C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Admn may reconsider Rent Act notification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Chandigarh Administration may reconsider the contents of Rent Act notification. Appearing before a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, standing counsel for the Administration today sought time for reconsidering the contents.

Property owners review case

The Property Owners Welfare Association has said justice shall prevail on the issue of the rent control Act in the city.

At a meeting of its executive held here today, the issue of the litigation on the notification of the UT Administration, amending certain provisions of the Act, in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, was discussed.

Members took note of the latest developments in the case and the undertaking given by the UT Administration to reconsider the notification.

Members of the association urged landlords of buildings with rent of less than Rs 1,500 to furnish data pertaining to their premises and the rent. TNS

As per the notification issued by the Chandigarh Administrator, the buildings and “rented lands” with monthly rent exceeding Rs 1500 had been exempted from the provisions of East Punjab Rent Restriction (Extension to Chandigarh) Act of 1974.

Taking up the matter, the Bench, headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy, also fixed May 11 as the next date of hearing the case. The court also issued notice on a bunch of 89 related petitions.

The petitions had earlier challenged the “Rent Act notification” on grounds that it would enable the landlords to pressurise the tenants to increase the rent, besides other factors.

It was added in the petitions that a bare perusal of the statute established that the legislature wanted the Act as “there was need to restrict the increase of rent of certain premises situated within the limits of urban areas and protection of tenants against malafide attempts by the landlords to procure eviction”.

Describing the notification as “illegal, void, without jurisdiction and ultra vires”, city resident Chander Bhushan Anand and three other petitioners, along with National Consumer Awareness Group, had asserted that the same was liable to be set aside.

Giving details, they had asserted that the Act was enacted with twin purposes — restricting the increase in rent and to restrict the eviction of the tenants by the landlords except on grounds mentioned in it. In view of the impugned notification, both purposes had been defeated and the landlords could pressurise the tenant to increase the rent at their will and could further evict the tenant after the issuance of a notice under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act.

Counsel for the petitioners had added that the Administrator had over-stepped the limits of delegation. “The power to exempt buildings and rented lands on the basis of rate of rent was never intended to be delegated by the Parliament or the Central government”.

He had added that the impugned notification was against the scheme, policy and objectives embodied in the Act. It had killed the soul of the Act and had rendered it a dead statute.

The legislature, he had asserted, was never intended to classify the buildings and rented land on the basis of quantum of rate of rent payable by the tenants.... The Parliament wanted to resolve the problems faced by the tenants and wanted to suppress mischief of arbitrary increase in rent and restrict the eviction of the tenants except on certain grounds. By the impugned notification, the Administrator had undone what was done by Parliament”.

Claiming that the notification was violative of Article 21 of the constitution, counsel had asserted that the “tenants would be deprived of shelter in the residential, commercial and industrial areas. No resident in Chandigarh, who was a tenant, would be in a position to take accommodation on rent as none was available at a rate of Rs 1500 per month. The tenants would be subjected to arbitrary increase in rent and eviction from time to time.”



For cricket fans, Lahore’s not far
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Live scroller now on mobile

AirTel, a mobile service provider, has decided to launch a live cricket scroller on mobile phones. It will update the score every few seconds.

An AirTel customer will also be able to view bowling and batting analyses of the teams and view charts and graphs of a team's performance in the match, including batting team's score, wickets fallen, run rate, players batting and bowling. The scroller is being provided free of cost for a limited period. TNS

Chandigarh, March 11
Eight persons will go to Pakistan to see the spirit of cricket triumph over India- Pakistan hostilities. Having got their visas for the Indo-Pak series, beginning March 13, they hope to enjoy good cricket, besides cheering the Indian team.

Karambir Singh Nalwa, his wife Meghna, Priya Khaitan, Ashima P. Mohindroo, Tanu Bedi, Pawan Girdhar, Gurpreet Singh Sachdeva and his wife, Sumati are all set to board the Samjhauta Express to Lahore on March 19. Their trip is as much to satisfy their passion for cricket as to witness history-in-the-making. The purpose of the visit is not only to see the match, but also to see the country and its people.

They had to travel overnight to Delhi and stand in queue in front of the Pakistan Embassy from 3.30 a.m. to get a visa. Anything for cricket, and more so, for visiting Pakistan, said Karambir, while speaking about the difficulty in getting a visa. “I am going there to cheer the Indian team and I hope we win all matches. Since we have got the visa for Lahore, I have been collecting information about the historic city from magazines and the Internet. We hope to visit Anarkali Bazar and eat special ‘paans’ and ‘tikka kebabs’ there, besides sneaking in into the Pearl Continental Hotel to meet the Indian players,” he said.

His wife Meghna, hailing from Jammu and Kashmir, hoped that the match would rekindle warmth on both sides. “The unrest in Jammu and Kashmir is a result of political differences. I hope cricket will be able to build bridges, as hundreds of people like us will go there for the sportsman spirit.”

Agreed Tanu Bedi, “Besides being a die-hard cricket fan, I am a nationalist to the core. I am going to Pakistan as a peace ambassador and add to the efforts of the governments on both sides for strengthening relations between India and Pakistan. By the time we come back after the four-day trip, I hope to have made some friends in Pakistan.” Her views were supported by Ashima P. Mohindroo, who hoped to see a palpable cricket drama between the two teams. She said, “I am looking forward to seeing a great game being played, especially with stars like Sachin Tendulkar and Shoaib Akhtar.”

Pawan Girdhar hoped to see good cricket in Lahore. “I am not going there to see any team win or lose. Serious efforts have been made by both governments and I hope the game brings a thaw in strained relationships, which political will and might could not.”

Gurpreet Singh Sachdeva said like in cricket, there can be no third innings in life. “Kargil spoiled the first peace innings of the Lahore bus trip taken by Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee. We have got a second chance for improving relations. Let this opportunity not go waste. This cricket series is not a series of matches between love and hatred. It does not matter which team wins, the game should be the winner,” he said.



PSHRC to inquire into police torture
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 11
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has ordered an inquiry into the alleged beating of a Patiala resident by Punjab police personnel, including an Assistant Sub-Inspector. A DGP of the PSHRC has been entrusted with the task and has been asked to submit the report by April 26.

In a petition before the PSHRC, Mr Harinder Singh, a resident of Hardaspur village in Patiala district, has alleged that he was waylaid by his neighbour, Ram Gopal, and one Kuldip in Varan village on February 19 as he was returning home. "Ram Gopal, an operator with the Punjab Water Works, called the police and the cops started abusing me. However, other villagers present at the spot managed to pacify Ram Gopal," says Mr Harinder Singh, and adds, "I was asked to report at a police station the following day".

Mr Harinder Singh is a taxi driver by profession. According to him, Ram Gopal and his cousin Kuldip had been harassing him for quite some time. "Ram Gopal has 'right connections' in the police," he alleges.

Around 4.30 am on February 20, Ram Gopal, Kuldip, ASI Jagdish Singh (of Patiala Sadar police station) and two or three other cops reached his house and forcibly took him to Sadar police station, he alleges, and adds that he was severely beaten up by the "intruders" in the house. "They pulled out hair from my head and beard," he alleges.

"I was also tortured and beaten at the police station," says Mr Harinder Singh. Some villagers, including a village panch, made a futile effort to get him released from the police station.

"My well-wishers brought the matter to the notice of the SSP, Patiala. I was released only after the SSP's intervention, but no action was taken against the guilty cops," he complained.

"A false case under Sections 107 and 151 of the Cr.PC was registered against me the day I was waylaid," alleges Mr Harinder Singh. He was again called to the police station on February 23 and was released on bail the following day.

After his release, he met the IG and told him the story. He alleges that another senior police officer, instead of taking action, had asked him to reach a compromise with Ram Gopal.

According to him, an FIR was registered on February 23 on his complaint, but no action was taken. He had also filed a complaint with the Police Helpline. He says that he was compelled to move the PSHRC as his grievance was not heard even at the level of the IG. "I am a baptised Sikh and my religious feelings have been hurt," complains Mr Harinder Singh.

The PSHRC has taken up the case under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.



Jewellery worth 1.5 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 11
Thieves broke into a Sector 4 house last night and decamped with jewellery and cash worth about Rs 1.55 lakh.

According to the police, the theft occurred during the period the owner of the house, Mr D.R. Sharma, was away to Sector 20 here for attending a marriage. A distributor of LPG stoves at Zirakpur, Mr Sharma left the house around 10 pm.

When he returned to his house around midnight, he found the house ransacked and jewellery worth around Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 5,000 in cash missing. Some watches and artificial jewellery were left untouched.

Later, a motor cycle was found abandoned near the house. The police was verifying whether the motor cycle belonged to any of the thieves.

There was a marriage near the house of Mr Sharma and the role of certain persons, who participated in the marriage, was also being probed.

Meanwhile, the SP, Mr Ranbir Sharma, accompanied by the Sector 5 SHO, Mr Ashok Bakshi, visited house to take stock of the situation. A dog squad was also pressed into service. A case was registered.



Students in a fix as CET dates clash
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Chandigarh students aspiring to seek admission to the Chandigarh Medical College and B.Sc (Honours) courses of Panjab University will have to forgo their chance of getting admission to medical colleges in Karnataka.

Panjab University conducts a combined entrance test (CET) for medical courses (both allopathy and homoeopathy) and B.Sc (Honours) courses offered on the university campus only for students belonging to Chandigarh. Criteria for determining the eligibility of students for appearing in the Panjab University CET includes their passing of plus one and plus two classes from Chandigarh.

This year the university has announced that the CET will be held on May 19.

This date clashes with the CET conducted by Karnataka, which is open to non-Karnataka students. Earlier, the Karnataka test was scheduled for May 12 and 13. However, in view of the Lok Sabha elections, the test has been postponed to May 18 and 19. Karnataka offers about 1000 seats in the MBBS course alone. Naturally the Chandigarh students would like to test their luck in the Karnataka test also, which is held in Bangalore.

A parent told TNS that Karnataka had changed the dates of its test much before Panjab University announced its date on March 7.

A few parents have represented to the university urging its authorities to postpone the date of the CET by a week to enable the Chandigarh students to appear in both tests. They were assured by the authorities that the matter would be put up before the Vice-Chancellor for reconsideration. However, it is learnt that certain senior officers of the university are of the view that since the date of the CET has already been advertised, it should not be changed.

Regretting this “bureaucratic” approach of the certain officers, a member of the university Syndicate said instead of making the CET an issue of false prestige, the university authorities should keep the interest of the students in mind.

Meanwhile, the parents are only praying that the Vice-Chancellor would adopt a more humane approach when the issue would come up before him for reconsideration. They say the postponement of the test should not pose any problem to the university because it is conducted only in Chandigarh.



CBSE postpones engineering entrance examination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The CBSE has decided to postpone the AIEEE to May 20 and May 21. The examination was earlier scheduled for May 9 and May 10, the region officer of the CBSE, Mr P.I. Sabu, said here on Thursday.



Hoardings still in place
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 11
Even as the Election Commission (EC) deadline for the removal of hoardings highlighting the achievements of the ruling INLD ended today, the district administration continues to drag its feet on their removal.

In fact, even after 48 hours of the EC directive, the administration was still to work out modalities for the removal of the hoardings, which also violated directions of the Supreme Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Official sources said that in the absence of any orders from the state government, the district administration could do little to implement the EC order.

On March 9, the EC had directed the Centre and the states to remove the hoardings within “24 hours or 48 hours” and sent compliance reports.

The Chandigarh Tribune had carried a front-page story headlined “Opposition cries foul over Chautala hoardings” in its issue dated March 9.Then the Opposition parties had alleged that the hoardings besides ‘violating the EC’s model code of conduct, did not provide a “level-playing field” to all parties in the ensuing Lok Sahba elections and the state Assembly elections earlier next year.

It may recalled that various government departments, boards and corporations had put up hundreds of hoardings all over the state to highlight the works done under the current governments. The DCs concern were reportedly appointed the nodal officers for deciding the number and place of the putting up of the hoarding.

It fact, the “orders” to install hundreds of huge hoardings costing several crores of rupees were passed at a meeting presided over by Mr B.D. Dhalia, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, last year. It would be an irony of the sorts when as the DCs concerned, who supervised the installing of the hoardings last year year, would now have to remove them as part of their responsibility as the District Electoral Officers.



Poll code question over transfer
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 11
Is the shifting of an accountant from the Municipal Council office here to the head office of the Department of Local Government based in Chandigarh a violation of the Election Commission’s model code of conduct?

It is learnt that Ms Babita Jaiswal, who had been working as an accountant at the council office in Phase VII here for the past about three months, was shifted to the office of the Director, Local Government, Punjab, on March 4.

According to a letter issued under the signature of the Executive Officer, Mr Har Bhagwan Garg, Ms Jaiswal was relieved on the orders of the Director, Local Government, on March 4 and asked to immediately report at the office of the Director.

It is learnt that Ms Jaiswal was working at the office of the Director before being shifted here. She draws her salary from the office of the Mohali Municipal Council.

Mr Garg told Chandigarh Tribune that the shifting of Ms Jaiswal from the local council office to the head office was not a violation of the election code of conduct as the employee had not been put on any sort of election duty. Moreover, it was an internal arrangement of the Department of Local Government.

Two more accountants — Mr Vijay Garg and Mr Raghunandan Singh — are working at the local office. Mr Garg is drawing his salary from the Dera Bassi civic body.



Cong promises more small-scale units
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The Congress is committed towards setting up more small-scale units in the city to promote career opportunities. This was stated by Mr B.B. Bahl, president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, while addressing a press conference here today. The conference had been called to welcome the announcement of Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal as the party’s candidate for the forthcoming elections.

Mr Bahl highlighted several fields where Mr Bansal had made noticeable contributions.



Computer snag hits railway reservation
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
It was an endless wait today for those in the queue at the railway reservation counters at Chandigarh station and at the Sector 17 Inter State Bus Terminus.

A snag in the computerised reservation system was responsible for the harassment. The problem, which developed last evening, could not be rectified till this afternoon.

Chaos prevailed as the reservation process remained suspended at three of the five counters at the bus stand. At the railway station, work resumed in evening for a short period, only to be suspended again.

Many had to return without tickets after hours of wait on being told that a technical snag had slowed down the computerised ticketing system. Chandigarh provides communication link-up to the reservation counters at Dharampur, Shimla, Kalka and Solan.

Mr Amardeep Sharma, an industrialist from Mohali, said that after waiting for two hours at the reservation counter at the bus stand, he had gone to the railway station, only to find that the system was not working there either. “My wife and son had to go to Kanpur to see her sick mother,” added Mr Sharma.

Another person, Mr Ram Krishan, told Chandigarh Tribune that since morning he had been trying to inquire about the reservation status on the Chandigarh-Lucknow train, without avail.

Sources in the Railways said that since last evening, three counters at the railway station and the inquiry counter at the bus stand were non-functional. The speed of two terminals was slow. A problem in the central reservation system in Delhi had slowed down the computers, explained an official at the booking counters.

A number of commuters complained that their inquiries regarding the reservation status had also not been answered as the system was down. Some of them travelled all the way to the reservation centre at the bus stand to make their queries.

Due to the trouble with the computers, officials at the station found it difficult to even get printouts of the reservation status of various trains leaving during the day. Eight major trains leave the station daily.

For the Shatabdi Express, which left at 6.20 pm, the authorities had to arrange the reservation status list from Kalka railway station.



Rajkumar quits ESPL post
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 11
Mr Rajkumar Gupta, MLA, Jalandhar (North) has resigned from the post of the Chairman, Electronics Systems Punjab Limited (ESPL), here following the winding up of the Unit. The ESPL is among the companies listed by the Punjab Disinvestment Commission for closure.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Gupta said that he had resigned as there was nothing more to do in the company. “The company is winding up and my main aim was to ensure that its employees get their due benefits as part of the voluntary retirement scheme offered to the employees,” he said.

Mr Gupta also informed that all 224 employees who had sought for VRS would be given their dues. On February 13, as many as 52 employees of ESPL here were granted voluntary retirement. The company located at Industrial Area Phase VII, here has 303 employees, 245 of whom had applied for voluntary retirement The company was the sole provider of certain tank parts to the defence services in the country.

Mr Gupta said that most of the work undertaken by the company had been completed, “Only some work of the Election Commission is pending with the company which will be completed by the remaining employees,” he said. The ESPL had been chosen by the Punjab government to make photo identity cards for the Election Commission.



One held with 30 litres of kerosene
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 11
The crime branch of the police arrested a Dhanas resident, Subhash Chander, for carrying 30 litres of kerosene without permit yesterday. He was booked under the Essential Services Act.

Purse snatched

Ms Bhupinder Kaur of Sector 70, Mohali, reported to the police that two unidentified scooter borne youths snatched her purse containing a mobile phone and Rs 1,500 in Dadu Majra Colony yesterday. A case under Sections 356 and 379 of IPC was registered.

Theft attempt

A resident of Ambala, Madhu Mehta, was reportedly caught red-handed while stealing ladies’ suits from a shop in Sector 17 yesterday. A case was registered under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC on the basis of the complaint of Ms Yashodha Vashisht.



21 mobiles stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 11
Thieves broke into a booth in Sector 22-B here and took away mobile phones worth Rs 2 lakh last night. Phone accessories worth Rs 50,000 were also reported to be stolen.

The thieves reportedly entered booth 1086 by breaking open the front shutter of the booth and took away 21 mobile phones of leading brands. The proprietor, Mr Aakash Koraa, told the police that he closed the shop at around 10 pm yesterday. The police suspected that the theft took place after midnight as a dhaba adjacent to the booth remained open till 12.30 am.

There are four watchmen in the market. None of them came to know about the theft. The theft was discovered in the morning when the proprietor reached the shop.



Hearing check-up camp on March 13, 14
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
Hear India Corporation has associated with Siemens hearing instruments to take up the sales, marketing, service of digital and conventional hearing instruments in the city.

Hear India Corporation will organise free hearing check-up camp on March 13 and 14 at the corporation centre, 373-374, next to HDFC Bank, Sector 35-B, Chandigarh. Audiometery, counselling, hearing-aid trial, hearing-aid accessories and ear moulds facilities will be provided.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |