Saturday, March 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT Budget up by 106.6 cr
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 28
The budget for the Union Territory of Chandigarh for the 2003-04 fiscal has been marginally hiked by Rs 106.6 crore. Finance Minister Jaswant Singh has fixed Rs 864.95 crore as the total expenditure for the ‘City Beautiful’ for this financial year.

This is higher than the revised estimates for 2002-03 of Rs 790.33 crore. The budgeted estimate for 2002-03 was Rs 758.35 crore.

The total non-Plan expenditure for 2003-04 has been fixed at Rs 696.95 crore — up from the revised estimates of Rs 624.75 crore of the previous financial year.

Within the non-Plan expenditure, energy has received the highest allocation of Rs 258.61 crore, followed by education (Rs 142.77 crore), housing and urban development (Rs 90.23 crore) transport (Rs 71.03 crore), police (63.85 crore), health (Rs 45.71 crore) and labour (Rs 4 crore). An amount of Rs 17.96 crore has been earmarked for miscellaneous purposes under the non-Plan expenditure.

The total Plan expenditure for 2003-04 has been fixed at Rs 168 crore — up from the revised estimates of Rs 165.58 crore of the previous fiscal.

Within the Plan expenditure, housing and urban development has received the highest allocation (Rs 64.77 crore), followed by education (Rs 26.17 crore), energy (Rs 19.60 crore) and transport (Rs 3.93 crore). An amount of Rs 52.99 crore has been earmarked for miscellaneous purposes under the Plan expenditure.

Of the total expenditure, Rs 839.49 crore would constitute revenue expenditure while the remaining Rs 25.46 crore would constitute capital expenditure.

The revenue expenditure for 2003-04 is higher by Rs 68.89 crore than the revised estimates of 2002-03.

The capital expenditure for 2003-04 shows an increase of Rs 5.73 crore over the revised estimate of 2002-03. The revised estimate of capital expenditure for 2002-03 is Rs 19.73 crore, higher than the budgeted estimate of Rs 13.57 crore.

On the revenue side, the total revenue for 2003-04 is estimated to be Rs 748.83 crore, up by Rs 32.17 crore of the revised estimates of 2002-03.

The Budget for 2003-04 estimates an increase in tax revenue than the revised estimates of 2002-03. The tax revenue for 2003-04 is estimated to be Rs 423.50 crore — higher by Rs 16.8 crore than the revised estimates of 2002-03.

The non-tax revenue for 2003-04 is estimated to be Rs 325.33 crore, up from Rs 309.95 crore — the revised estimate of 2002-03.


Budget disappointing, says Bansal
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, February 28
The local Member of Parliament, Mr Pawan Bansal, today said the Budget presented in the Lok Sabha was disappointing and much below expectations of the people.

Mr Bansal said the exemption limit on income tax should have been raised from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. The removal of surcharge of 5 per cent on income tax would affect only a few people and those with income between Rs 2 and 3 lakh annually stood to gain only a few rupees. The move would help those who had an income in excess of Rs 6 lakh annually.

Even the reduction of excise duty on cars was aimed at the rich class, he said. The Finance Minister also de-reserved certain products from the umbrella of small scale industries, which meant market would further open up for multinational companies thus further affecting the small industries sector, he said.

Customs duty had been reduced on import of all products. It would have an effect on agriculture. Mr Bansal said unfortunately, the Finance Minister did not announce any new schemes for crop diversification.


The Executive Committee of the Mohali Industries Association in its meeting today hailed the Budget proposal for 2003-04 presented by Mr Jaswant Singh, Finance Minister, in Parliament today.

According to the president, MIA, Mr B.S. Baidwan, the Finance Minister had given a professional touch to the Budget proposals by identifying thrust areas like infrastructure development, agriculture revolution, improvement in efficiency in manufacturing sector, employment generation, higher purchasing power and poverty alleviation.

“Reduction in excise duty by 8 per cent on tyres, cars, ACs, and cold drinks will boost their demand,” he said.

The thrust on green revolution with special emphasis on crop diversification in horticulture and floriculture with the help of latest technology and precision farming technology was also welcomed.

However, the members were of the opinion that the impact of removal of 75 items from the SSI list might harm the interest of SSI sector.


Middle class welcomes sops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Finance Minister Jaswant Singh's announcement to raise income tax exemption limit by Rs 30,000 for the annual income up to Rs 5 lakh has been widely hailed by residents of the city. The decrease in prices of cars, air-conditioners, computers and other commodities, is a good news for the salaried middle class income.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, General Secretary, Chandigarh Nagrik Sabha, said:‘‘The measures announced to simplify the filing of income tax returns and incentives for housing and infrastructure are welcome steps as well as sops given to senior citizens and salaried persons.’’ The industry is also expecting an increase in funds for infrastructure development for the city.

Commenting upon the government's move to decrease interest rates on provident fund and other small saving schemes, Dr Sanjeev Goel, says,‘‘ The government has tried to take back whatever it has offered through income tax exemptions. There is nothing exciting in the Budget for us.’’

The government has proposed to impose 10 per cent additional surcharge on people with annual income above Rs 8.5 lakh. This would put an additional burden on the upper segment, he said, though they can now purchase cars, computers and other products at lower price.’’

While the government has been talking about attaining 8 per cent GDP growth rate, but citizens are worried that nothing has been proposed in this regard. The educated youth felt that the Finance Minister had not paid adequate attention to the problem of unemployment.

Dr Praveen Rathi, research fellow at Panjab University, felt that apart from providing relief to the middle class, the Finance Minister should have announced some scheme for educated unemployment youth.

Mr S.K. Nayar, President, Citizens Welfare Association, Panchkula, said,‘‘ We welcome that he has raised the income tax exemption limit up to Rs 1.83 lakh for senior citizens. But for the salaried class, the income tax exemption limit has been raised by just Rs 5000 and 5 per cent surcharge on income tax has been abolished. But the common man has been totally ignored.’’

Reacting to the reduction in surcharge on corporate tax, Mr Manoj Kohli,Chairman, local chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, said,‘‘ The cut in corporate tax by 2.5 per cent will reduce their burden. Abolition of dividend tax, and its shifting to companies at the rate of 12.5 per cent would help revive the equity market.’’

However, increase in service tax from 5 per cent to 8 per cent and addition of other items under its net, would increase the price of telephone, insurance and other services, he added. 


MC budget passed amid walkout
Tribune News  Service

SAS Nagar,  February 28
Members of the Opposition staged a walkout at the crucial budget meeting of the municipal council here today. The annual budget of the council for 2003-2004 was ,however ,passed by the House in the absence of the Opposition.

Seven members of the 27- member House left the meeting even before the budget proposals could be announced. The opposition members had demanded that they be given complete details of the money spent during the year by the council before the meeting and as today they did not know about various details they would not discuss the budget.

The budget proposals were passed by the rest of the members who hold majority in the house. The council is expected to earn from all possible sources Rs 2326.80 lakh and spend Rs 2254 lakh under various heads.

Members of the Opposition raised slogans against the President outside the buildings and alleged that the reason that the details of the expenditure had not been given to them was because there were gross misappropriation of fund in the name of carrying out development works.

Those who staged a walkout included Manjit Singh, Manjit Singh Sethi, Manmohan Kaur, Amrik Singh Tehsildar, Amrik Singh Mohali, Harbans Kaur and Manmohan Singh Lang.

The meeting was presided over by the MLA, Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh ,who also requested the members of the Opposition to not stage a walkout or boycott as a budget meeting was an important event and sought their cooperation. The MLA also announced before the remaining members of the House that SAS Nagar would hold special functions to mark the tercentenary of the martyrdom of Sahibzada Ajit Singh. 


City wakes up to a blooming fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
While all is well with the spirit behind the famous Festival of Gardens which went off to a vibrant start for the 31st time in a row this morning, the affair would have been even more cherished had fresh events been introduced in the list today.

Different glimpses of the 31st Festival of Gardens which opened in City Beautiful

Never mind the routine of every year, the festival was as vibrant as it always is. Thanks to the many flowers that made the ambience heavenly and fragrant, the festival had a lot of visitors all day, causing the parking problem as usual.

The festival was inaugurated by Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Lieut- Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) who spared time to interact with participants.

Pop singer Anamika performs at Leisure Valley
Pop singer Anamika performs at Leisure Valley as part of the Festival of Gardens at Sector-10 in Chandigarh on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

The list was full of familiar events — flower competition, stalls displays, band competition and folk dance competitions. Many of the performers were the same as the last year, so were many stalls. An interaction with visitors to the festival said that whereas they enjoyed being a part of the bonanza anyway, they always looked for value additions which were missing.

However, the Anamika nite at the Leisure Valley, Sector 10 compensated a little for the routine during the day. As fiery and energetic as ever on stage, Anamika carried the crowd along through well over an hour.

The valley was resonating with Punjabi beats, so typical of Anamika who adds more punch to the song with all that husk in her voice. Students of various government schools presented a cultural show in the honour of the Governor. The best presentation came from Ladakhi students, who swayed to Ladakhi tunes. Another interesting performance came from tiny tots who joined hands to make the Liliput dance memorable. Girl students presented a medley of English song on roses.

Gen Jacob paid special attention to the bands playing in the garden. Various organizations participated in this favourite contest. Among officers present on the occasion were UT Adviser ,Mr Virendra Singh, Home Secretary Mr. R.S. Gujral, Municipal Commissioner Mr. M.P. Singh, Deputy Commissioner Mr. M. Ramsekhar, Chief Engineer Mr. Puranjit Singh and the Municipal Chief Engineer Mr. V.K. Bhardwaj.

Rose fest results


* The occasion was utilised to introduce two running trophies. The UT Administration will give Dr M.S. Randhawa trophy for the best round about in the memory of late Dr. M.S. Randhawa, first Chief Commissioner, Chandigarh, who conceived the Rose Garden. The trophy for the Best Garden has been named in the memory of late Dr. Zakir Hussain, the President of India.

* The best part of the festival was the inauguration of the beautiful green belt in Sector 23 by Adviser Virendra Singh. This belt has been developed by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. 

The results of Class C (cut flowers section) open only to government, semi government bodies, institutions and private nurseries.

Antirrhinum: Regional Director, Regional Institute of Cooperative Managemnt, Sector 32 C (1st); Chandigarh Housing Board (2nd); Hotel Shivalik View (2nd)

Aster: Director, PGI (Ist), Ranbaxy Labs, district Nawashahr (2nd)

Stock: CHB (1st), Hotel Mount View (2nd)

Carnation: Punjab StateWarehousing Corporation, Chandigarh (1st), Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (2nd); director PGI (2nd)

Candytuft: Director, PGI (1st); CHB (2nd)

Dahlia: CHB (1st); CHB (2nd)

Gladiolus: Ram Kishore, Chaman Vatika School, Ambala (1st), Ranbaxy Labs, Nawashahr (2nd)

Gerbera: Plot number 2 A, CRRID, Sector 19 A (1st), Institute of Microbial Technology, sector 39 A (2nd); Director, PGI (2nd)

Lupin: Hotel Shivalik View (!st); Ranbaxy Labs, Nawashahr (2nd)

Larkspur: Hotel Mount view (1st); Hotel Shivalik View (2nd); CHB (2nd)

Marigold: Director, PGI (1st); Institute of Microbial Technology, Sector 39 A (2nd)

Pansy: Punjab State warehousing Corporation (1st), Plot no 2A, CRRID, Sector 19 A (2nd)

Rose hybrid tea: Hotel MountView (1st), Director PGI (2nd)

Rose floribunda: Director PGI (1st); Director, PGI (2nd); Hotel Mount View (2nd); Ranbaxy labs, Nawashahr (2nd)

Rose hybrid tea in three stages unopen bud: Director PGI (1st); Hotel MountView (2nd); Director PGI (2nd)

Rose hybrid tea collection of three named varieties: Director, PGI (1st), Director, PGI (2nd)

Sweet peas: Ranbaxy Labs, Nawanshahr (1st); Ranbaxy Labs, Nawanshahr (2nd)

Any other flower: ENC, HUDA, Panchkula (1st); CHB (2nd); Regional Director, Regional Institute of Coop, Sector 32 C (2nd).


‘Dream Park’ becomes reality
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Mr Virendra Singh, Adviser to the Administrator, UT Chandigarh, inaugurated the newly developed “Dream Park” in Sector 23-D, today. Mr Subhash Chawla, Mayor, Mr M.P. Singh, Municipal Commissioner, Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, a number of councillors, officials and residents of the sector were present.

Developed in an area of 3.8 acres, this ‘L’ shape park has various features.

Three type of trees (chakrasia, Mahagoni, Terminalia) have been planted in the park. Besides the park has got 35 flower beddings have flowers like aster, salvia, dehlia, petunia, namesia, verbena, phlox, lupin and stock.

To encourage and facilitate morning walkers, a 2000-foot-long concrete path has also been laid with 21 new lamp posts.

The park has 20 benches and 12 dustbins. To irrigate the park, special underground waterline has been laid.


Now a class IV employee goes missing!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/SAS Nagar, February 28
Is there any link between the disappearance of a class IV employee of the Chandigarh Administration’s Engineering Wing and the mystery shrouding the reported arrest of Brij Bhushan alias Bhupa, who is believed to be a main accused in the murder of Chandigarh Administration’s Executive Engineer V.K. Chopra?

The class IV employee is said to have been missing from his government accommodation in Sector 22 since 9 am today. The family members of the class IV employee are tight-lipped on this issue. The employee had left his residence along with two Punjab Police officials, who had come in a Maruti Esteem car and were not in uniform, according to an eyewitnesses. Till late this evening, the family members of the employee had not been informed about his whereabouts by the police team.

Despite the Punjab Police categorically denying any more arrests in the Chopra murder case, sources in the police said Bhupa, who was at the Sector 22 government house, was caught in a pre-dawn swoop by the SAS Nagar police from Chandigarh yesterday. Sources also stated that Bhupa was picked up on the basis of a definite tip-off.

Sources said the employee was not even aware of why the police was looking for Bhupa. How Bhupa knows the employee is still a mystery, which the police is expected to unravel in the next two to three days.

The sources said Bhupa had come to his Sector 22 residence on Wednesday. It is believed that he along with the employee was in Delhi and areas of Haryana, adjoining Delhi. So did the employee call in the police or someone else called it up?

On the condition of anonymity, some residents of the locality where the class IV employee lives, said yesterday some policemen had taken away a person from the house.

Officials of the Chandigarh Police denied knowledge about any such arrest, however, sources confirmed that such a raid was conducted by the SAS Nagar police. 


200 structures demolished
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, February 28
In a major demolition drive, the Punjab State Export and Industrial Corporation (PSIEC) demolished over 200 structures and jhuggies built on PSIEC industrial land in Phase VII here today.

The PSIEC team along with a large posse of police and the Tehsildar Mohali, carried out the complete operation in three hours with the help of a bulldozer.

The land cleared today was occupied by a slum named Guru Nanak Amar colony. Some of the residents of this colony had been living here for over 15 years and even had ration cards and voter identification cards with them, sources said. The land cleared falls under Phase VII ,Industrial Area, next to Sector 57. Last week a PUDA team had cleared a part of this colony which had come up on PUDA land in Sector 57.

Meanwhile, over 50 residents of Madanpura village staged a dharna outside the village here today, protesting against the demolition drive planned by the Punjab Urban and Planning Authority (PUDA) in the village. The villagers are stating that PUDA is not going by its promise of rehabilitating the villagers first before razing their houses to the ground.

According to PUDA officials ,the resistance shown by the villagers is based on wrong facts. ‘‘PUDA will be clearing only .66 acres of land which is under illegal occupation by a group of families. This piece of land has already been given to PUNWAC (Punjab Women and Child Welfare) by PUDA and the possession of this land has to be given to them. This will have to be cleared. For the original inhabitants of this village PUDA will be going by the scheme ordered by the minister in 2001.’’said Mr Ranjit Kumar ,SDO, Buildings, PUDA. Mr Ranjit Kumar also stated that the villagers were being instigated by a single person who had illegally occupied a part of this .66 acre of land belonging to PUNWAC. ‘‘This person already has a house in the village and then he also encroached upon this .66 acres of land which was lying vacant when PUDA acquired the village,’’ he alleged.


Property conversion rates announced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The Chandigarh Administration has today announced new rates for conversions of houses and flats from leasehold to freehold. It has been decided that land rates applicable for calculating the conversion of lease house land tenure into freehold had been fixed at Rs 1,710 per square metre subject to the condition that the conversion charges shall be at least 4.5 times of annual lease money or ground rent.

It was also decided that in case of ready built flats or dwelling units, the one-time conversion charges shall be charged either at the rates notified on January 9 last year or 4.5 times of the annual lease money or ground rent which ever is higher. These rates shall remain in force till further order.


Shivani murder accused Sharma coming today
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 28
Suspended IG Ravi Kant Sharma , who is being let off on a five-hour parole to attend his elder daughter, Pragatti’s engagement ceremony is expected to reach here tomorrow at 5 pm.

House No. 19 in Sector 6, the home of the IPS officer, accused of conspiring to kill journalist Shivani Bhatnagar, was agog with activity today.

Mr Sharma had been accused of the crime in August last year and he had been on the run for almost two months, before his dramatic surrender in a Ambala court on September 27. Since then, he has been lodged in Tihar Jail, Delhi, and charges have already been framed against him.


Admn ignoring Cong councillors: Chabra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Protesting against the insensitivity of the Chandigarh Administration, Municipal Corporation councillor Pradeep Chabra alleged that Congress councillors had not received invitation cards for the ongoing Festival of Gardens.

Mr Chabra said in a protest letter that six years had passed since the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation had come into being and the residents of Chandigarh had elected their representatives twice. But some officials of the Chandigarh Administration have still not been able to come to terms with this reality, he said.

“In spite of people’s mandate, elected councillors have consistently been ignored by these officials as far as inviting them on official functions is concerned. It is indeed regrettable that none of Congress and nominated councillors has received any invitation to attend the opening ceremony of prestigious ‘Festival of Gardens’. This shows that how much the officialdom really cares about the representatives of the people. There is an impression that officials of Chandigarh Administration consider Chandigarh, their personal fiefdom. They simply do not want elected representatives to come up and do their job.”

Mr Chabra alleged that whereas councillors belonging to the BJP had received invitations for this function, Congress councillors had been ignored.

Mr Chabra said he alongwith fellow councillors, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Balraj Singh, Mr Sohan Lal Vaid, Ms Kamlesh and Mrs Pushpa Sharma condemn discriminatory attitude of these officials. It was in fact the duty of the Chandigarh Administration to give due respect to elected representatives. They should be duly invited to various official functions and special sitting arrangement should be made for them. 


No move to hike passport fee’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The Regional Passport Officer, Mr Arvind Kumar, has informed that there is no proposal to enhance passport application fee or fee for various miscellaneous services being rendered by the Passport Offices.


Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
Mr Har Bhagwan Kapoor, husband of Ms Gurjeet Kaur, pharmacist with the Tribune Dispensary, died here on Friday. He was 59 and is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.



Tenancy law: need for special courts

ABOUT three months have elapsed since the introduction of the amendment to the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction (Extension to Chandigarh) Act, whereby the Act will not apply to commercial and residential properties if the rent exceeds Rs 1,500 per month. Three cheers to the Governor of Punjab and Administrator, UT Administration Lt Gen JFR Jacob (retd.), for withstanding pressures from commercial tenants’ lobby and self-serving politicians for withdrawing the long overdue notification. Even tenants’ organisations have partly seen reason and agreed to confine their protests to commercial properties only.

But the very purpose of the notification has been defeated in the absence of a built-in provision for summary trials as introduced in 1985 for retiring government employees. There are reports that already about 1,500 cases have piled up in various Chandigarh courts seeking relief under the new notification. Such cases will further keep multiplying unless special court(s) are sanctioned by the authorities to settle such cases expeditiously. The problem is much more pathetic for senior citizens who do not have the stamina or patience to fight long-drawn cases in courts. The setting of special courts will not only save the Administration crores of rupees in costly litigation but the elderly would also be able to spend the remaining few years of their life in comparative peace.

The phenomenal appreciation in the prices of real estate, particularly the renewed enthusiasm shown by NRIs, is a welcome sign and vindicates the stand of the UT Administration which has earned crores of rupees extra in recent auctions of plots in various sectors.

Chandigarh Rajesh Shori

No English medium for primary kids, please

The UT Administration has introduced English from class I in schools. So did J & K and many other states. That is unfortunate for primary children. The gap between haves and have-nots may not narrow down. But the freak introduction is likely to be fatal to the children’s learning abilities for want of the right kind of teachers. Why play havoc with young developing minds? Education is a gradual process for the growing minds. English was opposed for over 50 years. That has produced a vacuum of English literate primary teachers.

To bring back English to its glory, the government should start its teaching from class VI onwards with at least 12 periods per week in schools. The street model schools teaching primary children through the medium of English should be banned. At least they should be barred from getting any government aid. Mother tongue is the only medium by virtue of which children gain confidence to express themselves and make enquiries. Reduce the number of the formal subjects. Increase the number of physical and mental activities in schools with emphasis on the community hygiene. But no English medium, please, for primary innocent children. Parents and teachers, please do not alienate them from their own culture and environments.

Mohali Surjeet Singh


2 teenagers held for selling stolen car spares
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 28
The Chandigarh Police today arrested two juveniles for abandoning stolen cars after removing their spares. Both juveniles, students of 10+1 (non-medical) in Sector 46 Government School, were arrested from Burail village while they were allegedly trying to sell stolen tyres of a car to a junk dealer in Burail junk dealers' market. They used to change the registration number of the stolen cars to evade the police.

In another case two other youths, Gaurav Bhaitai and Gursimran Kaur, a 24 -year-old daughter of a Colonel in the Indian Army — both working as business associates for Spice Telecom, have been arrested for extorting money from juveniles after threatening them to inform the police about their criminal activities.

The DSP, South, Mr S.C. Sagar, said the two juveniles, residents of Sector 33 and Sector 47, respectively, had been booked under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC. He said the juveniles had today come to Burail village in a stolen Maruti car (CH 01 R 8991). On investigation the original registration number of the car was found to be HR-12- H-01 100. During their interrogation, the students confessed to having stolen five Maruti cars from Sectors 8, 17, 34 and 38. A total of seven cars, five car stereos, six spare wheels had been recovered from them.

In a interesting twist to the case, leading to their arrest, the DSP said a car (CH 01 R 8991) was stolen from commercial complex of Sector 34 market. When the car was being picked, two youths, Gaurav Bhatia and Gursimran Kaur, a resident of Phase XI, SAS Nagar, were sitting in a car parked in the adjoining parking lot. After some time when the owner of the stolen car came looking for his vehicle, he inadvertently tried to open another car with the keys. At this Gaurav Bhatia and Gursimran Kaur, pointed out to him that his car had been taken away by some youth.

One of the juvenile car thief, is the resident of Sector 33, hails from the family of a transporter. He developed taste to drive cars and procured a master keys to steal cars and sell the spares. After stealing he used to park the cars at some isolated place. The second juvenile, a resident Sector 46, is son of a Haryana police official. 

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