C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PUDA slaps notice on Dubai-based developers
Publication of advertisements for booking
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

When contacted, Sudhir Sarin, a director with Emaar-MGF, said they had not issued any advertisement in any newspaper. “It has been brought to our notice this morning that some brokers have issued pre-launch booking advertisements in our name. I want to categorically state that we have authorised no broker anywhere in Punjab to book our plots for us.”

Stating that theirs was a reputed company and would not do anything against the rules laid down by the Punjab Government, Mr Sarin added that the company would issue a disclaimer informing the public not to give any money to those issuing such advertisements.

“However we have still not received the notice and would act only after we get the notice,” he said.

Mohali, November 21
Within days of the Dubai-promoted real estate developers, Emaar-MGF, announcing their plan to establish integrated townships in Punjab, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) today issued a notice to the company for advertising in newspapers seeking pre-launch booking of plots without having the requisite licence to do so.

Advertisements issued by property dealers for booking of plots in MGF townships had appeared in various newspapers on November 19 and 20.

The company had announced its projects on November 18 during a press conference.

The notice to the company was issued by the Additional Chief Administrator, Mohali, today following directions from the Chief Administrator, PUDA.

Directing the company to withdraw the advertisements “by declaring that you have not launched such a scheme by putting in a conspicuous notice in the newspapers”, PUDA has asked the company to “simultaneously refund the amount if received from the public within 24 hours from the receipt of this notice”.

While the company had signed a Rs 4,000-cr memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Punjab Government for developing infrastructure and integrated township projects in Mohali, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar, it did not have a license from PUDA to colonise any of these areas.

The MoU was signed in New Delhi last week by Sudhir Sarin, a director of the company, and K.B.S. Sidhu, Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, Punjab.

“The MoU was signed after a formal approval from the Cabinet, following which a draft was prepared and was whetted by the Chief Minister. No fiscal or regulatory exemptions were, however, given to the company,” said Mr Sidhu, confirming that the notice had been issued to the company for having flouted provisions of the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995.

“The notice was issued with my due consent,” he said.

When contacted, one of the property dealers who had issued the advertisement claimed that they had “talked” to someone in Delhi before issuing the advertisements.

Giving unsatisfactory answers to similar queries, the property dealer (name withheld) said the Punjab Cabinet had given the go-ahead to the company and there was no risk involved.

Sources added that till this evening, when these bookings were suddenly closed, plots in the proposed townships had been booked at Rs 10,000 per sq yrd.



Fatigued Arjun lands in PGI, condition stable
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Arjun Singh Chandigarh, November 21
The Union Human Resource Development Minister, Mr Arjun Singh, who arrived here last night was taken seriously ill and admitted at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGI) today. The doctors have described his condition to be ‘stable’. He was diagnosed to be suffering from extreme fatigue and exhaustion and was subjected to various tests, including a cardiology examination.

Dr Amod Gupta, official spokesperson for the PGI said that the minister had complained of uneasiness and was rushed to the PGI around 7.30 am, where he was kept under observation at the coronary care unit. Director PGI, Dr K.K Talwar, also a cardiologist is personally supervising the situation. PGI spokesperson that Mr Arjun Singh is recuperating well and is likely to be discharged anytime tomorrow.

The seventy-five year old Mr Arjun Singh had arrived here last evening and was to inaugurate a building of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) at Panchkula. He was also scheduled to review the implementation of the mid-day meal scheme by the Punjab Government later. But due to his illness, he had to abstain from the functions.

Meanwhile, at the PGI, it was an atmosphere of a very different kind. Room number 52 in the far off corridor on the fourth floor of PGI’s ‘A’ block showed no signs of the presence of the VIP. But for the one uniformed Chandigarh Police personnel accompanied by two others in civil dress, there was no indication that the room housed a union minister.

Director PGI, Dr Talwar gave clear instructions for not allowing anyone to see Mr Singh, who needed complete rest. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, was the first to express his desire to call on Mr Singh, but he was clearly told to abandon his plans. “No one should stand in the corridor”, were the clear instructions from the security personnel deputed for the security of the union minister.

It was around 1 pm when Mr Singh got his first visitors. Chandigarh MP, Pawan Bansal accompanied by Haryana Education Minister Phool Chand Mulana came with a bouquet of red roses with Mr Mulana’s calling card neatly tucked into the flowers. In a polite but typically Rohtaki accent, Mr Singh’s personal assistant, Mr Suresh Dhiyia told the two that the minister was resting and that he would let him know later that the two had called to enquire.

Just as the two left, Punjab Education Minister, Harnam Dass Johar came to call on. He too was politely denied access to the room. “Why don’t you put a register for the well wishers to put down their ‘get well’ messages?” suggested a bureaucrat accompanying the minister. “I know you all and will tell Singh Sahib, came Mr Dhiyia’s quick reply. “Don’t worry, your attendance will be marked”, he said with a straight face.

Many journalists came to the hospital with the hope of a good story, but had to return disappointed without knowing what Mr Singh thought of the ‘Reservation for Muslims in IITs’, his reaction to the Supreme Court Judgement on reservation at Aligarh Muslim University or even the demand of the Knowledge Commission to scrap the UGC. Perhaps Mr Singh will live up to his past reputation giving a good copy to journalists after his discharge from the PGI.



Kidnap mastermind’s identity baffles cops
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, November 21
The identity of the mastermind in the abduction-for-ransom case continues to baffle the Chandigarh Police. As of now, tracing the suspect seems to be a far cry for the city police as it is still groping in the dark about his identity.

Officials investigating the case said they were in possession of the passport application form submitted by the mastermind in which he had given his name as Aman Verma and mentioned his date of birth as April 19, 1972. The police teams sent to the permanent address mentioned by Aman in his application form had to return empty-handed as the sarpanch of the village reportedly told them that no one with such a name was living there.

The officials added that they also found out that the Esteem used by Aman was reportedly stolen from Ludhiana last week. Asked whether any first information report had been lodged in Ludhiana regarding the theft of the car, a senior officer of the special investigating team (SIT) said they had no confirmation of this from the Ludhiana police.

A police officer said they had learnt that the suspect was involved in several cheating cases and had allegedly duped several banks by making payment through credit cards in excess to his deposits and was a defaulter. The accounts were opened under the name Aman Verma.

The officials investigating the case said they were in the process of tracing the mastermind and were taking help from various agencies. Sources in the police said the whereabouts of Aman were not confirmed as yet. It was also not clear whether Aman was still in Singapore.

The police officer while elaborating on the sequence of events that led to the arrest of two suspects said the arrests were made possible on the basis of mobile phone set IMEI number. He said the suspects were astute enough as they wanted to use the mobile phone of the victim to contact his parents in an attempt to conceal their identity. However, to their bad luck, the palm top mobile set of the victim rendered non-functional due to a shock it received while they were kidnapping him.

Their efforts to switch on the mobile went futile and ultimately they used the sim card of the victim’s mobile service provider in their own set and made the phone call, thus revealing the number of their own set, which led to the establishment of their identity and subsequent arrest. The police officer said they would question some people whose phone numbers were found from the call details of the suspects. Police circles are rife with talk on how a broad daylight abduction at gunpoint in the busy Sector 35 went unnoticed and there were no eyewitness to the incident. Moreover, queries like why the suspects brought the victim back to the city, instead of taking him to some other place once they had taken him to Mohali, have also baffled the police.



Police custody for kidnappers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
A local court today remanded Manoj Kumar and Honey Sharma, alleged kidnappers of Nikhil Joshi, son of Mr Deepak Joshi, to police custody till November 25.

Pleading for the police remand, the prosecution said the custodial interrogation of the accused was required to get information about Aman Verma, who had masterminded the kidnapping. Aman Verma is currently claimed to be in Singapore. The custodial interrogation was required to know the real motives of the kidnappers, who had reportedly demanded a ransom of Rs 2 crore from Nikhil’s family, the prosecution added.



VIP vehicles of inconvenience
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, November 21
“VIPs’ vehicle workshop sector”. Yes! We can use this expression for Sector 7 -C market opposite the Sports Complex.
More than two years ago, the city motor mechanics were asked to shift their shops from densely populated areas like Sector 7, 21 and 28 to the booths allotted in Sector 48 and 49 and at other places. But, the Sector 7-C market still has a garage, which caters to only the VIPs living in Sector 7 and other northern sectors.

One could watch a queue of cars, Jeeps and other vehicles waiting for their turn for repair at the garage. One of the residents of the sector asked why the drivers of these VIPs’ vehicles had made the garage a permanent sitting point. One could notice them sitting around in the market while mechanics repair their vehicles during official lunch time.

Another booth owner, who did not wish to be named, said around 10 Ambassador cars, Gypsies could be seen queued up at the garage for repair daily. These caused air and noise pollution in the area, he added.

Another Sector 7-C resident, who stays in Central Government accommodation, said those vehicles were parked in open spaces, inconveniencing the public.

Mr Chandermukhi Sharma, councillor of the area, said he had personally warned the person concerned to shift his garage from the market, but to no avail. However, he asserted to take up the matter with the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, soon.

Meanwhile, a booth owner in the same market lamented that there was a courier company’s office in front of which drivers parked vehicles as big as trailers, leading to traffic chaos.



Chandigarh Calling

Season blows hot, blows cold: Just Chill! The weather in Chandigarh the past week was blowing hot, blowing cold. It changes its mood and the volatile winds turn chilly. But the dip and rise in mercury has been causing a commotion in human bodies. Just as the body gets used to the heat, the cold breeze starts blowing and vice versa. But all said and done the chill pill has been most welcome, as the people get ready to face the rigours of the cool days to come. The days do get warm with sun’s heat but the nights are too cool. So it is parasols by the day and quilts by the night.

Sunshades: The weather vagaries continue and when people decide that it is time to enjoy the autumn sun, it starts blazing. This is what happened to the crowds that had gathered in Panchkula for the opening of the building of Central Board of School Education. The sun got so hot that the people used the brochures distributed at that time to shade their faces. Tribune photographer Pardeep Tewari brings this very interesting photograph of rows of people holding up the brochures to form curious geometric patterns.

Plastic trees: The fight against plastic bags is barely over; yet another challenge has raised its ugly head. This time, it is plastic trees. Relatively a new trend, but these trees have taken over the green space at most of the petrol pumps in Punjab, Haryana and the vicinity of the city. Coloured in bright yellow or red, the huge palm trees are nothing but an eyesore. So eco-activists, time to rewrite the script of the chipko movement and take out your axes, before these ugly structures invade your green space!

Disaster savvy: America may be ahead of India in many respects but not in disaster management. Therefore, it was hardly astonishing that Arnold Howitt, faculty co-chair at the Harvard University’s weeklong programme on crisis management, was pleasantly surprised by what he learnt of the Indian participant in the programme.Sumita Misra, an IAS officer from Haryana, was the welcome participant. While Howitt talked about the necessity of having a nodal officer in a specific area for overseeing relief operations, Misra coolly pointed out that such a system was already in place in India. The Deputy Commissioner of a district acts as the nodal officer in case of a crisis and can call in even the army if necessary, she said. Misra’s inputs, embellished by her experience as an administrator, were found useful by the class on a number of other occasions as well. The Harvard University acknowledged her contribution by publishing her photograph in the October 6 issue of its Gazette, which carried a report on the programme. Ok Sumita, congratulations.

Good earth: The 93rd Indian Science Congress will be held at Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad, from January 3. It will be opened by the Prime Minister. This year’s theme is “Integrated rural development: science and technology”. The congress is divided into 14 sections. Each section is headed by a sectional president. The earth sciences section will be presided by Prof. Ravindra Kumar, Chairman, Department of Geology, Panjab University, Chandigarh. This section will hold a symposium on “Frontal technologies in earth resource management and natural hazard mitigation”. It will be addressed by leading experts from India, the USA and Canada. Professor Kumar says excessive exploitation of the earth’s resources often leads to the degradation of environment.

On the rocks: With the marriage season on and the city’s rich and famous making a beeline for the Rock Garden as the venue, Nek Chand’s creations are no longer alone after the Sun goes down. In fact the bevy of junk-men right at the entrance are acting as the reception committee as the guests look for direction through the meandering pathways. They look a bit lifeless and eerie at night, but they stand still with folded hands and give the host an opportunity to mingle around his guests and exchange a few pleasantries.

Blind alley: What do you say when the path you traversed last week has changed to a cul-de-sac? More and more galis in City Beautiful are being walled with space left just to walk through. And to add salt to the wound, petrol prices keep inching upwards. Most riders on motor vehicles have to navigate the way Le Corbusier had intended—from V7 (the road in front of your house) moving on gradually to V1 (national highways) kind of road. There is lesser crisscrossing on main roads and you could zoom past—vroom!

Contributors: Rajiv Bhatia, Parbina Rashid, Vishal Gulati, Shubhadeep Choudhry, Sai R. Vaidyanathan and Nirupama Dutt.



Cops plan to set up anti-kidnapping cell
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Abduction at gunpoint in broad-daylight for ransom running into crores has left the Chandigarh Police vexed. For, this is perhaps the first time that crime has been committed in the city by outlaws with international connections.

Though the police is claiming the credit for cracking the case before it was too late, sources admit that cops just cannot sit back and relax as they know this may very well be the beginning of a new and a dangerous trend. To make matters worse, the cops are aware of the fact that they are ill-equipped to handle such situations once these get out of hand, the sources add.

They agree that it will be almost impossible to proceed against the abductors calling up from abroad and directing the deposition of money to some foreign bank account or its transition through hawala channels.

Taking a serious view of the matter, the Chandigarh Police is now considering the feasibility of setting up a special anti-kidnapping and abduction cell equipped with state-of-the-art gadgets required to trace the abductors. As of now, members of the Operation Cell or the Crime Branch of the local police are looking into all such cases.

Though the senior officers of the Chandigarh Police are silent over the issue, sources say that over 298 kidnapping and abduction cases were registered by the local police from January 2000, till September 2005. As many as 43 such cases were registered in September alone. In a majority of the cases, the victims were detained by the abductors either because of some family dispute or there was a love angle to the case.

Elaborating, the sources say that in a substantial number of cases the first information reports were registered on the basis of complaints forwarded by the parents of girls marrying against their wishes.

Except for one such case involving the abduction of a bank manager last year from Sector 15, kidnapping and abduction for ransom is practically unknown in the city, the sources insist.

They add that though a student was kidnapped from Amritsar and a huge amount was paid by his parents for securing the victim’s release, such cases have not often been hitting the headlines in Chandigarh.

The sources admit that the information about Nikhil Joshi’s kidnapping in broad-daylight left them in cold sweat. The fact that one of the alleged kidnappers was calling the victim’s family using an international SIM card only made the matters worse.

They add that the case would have been difficult to crack had the abductors continued to call from Nikhil’s mobile, instead of using another set with his SIM card. The sources add that the accused were nailed with the help of International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of the mobile set used by the kidnappers after inserting Nikhil’s SIM card. 



Youngsters experience thrill of flying
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Flying has always fascinated mankind. But for a youngster in civvy-street taking over the controls of an Air Force transporter soaring over the lofty snow-capped heights of the Himalayas is like a dream come true. Mission Udaan, a National Geographic series on the Indian Air Force gave five youngsters, including two girls, this unique opportunity while undertaking a project on the Indian Air Force.

IAF sources reveal that the youngsters, flying out from the Chandigarh Air Force Station in an AN-32, were allowed take over the controls for one minute each with a qualified flight instructor sitting in the left-hand captain's seat.

The five participants, from different parts of the country and chosen through a selection process, are being taken through various aspects and units, to experience the range of IAF activities - from instruction and drill, to para-dropping, mid-air refuelling, fighter operations, high altitude flight considerations, tactics and airlift. They are also being given various exercises and the prizes for the best overall performance is a sortie in a SU-30.

According to a Nat Geo brief, Mission Udaan is the first of its kind in a reality series that allows the common Indian through the guarded and perhaps even unexplored doors of the Sentinels of the Skies - the Indian Air Force. The first of the hour-long series was aired yesterday.

The 10-part series explores the glorious history, the standing and the culture of the IAF. It highlights the intense training and the subsequent precision of mind that ensues this training and becomes a way of life. It is also aimed to make people "think again" on what it takes to be a highly trained and motivated individual who performs under intense pressure, with intense speed in a territory so removed from human habitat - the skies.

"The Nat Geo team was here earlier this month to shoot, both on ground as well in air, for the series," Gp Capt J Balasubramanium, the Chief Operations Officer at 12 Wing here said. "Besides a comprehensive presentation on air maintenance, they were flown to Leh and over dropping zones to get a firsthand experience," he added. Though guarded about the contents of the series, he said timed exercises were held for the five participants to impress upon them that it is always teamwork that counts.

Being a premier air transport base of the IAF, 12 Wing is among a handful of other air stations which feature on the Nat Geo series. Awarded the best Air Force Station award in the Western Air Command, its men and aircraft have rendered yeoman's service in times of natural calamities.

Air Force officers reveal that among the exercises given to the participants was changing the wheel of
an IL-76.

They were guided all along by IAF personnel and though they took longer than airmen, they were quite enthusiastic about it. Another exercise involved making their way up the five-storeyed tall tailplane of the giant IL-76 and carry out a minor "repair" work.

The participants were also tasked with positioning load in an AN-32's cargo hold and push it out of the aircraft flying over a designated drop zone with its rear loading ramp open.

The Mi-26, the world's largest and heaviest helicopter, was also filmed.



MC building inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 21
The new office building of the Municipal Council, constructed at a cost of more than Rs 8 crore in Sector 68, was inaugurated by the council President, Mr Kulwant Singh, here today.

The function held in this regard was attended by the SDM, Mr Mohan Lal Sharma, and a number of residents of the town. However, seven municipal councillors, belonging to the Opposition group, kept away from the inauguration ceremony as they complained that no one out of their group was allowed to speak at the function. Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, who, too, belonged to the Opposition group, addressed the gathering.

The inauguration, in fact, had to be done by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, or the Minister for Local Government, Mr Jagjit Singh. As both could not spare time for the function, the building was inaugurated by Mr Kulwant Singh. The inauguration could not be delayed as the term of the present elected body was expiring on November 27 and the councillors wanted to take credit for their major contribution to the town. For the past more than 20 years the council offices had been functioning from rented accommodation.

Later while addressing mediapersons, Mr Kulwant Singh said that an estimate of Rs 8.11 crore for the office building, which had been built according to international standards, was got approved from the government. As much as Rs 6.50 crore had already been spent on it and the remaining amount would be spent on airconditioning and furnishing.

The seven-storeyed building, designed by Mr S.K. Saini of Architects Atelier, has been built on a 1.10 acre plot. The design has been based on the concept of open office and rooms have been provided only to the president, Executive Officer and the municipal engineer.

The building, having a covered area of 90,000 sq ft, has double insulated glass on the sides. While the outer glass was reflective and toughened, the internal side of the glass was ecological so as to achieve optimum light transmission and acoustic effects.

The council has decided to give the upper two floors of the building on rent for which open tenders would be invited.



MC seeks term extension
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 21
The local Municipal Council today appealed to the Punjab Government to extend the tenure of the present elected body till the fresh elections were held so that the democratic system could go on.

A proposal in this regard was unanimously cleared by councillors at the last meeting of the general house held at its new office building in Sector 68 here.

The councillors said the term of the council was expiring on November 27 and the fresh elections had got delayed. The residents would not be able to approach the councillors in connection with their problems after the expiry of the terms as the work of the civic body would then be looked after by an Administrator.

The Executive Officer of the council, Mr Amarjit Singh Sekhon, said it was not clear whether the term of the elected body was expiring on November 23 or November 27. A clarification in this regard was sought from the Director, Local Government. He said the councillors had taken oath on November 23, 2000, but the president was elected four days later on November 27.

Four members of the Opposition group — Mr Amrik Singh, Mr Manjit Singh Sethi, Mr Manmohan Singh Lang, Mrs Harbans Kaur, walked out of the meeting as they said that the meeting was invalid as it was being held outside the municipal limits of the council. Sector 68 had not been taken over by the council and was still with PUDA. However, Mr N.K. Marwaha said that the Municipal Act did not say that the meeting could not be held outside the jurisdiction of the civic body. Mr Amrik Singh Mohali said the meeting was being held in Mohali and in the office building of the council which had been constructed after more than 20 years. So far the council had been working from offices housed in rented accommodation.

All the items on the agenda of the meeting, including the sanctioning of Rs 1 lakh for sterilisation of stray dogs in the town and extending the sanitation contract by one month were cleared at the meeting.



Man run over by Shatabdi
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
An unidentified man in his thirties were killed after being run over by Shatabdi Express this evening near Baltana village, here. In a separate incident, a CTU bus driver was found dead in a bus parked in the CTU depot this morning. The police, while ruling out any foul play behind the death of the bus driver, said no visible injury marks were found on the body.

Giving details of the train accident, sources in the Railway Police said, the unidentified man was killed after being run over by the train around 6.30 p.m. The sources added that it was an accident and not a case of suicide.

Describing the identity of the deceased the police said “Ram Sonu, Jai Mata Di, Suman Kumari” were tattooed on the right arm of the victim. Except this, no other document was found on the body. Having wheatish complexion the 5’4” tall man with slim bearing was wearing grey trousers and a cream colour shirt.

About the other death case, the sources in the local police said 52-year-old Surinder Singh, a driver in the CTU, was found dead by a staff member. His body was recovered from one of the buses parked in the CTU workshop in the Phase I, Industrial Area.

The police reached the spot and on the basis of preliminary inquiry ruled out any foul play behind the death.

The sources said the deceased, hailing from Samrala used to drink heavily and suspected to have died due to excessive drinking. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Cr.PC.



Fauji Beat
Service hospitals shouldn’t disown ex-servicemen

The highest motorable road in world
The highest motorable road in world.

THERE has been an overwhelming response to the report in this column, “What ails ex-servicemen health scheme?” (November 15). Most senior ex-servicemen, including a former Army commander are of the opinion that the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) will not work.

Why has the Army Medical Corps (AMC) disowned ex-servicemen after the introduction of the ECHS? The health scheme clearly says that ECHS members should be treated at service hospitals and for the treatment, which is not available at these hospitals, they should be sent to empanelled hospitals. The priority laid down for treatment at the service hospitals is serving personnel, ECHS members and last, any other ESM or non-ECHS member, provided the treatment is available at these hospitals.

The ECHS members should be sent to the empanelled hospitals only for that treatment which is not available at the service hospitals. At present, almost all ECHS members are sent to empanelled hospitals, which is not correct.

If before the introduction of the health scheme in April 2003, all ex-servicemen were provided medicines by the service hospitals, why can’t they do so now when the ECHS funds are not available? Today, the service hospitals are giving all medicines to the ex-servicemen who are not members of the ECHS but they are denying this facility to the ECHS members who are in a higher priority than the former.

The service hospitals must understand that they cannot divorce the ECHS members from their responsibility. The general opinion is that the bankruptcy of the ECHS has been brought about by the service hospitals.

BRO creates history

The BRO was raised on May 7, 1960, for constructing roads to meet the strategic requirements of the Army. Its first Director-General was Maj-Gen K.N. Dubey. The BRO has the GREF, as the execution force to build and maintain roads. The GREF units are organised and structured on the Army pattern and have their own administrative and logistics set-up in addition to the basic skilled and semi-skilled technical staff and tradesmen.

The BRO has grown from the construction of roads and bridges to the construction of airfields and specialised buildings. It has ventured into tunneling, construction of channels and other sophisticated RCC structures. Today, the organisation comprises over 40,000 strong GREF supported by 70,000 strong labour force.

The BRO has unique distinction of having constructed the highest motorable road in the world, which passes through Khardungla at a height of 18,380 ft above the sea level. It has also constructed the second highest road from Leh to Manali, which traverses through the Himalayan ranges for a stretch of 250 km at an altitude ranging from 14,000 ft to over 17,000 ft.

MBA course for officers

Over 90 per cent Army officers retire in their early 50s. Most of them have to seek a second career for which proper planning must be done during service, failing which, the only job that is offered to them is that security officers.

MBA is the most sought after course but at present, only a few universities are offering correspondence courses to the officers. For the first time now, a full-time tow-year MBA degree course will be started by the IIT, Kharagpur Business School and the Vinod Gupta School of Management (VGSOM) from 2006. The school is of the opinion that the course will be useful to officers even during their service.

In the first batch, only 20 officers will be attending the course in 2006. Gradually, the capacity of the course will be extended to 50 officers. Of the candidates shortlisted by the Army, the VGSOM will make a selection through the process of interviews and group discussions.

— Pritam Bhullar



Infighting rife in Chandigarh Club
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Allegations and counter-allegations continue to dog the functioning of the Chandigarh Club.
A large number of members, led by suspended member of the club Capt Sanjeev Gandhotra (retd), held a meeting yesterday and levelled serious allegations regarding the misappropriation of funds, mismanagement, non-transparency and arbitrary way of running the club by current governing council.

A signature campaign was also started against the club authorities. “We would submit a memorandum to the UT Administrator about the irregularities in the club,” said Mr Gandhotra.

However, club president Mukesh Bassi denied the allegations. Terming the allegations baseless, he claimed that it was a “gimmick” ahead of the election to the executive, to be announced shortly.

Regarding financial irregularities, Mr Bassi said: “Members were free to check the accounts for any financial irregularity.”

An allegation was also made that the authorities were not holding the annual general meeting (AGM) as per the guidelines of the Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA).

In reply, Mr Bassi said: “Clause 37 of the MAA clearly mentioned that the AGM could be called once in a calendar year but could not be delayed beyond 15 months. As we took over the office in the last week of November, 2004, we still have time to call the AGM.

The committee pointed out that there was an outstanding amount of Rs 1.2 crore against 1,200 members of the club from 1998 to 2001. It instructed the club authorities to serve notice to them for recovery.

The committee will verify and audit the accounts till 2004. On the issue of the recovery, Mr Bassi clarified that only Rs 60 lakh had been pending with 285 members till 2001. “We will serve notice on defaulters very soon,” he added.



Open sale of wheat by FCI sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
A deputation of the Chandigarh Chakki Owners Association, led by its president Gian Chand Gupta, today called on UT Finance Secretary S.K. Sandhu.
The delegation brought to the notice of Mr Sandhu the shortage of wheat in the local Grain Market and urged him to get the stock of the foodgrain issued from the Food Corporation of India (FCI). During the past four or five months, there had been a hike of up to Rs 150 per quintal in the rate of wheat in the local market as Chandigarh was a non-producing area, the delegation said.

The deputation urged the administration to ask the FCI to deliver wheat in the city as per previous practice.

It may be mentioned that the FCI is yet to start the open sale of wheat in the city.

Meanwhile, a deputation of the Grain Market Association met the Deputy Commissioner and apprised him of the problems being faced by them.

It submitted a memorandum demanding the recarpeting of the roads in the area, parking lots in the unused area, renovation of the toilets and provision of sheds to store foodgrain for a limited period.



Lecture on risks in Himalayas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Embassy of France in India and the Alliance Francaise in collaboration with the Centre of Advanced Study in Geology, Panjab University, organised a lecture of Dr Monique Fort, Physical Geography Department, University of Paris on “Landforms dynamics and natural risks in the Himalayas” at Golden Jubilee Guest House, Panjab University today.

Dr Fort said characterised by high population density and strong geodynamic activity, the Himalayan range was clearly a mountain at risk.

Erosion here was severe and natural disasters frequent. Their apparent increase in number during the last decade indicated widespread environmental degradation caused by the mismanagement of land by the Himalayan population.

Dr Fort has worked in Nepal for the past 30 years along with shorter experiences in mountains in India, Pakistan, Afganistan, Tajikistan and China.

Her main interests are in landforms, with respect to geological structures, to glacial and climatic fluctuations, and to current surfacial instabilities and natural hazards. She has published a number of books and articles in international journals.

Mr Rasik Ravindera, Deputy Director-General of the Geological Survey of India, Chandigarh, was the chief guest on the occasion.



Chandigarh Carnival on Nov 26, 27
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Film City pavilion depicting the media and entertainment industry will be the special attraction of the forthcoming Chandigarh Carnival, which is scheduled to be held on November 26 and 27 at the Leisure Valley.

According to a press note, the pavilion will have the concept of Film City to acquaint the people with the entertainment industry. Information about the process of film-making and production of radio and television programmes will be disseminated to the people.

The added attraction of the carnival will be the entrance of the venue which will be the replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. And to commemorate with the theme of the carnival, “Fun, frolic and France”, a French Villa is also being created which will have French cuisine, culture, films and costumes and games.



STs allege raw deal by CHB
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The alleged discrimination of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) towards Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the recently launched housing scheme in Sector 49 has come in for criticism.

In a representation to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, the All-India Scheduled Tribes Seva Sangh, alleged that no reservation had been made in favour of the STs by the CHB in the scheme, thus violating the Supreme Court directives.

There are nearly 35,000 STs, including employees of the Central Government and public sector undertakings in the city.

The sangh urged the commission to direct the CHB to amend the advertisement and provide 5 per cent reservation for STs in the scheme.



Seminar on ‘Emerging trends in radio’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Swami Vivekanand Institute of Mass Communication organised a seminar on “Emerging Trends in Radio” in Sector 20, here, on Friday. Ms Richa Sharma, Director, Rhythemz Infotainment Ltd., was the key speaker during the seminar. Dr K.C. Sharma, Course Coordinator said various experts from radio media participated in the seminar who gave their views on the current status, approach and future of radio as mass media.

During his inaugural address, Mr Manmohan Garg, CEO Swami Vivekanand Group of Institutes, said Chandigarh was becoming next destination for big companies and professionals in radio. He said the media had great potential and still the potential was reached only fractionally as only a few companies were working in the radio industry in the region.

Mr Gaurav Goyal, Director, said advertisements on radio was quite cheaper than on TV and the coverage of radio was also very wide. Ms Richa Sharma said there was a great demand of Radio Jockey’s programmer and producers. She said radio had become integral part of life of people of metros like Delhi and very soon, this would happen in Chandigarh also, as 103.1 FM frequency programmes could be now listened in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal.



50 structures razed

Panchkula, November 21
The Enforcement Wing of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) today razed as many as 50 structures during an anti-encroachment drive at Madanpur village.
HUDA employees led by Naib Tehsildar Bachchan Singh, along with a posse of cops reached Madanpur at about 11 am, and asked all the illegal occupants to vacate the land. In fact, the land was in possession of these people because of a stay order obtained from Punjab and Haryana High Court, though this land had been acquired by HUDA. — TNS



Fresh case against Nayagaon rape accused
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
The police today booked some of the accused of the Nayagaon rape case in a fresh case of abduction, detention, forgery and conspiracy. The name of a city-based lawyer also finds mention in the FIR lodged at the police station, Sector 3, here.

According to the FIR, the rape victim had alleged in her statement to the Punjab Police that the rapists had abducted her and members of her family in March, 2003, following her first complaint to the police at Nayagaon. She also alleged that the rapists confined her family at the residence of a woman in Mani Majra for a month to pressurise them into withdrawing her complaint.

She further alleged that during this time she, along with her parents, was taken to the house of a lawyer in Chandigarh where she, her father and mother were forced to sign blank papers, which were later used as affidavits in the court.

While the Chandigarh Police was tightlipped about the registration of the case, Mr Suresh Arora, IG, Headquarters, Punjab Police, heading the special investigation team probing the rape case, said he had recommended investigation into this aspect of the case to the Chandigarh police.

“Since the place of occurrence of the crime is Chandigarh, we had referred investigation into this specific aspect to the Chandigarh Police,” he said.



Scuffle between two lawyers, engineer
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 21
A scuffle between two lawyers and a UK-based computer engineer led to acrimonious scenes outside the mini-secretariat this afternoon. The two lawyers, who were joined in by their colleagues from the District Courts later, then bashed up the engineer.

The incident took place when Mr Sandeep Mittal, along with his father, a former Director, Health Services, Haryana, Dr K.N. Mittal, was coming to the secretariat for some personal work.

Two lawyers, Mr Sher Singh and Mr Vishal Sahni, were driving just ahead of them in their car. They suddenly applied the brakes, and Mr Mittal almost missed banging the car.

This act was repeated again, following which Mr Mittal swerved his vehicle and overtook the other car. As he did so, he allegedly rebuked the lawyers. The lawyers, offended at being rebuked, followed Mr Mittal to the parking of the DC office and confronted him. They alleged that Mr Mittal had abused them.

Heated arguments between the two groups led to a scuffle, and other lawyers from the District Courts joined them. Mr Mittal and the lawyers were injured in the scuffle. Mr Mittal started bleeding profusely from the nose. He approached the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate immediately, and asked him to take action. The CJM, however, asked them to approach the police.

Mr Mittal, along with his parents, then met the Deputy Commissioner, who referred the matter to the police. The lawyers, too, approached the police. Till the filing of this report, no case had been registered.



Woman sets self afire, in hospital
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
A 35-year-old married woman allegedly set herself afire this morning at her Hallomajra village residence. She was admitted to a hospital with serious burn injuries by the police. The police has registered a case of attempt to suicide against the woman.

Giving details, sources in the Sector 31 police station said Nanki, alias Rani, mother of three, set herself on fire at around 10 am. Her husband was not at home at the time of the incident. Hearing her cries for help and seeing her engulfed in flames, her neighbour rushed for help and also informed the police. The police took the victim to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, where doctors found 90 per cent burn injuries. Her 11-year-old daughter and a son, aged about five, were at home at that time.

The sources added that the woman had given contradicting statements during the day. First she reportedly said that no one was responsible for the incident and she set herself on fire, but later she claimed that she was injured in an accident caused by a stove.

It was only later in the day that the police booked her for attempt to suicide after verifying her statements, said Inspector Mani Ram Kadiyan, the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Sector 31 police station.



Poor hotel infrastructure in city, says expert
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Fortune Park Hotels, a subsidiary of the ITC, is all set to open a hotel in the city. Disclosing this Mandeep S. Lamba, president of Fortune Park Hotels Limited, said the hotel would be a 100-room four-star hotel and should hopefully be established by next March.

“We would be building a business hotel. Talks and negotiations are on with interested people. We are open to all options and are considering a few.” Not disclosing the exact area where the hotel would come up, Mr Lamba did not rule out the possibility of buying out an already existing one. Lamba was in the city on Sunday evening to deliver a lecture to the students of Chitkara School of Hospitality. He was also here to look at possible sites for the hotel.

Stating that the hospitality industry had “tremendous potential” he said that the hotel infrastructure in Chandigarh was very weak and the city needed at least a minimum of three more hotels to meet the increasing demand.

“The city is headed the Pune and Bangalore way and with IT coming in a big way this is the next big stop for the hotel industry.”

Amritsar, according to Mr Lamba, was another destination which needed to be explored. “We will be opening a hotel there too, with the international airport there and the influx of NRIs to the holy city, there is a need to have good hotels in the holy city.”

Stating that it was soon boom time for the region, he said more and more people were travelling now and hotels were a reality. “We will be opening one hotel in January and then hopefully next stop would be Amritsar. This just goes to show that the growth has just begun.”

Talking about the increase in motels in the region, he stated that this was only the tip of the iceberg and the motels would soon see a boom time.”

Fortune Park Hotels started in 1995, has 65 hotels all over the world.



Rat race for membership of Beopar Mandal
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
With the elections to the prestigious post of the president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal(CBM) slated to be held in January next year, the rat race for the membership of the traders’ body has begun, giving sleepless nights to the membership enrolment and screening committee.

In fact over 50 applications are pending with the committee from different market committees.This was apart from at least 22 market associations which had already been given representation in the apex body of the city traders.

The exclusion of certain market associations from the mandal had raised eyebrows with a section alleging favouritism in the selection bringing the functioning of the earlier screening committee under cloud. Ultimately, the committee comprising Mr Jagdish Arora, CBM president, Mr Charanjiv Singh, Mr Gurdial Bhasin, Mr Subhash Sethi, Mr Satpal Garg and Mr BK Sood was formed to give representations to all sections of the traders.

However, the committee, which meets next week, faces an uphill task with certain “ineligible” and “politically-motivated”market bodies also applying for membership.This is seen as an attempt by certain political groups to dominate the CBM, which is essentially a “non-political” body. It fact traders have strong lobbies in all political parties and wield a strong influence in the political and social set-up in the city.

A section of the traders felt that with Chandigarh emerging as a major trade centre the market associations had mushroomed in the recent past. To be a truly representative body, the CBM had to expand with the addition of new members, a senior member added.

It may be recalled that currently the CBM has 240 members and presidents and general secretaries of a majority of the market association find a place in it. The representation of the market associations in the CBM is decided according to their numerical strength.

However, the CBM spokesman, Mr JPS Kalra, refuted allegations of favouritism in withholding the membership of certain market associations saying that they were not “eligible.” It is the endeavour of the screening committee to include “eligible and deserving” members to the beopar mandal,” Mr Kalra claimed.

Meanwhile, sources said the schedule of the elections to the CBM would be chalked out at the general body meeting next month.The lobbying for the president’s post will hot up following the announcement of the election schedule, the sources added.


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