C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


HUDA scheme: realtors fleece gullible
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 10
The Group Housing Scheme floated by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) is turning out to be a perfect opportunity for realtors and unscrupulous elements for fleecing gullible aspirants wanting to own a house.

Builders in the tri-cities have floated societies with some fake members so that if they manage to get a plot in the draw these memberships can be sold on a premium. This in spite of the checks and balances introduced by HUDA to check speculation. For the first time HUDA has introduced a system by which only 25 per cent members in a group housing society can transfer their membership.

Some persons who have floated societies by collecting membership fee have backed out from getting their societies registered on one pretext or another. On condition of anonymity, a resident of Sector 29, Chandigarh, said members of his ethnic community had formed a society in April last year but the society had not been registered because the promoter insists that chances of getting a site in the draw are bleak because of the massive response. “It is a society of 30 members and we have paid Rs 3,500 each. The promoter is dilly-dallying on the refund.”

Even the registration fee being charged by the societies from its members is 10 to 15 times the fee being charged by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies. Though the registration fee being charged per member is just Rs 200, the societies are collecting anything between Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,500 as registration fee. No wonder many people have floated two to three societies each and are making a good profit.

A doctor, who is a promoter of three societies, when asked about the extra money being charged, said the extra money was needed for stationery, society meetings and also to pay “bribe” for registering the society. What he failed to point out was how much profit he would be making from the 24 members in each society by charging them Rs 3,000 as registration fee (Rs 2 lakh is the profit in three societies after he paid Rs 200 per person as registration fee).

In fact, everybody has joined the bandwagon to grab a share of the pie. Filmstars, doctors, chartered accountants, bureaucrats, government employees, besides the builders — everybody seems to have formed a housing society. No wonder that almost 4,500 applications have been sold off and around 4,000 societies have been registered till today. The number of sites for group housing on offer are just 44.

Those in need of a house, too, are not leaving anything to chance. They have become members in two to three societies. Mr Rajinder Goja, a manager with a pharma company, informed TNS that he and his family members had become members in three societies.

“Housing is getting out of reach of the common man. I am trying my luck by taking membership of three societies in the hope that at least one of the societies will get land,” he said.



Four-laning casts shadow over commercial property
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 10
Zirakpur presents a strange paradox. While hundreds of apartments are reportedly selling like hot cakes, there are few takers for commercial property.
The four-laning of the Zirakpur-Ambala stretch of the National Highway 22 has cast a shadow over commercial property in the Zirakpur-Derabassi-Lalru belt.

In fact, since the award of tender for the ambitious project a couple of months back, transactions involving commercial property have drastically come down, spreading panic among real estate investors.

And with confusion about the total area to be covered by the four-laning project on both sides of the highway yet to be cleared, prospective buyers are adopting a “wait and watch” policy.

The confusion about the exact dimensions of the 1.8 km flyover at Zirakpur, which will fly over a major portion of the township, coupled with the recession in the real estate sector, has contributed to commercial transactions going down drastically along the highway.

And with the end of the financial year just over one month away, the transaction rate is low. Even financers and investors are waiting for the right time to invest with the property prices allegedly “jacked up” to unrealistic levels by vested interests.

“Till confusion about the exact dimensions of the overbridge is cleared, the situation is unlikely to improve,” Mr Baldev Goel, a local property consultant opined.

Anyway, commercial property was not a favoured investment option in Zirakpur although apartments had a good demand, he added.

It may be recalled that the 1.8 km overbridge, which will start from this side of the Mayur Hotel on the Chandigarh side and end near the Silver City Extension, will have a major impact on the prices of commercial property along the highway.

In fact, major real estate players, including Silver City, N.K. Sharma Enterprises, and Paras Group plan to launch their shopping mall projects outside the overbridge.

This is seen as a smart move by them to attract motorists on the highway and residents of the tricity. The overbridge would cut the distance drastically.



Cops question kin of Group Captain
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 10
The Chandigarh Police is groping in the dark in the triple murder case that rocked the city on Tuesday. The bodies of Gp Capt T.P. Singh (retired), his wife Shibani and sister Ajit Kaur were found in their Sector 34 residence.

The stolen car belonging to the couple remained untraced on the fourth day of the detection of the crime.

Sources in the police said efforts to trace the car had proved futile and police team sent to neighbouring states had returned empty-handed.

About Pawandeep, the elder son of the slain couple, the police said he could not be contacted by the family members over the phone, despite repeated attempts. His whereabouts were not known.

The possibility of robbery being the motive behind the killings was getting remote during the course of investigations.

The Deputy Superintendent of the UT Police, Mr K.I.P. Singh, said the blood and hair samples, broken knives and cartridges recovered from the crime site along with the shell of the bullet recovered from the body of the Group Captain had been sent for examinations to various laboratories.

A senior police official on condition of anonymity, said the police was keeping a watch on the movement of certain close family members. The police quizzed several relatives of the family today in this connection.

About Pawandeep, he said the police was following a “wait and watch” policy.



Engg student kills self

Mohali, February 10
An engineering student allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in Phase II here last night.
According to the police, Manipal Singh, who was doing his engineering course from a college at Bhaddal, was sleeping in a room along with his grandfather, but he shifted to another room for taking the extreme step late at night.

His body was seen hanging by members of his family this morning.

The police said he had left a suicide note in which he had said that he was taking the extreme step on his own and nobody was to be held responsible for it.

It is reported that he wanted to get married to a girl but the parents of the girl were against the marriage. OC



Om Puri reads his wife’s stories
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Om Puri, renowned Bollywood actor who has also etched a name for himself in Hollywood and British movies, mesmerised a select audience at the reading session of portions out of “nine on nine”, a collection of short stories authored by Nandita C. Puri, his wife at Browser, Sector 8, here this evening.

The deep-throated voice of one of the tallest figures of parallel cinema in the country seemed to lend extra credibility to the characters he spoke about.

Addressing a press conference, Nandita said, “This is my first book in fiction. I had started writing a novel, but the habit of pithiness because of my long journalistic career has compelled me to be more crisp. I was used to the habit of filing a story within a limit of 1,500 words. So, I dropped the idea about my novel and instead started writing short stories”.

“Short stories are not easy to sell to the publishers. However, I was lucky to get a good response. Gulzar, the famous lyricist of the tinsel town, coaxed me into writing and I was able to do a decent job”, she said.

Nandita continued the book, ‘Nine on Nine’, was a collection of nine stories about nine women. “It is not a feministic statement. The stories are just a slice of life as I saw it”, she added.

Om Puri, talking about his work, said a new genre of cinema had entered with “Rang De Basanti” making a strong statement about the change. It was, however, sad that movies like “Ardh Satya” were no longer being made.

Gulzar, Nandita’s mentor, in the foreward of the book has remarked: “It is hard to draw a line in her short stories to separate reality from fiction and vice versa”. The book is about Indians from different religious and social backgrounds.



CM urged to inquire into work of housing society
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 10
As many as 34 members of the United Cooperative Housing Building Society, Sector-68, Mohali, have urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to order an inquiry into the affairs of the society to set its house in order.

Members, who met the Chief Minister to apprise him with regard to certain matters of the society, said here today in a statement that there were irregularities in the society. They said certain persons had been given possession of houses without following the laid down procedure. They also alleged that letter of flats on the fifth and sixth floor had been issued without permission from the PUDA.

Members, who have formed an adhoc committee, said the Chief Minister had kept the entire file with him and had given assurance to do justice to them.

The adhoc committee has appealed to all members of the society to examine the facts themselves and take decision accordingly. Members should not be misled by vested interests, said the adhoc committee in the statement.



Murdered NRI cremated
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 10
The body of a person who was killed after being kidnapped in Dubai reached his house in Phase VII here today.
The body of Randhir Singh, who belonged to Badali village, near here, was brought from the Amritsar airport and cremated today. Randhir Singh was brutally murdered for ransom. He had been living in Dubai for the past about 30 years.

His wife, Ms Kuldeep Kaur, and son, Mr Harpreet Singh, came to India as his son-in-law, Puneet, was murdered in Gohana on January 5. Randhir Singh was also to reach India on January 8 but he was reportedly kidnapped on the same day. It is suspected that he was murdered on the same day though his body was recovered on January 16.

The body of Randhir Singh remained with the police after January 16 as investigations were going on. It was handed over to his brother, Mr Gurvinder Singh, only day before yesterday who then brought it to India.

Mr Gurvinder Singh told mediapersons here that the abductors of his brother used to call him up for ransom and demanded 15,000 dirham for his release. He said that he also stayed in Dubai and had a business in that country. The kidnappers used the mobile phone of his brother for making the calls. he said he told the kidnappers that the amount would be paid but only after the abductors could arrange a talk with his brother, but they failed to do so.

He said his brother prepared aluminium fixtures in that country. The kidnappers had called him for getting some work done in their house. But when Randhir Singh reached there he was kidnapped and then brutally murdered. His body was then dumped somewhere from where it was recovered on January 16.



Intelligence mailbag lost in transit
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
A mailbag belonging to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) reportedly went missing while in transit, sending intelligence and security agencies in a tizzy over the loss of classified documents.

Highly placed sources revealed that the incident took place last month, when the mail bag was being couriered by a special messenger to the IB headquarters in New Delhi.

Though sources are tight-lipped about the contents of the mailbag, the fact that it was being sent by a special messenger indicates that the documents contained in the bag could be of a highly sensitive nature.

An internal investigation to ascertain how the bag was lost had been launched by the agency. According to sources, sensitive information falling into wrong hands could have serious implications.

Information and official correspondence is received by the IB headquarters through cryptic electronic transmission sent from field offices, as well as through written reports and forms. The IB, stated to be the world's oldest intelligence agency, is responsible for a host of activities, including counter intelligence, VVIP security, internal security, political intelligence, besides keeping a general watch over socio-economic activities.

It is understood that action has been initiated against the IB staffer responsible for the safe custody of the bag during transit. The headquarters recently issued a circular to all its establishments, warning personnel against such lapses and reiterating that procedures on handling and transporting documents should be followed as laid down in manuals.

Like all military, intelligence and security agencies that regularly handle classified and sensitive information, the IB too has a laid down a procedure on handling, transmitting and transporting documents. Different procedures, depending upon the sensitivity, travel distance and volume are to be followed while transporting documents and official mail.



Sahayta pledge — to work harder for better tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Sahayta Cancer Sahyog, an organisation known for providing holistic help to patients with cancer, held joint celebrations for Cancer Survivors Day and International Childhood Cancer Day at the Advanced Paediatric Centre, PGIMER, here today. Eminent doctors in radiotherapy, haematology and paediatric oncology attended the function.

A drawing and painting competition and art workshop was organised for children of oncology, OPD.

The secret of cancer care lies in early detection for which awareness is essential. Students of St John’s High School, Sector 26, joined hands in this crusade and presented a cultural bonanza for little children.

A comedy and two dance presentations on the latest Hindi film songs proved to be thorough entertainers for the kids and their parents. Dressed in colourful costumes, Sindhu Handa, a childhood survivor, regaled the audience with her dance.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Santosh Bhan, an office-bearer of the organisation, said Sahayta’s bond with patients transcended even death. “Karan and Neha were left under our care by Sangeeta, a terminal patient, after she was deserted by her husband.

They are now housed in Bal Niketan, Panchkula, and look upon Sahayta as their family,” she said.

Ms Neena Atray, principal, JPA Toddlers’ world, gave away prizes to winners of the painting competition. Scholarships and awards instituted by Sahayta supporters in memory of their dear ones were also presented. Gagan Toor Award of Rs 5000 sponsored by Ms Toor in memory of her son, Gagan, was won by Pawan, a survivor, while Protsahan Award of Rs 2500 sponsored by Ms Loomba in memory of her husband was given to childhood survivor Sindhu Handa.

The Jeevan Sahara Scholarship for Rs 5000 sponsored by Ms Indu Makkar in memory of her brothers was given to Ms Usha Sharma, who recently lost her husband to cancer.



HelpAge for HIV-hit grandparents
Payal Pruthi
Tribune News Service

Dr Shashi S. Narayana addresses project partners at the two-day training workshop held in Chandigarh
Dr Shashi S. Narayana addresses project partners at the two-day training workshop held in Chandigarh. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, February 10
In its endeavour to reach out to a wider community of older persons who are poor and vulnerable, HelpAge India is now also ensuring the well being of those grandparents whose lives have been impacted by HIV/AIDS.

In Chandigarh to conduct a two-day training workshop to facilitate the project partners, Dr Shashi S. Narayana, Joint Director, HelpAge India, informed that the organisation had been approached by old people in whose homes either the earning member, both parents or one of the parents had died because of AIDS and the grandparents had been burdened with the upbringing of the children for which they needed financial support.

“At HelpAge we target only the poor and the vulnerable, but of late we have been handling some cases where the lives of the grandparents have changed drastically because of the death of another member due to AIDS,” said Dr Narayana.

As for the “Adopt-A-Grandparent Programme,” which has recently been rechristened as “Sponsor-a-Grandparent Programme”, the organisation is now trying to give it a wide community base and also to strengthen the family and community support mechanisms. The active participation of youth is also high on the organsation’s agenda.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Narayana informed that the new ‘Sponsor-a-Grandparent Programme’ was inter-generational in its approach and would work towards sustainability in partnership with other local organisations. She added that besides providing the basic necessities to the grandparents, HelpAge India was also looking at the possibility of small-income generation initiatives for the old leading to self sustainability. For such similar programmes, the involvement of the gram panchayats was also being sought, she added.

Meanwhile, HelpAge India is already supporting about 16,000 grandparents across the country. Under this a large number of Tibetan refugees are also being covered at Poanta Sahib and Dharamsala. Currently programmes like goat rearing, basket making, kitchen gardening and others are also being run by the organisation for the “grans”.



Protest against hike in water charges
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 10
The city committee of the CPI staged a dharna outside the office of the Municipal Council here today in protest against the recent hike in water and sewerage charges.

The protesters demanded that the government should withdraw the hike immediately as it was an additional burden on the residents of the town, especially those belonging to poor sections of society. They said the charges were increased drastically which was totally unjustified.

The protesters, which included former municipal councillor, representatives of welfare bodies, trade union leaders, said that if the hike was not withdrawn a joint front would be set up to start an agitation in this regard.

A memorandum addressed to the Director, Local Government, Punjab, was presented to the Administrator of the council by Mr Baldev Singh Jhajj, secretary of the committee.



State secretariat office-bearers

Chandigarh, February 10
Mr Ram Sarup Verma has been unanimously elected president of the Punjab Civil Secretariat Staff Association. Mr Tejbir Singh Walia has been elected senior vice-president and Mr Malkiat Singh and Ms Gurdeep Kaur have been elected as vice-president.

Mr Darshan Singh Patli has been elected general secretary. Mr Sukhchain Khaira as joint general secretary and Mr Paramdeep Singh Bhabat as press secretary. Mr Gurnam Singh has been elected as treasurer. Mr Jagdish Mittar and Mr B.S.Johl have been elected as organising secretary and office secretary respectively. TNS



Three vehicles stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 10
A car and two motor cycles were stolen from the city. Besides, the police has arrested a Burail resident on charges of gambling.
Mr Rajesh Chopra of Sector 55 lodged a complaint that his Maruti car (CH-01-W-0927) was stolen from his residence on Wednesday night. Mr Narinder Singh of Solan district filed a complaint that his motorcycle (HP-15-5469) was stolen from Sector 20-A. In another incident, Mr Ashwani Gupta of Sector 33 reported that his motor cycle (CH-03-C-6379) was stolen from near the Rose Garden on Wednesday.

Three theft cases have been registered.

Ashok Kumar of Burail was arrested on charges of gambling on Thursday. The police recovered Rs 250 from his possession and registered a case under the Gambling Act at the Sector 34 police station.

The police arrested also Chanchal of Dhanas village from Chandigarh on Thursday for allegedly indulging in eve-teasing. A case under Section 294 of the IPC has been registered.



Fashion technology park for Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 10
A fashion technology park to be constructed at a cost of Rs 250 crore is coming up in Sector 90 here.
The park will be spread on 13.76 acres of land purchased on the Landran road for the state-of-the-art project. The area is being levelled for starting the construction activity which will be completed in less than two years. It will be the only park with dedicated BPO units for international fashion designers.

A model of the park was displayed at the Punjab industrial Exhibition-cum-Vendor Development Programme inaugurated in Phase VII industrial area here today.

The park is designed to cater to all functional needs of the industry such as design studios, research centre, testing laboratories, convention centre, auditorium, residential complex as well as service apartments. The project has been duly approved by the designated empowered committee under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab. All necessary notifications have been issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Industries Department.

Mr Tej K. Magazine, Corporate Adviser, Chandigarh Overseas Private Ltd, which is promoting the fashion park, said while speaking at a function organised in connection with the exhibition that the aim of setting up the park was to promote the art of Punjab like phulkari and Patiala juti. The products of Punjab would be introduced to international buyers.

He said the Business School of Fashion would form the hub of the park. It had already started its activities on a temporary basis from a rented accommodation in Sector 21, Chandigarh. 



Bunk houses for adventure tourists soon
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Lalru, February 10
Mobility solutions giant, JCBL, is all set to launch bunk houses for adventure tourists. The group is also launching a mobile exhibition van which can be used by companies to advertise products.

The bunk houses (21’ x 8’ in size), will be ready by June this year. The Research and Development (R and D) team of the company is also ready with the mobile home-cum-office — Villa Mobilay — which can be custom-made for clients.

Announcing the diversification plans of the JCBL into special utility vehicles (SUVs) here today, Mr Rajinder Aggarwal, CMD of the JCBL, said though SUV was a niche segment, the JCBL group had made its foray into providing these customised vehicles. “The rising cost of construction and the need for having leisure camping sites near major construction sites prompted us to design the bunk houses. The technical concept is ready, and we will begin commercial production by June this year,” he said.

The bunk houses will be centrally air- conditioned (there is an option to have an open-to-sky atrium) and will have a toilet, pantry, living room, bedroom (bunker beds) and work station. These bunk houses could be lifted by a crane and placed anywhere. In case a customer wants, wheels can be attached to it and it can be placed on a chassis. The bunk house (without a chassis) is estimated to cost Rs 6 lakh.

Mr Aggarwal said there was a big market for campers too, and the JCBL was already making these for clients according to their specifications.

The CMD said the mobile exhibition van being designed by them would have expandable sides, with projection screens to show advertisements of the product. “It will cost Rs 1 crore and the chassis will be air suspended. It will have a living space, a kitchen, conference hall, toilet and spiral staircase leading to a bedroom with a low ceiling,” he said.

Mr Aggarwal also unveiled the new special application vehicle (SAV), specially created for Sahara City Homes. He also said the JCBL group was growing at an annual rate of 30 to 40 per cent. “The group now commands a 50 per cent market share in designing luxury buses. From a turnover of Rs 175 crore last year, we are likely to have a turnover of Rs 200 crore at the end of this fiscal,” he added. 



Industrial exhibition inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 10
The Punjab Industrial Exhibition 2006-cum-Vendor Development Programme was inaugurated by Mr SC. Aggarwal, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Punjab, in Phase VII industrial area here today.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Aggarwal who was the chief guest at a function organised today, said government had to make financial sacrifices to bring large-scale industrial units to the state as they had the option to go anywhere they liked. But this attitude of the government should not be misunderstood by small-scale industrial unit owners.

He appreciated the efforts of the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) in organising the exhibition which gave an opportunity to industrial unit owners to showcase their products.

Mr Balbir Singh, President of the MIA, said 130 units from large, medium and small-scale industry participated in the three-day exhibition.


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