C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bansal working for ‘Mayor in Council’ governance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
“I am working for ‘Mayor in Council’ governance in the city to give a new role with additional powers to the Municipal Corporation,” said Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister of State for Finance, while addressing a press conference at the Chandigarh Press Club here today.

“Representatives of the people, through direct elections, need to have more authority in administrative affairs.

The Mayor and his council should be vested with certain executive powers, which are missing under the current system. Except for certain top-level decisions, the ‘Mayor in Council’ should have enough powers to take decisions for the welfare of the people,” he said.

“The proposal for ‘Mayor in Council’ is not merely a suggestion. I will work towards the realisation of the proposal at the Centre. It is in the best interests of the city to remain a union territory and not be merged into Punjab,” he said.

Replying to a question about whether the city should have a Vidhan Sabha, Mr Bansal said, “The city does not require a Vidhan Sabha. It will prove to be a costly affair. Having a Vidhan Sabha does not just mean electing ministers. Chandigarh has surplus revenue, but things will change in the future. A Vidhan Sabha will mean a lot of additional expenditure. I suggest a ‘Mayor in Council’ system here.”

Replying to a question regarding future planning, Mr Bansal said, “Chandigarh is a meticulously designed city, but not so meticulously planned. The city was designed without adequate care about dwelling for the poor, small workers and the migratory population. Steps are being taken now to plan the city for future needs.”

Mr Bansal said local inhabitants had been given a raw deal by the authorities when they were uprooted. “Land owners were given peanuts as compared to the rates the property was sold at later. This aspect needs to be looked into.”

Mr Bansal said the future growth of the city needed to be looked into from the perspective of matching development in the neighbouring towns of Panchkula and Mohali. The Centre needs to interfere for having a balanced growth of the tri-city, he said.

The minister said, “The country is doing fine in matters related to finance at the moment. I cannot comment further because I am yet to get a proper feel of the ministry.”

Mr Bansal said he was committed to work for a media centre at the club. Refusing to comment on the last-minute cancellation of the foundation stone-laying ceremony by Dr Manmohan Singh recently, Mr Bansal said, “We are bound by certain rules which need formal clearance from the authorities. I can only say I will will meet the officers of the Administration with regard to a media centre.”

Mr Bansal said he would not like to speak about the recent controversy, wherein his name had figured in giving money to the Golf Club for allegedly seeking honorary membership. “I know the names of persons behind the mischief and know the reasons behind it. I will not comment any further,” he said.



No claimants for land compensation
Over Rs 19 crore unclaimed by oustee farmers
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
Coffers of the Chandigarh Administration are ‘‘overflowing’’ with outstanding dues of the oustee-farmers.

The amount worth over Rs 19 crore had been released to the oustees whose land had been acquired in phases in different UT villages over the past several years. The prime land runs in several acres.

After releasing the land compensation, the Administration took possession of the land spread over at least 10 villages. In some of the cases, the land has already been allotted and construction activity is underway.

But the beneficiaries, around 2000 in number, have not bothered to claim their dues from the office of the LAO. The compensation varies from a few thousand rupees to several lakhs.

Sources said the compensation amount was lying in the government treasury. Since it has been released, the beneficiaries can show proof and claim it.

The land was in Kaimbwala, Maloya, Manimajra, Nizampur Kumbhra, Hallo Majra, Kajehri, Raipur Kalan, Mauli Jagran, Dadu Majra, Raipur Khurd, Khuda Lahora and Sarangpur villages.

Officers concerned in the office of the LAO are still waiting for the beneficiaries to collect their dues.

Reason why the beneficiaries are not coming forward to claim the compensation is that the land in many of the cases had been sold on power of attorney and the buyers could not get the land transferred in their name as there was a ban on the registration of sale deed of less than two kanal plots.

The original claimants do not approach the LAO for the fear of being caught, said Mr Bhupinder Badheri, President of the District Congress Committee, Rural.

However, the General Secretary of the Welfare Society of the Oustees of 50 villages, Mr H.S.Biling, said the land compensation was a pittance when compared to the rates at which the Administration was selling the land further. ‘‘See the land compensation being offered in the neighbouring areas of Punjab and Haryana’’, he added.

The oustees lament that there was indifference on part of the Administration in rehabilitating them. No oustee policy has been announced so far by the Administration whereas rehabilitation schemes are being floated for slum dwellers, they allege.



Eating joint owner asked to close shop
Sale of adulterated food in district courts complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
A day after a news report about adulterated food being served by an eating joint in the district courts complex was published, a cockroach was found in a bowl of curd served to a lawyer at the eating joint.

This resulted in strong protest by the lawyers. Mr K.S Lamba, Secretary of the District Bar Association, who was also present at the spot, said an ultimatum had been given to the owner of the eating joint, Mr Ram Milan Yadav, to close his shop by next Tuesday failing which he would be forced to vacate the place.

Mr Lamba said there would no compromise in the issue. It may be mentioned that eatables were being sold at the shop without any licence from the health authorities.

Food samples taken by the district health authorities had revealed that the food being served was adulterated and unfit for human consumption.

The report of the food samples was tabled by the health authorities as part of the case proceedings being heard by the Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr R.K Bhankar.

As per the report, dead insects were found in a bottle of mango shake and it was declared unfit for human consumption. The complainant had stated that the eating joint did not have any licence to sell the eatables and beverages. In another sample of ‘alu chana’ , prohibited red oil soluble synthetic colour had been used by the joint owner.



6 illegal guest houses sealed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
The Municipal Corporation today sealed six guest houses in villages falling within UT. While the team led by the Additional Municipal Commissioner, Mr O.P Popli, sealed five ‘‘illegally running’’ guest houses in Attawa, one guest house was sealed in Badheri village.

The MC had sent notices to some of these guest houses that were being run without the permission of the civic body, the others had not applied for trade conversion so far. The MC had sent notices to these guest houses a number of times, asking them to pay trade conversion charges and seek due permission. However, the guest house owners had not bothered for the same and had continued to run these illegally.



Agency hired to promote Chandigarh as tourist spot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
With a view to providing quick, safe and reliable transport facilities to visitors and the local residents, at least 200 autometered, comfortable and high technical class taxis would start operating in the city in near future on the pattern that prevails in Singapore. These taxis would be operated by four mega companies.

This was stated by Mr Vivek Atray, Director, Tourism, at the monthly interactive meeting of the Chandigarh Tourism Club last night.

Mr Atray said the Festival of Gardens, earlier known as Rose Festival now included in the national calendar of festivals, would be celebrated from February 24 to 26 at the Leisure Valley. He disclosed that a PR agency had been appointed to promote the city as a fullfledged tourist destination in the country as well as overseas.

Speaking on the occasion, Chandigarh Tourism Club Secretary-General, Dr Gulshan Sharma, highlighted aims and objectives of the club, which were to help create a touristfriendly environment and to invite new innovative ideas from the local community, especially those who were engaged in travel and tours.

The function was made scintillating with the presence of many eminent actors now in the region for the shooting of Punjabi flick " Dil Apna Punjabi" being directed by Manmohan Singh. Those present also included Dara Singh, Harbhajan Maan, Kanwaljit, Deep Dhillon, Neeru Bajwa and Amar Noori.

Citing the example of Switzerland and other countries, Deep Dhillon made a forceful plea in promoting Chandigarh through the medium of cinema.

In a lively interaction that followed, a number of suggestions came from the audience. Mr Rahul Kumar, Mr Kanwaljit Singh and Mr Baljit Singh bagged prizes for the best suggestions.

On this occasion, Home Secretary-cum Secretary, Tourism, Mr Krishna Mohan, who was the chief guest, released the Chandigarh Tourism Club Newsletter. Mr R.K.Rao, the Deputy Commissioner, was also present on the occasion.



War widows honoured at Chandimandir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
Badges of Sacrifice and Certificates of Honour were presented to next of kin of Army personnel who had laid down their lives in the line of duty at a function organised at Chandimandir today. Among those who were honoured by the Station Commander, Chandimandir, Brig P.R. Sharma, were Ms Jaya Babber, widow of Major I.S. Babber, and Shivani Vats, widow of Major Navneet Vats.

Major Babbar, who had been decorated with the Kirti Chakra, had died while fighting terrorists during Operation Rhino in Assam in June, 2003, while Major Vats, decorated with the Sena Medal, had been killed in action during Operation Rakshak in Jammu and Kashmir in November, 2003. He had been leading the Ghatak team to flush out Hizbal Mujaheeddin terrorists from the BSNL building in Srinagar. Mr V P Gupta, whose son Major Yogesh Gupta of 5 Rashtriya Rifles, was killed during Operation Rakshak during an encounter with terrorists, was also honoured.

Prem Singh received the badge and certificate in remembrance of his son, Rifleman Ashok Kumar of 3 Rashtriya Rifles, who was killed during Operation Rakshak-II in Jammu and Kashmir in August, 2001. Mrs Ranjit Kaur, widow of Signalman Avtar Singh, received the certificate of honour of her husband, who had lost his life in Operation Parakram in June, 2002.

Ram Murti, sister of sepoy Gurbaksh Singh, was also presented a badge and a certificate. Her brother had been a prisoner of war in Pakistan, who had died in jail in 1948. She belongs to Ambala.

Some of those present, however, complained about the lackadaisical attitude of the civil administration towards their problems. Mr Gupta said that their family had not been granted pension so far. A letter written to his son's unit in this regard had not elicited any response so far.

Avtar Singh's family members said the Punjab Government was yet to release the promised ex gratia amount of Rs 5 lakh while Mr Prem Singh said the panchayat of their village, near Shimla, had agreed to rename the local school after his son, but the case had been stuck with the civil administration.

President, Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA), Western Command, Mrs Mohini Daljeet Singh, also honoured the 'Veer Narees' and next of kin of the martyrs by giving them gifts. She listened to their problems and assured them all assistance from the AWWA. She said a programme had been initiated by the Army wherein formations and units had been directed to render all possible assistance and help to the next of kin of martyrs within their jurisdiction.



Civic amenities elude Zirakpur residents
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 11
One of the fastest-growing townships in Punjab, Zirakpur presents a study in contrast.

While private builders promise the general public state-of-the-art facilities at upcoming apartments and shopping malls, basic amenities continue to elude the residents, with the Nagar Panchayat allegedly turning a blind eye to the problems being faced by the residents.

Residents of this village-turned-town continue to be at the receiving end though the civic body has charged a substantial amount as building plan fee and other charges.

The haphazard growth of the town, allegedly in violation of building bylaws, has compounded problems of residents.

Almost half the town does not have a sewage disposal system in place.

The condition of internal roads and streets is pitiable, alleges Mr Nitin Sood, a resident.

There seems to be no effective system of sanitation in a majority of colonies.

The situation seems better in colonies approved by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA).

A resident says most streetlights are non-functional.

Certain areas which open on the national highway have become accident-prone in the absence of streetlights.

The situation is worse in newly developed colonies, where vacant plots have turned into cesspools of stagnant water, posing a serious health hazard, allege residents.

In the absence of dustbins, vacant plots are being used as dumping places by residents.

Mr Kanwarjit Singh Dhanjal of Dashmesh Colony on the Zirakpur-Patiala road is a victim of official apathy.

The water accumulated around his house has been damaging the house and stagnant water in pits over three feet deep emits an unbearable stench, he complains.

According to sources, with the township growing by leaps and bounds, resources at the disposal of the civic body have failed to keep pace with the growing infrastructural needs.

Sources in the Nagar Panchayat have claimed that the civic body has been providing all amenities, keeping in view the resources at its disposal.



No further exemption for CM, Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
In a significant development in the defamation case filed against Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh by Shiromani Akali Dal General Secretary Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Ms Neerja Kansal, today categorically said no further exemption from appearance would be given to the Chief Minister and the complainant.

When the case came up for hearing before the JMIC, she took exception to the repeated exemptions from appearance being sought in the case, which was filed in 2002.

Now the case had been fixed for April 29. The counsel for the complainant said they had been stressing that they would start their evidence in the appearance of the Chief Minister.

The Faridkot MP and SAD General Secretary had filed the defamation case against Capt Amarinder Singh for having alleged in the run-up to the 2002 Assembly elections that former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had amassed property and assets worth Rs 3500 crore through corrupt means.

The campaign, launched under the caption “The great Betrayal SYL” ahead of the 2002 Punjab Assembly elections, had levelled serious allegations against the Badals and the then Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala.

CBI seeks bail cancellation

In the case of corruption against Chandigarh police Sub-Inspector Sunita Bakshi, the CBI filed an application in the CBI special court, seeking cancellation of the bail granted to her. The CBI stated that she was threatening the complainant and thus, her bail should be cancelled.

A notice for reply was issued to her counsel.



Readers write
Sukhna floodlights not functional

The floodlights on the Sukhna Lake, particularly after 1500 metres, are rarely functional and leave much to be desired. Poor lighting and dozens of stray dogs are a virtual nightmare for early walkers. Beyond 2400 metres, in particular, a serious tragedy can happen any day. One has to be extra careful to save oneself from being run over by fast-moving vehicular traffic of devotees on their way to Saketri and Mata Mansa Devi. The road to the shrines is very narrow and full of potholes and needs immediate repairs.

Capt Surjit Singh Sandhu

Town’s neglect a shame

It is a matter of great shame that a town (Panchkula) in the constituency of a Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana should be neglected to such an extent. What can the public expect from such a Deputy Chief Minister in running the state affairs when he has ‘shown total incompetence’ in managing the routine affairs of a town of his won residence in his own constituency.

The Municipal Council, where his Congress Party is in majority, is presently mired in factional infighting and corruption and is in total limbo. Not to speak of any welfare\development work, no routine maintenance work— be it road repairs, street lights, upkeep of parks, sanitation or eradication of cattle\dogs menace - has been carried out since its inception. Will the residents of Panchkula see this beautiful planned township going to dogs. We request the worthy Deputy Chief Minister to show some performance and set things right.

Brig W.S. Choudary (retd)

Violation of traffic signals

Everyday I drive my car to office, I come across hundreds of vehicles crossing me, particularly at the crossing showing red signal. No doubt our government has deputed traffic personnel almost on every crossing, and traffic lights have also been put up. But on the outskirt of the city, where only traffic lights have been working in the absence of any traffic constable, people have no consideration for traffic signals. Many a time I feel my self an educated fool stopping my car at the red light amidst the fast crossing vehicles. How longer would I be able to maintain my right spirit ? That place which I am talking about is on my way to office. I appeal to the concerned authorities that heavy penalties should be imposed on whosoever violates traffic rules,. Otherwise the situation will go from bad to worse.

Prof P.S. Rekhi
Govt. Bikram College of Commerce, Patiala



Devotees take part in shobha yatra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
Hundreds of devotees took part in the shobha yatra taken out by the Sri Guru Ravi Dass Mahasabha on the eve of the Guru Ravi Dass Jayanti here today.

The shobha yatra, which started from the Sri Guru Ravi Dass Bhavan in Sector 20-D, passed through various sectors, including Sectors 20, 21, 22, 17, 18, 19, 27 and 30 before culminating at the bhavan.

Meanwhile,the local unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will celebrate the Guru Ravi Dass Jayanti at the Kashyap Bhavan in Sector 37 tomorrow.



Cultural show at Press Club
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
The Chandigarh Press Club will organise a cultural evening for its members and their families at 8 p.m. today.

Renowned Punjabi pop singer Shaminder Shammi will perform on the occasion. He will be accompanied by Deepak Chakraborty, a famous Hindi pop singer, and a dance troupe.



Friend of T. P. Singh’s son picked up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 11
Even as the Chandigarh police has not disclosed the name of the assailant(s) in the recent triple murder case, a friend of the Pawandeep, the elder son of the slain Group Captain T. P. Singh, was today picked up by the police for questioning.

The car of Group Captain T. P. Singh which was stolen by the assailants remains untraced five days after the gruesome murder was detected. Sources in the police said certain vital clues had pointed in the direction of the elder son of the deceased. Raids were being conducted in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.

Late in the evening, the Senior Superintendent of Police chaired a meeting of the investigating team to workout the future strategy. On the basis of the leads, further raids are being conducted.



3 kg heroin seized

Chandigarh, February 11
The Chandigarh unit of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has seized 3 kg of heroin worth Rs 3 crore in the international market from Sukhpreet Kaur, who was travelling from Amritsar to Mumbai by Jammu Tawi Express.

She was arrested with the help of the BSF at Jalandhar police station. The consignment was meant to be delivered to a contact in Rajasthan. Further investigations are on to know the source of the contraband. TNS



Industrial exhibition evokes good response
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 11
A large number of business inquiries were generated in the three-day Punjab Industrial Exhibition-2006 and the Vendor Development Programme which was inaugurated in the Phase VII industrial area yesterday.

Mr Balbir Singh, president of the Mohali Industries Association, which has organised the exhibition in association with SISI, Ludhiana, said here today that an overwhelming enthusiasm was noticed among industrial-unit owners and even the public. He said that nearly 4,000 persons saw the exhibition and put up business inquiries. Negotiations were on and it was expected that these would mature before the conclusion of the exhibition tomorrow.

Mr Balbir Singh said the aim of holding the exhibition was to help industries in exploring new buyers and seeking to become an ancillary unit of large-scale industrial units and PSUs.

Seminars on emerging opportunities in fashion business, academia, industry partnership and vendor development procedure were held today. Two such seminars on global business opportunity by SME and supply-chain management through logic will be held tomorrow.


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