C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Controversial DC on way out
Arun Kumar to be repatriated to Haryana
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh, Mr Arun Kumar, is on his way out. Senior functionaries in the Union Ministry of Personnel today confirmed to The Tribune that the Deputy Commissioner was being repatriated to his parent cadre of Haryana. Orders in this regard were expected any moment, said officials.

His two-year tenure ends on May 29. Mr Kumar is a Haryana-cadre IAS officer of the 1989 batch on deputation with the Chandigarh Administration. Well-placed sources said the decision on the repatriation of the DC had been taken and a formal order was required. Bureaucrats said there can be two ways the order can be worded.

First: A letter could be sent to the Chandigarh Administration turning down a request to extend the tenure of Mr Arun Kumar by one year. If this is done, the DC will stay here till May 29 and then report back to Haryana.

Second: An order can be issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to shift the DC back to Haryana with immediate affect.

Sources said the possibilities of either of the procedures being adopted are open. Since Chandigarh is a Union Territory, it is controlled directly by the MHA and all postings of IAS officials are cleared by the PMO.

The demand to shift him was made by the local unit of the Congress and also the local, MP Mr Pawan Bansal, following several instances in which the Congress felt that the DC had acted against its interests. In some cases, the Congressmen alleged, he was vindictive. However, in each instance, the DC quoted the relevant rules and denied any vindictiveness.

The differences between the Congress and the DC arose over the removal of Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri from the chairmanship of the Market Committee and also the arrest of Mr Pawan Sharma for allegedly submitting a false affidavit. Both are close to Mr Pawan Bansal, who is also the chief whip of the Congress in Parliament.

The shifting of the DC had become a political issue about a month ago. In February, the Chandigarh Administration wrote to the Haryana Government headed by the then Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, seeking permission to retain Mr Arun Kumar for one more year. The permission was granted and on that basis, the Administration sought an extension. About three week ago, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) cleared the extension for the DC and the file was sent for formal approval of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Almost around the same time, the Haryana Government said it wanted Mr Arun Kumar back and even sent a panel of three names out of which one officer could be picked. The Chandigarh Administration shot off a letter, saying that it could very well appoint a UT-cadre officer on the post if Haryana wanted Mr Arun Kumar back. Allocation of posts amongst IAS officers of Punjab and Haryana is made under the Reorganisation of States Act, 1966, and is a touchy subject. Such a letter was unprecedented.

Also around the time that the ACC cleared the extension, local Congressmen got worked up over plans to demolish illegal encroachments in Mani Majra. They demanded that the DC be shifted out. And then, even as the matter of removal of Bhupinder Badheri was simmering, the arrest of Pawan Sharma proved to the proverbial last straw.



TV screens go blank
Tribune News Service

Strike called off in evening

The cable supply became normal in the evening following a meeting of the City Cable Operators Association. It was decided to call off the strike tomorrow. Public inconvenience was regretted and it was decided that the public should not be made to suffer. A delegation will meet the Mayor tomorrow.

Chandigarh, May 11
Television screens in the city and Mohali went blank today, marking the protest of the City Cable Operators Association against the “policy of levying disproportionate ground rent by the Municipal Corporation”.

The entire network in the city was affected. In Mohali, the connection in about 70 per cent of the area was snapped off because the operators there depend on supply from the city.

There were programmes on screen till about 8 a.m. in a number of sectors of the city till the corporation vehicles came on the road to carry out the drive. The screens soon went blank in the entire city. The popular pay channels on cable, including Star, Zee, Sony, Discovery, NDTV and scores of others, went missing.

Official sources in the corporation said the drive was not required to be carried out as nearly 99 per cent of the defaulters deposited their rent today. The recovery by the corporation is commendable as since 1993, it has not been able to generate so much response from the operators in paying their tax.

Mr S.S. Bedi, president of the cable operators’ association, said despite repeated requests, the corporation had not included them on any committee of the corporation to work out a justifiable rent policy.

The operators called upon Mrs Anu Chatrath, Mayor, and demanded that a committee be constituted which should also include the cable operators on the panel. Since only the operators can tell the ground realities of implementation of any policy, they should be fairly heard and scope created for an improvement in the existing policy, a cable operator said.

A press note of the association said, “The step caused public difficulty, but it could not be avoided and the inconvenience was a matter of regret”.

Official sources said because a majority of the cable operators deposited their tax, there was no massive uprooting of cables of the defaulters as was being expected. Certain defaulters in the Mani Majra area faced official action with uprooting of cables on the municipal land. The corporation had drawn up a list of 102 defaulters last week. The list was left with names of only about 50 defaulters yesterday. The corporation office saw a big rush today as majority of the defaulters paid their rents.

The association has said that “the notice by the corporation was nothing more than a dictatorial diktat. The corporation has not bothered to come out with any clear, comprehensive or justifiable policy and has also not set right the deficiencies in the policy. For example, Khuda Lahora has about 150 houses using the cable connections. Mani Majra has about 40,000. The ground rent of Rs 1,000 per sector is the same. This was not justified”.

Mr Amrit Pal Singh, a resident of Sector 34, said, “We have been hearing of the rent controversy on cable connections for the past nearly 10 years. There has been no solution and the ultimate sufferers are only the consumers. The corporation should give a fair hearing to the cable operators and draft a clean policy on rent”.

The rent is being charged for the period between May 2001 and March 2005. The rent for the earlier period is under controversy. The corporations has decided to constitute a body for working out the details.

MOHALI: There was a total blackout of cable TV channels in the town as the signal in this regard had been cut off by the main distributors in Chandigarh in protest against the highhandedness and arbitrary decision of the Municipal Corporation in the Union Territory asking cable operators to deposit ground rent to the civic body.

The cable TV signal was switched off around 8.30 a.m. and resumed after 8 p.m. It became very difficult for people sitting at home to pass their time. A worker of the Mohali Satellite network told Chandigarh Tribune that a number of people kept ringing up the office and asking why cable TV was not being provided. Some of them even got annoyed and wanted to lodge a protest. He said though the cable networks had no problem with the local Municipal Council, the signal was switched off from Chandigarh.



Encroachments removed on HC order, says Admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Chandigarh Administration has said that encroachments in Dadu Majra village and other parts of the city were removed under the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Also a petition filed by the Sarv Dharam Committee for exempting the religious structures from demolition was dismissed by the court on March 7.

The Administration has also constituted a core committee to go into all encroachments to evolve an action plan that can be presented and discussed by the Advisory Council. The citizens group will also submit a list of recommendations for consideration to ensure that a solid foundation is laid for the future.

A spokesperson said keeping in view the directions of the High Court, prior notices were served for the removal of the encroachments to all parties and the public was also informed through press releases in different newspapers. The court had also called the Home Secretary and other senior officers of the Chandigarh Administration on February 21 and inquired as to why the removal of all encroachments on the dividing road of Sectors 24-25, as well as road leading to the dumping ground in Dadu Majra and the repair of wall in Sector 25 by the authority concerned, was not done in spite of the undertaking of the counsel given in the court on the last date.

It was also desired by the court that a status report be filed, mentioning the progress of the action plan prepared by the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, before the court on March 7. Keeping in view above facts the anti-encroachment drive was carried out on April 26, peacefully. The spokesman further clarified that no discrimination was done in the removal of encroachments on the basis of religion, sect or individual.

The UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), while interacting with a delegation of prominent citizens yesterday, apprised them of the compulsions on the issue of removal of encroachments in view of the order of the court. He said that the Administration had a great respect and reverence for all religions and wanted to help the people of Chandigarh in every way.



City doctors rank 2, 3 in IAS list
Tribune News Service

    Sumedha (68)         Radha Katyal (107)

Ritu Sharma (188)          Ravikant (193)

Smriti Goyal (251)      Manoj Kumar (393)

Chandigarh, May 11
Consistent hard work and focused study has helped two doctors from the city to make it to the top ranks of the prestigious Indian Administrative Services (IAS) after the results of the UPSC (Mains) were declared today. In all, more than 14 candidates from the city achieved success in the UPSC exam.

Dr Basant Garg, in his first attempt was placed second in the All-India merit list and Dr Gaurav Uppal, in his last attempt was ranked third.

Exuberant after achieving what few have achieved, even after repeated attempts, Dr Garg said he had made up his mind of clearing India’s most prestigious exam three years ago and opted for medical sciences and zoology as his main subjects. ``For the past three years, I have been extremely focused in my approach. I have consistently put in 12 to 14 hours of focussed study every day to achieve my aim,’’ said the delighted doctor at his residence in Sector 49 today.

Son of a bank manager, Dr Garg’s mother works as a zoology lecturer at Dev Samaj College, Ferozepur. He did his schooling from St Joseph’s, Ferozepur and studied pre-medical in DAV College Sector 10, Chandigarh. In December 2004, he completed his MBBS from Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Sector 32.

Internal brain drain?

With doctors joining the administrative services, many raise their eyebrows on the increasing trend of ``internal brain drain.’’ However, the two successful medicos from the city called the shift ``an individual’s choice.’’ ``One has to assess in which field he or she can utilise his talents the best. Moreover, administrative services have a broader scope,’’ said Dr Garg. Dr Uppal said, ``IAS is the best job to serve the nation.’’ 

His senior at GMCH, but a rank below in the final list is Dr Gaurav Uppal, who in his fourth attempt finished third. An alumnus of GMSSS, Sector 22 here, Dr Uppal is presently working as Medical officer, ESI Dispensary, Pinjore. ``I have been preparing for the exam for the past three years. But I am very happy that the efforts have bore fruits ultimately,’’ he said.

Another doctor from the city, Dr Ravikant , in his maiden attempt is placed 193rd on the merit list. Currently he is doing his MBA from Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Lucknow. He too completed his MBBS from GMCH-32.

Mandeep Brar, a Law student of Panjab University is ranked 60th on the final list. Sumedha, an MCom and doing her PhD in commerce from PU is placed 68 and Radha Katyal, LL B and B A opted for psychology and sociology in her Mains to achieve a rank of 107.

Kumar Gaurav in his first attempt was placed 228 and Smriti Goyal has secured the 251st rank. Ritu Sharma 188, Anshuman Sharma 222, Mahesh Thakur 404 and Manoj 393 are the other successful candidates.



City lad makes it to IPS
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 11
It was a dream come true for Maneesh Chaudhary (24), son of a Haryana cadre IAS officer, Ms Meenakshi Anand Choudhary, when he got selected to the Indian Police Services (IPS). He has secured 96th rank in the Civil Services Examination.

His father Dr J.L. Choudhary retired as Director General Health Service, Haryana. Dr Choudhary also served in the Chandigarh Administration.

City-based Maneesh did his schooling from St Anne’s school, Sector 32. Then he did Electronics Engineering from Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala, and he even got a job offer from DCS, Tata Consultancy Services. But he refused the offer because he wanted to make it to the civil services.

Apart from his mother, his aunts, Keshni Anand Arora and Urvashi Gulati are also IAS officers. Mr Naresh Gulati, husband of Mrs Gulati is also an IAS officer. Maneesh says he always wanted to pursue the same line. While giving credit for his success to his maternal grandfather, J.C. Anand, he said, “He is the one who has taught me. He is 80-year-old now and he has been always giving me nuggets of wisdom. For Maneesh, his mother, who is Secretary, Sports and Youth Affairs, Government of India, has been his inspiration. She is the one who instilled loads of confidence in him.

Now finally when he has achieved success, he feels relieved as his deep desire has found satisfaction.



Chandigarh to feature in light-and-sound programme
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, may 11
In an interesting development, Chandigarh is going to feature on the reputed Light and Sound, programme of the India Tourism Development Corporation(ITDC) as part of a project recently sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Tourism.

This is the first time that a city which developed during the modern times has been chosen to be a subject for the show which focussed on jewels from the Indian history. The programme till date has been associated with ensemble of historically striking personalities and places from pages of history usually shown in the resounding environs of Red Fort, Delhi, Golcunda Fort, Hyderabad and Chittorgarh in Rajasthan, besides others.

The special project on the city is being shaped under the directions of Mrs Chandni Luthra, vice president of the India Tourism Development Corporation. Mrs Luthra confirmed the project while talking to The Tribune and said that she had got a go-ahead signal from the UT Administration. The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned a grant of Rs 1.78 crore for the project.

Mrs Luthra has worked out the preliminary details of the undertaking and expects the final product to land on screen by January, 2006.

“We have experimented successfully with stories on Padmini, Maharana Pratap, Vivekananda and several others borrowed from the golden moments of our past.

Chandigarh is a new city and distinctively very different from all cities in the country. I wanted the people to know about its past and link it to the current and its future”.

The ITDC currently has about 10 light and sound shows in its treasure. At least 10 more are currently under study, being revised or nearly complete, including Swami Vivekananda, Chandigarh, Kumbadgarh, Haridwar, Sarnath and Hampi.

Mrs Luthra had a round of different locales in the city to suggest the best option for staging this show. She feels that the compound of the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, was the best available choice.

“The area is comparatively secluded. There is plenty of open space and silence to suit our requirements. Food counters can be also be an interesting addition”.

The producer said that the idea behind these shows was info-entertainment. “Solid information was woven in the text of interesting stories to attract audience interest in history. These shows are immensely popular. The 45-minute odd film on Chandigarh will attempt to trace the history of the land through commentary old villages and people”.

She said “she will first go to people like Mr M.N Sharma and Mr Aditya Prakash who worked on implementation of Le Corbusier’s project. They can tell us about the original places that were occupied and the culture of the land then. There were certain other architects considered for taking up project before Corbusier came into the picture. The city museum can provide stories about the people here. This is a city of people from different cultures located at the doorway to the cultures of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. I will make an attempt to incorporate the changing trends in city life because of coming in of the corporate sector.”



Four-laning of four national highways on the anvil
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Financial savvy is no longer the mantra of corporate sector. In order to get maximum value for money, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has decided to complete the four laning of four national highways in the North on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.

The widening on the Ambala-Zirakpur, the Chandigarh-Kiratpur, the Amritsar-Pathankot, and the Jalandhar-Amritsar sections of various national highways in North India will be taken up on a BOT basis. A total of about 300 km of road widening works will be undertaken at an estimated cost of over Rs 650 crore. These projects have been recently approved by the Union Government under Phase III of the National Highway Development Programme (NHDP).

Senior officials said bids for a portion of the Jalandhar-Amritsar section of National Highway-1 (of the 69 km to be four laned, 49 km length is being taken up) have been received by the ministry. Tenders for the four laning of the Ambala-Zirakpur (National Highway 22 and about 30 km in length) have already been floated, and once approved, the widening work on this highway will be undertaken. Officials say that tenders for the Chandigarh- Kiratpur section of National Highway 21 (73 km length) and the Amritsar-Pathankot section of National Highway 15 (100 km in length) will be floated later.

Other than the four above mentioned highways, the four laning of the Zirakpur- Kalka highway (about 20 km) will also be undertaken next year on a BOT basis. The four laning project will also include the construction of a by-pass to Pinjore and Kalka towns.

Officials say that a panel of entrepreneurs under various categories has been set up, on the basis of base cost of implementation of each project. The tenders are being allotted not just for the feasibility study, construction, operation or maintainance, but for all these to one party. The bidders have been allowed to bid either as private parties or through a consortium, it is learnt.

These four laning projects are part of over 20 projects for four-laning of 10,000 km of various National Highways, that were selected for execution on BOT basis.

The contract length to be awarded varies from 30 to 100 km.

The scope of work includes rehabilitation and upgradation of the existing two-lane section to a four lane divided carriageway, rehabilitation of existing pavements, construction of bridges, culverts, road inter-sections, inter-changes and drains.



UT skyline for sale
Murder of a legacy & beginning without an end
Ved P. Venayak

When India attained Independence in 1947, the division of Punjab left Lahore in Pakistan and Chandigarh was conceived in a time of crisis. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who selected the site of Chandigarh in 1948 was of the view that the city should be a symbol of nation’s faith in the future. Charles Edouard Jeanneret (commonly called Le Corbusier), the “icon of European architectural modernism”, was invited to help remake India’s national ideal. As many as 28,000 acres of land was acquired, displacing 58 villages and 21,000 people. Le Corbusier was commissioned to design Chandigarh in November, 1950, and in October, 1953, Chandigarh was formally opened by Prime Minister Nehru. In April, 1964, Le Corbusier made his last and 23rd trip to India.

The Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952 and the Building Rules, 1952 were enacted in relation to the development and regulation of the new capital of Punjab. The first major test of these laws came when The Tribune dated April 30, 1960, reported that the Defence Minister was planning to purchase from the Government of Punjab about 2000 acres of land on the northern side of Sukhna land for about Rs 29 lakh for building a military cantonment. Le Corbusier wrote to Nehru that he could not “permit this decision which would ruin the town planning principles of Chandigarh.” On November 4, 1960, Pandit Nehru directed Chief Minister Kairon to not to “overrule Corbusier” as “his opinion is of value.”

Vikramaditya Prakash in “Chandigarh’s Le Corbusier” sites that a ten franc bill issued by the Swiss Government had Le Corbusier’s portrait on it with superimposed layers of Le Corbusier’s elevation of the Secretariat building at Chandigarh on it. Clearly, as Prakash put it, the Swiss were not commemorating on Indian building, “They were reclaiming what they perceived to be their own legitimate Swiss heritage.” Our national pride was thus shared by the Swiss too. In the words of Norma Evenson, author of “Chandigarh,” the basic idiom of Chandigarh was established at the beginning as an architecture of one or two storey brick houses built in terrace formation. She adds that in order to control the character of development, a system of zoning plans showing graphically building lines, building zones, protected areas, trees and so on were to form part of the legal conveyance of land as binding on the buyer as the building bylaws. A covered roof sheltered called a barasti was the top floor. The two storey height of government and private houses to house a single family was the norm in all the separate zoning plans made under the 1952 rules.

Ravi Kalia in “Chandigarh — The Making of an Indian City” states that among some of the other problems of the Chandigarh region, the regional plan report lists fast — depleting underground water resources which have so far provided the primary source of water to the city, soil erosion and flooding along rivers in the vicinity, shortages in housing and office space, poor communications and road links and the deteriorating ecological balance of the region with rapid industralisation. He states that these developments started long ago, but as long as Le Corbusier lived, he fought hard to preserve the character of the city that he had planned. Nearly, 10 years after starting work on Chandigarh, he wrote to Pandit Nehru: “The construction of the capital and its lateral elements has brought to Chandigarh such a marvellous landscape which no city in the world possesses. Let us not destroy it.”

What is happening today. The landscape of the city is fast being changed by the UT Administration. It is encouraging builders, colonisers and property brokers to build apartments or flats. The old residential houses are being demolished and reconstructed as apartments which will be sold at exorbitant prices to those who can afford them. The increased number of family units in one dwelling house will multiply by at least three. All amenities and public facilities will remain the same. The biggest victims will be drainage and sewerage. Water and electricity are already scarce. The depleting water table will sink further. The legacy of Le Corbusier will be dishonoured and the city will be ruined. Who will build another Chandigarh? If we cannot commemorate the memory of Le Corbusier by keeping this unique city intact, let us atleast not plunder it to builders and brokers. The legacy was not meant to be murdered.

The most befitting conclusion to Chandigarh can be found in the following words of Norma Evenson who authored “Chandigarh” and it reads in the following style. “In the final analysis, a city is not the creation of its planners: it is the creation of its keeping through time. A city planner is not God and cannot bring life into existence, and, however, much he might have wished it, Le Corbusier could not turn a provincial Indian capital into another Paris. The cities we love were not planned for this, but have come to be loved through the workings of time, circumstance and perhaps just the right combination of luck and human destiny. At present, Chandigarh, represents a generous investment of courage and hope, of talent and devoted effort, and it will continue to require such investments. If Chandigarh is ever to become a true city, it will be only when its people have given it a history, when it has become free of its planners to acquire a destiny of its own. Ultimately, the people of Chandigarh must achieve the city they deserve.”

Both Le Corbusier and Pandit Nehru are no more. The legacy of the city and its proud place in Indian history is with the residents of the city. If we have to live in it, it has to be as it was conceived. Let us not watch its slow erosion and destruction by builders and brokers who will reduce it to buildings of glass, steel, bricks and stone. The beginning must end.

The writer, Member of British Empire, is a UK-based hotelier.



Planned development in UT periphery an uphill task: experts
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, May 11
The Punjab government will face a tough task in implementing the provisions of master plans envisaging the planned development of Zirakpur, Lalru and Kharar.

Town and country planning experts are of the opinion that the government will face the ire of the public and builders who have constructed housing colonies, flats and independent houses which will be declared as violations of the proposed master plan.

The experts term the government’s decision to develop Zirakpur, Lalru and Kharar as a case of “too little, too late”. They pointed out that the government had woken up from a deep slumber when almost all majority of the land falling within the jurisdiction of these townships had already been developed haphazardly.

Touted as the gateway to the City Beautiful, the Punjab Government has failed to develop Zirakpur on the pattern of Gurgaon and other cities of its neighbouring state, Haryana, the residents feel.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Sunil Banda, general manager of Silver City, a PUDA-approved housing colony, appreciated government’s move to develop Zirakpur, Kharar and Lalru as per master plans. He opined that though the decision was too late but will certainly yields positive results.

He claimed that the government must interconnect various colonies coming up in the Zirakpur so that volume of traffic on the “killer” Ambala-Kalka highway could be reduced to a great extent.

While welcoming the master plans for Zirakpur, Lalru and Kharar, Mr Vikas Singal, general secretary of the Real Estate Developers Association, NAC Zirakpur, said the government should stop approving building plans in these areas immediately and re-issue after formation of the master plans.

He also claimed that that the government should also lay down clear guidelines about constructions around various defence installations in these area.

Mr Pawan Bansal, Managing Director of Motiaz Constructions Limited, a Zirakpur-based construction company, felt that to develop Zirakpur according to a master plan was a difficult task. He claimed that about 65 per cent of the land belonging to the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat had already been developed.

Mr F.S. Nagra, president of the Commercial Welfare Association, Godown Area, Zirakpur, said the government had been blindfolded towards the planned development of Zirakpur even after five years of the formation of a Nagar Panchayat. This has converted this upcoming township virtually into a “big slum”.

Over seven housing colonies, approved by the Punjab Urban and Planning Development Authority (PUDA), have come up inside the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat limits till date. Besides this, over a dozen colonies, developed under the town planning schemes, have also come into existence, he added.

Interestingly, there are over 90 other such housing colonies which have neither sought approval from PUDA nor followed the guidelines of the town planning schemes. Mushrooming of such colonies on a large scale has caught the government napping since the formation of the civic body.

Enquiries from the general public revealed that none of the projects launched to provide basic civic amenities like sewerage, potable water and road network has been completed within the nagar panchayat area. A hospital, a college, schools, parks, a bus stand, community centres, playgrounds, a sewerage treatment plant are still a “pipe dream” for thousands of residents of the civic body.

Residents of the areas complain that in the absence of the master plans, the government has given a boost to unplanned construction bringing the role of local officials under a cloud.



Interference in removal of colonies condemned
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 11
The Citizens Welfare federation has condemned political interference in the removal of illegal colonies in and around the town.

At a meeting which was attended by representatives of various areas of the town, Mr B.S. Tej, president of the federation, said when the Chandigarh Administration could remove encroachments, even concerning religious places, on the directions of the Supreme Court why could not land worth crores of rupees be got retrieved in Mohali. He condemned political interference in this regard and said the population of the town which was around 2.5 lakh should not be ignored for looking after the interests of migrant labourers.

It was pointed out that the chowk near the illegal Jhotekut colony had become a death trap.

In an incident on April 23, three persons had lost their lives at this point while six had got injured. A footpath and a net ut up the near the chowk proved to be a traffic hindrance and resulted in accidents but the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) had taken no action to solve the problem. The federation demanded that buffaloes from the colony should be shifted elsewhere as pollution was created by residents of the colony.

Mr Albel Singh Shyan, secretary-general said a major portion of the area of Guru Nanak Colony, Phase X, which fell in the UT was got retrieved by the Chandigarh Administration. But the local officials were not removing the encroachments falling in Mohali even when so stay had been granted in this regard by any court. No action was being taken due to political interference. Illegal colonies had encroached upon land worth crores of rupees in the town which should be got vacated at the earliest.

The federation also demanded that parks in old sectors should be developed. It said that the administration should play some role in saving residents from being fleeced by cable TV operators. The charges were hiked without giving proper reasons.



Juvenile delinquents walk free for a day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
There was a time when the UT Administration had to take flak from the Punjab and Haryana High Court for being unable to respect the dignity of Juvenile Remand Home inmates.

A few years on, the state’s mindset towards welfare issues has pleasantly changed. No more are the inmates of such homes treated as “prisoners” meant to be condemned to a life of indignity and submission. A month ago, Nari Niketan residents had their date with City Beautiful. Today, it was the turn of 15 inmates from the Sector 15 Remand Home that functions under the aegis of the UT Social Welfare Department.

After years of “literal” incarceration, the boys got a chance to view the happenings in the outside world. They wished to visit some bookstores in town and they were taken to two. Accompanied by policemen who are supposed to escort them under the law, the delinquents visited Capital Book Store in Sector 17 before proceeding to Punjab Book Store in Sector 22. For once, there were no shackles to impede the flight of their imagination. Thrilled over the newfound freedom, the inmates rushed to grab their pick from the store.

And to everyone’s surprise, the books most of them chose were classics — the ones that inspire positive action and help build better futures. Leading the pack of selected books were those on self-improvement, also on literature by Munshi Prem Chand and Amrita Pritam.

Narrative texts like Jataka tales and Akbar-Birbal stories were also a great hit with the inmates, some of whom have been in the home for about three years. There were other boys who opted for a mixed pack of books like computer related, embroidery, craft and body building. Said one of the inmates, “These books will enable us to invest our time better. We have a library in the remand home where we can read these books.”

The library is being run in collaboration with Punjab National Bank. Not just that, the Remand Home inmates are also free to opt for any of the following vocational trainings being offered at the home — data entry operation, electrical trade, cutting and tailoring. Training is also being imparted in plumbing, with technical expertise by ITI.

Excited to be outside the home, the inmates celebrated every bit of their freedom. They were also treated to snacks by the host book store, besides being allowed to take their own time to select books.

Said Ms Madhavi Kataria, Director, Social Welfare, who accompanied the inmates to both the stores, “The idea is to implement the Juvenile Justice Act in letter and spirit. The Act is a progressive and proactive legislation which provides for care, protection and rehabilitation of the children in need. We are trying our best to make sense of the Act by helping the inmates develop their personality. Our endeavour is to make them better citizens.”



Just an accused, not a smuggler
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Reacting to a news-item “Israeli smuggler seeks probe against NCB officials” published in these columns on May 1, counsel for accused Lior Avi Ben Moyal has claimed that there was no evidence to justify that he was a “smuggler” and an “international drug trafficker”.

In a communication to The Tribune, the counsel has clarified that so far the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) has not filed challan against Moyal. As such, he was only an accused in the case. “It will be seen during the course of trial whether he is guilty, or has been falsely implicated,” he has added.

Claiming that the news-item has defamed Moyal “in the eyes of the general public”, the counsel has asserted that the report was likely to prejudice the minds of the judges and government servants dealing with the case.

“The news has (wrongly) given the impression that Moyal is a habitual violator of law and poses grave danger to the society and he has been earning his living through smuggling. As such, he is an accused in a number of cases of smuggling in various countries,” he has stated, adding that he was not aware of any other criminal case against Moyal regarding smuggling.

The counsel has also objected to his name being carried in the news-report. This, he has asserted, was in violation of the specific instructions issued by the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana. The name, he has concluded, was used without his consent.

Tribune News Service replies:
The prefix “alleged” should have been used before the word “smuggler”. The counsel’s name was carried because the complaint against the NCB officials was forwarded by him to the Chandigarh Administration.



Govt depts to file IT returns electronically
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Income Tax Department has asked all government agencies, which deduct tax from salaries of their employees, to file their annual returns electronically and do away with paper filing of returns. Four agencies have been designated for the purpose of facilitating filing of returns electronically.

The due date of filing of TDS returns for financial year 2004-05 is June 30. The IT authorities said quoting of the 10-digit alpha numeric TAN numbers in all returns is mandatory and no returns would be accepted without TAN. No returns in paper format of government departments will be accepted by the Income Tax Department, said Ms Promilla Bhardawaj, Commissioner of Income Tax.

For filing of TDS returns in an electronic format four facilitation centres are: Messers Alankit Assignments Ltd, SCO No 16-17, ground floor, Sector 34-A, Chandigarh; Messers Karvy Consultants Ltd, SCO No 371-372, Sector 35-B, Chandigarh; Messers Shell Transource Ltd, Plot No 48, Industrial Area Phase-II, Ram Darbar and Messers Integrated Enterprises (I) Ltd, SCO No 80-81-82, Sector 34-A, Chandigarh.

The IT authorities have also asked all drawing and disbursing officers and heads of offices of Central and state government departments to file their returns at electronic format. Detailed instructions are available at the Income Tax Department website www.incometaxindia.gov.in.

Under the new procedure, the government departments deducting tax shall be required to file quarterly statements under Section 200 (3) for the periods ending on June 30, September 30, December 31 and March 31 in each financial year.



Poll for MC vice-chief tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 11
Elections to the post of senior vice - president and vice - president of the local Municipal Council are likely to be held after the general house meeting of the civic body scheduled to be held on May 13.

It is learnt that there are two councillors, Mr S.S. Barnala, and Mr Surjit Singh Garewal, in the race for the post of the senior vice-president. Initially even Mrs Inderjit Kaur and Mr B.B. Bhushan Maini were interested in the post. The term of Mr Phoolraj Singh as senior vice-president and Mr Amrik Singh as vice-president ended on March 10.

Estimates for development works worth Rs 1 crore would be put up at the meeting of the civic body. Another proposal to be discussed was the salary amount of about Rs 72,000 to be paid to 28 employees who had been employed for one month for carrying out a survey in connection with municipal elections to be held later during the year. The issue to hike water and sewerage cess in the town would also be discussed.



28 sacks of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 11
The police has seized 28 sacks of poppy husk during a raid late last night and arrested two persons in this regard.

According to Mr Rakesh Agrawal SP, the arrested persons were Zorawar Singh, a resident of Sohana and Amarjeet Singh, a resident of Mamupur village. During questioning, the two admitted that they had brought the poppy husk from Shahbad Markanda in Haryana.

The SP said poppy husk was allegedly seized from a dhaba at Tangori village by Mr Devinder Singh, SHO of the Sohana police station. The SHO had laid a naka at Saneta village when he got information that a truck carrying poppy husk was allegedly parked at New Jamindara Dhaba in Tangori village. It was alleged that the truck was parked there by Kesar Singh, a resident of Surtapur, village and Amarjeet Singh. The SHO was told that the poppy husk allegedly belonged to the owner of the dhaba, Zorawar Singh.

A raid was conducted on the dhaba and the truck was found parked there along with an Esteem and a Tata Sumo. The Esteem car belonged to Zorawar Singh while the owner of Tata Sumo was Karnail Singh, a resident of Manauli village. The SP said that two sacks of poppy husk were allegedly recovered from both the cars while 21 sacks were seized from the truck. As many as five sacks were found hidden under pieces of wood at the back of the dhaba. While the police was able to nab two persons, the other two managed to escape in the dark.

The police has registered a case under Section 15 of the NDPS Act in this regard.



Bid to defraud bank of Rs 6 lakh
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 11
A Jalandhar resident produced a fake guarantor to dupe Punjab and Sind Bank, Sector 34, of Rs 6 lakh. The fraud was detected when a bank official sent notice to Saroop Singh, the guarantor, after the loanee stopped depositing the instalments, only to learn that his name was used to defraud the bank.

The local police arrested the accused loanee, Sukhwinder Singh, from his residence last night in Jalandhar, while the other “guarantor” is at large. Sukhwinder was produced before a local court today, which remanded him to police custody till May 13.

The police has registered a case of cheating under various Sections of the IPC against Sukhwinder Singh, a resident of Sansarpur village, in Jalandhar district, after a complaint was filed by Saroop Singh, who is a resident of Dhanoli village in Patiala district.

Inspector Ishwar Singh Mann, the investigation officer, told Chandigarh Tribune that Sukhwinder Singh had raised a loan of Rs 6 lakh to open a restaurant in Panchkula, from Punjab and Sind Bank, Sector 34, in 2003. He showed one Saroop Singh as a guarantor to his loan and also submitted documents to mortgage land belonging to Saroop Singh. The bank official realised the fraud when Sukhwinder stopped depositing the instalments. The bank ultimately sent a notice to Saroop Singh, whose land was mortgaged. Surprised at the notice from the bank, Saroop Singh, in his reply to the notice, informed the bank that he did not know anything about the loan and his name was used to defraud the bank.

After this, the bank official and Saroop Singh filed a complaint to the police in February this year. The police conducted an inquiry into the matter and registered a case against the accused.

Police sources said they were looking for the person who signed himself as Saroop Singh and mortgaged the land to the bank. They were also in search of a past and the present municipal councillor of Dera Bassi, who had identified the person impersonating as Saroop Singh in the court.



Minor held on theft charge
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 11
The police today arrested a minor boy on theft charge.

Mr Furkaan Ahmed reported to the police that a 16-year-old boy of Mani Majra stole Rs 2,500 and one mobile phone from his residence during the night of May 6.

The complainant found stolen property in the house of the boy and informed the police. The police arrested 16-year-old and recovered two stolen mobile phones from his possession. A case of theft has been registered and the accused was later sent to juvenile house.

Cash stolen

Mr Beant Singh of Phase X, Mohali, lodged a complaint with the police that Rs 1 lakh were stolen from his Indica car parked at the backside of Municipal Corporation Office in Sector 17, yesterday. He informed the police that the thief broke the windshield of the car. A case of theft has been registered.

Ganja seized

The police arrested Shambhu Nath of Daria village with 2 kg of ganja from the same village, yesterday. A case under NDPS Act has been registered.

Purse snatched

Ms Anupama Khanna of Sector 27-D reported to the police that two unidentified scooterists (CHS-6699) snatched her purse containing Rs 5,000 and an ATM card of HDFC Bank while she was going on a rickshaw on Sector 20-21 dividing road, last night. A case has been registered in the Sector 19 police station.


Mr Anuraj Dhuja reported to the police that Rs 1,000 and a mobile phone were stolen from his residence during day time, yesterday. The police has registered a case of burglary under Section 380, IPC.

Motor cycle stolen

Mr Sohan Singh of Sector 28-B filed a complaint to the police that his Bajaj Caliber motor cycle (CH-03-H-2747) was stolen from Sector 44 market place, yesterday. A case of theft has been registered at the Sector 34 police station.



Traders hail SAIL gesture
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, May 11
The Panchkula district unit of the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry has hailed the Steel Authority of India for facilitating the supply of steel by the Panchkula consumers from their Chandigarh depot.

A special meeting of the chamber was held here in which SAIL was represented by Mr Aggarwal, cluster head of the Chandigarh region.

SAIL assured of the uniterrupted supply of steel at prevalent rates throughout the year from Chandigarh with the statutory payment of CST.

Secretary of the unit Vishnu Goyal said earlier Panchkula industry houses could procure steel only from the authorised sales outlet for Haryana consumers at Faridabad, incurring heavy freight charges, or from the open market at exorbitant rates.

Former state president of the chamber C.B. Goyal said SAIL had been earlier concentrating on the needs of the heavy industrial houses. It had now realised the potential in the small-scale industry as well. He welcomed the initiative SAIL for ensuring supply of 600 tonnes of steel to the consumers in Panchkula district alone.

District chamber president Satish Gupta and finance secretary Parveen Aggrawal, referring to the meeting of Chamber with the Haryana CM, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, advocated the empowerment of the small-scale industry (SSI) in Panchkula on the lines of Gurgaon and Faridabad so as to serve the interests of the state.


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