C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Property dealer, official nexus deepens
Now sale of land in Pocket No 11
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The alleged property dealer-official nexus in the sale of the prime acquired land in the Pocket Nos. 2 and 11 of Mani Majra is getting murkier with each passing day.

Close on the heels of the alleged sale of the acquired land in Pocket No. 2 on the general power of attorney (GPA), fresh cases of outright sale of land in Pocket No. 11 have come to light. In fact, the sale deeds had been registered in the office of the Sub-Registrar, bringing the role of certain revenue officials under a cloud.

Documents in the possession of Chandigarh Tribune revealed that at least three sale deeds were registered by the Sub-Registrar between February 1996 and May 1998, allegedly in violation of the rules.

In the first case, Mr Ajmer Singh sold his two-and-a-half marla plot to Mr Om Parkash for a consideration of Rs 25,000 on February 5, 1996. Similarly, Ms Raj Kumari sold a plot to Mr Bajrang Gupta in Pipliwala town for a consideration of Rs 1 lakh on May 6, 1998.

The land in these pockets was reportedly acquired by the Chandigarh Administration in the early nineties. However, in the subsequent years, certain unscrupulous property dealers, allegedly in connivance with revenue officials, sold the land either through GPA or sale deeds.

Meanwhile, the president of the Federation of Lawyers Against Corruption (FOLAC), Mr Arvind Thakur, who blew the lid off the alleged scam recently, today reiterated the demand for a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities.

Earlier, in a representation to the UT Administrator, Mr Thakur had alleged that a property dealer-official nexus was operating with regard to the prime land, which was just at a stone’s throw from the Chandigarh-Kalka road. There is a large-scale construction in the area and a large number of residents had reportedly constructed houses after purchasing the land through the GPA and sale deeds, he alleged.

The sale of the land acquired by the Administration was not possible without the knowledge of the senior revenue officials. While the officials had been let off, innocent persons, who were victims of the officials and property dealers, were being harassed by the police, he alleged.



95,000 children given polio drops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
More than 95,000 children below the age of five years were administered polio drops in the first day of the pulse polio campaign here today. Following the trend of the previous campaign, the response from the southern sectors was more enthusiastic today as compared to the northern sectors campaign.

According to UT Health department officials, the city was divided into three zones and 410 stationary booths were set up. In all 51 mobile booths catered to high risk areas, construction sites and roadside dwellers for the administration of the drops.

More than 1800 health workers from all government hospitals in the city were engaged in the campaign.

Personnel from the Health Department, Social Welfare Department, medical students and interns from the city hospitals and NGOs like the Rotary and the Lions club helped during the campaign.

Earlier during the day, Home Secretary-cum-Health Secretary, Mr Krishan Mohan along with UT Director, Health Services, Dr C.P. Bansal, and District Family Welfare Officer, Dr S.K. Garg, visited Bapu Dham Colony, Madrasi Colony, Sanjay Colony, Colony No 4, Colony No 5, Sector 45, Indira Colony, Mani Majra and Mauli Jagran to supervise the activities.

“While the polio drops have been administered in the camps today, on Monday and Tuesday the health workers would be going to the houses of the residents in the door to door campaign so that maximum children are given the life saving drops,’’ said a senior health department official.

Since 2002, there has been no positive case of polio in the city.

The Ranbaxy Community Healthcare Society also organised a pulse polio camp and administered the drops to 481 children at Mohali.



Immunisation drive
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 15
As many as 10, 067 children up to five years of age were immunized during the first day of the pulse polio immunisation drive in urban part of Mohali. According to the doctors monitoring the drive, 66 posts had been set up in the city. The door-to-door campaign would be carried out from tomorrow.



Admn plans a blast for slum children
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The UT Administration is buying some colour to brighten up the dull lives of children from underprivileged sections. After long last, it has proposed a special social initiative meant to educate slum children who have hardly had the taste of fun-filled moments.

The initiative is inspired by the vision: “To every child a childhood” and it promises a world of entertainment to those who have no clue to what the outside world looks like. It will be a step towards facilitating achievement of right to development and right to participation in consonance with the UN Convention on Rights of the Child.

At the heart of the activity will be Bal Bhavan in Sector 23, which is proposed to be made the centre of children related activities. The thrust will be on educational games, special mechanised toys and cartoon characters. The target beneficiaries will be children from various anganwari centres where children from lower strata come.

Speaking about the effort, Director, Social Welfare, UT, Ms Madhavi Kataria, the brain behind the move said today: “We will bring in CITCO vehicles to ferry children daily from four centres. We have 300 centres with 50 children each. Bal Bhavan will be made attractive so as to create a parallel entertainment centre for children from poor families. They have long been deprived of their right to participation in social life.”

To begin with, Bal Bhavan will have special features on the lines of Sukhna Lake. The Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW), CITCO and Department of Tourism will ensure that ticketing is subsidised. The unused area adjacent to Dolls Museum is also proposed to be upgraded by the addition of laughing mirrors and a huge size electric globe.

Yet another plan is to use the Bal Bhavan auditorium for screening children’s films. In fact, Children’s Film Society may be started in the city by ICCW and annual children’s festival be organised. The Children’s Film Society of India is as such providing films free of cost for screening.

Another interesting thing to note is the proposal to make the existing Dolls Museum more informative by adding respective maps and its main features of the countries along with a proper display of their dolls. In the games section, mechanized toys and bouncing cartoon characters will rule the roost. 



One killed in highway mishap
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, May 15
One person died and two others sustained injuries, in two separate accidents on the Zirakpur-Lalru stretch of the busy Kalka-Ambala highway in last 24 hours.

Mr Vikramjit Singh, a resident of Ward No 10 of Dera Bassi Municipal Council, died when his Esteem car collided with a Tata 407 truck (HR-68-0338) in front of Hotel Bristol in wee hours today.

An employee of the ICICI bank, Mr Vikramjit Singh was on his way to Dera Bassi from Chandigarh when the accident occurred at about 2.30 am.

According to eyewitnesses, the Tata 407 truck was coming towards the highway after downloading some goods at the hotel when the mishap took place. Passers-by informed the police and the injured was extricated from the mangled remains of the car. Seriously injured Vikramjit Singh was then rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, where doctors declared him brought dead.

The driver of the truck is said to have fled from the scene.

The body was handed over to the family after post-mortem examination at Civil Hospital, Rajpura, this evening. The police has initiated an inquest proceeding in the case.

In another accident, two Jagadhri-based youth — Guneet Sodhi and his friend were injured when their motor cycle collided with a Maruti car on the highway near Lalru on Saturday morning.

The injured were later admitted to a hospital in Mohali. The police has booked the car driver but no arrest has been made as yet.



Passing Thru

What is keeping you busy these days?

At present I am associated with an NGO and helping it in raising funds for physically challenged children. Most of these children are denied even medical treatment. The association is working on the project for the past four years and it is very close to my heart.

Tina Chhatwal
Tina Chhatwal,
former Miss India and Ms Asia Pacific, 2002 

Why modelling is not seen as a respectable profession?

Sometimes small happenings bring a bad name to the profession. Every profession has its drawbacks also. But it entirely depends on how to make choices. I have seen many girls making compromise to reach at the top but that doesn’t mean that everyone is like that. Now I will never accept a role in movie like ‘Sheesha’.

Any suggestions for the aspiring models?

I must say that they should not follow this glamour world blindly. It is not an easy profession and a lot of hard work is required. Moreover, it is a short-lived profession and one must have good education to fall back upon.

— Swarleen Kaur



SSP asked to probe police role in accident victim’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the local SSP to probe the alleged negligence of certain police officials in the death of Mahipal, a resident of Naya Gaon village, in an accident in January this year.

The brother of the deceased, Mr Ram Din, had moved the NHRC demanding action against the erring police officials and a compensation Rs 20 lakh from the state exchequer.

A cyclist, Mahipal, was knocked down by a Maruti car near the Batra Cinema on January 29 around 8.30 p.m and sustained serious head injuries. While Mahipal was shifted to the PGI in a police control room (PCR) vehicle, he was allegedly dropped in the hospital corridor as “unknown.”

Mr Ram Din had alleged that though deceased’s identity card with telephone number was found by the police personnel yet his relatives were informed after 22 hours. In the absence of proper medicare, Mahipal succumbed to his injuries.

Had the family been informed in time, his life could have been saved as Naya Gaon was about 1 km from the PGI, his brother had claimed.

Mr Ram Din also alleged that when the Sector 39 SHO was approached for the registration of a case against the erring police officials, he was intimidated.

Blaming the callous attitude of the police personnel, the applicant had also demanded an interim compensation of Rs 5 lakh for deceased’s family comprising his wife and two minor children.



Indian pigeons popular in Pak
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
It may appear incredible. But it is true. In Pakistan, a pair of racing pigeons fetches a price of Rs 1 lakh. Indian breeds, which are known as Jalandhari, Ferozepuri or Rampuri fetch maximum price in Pakistan.

In fact, Pakistanis, crazy about racing pigeons, try hard to avail of Indian pigeons through Sharjah, Dubai and other Arab countries. There are hundreds of pigeon-flying clubs in the whole of Pakistan. Pigeon breeding is a big business worth several crores in Pakistan. And most of the big names of Pakistani industry have stakes in the business. In fact, rivalries among businessmen clearly reflect in pigeon-flying contests.

Nayab Haider Naqvi, President of the All Pakistan Pigeon Flying Association, says Jalandhari and Ferozepuri pigeons are as popular in Pakistan like Indian actors. Professional as well as fancy breeders in Pakistan have a strong desire to tie-up with Indians, especially those breeders, who develop Jalandhari and Ferozepuri pigeons, he says. These two breeds have been rated among the best. The winner is normally between the two, with crores on stakes. Every year, Pakistan exports these birds worth several crores to Sheikhs in Gulf countries. In recent years, even the US has emerged as a major importer of pigeons from Pakistan.

Mr Naqvi says last year pigeons worth Rs 5 crore were exported to the US. “The improving relations between India and Pakistan should also bring birds as well as their breeders close”, he says.

Most of the pigeon-flying contests are held in Lahore, Kasur and Sialkot. On stakes are stylish imported cars for the first three positions.

“At least, 20 cars, besides 200 motor cycles are given to the winners. Contests are held mostly in September and October when the weather is comparatively pleasant”, says Mr Naqvi.

There are one-day, five-day and seven day contests. When asked to explain Mr Naqvi said that “We keep the count of time spent every day by each pigeon while flying”. One-day break is given to birds in five and seven day matches.

It does not end here. There are team events as well as individual races.

“Pigeon breeding is a very costly affair. Besides grains of various sorts, pigeons are also given vitamins and almonds etc”, he adds. There are hundreds of “ustads” who train people in pigeon breeding as well as in flying contests.



Army procuring avalanche victim detectors
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
With a view to enhancing the search and rescue capabilities of formations deployed in hazardous, snow-bound areas, the Army is in the process of procuring a large number of Avalanche Victim Detectors (AVD).

According to sources, the Army has initially projected a requirement of about 7,500 AVDs to equip troops operating in avalanche-prone areas. AVD are used to detect victims buried in snow.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) recently developed an indigenous AVD and this version is reportedly being considered by the Army, though it is also examining other models available, sources said.

According to a DRDO scientist, an AVD is a light-weight and portable battery-powered electronic gadget consisting of two small units. Transmitters carried by soldiers send out electronic directional signals which are captured by a receiving unit. The direction and location of the transmitters can be pin-pointed by the receiver. The model developed by the DRDO weighs about 40 gm and can detect victims buried in snow up to a depth of about 5 metres.

For troops deployed in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in Siachen and the Dras-Kargil sector, snow is a potential hazard. While soldiers have to be wary of deep cervices hidden by fresh snow in Siachen, large tracts along the Line of Control and other areas in the Kargil sector is avalanche prone. Avalanche and weather are the biggest killers in this region.

The Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment, another DRDO laboratory based here, compiled an avalanche atlas for Jammu and Kashmir in the aftermath of Operation Vijay in 1999. Based on ground recce, snowfall pattern and geological studies, the atlas identified avalanche- prone spots in the region.

"The best protection against avalanches is to avoid avalanche-prone areas," a DRDO scientist said. "However, there are circumstances and operational commitments when these cannot be avoided," he added. Pointing out that there can also be instances where an avalanche may occur in a relatively safe area, as seen during the unprecedented snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir this year, the scientist said in such situations, it was always preferable to have additional safety measures.



Encroachments cleared by HUDA resurface
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 15
Inspite of the best efforts made by the Enforcement staff of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to clear encroachments, their efforts have seemingly gone down the drain. The encroachments removed by the HUDA staff resurface within a few hours.

Last night, HUDA staff had cleared the Sectors 7/8/ 17/ 18 and Sectors 10/ 11/ 14/15 roundabouts and Sector 7 market from encroachments by fruit sellers. Other than the HUDA staff, a posse of policemen were deployed for removing the fruit sellers and about 50 rehris were also seized.

However, within an hour of the completion of the drive the rehris were back. Till as late as 11 pm, about 60-odd fruit sellers continued to stand at the chowks and attract customers. Similarly, the jhuggis cleared by the enforcement staff in Sectors 3 and 21 are back. So are the scrap dealers on the road dividing Sector 17 and Rajiv Colony. The corridors of various markets, cleared by HUDA from time to time, have again been encroached upon by shopkeepers for displaying their wares.

Though the Estate Office has blamed the Engineering Wing of HUDA for failing to take possession of the land reclaimed from the encroachers, little has been done to ensure that encroachments do not resurface. The authorities here will do well to take lessons from neighbouring Chandigarh and Mohali where special efforts are made to ensure that encroachments do not resurface.

While Mohali has succeeded in ensuring that no new slum colonies develop in its area by constructing a wall on the boundary with UT, the Chandigarh Administration builds barricades around the reclaimed land. At various places in Chandigarh, plantations have been undertaken on reclaimed land.

Mr V.K. Kapoor, councillor from Sector 17, says that in Panchkula, too, similar efforts have to be made if encroachments have to be removed on a permanent basis. “Otherwise, all efforts made by the administration will go waste. The jhuggis not only present the ugly face of the city, many migrants living here are responsible for criminal activities,” he says.



UT skyline for sale
Apartments have become a necessity
Subhash Chand Jindal

The skyline appears to have no limit when we look around the world and its metros. What should be the skyline in Chandigarh? Such a question in isolation cannot provide a legitimate answer. Should the city be converted into a metro merely because its officials and advisors will earn all-round appreciation? Prices of residential property are touching new heights every day because of wrong policies of the administration. Thousands of bona fide residents have not been able to own a house due to a faulty system of allotment of land. Due to scarcity of land, housing problem has become grave and apartments have become a necessity. Still some related questions remain to be discussed.

  • Why the allotment of residential plots and houses cannot first be made among the bonafide residents of Chandigarh on priority so that every one may get a house at some time or the other?
  • Why prime housing land should be allocated for superspeciality projects like a technology park? How is a common man affected if such projects are set up 50 km away where there is no scarcity of land? Such projects will have all the infrastructural facilities.
  • Like new Mumbai why cannot there be a new Chandigarh, the idea of which was conceived by the Punjab Government a few years ago? It will ease the housing problem in the adjoining lands of Punjab and Haryana.
  • Why the sale/purchase of houses of one kanal and above should not be banned in the open market? In turn these houses should be repurchased by the Administration through enactment of a law and multi-storied flats should be erected. The government owes a responsibility to provide a house to every citizen.
  • Why floorwise partition should be allowed in all marla houses? One can imagine the gravity of parking problem in five marla and smaller houses.

In all I am of the view that apartments should come up by proper planning and optimum utilisation of land. The interest of the common man should be kept in mind and the basic character of the city should not be altered. Otherwise Chandigarh will no longer be the City Beautiful.

The writer is Assistant Manager, Central Bank of India, Chandigarh.



Cong men meet observers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
Meetings of two election observers for the in-house elections of the Congress continued, here yesterday. Delegations of councillors, ex-servicemen, Youth Congress and the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and other cells met the observers, Mr Raj Bahadur and Mr KVR Naidu.

While supporters from the camp of the local member of Parliament, Mr Pawan Bansal, stressed on the need to have a president of Mr Bansal’s choice, others put forth reasons for retaining Mr B.B. Behl as president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee.

Sources said a heated argument ensued between Mr Subhash Kataria and Mr Devinder Babla of the Bansal camp over the name of the next president of the Congress. However, both denied the incident, stating that the Bahl camp was over-stating a discussion within the group. “There is no question of any argument especially since the observers were right there,” Mr Babla stated.



Annual idol installation ceremony held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 15
More than 200 devotees took part in the ‘mangal kalash yatra’ which passed through Sector 32 this evening as part of an annual idol installation ceremony of Pracheen Sri Hanuman Mandir, Sector 32-A. The yatra was led by Ravinandan Shastri Ji. A week long Sri Ram Katha also began today at the temple Sri Sanatan Dharam Hari Mandir Sabha, according to Mr Raj Kumar Sharma, president of the sabha.

The Ram Katha Gyan Yagya will be held from May 16 to 21 ( 9 am to 12 noon and 4 p.m. to 7 pm daily). The sabha will also hold a Gayatri Mahayagya havan on May 22 followed by a ‘bhandara’ at 1 pm.



Yoga camp concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
A 15-day yoga camp concluded at the Chandigarh Press Club. It was sponsored by Dhanwantry Ayurvedic College and Dabur Dhanwantry Hospital, Sector, 46-B, Chandigarh. Yogacharya Balvinder Kumar, lecturer in yoga science of the college, conducted the camp.

In this camp jal neti, yoga postures, Pranayama and meditation was practised from 5.45 a.m. onto 7:00 a.m. Elementary knowledge of yogic practices and diet for the prevention of diseases was also given with special impact on stress- related diseases.

Dr. Sudhir Kumar, Dean academics, of the college said, “Yoga and meditation is the art of beautifying life. Rajyoga and Hathyoga is the most popular form of yoga presently being practiced all over the world.”



Bansal’s effigies burnt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The SC Morcha of the BJP today burnt effigies of the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, and a Congress councillor of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), Mr Surinder Singh, in Mani Majra.

Addressing the protesters, Mr Satya Pal Jain, former local MP, alleged that the UPA government had failed on every front and the citizens were groaning under the burden of rising prices and unemployment.



Training programme from May 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
A 10-day training programme for the members of zila parishad, panchayat samiti and gram panchayats in the UT will begin at the Centre for Research for Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) on May 17. The opening session will be inaugurated by the UT Administrator.

During the training, the participants will be given information on various welfare schemes, development projects and empowerment of the Panchayati Raj.



Protest against movie
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 15
Sikh religious organisations today held a procession in protest against the screening of the movie ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’ at local theatre.

The activists of the organisations marched from Gurdwara, Sector 34 to the theatre in Sector 32. Shouting slogans against the screening of the film they demanded a ban on the movie.

Mr M.S. Minhas, president of local unit of SAD, Ms Harjinder Kaur, president of Sikh Nari Manch and Mr Harvinder Singh, Shirmoni Khalsa Panchayat were among the protesters.



Water Resource Day celebrated

Chandigarh, May 15
Institution of Engineers (India), yesterday held a function to celebrate Water Resource Day on its premises which was attended by about 100 engineers. Institution of Engineers (India) celebrates this day every year in May all over India. The theme of the day was “economic development of perennial flood prone areas”. Mr Jagman Singh, former Engineer-in-Chief and Chairman, Institution of Engineers, presided.

Mr Parminder Singh Bhogal presented a paper of the subject highlighting the regulations required to be attended for economic development for flood-prone areas. It was explained that most of flood prone areas along the rivers in Punjab had been reclaimed and brought under cultivation by construction of embankments along the rivers. TNS



2 hurt by bulls
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 15
Two persons were injured in Sector 20 here after a raging bull charged at them. Residents of the area say that there was no provocation. While an 11 year old son of a migrant labourer was hit by the bull in the morning, a 52 year old resident, Suraksha Handa, was hit by the bull in the evening. The woman was reportedly coming home after buying the milk, when the bull charged at her.



Three thieves held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
With the arrest of three thieves, the police today claimed to have solved several theft cases in the city besides cases of stealing cheques from the LIC and the Bank of Punjab.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr P.K. Dhawan, DSP(Central), informed that a police party headed by Mr Charanjit Singh, SI and in charge of the Sector 17 Police Post, arrested Kuldeep Singh and Mohan when they were riding a scooter(PB-07-6033).

A pink bag containing clothes which was stolen from the car(CH01-S-7218) belonging to Mr Joginder Singh, was seized from them.

After questioning, a suitcase containing 2 VCDs, one Motorola mobile phone, two bottles of imported scotch and certain documents belonging to Mr SS Virdi, an NRI from Beitain and one Sony digital camera were recovered from them.

Mohan belongs to Sahiwal village in Jaipur.

Meanwhile, the police has arrested Benson Massey, a resident of Buterla, on the charges of stealing two cheques amounting to Rs 27,989 and Rs 34,500 from the LIC Office in Sector 22. Mr Sanjeev Bhasin, Manager with the LIC, had complained to the police in this regard.



Couple booked for fraud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The police has booked a Sector 48 couple for their alleged involvement in an immigration fraud.

According to sources Rakesh Brar and Gurdeep Kaur, had taken Rs 1.25 lakh from Mr Jaswinder Singh, a resident of Milkh village in Ropar district, on the pretext of sending him abroad.

However, neither was Mr Jaswinder Singh sent abroad nor was his money returned by the couple. A case has been registered.

Theft case

Ms Nirmala Devi, a resident of Bhuntar in Himachal Pradesh, reported that her bag and a briefcase were stolen from her car which was parked in DAV Model School, Sector 15, here yesterday.

The bag and briefcase contained 10 unstitched suits, five “tola” jewellery, three LIC policies, ICICI bonds worth Rs 60,000, Rs 1,500 cash and certain documents. A case has been registered.


Ms Jagwanti Devi, a resident of Colony No 5, reported that someone stole a colour TV, some clothes and utensils, one camera, shoes and Rs 5,000 cash from her house yesterday. A case has been registered in this regard.



Plea to roll back prices of MS round
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The Chandigarh Industrial Fasteners Association is perturbed over the vast difference in the prices of MS round sold by secondary steel producers and the state-owned public undertaking Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL).

In a press note, they have demanded that major iron and steel producers should be asked to roll back prices by Rs 4500 per metric tonne so as to bring the prices on a par with those offered by the private sector in order to give the much needed relief to the SSI sector, who is solely dependent on the raw material made available by the CITCO depot and to also ease the glut situation.

The president of the association, Mr A.L Aggarwal, has stated that in the open market with the secondary steel producers the prices of MS round have crashed to Rs 25,000 per metric tonne, whereas the RINL material is available at an average rate of Rs 29,500 per metric tonne. As a result of this, the MS round dispatched by RINL to CITCO is pilling up due to vast difference in the prices and the worst affected are the SSI units, who find it not only difficult but impossible to market their products after purchasing costly raw material.



Biz Clip

RESTAURANT: Gopal Sweets and Restaurant opened its chain in Sector-35 on Sunday. It was inaugurated by Irrigation and Power Minister, Mr Lal Singh. This chain has added salad bar section besides having pastry corner, sweets shop, chat corner and a restaurant. — OC


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