C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PUDA launches feeble demolition drive
Tribune News Service

In order to reassure those who have invested in illegal colonies, PUDA officials today said, while all construction undertaken before December 10, 1998, had been regularised following a one-time amnesty, any construction done after this date was illegal under various provisions of the Punjab Capital Periphery Control Act, 1952. They also clarified that under the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulatory Act, 1995, any person dividing an area of more than 1,000 square metres for residential or commercial purposes should have a promoter’s licence from PUDA. Only those colonies that had a licence from PUDA were legal, all other are illegal. In case of illegal colonies, criminal action can be taken against the colonisers alone. The buyers or investors were not liable to any punitive action.

Mohali, August 20
Spurring into action following the arrest of its General Manager, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) today revived its demolition campaign in Chandigarh’s periphery.

Having laid low for years, allegedly due to immense political pressure, PUDA officials today mustered the courage to get back to doing what they should have done long ago — demolish illegal constructions mushrooming in the Capital project’s periphery but faltered on the first step.

A team of engineers from PUDA undertook a token demolition of boundary walls of certain illegal colonies where fresh construction was taking place. The junior engineers with two policemen in tow used hand tools to demolish the walls. They also warned the supervisors that stricter action would follow in case construction was not stopped.

However, by the evening, builders had resurrected the wall and as far as they were concerned all was the same again.

As part of the demolition drive, the engineers moved round in the area and stopped construction at some new shops coming up outside the “lal dora” of the village. While the team spread panic among those undertaking fresh constructions in the area, nothing substantive could be achieved by it.

Villagers told the The Tribune the team demolished scaffoldings of some other buildings coming up in the area and announced that all fresh construction was illegal.

None of the PUDA officials could, however, be contacted about more details.

The district police also remained tight-lipped about the way further investigations were moving in the illegal colonisers case. Sources confirmed that no further arrests had been made and the interrogation of PUDA GM Hardev Singh was on.

Sources said the police would verify from the revenue records the ownership of the 13 plots allegedly procured by Mr Hardev Singh from one of the colonisers in the name of his close relatives.

Police sources said they had also written to PUDA to furnish a fresh list of illegal colonisers in Ropar to start action on a larger scale. Sources said some more colonisers had contacted the police on Mr Hardev Singh’s modus operandi and would produce evidence to substantiate the charge.Back


Nagar Panchayat comes to rescue of colonisers
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, August 20
Coming to the rescue of ‘approved’ colonisers within its jurisdiction, the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat has locked horns with the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) over the proposed action against violators.

The civic body authorities claim that as per the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911, colonies which have come up under the Town Planning Scheme within the civic body limits are legal. The Department of Local Government, Punjab, has approved them after following due procedure, they argue.

Moreover, the Secretary of the Local Government had issued a notification (February 10, 2004) for sanctioning of building plans in unauthorised colonies. The decision was taken to provide relief to scores of residents of various municipal corporations facing hardship because of the ban imposed on approval of building plans. The notification, however, had directed the officials not to let unauthorised colonies mushroom in future. When contacted, Mr Girish Verma, Executive Officer of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, said a majority of the colonisers had already deposited “Extra Development Charges” and got the plans of the housing colonies approved by the authorities concerned.

He said interference by PUDA in the working of the civic body was not mentioned anywhere in the Punjab Municipal Act.

Meanwhile, colonisers, who have got their colonies approved either from PUDA or the Town Planning Department, today came forward against the highhandedness of PUDA. The colonisers alleged that despite charging huge sums in shape of “external development charges (EDC),” PUDA had done little till date.

Interestingly, PUDA had written the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat to provide facilities to the colonies (PUDA approved) by spending from its own pocket and then ‘seek’ the amount spent by submitting the bills to PUDA.

The colonisers allege that PUDA is charging them for the approval of master plans and issuance of licences to colonisers. ‘To get the building plans approved, the colonisers have to approach the Nagar Panchayat and to get electricity connections they have to knock at the doors of the Punjab State Electricity Board. Ultimately, the colonisers have to approach the civic body for getting their work done,” claimed a developer of PUDA-approved colonies.

Residents demand that the government should clarify about the jurisdiction of PUDA and the Nagar Panchayat. Confusion over their respective jurisdictions has penalised the general public.

Meanwhile, the colonisers have threatened to launch a statewide agitation against the PUDA proposal.Back


Slum colony near Saketri razed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 20
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) today launched a major drive for razing an illegal slum colony near Saketri. The drive was launched to reclaim several acres of land near Saketri and Mahadevpura villages from slum dwellers.

Armed with a posse of enforcement staff, Mr M.P. Sharma, Mr Jasbir Singh, both junior engineers in the Survey Branch, patwari Sita Ram and kanungo Sarup Singh reached the site near the Saketri temple.

They warned the dwellers in the 300-odd jhuggis to vacate the land so that demolition could be carried out.

The land where the slum colony exists was acquired by HUDA three months back for carving out Sector 1 of Mansa Devi Complex.

As many as 50 jhuggis were demolished. Members of the panchayats of Saketri and Mahadevpura intervened and requested the HUDA staff to give the slum dwellers a few days for vacating the land.

The HUDA staff talked to the Estate Officer, Mr M.S. Yadav, and left after asking the slum dwellers to vacate the land on their own by Monday.

Mr Chet Ram, leader of slum dwellers, and Mr Bashir Mohammad, sarpanch of Mahadevpura, said the colony had been in existence for almost 20 years.

“The slum dwellers have been issued voter identification cards and ration cards. They should be given at least a week’s time to find an alternative place and to shift,” they said.

However, the HUDA authorities deny that the slum colony was in existence for the past 20 years. “When the land was acquired by the Land Acquisition Officer, about 1,250 acres of land falling in the villages of Saketri, Mahadevpura and Nadda three months ago, was handed over to us.

There were no jhuggis then. Any way, we had warned them to vacate the land a few days ago, but they refused to leave and we were forced to launch the drive,” said a HUDA official.Back


Pursuing a sensibility, the Hrithik way
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Spurious attractions of Hollywood don’t amuse Hrithik Roshan a bit. Our superstar would rather be home in Mumbai, which for him is “as West as West can get”.

“Mumbai is home. It has a great character, but your city is equally charming. It gives me a sense of freedom. I am breathing a lot easier here,” said Hrithik, who was in the city to endorse Tommy Hilfiger range which Hrithik has been unconsciously promoting since “Kaho Na Pyar Hai” days.

Sartorial elegance apart, Hrithik commands attention for many other reasons. To begin with, he strikes a humble conversation, neither making tall claims about his future nor gloating in the triumphs of his past.

“I am an aspiring actor,” submits Hrithik, leading us towards his strengths and weaknesses.

Though born into cinema, Hrithik admits he had to labour a lot before he could qualify as an actor. Little wonder Rakesh Roshan took long before launching him in “Kaho Na Pyar Hai”, the film which continues to be an eternal point of reference for the Roshan family which had been through a dark phase before re-emerging with the success of this film.

Naturally for Hrithik, the film was more than a launching pad. “It was a litmus test of my commitment towards acting and also my father, the finest director I have ever known. Though I put in my best for each films I ever did, I must admit I strained myself the most in “Koi Mil Gaya”. Since it was a film close to my father’s heart, I didn’t want to take chances. Every night when I used to hit the bed, I could feel the exhaustion.”

Hrithik says he never makes conscious attempts to excel on screen. “I would rather be what I am, drawing from my experiences. Life has taught me immensely, but there’s a lot left to learn. I can’t list my weaknesses for you. It would be futile to identify them. All I can say is I can improve,” says the actor whose greatest inspiration lies in his father’s experiences and ideals. From Rakesh Roshan, Hrithik has imbibed the qualities of humility as also cinematic excellence.

So smitten is he by his father’s charms, that he takes long before listing the film he likes best. “Kaho Na Pyar Hai” is very dear to me. It was a difficult film for my father because it required him to cater to a generation he didn’t belong to. But he did it with style. He was also open to advice, no matter how nonsensical it was.”

Hrithik hasn’t planned his future but he mentions his association with Farhan Akhtar in “Lakshya” as enriching. “Farhan has his own narrative.

“There is a dearth of script writers in Bollywood. I share the blame for this rot. Though I always loved the idea of being well-read, I never really read as a youngster. Otherwise I could have drawn so much from history and mythology, says the hunk, who is seriously reading these days.Back


Now, societies can’t mortgage flats for loans
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The Chandigarh Housing Board has suddenly changed its rules bringing to a halt the housing plans of several hundred city residents allotted flats through group housing co-operative societies in Sectors 50 and 51.

Under a new order of the CHB, members of several co-operative housing societies have been disallowed permission to mortgage their flats to obtain loan. Without this crucial piece of paper, banks refuse to give loans to members.

The CHB, in a typically bureaucratic way, has said permission to mortgage the flats will be given only after each society submits a detailed affidavit stating from where the loan would be raised and the name of the bank. The societies are in no position to raise loans as they cannot stand surety on behalf of the members. This was not the case earlier. Members of cooperative societies were free to take loan from any financial institution, bank, or even their employers by mortgaging their flats.

With its orders, the CHB has created two classes of co-operative housing societies. First, the ones given permission to mortgage flats to raise loan and second those people who will be at the mercy of the CHB for permission to mortgage, that too after the society submits an affidavit explaining which bank it intends to take loan from.

In the past 10 years the first system had been running smoothly. All societies in Sector 48 and 49 have been built in this manner. The new order will not be imposed on those who already have the permission to mortgage the flats.

“How can the society ask members to take loan from a particular bank collectively?. Who will be liable for repayment? Can the president of a society stand surety on behalf of other members,” asked the secretary of a society.

Angry flat owners, says the CHB is just an agency facilitating the allotment of land and carrying out development works against payment made by societies. It has no role in how allottees re-pay banks.

Within the CHB, sources maintain that the fear of a member not being able to pay instalments towards the cost of land has led to this order.

Normally each member has his arrangements for loan. Some are working in banks. Others working in good private companies get loans from office. Some get it from the LIC against a policy.

The new rule has been imposed even as the lands allotted to co-operative societies are now freehold. The CHB only allots land handed over to it by the Estate office.Back


Territorial Army insurance cover strengthened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The insurance cover of Territorial Army (TA) personnel has been significantly enhanced to bring it at par with that of the regular Army. Monetary compensation paid to TA personnel in case of disability has also been upwardly revised.

Sources said that the insurance cover to be paid in case of death of a TA officer has been raised from Rs 1.75 lakh to Rs 9 lakh, while that of JCOs and other ranks has been raised from Rs 75,000 to Rs 4.5 lakh. The new rates would be applicable from September 1.

The Enhancement of insurance cover is expected to beneficial to TA volunteers as a greater part of the force is deployed in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for counter insurgency operations, where the force has reportedly been suffering casualties.

It was earlier reported by The Tribune that about 70 per cent of the Territorial Army battalions have been deployed in J&K. The issue of measly insurance cover was a hot issue of debate within the establishment. Following this Army Headquarters took up the case with the Army Group Insurance Fund for the revision of insurance cover.

The TA was fully mobilised in December 2001 during Operation Parakram, a military posture along the Indo-Pak border in the wake of a terrorist attack on Parliament. Though Operation Parakram is long over, TA personnel continue to remain embodied.

The revised insurance scheme will also cover death and disability during operations, which was not covered by the earlier TA Group Insurance Scheme. Revised premium rates to be paid by officers and other ranks, depending upon the period of embodiment have also been worked out by the TA Directorate.

The compensation to be paid in the event of disability has been fixed at Rs 4.5 lakh for 100 per cent disability in the case of officers, proportionately reduced to Rs 90,000 for 20 per cent disability. For JCOs and other ranks, Rs 20,000 would be paid for 20 per cent disability to a maximum of Rs 2.25 lakh for 100 per cent disability.Back


Army being equipped for disaster management
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
With the Central Government considering to set up “bricks” for disaster management, the Army may get specialised equipment to undertake rescue and relief operations. Presently, the Army uses its equipment meant for war time operations to undertake such operations.

A “brick” envisions dividing a country into regions based upon geological data and vulnerability to natural calamities, preparing a disaster management dossier for each region and maintaining a stock of emergency rations, medical supplies and rescue equipment.

Manpower for “bricks” could be drawn from various organisations, including the Army. Formations and units would be earmarked for attachment with a particular “brick” and these would be responsible for maintaining equipment and carrying out regular surveys of respective areas. Army personnel do not undergo any special training for disaster management. “The task generally involves restoring lines of communications or building roads and bridges.”

However, training for giving aid to civil authorities for maintaining law and order is imparted, both during basic training and regular training cycles at the unit and formation level. “For dealing with the law and order situation we stress upon the minimum use of force,” the officer said. “Also such operations require a lot of documentation,” he added.

The Army has an established procedure for rendering aid to civil authorities. Commanders in the field have been identified, who can be approached by the local administration at the Deputy Commissioner or SDM level. Requests for aid, depending on the gravity of the situation, also come in from the top level. Regular liaison is maintained by the military and civil administration at various levels throughout the year. An officer of the rank of a colonel in the operations branch at command headquarters is designated to coordinate such operations.

Commanders in the field are also required to undertake a regular survey of the area under their responsibility and prepare contingency plans. Equipment which may be required for relief operations is stored at strategic locations.

Officers said that the Army keeps a watch on the water level of all rivers daily. This is done as rise in water levels not only affects civil population, but also Army establishments located in the vicinity of the rivers. Monitoring also provides advance warning of any floods.

Latest reports from Himachal Pradesh revealed a two-and-half-foot rise in the water level in the Sutlej, which faces a threat of floods on account of an artificial lake being formed in neighbouring Tibet. This rise, however, is being termed as a “good sign” as it indicates that there is a slow and continuous discharge from the lake.

The Army has established a special headquarters in Shimla, headed by a Brigadier, to liaise with the state government and execute relief operations in case of floods in the Sutlej basin. The IAF has stationed an officer of the rank of a wing commander in the operations centre of the Chandigarh Air Force Base, who has been authorised to call up helicopters for rescue work.

A flood control cell has been established at Western Command Headquarters, which is manned 24 hours by a JCO. His task is to handle telephonic communications and sound the senior officer concerned in case of an emergency. Similar cells are also functioning in field formations which relay their information to command headquarters.Back


20 school bus drivers challaned
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 20
The Chandigarh Traffic Police issued 20 challans in its special drive against school bus drivers, according to Mr A.S. Dhillon, Superintendent of Traffic Police, Chandigarh, here today. Besides three vehicles were impounded and 60 challans were issued to other offenders, near Government College for Girls, Sector 11.

He said the Traffic Police issued 20 challans in its early morning operation against bus drivers. The traffic police set up special pickets to trap the offenders, following complaints made by people from the area regarding rash driving by bus drivers. Ten days ago, the police had issued 20 challans to such violator.

The purpose of today’s drive was to ensure that previous offenders did not commit the offence again. In case a habitual offender is caught again, the traffic police will recommend the licensing authority to cancel his driving licence.

The police challaned the bus drivers, working on the guidelines of the High Court, for overspeeding, driving without uniform and without conductors.

It also trapped traffic rule violators outside the GCG, Sector 11. More than 60 challans were issued to violators for various offences there. Students of the college stayed on the college premises fearing being challaned.

The police also impounded three vehicles for not complying with the traffic rules.Back


BJP delegation meets Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
A delegation of the BJP industrial cell, Chandigarh, led by its president, Mr Radhey Shyam Garg, yesterday met Justice O.P. Verma (retd), Administrator, UT, and submitted a memorandum demanding, among other things, the conversion of industrial plots and sheds in the UT from leasehold to freehold.

The delegation also demanded that the judgement of the Supreme Court given in 1982 that the possession of the plots be delivered to the allottees concerned should be implemented forthwith. The ownership right should be given to the allottees immediately in respect of the sheds allotted by the CITCO, the lease period for which was 15 years. Since the lease period of 15 years had elapsed, the Estate Office should be instructed to transfer ownership right to the allottees.

Other demands included raising of limit for self- assessment sales tax from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 2 crore; the responsibility for providing roads, electricity and water in the industrial area should be entrusted with the Chandigarh Administration instead of the Municipal Corporation; the allotment of plots in Industrial Area, Phase III, which is being developed in Chandigarh, should be done an a priority basis; and the road between the CTU workshop and the poultry farm connecting the national highway should be widened.Back


NHRC approached against police working
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Levelling serious allegations against the functioning of the Chandigarh Police, the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI), a human rights body, has approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

In a representation to the NHRC, Mr Arvind Thakur, general secretary of the local unit of the LHRI, has demanded an inquiry by the CBI or any other independent agency into the recent registration “false cases” against common citizens.

Substantiating, it said a Sector 8 resident, Mr M.K. Jain, was booked in the infamous “rape of Shimla girl on wheels” on August 15, 2000. Ultimately, after about a month it was found by police and LHRI teams that no rape ever took place.

In another case of police high-handedness, Mr Jai Dev Giri spent about six months in jail in 2003 on charges of raping a minor girl. He was granted bail only after the girl stated that she was Giri’s wife.

Going a step further, the police said Giri was allegedly shown accu0sed in a murder case in 2004 and was still in jail.

On May 8 this year, Ram Bahadur, a Maloya resident, was arrested on charges of raping his own minor daughter. Surprisingly, Ram Bahadur was booked on the “statement” of his wife Anju. Ram Bahadur, who spent two months in jail, was only bailed out when his wife said in the court that she had never lodged a complaint against his husband.

The representation demanded that the police should be restrained against framing innocent persons.Back


Youth Congress website launch in September
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
A website of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC), likely to be launched sometime in September. Replete with historical facts about the Congress and its activities, it is yet another effort by its president Randeep Singh Surjewala, also the secretary, All India Congress Committee (AICC), to keep the youth connected to their roots.

Dedicated to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi the website has been designed by Mr SYM Masood Faoujdar, an IYC leader. One of the biggest websites of any political party, it is rich in colour and content, having 2600 web pages and 1500 images.

An in-house production of the IYC, the website spells out the objectives of the youth organisation, gives a detailed account of the leaders of the Indian National Congress from the time it was born and describes at length just about everything from the IYC activities to its mission.

The website has a search engine of its own and the facility to enroll as a member as well along with a picture gallery, facility for conducting surveys et al.Back


Renal failure patient in need of help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Nineteen-year-old Rajiv Kumar is suffering from chronic renal failure as his both kidneys have failed and he has already undergone dialysis 12 times so far. Hailing from an extremely poor family in Bihar, Rajiv is undergoing treatment at the Department of Nephrology at the PGI.

Doctors attending on Rajiv have said the only possible treatment for the teenager is an immediate kidney transplant, which requires at least a sum of Rs 1.5 lakh. His father is a vegetable vendor, who merely earns Rs 18,000 a year, Rajiv is the only son in the family. The family has already exhausted all its saving on the treatment of the boy.

Those willing to contribute towards saving this young life can meet Rajiv at the PGI Rotary Sarai, room No. 9, bed No. 65/66, PGI. The draft can be handed over to the Public Relations Officer (PRO) in favour of the Director, PGI. The PRO can be contacted at 0172-2747585, extension-6003.Back


Truckers’ strike not to hit supplies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
In view of the impending strike by truckers, the city is not likely to face any problem with petroleum or milk supplies as both essential items are moved on trucks owned by the companies and not hired from the market.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, held a meeting with officers of the Administration, oil companies, milk suppliers and the police to co-ordinate essential supplies. The DC said tonight that the truckers had assured him that they would not interfere with the movement of oil or milk supplies. A task force has been constituted in this regard.Back


Noise monitoring
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 20
The idma Foundation for Sustainable Development, here, in collaboration with the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee, organised a training-cum-awareness programme on noise monitoring for the police. Twenty five police officers have been nominated for the purpose.

The police officers were made aware of the provisions of noise pollution (regulation and control) Rules, 2000. They were briefed about the area categorisation of the city as per the ambient noise standards.

The city is divided into four zones — industrial, residential, commercial and silence for the purpose of the noise rules.Back


Seva Dal pays tributes to Rajiv Gandhi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Tributes were paid to former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi on his 60th birth anniversary here today.

The main function was organised by the Congress Seva Dal at the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan in Sector 35 here. Floral tributes were paid to the departed leaders.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, Ms Shrestha Mehta, Mr Kewal Krishan and Mr Sunil Parti.

However, some of the senior leaders, including Mr Pawan Bansal and Mr B.B. Bahl, were conspicuous by their absence. They were away to Delhi for an AICC session to be held tomorrow.

At a function organised by the Chandigarh District Congress Committee (Urban-II) at Mani Majra, patriotic songs were sung by schoolchildren. Among others, Mr H.S. Lucky, chief of the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress, Mr Chitranjan Chanchal and Mr Pawan Sharma paid floral tributes to Rajiv Gandhi. Meanwhile, on the instructions of the Union Government, functions were organised in majority of the Central Government offices to observe the day.Back


Wage board move hailed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
The Tribune Employees Union has welcomed the recommendation of the Standing Committee on Labour of Parliament to the Centre to constitute a new wage board for newspaper and news agency employees.

According to the president, Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, the union feels that in view of the recent price spiral and other inflationary trends witnessed in the economy, the setting up of a new wage board had become imminent. The Union also expressed its solidarity with demands day observed today by the Central trade unions agitating against the cut in EPF interest rate, hike in prices of LPG, petrol and diesel and rise in FDI in sensitive sectors like telecom, civil aviation and insurance.Back


Gang of thieves busted, 4 held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 20
The police has arrested four persons- Praveen Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Rinku and Bhola and recovered stolen goods worth Rs 25,000 from them. They were involved in a burglary at Shambhu Poultry farm on August 16 and were arrested by the police yesterday.

Eight arrested: The police arrested Navdeep, alias Goldy, Kashmiri Lal, Prakash Chand, Anil Kumar, Prakash Chand, Ashok Kumar, Harish Kumar and Anil Kumar on charges of lottery speculation from different parts of the township and recovered Rs 6,812 from them.

Booked: The police has booked Rajan Sethis in a case of cheating and fraud. The accused had allegedly duped Devinder Singh of Amritsar of Rs 1.5 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad. He has been booked on the directions of the court. Back

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