.


Youth Cong to organise ‘Kisan akrosh rally’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Youth Congress units of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have decided to hold a ‘’kisan akrosh rally’’ here on October 1 to oppose the Centre’s decision to retain the MSP of paddy at last year’s level.

This was disclosed in a statement by Indian Youth Congress (YC) President Randeep Surjewala here today.

He said the rally was being organised to “expose the anti-farmer face of the SAD, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party.”

The IYC chief said Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal were solely responsibly for the Central Government’s refusal to increase the MSP as these two parties were part of the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre.


Two suspects held in Daddu Majra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The week-old gruesome murder of a 22-year-old resident of Amritsar was traced to Daddu Majra Colony here today by the Chandigarh Police.

Naresh and Ashok Kumar, both employed as sweepers at the Sector 34 telephone exchanges were arrested from the colony by the police in this connection.

The body of the victim, Anil Kumar, a relative of the two suspects, was stabbed several times all over his stomach and chest with a dagger. The body was found on the railway tracks on September 22, and a case of blind murder had been registered by the railway police at Amritsar.

The entire case unfolded when a team of the Chandigarh Police stumbled upon the two suspects who were found moving under suspicious circumstances. Questioning of the suspects revealed the entire story. The SHO of the Sector 39 police station, Mr KIP Singh, said the dagger used in the crime and blood-smeared clothes of the suspects had been recovered from the possession of the suspects.

According to information available, Naresh and Ashok, both cousins, used to go to Amritsar to meet their relatives in Vijay Nagar, Amritsar. They also used to go to the house of 17-year-old Indu, daughter of one of their uncles. The deceased, a resident of Nand Colony in Amritsar, was a distant relative of the two suspects and the girl. On September 20, when Naresh and Ashok went to meet the girl, she lamented that Anil was forcibly raping her repeatedly.

Enraged on listening her tale of woes, the two purchased a dagger from a market near Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar and went to a factory in Verka, where the victim was working and waited till 6.30 pm.

When the victim did not turn up, they postponed their plan to eliminate him on September 22. On the fateful day, they waited at a spot on a road leading to the factory of the victim. In the evening when Anil was going towards his home, they took him to an isolated place and overpowered him and stabbed him several times. After confirming that he was dead, the body was thrown on the railway tracks.

The SHO said that he along with SI Narinder Singh tracked down the suspect at an open place on the outskirts of Daddu Majra Colony.

The two suspects after the murder boarded a Chandigarh-bound bus the same evening and tried to wash their blood-smeared clothes at a tubewell near Daddu Majra.

The two will be taken by a police team from Amritsar after seeking permission from a local court tomorrow.


Evening OPD at PGI likely
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
After AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital at Delhi, the PGI could be the next government institute in the country to start with an evening OPD, much in line with Union Health Minister, Shatrughan Sinha’s mantra of focussing not on the haves but on the have nots.

The actor-turned politician today said the issue of starting the evening OPD at the PGI had been discussed at the governing body meeting, which he chaired here today. God willing the move of starting evening OPDs , which has been largely appreciated in Delhi, will be extended to the PGI after working out the details,” he said while interacting with mediapersons. He said the evening OPD at Delhi would start in the first week of November.

Living up to his screen image, the minister was at his best oratorical skills interspersed with “shero shayari”, while calling himself a baby minister who had yet to turn three months. “The magic mantra for my ministry would be transparency, honesty, grievances and vigilance cell and action taken report on all important issues,” he spelled out his priorities in handling the ministry.

“The CBI has done nothing wrong by conducting raids on the PGI and if these allegations are substantiated in the report, which we are awaiting, action will definitely be taken,” he said emphatically, while stating that he was getting to hear a lot about the deeds of the engineering wing of the PGI.

While commenting on the most important agenda item taken up at the governing body meeting about the proposed hike in the hospital charges, he said while the issue would be examined in detail at the official level before a final decision was taken, in his personal opinion there should be no hike. He went on to add that the health services in government hospitals should be within the reach of the common man and they should not be made profit-making centres.

“I have made it clear that the poor, pensioners, senior citizens and the youth would be our priority and as such we want to take the network of good medical facilities to every nook and corner of our vast country,” he stressed. He added that the task of profit making was the domain of private hospitals and he had even suggested to the Urban Development Ministry to reserve one fourth of the beds in corporate hospitals for the poor and needy.

“When I was given the Health Ministry, no doubt I was happy but it did not excite me as it was a gigantic task,” he remarked, while discussing the state of health in India. While there should be complete ban and strict action in case of organ trade, it was not possible to put a blanket ban on donating organs like kidney, he observed.

With a word of praise for AIIMS, the PGI and other government institutes he said people had a lot of faith in senior doctors here and there was a need for making the services here even better. In reply to a question about the issue of senior doctors quitting the PGI, he said the matter was already in his knowledge. “We will talk to these doctors and ensure that they do not leave but at the same time those who have gone in for the greener pastures of foreign countries, while still demanding their seniority at the institute, will be dealt with firmly,”

While expressing concern over the grim health scenario in India, especially as far as AIDS, malaria, kala azar, tuberculosis, cancer and leprosy were concerned, he ended on an optimistic note that he was a “healthy” Health Minister, who had been practicing yoga for the past 20 years. “ I would recommend yoga and a healthy lifestyle as the key to good health after which very few people will need to go to the hospitals,” he ended.


Shatrughan woos migrants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Film actor-turned Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Shatrughan Sinha today sought to play a political act by wooing a growing population of migrants people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh here to the BJP which is readying itself for the 2004 parliamentary elections.

He interspersed his speech to the BJP workers at its local office in Sector 33 with the use of Bihari to address a constituency that has become decisive in the politics of the city in the wake of the literate locals developing antipathy towards politics.

Mr Sinha while seeking cooperation of the people in making the nation healthy terming it as a true wealth of the nation said he was worried over the magnitude of the problem.

But he immediately gave it a Bihari touch saying the country had 40 lakh patients of AIDS but when the people were told about it, a Bihari would respond what difference would 40 lakh people make to a population of one billion.

The local unit of the BJP made it apparent that the minister was its trump card for associating the people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh with the party with slogans from the dais “Bihari Babu Zindabad.”

The minister was informed that the city had at least 40 per cent people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and they had an organisation called he Purvanchal Welfare Association.

The minister maintained his typical film style packing his speech with couplets of poets like Iqbal and dialogues from films.

The minister remembered Jaiprakash Narayan, saying his politics was guided by ideals of the late Mr Narayan who was a symbol of secular and service-oriented politics.

He, however, also said he was guided by former RSS stalwart Nanaji Deshmukh, Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishan Advani and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The minister sought the cooperation of public, private and corporate sectors apart from the people, in meeting a daunting task of making the country healthy.

Mr Sinha said since he took over as the health and Family Welfare Minister, he had realised the magnitude of danger to the health of the nation from AIDS, diabetes, tobacco-related diseases, cancer, poli and hepatitis A, B and C.

President of the locl unit of the BJP Yashpal Mahajan in his speech asked the minister to approve a dental college for the city.

He said India accounted for 74 per cent of the polio cases in the world and Uttar Pradesh alone had 64 per cent of those affected from polio.

The minister lamented that India was even behind Nepal in eradication of polio from the country.

The Purvanchal Welfare Association in a memorandum presented to the minister demanded that the Sadbhawna Express should be extended to Varnasi Pratapgharh, Balia and Bihar.


A day of memoranda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The first visit of Mr Shatrugan Sinha, actor-turned-politician, who is trying to make a mark as an efficient minister, turned out to be a golden opportunity for various employee unions of the PGI to place their demands before him ,virtually making it a day of memoranda .

Though a large number of people other than the PGI employees had turned out in large numbers at the hospital to get a glimpse of the former celluloid star, it was the employees’ union leaders who thronged the Administrative Block, where the governing body meeting was going on.

There was utter chaos as practically every section of the PGI, right from senior faculty members, the PGI Employees Union, the PGI Nurses Welfare Association ,PGI Employees Coordination and a union of the PGI Engineering Wing employees waited to hand over their memoranda, enlisting their demands and long pending issues.

The minister, remarked that rather than being judged on his performance it should be his sincerity and intentions which should be the parameters for rating him. Earlier, he laid the foundation stone of the Trauma Centre at the PGI, which would be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 20 crore.


Girl dies of suspected food poisoning
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
It was indeed the last supper for an 11-year-old girl of Palsora village, Amanjot Kaur. After consuming home-cooked food last night, the girl was found unconscious under mysterious circumstances in the morning. She was declared brought dead at the Sector 16 General Hospital here.

The police said the girl had died of food poisoning, suspectedly by eating saag. The father of the victim, Bajinder Singh, and Sunny, 14-year-old brother of the girl, were also admitted to the hospital with symptoms of food poisoning. Unconfirmed reports said while the father and the girl had eaten the saag and taken milk, the boy had reportedly consumed only milk before going to sleep.

According to information available, the mother of the victim, Mrs Charanjit Kaur, a member of the Zila Parishad, had left for Solan to attend a religious congregation in the afternoon yesterday after cooking saag. Last night, the victim served the food to her father and also ate it herself. All three members then consumed milk before going to bed.

In the morning when Amanjot, a student of Navdeep Public School in Phase 2 of SAS Nagar, did not wake up, her father took her to the hospital where she was declared brought dead. In the afternoon the father and the boy also complained of nausea and were admitted at the Sector 16 General Hospital.

The father of the victim is employed as driver in the Punjab Public Works Department (PWD). 


PU plan to upgrade library facilities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
In a futuristic vision, Panjab University has drafted a programme to extend its library facilities to reach faculty work-place, residences and hostels.

This is one of the several recommendations which is part of a working paper on “Futuristic Plan for Panjab University library” submitted to the university. Interestingly, the university has decided to constitute a committee to ensure implementation of the “vision statement” at the earliest.

To make the material accessibility easier, the university will digitalise special collections of the library, particularly those relating to culture of Punjab, manuscripts, rare books and thesis. The university will subscribe increasingly to electronic online databases and periodicals. It will also create its own library website and in-house databases.

The Panjab University library will establish linkages with the neighbouring libraries to avoid duplicating of periodical subscription and promote resource sharing. It will contribute its databases to regional, national and international networks.

As a pre-requisite, the university library will require a website. To enable the college libraries in the city to participate in the networking, each college will be asked to provide an independent computer terminal and compatible software. The university library will also make efforts to generate its own resources.

Another issue on the agenda could pertain to general awareness about the “serenity” of books and other text material. This is important in the context that hundreds of books have lost several pages which have been “lifted” out of the library by library users.

The committee has recommended that the university library should be viewed as a knowledge organisation to run in time with the current management philosophy at par with the libraries in the developed world. The university should also avail the services of an international reputed consultancy to suggest a futuristic policy.

The library has a collection of over 6,20,000 volumes. The plan reads that “to achieve the objective, the library will adopt an open and flexible policy so that the fast on-going changes in the library and information field at the national and international levels are duly incorporated”.

The action plan lays stress on upgrading the library facilities in matters of accessibility and material availability.

The plan reads that the university will strive to “be part of international, national and regional networks and library consortia and adopt in its working and outlook, international benchmarks and standards.”



Strange are the ways of the functioning of the Chandigarh Administration. Many projects are started with great pomp and show but are subsequently discarded or neglected.

There are several examples where projects once started were never completed. The cycle track started by Mr Baleshwar Rai was never completed. The half way track completed during his tenure as Adviser to the Administrator was never put to any effective use.

Same was the story of the Botanical Garden adjoining Sukhna Lake. These projects appear to have been abandoned for good.

Then there was a project to construct Nehru Centre for Performing Arts in Sector 34. This project, now abandoned, had the distinction of having two foundation stones.

One of the major problems has been lack of coordination between various departments. In most of the cases, work is held up for want of technical drawings. In some other cases, work is held up for want of approval of tenders of a related work.

Take the case of a new building being constructed in Palsora as Training Health Centre for the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital. The building is to be completed in 15 months from October 19 last year. With almost a year gone, the civil work — construction — has been held up on technical reasons. The slab of the second level could not be laid as the Electrical Wing of the Engineering Department has not been able to finalise tenders for laying electrical pipes (embedded) in the RCC slab.

As a result, the work has been suspended for more than a month now. The picture at the top of the page was taken a few days ago. A visit to the site reveals as if the project has been “abandoned” for the time being.

‘Power’ story

Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Pranab Mukherjee was surprised to be interrupted during his speech by electricity failure thrice.

Mr Mukherjee said “yahan bhi power jata hai’’ on the microphone.

The CWC member’s stress on “bhi” reminded the audience of power situation in West Bengal.

Mr Mukherjee was in the city as Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Home Affairs.

Bagpiper or Pied Piper

With the liquor sale in the region high, even a reference to the story of Pied Piper was attributed to Bagpiper, a whisky brand.

The wrong reference came from the former Akali Mayor Harjinder Kaur who probably confused the two saying the “The House was being led into decisions by wrong official information like Bagpiper did to mice in the schoolday story.’’

Ms Kaur went unchallenged in the House as councillors might have thought it to be a right reference thanks to popularity of liquor brands in the area.

The former mayor said the House members seemed to have become mice like in the story of Bagpiper (Pied Piper actually).


It is the age of recycling, re-using, rotating and economising. All these were witnessed at a political function in the city.

It was in full view of former Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The situation arose because there were too few bouquets and too many persons to welcome him.

When the list of the welcomers was read out, it was found that there were no bouquets for them to present to their leader. So one of the Congress workers found a way out by picking up the same ones which had been presented to Mr Mukherjee.

How could the organisers be blamed when they went with the times!

Saturday night fever

Golfers were not the only players who had a “real nice time” at the Saturday night bash organised at the Chandigarh Golf Club. Teenyboppers knowing nothing about golfing also took pleasure in twirling around the dance floor.

It all started at about 9 p.m. Earth angels in mini-skirts with slits on either sides descended upon the floor to cut foot loose. As the colourful lights blinking from under the crystal floor illuminated their figures, they shook and rattled till beads of perspiration dotted their brows.

Waving enthusiastically at waiting chums, they adjusted the silver chain belts loosely hanging around their waists before hopping and skipping to the thumping beat of pulsating music. Tearing excitement broke loose as the impressive speakers boomed hits of yester-years one after the other.

Youngsters were not the only ones savouring the evening. Daddies and mummies, even uncles and aunties, after tightening their dancing shoes, also walked up to the floor to lose their blues. Age was no bar as they bopped around with youngsters on Boney-M numbers before enjoying their dinner.

Cloudy gloom

Just when they were feeling happy about “booming business”, the rains came and washed away their dreams. Yes, we are talking about the vendors sitting under the rejuvenating shade of dense trees preparing cooler pads and mongrel version of Venetian blinds.

When everyone was apprehensive about late monsoons creating drought-like conditions, they were glad that the residents were rushing in to buy their “products”. But then the rains came, late but still when they were doing good business. Now, the residents are in high spirits, but they are gloomy. Well that’s the way it is. Gain of some is the loss of others.

Tracking station

If you are not a frequent visitor to the railway station and are going to pick up a friend arriving from some other city, do not follow the route cutting through the Industrial Area. Chances are that you will take a wrong turn or two for there are no indicators at crossroads.

Recently, a businessman rushing to pick up an associate coming from Delhi reached Madhya Marg instead of the railway station. Will the authorities look into the matter and do something about it before someone misses his train and files a suit for compensation?

Platform blues

It’s not always easy at the railway station specially if you are a law abiding citizen and do not believe in stepping on the platform without buying a ticket. Precious minutes roll by as you shift your weight from one leg to another waiting for your turn in an unending queue. By the time you reach the counter, beads of perspiration dot your brow and you curse yourself for being “a good citizen”.

Well, the authorities have their own explanation of offer. “We are facing an acute shortage of staff. That is why the residents have to face inconvenience”, the officers insist. Shortage of manpower is understandable but at the same time the residents are getting the impression that they are being penalised for “not breaking the law”.

Tourist distraction

Promote tourism in Chandigarh — the authorities insist. After all, the city has many attractions to offer. Rock Garden, Rose Garden, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Civil Secretariat, Panjab University campus and many other places. That is why the powers that be have even introduced a double-decker to take the tourists around the city. A “good step”, no doubt about it, but will someone ensure the toilets at Chandigarh Railway Station do not stink.

The stench rising from the toilets greets the visitors even before friends and relatives can step forward and hand the bouquet over to them. It is actually so bad. Authorities, given them a better welcome, please. They deserve it.

Communal interlude

Theatre entertains. When good it stimulates thoughts. When bad it triggers a criticism.

Varied streams of theatre flowed at the recently concluded Rashtriya Natya Parva at Tagore Theatre here.

After good middle “Yayati” by the Kshtij Theatre Group of Delhi there was a short break — like the one we have in “Kaun Banega Crorepati”. This break was not a promo for a cream which turns a dull and dark woman into fair and lovely.

The break comprised a presentation of Rangmandal, Sahitya Kala Parishad, Delhi. Here was bad theatre with all the professional slick and make-believe claptrap and sufficient doses of melodrama.

Based on “Jaloos” (a novel by a Phaneshwarnath Renu) the narrative included the rape and mayhem of partition.

The celebrated writer’s account of the mayhem is hardly inflammatory. But the theatrics of Rangmandal were. When the communal juggernaut of Narinder Modi is straddling the country the depiction of Muslims as lecherous hounds and the Hindus as exiled victims is telling a half truth. Barbarity is not an exclusive trait of minorities, the majority bites deeper.

Instead of censuring such a presentation, the audiences lapped it up and commentators chose to go ga ga over its folksy elements. It was not an over-enthusiasm of amateur groups like Ruchika’s “Uske Hothon Ka Chup, Theatre Lab’s “Sakharam Binder” or Chandigarh Theatre’s “Tat Niranjan”. It was an unadulterated communal junk.

The saving grace of the festival was the National School of Drama Repertory Co’s poetic rendering of a fantasy (Deewar mein ek Khidki Rehati The). One more milestone for Mohan Maharishi.

ABS chapter

A regional chapter of the Association of British Scholars (ABS), a forum to facilitate the networking of those who have had education or training in the UK, has been set up in Chandigarh. ABS aims to encourage information sharing, contact making and social interaction as well as strengthening Indo-UK relations by harnessing the resources, expertise and potential of every British scholar.

The chapter will host social, cultural and intellectual activities. ABS is a non-profit organisation supported by the British Council and the British High Commission.

There are already 12 ABS regional chapters in India. These are located at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Manglore, Mumbai, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram. Chandigarh chapter, which comprises Punjab, Haryana, HP and Chandigarh, is the 13th such chapter.

The membership fee for life members is Rs 1,200 and for annual members Rs 500. Eligible persons interested in membership may contact either the British Library, Sector 8-C, Madhya Marg, Chandigarh (Tel: 546540) or Mr D.V. Bhatia # 2116, Sector 21-C, Chandigarh. For further details one can visit website address,



Housing societies becoming popular
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, September 29
With the prices of residential plots in Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar becoming out of the reach for middle-class families, the only option left for them is to go in for plots and flats offered by housing societies.

While there is a dearth of plots in the city and its satellite towns, accommodation in such societies proving affordable to many. They are a big draw with the potential customers with many societies reporting more that 60 per cent sales.

The societies and complexes, which offer both residential and commercial accommodations, are coming up at Zirakpur, Lohgarh, Dhakauli, Panchkula, SAS Nagar, Kharar and others nearby areas.

At present, there are four housing colonies which have been approved by PUDA, while four others — are selling plots on the approval of the town planing scheme.

A random survey of these areas revealed that a majority of these societies have come up with facilities like wide roads, parks, sewerage system, provisions for schools, dispensaries, community centres and clubs for the potential buyers.

Being about 5 to 10 km from the city many working couples are going for flats priced at 5 to 9 lakh each offered by the developers on instalments.

The largest housing society, coming up over 70 acres on the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway 22, about 10 km from Chandigarh, is offering plots measuring between 375 square yards and 700 square yards, besides flats with three-bed room sets to five bedrooms sets at reasonable prices.

Housing 400 residential plots, 150 flats and 80 commercial units, the complex is nearly equal to one-fourth of a sector of Chandigarh with various facilities — swimming pool, club, gym, yoga centre and landscaping — coming up in the periphery in two phases. In addition to this, the promoters claim to provide general as well as personal security to house owners on their demand, .

Mr Rajat Kakkar, Chief Managing Director of the company, claimed that 85 per cent of the plots had been sold. A majority of buyers belonged to Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar, 30 per cent were from neighbouring states like Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and New Delhi, while 25 per cent were NRIs, who themselves were constructing their houses, revealed Mr Sunil Banda, General Manager.

Located on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway is another housing project and a majority of its plots have been purchased by defence personnel.

While talking to this correspondent, the promoter of the project, Mr Narendra Sharma, claimed that those who had invested were formed and sewing defence personnel.

Selling their plots and flats at comparatively cheaper rates, the promoters of the housing colonies coming up under the TP scheme claim to provide the best possible facilities at lesser prices.

The coloniser and partner of another society, Mr Pawan Sharma, claims that 5 per cent of the area had been marked for the commercial and 60 per cent for residential plots.

People from Chandigarh and Panchkula were interested in residential plots while those approach from Delhi and other parts of neighbouring states were seeking for commercial sites, he added.


Violation of rules by admn alleged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Residential Leasehold Plot Owners Association here today accused the Chandigarh Administration of violating the guiding conversion rules of 1996 by hiking the fee 20 times and nullifying the formula already fixed.

Addressing a press conference here today, association president P. K. Singla, secretary K. L. Rastogi and members, G. S. Bakhshi and J. M. Uppal said the administration had increased the conversion charge of leasehold to freehold from an approximate Rs 17,200 for a 10-marla plot to approximately Rs 3 lakh in an arbitrary manner.

They alleged around 200 to 300 plot owners who bought these plots at exorbitant rates of around Rs 25 lakh between 1996 and 2000 would have to pay 20 times higher rates while the rest of the leasehold plot owners would pay the same amount as per the old formula.

The association challenged the administration’s propriety in increasing the rate, saying that the brochure on the basis of which they bought plots mentioned that the Administrator was empowered to change the rate of land and relax rules only.

On the contrary, the administration had increased the rate instead of relaxing it, the association said.

The association members said they felt cheated as they had bought those plots at high rates because of an offer of conversion of land from leasehold to freehold under a prescribed formula.

The association alleged that under the July 8, 2002 notification released by the Finance Secretary, while the land rate had been maintained at 1,710 per square metre, the condition that the conversion charges should be at least five times of the annual lease money or ground rent had virtually finished the formula.

They said the new notification had discriminated between those plot holders who bought them before 1996 and those who bought these after it. The association members also alleged their grievances were not being heard by the authorities concerned. They said the up to March 31 relaxation could not be availed by them as they had not yet made the payment of the the final instalment due in December 2003 to the government.


Samadhaan for joint policing system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Mr R.P. Malhotra, president of Samadhaan, a pressure group for social justice, has called for a joint policing system by all three police forces operating in the Chandigarh capital region — comprising Panchkula, SAS Nagar and Chandigarh.

In a statement issued here, he said the recent spate of incidents of crime in Chandigarh and surrounding areas had made it imperative for the police forces of the three cities to act in close coordination with each other because the criminal elements shifted bases after commiting a crime.

While there was no doubt that the UT police was one of the most organised and efficient police forces in the country, the crime graph was on an ascending curve. There were certain factors that were beyond the scope and control of the UT police and the biggest of them all was the burgeoning problem of migrant labourer, which was atributable to the faulty rehabilitation policy of the Chandigarh Administration. Taking advantage of the topographical proximity of the three cities and the jurisdictional limitations of the police forces of the respective areas, the criminals operating in the area hoodwinked the police of the three cities by swiftly shifting bases.

The Samadhaan has therefore suggested the following measures:

Regularisation of the entry of migrant labourers by issuing ID cards and enforcing regular check for prosecution of the evaders.

Proper implementation of laws by the respective state governments to check the unplanned and unauthorised growth of colonies.

Total removal of shacks in the open spaces and parks in all cities within the city limits.

Effective coordination among the police force i.e., effective and Quick Message Flashing System and “Nakabandi” in coordination with respective police forces.

“Joint police arrangement” for the cities irrespective of the state concerned. Till then periodical and regular joint meetings of the three police forces to chalk out effective measures may be held.

The police should hold regular seminars in association with the welfare bodies to create awareness among the residents about the modus operandi of the criminals and about the utilisation of the safety gadgets available in the market. An exhibition-cum-sale of safety gadgets by the commercial houses dealing in these products can also be clubbed with such seminars.

Welfare associations and other NGOs should be involved in community policing programmes to have an on-the-spot and immediate action in case of crime.

Planning of walled sectors/sector blocks along with entry gates to be manned by the security guards in the night may be envisaged by amending existing bylaws to allow the welfare bodies to instal entry gates.

Various social and group activities should regularly be encouraged and organised to have strong neighbourhood relations to make it easier to identify the strangers in the localities.

Review of rehabilitation policy for the settlement of migrant labour, especially in Chandigarh.


Panchkula couple shot at in Ekta Express
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 29
A local couple was seriously injured in an armed dacoity in Ekta Express in the wee hours of the morning today. Mahendra Dhawan, a draftsman in the Public Health Department Chandigarh and a resident of Sector 10, here was shot at on his shoulder by dacoits, when he showed resistance.

According to information available, Mr Dhawan was returning from Bhiwani after attending a family function at his sister’s house. He was accompanied by his wife, Suman and daughter, Naina.

Mr I.D. Dhawan, an uncle of Mr Mahendra told TNS that Ekta Express left Bhiwani Railway Station around 4.20 am. Ten minutes later, a group of armed robbers struck. They went about threatening passengers and demanded their valuables. When they demanded Mahendra wife’s jewellery, he retaliated. After a heated argument and a mild fight, one of the robbers shot at him in the shoulder,” Mr Dhawan informed. His wife in a bid to save her husband, too got involved in the scuffle and received injuries on her face. They had been admitted to Rohtak Medical College and their condition was stated to be out of danger.


Picnic for senior citizens
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 29
The Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association in collaboration with Lions Club, Chandigarh Central, organised a picnic for residents of Old Age Home, Sector 15 here today.

The picnic came as part of the month long Senior Citizens Day 2002 which will culminate on October 1, a day celebrated as International Senior Citizens Day.

About 80 members of the association and the inmates of the Home had a delightful time as they shared not only a meal but a cultural evening that included ghazals, songs, poetry and jokes.


New Lions Club chief installed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Mr Prem Kaushik was installed president of the Lions Club Chandigarh (Midtown) at a function held here yesterday.

Mr N. K. Grover, immediate past multiple-council chairman, was the chief guest. The Installation Officer was Mr K. S. Sandhu, past district governor. Others who were installed included Mr Sanjeet Sharma, secretary, and Mr K. L. Jain, treasurer. Mr Yashpal Mahajan, president of the Chandigarh BJP, also spoke on the occasion.


Mission to spread ‘art of magic’
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 29
Children visiting Sukhna Lake had a surprise this evening as they got a chance to watch magical antics of Kolkata-based magician, M.K Panth.

On an invitation by CITCO, Panth was here to perform his magical tricks for the city residents. Strollers at the lake also stopped to watch him perform. He received rounds of applause on his magic tricks. Panth who visited the city after a gap of 18 years said he was on a mission to spread the ‘‘art of magic’’ in the country.


CTYC panel for action against cable operators
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress (CTYC) has constituted a 21-member committee to initiate politico-legal action against cable operators from October 1, the last day of the CTYC’s one-week ultimatum to cable operators.

This was announced by CTYC president H. S. Lucky on the occasion of opening of the ward number 19 unit office here today.

The office was inaugurated by the local MP Pawan Bansal.


Three arrested for thefts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Several cases of autolifting and a case of burglary were solved today with the arrest of three suspects by the Operation Cell of the Chandigarh Police. Those arrested have been identified as Raju, Vinod and Naresh. They were arrested while planning another burglary. Another suspect Ajay is absconding.

According to the police, Raju Yadav, who was working at Your Cloth House in Sector 20, Chandigarh, came in contact with Naresh Kumar, owner of a tailoring shop, and Vinod Kumar,a tailor, and took away Rs 27,000 and a .32 bore licensed pistol from the shop in June. Raju, who had been removed from the job took up job at another cloth shop in the same sector.

Irritated on being removed from the job, Raju, hailing from Arjunpur in Uttar Pardesh, committed the theft and distributed the money among his three accomplices. He then allegedly lifted three two-wheelers, a motor cycle and two scooters from different parts of the city and sold these in Uttar Pradesh for Rs 50,000. The police is trying to recover the stolen vehicles.

Police parties are conducting raids to arrest Ajay and to recover the stolen gun. The suspects will be produced in court tomorrow.


1 held for stealing mobile phone
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Rupesh Kumar of Sector 31 was arrested for allegedly stealing a mobile phone instrument, clothes and a bed sheet from the GMCH, Sector 32, last evening. He has been booked under Sections 380 and 411 of the IPC.

Mr C.P. Thakur, a resident of Sector 22, reported with the police that thieves broke into his house and took away a gold mangal sutra, two gold rings, a ladies purse and Rs 200 yesterday. In another case, a Hero Honda motor cycle (CH0 3C 1216) of Mr Ankit Gupta, a resident of Sector 42, was allegedly stolen from Punjab Engineering College yesterday. Two cases of theft have been registered.

Eve-teasers held: The police today claimed to have arrested eight persons from different parts of the city for eve-teasing. All of them have been booked under Section 294 of the IPC.


Three arrested: The police has arrested three persons in separate incidents on charges of speculation. A sum of Rs 1820 has been recovered from their possession.

Mr Jatinder Pal Bhatia of Kalka was arrested from Lamba market, Pinjore, and a sum of Rs1070 recovered from his possession. Deepak was arrested from the Majri chowk and Rs 550 recovered from him. Three persons — Prem Lal, Ganga Ram and Harnam Singh — were arrested from the Mansa Devi complex.

Two arrested: The police has arrested Charanjit Singh and Sukhbir Singh from Chandimandir on charges of drinking at public place and disrupting peace.

Fraud: The police has booked Karma and Satpal on charges of defrauding a Kalka resident, Kamaljit Singh. The two have been booked on directions of a local court under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC. The duo had allegedly defrauded the complainant by selling him land on forged papers.

Dowry case: Ms Saleena has accused Riyaz Ahmed and Khaleel Ahmed of of harassing her for dowry and intimidating her. A case under Sections 498- A , 406, and 506 of the IPC has been registered in this regard.


Training course introduced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Recognising the potential airlines industry has for creating quality job-oriented opportunities, the ITFT (Institute of Tourism & Future Management Trends) has introduced what is claimed to be the country’s most economical airlines intensive training programme.

“We want to make it affordable even to the children of the lower and middle income groups of the society”, said Dr Gulshan Sharma, director, ITFT while addressing a seminar today at the Career Options- 2002 at the Lajpat Rai Bhavan. According to Dr Sharma, in-flight experience being provided to the participants was a significant module of the programme. The programme aimed at training the participants for the airlines city offices, airport ground staff besides cabin crew by adopting a holistic approach covering the overall development of the students.

Another highlight of the programme was the facility being provided to the students to link up all domestic and international airlines from one source. They could log on to the Asia Tourism Search Engine,, for upgrading their information. The facility was inaugurated today by Mr Vivek Attray, Director, IT, Chandigarh.


SBI loans for students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The State Bank of India is providing education loans up to Rs 7.5 lakh for study in India and up to Rs 15 lakh for studying abroad. This was stated by Mr S.S. Gupta, Assistant General Manager of the Punjab Engineering College branch of the bank, here today.

The branch had set up a stall at the “Career Options” exhibition held at Lajpat Rai Bhavan, Sector 15. The three-day exhibition, which concluded here today, was organised by the All-India Management Association, Delhi. Mr Gupta said for loans up to Rs 4 lakh, no collateral security or margin was required. 

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