Monday, October 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Row may keep Mayor powerless
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The city Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi’s, approval to an official proposal of renting out ground space for running a giant wheel in Mani Majra and the criticism of her this move by the opposition BJP has sparked off a controversy as to whether the post is only ‘decorative’ or capable of meeting expectations of the people.

While expectation of the people from the elected members, especially from the Mayor, and political demand for the same have been mounting, requiring amendments in the relevant Punjab Municipal Corporation Act extended to Chandigarh, the controversy is likely to hinder the Mayor gradually getting certain powers, including executive, as a custodian of the House.

Such powers, despite the Act not clear on the issue, had been exercised by all Mayors since the time of the first occupant of the post, Ms Kamla Sharma, and subsequently followed by Mr Gian Chand Gupta, Mr Kewal Krishan Adiwal — all from the BJP — and Mr Raj Kumar Goel of the Congress, official sources said. Ms Joshi as per the record has only followed precedents set by her predecessors.

One BJP Mayor had even approved a road whose expenditure was beyond even the Finance and Contract Committee’s purview of Rs 20 lakh apparently in a haste to meet the urgent need of the city’s residents.

With the Mayor having no financial and executive powers except for a prerogative of allowing an agenda in the House meeting, the evolution of the Mayor exercising executive powers with the support of officials had been taking place in the corporation. This power for a Mayor backed by majority provides the incumbent indirect powers to rein in officials by creating fear amongst them that the House could discuss their conduct.

The same happened the last month when the House unanimously went against an official.

There have been instances when all above mentioned Mayors have approved the renting out of land for functions and even deciding the rent without even taking approval of the Finance and Contract Committee.

The House has sought to strengthen the mayoral powers in this term by allowing her a Rs 20 lakh annual money for developmental expenditure. All files have been coming to the Mayor either for approval or for information unlike in the past.

In the past, different decisions had been taken on such matters by various Mayors, the Commissioner and Chief Engineer in different cases creating confusion about the powers of the First Citizen of the city.

A former Mayor Gian Chad Gupta, however, said he did not remember whether the files had been coming for approval but had come only for information.

The Congress Leader in the House, Mr Subhash Chawla, said with the present Mayor’s responsible functioning in improving the finances of the corporation and establishing supremacy of House over officials, the present Mayor has virtually become number two after the Administrator in the city, as is also true as per the protocol.

He said the former Mayors of the BJP could not tolerate the growing clout of a post evolving to be a powerful one unlike in the BJP’s ruling period when the feud between the two groups of the party did not ever allow the Mayor to act on the backing of the House.

Mr Chawla said the BJP was trying to demolish an evolving democratic institution which must have executive and financial powers to meet the aspirations of the people apparently because they never had this enviable position because of the lack of performance and failure to evolve the fledgling House, Mayor and the corporation.

He said the former BJP Mayors should not try to teach lessons after having done the same in the past and should at least become responsible for once, leaving aside their factional and personal fight so as not to demean an institution.



Body found floating in Sukhna
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 6
An employee of the UT Electricity Department and another of the Punjab Irrigation Department were found dead in separate incidents under mysterious circumstances here today.

Body of Surinder Kumar Khurana (43), an SDO in the Punjab Irrigation Department, was found floating in the Sukhna here this afternoon. A visitor to the lake informed reportedly informed the police about the body in the lake. The body was taken out of the water at around 1 pm. The body could be identified only in the evening as the police could not find anything at the lake, which could establish the identity of the deceased.

The victim, who is survived by wife and mother, both having a similar name, Sita Khurana, went missing yesterday. A missing report was lodged at the Sector 22 police post.

Malkeet Singh (35), Assistant Lineman in the Division No. 3 of the Electricity Department, Sector 18, was found dead in a park near the Sector 19 church this morning. The police sources have ruled out any foul play. The police suspects that he died of “overconsumption of liquor”. Malkeet was a resident of Ropar district. The body has been sent for post-mortem.



Briefcase snatcher arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 6
The police claims to have arrested Jagbir Singh, a briefcase snatcher, from the Inter-State Bus Terminus, Sector 17, here this evening. Police parties have been sent to nab his accomplice.

Jagbir had only yesterday walked off with a briefcase of Krishan Chand containing Rs 15,000 from the ISBT. As per police sources, Jagbir Singh, a resident of Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh, is a son of an Army Captain and believed in leading a ‘‘lavish life’’. He used to steals briefcases and bags only.

The 22-year-old Jagbir Singh is a graduate and loves to move around in new Maruti cars.

Meanwhile, the police also claims to solved at least 16 cases of thefts and burglaries, which took place in the city during the past few months. The cases were solved after the interrogation of Vinod, alias Vicky, a resident of Delhi. It was also claimed that stolen property worth lakhs of rupees has been recovered from his possession.

He was arrested on September 26. On that day he had allegedly committed theft in two adjacent houses in Sector 23. His accomplice, Raju, alias Billa, a resident of Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh, is said to be at large.



Body found on rail track
Our Correspondent

Lalru, October 6
Mutilated body of Mahavir Singh, a man of Burail village, was found on the Kalka-Ambala railway track near here early today. The police says that the body was first noticed by a passerby, who, then, informed the police. Mahavir had been crushed under a train late yesterday.

Mahavir had been building a house near here for the past two months. A team of the railway police reached the spot and sent the body to Civil Hospital of Rajpura for post-mortem examination.



Sector body against cable-fee hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Sector 40 MIG Houses Welfare Association organised its annual function here yesterday, where tiny tots of the sector presented a cultural programme. A members’ directory of the association was also released on the occasion.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP, was the chief guest of the show that was presided over by Mr B.B. Bahl, president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee.

Mr H.S. Lucky, president of the local unit of the Youth Congress, said cable TV subscribers of the sector should boycott the service if operators continued to raise the subscription fee arbitrarily.

Mr Dilbagh Singh, president of the association, talked about the problems of the sector, like the condition of roads and parks. Mr J.C. Verma, general secretary of the association, said such a programme had been organised for the first time and the release of the directory was only a part of a wide agenda.



Veteran journalist Sodhi dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab, today expressed deep sorrow and profound grief over the death of Mr H.S. Sodhi, a veteran journalist, after a prolonged illness.

In a condolence message, the Chief Minister said that Sodhi had a long innings in the field of journalism. He was a professional to the core who always adhered to the ethics of journalism.

Sodhi was cremated today. People from different walks of life attended his funeral.

The Chandigarh Press Club was closed today as a mark of respect to the departed soul. Sodhi was one of the founder members of the club. A condolence meeting will be held in the club on October 8 at 11.30 am.



Move to up land cost resented
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 6
The move to increase the cost of land acquired for building co-operative societies in Sector 20 here by about 80 per cent has spread resentment among citizens. In spite of repeated demands, HUDA has been denying them basic amenities.

The neglect of the sector has scared most persons from buying or building flats here and the increased cost will further dampen their enthusiasm. The occupancy rate of the flats is abysmally low, not more than 50 per cent. Many housing societies are not beginning construction work at the allotted sites.

Encroachment by migrant labourers engaged in the construction work in the sector have ruined the look of the area. They are a nuisance and enough to drive away prospective buyers. They have put up ‘jhuggis’ along roads, endangering the lives of even their children, who play on roads where trucks carrying consrtuction material run recklessly all day. The space earmarked for a park has also been grabbed and HUDA may, later, find it hard to recover it.

“HUDA, always sleeping over encroachment, strikes with a vengeance only when full-fledged settlements come up on public land, causing bitterness,” says an old citizen on Panchkula. You cannot go out for morning walk in the area, as slum-dwellers use every available open space to ease themselves.

Congress grass litters the area and its removal is never on the agenda of either the Public Health Department or HUDA. The weed is irrigated by water from leaking pipes. The accumulated water becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

“The water pipe in front of our society (No. 76) has been leaking ever since it was laid a-year-and-a-half ago. No one has ever turned up to repair it, in spite of numerous reminders,” says the president of the Swagreha Cooperative Housing Society. Cases of malaria are common here and the dispensary of the sector is ill-equipped to handle the rush, so, person of the area have to visit private clinics.

The streets here are normally dark at night, as faulty tubelights are not replaced for long. The darkness encourages thefts and petty crime. In face of all such problems, persons of the area are united in opposing the move to raise the land cost.



Without electricity for 12 hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Residents of Sector 48 A and B had to go without power for around 12 hours today due to a puncture in the cable in the sector.

People living on the upper floors had to face shortage of water as their booster pumps did not work.

The Electricity Department expressed the hope that the puncture would be repaired late tonight.

The department denied that the breakdown was caused due to a technical fault and said there were no unscheduled cuts.



Cash, jewellery stolen
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 6
Cash and jewellery worth over Rs 50,000 were allegedly stolen from the Sector 9 house of Mr Jagdish Kumar Arora on the night October 3. The family was away when burglars broke into the house and decamped with gold and silver jewellery and Rs 30,000. A case under Sections 457 and 380, IPC, has been registered.

Two injured: Two motor-cyclists were seriously injured when their vehicle (CH-01-P-2497) was hit by a truck (HP-15-0641) near the BEL factory in the Industrial Area here this afternoon.

According to information available, the motor-cycle driver flew off the bike and crashed on the windscreen of the truck, while the man riding pillion was run over by the truck. The driver of the truck (which was carrying transformers) ran away.

In another incident, a five- year-old child, Amit, was seriously hurt after he was hit by a speeding Armada jeep ( CH-01Q- 1627). A case under sections 279, 336 and 337, IPC, has been registered.

Mr Heera Singh, a resident of Sector 12-A, here has accused Mahendra Singh of having abducted his minor daughter. A case under sections 363 and 366, IPC, has been registered.

Seven arrested
The police arrested Harjinder Singh, Lachman Singh, Jaswinder Singh, Swaran Singh, Darbara Singh, Bahadur Singh and Jaspal Singh on charges of disrupting public peace from Jai Singh Pura near here yesterday.


Theft cases
The police has registered at least three cases of theft during the past 24 hours in the city.

Krishan Chand, a resident of Kangra (Himachal Pradesh), reported that his briefcase containing Rs 15,000 and some clothes was stolen from counter No. 38 of the Inter-State Bus Terminus, Sector 17, last evening. In a similar incident, a hand bag of Shiv Kumar Malhotra, a resident of Sector 22, containing Rs 5,000 allegedly went missing in Sector 22 yesterday. In the meanwhile, Sumage Wardhan of Sector 22 reported that thieves broke into his house on the night of October 4 and took away cash and jewellery.

Cyclist injured
Shankran of Mauli Jagran was injured allegedly after the bicycle he was riding was hit by a Tata Sumo vehicle near the railway traffic light points yesterday. A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC has been registered against the jeep driver, who escaped after the accident.

Yasin, Gulpham, Mohmed Shaheed and Rakesh were arrested from Sector 26 yesterday allegedly for gambling at a public place. They have been booked under various Sections of the Gambling Act.


Liquor seized
Sohan Singh, a resident of Karkaur village, was arrested by the police while carrying 200 pouches of country liquor here today. Soources in the police said that the accused was nabbed from near a railway level crossing on the Dera Bassi-Issapur link road.

A case under the Excise Act has been registered against him with Dera Bassi police station.



Bonanza from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Customers purchasing non-jewellery items worth Rs 500 and Rs 1500 worth of jewellery from Sector 22-D market from tomorrow may win a car, TV, fridge, washing machine, microwave, OTG, music system, VCD player, dinner set, luggage carriers and watches.

The gifts will be made possible by a nine-day lucky draw during the Sector 22-D shopping festival to kick off the golden jubilee celebrations of the market, members of the Market Welfare Association, 22-D (main market), Arvind Jain and Anil Talwar, told reporters at a press conference here today.

During the festival time, shops would also open on Sundays and even during the lunch hours, they said.

The festival will be inaugurated by local MP Pawan Bansal. The inaugural function was open to all from the city and the region.

The association has engaged an event managing company which has given the market a thematic decoration with illuminations, carpeting of corridors and flowers. To make shopping a fun for the entire family, the association has arranged jesters.

In the inaugural ceremony, a special Army band from Subathu will cheer the participants.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |