C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Haryana to set up IT corridor in Panchkula
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

It was more of a bureaucratic function with more government officers than delegates. As only a few delegates arrived on the eve of the mega IT conclave, IT Secretaries of all three governments — Punjab, Haryana and UT — interacted with the media.

In fact, mediapersons had go back disappointed as even the NASSCOM chief, Mr Kiran Karnik, reached the venue after the conclusion of the inaugural session. He was scheduled to be the key speaker at the session.

Among others, the key speakers at the conclave who arrived today, were the Infosys Vice President, Mr H.R Binod; Vertex CEO, Dan Sandhu, and CEO of naukri.com, Mr Sanjiv Bhikchandani. Both the Chief Minister will address the inaugural session tomorrow.

Chandigarh, July 14
Not willing to be left behind in the IT race, Haryana too announced the setting up of an IT corridor in Panchkula, during a function organised on the eve of a two-day mega conclave on Information Technology (IT) - e Revolution - 2005.

Even as Punjab and Chandigarh tried to woo the IT giants by projecting the projects already undertaken by them to emerge as IT destinations, Haryana Principal Secretary (IT) P.K. Chaudhary said Panchkula was rather being developed as a major Technology City with a SEZ status. He added that they were also working out the modalities to develop an Express Highway around Delhi's Ring Road.

Giving details of the location, he said it would initially be spread over an area of 250 acres overlooking the golf course next to Ghaggar river with Shivalik range in the backdrop. In fact, it would be joining Chandigarh’s technology park and was expected to attract companies for nano-technology, bio-technology, etc. "In another two or three years, the area will expand to 1000 acres," he said.

He added that the technology city will have adequate living, entertainment and shopping facilities. The entire project would be undertaken with private-public partnership.

Highlighting the growth of NCR region, he said excellent infrastructure and pro-active environment had helped MNCs to set up units in Gurgaon, Delhi and Noida. The focus of the state would now be on developing Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula as "a tri-city IT destination for the purposes of investment by MNCs and other IT companies".

Claiming that the environment was investor friendly, he said the state was willing to set up more and more parks but was unable to accommodate the requests of all companies. While the state already has two food parks, two more are on the anvil.

Earlier, Mr B.R. Bajaj, Principal Secretary ( IT), Punjab, said government was becoming IT savvy with local area networking (LAN) in the Civil Secretariat and other offices. Besides this, the empowered committee on mega projects has been sanctioning projects over Rs 100 crore.

He added that the thrust of the government was to provide the benefits of IT at the grassroot levels by developing human resources through IT education in schools.

Mr Subodh Aggarwal (Punjab's Secretary IT) reiterated that the state was not doling out enough financial incentives to lure investment in the region due to financial constraints. But was providing business friendly environment for real estate and urban development, ensuing private participation in the process.

For Chandigarh, the conclave on IT beginning from tomorrow could not have been organised at a better time. Expected to attract major IT projects with huge investments, it comes at a time when the city is all set to launch its twin projects — Information Technology Park and Technology Habitat spread over an area of about 600 acre.

Besides this, the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status for IT in Chandigarh has already been approved by the Union Government. The establishment of SEZ is likely to lead to private sector investment and foreign direct investment (FDI), besides attracting investible surplus capital to this region. It is also expected to encourage public-private partnership in infrastructure and industry.

Chandigarh's IT Director Vivek Atray says the conference is going to be a huge success with over 250 registrations. "The booking is full. There will not be any spot registration," he says.

‘‘Chandigarh is today being looked upon at as the best IT destination by the people around the world”, said Mr Atray. Their proactive policy had attracted much more investments than expected. As a result, even NASSCOM considered Chandigarh a serious contender, along with Thiruvanathapuram, Mysore, Jaipur and Nasik.

Highlighting the importance of BPOs, he said nationally, ITES/BPO segment accounted for 30 per cent of the total ITES exports from India in 2004-2004. ITES and BPO exports are expected to be $ 7.3 billion in 2005-2006.

Mr S. K. Sandhu, UT Finance Secretary, said already a special committee to harness IT development had been created with the representatives from Punjab, Haryana and UT to meet the aspirations of a region growing as an IT destination. He informed the gathering about various initiatives taken by the Administration and informed that basic objective had been to simplify and rationalise the governance process.

Meanwhile, NASSCOM chief, Mr Kiran Karnik, arrived in the city late in the evening and would be chairing Friday's inaugural session of the biggest IT conference, first of its kind North of Delhi.

Organised by NASSCOM, the conclave has been divided into five plenary sessions and will focus on "IT-ITES: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges". Kiran Karnik and HFCL Chairman Mahendra Nahata will be the key speakers. The last session on "the International Perspective on Indian Investment" will be attended by the trade commissioners from Canada, France and the UK.



E-Revolution 2005
Better connectivity will help realise city’s IT dream
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
As the mega conclave on Information Technology (IT) got underway, IT heads of two major companies today reiterated the need for improving infrastructure in the upcoming IT destinations of Chandigarh and Mohali so as to bring them at par with other IT destinations across the country.

Both region-based Executive Director of QuarkCity P.S Sehgal and Site Director of Dell Sandeep Suri said Chandigarh Administration and the Punjab Government were all out to promote the growth of IT and IT-enabled services (ITes) in the area. Yet, a lot was required to be done in terms of upgrading the facilities, including better connectivity with the other IT hubs and improvement in the hospitality fields, besides better transportation system.

Chandigarh needs better infrastructure support. Today it is at a position where Bangalore was five years back, said Mr Sandeep Suri.

Talking about better air connectivity, he said the number of direct flights from the city to IT hubs including Bangalore and Hyderabad, besides the commercial capital of the country Mumbai and other metros should increase.

“It would be worth celebrating the day international flights start operations from here and the airport is upgraded to an international one,” Mr Suri said.

He also voiced the need for having better hotels in the city as these were essential for hosting events and accommodating professionals descending upon emerging IT destinations.

Describing the city as an ideal destination, he added that the focus of multinational companies had now shifted to “tier-II cities” like Pune, Jaipur and Chandigarh due to saturation in tier-I cities with the entry of more players.

Besides this, the salaries and attrition rates were lower in smaller cities, thereby making more companies scout for talent in these virgin territories, he added.

The public transportation system also needed improvement to accommodate the additional work force of 15,000 to 20,000 persons over the next few months.

Talking about the job generation and availability of talent, he said big names like Infosys, IBM Daksh and Convergys were all set to bring Chandigarh on the world map of IT. In the process, the companies would be creating jobs for the large talent pool available here.

Mr Suri said the experience of running a call centre had proved that the city has the market to manage technical processes in the Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) sector.

Dell, which had set up its third call centre in Mohali a few months back, would have a work force of 1500 by the year-end, even though they started with just 300 employees in the first month.

Regarding the scope for youngsters, he said, “Opportunities exist in the fields of customer service, sales and even text support in the emerging IT scenario. As such there is need to modify the syllabi to make it more IT/BPO specific at college and university level”.

Due to natural boundaries on all sides preventing the growth of Chandigarh the city has no option but to depend on the satellite towns of Mohali and Panchkula for emerging as the country’s next big IT destination. The region has immense potential and would be creating 50,000 jobs in the BPO’s in the near future, says Mr P.S. Sehgal, Executive Director, Quark City.

The city, with population expected to rise between 12 and 14 lakh, is bound to face constraints of space. As such, Chandigarh will have to co-ordinate with the two townships, he says.

Regarding talent and jobs in the sector, he says there is no dearth of it. “Fortunately people have started taking up careers in the call centres seriously, rather than considering them as mere transitory jobs. Not so long ago, people all over the world would see them more as a hobby than a career.

Otherwise in the emerging IT arena, there is more scope in the back offices not directly involved in business operations, but in operations like accounting, personnel, logistics and management. The insurance sector and services sector too has a huge potential.

Commenting upon the role of government, he says it can be three-fold. It should help in promoting the region as an IT destination. It should have a policy framework and facilitate processing in the form of an enactment for the benefit of entrepreneurs.

The government can also help upgrade infrastructure. As of now there is a need to have better road connectivity to the national Capital and of course to other places. The focus has to be on developing the social infrastructure and controlling the periphery management Act to enable more planned development.

For instance, projects like QuarkCity provide plenty of room for expansion. It would be ready by 2008. The 12-tower new structure, expected to be ready by April next year, will have one floor for the QuarkCity, others two or three floors would house the parent company, Quark Media. Rest would be given to MNCs, with whom the MoUs would be signed shortly. The government also needs to create a mechanism wherein there is incremental increase in the quality of educated being imparted every year so that the youth could aspire for good jobs.



IT students a forgotten lot at mega conclave
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
E-revolution is happening in the heart of the city and yet the city youth are unconnected, untouched. Big names in the IT business, right from NASSCOM President, Mr Kiran Karnik, to Mr Mohandas Pai from Infosys to Pradeep Gupta from Cyber Media and Krishna Giri of E-governance (ASEAN)-IBM, are in the city doing a lot of talking and yet the next crop of computer engineers is nowhere to be found.

The IT students, they are neither at nor anywhere near the venue for the biggest event in IT that the city has ever hosted for the Chandigarh Capital Region (CCR). And it seems somewhat paradoxical that the IT company here are to talk a lot about the future—the direction of IT, the investment planning and the course and scope of more action in the coming days.

Ask Ajay Sharma, a computer engineer in the making, about the conclave, the one-of-a-kind hyped and well publicised affair of the Chandigarh IT Department, and he draws a blank.

“Something to do with IT happening in the city? Well, I’m not aware but if that really is the case, the hosts should have realised that students are the most important ingredient of any “future” recipe, even if it boils down to dealing with investments in the CCR. With so many big shots under one roof, it would have been an experience to remember,” he stated, almost in shock over the non-involvement of students.

A third year student of Punjab Engineering College in the computer engineering stream, Ruhi Gupta, says,” Being able to hear the best in the industry would have been an eye-opener. It’s strange that nobody thought of the IT students while planning this three-day event. I have been following the take-off of this event very closely in the papers. I want to be a part of it, ask these heads why they make our entry as trainees in their companies difficult. I want to know that since we will untimately land up a job with their company why can’t they groom us young, give us a hands-on experience and open our eyes to the world outside. Why do they act difficult with trainees?”

Another of her classmates, Ankit Sukhija, adds that the young computer engineers need a lot of guidance and this was the most opportune moment. “If the organisers could not have us at the venue for the conclave, they sure could have organised a few lectures with the top notch in the industry for us. What else is exposure all about? Moreover, it would have given us a chance to ask questions about technology and its scope in the future,” he maintained.

Ankit, like his other classmates, explained that selecting the right field to branch out into was crucial at this stage. “An interaction with the best from IT would have gone a long way in giving direction to our careers. It’s sad that something as big as the conclave is happening a stone’s throw from our college and we are not invited,” he rued.

For now, however, they have missed the bus though they are not to blame. Their connection to the growing IT world snapped and they can only sit on the sidelines, watch from a distance and sulk. That’s what a lot of young talent in the city is doing as of now.



Chandigarh using IT for society
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Five years, since the Chandigarh Administration announced its IT policy, the use of information technology (IT) is now percolating down to the common man, making Chandigarh a place where “IT is for the society”.

The “e-revolutions” show, which started today, has taken a step in showcasing the potential of the city to the IT giants of the world. The work of these five years was shown to the visitors who are the top men of leading companies like Infosys, Dell and Quark, among others. The visitors are also keen on seeing the IT initiatives which are for city residents and not just the swank buildings, said an official involved in the programme.

Sampark centres, providing for single-point collection of several types of bills besides acceptance of passport applications, have scripted a success story of their own.

The Sampark project is the right example for “e-governance”, says the Director IT, Chandigarh Administration, Mr Vivek Atray. These centres handle about 70,000 to 1 lakh visitors a month. City residents can get work related to various departments done at a single point in air conditioned comfort. Payment of bills can be made through credit cards also by visiting the website of the Chandigarh Administration.

The Sampark centres offer services of payment of sales tax and central sales tax, bus passes, senior citizen cards, disability card, payment of electricity bills, births and deaths registration certificates, payment of water and sewage bills, tenant registration and domestic servants, payment of sticker, postal challans by the police and acceptance of passport applications.

The website of the Estate Office www.sampada.in holds records of property ownership. This is one of the major information technology initiatives taken in the city

The website gives all details about property in Chandigarh which rules out possibility of any cheating. This also eliminates the role of babus and clerks who are generally not very forthcoming in giving even basic information. Now anybody can just log onto the website and know things like who was owner of a property in the past.

All payments are made through online facility run by the Bank of Punjab. This has again eliminated the role of clerks while the payment is deposited in the treasury the same day.

Besides, the Chandigarh Administration has also launched the Chandigarh Training on Soft Skills (CTOSS) programme which specifically educates city youth for handling jobs at call centre. The courses have been designed in collaboration with leading companies like Convergys and Wipro Spectramind and are followed by a test which has been accepted as a benchmark by the industry for assessing the employability of candidates.



Xquiz IT 2005

Chandigarh, July 14
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Northern Region, in association with the Society of Information Technology is organising XquizIT 2005, a corporate challenge quiz, on July 23, a press note said here today.

The objective of the event is to promote team building, raise awareness, enhance knowledge and upgrade skills in the corporate sector. The participants will not only compete on the basis of their talent, but also, get an opportunity to test their strategic decision making skills, the note added. TNS



Chandigarh-Ambala road to be 4-laned
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
The “killer-stretch” of the national highway between Chandigarh and Ambala on which hundreds of lives are lost every year in accidents, will finally be four-laned.

Last fortnight, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) awarded the contract to a Bangalore-based firm to four-lane the road at a cost of Rs 298 crore. This has ended the more than a decade long wait for residents of this areas and also road users headed towards Himachal Pradesh. The volume of traffic had increased making use of the road risky.

The contract to four-lane the road was awarded in the last week of June and information about the same has been now communicated to the Punjab Government.

The Bangalore-based company has been given four months till the end of October to bring in its equipment and station its men here. A further period of 30 months has been given for the completion of the task. As per the scheduled time-frame, the road, in its new form, will be functional in April 2008.

An engineer said normally all highway projects are completed well before the scheduled time frame. This one may be no exception.

The actual stretch to be four-laned is a 35 kms section of National Highway-22 between Zirakpur and Ambala. Between Chandigarh and Zirakpur, a distance of 8 km, a six-lane highway already exists. Also just outside Ambala Cantonment, the six- lane Ambala- Delhi Highway starts. The road to be taken up for four-laning is one of the busiest roads in the country and is at present two-laned. More than 100 lives are lost every year.

It will involve the construction of one flyover, three major bridges besides a number of service roads in urban areas falling along the highway.

The road, once completed, will allow residents of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali to cut down on travel time to New Delhi. At present it takes about 75 minutes during peak hours to travel between Chandigarh and Ambala. The road will allow the same distance to be covered in 40 minutes.

It may be recollected that the “Bhoomi Poojan” for the Chandigarh-Ambala road was carried out during the NDA-led rule at the Centre in January 2004 by the then Union Surface Transport Minister, Maj-Gen B.C. Khanduri (retd). No work had been carried out since then.

In December last year, the matter was raised in Parliament by the MP of Chandigarh, Mr Pawan Bansal. He was informed by the now Union Surface Minister, Mr T.R. Baalu, that no such project was on the list of immediate tasks being done for highway expansion in the country.

This had led to a lot of hue and cry following which the matter was revived at the ministry level.



An introspective and inspirational session
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
A seminar on “Challenges before the media in the post Independence era” held today at the Press Club turned into an introspective and inspirational session for the journalists who attended the gathering.

The two stalwarts, Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune group of newspapers and Mr Prabash Joshi, Editorial Advisor of Jansatta, who were the guests of honour and presided over the function, provided witty, worrying, thought-provoking and moving insights into the values and development of the social context of the media in the country today.

Professor N.S. Johal, former chairman of the Department of Journalism, Punjabi University, Patiala, who spoke about the big challenges before the media which were, “To make it accessible to common people, to involve them in ongoing dialogues and to maintain a balance between professional ethics and market forces”.

The paper was followed by Professor S.S. Dosanjh, now retired, who implored journalists to be different, “Because teachers and journalists are the watchdogs to society”.

The talk of both Mr Dua and Mr Joshi on the role of the media was stirring and roused tremendous response from the journalists present.

“To educate people is the primary necessity of the newspapers. Most political leaders who led the struggle for Independence were editors of newspapers because it was necessary to awaken the consciousness of people,” reiterated Mr Joshi, while highlighted the role of newspapers in India’s freedom movement. “No other free press of any other democracy has played as vital a role in shaping public opinion as the Indian press.”

According to Mr Joshi, “Globalisation is responsible for the changing context of news coverage”.

“The market dictates the society we live in. The value and worth of a newspaper is now judged by its market capitalisation and not how it reaches the masses.”

Mr Dua extolled the growth of the press as a product of renaissance of India, of the freedom movement and the role of prominent freedom fighters in newspapers but lamented the fact that Parliament, judiciary and administration were not playing their role in defending the common man.

“At a time like this, the press is expected to lead by example because people believe in the Indian press and that is their greatest challenge. The freedom of the press means the freedom of people to express. The right to know, state and fight is the true meaning of the media.”

He was unhappy with the media reporting only on Shining Urban India. This has resulted in neglect of coverage of rural regions. “Is the Indian press fighting superstitions? No, it is not. How many papers are fighting against caste, misuse of religion in politics and the vast unemployment in the country?”

He bemoaned the fact that the Indian press had forgotten its role and asked if the media was using the freedom for a wider social benefit?

Mr Dua spoke of the media’s need to have a soul. “Not just colour, new designs or glamorous stories but a vital essence in service of the society for which it was created.”

Earlier, the Club president Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu and secretary general, Mr Balwant Takshak, welcomed the guests and spoke of the club’s 25-year-old history.



Two held for ‘links’ with Hawara, let off
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 14
The local police reportedly rounded up two persons for their alleged links with the Babbar Khalsa International chief, Jagtar Singh Hawara. Both the persons were later let off by the police after it failed to establish their links with Hawara.

The in charge of the Crime Branch, Inspector K.I.P. Singh, while confirming that they had picked up two persons on the basis of the information given by Hawara, said both the persons were released by the police after verification.

Inspector K.I.P. Singh added that Lakha Singh and Lakhwinder Singh were picked up by the police from Anandpur Sahib yesterday. He added that both the persons were handed over to the panchayat of the village after verification.

SSP L.S. Sandhu said the persons were picked up by the Crime Branch and the UT SSP Gaurav Yadav knew the details. He said they would move the court for extending Hawara’s police remand as their interrogation had not been completed as yet.



Passing Thru

Shirin Anandita, Oshoite poet, living in Shillong
Shirin Anandita, Oshoite poet, living in Shillong

What brings you to region?

I am from Ambala and I did my Masters in English from GMN College there. Every girl likes to come home and so I have come home to have a good time there and in Chandigarh too.

Your debut book of poems in Punjabi ‘Ratti Tere Rang Jogia’ has created quite a stir?

Has it? But that is not intended. I just create a stir all the time because I write just as I choose and I live just as I choose. My parents named me Ramanjit but I took on the nomenclature of Shirin Anandita because the name fitted the spirit of my poetry. I am an Oshoite.

Did you always write in Punjabi?

I first started writing in Hindi but then moved onto my mother tongue. I learnt to read and write Punjabi in 1982. I can never forget that year because I wrote a letter in Punjabi to my boyfriend. Well, I have had not one but many boyfriends and then I decided to marry one of them. He is in the army and I move with him from place to place.

What is your poetry about?

My poetry is all about the world around me. I write about love but there are just a few poems in which I pine for a lover. I prefer to write on love with a difference and address the irony within.

— Nirupama Dutt



Naya Gaon residents expect better infrastructure
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Less than a day after the Punjab and Haryana High Court vacated the stay on the formation of a notified area committee (NAC) or nagar panchayat for Naya Gaon, property dealers were the ones smiling all the way to the bank.

Already, property rates have been jacked up at least 30 per cent, with most property dealers adopting a wait-and-watch policy.

“Once the NAC is actually constituted, land rates will rise further. After reading in the newspapers that the high court has lifted the stay, the number of customers coming to buy land have increased manifolds,” said a property dealer.

The high court has also made numerous residents of the locality happy. They hope the Punjab Government would now do something to improve infrastructure of the area.

“Come here when it is raining. It is difficult to walk on the streets. There is no drainage system. I hope the government will improve civic conditions here,” said Mr Harish Kumar, a resident.

The high court had yesterday vacated the stay imposed by it on the November 2001 notification of the Punjab regarding the constitution of NAC. The areas that will form part of the NAC are the villages of Karoran, Nadha and Kansal.

Incidentally, property prices had also risen sharply in November 2001 when the NAC proposal had been mooted. But, the high court stay had meant that the joy of property dealers was short-lived.

“But we hope the government will do something before any further court intervention, if any,” says Mr Arjun Singh, ex-sarpanch, Kansal.

Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, General Secretary Parvinder Singh, while hailing the High Court order said that he was hopeful Punjab Government would take steps to improve infrastructure and civic condition in the areas falling in the Notified Area Committee.

Meanwhile, the meeting called by Minister for Animal Husbandry Jagmohan Singh Kang, in whose Assembly constituency the area falls for today was postponed at the last meeting. It will be held tomorrow now.



Lobbying on for post of local Cong chief
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Even as uncertainty over the appointment of president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) continues, lobbying for the top post has picked up momentum.

While the present incumbent, Mr BB Bahl, is making last-ditch efforts to retain the coveted post, the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, is making all-out efforts to get one of his confidants — Mr Ram Pal Sharma and Mr Subhash Chawla — installed at the post.

Party sources said the ball was now in the AICC president, Ms Sonia Gandhi’s, court. And with the appointment of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief yesterday, the appointment of the CTCC chief was a matter of days.

Recently, the Pawan Bansal faction had managed to get a majority in the Territorial Congress Committee (TCC) appointed by the high command.

It was widely believed that after the formation of the TCC and the appointments of the 25 block presidents, the ouster of Mr Bahl was a forgone conclusion. However, the joy of the Bansal group was short-lived as Mr Bahl is strongly backed by the Union Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee.

On the other hand, Mr Bansal is considered close to senior leaders like Ms Ambika Soni and AICC general secretary and in charge of Chandigarh, Mr Janardhan Dwivedi. In fact, efforts by certain senior AICC leaders to effect a “compromise” between Mr Bahl and Bansal seem to have come to a naught.

And with the Union Cabinet expansion round the round corner, it is widely believed that Mr Bansal, a senior MP, might find a place in it. As part of the compromise formula, the high command might offer Mr Bansal a Cabinet berth and retain Mr Bahl as the CTCC chief, thus placating both the factions.

However, Mr Bahl’s detractors argued that it would be an uphill task for him to carry the party organisation, packed with Bansal supporters, with him in the run-up to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) elections next year. They argued that the party needed a grassroot leaders to lead the party in the election and Mr Sharma and Mr Chawla fitted the bill.

On the flip side, Mr Bahl had demonstrated his ability to lead the party even in the wake of strong opposition from local leaders. And the Manish Tewari and Venod Sharma factions of the CTCC also do not have any problem working with him.



Contract system for paid parking flawed
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
After more than four years of introduction of paid parking in the city, the system is far from being a people friendly.

Due to lacunae in the system of awarding paid parking contracts, a number of contractors in the past gave up the contract mid-way. To run the system smoothly, enlistment of the contractors should be made mandatory.

In the paid parking system introduced till date, the municipal corporation has not followed the system of enlistment of the contractors. As a result, contractors who can manage the system professionally are not being hired.

Sources in the corporation say that the most affected parking lots have been the CMC parking, Anand Cinema parking and the Bank Square parking in Sector 17, causing loss of revenue to the corporation. The contractors have left mid-way either due to loss of revenue or lack of ability to professionally manage the parking lots.

To run such paid parking lots, the corporation has to either deploy private security guards or employ its own staff leading to a drastic drop in the revenue. A classic example has been the paid parking in front of the district courts in Sector 17.

Since there is little space for further expansion of paid parkings in Sectors 8, 9, 22 and 35, the corporation should go for temporary parking lots adjoining the existing parking lots. In the case of Sector 35, the facing open space in Sector 34 could be used for the purpose. The two parking lots could be connected through sub-ways.

The Administration could decide that on certain days in a month, no vehicle should be permitted in the parking areas. The restrictions could be by way of levying a toll on vehicles with less than two persons to encourage car pooling.

Panel recommendations

  • Parking time extended from 10 pm to 12.30 am. Those interested to park their vehicles after 12.30 am will have to pay Rs 5 for an hour thereafter
  • In case of a car theft in a paid parking lot, the case of negligence on the part of the contractor will be heard by the Additional Commissioner. The owner of the car will have to register an FIR against the thief.
  • Shopkeepers will have to pay Rs 55 for a monthly pass for a specific paid parking. The monthly pass for scooters (Rs 150) and cars (Rs 300) will be valid for all the paid parking lots in the city.
  • Instead of park and pay, the system will be pay and park.



Solution to flooding problem in sight
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 14
The problem of flooding of Sector 19 because of constructions on the course of the nullah in the neighbouring Punjab area could end soon.

Today, the President of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, Mr Narinder Sharma, held a meeting with the Panchkula Municipal Council President, Mr Tarun Bhandari, to find an amicable solution to the issue. Though the issue has been taken up at various levels between the governments of Punjab and Haryana, no solution has yet been found.

Mr Bhandari said that his counterpart in Zirakpur had agreed to give a proper channel for the nullah to flow through its area. “A meeting of officials of the Haryana Urban Development Authority, the Panchkula district administration and representatives of the two local bodies will be held shortly to formally sort out the issue. They even agreed to construct a retaining wall along the nullah to prevent flooding of the land alongside,” he said.

The entire rain water in Panchkula flows down through three seasonal rivulets to Industrial Area and Sector 19 here. The outflow of water from the township is through three places in the neighbouring areas of Punjab, which have now been usurped by colonisers and marriage palace owners in Zirakpur. Since the water cannot find an outlet, the water pressure not only damages the buildings constructed on this land reclaimed on the natural course of the nullahs, but also floods the low-lying areas like Sector 19 and Industrial Area, falling near the nullahs.

A few years ago, the storm water would drain out in the nullah flowing behind Industrial Area. Most of the natural course of the nullah has been usurped and Harmilap Nagar stands on this land. From here, the nullah reaches the Punjab and Haryana boundary, near Shagun Hotel, where the outflow is now blocked. The second outflow of water from the township is also blocked by a coloniser, who has built apartments on the natural course near the railway line on the Zirakpur-Panchkula highway. The third outflow of storm water from Panchkula has been blocked by a marriage palace near the ganda nullah in Dhakauli village.



‘Anti-staff’ policies of JCT Ltd to be discussed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 14
“Anti-employee” policies of the management of JCT Electronics Ltd will be discussed at a meeting scheduled to be held under the presidentship of Mr Kartar Singh Rathore, general secretary of Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, Punjab, in Phase IIIB 1 tomorrow.

In a press note released here today, the JCT Electronics Mazdoor Sangh president, Mr Kuldeep Singh, said that an open invitation was given to JCT employees for the meeting to discuss the moves that the management could allegedly take to put employees into trouble.

He said that the cases going on in tribunals were allegedly being overlooked and no efforts were being made to clear the pending dues, including gratuity and provident fund of some employees who had retired.

Mr Kuldeep Singh said that out of about 200 employees called back to work after lifting the lock out by the JCT management, most of them were shifted to the Baroda unit in Gujarat. The rest were also allegedly being pressurised to go to Baroda as it was not certain when the local unit would start production. He said that workers were losing hope that the unit would start functioning.

He said that the agreement that had taken place between the JCT management and the Hind Mazdoor Sabha in the presence of the local Labour Commissioner was being allegedly thrown to the winds and the Labour Commissioner, Punjab Labour Secretary, Punjab, and the state government had become silent spectators. The lockout was lifted after 11 months and about 15 per cent of the employees who were taken back on work were being allegedly sent to Baroda. The power and water connections for the local unit had not been got restored yet. 



‘Bring guilty MC officials to book’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 14
Twelve Municipal Councillors today held a meeting and urged the Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, to order a Vigilance probe into the alleged ‘financial irregularities in the Municipal Council.

These Councillors said that with allegations being levelled against the Council, it was casting the Council and its Councillors in poor light. They demanded that the guilty Councillors and MC officials should be brought to book.

It may be noted that the alleged bungling of funds by the committees formed by MC for maintenance of parks has been reported. The Urban Development Department, too, has ordered an inquiry into the matter.

It is alleged that while no money was spent on the development or upkeep of parks, this was siphoned off by the committee members in collusion with certain Municipal Councillors, who were heading these committees. Though the public parks in the township were transferred to Municipal Council, the latter had no staff for their upkeep. Thus, it was decided to form committees of residents to maintain the parks after Municipal Council paid them some money.

However, the committee members have now been accused of using the money to develop their personal gardens at home.



Chandigarh Press Club expedition team reaches city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
A 16-member expedition team of the Chandigarh Press Club returned from the Pangong Lake in Ladakh this evening. The team had left for the expedition on July 5 but could only reach the lake on July 11. Its progress was delayed following inclement weather and frequent roadblocks caused by landslides and swollen rivers.

The expedition crossed numerous passes, including Tanglang La and Chang La (2nd and 3rd highest motorable passes in the world, respectively), enroute to the lake.

The expedition was at one point stranded for 25 hours at Khangral, 65 km short of Kargil, following a landslide caused by a cloudburst on their way back to the city. The team had to return via Srinagar due to the poor state of the Manali-Leh National Highway.

The team, led by Adventure Committee chairman Sukhvir Singh, comprised Pritam Singh Rupal, Manmohan Singh, Swadesh Talwar, Tejinder Sehgal, Vishal Gulati, Paramvir Singh Bains, Umesh Ghrera, Pankaj Vasudeva, Pardeep Dhull, Dr Joginder Singh, Arun Naithani, Amarnath Vashisht, Pankaj Sharma, Rohit Avasthi, and Narinder Singh.



SBP staff stages protest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 14
Employees of the State Bank of Patiala today hold a massive demonstration in front of local head office of State Bank of Patiala, against the alleged indifferent attitude of bank’s management towards the demands of the employees.

The employees were agitating against the policy of bank management to close down extension counters, adequate recruitment of staff and not implementing the promotion test from sub staff to clerical staff.

While addressing the rally, Mr Gurbax Singh, Assistant General Secretary of All India State Bank of Patiala, employees federation demanded immediate meeting at the head office level.

Mr K.K. Sehgal, joint secretary of federation said that there was a shortage of security staff at branches. He urged the employees to remain prepared against the anti-employee “attitude” of the bank management and prepare themselves for a massive dharna at head office on July 20.

The rally was also addressed by Mr Shushma Gupta, vice-president and Mr Yadwindra Gupta, treasurer of the union.



Panchkula gets third funeral van
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 14
The township today got its third funeral van. With increasing population, the existing facility of funeral van service in the township was getting insufficient. The Panchkula Welfare Trust dedicated this service for the township and surrounding areas of Manimajra.

The van was dedicated for service by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijendra Singh, here. It may be noted that there are just two funeral vans in the township — one provided for by the district administration and another by an NGO — the Aggarwal Sabha. This van can be hired on the following numbers:- 93160-09502 and (0172) 2573833.

A group of local philanthropists had established the Panchkula Welfare Trust in May 1999.



Woman hospitalised with burn injuries
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, July 14
Ms Kusum (35), a resident of Burjkotian village near Chandimandir, was admitted to the PGI with 85 per cent burn injuries which she sustained when was frying a dish at her residence this morning.

According to sources, boiling mustared oil fell on her accidentally when she was in the kitchen. The family members rushed her to the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula. She was later referred to the PGI after her health deteriorated.

The police has started investigating the matter.



Truck driver electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, July 14
A 25-year-old truck driver was electrocuted when the truck he was driving touched electricity wires in Industrial Area, Phase II, here this morning.

The truck helper, however, escaped unhurt as he managed to jump from the truck.

The body of the truck driver, Ved Pal Singh, who is a resident of Jind, was sent to the General Hospital, Sector 6, for postmortem.



Fast trains sought

Chandigarh, July 14
Chandigarh is in the process of becoming a premier destination for software industries in the Information Technology Sector, said Mr Rajiv Bali, chairman of the Chandigarh chamber of the PHDCCI, a press note said here today.

He said in this connection, the PHD chamber advocates upgradation of the local airport into an international airport. Mr Bali also underlined the need for more fast trains to the city. TNS



Trolleys donated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Ten trolleys were donated by Mr Avtar Singh, an NRI from the USA, along with Mr Ajay Mishra and Mr M. P. Singh under the aegis of Sri Sathya Sai Sewa at the PGI here today.



4 vehicles stolen; servant decamps with Rs 80,000
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 14
Four vehicles, including a car, were stolen from the city in the last 24 hours. Besides this, a servant allegedly decamped with Rs 80,000 and other articles from a house and one person was arrested for indulging in gambling.

Mr Vipan Pal Singh Sandhu of Phase III-B-2 lodged a complaint to the police alleging that his Hyundai accent car (PB-65-C-1012) was stolen from NAC Mani Majra. Mr Inderjit Singh, a resident of sector 46-C reported to the police that his LML Vespa Scooter (CH-03-D-8242) was stolen from his residence on Tuesday night. Similarly, Mr Randeep Singh of Dadu Majra Colony filed a complaint to the police alleging that his Bajaj Caliber motorcycle (CH-03-K-7850) was stolen from park in Sector 36 during day time. In another incident Mr Rajan Kumar of Sector 38 reported to the police that his motor cycle (CH-03-S-8258) was stolen from near Electricity Office in Sector 40. Four separate cases of theft have been registered in the various police stations in the city.

About the burglary incident, the sources in the police said Mr Kamaljit Singh of Sector 36-B lodged a complaint alleging that Inderjit Singh of Dera Bassi, who was working as a servant at his residence decamped with Rs 80,000, a gold ring and a gold chain on Tuesday. A case has been registered in this regard.

In a separate incident, Ahmed Gani, a resident Janta Colony, Sector 25, was arrested from Sector 11 and PGI dividing road for allegedly indulging in gambling last evening. The police recovered Rs 450 from his possession and registered a case under Gambling Act.



Man duped of ornaments
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 14
Insatiable desire for wealth not only made him lose gold ornaments, but also left him red faced literally.

Electrician Jatinder Kumar was standing near the Sector 28 petrol station yesterday when a stranger approached him. He offered Jatinder 10 times the amount he staked. Made him drop the gold ornaments in a bag and left the place after slapping him, said the police.

Meanwhile, the police today registered a case against the accused.

It all started in the evening. Jatinder was returning to his house in Mani Majra when the stranger asked him the way to “apni mandi”. After striking conversation with Jatinder, the thug started playing upon human greed for more.

He encouraged him to play a game of lottery with just Rs 10. Asked Jatinder to pull out a slip out of the sling he was carrying. The first slip earned him Rs 20. Second attempt doubled the amount. In third attempt, Jatinder had Rs 120 in his hands.

As they were playing, another person approached them. Describing himself as an acquaintance of the thug, he asked Jatinder to go in for something big. Ignoring Jatinder’s protests of not having much money in his pocket, they asked him to put the gold ornaments worth Rs 10,000 in the sling. As soon as the ornaments disappeared in the sling, the thug gave him a slap and disappeared from the spot.



Case of negligent driving registered
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 14
The local police registered a case of rash and negligent driving against the daughter of a businessman, last night, who allegedly hit a poor widow with her car on July 12.

Mr Tarun Kumar Ghai, in whose house, the victim, Manju (40) was working as a maid servant, told the Chandigarh Tribune today that they were trying to reach a compromise with the parents of Pallavi, the accused woman. He added that the accident took place on Tuesday afternoon, when Pallavi’s car hit the cycle of Manju from rear. Manju fell on the road and sustained multiple injuries. Soon, people gathered at the spot and informed the police about the accident. Later, Manju was shifted to the General Hospital, Sector 16.

Mr Ghai said they demanded Rs 1.5 lakh as a compensation for Manju, as she would not be able to work for two years due to the grievous injuries. He said, she sustained serious injuries on both her knees, besides, severe head injuries and a broken jaw.

However, the parents of Pallavi, who are running a group of companies, were reluctant to pay the money and only offered Rs 15,000 as compensation. Mr Ghai terming it was a small amount. He added that more than Rs 15,000 would be spent on her treatment in the hospital and other medical expenses.



No cheers for CITCO hotels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
The Taj Chandigarh has bagged the cream of the guests participating in the Information Technology conference which opened here today.

A senior official said out of more than 100 rooms occupied in the hotel, a majority had been booked in the names of participants of the IT conference.

The top CITCO hotels in the city, including Hotel Mount View and Shivalik View, witnessed, however, a poor opening to guest bookings for the IT conference. The number of bookings were much below expected in view of the mega IT event in the region.

Mr R.P. Singla, General Manager of Hotel Mount View, said the place had not more than five entries of guests who will be participating in the IT conference.

He said, “I have no prior information but there will be more entries tomorrow or the day after. Another possibility is that top guns of the industry might just land on the day they are supposed to participate in the conference and might head back the same day.”

A front desk official at the hotel Shivalik View said, “there is no separate or special record of the guests expected to participate in the conference.”


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