C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


‘Illegal’ colonies come up around Panchkula
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Raipur Rani , June 29
In absence of any rules to check colonisation in rural areas, a number of residential colonies are coming up on the outskirts of this township and neighbouring Barwala. As a result, land prices in the town have sky-rocketed to Rs 30,000 - Rs 50,000 per marla.

As many as seven colonies, including residential plots and commercial establishments, are presently under construction here. Measuring between two acres to eight acres, these colonies are being considered the safest bet for investment by people in Panchkula and neighbouring areas of Punjab. Another four colonies are coming up on the outskirts of Barwala town.

With most of the area outside the municipal limits of Pinjore and Kalka covered under the New Punjab Capital Periphery (Control and Regulation) Act, 1952, any construction outside the municipal limits in these townships, and part of the Barwala block (upto village Naggal) is illegal. Though thousands of constructions have come up in the periphery, the Department of Town and Country Planning has been issuing notices to the violators. Two colonies coming up at Vasudevpura and in Islamnagar in Pinjore were recently declared unauthorised by the district administration and registration of sale deed were banned.

Interestingly, the colonies coming up in Raipur Rani and Barwala, are neither covered within the 10 miles periphery of Chandigarh, nor under the Haryana Regulation of Urban Area Act, 1975.

A few of these colonies which are coming up along the National Highway-73 (Panchkula-Naraingarh), are in violation of the Punjab Scheduled Roads and Unregulated Development Act, 1963. Officials in the Town and Country Planning Department say that the colonies that have come up just along the national highway or along the state highways are unauthorised, and not allowed under the Punjab Scheduled Roads and Controlled Area Restrictions Act, 1963.

Land prices in the area have shot up following colonisation here. While the land along the highway is now being sold for Rs 40 lakh per acre, the land further away from the highways is priced at Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh per acre. The Tribune team found that the plots in these colonies were available at the rate of Rs 50,000 per marla (colonies near the highway) to Rs 30,000 per marla. Interestingly, the collectors’ rate for property here is only Rs 3. 5 lakh per acre.

Residents of this township say that in wake of complete sell-out by the colonies here, many other persons from outside the town are buying huge chunks of land. Levelling work for another colony is under way on the Barwala- Raipur Rani road.

The Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, Mr Brijendra Singh, when contacted, said he had asked the revenue officials to examine records of all colonies coming up here. “Action will be initiated in case of colonies coming up at a 30 meter distance of the Highways, under the Punjab Scheduled Roads and Controlled Area Restrictions Act,” he assured.



Property of 26 shopkeepers may be attached
Failure to deposit tax
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
At least 26 shopkeepers in the city face the threat of attachment of their property by the municipal corporation for failing to deposit property tax.
Reliable sources in the corporation said that this category of shopkeepers did not even accept the notices sent earlier by the corporation. The shops are located in Sectors 7, 9 and 17. The corporation will shortly issue a public notice apprising the commercial properties that those who had not opted for the self-assessment scheme should deposit their tax within the coming 15 days.

Mr O.P. Popli, Additional Commissioner, while confirming the move said that the MC had shortlisted only those defaulters who owed more than Rs 50,000 in rent. The action will definitely serve as a warning for the remaining shopkeepers to deposit their arrears. The total amount works out be more than Rs 25 lakh for these shopkeepers alone.

The corporation had levied the tax from November, 2004, onwards. The first installment was payable till March, 2005. The corporation officials accept that the total number of defaulters was more than 2,500 in the first batch. An official said “the corporation has to set an example by initiating action against the defaulters for others to follow suit of making their payments”.

The action includes “restraint and sale of defaulter’s movable property, attachment and sale of property and by instituting a suit”. Sources pointed out that the list of defaulters include a majority of private colleges, including DAV, GGDSD, SGGS and GGS. The list of defaulters also includes theatres in the city, including Kiran, KC, Jagat, Nirman, Neelam, Piccadilly and Batra. “Only one theatre in Mani Majra has deposited the tax under protest,” Mr Popli said.

Only 1,534 commercial establishments in the city availed the self assessment scheme in the first batch. A majority of the other establishments failed to deposit the tax despite the fact that those who paid after the last date deposited 25 per cent extra.

Sources pointed out that there was a long list of defaulters from among the offices of the Punjab and Haryana Governments. A senior official said there was no complete data on the number of eligible tax-payers and the corresponding number of defaulters. The corporation will shortly draw a complete list of all eligible tax-payers.

It is worth pointing out that 10 days after the levying of property tax in the city in January this year, only five units out of the 10,000 odd in the categories of commercial, industrial and institutional lands covered under the scheme had deposited their amounts.

“There is a very big improvement in public participation.

However, we are looking to cover all tax payers and will have to be strict in implementing the rules for all to follow,” the official added.



Debt forces couple to end life
Bipin Bhardwaj

Rajpura, June 29
A debt-ridden couple allegedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance in their native village in Sandharsi village, about 15 km from here, this morning. The couple belonged to a very poor family.

Unable to return the money that he had borrowed from some neighbours on interest, Jasbir Singh and his wife, Charanjit Kaur, reportedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance when other members of the family were away. This extreme step was taken by the couple when Fakiria, father of Jasbir Singh, had gone out to fetch fodder for cattle in the morning and his mother was at her maternal place in Jameetgarh village near Ambala.

According to villagers, some children who were playing on the roof of a house adjacent to the house of the deceased noticed the couple struggling for lives at about 9 am. They immediately informed the villagers. Neighbours of the locality found the couple lying on the courtyard of their house and a foam like substance was coming out of their mouths.

They rushed the two to the Civil Hospital Rajpura where the doctors declared Charanjit Kaur, brought dead. Jasbir Singh was referred to the Civil Hospital, Patiala, where he breathed his last after a few hours. The father of the deceased claimed that his son had borrowed money from some neighbours on interest for his marriage. Earning his livelihood by working as a part time labourer Jasbir Singh was unable to return the borrowed money and the interest to the lenders.

He along with his wife took the extreme step after the lenders insulted him many times, lamented Fakiria. The deceased are survived by two daughters aged five years and eight months.

The father, however, refused to mention the names of persons who had lent money to Jasbir Singh on interest. The police has sent the bodies to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, and started investigating the case.



Two held for duping resident of Rs 32 lakh
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 29
A mother-son duo of Sector 20-A were today arrested on the allegations of duping a city resident of Rs 32 lakh. They had allegedly taken the amount on the pretext of selling a house.

Police sources said the accused allegedly did not provide a no objection certificate (NOC) for the transfer of property, even after taking the payment from the complainant.

They added that a case of criminal breech of trust, cheating and other offences under Sections 406, 420, 423, 424 and 120-B of the IPC had been registered against Anil Kumar Jain and his mother Parkash Devi on a complaint made by Mr Naresh Goyal, resident of Sector 33-B.

The sources said Mr Goyal alleged that Jain and his mother had allegedly entered into an agreement to sell their house No 3130, Sector 22-D, Chandigarh on March 1.

They agreed to sell the house for Rs 32 lakh. The payment of Rs 31 lakh was made on the same day and the balance amount of Rs 1 lakh was agreed to be paid at the time of the execution of sale deal on or before September 30.

However, Mr Goyal said the accused took the balance amount of Rs 1 lakh from him on the pretext that they would get the NOC from the Estate Office for transfer of their house in his name.

The alleged fraud was detected, said Mr Goyal, when he went to the Estate Office for getting the NOC and came to know that the Jain had got the general power of attorney revoked without his knowledge. Jain had allegedly applied for the NOC for the sale of his 50 per cent share in the house in favour of Mr Krishan Lal and his wife Sushma Devi of Sector 22-D, on April 25. 



Police views VCD of Kaura celebrating with nurses
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 29
Continuing with the investigations in the Dr Babita Kaura’s murder case, the Chandigarh police today viewed VCD of a party in which her husband, Deepak Kaura was reportedly seen with two nurses.

Sources in the Crime Branch said the police was looking into the possibility of using the VCD as evidence to highlight the lifestyle of Dr Deepak Kaura. They added that they would also try to establish the strained relationships of the couple with the VCD.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, DSP Crime Branch, Inspector Om Prakash said, the VCD had been made from a video cassette recorded at the Hotel Pinewood in Barog in Himachal Pradesh on New Year Eve celebrations. Dr Deepak Kaura was allegedly seen in the movie sitting in room number 200 with two nurses and taking drinks. Dr Babita Kaura was not with him there at that time.

He further added that Dr Deepak Kaura had also allegedly mentioned his address in the visitor register, and had identified the nurses as “guests” in the register without naming them. He also said the police will summon the both nurses to join investigations.

Giving details of the progress in the investigation, Inspector Om Prakash said the “we are in process of getting the details of locations of all five callers — Dr Babita Kaura, — Deepak Kaura, his sister, Deepali, her husband Sajeev Kohli, and the landline phone of Dr Deepak’s father’s home in Sector 19 — about the calls that they had made on that day.” He added that the location details will be provided by the cellular service providers on their request and they are hopeful of getting them soon. 



Passing Thru

Suraj Bhan
Mr Suraj Bhan, Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes who was in the city to discuss the issue of reservation for Scheduled Castes in government jobs

What are the lacunae in the proposed Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Class (reservation in posts and services) Bill, 2004?

No provision to penalise the persons violating the reservation Bill has been proposed. This defeats the basic purpose of ensuring reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward class in government jobs

What do you feel should be done for the upliftment of the neglected sections of the society?

There should reservation for members of the Scheduled Castes in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Secretariats, in autonomous bodies, government undertakings, technical and education institutions, judiciary, private sector and other bodies which were deriving some sort of concessions from the government.

— Rajmeet Singh



Right to Information Act can counter corruption: Rodrigues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), Governor of Punjab and the UT Administrator, has advocated the need for evolving an effective mechanism for coordinated regional planning for Chandigarh and the surrounding areas, falling in the adjoining states of Punjab and Haryana, to ensure harmonious and balanced development of the region. The problems of water, electricity and roads also have inter-state ramifications and regional planning is the only answer, he said.

Participating in an inter-state council meeting at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi, last night, General Rodrigues said that Chandigarh was the gateway to the northern region. He said the civil airport urgently needed to be upgraded to the level of an international airport which could give a major boost to tourism as well as enhance the economic growth potential of the whole region. He said the Centre had already agreed, in principle, to the proposal.

Emphasising the need to launch a widespread campaign at the national and the state levels for introducing a citizen’s charter and a Right to Information Act, General Rodrigues said this could help in bringing transparency and tackling the menace of corruption. He said the Chandigarh Administration had incorporated all these measures to ensure a responsive and a completely accountable system.

General Rodrigues further said that to give good governance to the people of the Union Territory, a special project, known as e-Jan Sampark, had been started, which envisaged the setting up of 50 manned Jan Sampark kiosks in the city. The kiosks would provide information relating to healthcare, government functioning, tourism, economy, transport, helplines, education and emerging services through a multi-services single window system.

To give lead to public opinion, the Administrator’s Advisory Council, comprising of the representatives of various non-government organisations and other eminent citizens, had been re-activated. Sub-groups had been formed to examine important issues such as building bylaws and architectural innovations, clearance of slums, garbage disposal, periphery control, amendment to the Municipal Act and development of villages. Micro-planning was being done for each and every village after taking a holistic view of the problems and to make and implement development plans for each village accordingly.

General Rodrigues further said that the Administration had also constituted a State Disaster Management Authority to combat grave situations arising out of unforeseen natural calamities. He said a provision had been made in the building rules for obtaining a structural stability certificate from structural engineers.

The Administrator further said that the city was fast emerging as a focal point of quality education, medical facilities as well as a favoured IT destination. It was the hub for the north-west in many fields. To cater to the evergrowing transportation needs of the city and the inhabitants of Panchkula and Mohali, a mass rapid transport system was being introduced shortly.



Monsoon misery threatens Zirakpur residents
Bipin Bhardwaj

A drain blocked by a coloniser by filling a low-lying area with loose soil along the Kalka-Ambala highway at Bartana
A drain blocked by a coloniser by filling a low-lying area with loose soil along the Kalka-Ambala highway at Bartana village. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan.

Zirakpur, June 29
The setting in of monsoon misery stares in the face of thousands of residents as the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat is ill-equipped to tackle the monsoon-related problems. With haphazard growth of big and small colonies in the low-lying areas at various parts of the civic body, woes of the residents will be multiplied.

The problem of floods is likely to increase following blockage of seasonal rivulets and obstruction of natural course of storm water by a number of property dealers, colonisers and builders.

Carving plots by covering seasonal rivulets and other low-lying areas in the limits of the civic body, the property dealers have either sold the land or developed colonies at these places without giving any consideration to the problems that may develop in near future.

Throwing norms to winds, some of the colonisers and land developers have even channelised seasonal choes at many places. At many places, they have even constructed buildings and other structures after blocking the natural course of storm water.

A visit to the area revealed that a seasonal choe at the inter-state border in Bartana village has been channelised by some property dealers. Certain colonisers have even put two sewer pipes it along a road linking Bartana village of Punjab to Sector 19 of Panchkula in Haryana. At the same place a property dealer have channelised the choe by constructing a long drain which had been covered.

Similarly some colonisers have also constructed a bridge on the Sukhna choe adjacent to the Chandigarh-Punjab border in Bartana village besides channelising it by constructing cemented walls along its banks. A property dealer has also blocked a seasonal choe along the Kalka-Ambala highway in Bartana village adjacent to Hotel Shagun.

A nullah carrying polluted water discharged from Panchkula and its industrial area, has also been covered by a builder adjacent to Bauli Sahib Gurdwara, in Dhakauli village. The coloniser has constructed a cemented floor on the nullah to provide a parking place for the purchasers of his dwelling units.

The problems do not end here. A majority of the builders who developed small unapproved colonies in Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat limits have violated the rules right under the nose of the authorities.

Mr Surinder Singh, a resident of Bhabhat village, alleges that the developers have violated the rules in connivance with certain officials of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat. He claimed that the monsoon had also played havoc with the residents of colonies located in low-lying areas in and around Zirakpur but the authorities are not heeding to it.

The question rises that how the civic body authorities approved the building plans of the structures that have come up in gross violation of the rules? Did the field staff of the nagar panchayat do not notice the structures coming up at theses places?

Mr F.S. Nagra, president of the Commercial Welfare Association, Bhabhat, added that officials of the civic body approved building maps without fixing the plinth level and without considering the problem of water-logging in the area.

Mr Narinder Kumar Sharma, president of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, said that he had been ordering the Executive Officer (EO) of the civic body to check the construction coming up in violation of rules time and again. It was the duty of the EO to stop the unauthorised constructions besides channelising seasonal choes and blocking the natural course of water within in the nagar panchayat limits.

“I have already submitted complaints to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Dera Bassi, in this regard,” he claimed.



Engulfed in darkness
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 29
A month after the contract for maintenance of streetlights was awarded amidst promises of improvement, the situation in the town remains dismal.
The streetlight maintenance in the township has gone from bad to worse over the past couple of months. Most of the streetlights in the town remain defunct, and are rarely replaced. This had led to a lot of resentment among the residents.

As night descends, the township is engulfed in darkness. With the township also becoming a haven for stray cattle and dogs, many a accident occurs because of the darkness as vehicles ram into these animals. Other than the sector dividing roads, streetlights on the internal roads in the sectors are also defunct. Most of the roundabouts are also engulfed in darkness as the streetlights have not been replaced for months, complains Mr Arun Goel, a resident of Sector 11. He says that the streetlights in the Sector 11 market, too, have not been replaced for past several weeks, though they have made numerous complaints to the Council.

Over the past one year, lakhs of rupees have spent by the Council on maintenance of streetlights, which appear to have gone down the drain. The administration had also conducted an inquiry a few months ago, and found that the Council had by-passed all rules to allot the contract for streetlight maintenance last year. All payments to the streetlight contractor were then stopped, and the latter, too, stopped working. The new contract was awarded last month at the rate of Rs 1.33 lakh per month, but it still seems a long wait till the streetlights will be restored. 



Water logging major irritant on a pleasant day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
The sultry weather today portended impending rain and the overcast skies did not disappoint. The early afternoon witnessed a downpour with showers continuing right through the day. Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula received 4 mm of rainfall till 7.30 pm this evening with the clouds continuing to gather even as night fell.

Although the rains did not throw life in the city out of gear, as it did two days ago, most commuters and cycle rickshaws had a hard time circling the roundabouts where ankle deep water had collected. The parking lots were completely filled with water especially the one in Sector 34 from where a number of complaints were received. This area sees a lot of visitors through the day since the entire stretch is full of eateries. Even the bus stand had its fair share of woes where commuters were seen wading through ankle-deep water. The road opposite Shivalik Public School, Sector 41 B, was also water logged and motorised vehicles like three-wheeler and two wheelers had a tough time crossing through.

The first showers took most residents by surprise and sodden drenched people could be seen rushing for cover.

Despite the maximum temperature recorded at a tolerable 33.4°C, a drop of more than four degrees from yesterday and the minimum at 27°C, two degrees higher than yesterday. The maximum relative humidity at 86 per cent ensured that the residents of the city sweated the day out.

The forecast for tomorrow is much the same as today — partly cloudy skies with the possibility of rains or thundershowers.



Plea to purchase cattle-catcher van
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 29
Even as the stray cattle menace in the town is on the rise, the local Municipal Council has so far not been given an approval by the higher authorities to buy a cattle-catcher van to tackle the problem.

It is learnt that the Executive Officer (CO) of the civic body, Mr H.B. Garg, has now made another request to the Director, Local Government, Punjab, Mr G. Vajralingam, through a letter sent on June 27 to give approval for the purchase of the van. A similar request was made by the EO on May 5 but the council failed to receive any response in this regard.

In the letter sent to the Director, the EO has stated that the number of stray animals was on the rise leading to problems for the residents. A number of accidents also took place because of the stray animals moving about on roads.

The letter further said the Punjab and Haryana High Court had issued directions to the civic bodies to tackle the problem of stray animals. As the council did not have a cattle-catcher van, it became very difficult to the council staff to load the animals into other vehicles.

Council employees said they faced difficulties when put on duty to catch stray animals. At the time of loading and unloading, animals as well as employees sustained injuries.

The general House of the council had cleared the proposal to purchase the van at its meeting held on July 30, 2002. But when the proceedings of the meeting were sent to the office of the Director the proposal to purchase the van was stayed.

However, the stay was vacated by the Director on November 29, 2002, after the council cleared the objections raised by the higher authority. But even then the van could not be purchased by the civic body as the matter was not pursued by officials concerned.

The council had given the work of catching stray animals on contract for sometime. But as the contractor had failed to provide satisfactory service the contract was cancelled soon after.



Unaware motorists pay for absence of guiding boards
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
The failure of the Chandigarh police to inform commuters from outside about the existence of traffic lights on Sector 35 roundabout is resulting in “unnecessary” victimisation and challenging.

Though exact data is not readily available, sources in the police headquarters say everyday several travellers coming from New Delhi or Manali side are challaned because they are unaware about the prevalence of such system in Chandigarh.

Quoting rough figures, they assert that one lakh traffic offenders were challaned last year and Rs 1.82 crore was collected by way of fine. A substantial number of “innocent violators” were travellers from outside.

They add that a large number of people from outside Chandigarh travel on the stretch because it is a part of the Ambala highway. The sources add that a large number of commuters, in an attempt to avoid harassment, offer bribe to the cops.

The sources say the story is almost the same every time. The realisation comes a bit too late. By the time they slam the brakes, the vehicle has already crossed the stop line. Their protests about not understanding the significance of lights installed on a rotary fall on deaf ears as the cops on duty waste little time to issue challan receipts.

They agree that the rate of accident has sharply fallen ever since the lights were installed. They also agree that it is unadvisable to totally replace the rotary with traffic lights.

“It will not only destroy the basis characteristic of Chandigarh, but will also have disastrous implications,” they admit.

The sources assert that the problem can be solved up to a great extent by simply informing the commuters about the system. “Signs indicating the presence of traffic lights, along with the rotary, can be placed at a sufficient distance for the convenience of the commuters,” suggests a senior police officer, adding that it is a very simple process. “I wonder why the authorities haven’t thought about it so far,” he says.



Admn to set up aquatic park near Sukhna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
The Chandigarh Administration has decided to establish an aquatic park near Sukhna Lake. For this purpose the Administration is planning to acquire more than 200 acres of land adjacent to the lake reserve forest towards the north of the lake.

The area at the regulator end of the lake comprising shallow water bodies surrounded by shrubby growth will also be a part of this aquatic park. The Administration had constituted a sub-committee to give its recommendations for the establishment of the Aquatic Park. While accepting the recommendations of the sub committee constituted for the purpose, the Administration has decided to establish an aquatic park having three portions.

The first portion of the park will have an aquarium, awareness centre, museum and a few enclosures for other aquatic life forms. The aquarium may include sports, ornamental and commercial species of fishes. A separate enclosure is likely to be kept for crocodiles and “gharials”. A museum depicting the life histories of aquatic fauna will also be an attractive part of this section.

The second portion of the aquatic park is likely to have shallow water bodies, small islands, bushes and trees of smaller height to develop it as a sanctuary for aquatic birds.



IT returns info can be had on phone
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
For the residents of the city and the surrounding areas, information about income tax returns and related matters is just a phone call away. The Help Centre inaugurated earlier this month is providing complete information regarding tax-related matters. Individuals can even visit the centre located in the Sector 17 State Bank of India, Personal Banking Branch in the local head office.

Addressing a joint press conference, Ms P. Sahi and Mr Girish Sharma, Commissioners, Income Tax, Divisions 1 and 2, respectively, said the centre had received a good response with about 20-25 persons visiting the centre and seeking information and assistance about the procedures regarding PAN, TAN, jurisdiction, filing of return forms, challan forms and other tax matters. Nearly 20-30 persons, mostly senior citizens, also sought guidance telephonically. One can contact at 2700695. As many as 193 persons had visited the centre till date.

The centre had been set up by the office of the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, North-West region, in line with the Budget speech of the Union Finance Minister this year wherein he had proposed that such help centres should be set up across the country for the benefit of small-tax payers. One such centre would be inaugurated by the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, in New Delhi tomorrow. More such centres would come up in other parts in cooperation with industry associations, professional bodies, NGOs, public institutions, etc. One centre each was reportedly being set up at Jalandhar and Ludhiana also.

Ms Sahi said the centre functioned on all working days from 11 am to 2 pm and would function till the end of November.

Mr Sharma expected a big increase in the income-tax revenue because of a flourishing IT industry in Mohali and Chandigarh. Advance tax collections, according to recent reports were up by 26 per cent.

Meanwhile, special counters would be set up at the Income Tax office during the last fortnight of July to further help the tax payers in filing their returns. The last date for filing returns is July 31.



Date extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
The Central Board of direct taxes has extended the date for electronic filing of annual returns of tax collection at source (TCS) for the financial year 2004-05 to July 31, 2005.

It has also been decided to extend the due date for electronic filing of quarterly statement of TDS and TCS for the first quarter of the financial year 2005-06 to July 31, 2005. The due dates for filing of statements and returns in paper format remains unchanged, said Mr Sanjai Kumar Verma, Additional Commissioner of Income Tax (CO), Chandigarh, here today.



Rs 2 crore excise evasion detected in HMT
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 29
A central excise tax evasion amounting to Rs 2 crore has been detected in HMT Tractors. The unit was allegedly not reversing credit on inputs, even though the tractors were exempted from Central Excise Tax.

This was stated by the Commissioner, Central Excise and Customs, Panchkula, Mr P. K. Sirohi, while addressing a press conference here today. He said the evasion was detected in April earlier this year, and was going on from July 2004 to April 2005.

Central Excise officials also informed that evasion of Rs 1. 18 crore was also detected in an ancillary unit of HMT- Raja Forgings. “However, they have already paid Rs 60 lakh as fine,” they said.

The Panchkula Commissionerate of Central Excise and Customs caters to six districts — Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Karnal, Kurukshetra and Kaithal. Mr Sirohi informed that the central excise revenue earned by the commissionerate was Rs 370. 86 crore last year, and was expected to be Rs 210 crore during this financial year. “The target is less this year because the Central excise is not charged on oil at the Indian Oil Terminal at Ambala, but at the refinery itself. For service tax, we hope to net Rs 70 crore as revenue, as compared to our last year’s collection of Rs 62. 47 crore,” he said.

Mr Sirohi also informed that a help centre and a help line is now being set up to assist and guide the small tax payers on a daily basis. The help centre is being set up at the Rotary Club here from July 1.



Kharag Mangoli encroachers granted stay
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 29
A local court today granted a stay on eviction of encroachers on HUDA land at Kharag Mangoli village.
Acting on a petition filed by 166 residents of Kharag Mangoli, the Duty Magistrate, Mr Ajay Aggarwal, has restricted Haryana Urban Development Authority for evicting these residents, except as per the course of law. The next date of hearing has been fixed for July 28.

Residents had pleaded that they were staying in the village for the past two decades and have even been issued voters Identity cards and ration cards, but now HUDA proposed to evict them, but no notices had been issued.

HUDA has identified over 1000 illegal structures on its land in Kharag Mangoli and Old Panchkula, and propose to demolish these. A team of HUDA officials had conducted a survey of the area, and found that other than 800 structures, including 20 odd shops that already have a stay on eviction, hundreds of tenements and commercial establishments had come up on the HUDA land. HUDA proposes to get this land vacated and set up Sector 1- A here, which will also have a Transport Nagar.



Federation hails PUDA’s move to shift colony
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 29
The Citizen’s Welfare Federation has hailed the move of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) of shifting the illegal Guru Nanak Colony from Phase X here.

Mr A.S. Shyan, secretary-general, said here yesterday that the federation had been making efforts for the past 10 years to get the colony shifted as it had become a nuisance for the residents of the area. Moreover, land worth crores of rupees had been occupied illegally.

Mr Shyan said that similar action should be undertaken by PUDA authorities in the case of other illegal colonies like the jhotekut colony in Sector 71 and the meat market in Phase I. 



Shifted residents hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 29
Some residents of Guru Nanak Colony in Phase X, who were shifted to a new site near Jagatpura village, staged a dharna outside of the office of PUDA here today in protest against the alleged discrimination done by officials concerned while allotting plots to the residents.

The protesters said some persons who were living in the colony for the past many years were not given any plots while persons living in houses which were not even numbered were allotted alternative sites.

Manesh Kumar said he was living in house number 1169 for the past about 10 years and also had a ration card and a voter-I card but was not given any plot by PUDA. Among others who made similar complaints were Kranti Devi, Mohan Lal, Ram Lal, Vijay Raja.

PUDA officials on the other hand said that no discrimination had been done while making allotments. All genuine claimants of the colony were given alternative sites.



Demolition of Guru Nanak Colony  condemned
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 29
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today condemned the demolition of Guru Nanak Colony in Phase X here. In a statement issued in Chandigarh, the SAD President and former Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Prakash Singh Badal, today said this act amounted to “coercion” on part of the government.

The government had rendered so many persons homeless as all residents of the colony were evicted without making alternative arrangements for them, said Mr Badal, adding that such colonies should not have been allowed to come up in the first place. He further alleged that the government’s action had forced persons, including women and children, to live in the open.



Snake spotted in house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
If monsoons come, snakes can’t be far behind. Close on the heels of a python being discovered in Sector 17, snake visited Sector 44, much to the disdain of the residents.

The fire brigade got a call this afternoon from house number 3086 asking for help. The owner had spotted a snake in his garage and wanted the firemen to reach the spot immediately.

The “rescue team” reached the residence in a jiffy and without wasting any time, beat the snake to death much to the relief of the family. They brought the body of the 7.25-feet-long snake to the fire station and buried it in a corner.

By evening, the Fire Department had received yet another call for a similar “rescue mission”. At 7.30 pm, Mr Gurman Singh, spotted a snake in his garage and called up the police and fire station. The firemen killed this snake, too, as an inquisitive crowd watched them. After killing it, the snake was brought to the fire station for burial. 



Cremation ground proposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
The Chandigarh Administration has decided to construct a new cremation ground in the North-West of Manimajra. This facility would be in addition to the already existing cremation ground near the Housing Board traffic lights in Manimajra.

Proposed to be located near the Indira Colony, the cremation ground would come up near the road leading to the Mata Mansa Devi temple. The Land Acquisition Officer (LAO), Chandigarh, in a communique to the Municipal Corporation and the area Councillor, Mr Surinder Singh, had intimated that an area of around 10 kanal had been freed from acquisition for the proposed cremation ground.

The land had been released in lieu of the land of an old cremation ground which had been acquired for raising a multi-purpose sports complex and a college. The structures on the old cremation ground near the Darshani Bagh area were demolished by the Administration few months back.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Surinder Singh, the area Councillor, said ownership of the land vested with the original land owners, a committee of local residents had been set up for looking after the affairs at the cremation ground. The infrastructure at the cremation ground would be provided by the corporation.



Senior citizens assn opens Sec 35 chapter
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 29
To provide better service to the residents at or near their doorsteps, the Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association (CSCA) is in the process of opening its chapters in various sectors. The president of the association, Mr P.H. Vaishnav, stated this while inaugurating the Sector 35 chapter of the association at Khukhrain Bhavan today. He exhorted senior citizens to adapt themselves to the changing socio-economic environment, which was making it more and more difficult for family members to look after the older persons.

In this scenario, the only viable option was for senior citizens to form self-help groups. He appealed to the councillors to use their good offices to render assistance to the Sector 35 Chapter of the association.

Over 60 senior citizens besides the two councillors attended the meeting. Earlier, chapter president A.S. Sidhu gave an overview of the various activities of the association and the complementary role played by members from Sector 35. As a direct result of house-to-house visits, the number of members from the sector had nearly trebled in the past few months. The chapter, which started on a low key in Sector 35-A, has now spread to the whole sector. In keeping with the CSCA culture, members had been providing care and companionship to non-members as well.

Major-Gen J.S. Bhullar, chairman of the association, also spoke and blessed the venture.



Ms Rodrigues visits Gudia, presents tricycle
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
Impressed by the strong entrepreneurship spirit of Gudia, a physically challenged and totally immobile woman vendor, Ms Jean Rodrigues, wife of Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, visited her residence in a small rented room in Sector 19 and presented a tri-cycle donated by the UT Red Cross Branch to her.

The plight of this courageous handicapped woman was highlighted a few days back by a Air Cmdr, Dyal Singh (retd) in a write up published in some newspapers. During an interaction with the author, Gudia had expressed her desire to meet Ms Jean Rodrigues.



Narrow escape for car occupants
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 29
Two persons going in a car had a miraculous escape when a pole carrying live power cable fell on it.
It is learnt that the two of them immediately jumped out of the car when they saw a spark in the car after one of the poles fell on the vehicle.

A metal fabricator which was being carried in a Tata 407 vehicle got stuck in the power cables and as a result four poles carrying the cables fell down. When the employees of the PSEB got to know about the incident, power to the cables was immediately cut off.



4 held for drinking at public place
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 29
The police arrested four persons for consuming liquor at a public place while four others were arrested for gambling in various parts of the city.
A car and a scooter stolen from the city while two persons reportedly sustained injuries in a road accident.

The police arrested Avtar Singh, Sucha Singh and Sandeep Kumar, all residents of Mani Majra, and Jagjit Singh of Mubarikpur village in Patiala district from Motor market in Mani Majra for consuming liquor at a public place.

A case under the Excise Act has been registered against them.

Dinesh Kumar of Hallo Majra was arrested from the same village for gambling and Rs 239 recovered from him. Rajinder Kumar, Prem Nath, both of Dadu Majra Colony, and Umesh Kumar of Sector 15 were arrested from Dadu Majra Colony on Tuesday evening for gambling and Rs 3,170 recovered from them. Two separate cases have been registered under the Gambling Act and all accused were later released on bail.

Mr Surinder Singh, resident of Sector 39, complained to the police that his Maruti car (PB-35-A-2777) was stolen from his residence during the night of June 27.

Ms Saroj Bala of Sector 29 reported to the police that her Scooty (CH-03-R-0486) was stolen from a parking lot in Sector 17. Two separate cases of thefts have been registered.

A brother-sister duo suffered injuries after the scooter they were riding on was hit by a car near a gurdwara in Sector 23 on Tuesday. They were admitted to General Hospital in Sector 16.

A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered following a complaint made by Mr Harash Kumar of Sector 23, against the car driver, Dalwinder Singh, resident of Sector 35.

The police has booked four persons for harassing a woman for dowry. Ms Meenakshi of Sector 23 complained to the police that Vinod Kumar, her husband, Kanchi, her mother-in-law, Ashok Kumar, her brother-in-law, and Babita her sister-in-law, were harassing her to bring dowry. A case has been registered in this regard and no arrest has been made so far.

The police booked Kanwarpreet, alias Minku, and Sumit Singh, both residents of Sector 38-West, for allegedly assaulting Rajiv Sharma, resident of Panchkula.

Mr Rajiv in his complaint to the police alleged that both accused assaulted him at Dhanas village on Tuesday evening. No arrest has been made so far.



Two arrested, liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 29
The police today arrested two persons from Sector 26 for allegedly carrying 360 bottles of liquor.

The police said following specific information a trap was laid this morning near Shri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26. At 12.10 pm it stopped a Tata 407 mini-truck (HR-37-5934) and its search led to recovery of various brands of liquor. The police arrested Dinesh Chauhan and Partap Singh, both residents of Panchkula.

A case under the Excise Act has been registered against them. The police has impounded their vehicle also.

Dinesh was earlier arrested for illegally selling liquor in the city. He was arrested for possessing 30 cartons of liquor.



2 road mishap victims die at PGI
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, June 29
Two persons, who sustained serious injuries in separate road accidents here yesterday, succumbed to their injuries in the PGI, Chandigarh, today.
Deepak Kumar, a resident of Pinjore, and Rajinder Kumar of Mauli Jagran died in the PGI this afternoon.

Mr Deepak had sustained injuries when an unidentified vehicle hit him on the busy Panchkula-Kalka highway last night. He was on way to his native village from Panchkula on his motor cycle when the accident occurred in Chandi Mandir village.

In another accident, Mr Rajinder Kumar who was going on a scooter was hit by some unidentified vehicle in Old Panchkula, last night.

The bodies were handed over to the families after post-mortem examinations.



Fringe benefit tax to affect competitiveness, says Lakhotia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
“Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) will adversely affect the competitiveness of the corporate sector as the industry is already burdened with higher input and transaction costs and will find it difficult to sustain its competitiveness in the long run”, asserted Mr R. N. Lakhotia, eminent tax investment consultant, at a seminar on ‘Fringe benefits tax’ organised by the CII, Chandigarh Council, here today.

Further striking a note of caution, he said: “If we look deep into the provision of the FBT, the provisions are really harsh and will result into higher tax burden for the tax payers”. It will also affect the companies that are taking major initiatives in retaining talent by providing continuous knowledge and training particularly for IT firms, which spend a considerable amount on employee welfare, he added.

Speaking on the methodology for compliance, Mr Lakhotia said: “First time in the history of taxation, there is an urgent need for joint working of the Human Resources Department, the Finance and the Taxation Department and the CEO of the company to strike a balance in planning of salary and perks for employees.”

Urging the Government to provide certain clarifications related to the FBT, he further added: ”The deadline for the first instalment for the FBT is payable on or before July 15 and hence the government should come out with detailed clarification on problems of the FBT so that taxpayers can comply before the deadline.” He also explained various other practical difficulties while ascertaining the fringe benefit tax. 



‘Media industry growing fast’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
Advertising, media, entertainment and communication Industry is growing faster than any other industry in the country and offers lot of job opportunities at various others levels. Mr Anurag Batra, Managing Director of Exchange 4 media said the industry would provide for 5000 jobs at the entry level and another 5,000 for those opting for a mid-career change in the media industry during the next five years. He was sharing his views on Career and Opportunities in Media in India.

The media options no longer pertain to journalism and have multiplied in various forms, including the number of channels on television (212 today as against two some year ago), FM and AM radio stations (three and six FM as against a single metro-wide station some year ago) and newspapers (five more are being launched in the next few weeks) , besides numerous magazines and internet websites. As a result, media/ entertainment and advertising has registered a growth of 15.4 per cent, while IT has grown by 15 per cent per the latest Hewitt Associates Survey, he added.

The number of TV channels would also go up from 200 to 500 in the next five years.

Though job opportunities exist but there is need for providing quality education and sound training facilities, said Mr Anurag Batra. Fresh graduates and executives, Mr Mathur emphasised, should be trained and equipped from the industry’s point of view.


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