C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT announces revised conversion policy
Industrialists unhappy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The Chandigarh Administration today announced its decision on the pending issue of price to be charged for the conversion of industrial plots. Though the Administration claims to have relaxed the norms, the industrial associations have described the move at “benefiting a select few, large plot holders”. The Administration has claimed that the policy came about after a review of various issues raised by industrialists in various representations to the government.

The Administration has issued a statement saying that the floor area ratio (FAR) has been increased from 1.5 to 2, bringing down the effective rate of conversion charges from Rs 18,000 to approximately Rs 12,000. Subdivision of sites up to minimum of an acre has also been allowed as per the demand of the industrialists as it was felt that commercial activity can be viable on smaller plots. However, this fragmentation will only be permissible after the payment of full conversion fee for the entire plot.

The statement further says that another demand to allow payment of conversion fee in instalments has also been accepted and incorporated in rules. Now, the plot holder would have the option to pay upfront in lump sum or in annually equated instalments up to five as per his choice. For the payments of instalments, post- dated cheques will be furnished along with the application. Interest chargeable on the instalments will be the usual rate payable by banks on deposits.

The Administration has allowed the conversion of industrial plot into multiplex, marriage palace or banquet hall has been allowed on an area of plot of minimum an acre instead of previously notified minimum area of 4 acres. As regard their demand for benefits of provisions of Apartment Rules 2000, it is clarified that applicants would be free to avail any leeway available under the Apartment Rules 2000 once they have opted for conversion as these rules are not applicable to industrial plots.

Furthermore in the revised policy, a special fund has been proposed. These amendments have been made in order to streamline the utilisation of the conversion charges collected by the Administration by ploughing them back for the development and improvement of the amenities in Industrial Area phases I and II. In the revised policy, the Chandigarh Housing Board has been designated as the nodal agency.

The Administration had announced a scheme for the conversion of land in the Industrial Area, Phases I and II from industrial activity to commercial activity in July 2005. The scheme is aimed at providing another opportunity to industrial plot holders to put the land to optimum utilisation through diverse commercial activities resulting in qualitative value addition to the economy of the city while revitalizing the Industrial Area. The commercial activities shall broadly be what is understood by the tertiary sector and shall inter-alia include shops, offices, banks, hotels, restaurants and training institutions. Residential use and red category trades as notified by the Department of Environment, with the exception of hospitals and nursing homes, shall not be permitted.

The conversion was allowed on the payment of conversion charges of Rs 20,000 per sq. yard which are based on the average price of last three years’ auction of commercial sites in the city. Ten per cent concession is allowed to those applicants who apply for conversion within a year from the date of notification of the scheme. Therefore, the effective rate of conversion charges of the first year of the scheme worked out to Rs 18,000 per sq. yard.

It has also been decided that the representatives of those who have availed of the conversion will be associated in deciding the infrastructural development to be undertaken in the areas.

The previous policy has now been replaced with the new amended policy. The required notification has been issued by the Finance Department.

Meanwhile, the Industrial Associations spokesperson, Mr M.P.S. Chawla, in a communication has said the policy would benefit only a few big plot owners. He said the decision had been taken hurriedly in view of the Prime Minister’s visit to the city on September 24.

The association, he said, had already submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister and was hopeful of discussing the issue with him.

He said the UT did not even consult the Chandigarh MP, Mr P.K. Bansal, before revising the policy.



Occupants want houses outside ‘lal dora’ legalised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The sword of Damocles is once again hanging over the heads of people living outside the “lal dora” in 18 UT villages. Apprehensive about the future of their houses, the occupants want an end to the suffering by way of regularising their structures.

They said the Administration should come up with a master plan for each village, keeping in view the report of the sub-group of the Administrator’s Advisory Council constituted for the development of UT villages. The residents are tired of politicians giving assurances and the demolition squad knocking at their doors again and again.

Mr Didar Singh, chairman of the Panchayat Samiti, said a meeting of village representatives was being called to discuss the issue. Demolition of the houses would not be allowed at any cost.

Contradicting the claim of the Administration about the legality of their houses, a number of residents living outside the “lal dora” have claimed that they are in possession of documents which reveal that these very houses were “approved” by the revenue authorities in the early nineties. At the time of raising structures outside the “lal dora”, their property-related documents were certified by revenue officials. In some cases, the non-encumbrance certificate was issued by the Estate Office between 1995 and 1996. Some residents were even issued the certificate much later.

“The documents of hypothecation required for bank loan were routed through the office of the Tehsildar and other revenue officials”, said Mr B.S. Rawat, a member of the Joint Action Committee of the villagers, a forum of residents living outside the “lal dora”.

There were many such cases in which the residents undertook construction work after getting their sale deed registered and got house building loan after the necessary approvals from the Estate Office and Revenue Officials.

Inquiries reveal that the Administration became strict about the construction outside the “lal dora” after the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1997. Then registries were banned but sale and purchase of land went on till 2002, when the general power of attorney was banned.

Despite the high court guidelines, construction activity went on and revenue officials failed to take note of the emerging issue. Apparently, patwaris did not inform the higher-ups and construction activity went on. In a specific case, till 1997 there were around 200 houses outside the “lal dora” in Hallo Majra village and now the figure stands at around 700. There are around 35,000 persons living outside the “lal dora” in the UT villages, claims the Joint Action Committee.

Pointing out that the Administrator had constituted a high-level committee on December 22, 1992, to examine and make suggestions for the necessary increase in the demarcation in the “lal dora”, the committee, comprising the Finance Secretary, the Chief Architect, the Chief Engineer, the Deputy Commissioner and the Land Acquisition Officer, was supposed to forward its suggestions by January 1993.

Documents in possession of Chandigarh Tribune reveal that in 1996, a note of the proceedings of a meeting between the Deputy Commissioner and representatives of the action committee for the development of villages reads, “Regarding the extension of the “lal dora”, members of the committee were apprised that the Finance Secretary was holding a meeting of the committee constituted by the Finance Department. In this meeting a viewpoint of the action committee shall also be considered”

Besides, the Administration had also worked on a scheme to regularise the houses outside the “lal dora” on payment of certain charges. But that never saw the light of day.

The issue of illegal constructions outside the “lal dora” has also caught the attention of the subgroup of the Administrator’s Advisory Council, constituted for the development of the UT villages.

The group has recommended that a proper scheme be prepared for the development of the areas outside the village “phirnis”. It has been recommended that an effort should be made to accommodate existing pucca structures on payment of prescribed charges. Instead of regularising buildings in an isolated manner, the structures which cannot be accommodated under the scheme should be acquired and re-planned, the committee has recommended.



Include Nabha village in Zirakpur limits: residents
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 18
Residents of Nabha village (district Patiala) have raised objections to the inclusion of the villages of Peer Muchiala, Gazipur and Kishan Pura in the municipal limits of Zirakpur.

Demanding that their village should have been included within the extended limits, the residents have alleged that these villages have been chosen to favour “colonisers and senior functionaries” who have land in these villages.

The Punjab Government notified the inclusion of these villages within the municipal limits of the Nagar Pachayat, Zirakpur, on September 8, 2005. Following this, residents of Nabha village and the gram panchayat formed a joint action committee and submitted a list of objections to the Department of Local Bodies and the Punjab Governor.

Alleging that the choice of villages by the government does not fulfil the basic criteria laid down for the purpose, the villagers have stated that these villages do not have much urbanisation or revenue generating potential.

“The Punjab Municipal Act permits the government to include certain areas into municipal limits after taking into account the population of the area, the density of population, percentage of employment in non-agricultural activities, economic importance of the area etc. But the provisions of the Act have been completely overlooked by the government while issuing the notification,” states one of the objections listed by the villagers before the Principal Secretary, Local Government, Mr B.R. Bajaj.

“The a major part of Peer Muchiala village and certain parts of Gazipur village are part of the Ghaggar river bed and these have been included “with mala fide intention and ulterior motive to benefit the land mafia and colonisers who have invested heavily in purchasing land in those villages as these are adjoining Sectors 20 and 21 of Panchkula,” the villagers added.

Demanding that their village should be included within the limits, the villagers have pointed out that more than 70 per cent of the population of their village are predominantly engaged in non-agricultural activities. The village falls on the main GT road and is barely 1.5 km away from Zirakpur.

There are a number of brick-kilns and pipe factories, apart from petrol stations and godowns in the village. They added that the village also has more than 200 bighas of common land and many commercial set-ups, they said.

Mr B.R. Bajaj said he had received the set of objections filed by the villagers and would be calling them for a personal hearing in the matter. “The Zirakpur limits were increased following the various criteria laid down in the Act,” he said, adding that filing of such objections following change in municipal limits was rather common and would be dealt with in accordance with the law. 



Power, irrigation cuts to go
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Massive cuts on irrigation and power, imposed this summer, will be removed from the forthcoming rabi season, sources in the irrigation sector told The Tribune.
Come summer, water in the canals will be double than last year’s, the sources added. Now, is the crucial period for planners.

Good rain and snow is filling up reservoirs in the north-western region. A situation of plenty in the last six years.

The three major dams - the Bhakra, Pong and the Ranjit Sagar - are nearing their brims, the first time since 1998. Actually engineers are hopeful that the Bhakra will fill up to its brim of 1680 elevation feet within the next three days. At present it is at 1677.34 elevation feet, just 2.64 feet short of its brim.

This morning, the Pong dam on the river Beas had filled up to 1384 elevation feet, just six feet short of its brim at 1390 elevation feet. In September, 1999, the Bhakra had filled up to 1668 elevation feet and the Pong 1384 elevation feet.

Today, the Ranjit Sagar dam on the Ravi had a water level of 520 elevation metres. The dam will be filled to up a level of 523 elevation metres. It has a capacity of 527 elevation metres. This is done as the reservoir is filling up to this level for the first time. In order to test the structure for pressure the water level is raised year by year.

Around the same time last year, when the region had a dry spell during the monsoon in 40 years, the Bhakra dam had filled up to 1593.86 elevation feet which was 87 feet lower than the brim.

The Pong was at 1342 elevation feet about 48 feet less than its brim. This had rung alarm bells in the Union ministries of power and water. A huge cut was imposed on water releases and also power generation, making the states to spend crores of rupees to buy power from other states to tide over the crises.

Starting from the winter of 1998-1999 the cycle of snow and then rain has been less than expected. If the snow melt has been good the rains failed. The three rivers are fed through glacial snow melts and rains during the summers and monsoons.

September 1999 was the last time when the massive reservoirs, which hold up 12 million acre feet (MAF) of water at any given time, filled up to their capacity. The Ranjit Sagar dam which was completed later on can hold an additional 1.8 MAF of water.

A senior engineer said the first indication of the bounty came in March. The Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) has indicated that the Himalayas had received snow double than the previous winter.

An early onset of summer meant fast snow melt which made nearly 4.5 MAF of water available. Last summer (2004), this was less than 2.4 MAF. This was followed by a very good monsoon.



Rain keeps people indoors
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 18
Rain today kept people indoors for major part of the day though it being a holiday. Meanwhile, the temperatures further went down to 20°C from last evening’s 22°C. The maximum went slightly up to 26°C today from 25.6° recorded yesterday.

Intermittent rain continued till 2 p.m. today in various parts of city and nearby areas. As per the local Meteorological Department, till 8.30 a.m. today 36.9 mm rain was recorded.

Weathermen have predicted partly cloudy sky for Monday accompanied by a few spells of rain.



4 labourers hurt in roof collapse
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 18
Four persons sustained injuries after a lintel of a newly constructed roof collapsed in Dadu Majra village this evening. All four persons were shifted to the General Hospital in Sector 16 and doctors said they were out of danger and their condition was stated to be stable, said the police.

Sources in the police said the accident occurred minutes after labourers finished their work and the roof collapsed. Injured Sripal, Ompal, Dukhi Mandal and Ranjit sustained minor injuries and they were immediately shifted to the hospital. The accident occurred at around 8 pm in the house of Tara Chand.

The police investigated the matter and recorded the statements of the injured in the hospital. No case has been registered till the filing of the report.



Lance Naik’s mortal remains being
sent to Tamil Nadu

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The mortal remains of Lance Naik S. Muthuraj, who was among the 34 army personnel killed in the bridge collapse over the Sutlej in Kinnaur earlier this month, were received at the Command Hospital in Chandimandir with full military honours. The remains are being sent to his home in Villamurthupathi village in Tamil Nadu.

Wreaths were laid by the Additional Chief Engineer, Western Command, Brig Mastinder Singh, Chief Engineer, 2 Corps, Brig A T Parnaik, and a number of officers and JCOs representing various units and establishments in Chandimandir. A ceremonial guard reversed arms while buglers sounded the last post, followed by the Rouse.

The 21-year-old sapper had joined the Army in September, 2000, and is survived by his parents, four sisters and an 18-year-old brother. He was serving with the 18 Engineer Regiment. Rescue teams recovered his body near Puari yesterday and ferried it to Chandimandir.

The body will be transported by road to New Delhi today, from where it would be airlifted to Tamil Nadu.



Passing Thru

Yogesh Aggarwal
Yogesh Aggarwal, Managing Director, State Bank of Patiala

What brings you to Chandigarh?

I am here to inaugurate the 756th bank branch in Sector 70 of Mohali.

Can you elaborate on the latest achievement of the bank?

The SBoP has become the first public sector bank in India to achieve 100 per cent networking of all its 756 branches through the core banking solutions. Now the customers will get value-added services, including instant fund transfer, anywhere cash deposit and anywhere access to deposit account.

What about customer services?

The bank has utilised the technology for launching customer-friendly schemes. Single window service, extended business hours, networked ATMs, Internet banking and electronic fund transfer are some of the initiatives aimed at customer satisfaction. For providing personalised services, “Grahak Mitra” has been launched.

How do you rate the performance of public sector banks vis-a-vis private banks?

Public sector bank are second to none as far as performance is concerned. In a survey by “Business Today”, the SBoP has been ranked as first among all public sector banks and fourth among all banks in Asia for 2003-04.

—Pradeep Sharma



Ghaggar level low at 500 cusecs
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 18
This monsoons, the Ghaggar has turned into a stream. Notwithstanding the downpour over the past two days, the water level in the river is just about 500 cusecs.

Officials in the Irrigation Department, Haryana, said the lowest water discharge was recorded on September 6 at 148 cusecs. Though continuous rain for the past two days led to an increase in the water level (1811 cusecs) yesterday, the water discharge in the river was just 513 cusecs on Sunday.

The river, which is known to play havoc during the monsoon by flooding huge tracts of land in Panchkula and Patiala district, is flowing through only four of the eight spans of the Old Ghaggar bridge. The highest water discharge in the river this year was recorded on July 5 at just 17, 862 cusecs as against the highest water discharge till date reported in July 1995, at 1,27,490 cusecs.

During the past 10 years, the discharge in the river has remained between 17,000 to 82,000 cusecs during July and August. Even last year, the water level in the river remained low, except for on August 3, when flash floods hit the region and 83, 684 cusecs was recorded the river had flooded parts of Panchkula, Ambala and Patiala districts.

Irrigation Department officials say that though the Ghaggar is a seasonal river, the water flows through the river all through the year. Even during winters, the water discharge remains between 90 and 100 cusecs on an average each year. 



3 injured as bus rams into tree
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 18
Three persons, including the driver and conductor of a PRTC bus, were injured and several others escaped with minor injuries, when the bus lost control after being hit by a milk van on the Rajpura-Patiala highway this morning. The bus rammed into a tree.

The driver of the milkvan reportedly fled. The police has registered a case of rash and negligent driving against him.

Giving details of the accident, sources in the police said the Delhi-bound PRTC bus met with the accident near the Badhok petrol station at around 9:20 am.

The accident occurred when a speeding milk van was trying to overtake another vehicle. In the process, it hit the bus, pushing it off the road. Karamjit Singh, driver of the bus lost control and the bus rammed into a tree. The conductor Mohan Sharma, and Raju a passenger, were injured.

Karamjit Singh received injuries on the face while Mohan and Raju suffered abrasions on their limbs. They were discharged from hospital after setting first-aid, the police said. 



CTCC chief rallies around Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Even as political parties cry foul over the indifference of the functionaries of the Chandigarh Administration towards people’s problems, the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, continues to get accolades from different quarters for his “farsightedness and vision for the city.”

Close on the heels of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM) president, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, rallying around General Rodrigues for his “vision for the city”, the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) today complimented him for announcing certain welfare measures for the citizens.

The CTCC chief, Mr BB Bahl, thanked the Administrator for his “farsightedness” in announcing the welfare measures. The Congress had been pressurising the administration for the implementation of these measure for quite some time, he said.

The announcement by the administration to rehabilitate over 20,000 slum families was worth-complimenting. The administration will provide financial relief in conversion of plots in the Industrial Area, the Congress leader hoped.

However, the provision of proper drinking water to slum dwellers, acquisition of land from UT villages, re-consideration of the Rent Act, amendments to bylaws and improved procedure for building plan sanction were certain issues which needed the immediate attention of the administration, Mr Bahl added.

The Bahl’s remarks on the good work done by the administration might stir a hornet’s nest as his bete noire and the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, had recently slammed the administration for being “insensitive” to the problems being faced by the common citizens. The remarks of Mr Bansal against the administration before the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Home Ministry had recently kicked up a storm.

On the other hand, Mr Dhawan came in support of the administration headed by General Rodrigues at a press conference on September 16.

While coming down heavily on Mr Bansal for his failure on all fronts, Mr Dhawan complimented General Rodrigues for initiating several projects, specially the Chandigarh Technology Park (CTP), which, he claimed would put the city on the country’s IT map.

Meanwhile, the president of the Nationalist Congress Party, Mr Gurbachan Singh, also complimented the Administrator for his surprise raid on the Estate Office. Mr Gurbachan Singh urged the Administrator to further streamline the functioning of the Estate Office in the public interest.



Cavity in Sec 2 road poses threat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
A cavity in a road of Sector 2 here has gone unnoticed by the authorities for more than a fortnight. Threat of an accident looms large and vehicular traffic often faces difficulty in negotiating the turn adjoining the hole in the road. The cavity is right at the edge of the road.

A storm water drain runs deep inside the open hole and water flow during monsoons has made the hole bigger. There are no markings or warning signals at the spot to warn the unaware travellers. A resident, wishing to remain anonymous, said, “I have made complaints to the Municipal Corporation on telephone numbers 2708765 and 2711711, separately, more than a week earlier. But no action has been taken till date”.

He added, “The cavity is pretty deep as can be seen from the water flow in the storm water drain underneath. The threat is more pronounced for first-time travellers on the road. Vehicles moving in the dark also run a risk of hitting the open holes”.



Telecom firms flout digging rules
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Flouting rules with impunity, telecom companies continue to dig trenches in residential areas putting lives of residents to risk. An accident is waiting to happen at a house in Sector 15-D here where a trench has been dug just outside it.

The trench, which has not been filled up for several days now, continues to be a “death hole” given the inclement weather. With the functioning of the streetlights in the sector being erratic, the trench is a driver’s nightmare at the night time, said Mr R. K. Sharma, a resident of the sector.

A car got stuck in the trench yesterday. However, the driver escaped unhurt although it took a great effort to pull out the car, residents said.

The telecom companies had to obtain permission from the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) for carrying out digging in a particular area and cover it within a specified time frame. However, the time frame is rarely followed in the letter and the spirit.



Onam celebrated with fervour
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 18
It was a cultural fiesta at Yadav Bhavan as the Panchkula Malayalee Association celebrated Onam with traditional fervour.
The rich cultural heritage of Kerala was presented through the traditional dances as members celebrated Onam, the festival of Kerala. Mr John V. George, ADGP, Haryana Police, was the chief guest.

Girls dressed in traditional white and gold sarees enthralled the audience as they performed Kaikottikkali (Thiruathirakkali) — a dance form associated with Onam. Their graceful movements, as they swayed around the traditional lamp placed in the centre, held the audience spellbound.

Mr P.J. Francis, secretary of the association, said Onam was celebrated in the memory of King Mahabali, the mythical ruler of Kerala. The festival is celebrated to welcome the spirit of King Mahabali and to assure that his people are happy and wish him well.

Later, Onasadhya, the grand feast during the Onam celebrations, was served on banana leaves. About 20 traditional dishes like curries, fried delicacies, pappadum and prathaman were served. 



Cheques for Rs 35,000 given to villagers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 18
The OSD to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mrs Lakhvinder Kaur Garcha, today distributed 35 quintals of wheat and cheques worth Rs 35,000 each to the villagers in Mote Majra and Dairi near here today.

According to a press note issued by Mr Kuljit Singh Bedi, president, Block Congress, Mohali, Mrs Garcha addressed the villagers and informed them about the various development works that had been undertaken by the government in the state. She said the government had fulfilled its promise of free electricity to the farmers and 200 units of free electricity to the Dalits.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, sarpanch, Mote Majra village, told Mrs Garcha about some problems being faced by the villagers. She assured him that these problems would be sorted out.



Gurbax Saini’s book released
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, September 18
A poet is blessed with a vision and capable of bringing about a change in the ideological consensus of the masses on a issue through his literary creations, Mr Brijendra Singh, Deputy Commissioner, said, while presiding over a mushaira and sanmaan samaroh held under the aegis of the Haryana Punjabi Lekhak Sabha at the Gymkhana Club here. He announced a grant of Rs 11,000 to the sabha.

Author of over dozen books, Dr R.C. Mishra, DIG Haryana police, maintained that only good literature and musical arts could awaken and educate society.

Dr Naresh was honoured for his literary contributions on the occasion. Credited with 68 publications, the chairperson of the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi “Dr Naresh, is a guiding light for writers of the region”, said Gurbax Saini, winner of the Haryana Sahit Akademi award for 1992. His book ,” “Chhavan Labhde Rukh”, was released by Dr Mishra. Dr Gurdarpal presented a critical appreciation of the book.

The Director, Haryana Punjabi Sahit Akademi C.R. Moudgil, Gurdev Dev, from Ambala, T.N. Raz, B.D. Kalia, Hamdam, Kedra Nath Kedar, Devi Dyal and Nirmal Arora among others, regaled the audience with their poetic renditions.

Former Directors of the akademi, Major A.S. Shergil and Dr S.S. Arshi also spoke.



BSP rubbishes BJP claim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
A day after the BJP claimed that the president of the youth wing of the BSP, Mr Jaspal Singh Soni, has joined the party, the BSP has refuted the claim.

The BSP president, Mr M.C. Suman, in a press note issued here today, claimed that Mr Soni was not even a primary member of the party. He threatened to take legal against Mr Soni.

The BJP had yesterday claimed that Mr Soni had joined the BJP as primary member at the BJP office in Sector 33 here.



Post offices to sell stamp papers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
For the convenience of the public, the sale of non-judicial stamps and stamp papers up to the value of Rs 20,000 has been started at important post offices in the Punjab circle of the Postal Department.

The Director, Postal Services, Punjab circle, Ms Sukhvinder Kaur, said the facility had been started at Bathinda, Mansa, Faridkot, Muktsar Kutchery, Moga, Gurdaspur, Batala, Pathankot courts, Nawanshahr, Kapurthala, Sangrur and Barnala.



Readers write
Queue for seniors at PO required

I am a senior citizen residing in Sector 4 of Panchkula. Long serpentine queues greet the customers at the Sector 4 post office. It is mystery for me that despite being a main post office of the area why it is not equipped with adequate and well-behaved staff. I go to this post office to deposit my monthly telephone bill.

My legs now do not bear my body weight and I keep swinging to and fro. With this physical impairment, I once went to deposit my monthly telephone bill and somehow, I reached at the counter to deposit my bill. A lady across the counter told me rudely that there was no provision for senior citizens’ queue and directed me to stand at the back of queue.

The Sector 4 post office should be well equipped with adequate and courteous staff who show due respect for senior citizen. Are the authorities concerned listening?

Balraj Katial, Panchkula

Human view needed

This is with reference to a news-item some days ago about the suicide attempt of Gurpreet Kaur and the drowning of her two teenaged daughters. She was arrested under Sections 309 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

In my opinion, a realistic and humane view should be taken about the matter. What do these sections mean when she was trying to kill herself and her two daughters due to utter hopelessness in life? She has hardly anyone to look after her in this world.

After due consideration, these cases should be withdrawn and means should be provided for her livelihood. A sheer legalistic approach is of no use.

Narendra Kumar, Chandigarh

Pollution in Palsora

The Tribune has been making all-out efforts for arousing environment consciousness among the masses to keep Chandigarh clean and green. Palsora village (Sector 55) is the place where focus of your paper is required urgently. There are kabarias (scrap sellers) who are polluting and making the lives of people miserable. There is a line of such kabarias’ shops near the barrier. On their premises or just behind, they daily burn plastics, tyres and such things.

Is it justified midst the large population to generate such poisonous and foul gases which will make the Amrit Vela (Brahma Muhurt) poisonous?

People get up early morning for fresh air and oxygen but what they get are gases! Please do something.

J.S. Chawla, Chandigarh

Unruly traffic

The roundabout at the intersection of Sectors 7, 17 and 8, 18, Panchkula, is virtually the gateway to Panchkula after the Housing Board traffic lights chowk. It is probably the most crowded junction.

This roundabout caters not only to various sectors, but the traffic to and from the Panchkula railway station and Chandigarh also passes through this point. As such, the density of traffic at this junction is very high. The traffic is chaotic and unruly, particularly during peak hours and this junction is most accident-prone. The fruit ‘rehris’ parked near this point, make it all the more hazardous.

Another vulnerable and accident-prone point in the vicinity is the entry to Sectors 7 and 8 markets near the house of a former Chief Minister of Haryana, Mr Bhajan Lal.

Repeated requests and representations by various welfare associations and Senior Citizens’ Council, Panchkula, notwithstanding, nothing has been done by the authorities concerned to regulate the traffic and control the situation.

The installation of traffic lights at these junctions needs priority and immediate attention in the interest of the safety of the residents. The authorities concerned are requested to look into the matter and arrange to instal traffic lights at these junctions without further delay to avert accidents. For the time being, the traffic police should be deputed at these junctions as a stopgap arrangement.

D.P. Piplani, Secretary, Senior Citizens’ Council, Haryana

Pull out the weed

The menace of parthenium (congress grass) has spread far and wide and lots has been written about its possible eradication, but no solution has yet come about.

I went the other day to Chandigarh and found it in places where it has not been seen before. I just pulled out 5-6 plants where I saw it as I do here where I live. This method is the only solution but it can only be undertaken in this season when the ground is soft and the plant can be uprooted effortlessly. If every citizen of Chandigarh pulls out 5-6 plants, millions of plants will not reappear next year.

D. Randhawa, Kharar

Sept 2 was unforgettable

The morning of September 2 was unforgettable. A resident of Sectot 16, I witnessed the havoc being created around the sector. A bus was torched and government and public vehicles were damaged by a mob that was protesting against the burning down of Dalit houses in Gohana.

Panchkula is a peaceful town but it was not less than a nightmare that day. I would like to commend the Panchkula police for controlling the situation before it worsened.

Also, kudos to the residents of Panchkula who bore the onslaught of the Jat-Dalit crisis calmly and made a fresh start the next morning.

Nimesh Bhatia, Panchkula

A heart-rending disaster

The collapse of the Bailey bridge at Kharo on Kinnaur on September 8 is a heart-rending occurrence. The loss of nearly 40 lives is really sad.

The Army authorities are sure to order a court of inquiry into the collapse so that such incidents don’t recur. Whatever may be the reason for the collapse, including human error, such an occurrence is an unforgettable disaster.

May God grant peace to the deceased and strength to their families to bear this irreparable loss.

K.L. Noatay, Shimla



Partial suspension of water supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Water supply to Chandigarh and Mohali will remain partially suspended on September 19.
According a press note issued here today, the supply will remain suspended from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. due to urgent repair in one of the pipeline supplying water from Kajauli to the city. 



Beggar mafia continues to operate
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Organised begging mafia continues to operate in the city during late evening hours.
An investigation by The Tribune has revealed that these crafty people, having little children along with them, act as lame, dumb or even blind to evoke public sympathy.

A group of such beggars, including two children, was arrested at the traffic lights of Sector 17-18 during late hours a few days ago and lodged at the Burail jail. An FIR under the MC Act (151) was registered against three beggars, including a woman.

They could not produce any concrete proof of their identity. The police investigation revealed that they were migrant labourers belonging to the “Sansi” community of Rajasthan and spend night at the local railway station.

“A majority of them indulge in petty crimes like picking pockets and stealing spare wheels from parked two wheelers etc.,” the police said.

Their modus operandi is that accompanied by small children aged from four to 10 years they pose themselves as rag pickers and keep their sacks alongside the road, just to evade the police. They mostly operate at traffic lights.

As soon as red the light flashes they appear from nowhere. They rush amidst vehicles seeking alms, unmindful of putting their as well as the commuters’ lives in danger.

“You don’t have time to argue with them. These children would not leave your vehicle even after the signal turns green. You have to give them something or bully them to get your vehicle freed to move on,” said Manjit Kaur, an executive, who crosses the Sector 17-18-8-9 traffic lights daily on her way to the office.



Man held for violating periphery Act
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 18
The police arrested Narinder Kumar Kapoor on the allegations of violating the Punjab New Capital Periphery Act, 1952, by selling small plots at Khudda Ali Sher village. He was produced before a court today which remanded him in police custody till September 21.

Sources in the police said three cases had been registered against several persons involved in selling agricultural land for residential purposes and for stealing electricity by unauthorised means. The cases had been registered yesterday on the directions of the UT, Land Acquisition Officer.

The sources said Mr S.K. Satia, Land Acquisition Officer, Estate Office, in his complaint to the police alleged that Narinder had allegedly sold his land by cutting small plots and had violated the Punjab Periphery Act. Acting on the complaint, a case of cheating and criminal intimidation under Sections 420 and 506, IPC, had been registered against him.

The sources said a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy had been registered against some others. The accused had allegedly sold land at Khudda Ali Sher village in violation of the Act.

It was also alleged that all employees of Arizona Agro farm in Sector 52 sold land to slum-dwellers in Sector 50 and also provided the dwellers electricity through unauthorised means. A case of cheating and power theft had been registered against them. Efforts were on to arrest the accused, the police said.



Kidnap bid thwarted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 18
Timely action by the Kalka police and residents thwarted a kidnapping bid of 13-year-old Nitin.
The police has arrested Anil Kumar, Anil Taneza and Sant Lal, all residents of Gohana, and recovered the boy within 15 minutes of the incident. A case under Sections 323, 342 and 506, IPC, has been registered against the accused.

The police said the accused had come to the house of Sham Lal in Kalka, asking the whereabouts of a distant relative, Lucky.

Lucky reportedly owed money to the accused. Sham Lal asked his son Nitin to take them to Lucky’s house. However, when they found that Lucky’s house was locked and he was untraceable, they allegedly bundled Nitin in their Maruti van and took him away.

On the way, they contacted Sham Lal and said when he sent Lucky to meet them, they would free Nitin. Sham Lal accompanied by some friends rushed after the van and informed the police. The van was stopped by the police on the Kalka-Pinjore road and the boy was recovered.



One held for stealing jewellery
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 18
The police has arrested a man for allegedly stealing jewellery from a house in Sector 47. Elsewhere, nine mobile phones and Rs 5,000 were stolen from a shop in Ram Darbar and a jeep was reportedly stolen from outside a house.

The police said a resident of Sector 47-D, Shiv Singh alleged that his neighbour had stolen jewellery from his house.

Mr Ashok Kumar of Sector 46 told the police alleging that nine mobile phones and Rs 5,000 was stolen from his shop in Ram Darbar on Friday.



Capart to promote model rural business
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology, will form and promote model rural business, said the Capart Director General, Dr Kamal Taori, told newspapers here today.

CAPART, which runs under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Rural Development, will not run the project under grant-in aid schemes.

The body has a budget of Rs 60 crore for the country and Rs 5 crore have been earmarked for the northern region.

However, to develop a technology or business model, CAPART will fund it at the start. Later, the business has to sustain itself, explained Dr Taori. The CAPART regional office is in Sector 17 here.

Among the technologies being promoted by Capart are harvesting water shed management and organic farming. Five young professional have been appointed to work in the field and provide new ideas. These professionals have science backgrounds and one of them even has an MBA degree, said Dr Taori.

The body has also appealed to non resident Indians to suggest business models. The problem is not of money, but of marketing the produce, said Dr Taori.

Explaining the functioning, he said CAPART will first take up projects on organic farming and then on dairying.

The work will be done through non-governmental organisations. CAPART has already established a technology resource centre each at Mandi and Solan. 



Hutch launches teleshop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Hutch announced the launch of “Hutch Teleshop” at Chandigarh Club here today. In another significant move, Hutch also announced the launch of “My Hutch”, the online “personal” web interface. This innovative initiative will provide instant service to Hutch subscribers anytime, anywhere at their convenience.

Mr Arun Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer, Hutchison Essar, Punjab, said, “Customers can now activate a Hutch connection, pay bills, get Hutch-related information, activate and deactivate value-added services like roaming, seek live demos and also get their queries answered on Hutch prepaid or postpaid”.

Hutch also arranged live demo of “My Hutch”, a service that enables Hutch subscribers to manage their accounts online. They will also have the convenience of sourcing archived bills, selecting plans and promotional offers. Additionally, the subscribers can also create various alerts and reminders on “My Hutch”. These powerful tools and features will provide instant service to Hutch subscribers.

My Hutch will also allow account details at a glance, analysis of bills, sorting of calls 
according to various criteria — personal/official calls and all call details from outgoing or incoming, to personal, local and STD/ISD calls.
This facility is available for postpaid customers.


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