C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Desilting Sukhna will cost Rs 80 crore
Tribune News Service

  • This will increase the depth of the lake to 18 feet.
  • This means more water in depth and surface area.
  • No harm to ecology and adjoining forest.

Chandigarh, February 23
It will cost Rs 80 crore and take five years to desilt the Sukhna Lake and increase its depth, says a latest communique sent by the Visakhapatnam-based National Ship Building and Design Corporation of India to the Chandigarh Administration.

The process suggested by the corporation is wet dredging using a new technique to save the adjoining forest and ecology.

Officials of the administration have invited the ship design corporation for a presentation before the UT Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues.

The Visakhapatnam-based corporation has said a cost effective and long lasting technique for removing silt from the Sukhna Lake was to float a small floating platform on the surface of the lake with a crane mounted on it to take out the silt. This platform is placed on pontoons — a floating deck.

The crane will be specially designed to lift the silt out of the water and deposit it on trucks to be carted away. To take the silt out the crane will have a system by which it will drain the excess water before depositing the silt onto trucks.

The platform can be moved anywhere in the lake depending on the requirement. The trucks will travel into the area where the crane is operating on a specially erected path on pontoons.

A team of the corporation, which works under the Union Ministry of Shipping, had visited the lake last year.

Besides this, normal removal of silt carried out during the dry months will go on at the regulator end.

The administration has also been told that this is a long drawn out process and will take upto five years to remove the three million cubic feet of silt which has accumulated over the years.



CAT stays creation of DSP’s post against quota
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today stayed the conduct of the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) for promotion of Inspectors and DSPs of the Chandigarh Police, thereby affecting their promotions.

The committee was scheduled to consider the case of promotion of Inspector B.S. Negi against the reservation in the promotion for the Scheduled Tribes.

Three senior-most Inspectors in the police, Mr Parmod Kumar, Mr Shiv Raj Sidhu and Mr KIP Singh, have approached the tribunal against the conduct of the DPC stating that there was no such reservation in the promotion for the Scheduled Tribes in the police department. The applicants had stated that their seniority was being overlooked while promoting the Inspector.

They pleaded that while replying in a case of promotion filed by Inspector Negi against the reservation in the tribunal, the administration and the police department did not clarify to the tribunal that there was no reservation in the promotion for the Scheduled Tribes. While staying the conduct of the DPC, the tribunal issued notices to the administration, the Chandigarh Police and Inspector B.S. Negi for March 7. The three Inspectors had moved an application after they came to know that the administration had called the DPC on the directions of the tribunal.

Before the senior-most Inspectors moved tribunal, the tribunal, while listening to the plea of Inspector B.S. Negi, had directed the administration in January to consider his case for promotion. The administration was asked to consider the case within two months.

Inspector Negi had moved the tribunal in 2003 pleading that Administration did not have some kind of reservation for the Scheduled Tribes as is the case of SCs. So the administration referred the matter to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The MHA wrote back that the case of Inspector Negi might be considered if there was any vacancy. Inspector Negi had pleaded that there had to be 7.5 per cent reservation in promotion. The three applicants stated that no notification in regard of the reservation for the Scheduled Tribes had been issued by the UT.



Two Xens promoted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has promoted Mr Kishanjit Singh and Mr S.K. Jaitely as Superintending Engineers of the Chandigarh Administration.

The letter from the UPSC was received this evening and the two have been handed over the orders by the Administration. Both, Mr Kishanjit Singh and Mr Jaitley, were executive engineers been officiating as SE’s on current duty basis.

The promotion comes after the conduct of the Departmental Promotion Committee meeting held by the UPSC.



Introduction of high security number plates
to miss May 31 deadline

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
City residents may have to wait longer to get high security number plates for their vehicles as arrangements for the purpose are yet to be made.

The Chandigarh Administration had set a deadline of May 31 for introducing the new number plates.

The tender document was yet to be finalised but the process was on, Ms Padmini Singla, heading the licensing authority, told the Chandigarh Tribune.

It was hoped that the tender document will be completed soon and tenders called by March 31.

The specifications and financial strength of the companies which will be providing the high security number plates, has to be decided to find out if the service provider is capable of providing lakhs of number plates with special tamper-proof holograms.

The number plate is designed in a manner that if somebody tries to remove it, the plate would break. This will make the task of stealing the vehicle difficult.

One of the biggest hurdles in introducing the new number plates is that the price of such plates could be very high and the government would like to control it by introducing competition.

After the tender document is completed, tenders will be called.

Ms Singla said the process of the tender document preparation and finalisation of terms and conditions is behind schedule.

She said in the Chandigarh Administration’s estimation, the tendering process will not leave much time for the contractor or contractors to set up infrastructure needed to cater to lakhs of vehicles.

The preparation of number plates requires massive investment for setting up units for the purpose. Interestingly, all states are supposed to introduce high security number plates but none of them is on schedule as the tender document is a major challenge before them.

The terms and conditions of the tender documents are difficult as there is no available knowledge with states on the high security number plates nor are they aware about which would be the best company that could handle this task effectively and quickly. 



All set for ‘Festival of Gardens’ tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The Rose Garden here wears a festive look to welcome guests at the annual festival from February 25 to February 27. This is the 33rd “Festival of Gardens”.

Hectic activity was witnessed on the spot today. Exhibitors started making rounds at the venue while a sizeable number of those allotted spots were making arrangements at their stalls that are planned along the roads of Sector 17 facing the Rose Garden and the boundary wall of the garden facing it. The stalls are being managed by Citco and the Innovative Group, a private entrepreneur who has rented the space for more than 150 exhibitors. Besides a row of stalls, a special area in Sector 17 has been earmarked for joy rides.

The rides were on trial correspondent visited the when this site. At other places, details of interior layout at the stalls were being discussed by the interested parties. A spokesperson of the Innovative Group said all stalls touching the boundary of the garden had been sold out and there was a demand even from others.

The interiors of the garden are witness to exquisite roses in full blossom. The cleanliness and the layout of the plant beds reflect the spirit and hard work that has gone into preparation of the garden.

A gardener on duty said, “I only wish that people who come here are sensitive about the care of plants. Each year, hundreds of flowers and several flower beds are destroyed during the festival due to carelessness of the public”.

A senior official of Citco said tiny tots could compete for the titles of Rose Prince and Rose Princess. There are certain family events for seniors.

Folk dances and songs are being organised. More than 140 artistes of the NZCC are expected to participate. Sadhna Sargam, a Bollywood singer, will perform on the evening of February 27. Sukhwinder, another Bollywood playback singer, will perform on the evening of the first day.



Traffic regulations for Rose Fest
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 23
Road closure: The following roads will be closed for traffic from February 25 to 27 from 6 am to 9 pm:

  • Jan Marg from Museum Chowk to Light Point Sector 16/17.
  • Small Chowk, Sector 16, near Shanti Kunj to Light Point, Sector 16/17.
  • Entry from Taj Hotel Light Point, to Jan Marg.

Parking arrangements: Visitors to the Rose Garden will properly park their vehicles in the parking areas listed below:

General Parking (free) — near B.D. Hospital, Sector 23-B (opposite Cricket Stadium, Sector 16); open space opposite Kitchen Garden, Sector 23-B; open space near UT Home Guards Building, Sector 17-D, near Punjab Kala Bhavan, Sector 16-B; open space opposite Hotel Taj Palace, Sector 17-A; metalled parking behind UT Secretariat/Police HQ Sector 9-D.

General parking (paid) — V4 Road dividing Rose Garden and Shanti Kunj, including Shanti Kunj Parking; open space adjacent to Hotel Shivalik View, Sector 17-D; metalled parking adjacent to Anand Theatre, Sector 17-A; metalled parking opposite Canadian Consulate Sector 17-A; open space adjacent to RBI Building; open space near the Sector 17-D police station; Police Colony and paid parking lots of the municipal corporation, Sector 17;

Parking facility for physically handicapped — Near Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16.

VIP Parking (red stickers) — Rose Garden, main parking and parking area of Karuna Sadan (Red Cross Building).

Stall-owners Parking (yellowstickers) Slow Carriageway, Sector 17-A, behind the stalls.

Diversion of local buses: Entry of local buses within Sector 16 is restricted. Buses will move on the road dividing Sector 16/15 en route to PGI, etc.



Passing Thru

Mr Bharat Shah
Mr Bharat Shah 
Executive Director, HDFC Bank.

What is the bank’s strategy on expansion?

The bank’s retail business is based on two-pronged strategy, venturing into newer locations and adding depth to its existing geographies. We have network of 439 branches and over 1,070 ATMs across 200 locations. Most of the new branches in this year would be opened in towns which have immense potential.

How do you view Chandigarh as a city?

It’s a city I love to come back to. I rate it among the best cities in the world. Its gardens, and open spaces make its lay out offbeat. However, the city should have better air connectivity with more flights to Mumbai and Delhi, besides better public transportation system. Since it is fast emerging as a business hub for the northern region, it should have an international airport and a five star hotel.

What are your other plans for the region?

The bank also plans to expand its merchant services through POS (point of sale) terminals, which at present are the highest amongst all banks in the country at 45,000. There are around 9,000 such machines in this region. This would facilitate the customers use their Visa /Maestro cards on any of these terminals for shopping purposes.

— Poonam Batth



Unbearable stench at Grain Market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
There are more than 125 unoccupied booths for vegetable and fruit- sellers in the Grain Market, Sector 26. The fact is interesting in the light that as a part of the ongoing anti-encroachment drive, scores of vegetable and fruit-sellers are uprooted by the authorities daily who stage comeback the next day. They are said to be sitting on the land unauthorisedly.

The booths designed by the Chandigarh Housing Board were constructed more than two years ago. The place presents a ghastly sight and is used for easing. Stench of human excreta is nauseating. The shopkeepers near the structure curse the administration for turning a blind eye to the eyesore, which is a bigger trouble for the sense of smell.

A shopkeeper said: “Isn’t it strange that the stench continues unabated at a place which supplies foodstuff to the entire city? Are the health authorities listening? We have brought the matter to the notice of the market committee several times and even represented to the administration but to no avail.”

The severely hit are owners and workers in shops located right across the road from the site of unoccupied booths. It is a common sight to see people walk in with their faces covered. Only a few steps away, fruit and vegetable sellers are squat on the road selling products. “Whenever a senior official visits the site, officials from the Market Committee come here and wash the entire place. The very next day things are back to square one”.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, chairman of the market committee, said: “The stench in the area was a matter for concern. We keep on getting the place cleaned up but that is not a permanent solution. I have discussed the matter with the administration and action has been promised at the earliest. Trouble arose because certain ‘phariwalas’, who were to be rehabilitated, said the place being given to them was very small. There were no doors to keep their products in safety after the market closed.

A senior official in the administration said matter was before the Finance Secretary and a decision was likely to be taken very soon. Details are being worked out regarding the pricing of the booths.

One of the fruit-sellers said: “We are left at the mercy of climate or the mood of the administration. Our fate any day also depends on the temper of the market committee officials. The administration should allocate the booths at the earliest”.



Sec-8 market closed; shopkeepers told to assist police
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 23
Shopkeepers, who today kept the Sector 8 market closed in protest against the high-handedness of the traffic police, were themselves made traffic marshals.

The shopkeepers were offered to keep a vigil on the policemen and also to assist them for the next 10 Saturdays by the SP (Traffic), Mr Amitabh Dhillon, whose men had recorded on camera the duel between traders and policemen.

The offer was made after both parties reached a compromise in the Sector 3 police station where the traders had been called for deliberations.

Sources in the police said they had got a complaint last night from traffic policemen, but no case had been registered and only a DDR entry had been made in this regard. The policemen had alleged that the two trader brothers, Pawan Kumar and Sanjay Kumar, had hurled abuses on them when Sub-Inspector Karan Krishan and two constables Satish Kumar and Gurvinder Singh had stopped two youths riding a scooter without helmets. The two traders had objected to the way the policemen were stopping the youths.

When the traders reportedly intervened, the scene took an ugly turn and the police asked the traders to keep away as the matter was not related to them.

The traders were asserting that the way the policemen had stopped the youth, they could have met with an accident.

However, the matter was sorted out when the videos showed the traders reportedly being harsh on the policemen. The traders later retraced and even apologised to the policemen, SHO of the police station, Sector 3, Kulwant Singh Pannu told the Chandigarh Tribune here today.



Industrial Area lacking even basic facilities
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 23
Apathy on the part of various departments of the government has led to the near failure of the Industrial Area in the township.

The Industrial Area — Phase I and II — was developed by Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) 20 years ago but it has failed to come up to the government’s expectations. Of the 900 industrial plots spread over two phases , merely 350 are operational as of now. Though HUDA authorities say that most of the developed industrial plots are being misused and instead of manufacturing units, hardware and furniture shops, textile and garment retail outlets, computer training institutes and even gymnasium are operating from the Industrial Area here.

However, industrialists say that a non- cooperative attitude of the government, and tax benefits offered in neighbouring industrial areas of Baddi and Barotiwala in Himachal Pradesh have led to the failure of the Industrial Area.

They rue that even basic amenities like maintenance of roads and street lights have not been provided for in the Industrial Area. The roads in some of the pockets have not been relaid/recarpeted for over six years, and it takes a trapeze artist than a normal commuter to travel on these pot-holed roads.

In several plots, where a manufacturing unit is operational, the plot allottees have further rented out space in their plots for running three or four business ventures.

HUDA norms for allotment clearly specify that only one unit can run in a plot, and the authority has been sending resumption notices to the defaulters. The rules clearly specify that an industrial plot cannot be used for any other activity other than for manufacturing industrial goods. This tantamounts to misusing the site for purpose other than what it is allotted for and the sites of violators can be resumed.

Says Mr Bharat Rattan, president of the Panchkula Small Scale Industries Association. “Both the Industries Department and HUDA have made various stringent rules.

Permission has to be sought from the Industries Department for any change in project than what was mentioned at the time the plot was allotted. HUDA also lays down that only one tenant can be kept in an industrial premises, and no retailing is allowed. This is not viable and industrialists should be allowed to change his manufacturing project on his will.

In neighbouring Chandigarh, there is no such regulations and any number of tenants can be kept in a premises. These tenants are basically small ancillary units”.

Industrialists say that even if there is violation of building by-laws in the Industrial Area, it is leading to some commercial activity, and thus helping in development of the area. The construction work is yet to start in around 300 plots here, while almost 250 industrial plots are lying locked, informs Mr S.S. Goel, general secretary of Panchkula Industrial Association. “The government should liberalise its policy, if it wants the development of the Industrial Area, and compete in terms of industrial growth with Himachal Pradesh, where tax holiday has been announced,” he says.



Awards for NGOs announced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
To motivate and recognise outstanding work done by NGOs in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, the Department today announced three state-level annual awards. Each of these awards carry a cash amount of Rs.11,000 and a citation and they will be awarded to the selected NGOs on the Republic Day function held annually.

The rewards will be given on the basis of dedication of NGOs and their exemplary performance in the fields of education, health and social welfare. 



City Congress leader falls, in serious condition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Mrs Shareshta Mehta, Vice-President of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee and an active social worker received a head injury after she slipped from the stairs of the Punjab AIDS Society on Madhya Marg in Sector 8. She was rushed to the PGI where her condition is said to be serious.



Laboratory inaugurated

Panchkula, February 23
Chairman of Sood Sewa Bhawan Trust and Municipal Councillor, V.K. Sood today inaugurated a charitable diagnostic laboratory at Sood Bhavan, Sector 10. All kinds of tests like biochemical, haematology, serology, urine and stool examinations will be conducted at this centre at nominal cost by technicians. There will be no charges from poor patients.

Mr Surinder Sood, General Secretary of the Sood Sabha, said that the Sabha is already running another laboratory at Sood Bhavan, Chandigarh. — TNS



Police inaction alleged
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, February 23
A Bartana based retired defence personnel Mr Rajinder Singh and his family have been living in fear for the last fortnight following threats from some unscrupulous property dealers. The Dera Bassi police has not taken any action against the suspects even after 15 days of the incident on a formal complaint by the victim at the Lohgarh police post.

This all happened after a gang of property dealers allegedly attacked Mr Rajinder Singh with iron rods and sticks when he asked them to give way for his autorickshaw on February 8. The property dealers were consuming liquor by parking their car in the middle of a street leading to the house of the victim located in Harmilap Nagar Colony in Bartana village.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Rajinder Singh, who plies an auto to earn his livelihood said he had asked Harinder Singh and Manoj Kumar to give way but instead they attacked him with iron rods and sticks.

Hearing his shriekes Kamla Devi, wife of the victim, raised an alarm but till the neighbours assembled Rajinder Singh was seriously injured.

Rajinder was taken to the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, where he was hospitalised for five days with fractures on his hand and ribs, said Kamla Devi. She added that the miscreants broke the lock of the main gate, besides smashing windowpanes of the house.

Mr Rajinder Singh said the assailants were well connected and enjoyed police and political patronage. The family members also alleged that the police had been shielding the suspects and asking them to reach a compromise.

Mr Satpal Sharma, incharge of Lohgarh police post, said that an FIR would be registered against the assailants only after he receives the medical report of the victim.



Car, scooter stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 23
A Ford Ikon car and a scooter were stolen from the city while the police has arrested one person for stealing cloth from a shop, according to the police here, today.

Mr Vikram Singh from Karnal said that his golden-coloured Ford Ikon car (HR-13-F-0054) was stolen from high court parking lot yesterday. A case has been registered.

In another incident, Ms Neelam Khanna of Sector 23-D reported to the police that her Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-01-H-3561) was stolen from outside her residence at the night of February 21. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 17 police station.



Market panel meets today on no-trust vote
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
A meeting of the Market Committee has been summoned tomorrow to discuss the motion of no confidence against its chairman.

Six members out of the nine elected members have submitted a motion of no confidence against Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, chairman. Mr Badheri said he had called a meeting of the committee tomorrow evening.

The members who submitted the motion against the chairman included Mr Harbhajan Singh, Mr Anand Singh, Mr Deshraj Gupta, Mr Sita Ram, Mr Bhajan Singh and Mr R. Singh.

As per the bylaws, a two-third majority is required to clear a motion of no confidence. Incase no member withdraws his stands in the meeting tomorrow Mr Badheri is likely on his way out.



India all set to market handicrafts to world
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
India is all set to market its handicrafts to the world in a big way. Associating sportspersons of international repute, barring cricketers, to market these crafts around the globe is the latest idea up their sleeve.

This was announced by the Additional Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Mr Ajay Kumar, in the city to announce hockey player Gagan Ajit Singh as brand ambassador for promoting handicrafts.

“Given the phenomenal popularity of the Delhi haat, the ministry is in the process of opening 31 such haats across the country to provide craftsman a platform to sell their work. Also, we are in the process of finalising more worksheds for artisans to work collectively,” Mr Kumar stated.

He said that the workshed experience in Jammu and Kashmir had given an impetus to the crafts of the state. “Their coming together has, enabled proper marketing of products and provided them with true value of their product,” he stated.

Stating that nearly 62 lakh artisans were earning their livelihood from this second largest sector of the Indian economy, he said that handicrafts exchange accounted for Rs 12,765 crore of the exports.

“Every year, the export percentage of handicrafts is going up by 15 per cent and 47 per cent of the women are employed in the sector.

We are extending all possible help to states for showcasing their crafts to the world,” he maintained.

He, however, rued the fact that except J and K, no state of the region had been able to encash its rich traditional crafts. “We want to tell the world that Punjab is not about Phulkari alone. It has more that meets the eye. Similarly, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have a lot they can market but it is all confined to the local areas alone,” he explained.

The biggest challenge, he pointed out, came from the fact that these crafts had to be made contemporary in the backdrop of the traditional framework.

“This is important because customer choice changes with every season. The ministry is providing them design input to enable them to sell their products,” he remarked.

Earlier, the “Real Life, Real Heroes” campaign was launched with the announcement that Gagan Ajit Singh had been chosen as the hero for marketing handicrafts.

He would also visit the shilp gurus and other craftsman in their villages to provide them encouragement.



700 fill property tax forms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
A team of MC officials today made themselves available to the industrialists of the city to assist them in depositing property tax on their industrial units and in filling the self assessment scheme forms. More than 700 persons turned up at the special guidance camp held in Industrial Area, Phase II with all sorts of queries on the newly introduced commercial tax bye laws.

Nearly 700 persons took the help of the technical team to fill Form I and II of the property tax, while 100 assesses deposited the cheques on the spot e and 20 others deposited the tax in the nearby branch of Oriental bank of Commerce. Mr M.P.S Chawla, President of the Chandigarh Industrial Association, said with the last date of submitting the property tax on the units being February 28, the camp received a good response as industrialists did not have go all the way to the MC office in Sector 17 or queue up there for long hours. The team of experts not only helped them fill up their returns after calculating the amount of tax to be paid for sheds of various sizes as per plans. The rates fixed, however are very complicated and should be revised, said Mr Anil Verma, an industrialist.

Businessmen apprised the officials that the challan form provided by Oriental Bank of Commerce is cumbersome and asks for lot of irrelevant details, which have already been published in the tax form being submitted along with it.

Going by the response on the first day, the Municipal Corporation has decided to continue the camp at the venue for another day. A similar camp was also held at Shastri market ( known as rehri market), Sector 22-D, today where nearly 50 persons filled up the return forms and would deposit the tax by October 25.

Meanwhile, the Municipal Commissioner, Mr P.S Aujla, has assured the representatives of the Industrial Association that the procedure of payment of property tax would be simplified by next financial year.



Apni mandi in Sector 39 on Fridays
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The Chandigarh Marketing Board has decided to hold ‘apni mandi’ in Sector 39 on Friday in place of Saturdays.

Mr Arun Kumar, commissioner of the board, said the board organised kisan mandis on Saturdays. The UT Administration has approved Rs 94 lakh for recarpeting of the roads in the Grain Market, Sector 26.

The money is being deposited with the Chandigarh Housing Board for the work.


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