C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bansal must step down, says Jain
Row over MPLAD fund
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Accusing Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal of “misusing” his office, Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former BJP MP and a member of the national executive of the party, today demanded an investigation by a parliamentary committee into the issue of Mr Bansal giving money from the MPLAD fund to the Chandigarh Golf Club and in return getting an Honorary membership.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Jain stated that the Golf Club had sufficient resources at it’s disposal to generate funds and did not require any sort of funds/aid like the MPLAD fund.

“This blatant misuse of government funds for personal gains by Mr Bansal who is the Chairman of the committee which is probing the ‘cash-for-question scam, needs to be thoroughly investigated,” he stated.

He said if the allegations levelled against Mr Bansal were proved true, the same action should be taken against him as had been suggested by him for the MPs involved in the scam.”

Mr Jain said only Rs 2.51 lakh of the Rs 5 lakh sanctioned had been accounted for. He said a probe into where the remainder of the money was utilised also needed to be ordered.

Meanwhile, workers of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch led by former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan burnt the effigy of Mr Bansal near the Labour chowk (Sector 45). Mr Dhawan said” “Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal should accept moral responsibility and resign for giving funds to the Golf Club in total violation of the guidelines of the MPLADS fund scheme issued by the Lok Sabha or the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Mr Somnath Chatterjee, should expel him for the same.”

He said according to the guidelines, MP could give funds to any private institution since the “funds should be given where the utilisation shall be used by the public at large”.

‘Charges motivated’

Meanwhile, Mr Bansal said the allegations were baseless and politically motivated. He clarified that he had not visited the club after being given the honoarary membership.

“I did not ask for any membership. I have also given donations to several other organisations and institutions out of the MPLAD fund which includes the Press Club, too. The Golf Club is no exception,” he added.



Janta Land Promoters gets notice for violating norms
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 24
The Department of Industries, Punjab, has issued a show-cause notice to Janta Land Promoters Limited (JLPL) for allegedly violating the conditions laid down by the department for the development of the residential component of the company’s mega industrial project in Mohali. The company run by former Mohali MC chief Kulwant Singh has reportedly initiated development of the residential component of the project through other colonisers, without having fully developed the industrial component of his project in accordance with the conditions laid down by the department.

The company’s name had appeared in an advertisement issued by the NK Sharma group of builders launching a township by the name of “Whistler Heights” in Sector 91 here. Over 2.5 acres for the colony had been sold by JLPL to the NK Sharma group out of the 120 acres owned by the company.

However, the Department of Industries has pointed out in its notice: “Your (JLPL’s) attention is invited to Clause 5 (ii) of the agreement signed by your company with the state government which provides as under — the company shall develop the industrial estate first and housing and commercial projects subsequently. Before developing the residential and commercial pockets the company shall not only develop industrial pocket but also dispose of at least 50 per cent of the industrial plots to industrial units which will be set up in the industrial pockets and the entire project shall come with the proposed investment level in a stipulated period.”

Stating that the JLPL had neither developed the industrial pocket nor disposed of at least 50 per cent of the industrial plots, the notice adds that the development of the residential pocket is a violation of terms.

The JLPL was granted fiscal and regulatory exemptions for a mega industrial project by the Punjab Government’s empowered committee chaired by the Chief Minister during a meeting held on April 28, 2005. While 180 acres were to be developed as industrial unit in Sector 82 another 120 acres were to be developed as a residential component, with 10 per cent commercial, in Sector 91.

Sources said the JLPL had, through a draw of lots, disposed of 129 plots on November 30 and another 40 on the first-come-first-serve basis this morning, no development whatsoever had taken place at the site in Sector 82.

However, the sources said the JLPL had already constructed roads through the residential land. Pockets of the residential land had been sold off to various colonisers.



Fresh guidelines on fund
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Now member of Parliament (MP) will not be able to release grants under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLAD) for works undertaken in offices and residential buildings belonging to private, cooperative and commercial organisations.

No funds would be released for maintenance work and for works involving commercial establishments. These guidelines form part of revised guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Sources in the Administration said the fresh guidelines had been issued after taking into account the suggestions of the MPLADS committees of Parliament and observations made by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India. 



Nod to building plans will now be quicker
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Getting building plans approved from UT’s Estate Office will be more quick and simple.

After getting feedback from members of the public and architects, the Chandigarh Administration has worked out a plan to further streamline the Estate Office functioning.

A senior officer in the Administration said it had been almost decided to open a single window where the allottee could submit building plans for approval.

An arrangement was being worked out under which officers of different departments dealing with approval of building plans would be brought under one roof. The applicants would not have to run from one office to another.

The new initiatives had been worked out after a series of meetings between the officers in the Estate Office and the architects. A fresh notification with the modified scheme under the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952, was expected to be issued soon.

The Administration was also amending the optional “self-certification” scheme, under which an applicant could get a response from the Estate Office within 30 days. Sources in the Estate Office confirmed that since not a one application was received ever since the scheme was notified in October 2005, the scheme was being modified.

“Since the procedure for dealing with an application remained the same, IT concerns could be the reason for no application being received under the scheme. Now the application received under the scheme would also be dealt under one roof”, said the officer.

Another clause of suspension cancellation of licence of a registered architect or a structural engineer or a plumber in case of submitting a wrong report along with the application was a hurdle in the success of the “self-certification” scheme.

In the past there have been complaints of delay in approval of building plans — residential, commercial and institutional — and no-objection certificate (NoC) for occupancy. Certain officials were transferred for dereliction of duty.



Cold wave persists in Punjab

Chandigarh, January 24
The cold wave conditions which returned to Punjab and some other parts of the northwest plains continued unabated today with Amritsar being the coldest in the region at 1°C, four degrees below normal.

The mercury dipped two to four degrees below normal in Punjab and Haryana, while the dry weather would continue for the next 48 hours, the weather forecast here said.

It was three degrees below normal in Ludhiana at 3.4°C. Patiala recorded the minimum of 4.8°C, two degrees below normal.

In Haryana, the minimum temperature was two degrees below normal in Ambala (4.7°C) and Karnal (4.6°C).

The city and its surrounding areas of Punjab and Haryana recorded the minimum of 5.8°C, two degrees below normal. The sky here would remain clear with the minimum hovering around 6°C tomorrow, the forecast said.

The national Capital New Delhi recorded the minimum of 4.5°C which was, however, normal.

The capital town of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh recorded the minimum of 0.3°C, two degrees below normal, while the mercury dipped to 1.2°C, one degree below normal in Bhuntar. Sundernagar had the minimum 1.7°C.

The tourist resorts of Wildflower Hall, Kufri, Naldebra and Narkanda in Shimla district and the key tourist places of Manali in Kulu district also experienced severe cold wave conditions and the tourists preferred to stay indoors.

There was no let up in the cold wave in the Kashmir valley following further drop in the mercury to 2.3°C. Jammu reported the minimum of 5.7°C, three degrees below normal. — UNI



Passing Thru

Manpreet Brar
Manpreet Brar, former Miss India

What brings you to Chandigarh? Is this your first visit to the city?

I am here for the launch of beautycare and baby wipes created by Ginni Filaments. I have been coming here quite frequently to my grandparents and love the greenery, huge bungalows and the well organised infrastructure here.

Films seem to be the natural progression for most models. Why did you not land in Bollywood?

After I won the First Runners Up title in the Ms Universe Contest, there were a lot of film offers. However, I felt I was not cut out for films and concentrated on pursuing my MBA, modelling and compering assignments. I am very happy the way things have turned out for me.

What are your current assignments?

I do talk shows for CNBC, Zee TV and SAB TV. Besides this, I am also taking assignments for compering corporate functions and launching products. But I am very choosy about the products I endorse.

— Ruchika M. Khanna



CTU open to alterations on grid system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) is open to suggestions and ready to make necessary alterations in the new grid system introduced in the city yesterday.

Mr Arun Sekhri, director of CTU, said: “Public mind is attuned to a service for over three decades. There are bound to be certain difficulties. We are open to suggestions and will definitely make the necessary amends”.

People, meanwhile, continued to face inconvenience due to the changed timings and routes on the second day today. A group of passengers outside the PGI gate complained about the unhelpful attitude of bus conductors.

Mr Jeet Singh, a security guard in a Sector 17 shop, said: “I didn’t see the rationale behind the flat rate of Rs 5 for all routes in the city. There could have been different slabs according to the distance actually travelled”.

A manager of the CTU said “I don’t understand the public outcry. We have been issuing advertisements for the past fortnight. In case any citizen had problems, he could have contacted us. It is surprising that not a single resident welfare association responded to the new system”.

Citizens of Sectors 47, 48 and Mohali complained about poor connectivity. The CTU, meanwhile, has started more buses on the ISBT-PGI ISBT (Sector 43) and ISBT-High Court routes. It has been clarified that those holding passes under the previous system could continue to avail of the facilities. The CTU has 120 buses running on the grid system while another 41 buses are running on alternative important routes.

Mr Arun Sekhri said: “The bus route No. 28 had been restored and 2F from Panchkula to PGI had been revived on public demand. We are open to suggestions from individuals and citizen welfare groups.

Mr Ranjodh Singh, a schoolteacher, said: “We need to improve services on certain routes and also try for a lesser rush at the stops”.



Bidders keep away from MC auction
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 24
Poor response from bidders once again compelled the municipal council to postpone the auction for octroi collection indefinitely. Only one bidder turned up for the auction organised at the Municipal Bhavan, Sector 68, here today. The Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, Mr S.R. Kler, had come to supervise the work.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sekhon, Executive Officer of the civic body, said not date for the next auction could be fixed as businessmen were expecting that the government might announce the abolition of octori on January 26. He said the single bidder who had come to take part in the auction found the reserve price of Rs 22.79 crore on the higher side. He wanted the council to allot him work of octroi collection for six months instead of a year but the offer was rejected.

The council fails to get the desired response in connection with the auction as parties interested in the work find the reserve price on the higher side. Last year, the council had fixed the reserve price at Rs 16.90 crore against an income of Rs 17.52 crore. The work was given on contract for Rs 16.91 crore which was challenged by a councillor, alleging that some irregularities had taken place while allotting the work. He was then granted a stay by court.

When the auction was held by the civic body on January 16, only one bidder had turned up and as such the council had to postpone the date as the least three bidders were needed to carry out the auction.



4 panels formed on wildlife preservation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The Chandigarh Administration has formed four committees for preservation of wildlife to promote a mass movement towards respect for the wildlife. The committees have been formed on a recommendation of the State Board for Wildlife.

One of the committees is on creation of awareness about forests, wildlife and environment among people, especially students.

The committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of the Home Secretary. Another committee has been constituted on Conservation of the Sukhna Lake and promotion of eco-tourism under the chairmanship of the Finance Secretary-cum-Secretary (Environment and Forests).

The committee on preservation of heritage trees hasthe Deputy Conservator of Forests-cum-Director Environment as chairman. The committee on the proposed Greater Shivalik National Park has been constituted under the chairmanship of the Secretary (Forests).

The committees will hold meetings and submit detailed recommendations to the Administration by April 30.



BJP councillors stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, January 24
Former member of Parliament and BJP leader Rattan Lal Kataria led local BJP councillors, leaders and activists to a peaceful dharna on the premises of the Municipal Council office today.

Lashing out at the Congress in general and the municipal council President in particular, Mr Kataria and other leaders were highly critical of the inefficient working of the council under Mr Tarun Bhandari. They demanded repair and upkeep of roads, especially the internal roads, parks, street lights, sanitation and completion of the works already awarded to contractors or government agencies.

Councillor C.B. Goel lamented that any project or programme got shelved even before taking off due to rivalry among the Congress councillors. Councillor V.K. Sood alleged that the instability loomed large over the MC chief and it had affected development of city.

State BJP treasurer Gian Chand Gupta demanded that the revenue earned from the sale of plots be utilised for the development of the city.

The leaders met Executive Officer Rohtash Bishnoi to register their protest. District BJP president Ravinder Sehgal, Jagdamba Gupta, Anil Goel and state Yuva Morcha president Varinder Rana, too, addressed the dharna.



Chander Mohan committed to Panchkula development
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 24
Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Chandar Mohan has expressed confidence that there will be all-round development of the city during the next five years and it would be developed on the pattern of cities in developed countries.

Mr Chandar Mohan was reviewing the various projects launched in the city, accompanied by the officers of various departments here today. He maintained that former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal had given special thrust on the development of Panchkula and a number of projects had been sanctioned.

He said the Shivalik Development Board was constituted for the development of hilly areas. During the past nine years the city had been ignored by previous regimes, he claimed.

Mr Chandar Mohan directed the officers of the District Administration to be responsive towards the public. He said efforts had been made by him to give special thrust on the development works. He directed the officials of the Municipal Corporation to ensure sanitation and street lights in the city.

The Deputy Chief Minister disclosed that it had been decided that internal roads of the city would be repaired by HUDA instead of the Municipal Council. The HUDA authorities had asked the council to provide estimates of repair work on the internal roads so that the work could be started immediately.

The HVPN authorities had also been directed to link the General Hospital with main line to with a view to providing 24-hour power supply to it, he added.



Advertisements on barricades gone
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
The Municipal Corporation has removed the advertisements on barricades at the entrance of the Sector 17 parking.

The Chandigarh Tribune had carried a report on barricades at both entrance and exit points. Till yesterday these supported an advertisement for a Sector 38-based tutorials. The advertisement were in violation of the terms and conditions the MC has laid down in its contract terms with parking contractors.

When contacted, Mr S.K. Chadha, Executive Engineer, Roads, said they would look into the matter. Notices would be issued to the parking contractor and as per rules, penalty imposed.

“We have initiated action and a notice will soon be issued to the parking contractor.”



Snag hits teleprinter lines

Chandigarh, January 24
Flow of news and communication to a large part of the city was adversely affected following a technical snag hit teleprinter lines today.

News flow in the offices of The Tribune Group of Publications, the Desh Sewak, the Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, and All-India Radio was had been affected since Monday evening. Officials in the BSNL said the problem was a result of the cable getting snapped because of some digging work. TNS



Talk on Partition

Mohali, January 24
A special talk on ‘Partition of India, its causes and consequences’ was organised at the Ambedkar Institute of Careers and Courses, Phase 3B2 here yesterday.

The speaker, Dr RL Singal, former head of the English Department at Government College, Sector 11, Chandigarh, deliberated upon the topic covering its various aspects. The Principal of the institute, Mrs Rajvinder Kaur Minhas, thanked the guest. TNS



2 held for stealing mobile phones
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 24
The UT Police’s Crime Branch today arrested two persons and recovered five stolen mobile phones from them.

Giving details, sources in the Crime Branch said Liyaqat Ahmed and Javed Khan of Colony No. 5 were arrested from the colony and jail road, Burail, this morning.

The police recovered five stolen mobile phones from their possession.Both were produced before a local court, which remanded them in judicial custody.


The local police has arrested three persons from various parts of the city for allegedly indulging in gambling at public place on Monday.

According to the police, Mohammad Ali of Bapu Dham Colony, and Shiv Prakash of Sector 7, Panchkula, were arrested from Grain Market, Sector 26. The police recovered Rs 530 from their possession.

In a separate incident, the police arrested Akram of Mauli Complex, Mani Majra, from Industrial Area and recovered Rs 280 from his possession.

Two cases under the Gambling Act have been registered in this regard.

Vehicles stolen

Harjeet Singh of Motor Market, Mani Majra, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his servant Bablu stole his truck (HR-68-5881) parked in front of his shop in the locality on January 21.

In another incident, Manpreet Singh of Sector 9 reported to the police that his Maruti car (CH-03-J-5303) was stolen from Sector 9 market on Monday.

Two cases of theft have been registered.



Man charred to death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 24
A 37-year-old man was charred to death in his Sector 24, Janata Colony, house last night. Though the exact cause of fire was not known, the police said the fire might have spread from a candle or a smouldering bidi.

Giving details of the incident, sources in the Sector 24 police post said the incident came to light when someone in the locality noticed smoke coming out of the victim’s house. The police was informed about the incident and it along with the fire brigade reached the spot.

A police officer said after dousing the fire, Siya Ram, the victim, was rushed to the PGI, where the doctors declared him dead on arrival.

He was found unconscious under a quilt, which had caught fire. Being excessively drunk he could not move and the fire engulfed him.

Quoting an acquaintance of the victim, he added that the victim was an alcoholic and was living alone in his house.

The victim was identified from a voter’s identity card found in the house.



2 sisters married to 2 brothers allege harassment
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 24
Two sisters belonging to Gobindgarh village today complained to the police here that they were being harassed by their husbands for more dowry.

The two sisters gave a written complaint to the police in which they alleged that their husbands, both brothers and residents of Manimajra, caused mental and physical harassment to them.

They also alleged that their husbands were now demanding a plot from their parents. The sisters demanded that a case be registered against their husbands.



Reliance announces free outgoing call scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 24
Reliance Infocomm has announced its free outgoing calls scheme on purchase of any one of the five colour and black and white handsets.

At a video conference, Mr S P Shukla, president (wireless), Reliance Infocomm, said after launching the ‘One Nation One Tariff plan’ earlier this month, the company was offering free talk time worth Rs 2,000 along with the handsets.

A total of 2000 SMSs could also be sent free of cost.

“With the new scheme, we are looking at meeting the needs of those subscribers who make a large number of outgoing calls,” he said.

On the purchase of LG 5340 and 6230 colour handsets and LG 2340, subscribers could avail of this offer.

Customers opting for LG 5130 and LG 2430 handsets would get talk time worth Rs 1000. 



Spice launches R-Day content

Chandigarh, January 24
As part of its Republic Day celebrations, cellular company Spice Telecom launched its value added content for its pre-paid and post-paid subscribers here today.

Speaking on the occasion, company’s general manager (marketing) Mukul Khanna said: “We wanted to give our subscribers an opportunity to celebrate the day by way of accessing special content like speeches made by freedom fighters and patriotic songs.” TNS


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