Thursday, March 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cops crack down on 5 pool joints
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 5
The Chandigarh Police seems to be getting hypersensitive about the security situation in the city. Otherwise why else would it simply barge into any neighbourhood pool joint and start rounding up people playing therein.

This afternoon saw UT police personnel in a mantle that was not quite liked by anybody. Cracking down on five pool joints falling under the jurisdiction of the Sector 34 police station, the police personnel rounded up 39 persons for questioning. The claim was, “Many anti-social elements have lately been found to be frequenting pool joints.” The plea taken by the police may be sound, but the question is, “How fair is it to nail unassuming civilians, who are playing in many such pool joints, in all legality?”

Later, all off them were let off after questioning. Parents of youths were called at the police station.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police (South), Mr S.C. Sagar, maintained that the action was in good faith. “We did not want to harass anyone,” he said, adding that, “we let off all of them after questioning”.

However, the rounding up of visitors to the snooker pool joints has invited public wrath against the cops. Parents of some youths, who were rounded up, complained that they were aware that their wards were visiting pool joints and the police had no business in questioning them. “We are being unnecessarily harassed”, complained one of the parents who was called to the police station.

“My son is innocent and he is getting money for playing pool from us”, said a parent who was called to the police station.

In its desperate effort to solve increasing incidents of snatching and thefts, the police even rounded up a person who had gone to a pool joint to pass time while his daughter was attending to her tuition class and his wife had gone to a gurdwara.

A police official said the youths were quizzed as to where from they got the money to play pool and that too during examination days. “The pool joint owners charge anywhere between Rs 50 and Rs 60 per hour and yet these joints are always crowded with teenagers” the official said.”

The police raided three snooker pool shops in Sector 34 and one each in Sectors 32 and 46 and rounded up all those present there, including three owners and seven helpers. The pool joints were also locked by the police.


Admn, MC lock horns over budget
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The UT Administration has locked horns with the local municipal corporation. The Finance and Planning Officer of the Administration has found the tradition of passing the budget estimates by the municipal corporation (autonomous body) to be imprudent in contravention of the provisions of the existing Municipal Act.

What does Section 86 of MC Act say?

1. The corporation shall, not later than the first week of February every year, adopt for the ensuing year a budget estimate which shall be an estimate of the income and expenditure of the corporation to be received and incurred on account of the municipal government of the city.

2. The budget estimate adopted under sub-section (1) shall be submitted to the government not later than the last week of February preceding the year to which the budget estimate relates.

3. The budget estimates received by the government under sub-section (2) shall be returned to the corporation before the March 31 after approval without any modification or with such modifications as the government may deem fit. 

In a circular issued by the Finance and Planning Officer to the Secretary, Local Government, and the Director, Rural Development and Panchayats, last week, he has raised objections that “autonomous bodies under their control pass the budget estimates as per their own projections (both plan and non-plan) before seeking grant-in-aid, assistance, devolution etc from the Chandigarh Administration”.

The circular further stated,”this practice is not prudent”. He directed the Secretary, Local Government, and Director, Rural Development and Panchayats, to ask all autonomous bodies to formulate their budget estimates after being conveyed grant-in-aid, assistance, devolution etc by the UT Administration.

Senior functionaries in the municipal corporation have taken serious note of this circular. They said the General House of the MC had passed the budget estimates for 2003-04 before the end of February, within the framework of the MC Act.

Mr Subhash Chawla, Mayor, said the budget estimates for the next financial year were passed in accordance with Section-86 of the Punjab Municipal Act of 1976 as extended to the Chandigarh MC.

Meanwhile, an official note put up before the Mayor stated, “Logically, it would be a much better proposition for a body like the MC which depends upon to a large extent, on grants to prepare a budget as desired by the Finance Department of the UT Administration. Therefore, the provisions of the MC Act be modified if this practice is to be adopted”.

“There was no point in issuing such an imprecise note (circular) until and unless the MC Act was amended”, commented Mr Pardeep Chhabra, a local councillor.

Political circles in the MC has taken serious note of the circular, saying that the circular issued by the Finance and Planning Officer seems to be a ploy of the bureaucracy to curtail the democratic powers of the elected councillors.


PU colleges fail to list priorities
Meeting fixed for March 26
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Panjab University will witness major academic activity in the form of debate, discussion and suggestions for policy decisions to improve the working in over 100 affiliated colleges later this month.

A meeting of the principals of affiliated colleges is scheduled for March 26, reliable sources said. The meeting earlier scheduled for March 23, had been postponed. March 27 would witness a meeting of the principals of the colleges of education alone.

Interestingly, the university sent the information letter sometime in the middle of February, asking principals to “send your valuable and viable items with supporting explanatory notes for possible inclusion in the agenda.” This was done with regard to setting up an agenda for discussion on the floor. Not even a single principal has responded till date even as the university has fixed tomorrow as the last date for receipt of suggestions.

Agenda items missing not withstanding, the House will witness certain crucial issues affecting the working of the college administration. Shrinking government contribution in the budgets will not find the meeting as the correct forum for discussion. However, the issue will definitely find a mention.

One crucial item likely to find a mention on the floor of the House is a proposal for a semester system in all classes of the colleges. The item had been talked about in the academic council meeting recently where the Vice-Chancellor was requested to constitute a committee. Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, said he was willing to take up the matter for discussion in case the faculty demanded at a correct forum.

It is felt that the semester system would compel students to be more regular with classes. This would automatically mean more classes. However, due to administrative problems, it is not going to be an easy sailing in the university or colleges, it is felt.

Another key issue likely to figure at the meeting will be taking to task academies which worked “literally as colleges” and allowed students to appear as private candidates from universities, particularly girls. Principal Harmit Kaur had moved a resolution in the Senate, asking the university to disallow girl students to appear as private candidates. The university has not disallowed their candidature due to social compulsions. However, the university will be more vigilant against academies.

A large number of colleges are faced with the problem of shortage of staff. Even as the number of students has multiplied several times over the past years, the faculty strength has lessened due to the government not allowing new posts.

One issue that has featured in several university meetings is the demand of better facilities at the Administrative Block for outstation students. Their list of “woes” has been highlighted several times even in the university Senate. The university had announced to commence a single window facility. However, nothing has happened on ground.


Fake company dupes residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
This story of fraud may sound old, but has been successfully played once again upon the ‘innocent’ residents of the surrounding villages by a Delhi-based fake company. Number of gullible children, villagers, and even educated youths have fallen prey to the allurement of easy wealth and have lost thousands of rupees.

According to Manmohan Singh, a resident of Dera Bassi, they have been receiving pamphlets in newspapers for the past many months, through which a Delhi-based company, Kanishka (India), with a claimed address of WZ-106, Lajwanti Garden, New Delhi, had asked the readers to send answers for a small questioner to get a surprise gift.

He said, “My son along with his friends had sent the answers. After a few days, all of them received printed letters claiming that their entry forms had been selected for a special prize of premium super colour camera along with one quartz wrist watch’’. The company claimed that they would soon get a 35 MM, auto free compact size camera and a wrist watch at lower than the market rate.

The letter claimed that “on the 5th anniversary of our firm our management has decided to offer you both these items worth Rs 775 at a concessional prize of just Rs 421 as part of the sales promotion exercise. The items would be sent through VPP in the next four-five days”.

Said Mr Manmohan Singh, my son, a student of Class X, was very happy when he got the parcel. After paying the said amount to the postman, he said, what we discovered was just a fraud. There was just a cheap camera worth not more than Rs 200 and nothing else. The company’s letter had claimed that amount would be fully refunded if one was not satisfied. Despite repeated reminders, no one from the company ever responded.

Another resident of Panchkula claimed that he had also received the letter from the company, which had even promised that “his name was selected in the list of Sales Officer. He could earn Rs 2,000 to R 3,500 per month by just promoting the scheme. However, when I visited the office at Delhi, there was no such company at the said address”.

He admitted that they were not sure about the credentials of the company, but were lured by the promise of the money-back guarantee. However, there was nothing except a fine piece of packing. Mr Manmohan said they had now asked the members of panchayats in the region to keep a vigil on the activities of such companies.


2 killed in accidents
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 5
Two persons, including a woman, died in separate road accidents in different parts of the city here today. One of the persons involved in the accidents has been arrested while the other managed to escape from the spot.

Vinod Kumar Sharma (52), a resident of Sector 15, died after the scooter he was riding was allegedly hit by a truck in Mani Majra here this evening. As per information available, Vinod Kumar who was working with a private firm in Mansa Devi Housing Complex, Panchkula, was on the way from his office to his daughter’s house in Sector 34 when the accident took place.

The victim received serious injuries in the accident and was rushed to the PGI. However, he succumbed to his injuries. Sharma is survived by wife and four daughters, three of them unmarried.

At the time of filing of this report, neither the wife nor his daughters were aware of the incident. He was a tenant in house No. 38, Sector 15. Earlier, he was employed with Haryana Export Corporation.

The truck driver fled from the spot. A case has been registered.

In another accident, a 50-year-old woman, Kanta Rani, who had come to the city for treatment from Yamunanagar was crushed to death by a Honda City car in Sector 32 this afternoon.

According to information, after visiting the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Kanta Rani was taking rest in an open ground. In the meantime, Kailash Aggarwal who was reversing his Honda City car crushed her under the wheels. The accused, a resident of Sector 28, has been arrested and the car impounded.


Rock Garden’s creator struggles with expansion plans
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Nek Chand’s fantasy land is certainly not getting its due attention. For some strange reason, expansion work in the beautiful environmental space of the Rock Garden is suffering immensely over the past few years.

One, there is hardly any labour at work inside the Garden, thus leaving Nek Chand, the creator of Rock Garden with little at hand. The two projects in the pipeline — making Rock Garden one way to ease congestion and sculpting more forms — are awaiting completion due to the dearth of labourers and money. Two, there’s hardly any system to ensure smooth flow of funds when required for the execution of art works inside the garden.

That the issue is not as simple as it appears on surface becomes clear with the amount of international concern over the future of the Rock Garden. Mr John Maizels, Director, Rock Garden Foundation in London, founded in 1997 to support Nek Chand in his mission as an environmental artist, is currently in the city to help the cause of Rock Garden. In an interaction with The Tribune he said,”Whereas there is incredible admiration of Nek Chand and his work at the international level, things are not looking up at the end of Chandigarh. Initially, there was a lot of malice against Nek Chand. Now, the malice no longer exists but Nek Chand has to struggle with the Administration and contractors to get the work done. People pay thousands of pounds just to visit the Rock Garden but here Nek Chand has to labour hard to see his themes converted into reality.”

Ironically, the Society for Maintenance and Development of Rock Garden founded in 1999 to help Nek Chand overcome these financial and managerial hassles has hardly been of any help. The society, which has Nek Chand as president, Home Secretary, UT, as vice-president and Superintending Engineer, Mr Krishnajit Singh as member secretary, has not even met once in the past two years. Enquiries reveal that Rs 1.5 crore is lying in the corpus of the society but the money is not made available to Nek Chand when he needs it.

Nek Chand informed, “Because of delay in the release of money, something that can be completed within six months takes three years or even more. By the time the funds are made available, the cost of execution has gone up, because the earlier estimates were made keeping in mind the previous prices. I am currently depending on the UT Administration for financial help which must come when needed.”

Meanwhile, Mr Maizels said the foundation was supporting Nek Chand with publicity affairs. Two years back the Foundation had gifted laughing mirrors to the garden. Besides, it is also taking care of quality printing of brochures and books on Rock Garden, which features in the prestigious Raw Vision Outsider Art Source book published by the Raw Vision Society, UK. Happy that Nek Chand had donated his works for the Museum in Lousianne (Switzerland), Mr Maizels said that on his current visit he would encourage the formation of the Chandigarh branch of Rock Garden Foundation.

“This will keep us abreast with the requirements of Nek Chand. We will thus be in a better position to support him,” said Mr Maizels, adding that Rock Garden had been fixed as a venue for the International Folk Art Conference scheduled in May. Interestingly, a French filmmaker Jean Noel Montagne is nowadays making a virtual reality film on the Rock Garden. This film will be shown at the forthcoming conference.


Panel for making reserve price public
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The committee, drafting a policy on auction for the Municipal Corporation, has recommended that the reserve price for a property to be auctioned should be made public and not concealed.

The G.K. Marwah committee report which dealt with the alleged bungling in the auction of a Sector 9 SCO, had suggested the measure to improve the auction process in the Municipal Corporation.

The committee comprising Additional Commissioner Ashok Vashishth, Chief Accounts Officer, H.S. Sood, and councillor P.C. Sanghi has finalised its recommendations for the consideration of the House.

The draft policy committee has, however, rejected the suggestion of Mr G.K. Marwah with regard to keeping record of those bids which are made below the reserve price saying that it would lead to cartelisation by bidders to reduce the potential price of a property.

The committee has recommended that the final authority of acceptance of a bid should be vested with either the Commissioner or the Finance and Contract Committee instead of the Presiding Officer of the auction.

The draft policy also suggests that the entire auction team will have to sign each sheet which will have details of the bids above the reserve price, if only one bid is made, if no bid is made, and if it had to be withdrawn.

Apparently seeking to correct the mistake in agenda making before the controversial auction of an SCO in Sector 9, the panel has also suggested details of the previous three auctions before fixing or reducing or increasing the reserve price of a property.


Illegal shops mushrooming
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 5
In a menace that is growing in uncontrollable proportions in the township, small shops are mushrooming in residential houses in various sectors here. Most of these shops have opened in houses on the inter-sectoral roads and despite the fact that these are functioning illegally, Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) officials have not taken any action.

These shops are catering to the residential com-lexes and provide household items to residents living in the neighbourhood. However, these shops, despite their local utility, according to residents, cause inconvenience to them. ‘‘These block roads as people who come for shopping here park their vehicles on the road or in front of other people’s porches’’, says Mr S.S. Kalra, a resident of Sector 71 here.

The shops are either owned by the house owner himself or are on rent. ‘‘The shop next to our house is owned by a person who is paying rent to the house owner, who lives on top. The garage area is rented out and such shops cause a lot of inconvenience. Moreover, these shops are open till late in the night and have become a meeting point of many people, which makes the place unsafe all through the night,’’ says Mr Kalra.

Mr Kalra is not the only one complaining. Shopkeepers who have bought commercial complexes in the main markets of the sector are also of the opinion that these shops should not be allowed to run in residential areas as it makes their business suffer. ‘‘I have paid lakhs of rupees to PUDA to buy a shop in the commercial area of Mohali and here is a small house owner who simply flouts all rules and opens a shop in the residential area and makes money. Allowing these shops here is unfair to us,’’ says a shopkeeper of Phase VII here.

Many residents allege that PUDA officials are not taking any action against these housekeepers or the house owners who are sub-letting their garages to shopkeepers. ‘‘I have written about 10 letters to all authorities here in the township, but no one has taken any action,’’ said Mr Kalra. ‘‘I have written to the Chief Administrator, to the Additional Chief Administrator and the Estate Officer of PUDA, but no action has been taken.’’ Mr Kalra added.


MC notice to cable operators
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The local Municipal Corporation today served a 7-day notice on all cable operators of the city to clear their dues of ground rent.

Stating this, Mr Subash Chawla, Mayor, said they were yet to recover about Rs 48 lakh from the cable operators in lieu of ground rent. The MC charges Rs 1,000 as ground rent per cable operator per month for allowing them to install poles and cables.

He said the amount was pending since the beginning of 2000. The MC had warned the cable operators that if they failed to deposit their dues with the MC, the poles, wires and all other equipment belonging to them would be seized after seven days.

Residents meet Mayor: A delegation of residents of Sector 39-D, led by Mr Ashok Kapoor, general secretary, Residents Welfare Association, met Mr Subash Chawla, Mayor on Tuesday evening and discussed problems of their area.

They demanded that the parks of Sector 39-D be maintained on a par with those in other sectors. They brought to the notice of the Mayor that there were no benches, swings, joyrides in the parks there.

They also demanded proper arrangements for garbage collection. The Mayor assured them that door-to-door garbage collection would be started latest by April 15. The Mayor also said he would personally visit Sector 39-D next week to have a look at the overall problems of the residents.

Recarpeting of roads: The Mayor, Mr Subash Chawla, on Wednesday asked the authorities concerned to recarpet V-6 roads of Sector 42 by the April end.

He also proposed a Rs 10 lakh plan to develop a green belt in the sector. However, the funds for this project would be released from the MP LAD scheme by the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal.

Mango orchards: The local MC has decided to auction mango orchards near The Tribune chowk for a period of six years from the current year, by calling tenders. Stating this, here on Wednesday, Mr Subash Chawla, Mayor, said the MC was expecting a revenue of at least Rs 9 lakh from the auction. Earlier, the orchards were auctioned for Rs 2.4 lakh for a period of three years.

Office-bearers: Mr L.N. Yadav was on Wednesday elected president of the Residents Welfare Association of Sector 24-D (government houses). Other office-bearers include: vice-president-Nishan Singh Cheema, general secretary-Jagdish Singh Jaggi, office secretary-Bahadur Singh Thakur, cashier-Rajinder Singh, assistant cashier-Parmanand Shastri and auditor-Amarjit Singh.


Traders demand compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The Traders Association of Electrical Appliances, at an emergency meeting held here, has expressed resentment over the manner in which CITCO had installed the tents at the Rose Festival. These were uprooted due to a sudden thunder storm on February 28, resulting in heavy losses to the traders.

Mr Kamaljit Singh Panchi, president of the organisation, in a press note issued here today, alleged that the tents were of inferior quality. The pipes were not properly put into the earth and the whole of electrical and electronics material was spoiled with the flash rains. The goods were found scattered on the ground far away from their tents due to high velocity of the wind. The association members demanded compensation for the loss incurred due to inefficient functioning of CITCO.


Jacob opens Army transit complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, PVSM (retd.), inaugurated the newly constructed Transit Camp Complex of the Army at Hallo Majra, near the airport, here today. The Brigadier Administration, 14 Corps, Brig I.J. Singh, and the Commander N-Area, Col Sanjeev Sood, were also present on the occasion.

Equipped with the ultra-modern facilities like a computerised reception, STD booths, ASCON telephone, multi-gym, satellite TV, solar water heaters and steam cooking systems, this transit camp would cater to the needs of the Army persons proceeding to and from forward areas in Leh, Ladakh, Kargil, Siachen and Kashmir sectors.

Other facilities available for the troops are beddings, transport to and from the local bus stand and railway station as well as the Ambala railway station, laundry, cable TV, newspapers and magazines and standby electric supply. The transit camps have special provision of separate accommodation for personnel travelling with families.

After the inauguration of the transit camp, General Jacob went around the complex. He appreciated the modern facilities being provided to the Army jawans. He said that during his tenure in Ladakh, in the early 60s, there were no proper facilities in transit and they used to stay in tents with the bare minimum facilities. He asked the camp’s Commanding Officer to plant sufficient number of saplings in the complex and also construct a sports stadium for the jawans.

The Governor said the creation of an infrastructure of this magnitude with all modern amenities for the troops moving to and from difficult areas had been appreciated by all defence persons and would go a long way in improving the comfort and the morale of the troops. General Jacob also shared a cup of tea with the officers, JCOs and jawans and interacted with them.


In need of money for treatment
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, March 5
His dark grey eyes say it all. As he tries to make himself comfortable on a chair, you can vividly see pain and suffering buried deep inside. Yet, he makes an attempt to smile.

Fighting back the tears, and breathlessness, taxi driver Dayanand blankly looks at the wall opposite before uttering, "I am suffering from a serious heart problem. High blood pressure also.... This is not all. I have five daughters and a son to take care of. Only God knows the kind of trouble I am in".

You wait for him to say more about his ailment, but impatient seconds roll by as he sits silently, hesitating. He wants to talk about his malady, you are sure of it, but self-respect prevents him from going ahead.

Encouragement is necessary, you realise before picking up a glass of water for him. After gulping, he continues, "I have already suffered two heart attacks in less than two years. That's the reason why doctors at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research here have advised angeography. I know it is essential if I want to get well, but then I just cannot help it. I have no money for the treatment".

Money? How much does he need? "The doctors have told me Rs 2 lakh is the minimum amount required for the treatment. But then, for a poor taxi driver like me, who lives life on a day-to-day basis, the amount is massive. I do not know if I will ever be able to gather so much money".

Scratching his head with frail fingers, he asserts, "You see, I barely earn Rs 3,000 a month, that also when the business is good. Yes, my wife and daughters do help me out. They manage to contribute Rs 1,500 extra. But that is just not enough. My monthly expenditure on essential drugs ranges between Rs 800 and Rs 900." Shifting uneasily in the chair, he adds, "No, I have no other source of income. Relatives keep on helping me. They are generous, no doubt about it. But then even they cannot completely pull me out of the situation. They have their own problems. They are not that affluent. I understand perfectly".

But can't he raise a loan? "Who will give a loan to me? And even if I manage to get loan, how will I ever return the money? Believe me, it's not easy," the Panchkula resident says. "I have thought about it over and over again. Still, I have not been able to find a solution till date".

As he sits there, shifting his eyes from one side to another, you realise the gravity of his problem. You also realise your own helplessness. But then you know benevolent residents will soon come forward to his assistance.


Street vendors’ workshop tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
About 90 representatives from 45 street vendors’ organisations from 16 cities of Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh will participate in a one-day workshop to be organised here on March 7 by the National Alliance of Street Vendors, India. (NASVI)

The (NASVI) was initiated by Sewa, Ahmedabad, in September, 1998. It is a coalition of trade unions and voluntary organisations spread all over India. The NASVI advocates for the basic rights of vendors and hawkers, and gives them a platform to unite and raise their voice for their demands and rights.

More than 350 street vendors organisations from 22 states are presently part of the national alliance. According to Mr Arbind Singh, National Coordinator, the NASVI talk about the policy to be formulated for the street vendors at every level. It creates awareness about the usefulness of the vendors and hawkers, brings to light their plight so that the urban planners and authorities can no longer ignore them.

The street vendors are an essential part of city life, says Mr Arbind Singh. These vendors ply their trade by the roadside throughout the day or during the peak hours. They may even move about the residential colonies hawking their wares on cart or with goods on their head or on their backs.

These people have gained employment through self-effort and enterprise. They sweat day in, day out to earn their livelihood through justifiable and honourable means. They are usually on their own, with minimum help from the government or no help at all.

Vendors contribute substantially to the urban commodity distribution system and provide market for the small-scale and home-grown products. They make available to society, products not only on reasonable price but also on convenient locations.

The total vendor force in the country is around one crore, of which women vendors constitute one third. They are usually very active supporting members of their families. But being women, they have to put up with greater difficulties than their male counterparts. As regards its activities, the NASVI uses every possible forum to advocate the cause of street vendors, initiating dialogue and organising meetings to create awareness and encouraging people to look for possible solutions to each problem that they are putting up with. Building capacity of street venders organisations, developing solutions through direct interaction between the vendors representatives, authorities and the people, all over India and highlighting issues through widespread print and electronic media coverage also form part of its activities.

In an effort to gather more information about laws/policies relating to vendors and their implementation, a study was conducted in eight cities of India-Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Indore, Patna, Kolkata, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar and Imphal. The NASVI also collects and disseminates information regarding best practices, laws, policies and issues affecting street vendors. A quarterly newsletter, Footpath-i-Awaz, keeps its members informed by publishing highlights. It serves as vendors’ voice for their rightful claim and also helps to keep talks on the developments affecting their cause.

The Union Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation , Government of India, organised a national workshop on street vendors on May 29 amd 30, 2001, at Vigyan Bhavan, Delhi, which led to the formation of the National Task Force consisting of policy-makers, administrators, experts and representatives of street vendor organisations. The task force will formulate guidelines for state governments and urban local authorities for the regulation of street vending. To this effect, a drafting committee has also been constituted which is drafting the policy.

Some of the points being highlighted by NASVI are: give vendors legal status by issuing licences, provide appropriate hawking zones, protect and expand existing livelihood, promote and develop the natural market system, make street vendors a special component of the plans for urban development by treating them as an integral part of the urban distribution system, include the vendors in town and city master plans, issue guidelines for supportive services and social security at local level, set up a social security fund for street vendors, promote self-governance of hawkers, provide street vendors with relief measures in case of disasters and natural calamities.


Eating Out
Trendy eatery for middle class
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Goods news for those who dig in for the hot’n happening. For those southerners who always felt like ‘‘poor cousins’ of the northern sectors. With Hungry Inn, the new restaurant-cum-soon-to-be-bar on the block, you need not look far. Any way, who wants to zip through that crazy maze of traffic to enjoy a meal at a good place if it can be helped? Well, well! You definitely have a choice now. The choice of just stepping out and enjoying the ambience of a sleek modern eatery. That offered by Hungry Inn opened in the Sector 46 market last week.

Customer is king

‘‘50 per cent discount on food at restaurant and pub’’. This banner outside Hotel Regency in the Sector 35 lane of hotels is attractive enough for anyone looking for a place that does not make too much of a dent in your pocket.

Mr P.B. Gupta, GM and consultant, says the offer is a result of cut-throat competition to allure customers. He says they have slashed rates to bring them on a par with club rates offered by their rivals to rev up the declining revenues. The discount is not applicable for parties or room guests, he adds.

While the casual customers are king in this restaurant that is known for its regular Hyderabadi food festivals, Mr Gupta laments the Chandigarh Administration’s policy of allowing any and everyone the licence to open an eatery, and ‘‘forcing’’ them to cut on profits on food prepared in their kitchens. So, that leaves out drinks, ice-creams etc from the cut.

At first glance, the joint seems to be a me-too. The same old tiles, light metal chairs, steel, food. But a closer look, and one is tempted to hand it over to be young entrepreneur, Yogeshwar Sharma. For, he has made an effort that few would venture out for. A bid to, as some say, dare to open a trendy vista for the basically ‘‘middle class’’ south end of the City Beautiful that associates food fun with Sectors 35, 22 and 17.

But the big dream of Yogeshwar puts all doubts on the backburner. This engineer, back from a stint in the USA, wishes to set up a five-star hotel one day. And his first step couldn’t have been less modest than this double-storeyed eatery boasting of a fast-food joint, a restaurant, a pub (to begin soon), a dance floor along with a DJ. In short, good food and good music. A combination irresistible to youngsters. Are you reading, all you students of the colleges of Sector 46, 32 and 42?

As you climb down the steps to Mercury, the restaurant area in the basement, the space theme hits you with a start. Especially with the memory of Kalpana Chawla that has fired the imagination of the nation still fresh. Perhaps, this is the closest an ordinary person can get to have a feel of ‘‘space’’. The bluish-purplish lights, the ‘‘stars’’ blazing the ceiling, the rocket lights throwing sparkling colours below on your table, the steel slabs shining on the walls and stairs and the DJ’s enclosure as also the glasses lining the bar counter all hold you mesmerized. Till you are brought back to Earth with the pulsating music and the dance floor earmarked at the end. This place can be reserved for a private party, you are told.

In contrast, the fast-food restaurant on top is bright and sunny with its fusion of red, yellow and shades inbetween, offset by wood and steel. In fact, the mini-gallery of prints of MF Husain and other artists highlighted by spotlights on the wall give your eyes some solace as you wait for your order. Ah! that reminds me. Food What about that? It’s a multi-cuisine restaurant, fashioned to suit your pocket. It offers an excellent menu of starters followed by drinks, soups, meals and desserts. So, have picks of an exciting range of soups, burgers, pizzas, kathi rolls, crispy fries sandwiches, noodles, tandoori naans and tikkas, chilled beverages, thick shakes, dopples and ice-creams. And the main course from the Indian rasoi has a veggies, chickens, breads and rice cooked in a variety of ways to produce mouth-licking delicacies.

That’s not all. Hungry Inn will soon launch a low cal menu for health freaks and also Lebanese, Mexican and Arabic food. So, watch out.


Is charm more important than safety?

It is a common sight on roads that most of the young boys and girls do not care to wear helmets while driving two-wheelers. Their parents who have undergone a lot of sacrifices to bring them up to this state of happiness are in a constant state of anxiety and tension on this count. These children neither listen to the sane counsel of elders no heed their own inner voice of conscience. It goes without saying that more than abiding by the law, their own safety, which is the foremost concern, is involved. I fail to comprehend reasons behind such a suicidal attitude when there are a number of accidents involving death of two-wheeler drivers because helmet was not at the right place at the crucial moment. Perhaps, misguided by the false sense of adventure in breaking barriers of safety, they think that helmets will conceal the light and dazzle of their youthful charms. If they think so, it is a fatal line of thinking and needs immediate correction in their own interest.

The future of the nation is in the hands of our young men and women whose new ideas, energy and talent are needed to surmount a host of problems confronting us. There is no dearth of challenges in our country for the youth to be adventurous, innovative and distinguished. They can happily break the barriers of poverty, communalism, illiteracy and other ailments afflicting the nation and win laurels.

Chandigarh Kanwar Pal Singh Chauhan

Ill-conceived housing scheme for disabled

One wonders if the Chandigarh Housing Board’s special housing scheme for the welfare of disabled persons, 2003, would serve the desired purpose, particularly so in case of ten of dwelling units (DUs) falling in category-I, and seven in category-II.

The price fixed in case of category-I is at a high ranging from Rs 8.38 lakh to Rs 25.82 lakh. The amount payable at the time of handing over possession is no mean sum, varying from Rs 5.03 lakh to Rs 15.49 lakh. The approximate amount of monthly installment, too, has been fixed at unaffordable levels ranging from Rs 4,568 to Rs 14,078.

To add insult to injury the Housing Board has for the purpose of the application’s eligibility, fixed the monthly family income — only of spouse and minor children and not of the parents — at Rs 14,500.

Like-wise, the total monthly income for eligibility of category-II DUs has been fixed at a high of above Rs 8,000. In view of the foregoing serious limiting factors, the Chandigarh Administration would do well in having a fresh look at the scheme with a sense of urgency to make it a really meaningful and realistic welfare scheme for the disabled persons.

Chandigarh Pranav

Lift ban on constructions

Despite the fact that the panel formed under the chairmanship of Mr R.R. Bhardwaj, Deputy Director, Planning Board, who listened to the grievances of inhabitants of Zirakpur and its surrounding areas, has submitted its report to the government with the recommendation that the ban imposed within a radius of 900 metres of defence installations be removed, the government has not take any decision. The government should issue a notification so that people can start their construction activities. Already, 11,000 acres of area has been developed and thousands of houses, establishments, shops and other institutions have been set up. People have already availed crores of rupees from banks as loans for construction activities but the ban has not yet been lifted.

People in general are of the opinion that the ban should be restricted to 200/300 metres of the defence area, and there should be a ban on constructing buildings over and above 30 feet high. However, the ban imposed by the IAF authorities is unjustified.

Chandigarh Meena Rani

Need for summary trials

The investing landlord has become an utterly vulnerable entity in comparison with the consuming tenant whose tribe has ganged up to form powerful lobbies. There was spontaneous rejoicing after the introduction of an amendment to the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction (Extension to Chandigarh) Act, whereunder the Rent Act will not apply to commercial and residential property if the monthly rent exceeds Rs 1500/-.

There is no gain saying the fact that the rent notification will be less meaningful without the core provision of summary trials requiring the rent cases to be decided within a certain time frame, say a couple of months. Thus middlemen, briefless lawyers and munshis will automatically not be able to exploit the situation.

The aggrieved people include the old and incapacitated, helpless women and even minors without caring guardians. The spirit of the law has to make its letter meaningful and only a proactive judiciary can make it possible.

Chandigarh Ram Gopal Verma

Callous admn

I would like to supplement the views expressed by Mr Harjinder Singh regarding ward No. 12 comprising of sectors 18, 19 and 21 (Chandigarh). Sanitation, cleanliness, maintenance of parks and street roads, management of community centres and proper system of lifting garbage are hardly on the authorities’ priority list. There are a lot many pot holes and depressions on the V-6 roads. Condition of V-5 road in front of Christ church in Sector 18-A is also deplorable. Rain water gets accumulated in pot holes and depressions on this road. Besides causing difficulties to people driving vehicles on this road, pedestrians walking on the pavement and passersby often spoil their clothes due to the splashing of muddy water.

Heaps of garbage/debris are lying since long in the park near house No 1,43 and 44 in Sector 18-A (in front of Himalya Marg). Now this park is being used by the residents of this area for throwing their kitchen waste and garbage. As a result, this area is fast becoming a breeding ground for flies and mosquitoes.

Sector 18 once declared as model sector by Chandigarh Administration is now on its way to become one of the dirtiest. I availed the opportunity to meet with the MC authorities concerned many a time for bringing these problems to their notice but nothing has been done so far.

Mr Bansal, local MP, sanctioned about Rs 75 lakh for various developmental projects in 12 sectors but Sector 18 remained high and dry as no funds have been provided for this sector.

Chandigarh Bant Singh

Senior citizens and Rent Act

Mr Rajesh Shori has hit the proverbial nail on the head when he says (Chandigarh Tribune, Feb 21) that there is urgent need for special court(s) to expeditiously clear hundreds of rent cases piled up in various Chandigarh courts. Imagine particularly the plight of senior citizens who have waited for decades to get their houses vacated. Several of them have since passed into oblivion or have been compelled by unscrupulous tenants to part with their hard-earned properties literally for a song.

There are innumerable cases where so-called tenants have since acquired huge commercial/residential properties but are refusing to vacate houses/SCOs for which they are paying negligible rents. It is gross misuse of the facility of subsidised government or cheaper private houses when one has one’s own house or commercial property.

Chandigarh R.K. Thamman


Mechanics seek more time for payment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Newly rehabilitated auto mechanics here yesterday urged the Chandigarh Administration to defer the payment of their first instalment which is due in March, towards allotment of booths in different sectors for at least by a year.

The request for giving more time for the payment of the installment was made by a delegation of the Auto Mechanics Federation which was led by Mr Mohinder Singh. The delegation met the Finance Secretary, Mr Karan A. Singh. The Finance Secretary asked the delegation to again come for presenting their case.

In a memorandum submitted to the Finance Secretary, mechanics said that a mechanic earned Rs 200 to 300 per day and it was not possible for him to pay a hefty amount. immediately. They said that they had to incur heavy expenditure on shifting their work from the places they had been working for 15 to 25 years.

The memorandum, however, made it clear that they were not running away from making the payment. Mechanics said they had already deposited the first instalment of 25 per cent. They said the new places of their work had not yet become popular and even infrastructure had not been provided in those areas till a couple of months back.


Withdrawal of Rent Act led to defeat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The Traders Association, Sector 17, has attributed the BJP defeat in Himachal Pradesh and Panchkula to the withdrawal of the Rent Control Act here and imposition of the Value Added Tax.

The debacle of the BJP was discussed at a meeting of the traders of Sector 17 yesterday. Traders expressed their anguish over the increasing number of eviction notices issued after the decision of the Chandigarh Administration to withdraw the Rent Control Act.

The local traders praised their Himachal counterparts for teaching the BJP a lesson. The meeting was attended by Mr Kamaljit Panchhi, Mr Jagdish Kalra, Mr J. S. Sodhi, Mr Kirpal Singh, Mr Sanjay Abhot, Mr Inder Bajaj, Mr Anil Dewan, Mr H. S. Anand, Mr K. L. Jain, Mr Mohanbir Singh, Mr J. C. Bansal and Mr Jodh Singh.


Panch-sarpanch sammelan
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 5
A panch-sarpanch sammelan was organised at Raipur Rani yesterday. The Commissioner, Ambala range, Mr Maha Singh, presided over the function.

He exhorted women to be aware of their rights. He asked women panches, sarpanches and block samiti members to avail themselves of the benefits of various schemes launched by the Haryana Government.

Later, Mr Maha Singh laid the foundation stone of a record room in the Mini Secretariat, Panchkula. The project would cost around Rs 15. 50 lakh. The room would house all records of the Revenue Department, which until now were being kept in Ambala.


MC to have 13 House committees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The Municipal Corporation will have 13 House committees now instead of 11 that functioned last year. Two new committees — the Resource Generation Committee and the Enforcement committee — have been notified on the recommendation of the Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla.

Six Congress councillors, 4 nominated ones and two of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch are likely to get the chairmanship of the newly formed committees. Mayor Mr Subhash Chawla is believed to have sent the list of members in different committees for notification.


Animal welfare camp held
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, March 5
An animal welfare camp was organised by the local unit of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty on Animals (SPCA) at Madanpur Chowk here today. It was organised with the help of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Punjab. More than 100 horses used by rehra owners were vaccinated against tetanus and about 160 dogs were vaccinated against rabies and other diseases. The services were provided free of cost.

Rehra owners were also made aware that cruelty to animals was illegal and should be avoided. Overloading of carts was seen quite often but this amounted to being cruel to the animal who had to pull the cart.

Dr R.M. Sharma, president of the society, said mishaps involving stray animals in the town were quite common.

Dr Kanwarjit Singh, honorary general secretary of the unit, said it was the fourth camp in the town during the current financial year.


3 booked for forgery
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 5
On the complaint of Mr Gopal Dutt, UT Food and Supply Officer, a case of forgery and criminal conspiracy has been registered against Satbir Chawla, depot holder in Colony No 4, Nagendar Yadav and Balkeshwar Yadav, all residents of Colony No 4. It has been alleged that all persons named in the FIR had entered forged names in ration cards.

The case has been registered under Sections 466, 468, 471 and 120B of the IPC.

Thefts: Mr Punit Arora, a resident of Sector 22, has reported to the police that gold and diamond jewellery was stolen from his residence on March 3. A case under Section 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Mr Ashwani Sondhi of SCO 845, NAC Mani Majra, has reported that water meter was stolen from the SCO on the intervening night of March 3 and 4. A case has been registered.

Toyota Qualis: A case of criminal breach of trust under Section 406 of the IPC has been registered against Lalit Lehri who allegedly disappeared with a Toyota Qualis car which he had hired from Rajasthan. According to the police, he had hired the Qualis from Rajsthan and was here in connection with purchasing computer stationery. On February 27, he took the vehicle from driver Hazi Abdul Ghani and never returned.

Held: The police has arrested Hardeep Singh, a resident of Sector 44, and has seized 5 gm of smack from his possession. He has been booked under Section 15 of the NDPS Act.

Booked: The police has arrested six persons from different parts of the city under Section 151 of the Municipal Corporation Act for allegedly begging at public places. Six cases have been registered in the police stations of Sectors 3, 11 and 17.

Cash stolen: Pandara, a resident of Sultanpur district, employed with Mr Chander Bhan of SCF No 96, Grain Market, Sector 26, allegedly decamped with a bag of his master containing Rs 51,000 here yesterday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Briefcase stolen: A briefcase of Mr Rajesh Sood of Sector 45 containing Rs 14,000 and a cheque book has reportedly been stolen. He told the police that the briefcase went missing from his car, which was parked in Sector 18 on Monday.

Motor cycles stolen: Yamaha motor cycle (CHO1D 6416) of Mr Jatinder of Sector 29 and TVS motor cycle of Mr Sukhwinder Singh, a resident of Sector 45, have reportedly been stolen.


Two killed: Two persons were killed when their vehicles collided in Sector 6 on Tuesday. Ram Singh was driving a motor cycle (PB-65-3134) and hit a cyclist, Ram Piare. They died on the spot.


Auto market deserted as mechanics get a raw deal
Sanjay Sharma

Tribune News Service
Dreams to set up business in the Paris of India seem to be shattering in the Sector 21-C market with auto spare parts dealers finding it difficult to eke out a decent living after the process of shifting of the auto market was started last year.

It now wears a deserted look since roadside mechanics were rehabilitated in different parts of the city on a High Court direction after the residents complained of pollution in the area.

The first auto mechanic of the city, Brij Lal, who set up Raj Auto Engineering in 1961, says he came to the city from Patiala after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru exhorted the people to set up their business in the Paris of India, which for him and his trade fellows has turned a desert of business.

Mr Lal is also amongst the first mechanics of scooter in Punjab, who was offered a posting in Mumbai in 1956, but chose to come to the city and his three generations survived in the business with the same shop.

He says now the Estate Office has served mechanics a notice to close the repair work in the vicinity without providing them with any alternative location for doing the business.

He and the market association president Prem Suri said as per the Chandigarh Administration’s regulation, one who had a property in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali could not get a shop allotted in the city. Mr Lal said on top of it, the shops in the auto mechanics’ markets auctioned last year were open for all, which raised the auction amount to be so high that one could not have bought a shop in the auction.

With more than half of shop-cum-flats numbering around 30 in the market being those of mechanics and auto spare parts dealers, the shifting of mechanics has doomed their chances of some business. There is a common feeling in the market that state government should have considered the viability and inter-connectivity of the auto spare and auto repair business before shifting mechanics. They say both of them should have been shifted simultaneously to provide the people an opportunity to earn a living.

Some people in the market say the government was avoiding the responsibility of helping the people do their economic activity and seems acting like a profit-oriented businessman by first allowing auto spares business in general category in the city when it required the people to come here.

They say when the Chandigarh Administration failed to fetch a reasonable price for the booths set up for mechanics, it put the spare parts business in special category. When even this failed, notices have been served to close spare parts and repair business by the end of March.

General Secretary of the Market Welfare Association Radhey Lal, who is engaged in non-auto business, feels the business has taken a nose-dive initially but will look up gradually as the presence of mechanics had put a hindrance on women customers coming to shops.

He, however, agrees that even non-auto business has been affected as the market was not attracting irregular customers when the people came for repair in the market.

Mr Sunil Kumar from Popular Car Accessories says after the shifting of mechanics, the authorities were not even allowing new fittings in the market ruining this business also.

The market that came up in late 1960s, seems to be in a cauldron with shopkeepers unsure what lies in store for them in the future.

One of the busiest markets of the city drawing people from even Jammu and Kashmir, still has a major activity of the region going on with around 18 shops of meat, chicken and fish wholesale dealers doing business here.

Residents and other shopkeepers, however, have been expressing opposition to the presence of meat business in a heavily populated area. The smell of meat and waste of meat have been creating unliveable conditions for the residents. The shopkeepers and residents had been getting restless with the presence of meat business. They say the government had been floating the idea of a separate air-conditioned meat market in the city but nothing had yet been done in this regard.

Big names like Baba Dairy, Doaba Sweet shops, Prakash Departmental Store, Shivalik Bakery and other general merchants fancy a boom in the business after the complete shifting of auto and meat business.

Mr Brij Lal, who stoutly contests the argument of auto business creating pollution in the area, saying will it not pollute the areas where the business has now been shifted to Mr Lal said when he bought the shop, there were sugarcane fields around the few shops. Madhukar Scooter Agency, Regal Auto, Punjab Auto and Capital Tyres are first of the few who came to the market initially.

The market has two associations — one for the mechanics and another one for all others.

Office bearers for the general category:

President: Prem Suri, senior vice president and treasurer: Sarabjit Singh, vice-president: Ramesh Bajaj, general secretary: Radhey Lal.

Mr S. S. Purba is the president of Auto Dealers Association and Ramesh Kumar Hurria is their general secretary. 



  • The carpeting of the parking areas started after 30 years has been stopped half-way.
  • The electricity poles shifted have not been made functional.
  • Lighting arrangement is negligible in the area.
  • Pavements broken for widening the parking area have not been rebuilt in certain parts of the market.
  • With the removal of roadside mechanics, now mobile mechanics have re-emerged who do small repair any where in the sector.
  • Toilet remains unused as it is close to the meat market which emanates foul smell.
  • Cleaning of the area has been coming under strain due to the presence of meat market, the waste of which during the summers has been causing discomfort to the people.

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