Wednesday, March 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Liquor trade goes high
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The promise shown by liquor trade in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana today showed its affect in Chandigarh. By auctioning 78 liquor vends in the Union Territory, The Chandigarh Administration netted a sum of Rs 67.17 crore. This was 6.11 per cent or Rs 3.87 crore more than the Rs 63.30 crore the Administration had fetched during the ongoing year.

Vends are auctioned for a one year period starting April 1. This year the trade had looked gloomy but the hike of Rs 3.87 crore is seen as ‘good job’ among excise circles as the auctions in Punjab and Haryana have gone at rates below the bids offered last year. The entire trade is affected as rates in contiguous areas should be more or less the same for every trader to survive and to prevent cross border smuggling of liquor.

And today in Chandigarh the vends were auctioned in five groups carved out of geographical location of the vends at Tagore Theatre. The entire process took no more than one hour as bidders registered themselves and bid for the groups. Interestingly, one of the oldest liquor trader in the city, Lada Liquors, was unsuccessful in todays auction. It may be recollected the widow of Taranjit Singh, had created ripples a few years ago to become the first woman to bid in the liquor trade in the city.

The successful bidders deposited 5 per cent of the bid money as security amount at the fall of the hammer. Another 5 per cent has to be deposited before March 31 and another 2.5 per cent till April 7. The rest of the amount is deposited by the licensees over the entire financial year.

The auction was conducted by Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, Additional Deputy Commissioner-cum-Collector Excise at Tagore Theatre. The observer from the Chandigarh Administration was Mr Gurmail Singh, Secretary, Chandigarh Housing Board.



Pandits vow to fight back
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 25
Pushed out of their homes in the valley, Kashmiri Pandits today vowed to launch a war against “atrocities”.
Kashmiri Pandits, who gathered at the Sector 17 piazza to protest against the killing of 24 brethren at Nadimarg in Pulwana, Kashmir, raised slogans against the authorities concerned. “All these years we have waited for the authorities to act but now it is time for us to take charge of the situation. It is now or never.”

Col Dharam Veer(retd) of the VHP uttered, “It's high time for us to fight our own battle and pick up weapons against our enemies.”

President of the Kashmir Sahayak Sabha Sqd Ld B. L.Sadhu(retd) said, “If the situation does not improve we will be forced to become militants for saving our lives.”

He added, "We hold agitations. Every now and then memorandums are addressed to the authorities. The result is there for all to see. Nothing is ever done to redress our grievances either by the Centre or the state government.”

North India coordinator of the Panun Kashmir Movement Vinod Koul suggested, “Kashmiri Pandits should be considered a separate entity. We should be given a homeland with a union territory status. This is the only permanent solution to the present imbroglio of displaced Kashmiri Pandits.”

Blaming the government for its weak policies, president of the BJP’s Mahila Morcha Nancy Ganjoo said the state government had failed to protect the minorities in the state. The healing touch is causing more pain to the victims of terrorists.”



ATF factions protest

Chandigarh, March 25
Two factions of Anti-Terrorist Front, led by their respective leaders, protested against the killings of Kashmiri Pandits in J&K, at two different places here, today.

One faction led by its state president Rajesh Sharma, protested against the killings at plaza in Sector-17.

The activists of other faction led by national president Viresh Shandilya gathered at Matka Chowk and sent a memorandum to the President through the Governor of Punjab demanding the dismissal of J&K Government. TNS



13 MC panels get Cong-nominated chiefs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The Congress and the Chandigarh Vikas Manch nominated councillors were today elected unopposed for the chairmanship of 13 committees of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh. With no challenge to the candidates the election scheduled for March 27 and 28 would not be held now.

Nominated councillor Mr C.K. Sawhney today filed his nomination for the chairmanship of the House Tax Committee while the rest of them either filed their papers or were preparing them yesterday. Pradeep Chhabra, Sohan Lal, Balraj Singh, Harpreet Kaur, Shyama Negi, Dildar Khan, Pushpa Sharma, Jitender Bhatia, Dr. K. S. Raju, Ms Amar Kulwant Singh,C.K. Sawhney and K. Atmaram have been elected chairpersons of 12 committees. Ms Negi will chair two committees.

Mr Chhabra will be the chairman of the Water Supply and Sewerage Disposal Committee, Mr Sohan Lal of the Road Committee, Mr Balraj Singh of the Sanitation Committee, Ms Babla of the City Beautification Committee, Ms Shyama Negi of Electricity Committee and Mr Dildar Khan of the Slum Development Committee.

Pushpa Sharma has been elected chairperson of the Fire Committee, Dr. K. S. Raju of the Legal Affairs Committee, Ms K. Atma Ram of the Resource Generation Committee, Ms Shyama Negi of the Apni Mandi Committee, Ms Amar Kulwant Singh of the Art and Culture Committee and Chandigarh Vikas Manch leader Jitender Bhatia of the Enforcement Committee.

Vice-Chairpersons of different committees supported by the Congress have also won unopposed. 



City gets Central aid for waste project
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has agreed to extend at least a Rs 3.5 crore grant to the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh for setting up a Rs 7 crore model demonstration project to implement the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and handling) Rule 2000 notified by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest under Sections 3, 6 and 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986.

The scheme, when implemented, will change the concept of cleaning with residents being able to call sweepers on walkie talkies any time and municipal staff regularly making people aware about maintaining cleanliness.

The city’s proposal, sent by the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committees (CPCC) and prepared by the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), was chosen over projects from all other states whom the CPCB had asked to send detailed project reports as per a circular sent on May 16, 2000.

The CPCB would sign a memorandum of understanding with MCC and CPCC for the demonstration project in couple of days, sources told the Chandigarh Tribune.

‘‘The grant of the project has added a feather in the cap of the city which has left behind foreign investors' most favoured destinations of Hyderabad and Bangalore to be chosen for providing the country leadership in cleanliness and environment protection,’’ Mayor Subhash Chawla said.

The Mayor said the project had followed MP Pawan Bansal's focus on cleanliness of the city.

The project would take care of the collection, segregation, storage, transportation, processing and disposal of municipal solid waste.

The objectives of the project were: to set up model facilities on demonstration basis for the implementation of Rule of the Environment (Protection) Act, document the entire scheme for implementation to its commissioning and assessing the actual performance and to share the information for dissemination with other local bodies at the national level.

The objective of the project was also to build up capabilities of local bodies in the management of internal resources, which was expected to improve with better service delivery.

The MCC had already won accolades for implementing the garbage bin-free scheme in various sectors, which was likely to be extended to the whole city after this MoU.

The garbage bin-free scheme conceived by the MO(Health), Dr. G. C. Bansal, had attracted the CPCB’s attention which wanted to implement it at the national-level to ensure better delivery of service at less expenditure.



HUDA breaks locks of 36 booths
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The enforcement wing of HUDA today broke the locks of 36 booths in the Mansa Devi shopping complex. These booths had been forcibly occupied by certain residents of the area.

These booths built by HUDA had been under unauthorised occupation for the past three to four months. The enforcement staff led by Tehsildar Bachchan Singh had to break open 36 booths while one booth was vacated by the encroacher himself.

It is learnt that HUDA had constructed 165 booths in this area about four years ago. While 100 of these had been allotted to shopkeepers who were operating from kiosks, the remaining, including the ones repossessed today, had been lying vacant since then.



Villagers halt road construction
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, March 25
Officials of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) were stopped from the construction of roads in Sector 79 by a group of villagers from Sohana today, claiming that construction on that land has been stayed by the high court. PUDA officials, on the other hand, said according to information, the land was not under the stay order and they had official documents supporting their claim.

While no final decision could be reached at, the villagers forced the PUDA officials to order the contractor, through whom the construction was being done, to stop the construction of the road and also made them undo the little work that they undertaken since the morning.

Sources in PUDA alleged that some of the villagers were taking undue advantage of the high court stay orders, which were specific and related to only some pieces of land in the village.

“We have the Land Acquisition Collector’s order, stating that the kutcha roads of the village are not under stay and we are working according to that,” said a PUDA official.

One villager, Mr Jaspal Singh, whose land was under stay, said even if the kutcha roads were not covered under the high court order, these were part of village common land and belonged to everyone in the village jointly. “Today they are making a road here, tomorrow they may erect a wall and landlock us. How will we come out of our homes,” he asked.

Sources in PUDA alleged that the villagers had been misbehaving with the labourers and making their work difficult. These charges were, however, denied by the villagers.

PUDA officials also said they had asked for a team led by PUDA officials which, along with the police, would now undertake the work. The villagers, on the other hand, said till PUDA showed a high court order to the effect that kutcha roads of the village were not covered under the stay order, they would not allow any construction on these roads to take place.

Development of Sectors 76 to 80 had been delayed for over two years pending a decision of the Supreme Court on the matter. However, in the last four months, PUDA had started development work in those pockets in these sectors which were not under litigation. Work on sewerage and roads had been given on contract by PUDA.



City to get substations, transformers
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
New transformers, overhead lines, sanction of two new substations and the completion of a high-tension power line network linking all substations are among the projects with which the Electricity Department aims at meeting the demand for power during summer. Well-placed sources said the work had started on placing three giant- sized 12.5 MVA transformers at the substations, Sectors 52, 39 and 12, respectively.

Though all these upgradation projects were planned in August, last year, work is expected to be over by May. However, a major project of interlinking all 66 KV power sub-stations will take some more time. Under the project it was planned that all substations will be interlinked and in case of breakdown power can be supplied from other places.

Last year, the department had promised a new power line between Sector 34 and the substation in Sector 32. The line is being laid and will be done by May 1 when the load starts rising, power engineers said.

To speed up repair work the Administration has purchased hydraulic ladders. Other than this the Administration has also awarded the work for the construction of two new 66 KV substations in Sector 47 and the information technology park, Kishangarh village at a cost of Rs 10 crore. The Bhakra Beas Management Board will construct the substation at Sector 47 while Power Grid Corporation of India Limited will work on the other one. These will completed in the next 12 to 18 months.

The Chandigarh Administration has asked the Power Trading Corporation (PTC) to purchase 30 MW of power from various sources to meet the city requirement. The city will require about 230 MW of power during the summer. The rate is expected to be about Rs 2.60 per unit.



Administration inks four pacts on power
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Keeping in mind the city’s long-term power demands, the Chandigarh Administration yesterday signed agreements with the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) for four upcoming hydro-power projects in the Himalayas.

The projects will be completed in the next five to nine years.

Chandigarh has been allocated 22 MW from the projects. The Secretary Engineering, Mr Karan Avtar Singh, on behalf of the Chandigarh Administration and Mr S.K.Aggarwal, General Manager Commercial, on behalf of the NHPC signed the agreements.

Chandigarh purchases power from the Bhakra Beas Management Board, National Thermal Power Corporation, NHPC, National Power Corporation through National Regional Electricity Board (NREB).

Anticipated demand by the 2011-12 has been worked out to be 484 MW, a 10 per cent rise every year. The four projects are:

* Uri project(stage-II,280 MW), Baramula district, Jammu and Kashmir, date of completion 2007-08, share of Chandigarh — 2.8 MW.

* Pakal Dul project, Doda district, Jammu and Kashmir, date of completion 2009-10, Chandigarh’s share— 10 MW.

* Sewa project (stage-II), Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir, date of completion 2007-08, Chandigarh’s share — 1.2 MW.

* Parbati project (stage-II), Kulu district, Himachal Pradesh, date of completion 2010-11, Chandigarh’s share — 8 MW.



Few takers for group housing societies
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 25
The near-total failure of group housing societies in Panchkula Extension here has forced the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to develop the land allotted to these societies here as residential plots.

The Department of Town and Country Planning has now made blueprints of developing plots allotted to the societies as residential plots of sizes varying from one kanal to four marlas. A decision to this effect had been taken by senior officials of the department in November last year, after most of the allottees of these societies surrendered these plots to HUDA, thus stalling the development of Panchkula Extension.

Officials say that with almost 93 per cent of these societies in Sectors 23, 24, 25, 27 and 28 — which form Panchkula Extension — already surrendering their plots to HUDA over the past two years, the development of these sectors has been stalled. Of the 139 such plots allotted in these above-mentioned sectors, 129 have been surrendered.

While 479 residential plots have been carved out in Sector 23, which was earlier meant to have only group housing societies, 869 new residential plots have been earmarked in Sector 27 Part I and II (earlier 337 residential plots were marked in this sector), 1,303 plots have been created in Sector 28 Parts I and II. The new blueprints have been sent for a final approval from the government and these plots are likely to be floated in April.

This new blueprint for Panchkula Extension has only eight group housing societies for Sector 23, 21 in Sector 27 and no society in Sector 28 Part II as compared to the earlier housing society sites totalling 24 in Sector 23, 59 in Sector 27 and 33 in Sector 28.

Though group housing societies have so far proved to be unpopular here, the authorities had hoped for a reversal in these sectors. However, the mysterious cracks near Nadda choe, that appeared in January, 2001, created a fear psychosis and a lot of plot holders, especially group housing societies, began to surrender the plots.

In fact, other than in Mansa Devi Complex here, the concept of group housing societies has not picked up. Even in Sector 20 here, most of these societies are still unoccupied.

Though HUDA has made efforts to woo residents for group housing schemes by offering sops in terms of increasing floor area ratio (from 150 sq metres to 300 sq metres), decreasing the size of plot for a society ( from 1 acre to 0.5 acre) and certain other changes in registration (as compared to 40 members required for registration earlier, only 20 are required now), it has failed to have an impact in Panchkula Extension.

HUDA had created the much- publicised Panchkula Extension here across the Ghaggar. Eight years down the line , HUDA has failed to evoke good response for its development. While a large number of allottees of residential plots in Sectors 27 and 28 have reportedly surrendered their plots to HUDA, the frequent enhancement costs imposed on plot holders in Sectors 25 and 26 ( almost 53. 20 per cent increase in price since the allotment) have led to a number of sellers and no buyers.



Chemists protest against VAT
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, March 25
The Chandigarh Chemists Association, as part of the nationwide bandh call given by the all-India body, today held a demonstration at the Matka Chowk here and later submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner. The general secretary of the association, Mr Vijay Anand, said they had decided to go on an indefinite strike from April 15 if the government did not make amendments in the DPCO 1995 before implementing VAT.

Most of the chemists kept their shutters down, as a result of which patients had to travel to the PGI, General Hospital and Government Medical College and Hospital, where chemist shops were open. Sales at these shops went up by almost 15 per cent. Chemists who kept their shops open said though they were opposed to VAT, they did not down shutters to save the public from inconvenience.

PANCHKULA: The District Chemists Association observed a bandh on Tuesday in protest against the implementation of VAT. The bandh was complete in Pinjore, Kalka, Ramgarh, Raipur Rani, Barwala and Panchkula.

KHARAR: Chemists in Ropar district observed a bandh and closed their shops on Tuesday to protest against the proposed rules and regulations of VAT 2003.

PATIALA: Chemists in Patiala as well as other towns in the district on Tuesday observed a complete bandh to protest against the Union Government’s decision to make VAT applicable to them.



Survey ranks city among ‘aspiring leaders’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The city has been ranked among the ‘aspiring leaders’ in terms of e-readiness by a survey on ‘e-readiness assessment of states in India’ conducted by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) for Department of Information Technology (DIT), Government of India.

Chandigarh has been placed ahead of the adjoining states of Punjab, Haryana and also Himachal Pradesh. The survey, submitted by the NCAER to the Government of India, has slotted the states and union territories in five categories: leaders, aspiring leaders, expectants, average achievers, under achievers and laggards.

Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are the four Indian states that have emerged as leaders in terms of e-readiness whereas Chandigarh, Delhi, Goa and Gujarat are ‘aspiring leaders’ and have been ranked at level two. Punjab and Haryana fall under level four under the ‘average achievers’ group. Himachal Pradesh is under the last category that is ‘ under achievers’.

The states and the union territories have been rated on seven parameters: network access, network learning, network society, e-governance and network economy. Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are on the top in terms of network learning. Network learning is monitored in term of percentage of colleges and schools with Internet access, computer labs, universities offering infotech courses, number of websites of schools and colleges, etc.

Chandigarh and Karnataka are also ahead of others in maintaining the network society, which is measured on number of online companies, local language websites and interfaces, number of government websites and number of households accessing Internet and percentage of households with computers and phones.

The best network policy is in place in Chandigarh besides Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa and Gujarat, the survey says. According to it the network policy is evaluated on the government’s efforts to address issues related to telecom, e-commerce taxation, intellectual property and presence of an IT policy and cyber laws.



Residents oppose encroachment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
A large number of residents yesterday came out on the streets to oppose encroachment on MC land in Bank Colony of Manimajra and blocked Additional Municipal Commissioner Ashok Vasistha’s way.

The Residents Welfare Association had on March 12 submitted a complaint to the Commissioner, MC against unauthorised construction work on MC land by a local resident of Bank Colony/Sawmills Street in Pipliwala town of Mani Majra.

Residents today protested against the MC authorities. Just outside the MC office in Manimajra, they blocked the way of Mr Vasistha. The police had to intervene in the matter to prevent any untoward incident. However, Mr Vasistha denied that the residents of Manimajra blocked his way when he was coming to his office. He said no complaint had been lodged with the police.



Five cops honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Appreciating the role of the staff on the Police Control Room (PCR) in coordinating their efforts to prevent theft of a car from the parking lot of District Courts in Sector 17 here recently, the Senior Superintendent of Police has honoured five personnel with commendation certificates and cash award of Rs 250 each.

The honoured policemen are SI Balbir Singh Chahal, head constable Nand Lal, head constable Om Parkash, driver Parvinder Singh and Home Guard volunteer Randhir Singh.



One killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Sharif, alias Sippu (25) of Dadu Majra Colony died in a road accident late last night. Sharif was rushed to the General Hospital Sector 16, where he was declared brought dead.

Molestation: A 10-year-old girl of Shahpur Rajiv Colony was allegedly molested by a ricshaw-puller of the same colony on last Saturday. According to the information available, the victim was taken to a makeshift bathroom by 21 year-old Vasudev. The father of the girl, Ramesh, lamented that the officials at Maloya police post were not taking action against the suspect.

104 CDs seized: The police has seized 104 T-Series CDs from Laxmi audio-video shop in Barwala and arrested the owner, Ramesh Kumar.

Five booked: The police has booked Malkiat, Baljit, Rashim, Harnek and Phool Chand of Hangola village in Raipur Rani on the charges of assaulting Succha and threatening him over a property dispute. A case under Sections 148, 149, 323, 325 and 506 of the IPC has been registered against them.

Financier booked: The police has booked a financier, Mr R.P. Singh, of Loan Mart, Sector 26, Chandigarh, on the charge of cheating Mr Ramesh Kumar Saini by failing to provide him with finances for buying a Tata Safari car, even after the latter had given 12 post-dated cheques for a total amount of Rs 95,000 to the financier.

Two arrested: The police has arrested Harminder Singh on the charge of consuming alcohol at a public place (Nadda Sahib bus stand). Munish Kumar was arrested near Devi Nagar T-point on the charge of speculation. A sum of Rs 430 was seized from him. 



One stabbed
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, March 25
One person was injured when he was stabbed with a kirpan in Phase VII here today. It is reported that Mr Gaurav fell down and started bleeding when he was allegedly attacked with a kirpan by Mr Sukhdev Singh Aulakh. The injured was taken to the GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh.



NDTV to launch new channels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV), promoted by Dr Prannoy Roy, is all set to launch two 24-hours news channels, in English and Hindi. The English channel, NDTV 24X7, and Hindi channel, NDTV India, are slated to go on air from the first week of April.

The NDTV is bringing ‘‘ breakthrough’’ technology with the help of ‘Iredeto’ software, that would enable it to give local weather and traffic reports as done in the USA. In other words, it would be possible for viewers in Mumbai to cut across to local traffic and weather reports, while those in Delhi would watch the national bulletin. The software gives an option to do any number of ‘‘ breakaway’ stories. A press release issued by the company said the weather, traffic and local news would be aired on the channel as per local requirements.

Said Dr Prannoy Roy, ‘‘Although quite common in the USA, this technology will be a novel feature in the Indian market. With this technology, the quality of Indian broadcasting could be compared to international standards.’’

Launched: Fedders Corporation, a global manufacturer and marketer of air treatment products, on Tuesday launched its new high ambient window air conditioner, that would have the highest CFM (air throw capacity) with 1.25 tonne capacity. It has been positioned as an optimum entry product for the densely populated urban areas to address the problem of space shortage. TNS


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