C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Orders issued to shift Arun Kumar
New DC R.K. Rao expected to join on May 30
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs today formally issued orders to shift the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar back to his parent cadre of Haryana and appointed Mr R.K. Rao, as the new Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh.

Copies of the orders were faxed to the Chandigarh Administration and also to the Haryana Government around 6 pm this evening.

Mr Rao, at present, is the Deputy Commissioner of Yamunanagar. He has been taken on deputation to the Chandigarh Administration for a period of two years. The orders say that Mr Arun Kumar has been repatriated to his parent cadre from May 29 when his two year tenure ends in Chandigarh. Mr Rao is expected to join on May 30 as May 29 is a Sunday.

This will be the second stint of Mr Rao as Deputy Commissioner in Chandigarh. Earlier, he was DC from June 1998 to May 1999. This was the time when Mr K.K. Khandelwal was suddenly repatriated. In his earlier stint, here, Mr Rao had also worked as Secretary, Chandigarh Housing Board, CGM CITCO and Additional Commissioner Municipal Corporation. During his earlier tenure, he was an Haryana Civil Service (HCS) cadre officer but was promoted to the IAS and was allocated the 1991 batch.

Sources said the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had earlier decided to grant one-year extension to Mr Arun Kumar i.e. till May 2006. However, due to complaints of Congressmen, a fresh file was moved from the Union Ministry of Personnel to disallow the extension in his tenure. The Chandigarh Administration said the demand to send back the Deputy Commissioner was wrong as he was carrying out orders in the interest of the city.

The demand to send him back was raised by local Congressmen when Pawan Bansal loyalist, Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri was removed as chairman of the market committee and later Mr Pawan Sharma, another Pawan Bansal loyalist, was arrested for allegedly submitting a wrong affidavit to claim a flat in a housing society.

All along these controversies the Deputy Commissioner maintained that he was not partisan and had gone by the rule book. The Congressmen, however, kept on pointing fingers alleging that his actions were not fair.

When contacted in Delhi tonight Mr Pawan Bansal refused to comment on the issue.

Politics wins

The orders to shift the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, look like a small victory for the local unit of the Congress which had been demanding his removal for being allegedly vindictive towards the Congress. The Chandigarh Administration led by the UT Administrator General S.F. Rodrigues (retd) had wanted the DC to stay on for one more year from May 29 onwards but the plea was rejected. 



Police crackdown on Old Panchkula colony
Protesters block Shimla highway
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 20
The Punjab police today swooped down on Bangala Colony at Old Panchkula and rounded up 35 persons. Residents of the colony, angry over the police action, blocked the Panchkula- Shimla National Highway at Old Panchkula for three hours. They hurled stones and
bottles at the local policemen. The police had to resort to lathi charge to lift the blockade.

A huge posse of the Punjab Police cops, reportedly in an operation to nab accused in armed robberies in districts of Patiala and Ropar, reached here around 5 am. They did not take the local police into confidence. The cops cordoned off the area before rounding up 35 persons of the colony. Most of the persons were sleeping in their hutments when they were rounded up.

Even as some women and local community leader, Rajinder, protested, the Punjab cops continued with their job. In the process, three women- Saraswati, Krishna and Vaaso, were reportedly injured when the police tried to push them away. The men, about 35 in number, were whisked away in the police vehicles, before the local police could reach the spot. It is believed that these men were taken to police stations at Mohali, Rajpura, Patiala, Kharar and Ropar.

Angry residents laid siege on the Panchkula- Shimla -National highway for almost two hours in the morning, demanding the release of their kin. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded near Old Panchkula. It was only after assurance by the police and Sub- Divisional Magistrate, Panchkula, Mr Varinder Dahiya, that their kin would soon return home that the traffic blockade was lifted.

The residents refused to go back home and sat on a dharna on one side of the highway. Around 3 pm, seven of the men who rounded up, were released by the Patiala police, arrived at Panchkula. These men — Prakash, Rinku, Ramesh, Sham Singh, Pammi, Shakeel and Dharma — alleged that they were taken to Patiala, where they were brutally tortured and later let off. “There were 19 other persons in the police vehicle that took us to Patiala, but they were taken elsewhere,” said Sham Singh.

The residents continued the dharna and demanded that the other men be released soon. Around 5 pm, the residents again blocked the national highway. Without any provocation, they started hurling stones and glass bottles on the cops deployed there. These cops immediately called for additional force, following which the police indulged in a lathi charge on the protestors. Even as the protestors scurried into nearby shops for cover, the police managed to drive them away. About 15 persons, including cops, were injured in this incident.

Later, the local police officers said that they were registering an FIR against the Punjab police for illegally taking away the men. They said that another FIR was being registered against the protestors for damaging public property, and obstructing police from doing their duty.

Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala, Mr A. S. Rai, admitted that the men were rounded up in a joint operation of the Patiala and Ropar police. He said that after verification, these men were released. 



Commercial ventures on roadsides to be allowed
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 20
The Punjab Government will allow large commercial ventures to come up on both sides of the various 200 feet wide roads to be constructed within and surrounding Mohali. Shopping malls, large business offices, marriage palaces, banquet halls, IT parks and independent commercial ventures will be allowed on 300 feet depth on both sides of the roads. However shop-cum-offices (SCOs) and shops-cum-flats (SCFs) will not be allowed on the roadsides, sources said.

These roads will be constructed as part of the proposed upcoming 16,642 hectares of Greater Mohali. A revised version of the Greater Mohali Master Plan was approved recently by the Punjab Regional Town Planning and Development Board. An outline of the Master Plan of the township had been released a couple of years ago but following changes in the plan a fresh plan has now been okayed. The proposal to allow “mixed-land use” on both sides of the 200 feet roads is part of these changes as is the plan to construct these roads.

One such road is the proposed outer ring road that will take off from near Sector 39, Chandigarh, and join the highway ahead of Kharar, near Radiala village. Similarly, the road dividing Sectors 67, 68 and 69 on the one side and the upcoming Sectors 76 to 80 on the other will be extended both on the east and the west. On the east, this road will connect Banur and on the west it will open out on the Mohali-Kharar road near hotel Gulmohar. Mixed land use had also been planned along the current Banur-Landran-Kharar road that is proposed to be strengthened.

Other than these roads, two sets of roads will be built parallel to the proposed railway track, 10 km of which is going to run through the local planning area of Mohali. These will cater to a vertical column of two industrial sectors on the east, opposite the proposed Mohali railway station, running down till the Kharar-Landran road. The sources pointed out that these roads would be constructed to use up the 100-foot area that has to be set aside on both sides of the railway track. The Mohali railway station is currently coming up in Sectors 66-A and 66-B.

Other than the Sector 62 city centre, another city centre has been proposed in Sector 87. It is surrounded by Sectors 86 and 88 on both sides and by Sector 97 in the south and Sector 78 in the north. A part of Sector 97 will be kept open as mela ground, for recreation activities and exhibitions.

One entire Sector, 102, will serve as the truck terminus of Greater Mohali. This will have a booking centre and is on the Kharar-Banur road, south of the proposed Industrial Area. Sector 103 is proposed to be the wholesale and bulk-material market.

Three low-density pockets C, E and F, will be developed as garden colonies both on the south and west of the local planning area. These garden colonies will allow construction of large residential plots (more than 1,000 square feet) only and will abut the roadside mixed land use zones.

A new Sector 74-A will be carved out exclusively for the underprivileged section of society to the south of the industrial area owned by the PSIEC in Sectors 72, 73, 74 and 75. Sector 92 that lines the Patiala Ki Rao choe will have a 215-acre golf course and a lake.

Greater Mohali will now be restricted to Sector 107 beyond which the Kharar local planning area begins on the one side and the Zirakpur local planning area on the other.



ITBP ties up with BSF for training troops
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
From operations atop the frozen heights of the Himalayas, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is shifting its attention to the warm coastal waters of the tropics. Its focus is now on training and equipping its disaster management battalions for search and rescue operations in coastal belts and flood-hit areas.

Its recent experience during relief operations in the tsunami-hit Andaman Islands revealed that the force needed to be trained and equipped for operating in or near water bodies to undertake its designated charter as the nodal disaster management organisation.

"The ITBP has tied up with the Water Wing of the Border Security Force for advance training in watermanship," Mr Raman Khadwal, Commandant of the ITBP's 6th Battalion said. "We have already started imparting basic training like swimming to our personnel here and they are expected to begin training with the BSF next month," he added.

The ITBP was raised, trained and equipped for guarding the mountainous border with Tibet. A couple of years ago, consequent to the Group of Ministers report on national disaster management, it was also given an additional responsibility for undertaking relief operations.

The 6th Battalion based near Chandigarh is a specialised disaster management battalion and about 500 personnel were deployed in the Andamans. After undergoing basic training, personnel from this battalion would proceed in batches to the BSF Academy in Madhopur. The battalion received orders in this just two days ago.

The commandant said the ITBP was also in the process of acquiring high speed boats, light-weight boats and life-jackets and other related equipment for undertaking operations in water. Disaster management battalions already possess specialised equipment for search and rescue operations on land. "We are fully capable of handling disaster, natural or man-made, in hills, plains or towns. Our emphasis is now on the management of disaster associated with water," Mr Khadwal said.

Speaking about the battalion's experience in the Andamans, ITBP officers said though most of the troops could not swim, they did not hesitate to wade through waist-deep and at times even chest-deep waters to accomplish their tasks. Of course, there was some fear of the water in the minds of non-swimmers.

Having led the first ITBP relief team in the Andamans, Assistant Commandant B. Nayak said the team had constructed a 3-km path overnight through jungle to make a link from Mus Jetty to the town to enable the movement of rations and supplies.

Another officer, Assistant Commandant Sachin Mittal said the ITBP had helped local agencies set up 2,000 shelters, besides undertaking search and rescue operations, clearing roads and approach paths of debris and dead trees and assisting the Electricity Department in erecting transmission poles. A large number of coconut trees were also planted.

As part of the relief operations, the ITBP personnel had recovered and cremated 165 bodies, rendered medical aid to 2,300 persons and recovered a large amount of cash which was deposited with the local government treasury.



Admn says no to draw of lots by housing society
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The dream of the members of the Chandigarh Sector 21 Universal Cooperative House Building First Society Limited, Sector 48, to own a house has run into rough weather for the time being.

With the Joint Registrar Cooperative Societies (JRCS), Mr S.K. Setia, putting his foot down on the issue of the inclusion of the “substitute members” in the draw and postponing the May 28 draw of lots of the Universal Enclave, panic has gripped the members.

And this is not for the first time that the JRCS has thwarted the attempts of the society management to hold the draw of lots. Yesterday’s JRCS circular says that “a large number of members have been substituted by the society against original members.”

“You are, therefore, directed not to hold the draw of the dwelling units on May 28 as the substitution policy has not yet been finalised by the Chandigarh Administration,” the circular says. “You can go ahead only with the draw of the allottee members,” Mr Setia, however, adds in ink.

Even as the JRCS gives his reasoning for the cancellation of the draw, the society management is up in arms against the “arbitrary and illegal” decision. The society’s general body was the supreme authority on the membership and this had been upheld even by the Supreme Court.

Who should be a member or not is best left to the society’s general body. The Administration’s job is only to check malpractices in the draw of lots,” argues an office-bearer of the society.

Even the Societies Act, 1961, recognises the rights of the “substitute members” and their entitlement for the draw of lots. Since they had paid all dues and were members for all intents and purposes, barring them from the draw of lots would be arbitrary, he added.

Out of 186 members of the society, as many as 121 were “substitute members”. A large number of the original allotees had surrendered their membership and the society had enrolled “substitute members” in their place to complete the multi-crore project.

However, when the project was almost complete, the JRCS allegedly threw cold water on the hopes of “substitute members”.A majority of these members will be doubly at loss due to the Administration’s decision since they had raised loans from banks and financial institutions for the construction of the flats. Similarly, a majority of the members lived in rented accommodation and paid high rent.



Newspaper staff present demands
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
On the call given by the Confederation of Newspaper and News Agency Employees Organisation, representatives of various associations of employees of newspapers based in the city today submitted a memorandum of demands to the UT Administrator for onward submission to the Labour Minister, New Delhi.

The delegation comprised representatives of The Tribune Employees Union, the Chandigarh Punjab Union of Journalists, the Indian Express Employees Union, the PTI Employees Union, the Chandigarh Journalists Association and the UNI Workers Union.

The memorandum demanded immediate setting up of wage boards for employees of newspaper and news agencies, besides electronic media. It said the existing wages were fixed by the Rajkumar Manisana Singh Wage Board, which radically changed and the wages fixed under the last wage board have been greatly eroded.

Even though the newspaper industry had made bumper profits and were going in for setting up more and more publications, the owners were not ready to share the profits with the workers in the form of effecting an increase in the wages of the employees.

The memorandum expressed concern over the fact that more pressure was being exerted by the international finance capital to make further inroads into the Indian print media by utilising FDI. The memorandum demanded withdrawal of permission to the Indian newspaper owners for allowing 26 per cent foreign direct investment.

The memorandum strongly opposed the contract system of employment in the newspaper industry. It said this system was an excuse by the newspaper owners to deny legal and legitimate wages, bonus, gratuity and other benefits under the labour laws to the employees.

It reiterated its demand to constitute a media commission to go into the state of affairs in the print as well as electronic media in the country. It felt that there was an urgent need for a fresh look at the state of working and service conditions in both forms of the media and to strengthen the institutional framework to guarantee freedom of media and right to information.

Meanwhile, on the call given by the Chandigarh- Punjab Union of Journalists, the district units of the union today submitted the charter of demands to Deputy Commissioners and SDM for onward submission to the Prime Minister. Working journalists associated with CPUJ held rallies and demonstrations in front of the DC and Sub Division Officers to press for their demands.



UT villages dependent on Admn for funds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
None of the gram panchayats of 18 villages in the UT has been able to levy taxes to generate income. As a result of the resource crunch, the development works has been affected.

A study conducted by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) has revealed that the tax collection base of the Panchayati Raj institutions was weak and the villages were mainly dependent on the funds given by the Chandigarh Administration. The funds were handed over the Zila Parishad for further distribution to the Panchayat Samiti and panchayats.


Income from various sources (in Rs)





Raipur Khurd








Mauli Jagran












Raipur Kalan








Dadu Majra








Khuda Lahora
























Khuda Alisher




Khuda Jassu




It has been pointed out that none of the institutions — panchayats, the Zila Parishad and the Panchayat Samiti — has been able to move a resolution to levy any of the taxes prescribed under the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act 1994.

Some of the panchayats were getting meager income from the property rented out or from the scant agriculture land. One of the exceptions was Maloya village which has Rs 24.55 lakh on account of the land acquisition price given by the Chandigarh Administration.

As per the Section 86 of the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act 1994, every panchayat has to set up a panchayat fund in which it has to deposit the income from different taxes like chula tax, income from shamlat land, sale of dead animals, rent of buildings, and other sources.

To indicate the income source, a sample of the income from various sources during 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1996-97 was Rs 11, 52,634, Rs 3,43,7998 and Rs 1,21,6276, respectively.

The centre faculty has pointed out that a major hurdle in the collection of tax was that none of the panchayats could levy the taxes without the permission from the Administrator. So far no permission has been given by the Administrator.



Unanimity over presidents’ names in all blocks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The local unit of the All India Congress Committee has expressed unanimity over names of presidents in all 25 blocks of the city, it is reliably learnt.

A meeting to this regard was held in Delhi today under the presidentship of Mr Raj Bahadur, Returning Officer of the city. The party is finalising names of 25 members of the CTCC. This has to be done before May 25 when nominations for the presidential candidate of the AICC will be done.

Reliable sources said that the name of the president of the local unit will likely be announced after May 25.



Protest against retrenchment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Employees of Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) from Punjab and Haryana participated in a massive protest rally held in front of Udyog Bhavan, Sector 17. The agitating employees were protesting against the management’s proposal of retrenchment of 600 employees.

The management had sent a proposal in pursuance of the Disinvestment Commission Report for reducing the strength of employees from 1500 to 500. The employees, who are working for the past 10-15 years have a fear of losing their jobs. The main demands, include the restoration of HRA and conveyance allowance and staff welfare funds, filling up the vacant posts by promotions, regularisation of workers and increase in the business of the corporation.

Leaders of the PSIEC Staff Association who addressed the rally accused the state government and the management of meting out stepmotherly treatment. They alleged that in spite of the Punjab and Haryana verdict and the instructions of the Punjab Council of Ministers, the allowances had not been released even though the corporation was earning profit whereas in other corporations under the Industries Department like PSIDC, PFC, ELTOP and under the control of the same administrative secretaries, the allowances had been restored with arrears even though they were running losses.

These employees are also sore over their wages being linked with the profit and loss of their units.

Later, the leaders submitted a memorandum for rejection of retrenchment proposal, restoration of allowances and other service benefits, delinking of release of wages with the profit of the units, regularisation and promotion etc, to the UT Deputy Commissioner. They requested him to forward the same to the Punjab Chief Minister.

They have threatened to intensify the agitation if their demands were not resolved within the next 15 days.



Re-open apni mandi, say residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Residents of Sector 40 are objecting to the closing down of the apni mandi in the area.

The Residents Coordination Committee, MIG-I Houses, Sector 40-C, in a press note here today said that the apni mandi in the area had been functioning since the concept started in the city. It catered to needs of residents from Sectors 37, 38, 41 and 42. The municipal corporation has been asked to restart the mandi in the area.



Arya Samaj branch celebrates golden jubilee
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 20
A seminar on national safety and women’s awakening was organised today at Arya Samaj, Sector 22-A, here as part of its golden jubilee celebrations. Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, a political activist, while speaking on this occasion, said, that national safety could be possible only when a woman paid more attention on her character development. She said the need of the hour was to adopt Indian culture. Obscenity was entering our culture which was due to the strong influence of western culture.



Ashwani Kumar meets Sujat Hussain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Issues of bilateral interest were discussed at a 40-minute meeting between the Rajya Sabha member, Dr Ashwani Kumar, and the President of the Pakistan Muslim League, Ch Sujat Hussain, in Islamabad yesterday.

Talking to The Tribune on the telephone from Islamabad, Dr Ashwani Kumar said that Ch Sujat Hussain held that people-to-people contact should be strengthened and all goodwill and confidence-building measures should be taken further. He wanted a constructive approach to be adopted by both sides to solve the vexed Kashmir problem.

Dr Ashwani Kumar, who conveyed greetings to Ch Sujat Hussain on behalf of the Congress chief, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, dwelt on strengthening the South Asian region by augmenting the confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan.

He also wanted the Pakistan Government to start work on the renovation and repair of the historic Hindu temples at Katasraj. Ch Sujat Hussain informed him that work had already started and some technical details would be finalised after an expert from the Archaeological Survey of India visited Katasraj.

Dr Ashwani Kumar has been elected co-chairman of the SAFMA.



Man found dead at Sukhna choe

Chandigarh, May 20
Ramesh Kumar Sharma (53), a resident of Sector 23, was found dead near a Sukhana choe this afternoon. The police ruled out any foul play and termed it a natural death.

According to the police, Ramesh Kumar, a former contractor of the canteen of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, went to answer nature’s call at the choe area. His body was recovered from an 8-feet-deep trench. OC



15-year-old motorcycle thief held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 20
A 15-year-old-boy was today nabbed by the owner of a motorcycle, minutes after he had stolen the vehicle from Bal Bhavan in Sector 23.

The police has registered a case of theft under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC against the accused, a resident of Sector 23. He was later send to the juvenile home.

According to the information, Mr Sakhwinder Pal Singh, a resident of Phase 6, Mohali, came to Bal Bhavan to attend his preparatory coaching class for a law entrance test and when he came out of his class at around 2 pm, he found his motorcycle missing. He immediately called the Police Control Room and informed the police about the missing vehicle. The policemen, however, told him to report the matter at the Sector 22, police post. Sakhwinder then went to the police post with his friend Saranj Singh, in his car.

As they were reporting the matter to the police the police officer asked them to get the chassis number and the engine number of the motorcycle. Interestingly, as they reached the Sector 22 and 23 lights point, Sakhwinder saw a boy riding on his motorcycle. They immediately chased the boy. On seeing them following him, the boy tried to flee after leaving the motorcycle behind. However, they soon overpowered him and handed him over to the police.


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