C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Relief in sight for CHB allottees
GPA holders to get time to transfer property
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
There is some relief in sight for Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) flat owners.

The CHB has assured the CHB Residents Federation, an apex body of 44 welfare associations, that general power of attorney (GPA) holders would be given sufficient time to get their houses transferred in their names. This decision was conveyed by the board to representatives of the federation at a meeting here recently, the federation chairman, Mr Nirmal Datt, said here today.

It was assured that internal additions and alterations made by the owners would not be inspected by the board staff. However, these changes should not violate the storyline and not encroach upon public land.

Meanwhile, a general house meeting of the federation was held at Community Centre in Sector 47 here today.

The meeting resolved that the present executive body would continue to function till the next elections.

The meeting urged the CHB to ensure that the owners were not harassed by board officials in the light of the assurance given at the meeting. The owners have to give an affidavit regarding “no changes” in the flats for the transfer of the property. The allottees had been alleging harassment at the hands of the board officials on one pretext or the other for the transfer of the property.

The recent reported announcement of the board that no transfer of property, bought on GPA, would be allowed after April 1 this year had spread panic among the buyers and sellers. The recent announcement of the CHB giving “sufficient time” for the transfer should give some relief to the residents.

It had been a long-pending demand of the federation that the affidavit clause should be done away with. However, the CHB had not bothered to consider this demand.

The reported April 1 deadline of the CHB had come in for severe criticism from different quarters. It was illogical on the part of the board authorities to set a deadline. With the building bylaws and the rules and regulations concerning the transfer of property lopsided, the deadline would only add to the harassment of the allottees and buyers, Mr Tarlochan Singh, president of the Chandigarh Property Consultants Association, alleged.

Meanwhile, Mr A.S. Oberoi, federation president, claimed that additions and alterations were the need of the hour. The family requirements had changed with increase in its size. Taking a humanitarian view of the issue, the CHB should be considerate enough to approve the “need-based” changes, he added.

A councillor, Mr Jatinder Bhatia, demanded that the internal changes, which did not pose any safety threat to the structures, should be okayed by the board. The CHB had failed to move in relaxing the rigid rules and regulations, Mr B.S. Chadha, general secretary of the federation, added.

With the elections to the MCC due by the year-end, the issue of regularisation of the alterations and additions is likely to raise a lot of dust with leaders cutting across party lines set to champion the cause of the allottees. The CHB allottees form a significant vote bank in southern sectors.



MC moots dispute redress forum
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The municipal corporation has proposed to form a dispute settlement and redress committee to look into disputes/litigations relating to water and sewerage bills.

There are 1.25 lakh water connections under the jurisdiction of the MC but there is no provision in the MC bylaws to deal with the disputes relating to water bills. As a result, consumers are approaching various courts of law and a number of cases have come up in this regard.

A lot of time of officials is spent in attending these courts and hence the MC has felt the need to form a redress forum. The forum will deal with issues relating to water supply and sewerage bills and will be on the pattern of the Punjab state electricity board.

A draft notification has been prepared for making a provision in the bylaws for the constitution of such a committee. The proposal will be placed before the F&CC meeting of the MC on March 21.

It has been proposed to formulate three committees to handle the disputes at various levels. The first will handle disputes up to Rs 10,000. the reviewing authority will be set up at the divisional level while the appellate authority will be a circle- level committee. The chairman of this committee is proposed to be the SE (Health).

The second committee will handle disputes relating to bills between Rs 10,000 and Rs 1 lakh. The reviewing authority will be the circle level while the appellate authority will be at the chief level. The chairman of this committee is proposed to be the Chief engineer.

For disputes of bills of over Rs 1 lakh, the reviewing authority will be at the chief level and the appellate authority and chairman will be the MC Commissioner.

Each committee will have five members, including an Executive Engineer and a Superintending Engineer. 

Amendment to bylaws likely

The MC has also proposed to simplify rules and regulations and amendments to the water supply bylaws. It has been proposed to decentralise power for granting water connections and to simplify the process.

The simplified procedure proposes that connection up to 15 mm of water supply will be sanctioned by the SDO. Water connections of 20 mm to 40 mm will be sanctioned by the Executive Engineer and those above 40 mm will be sanctioned by the Superintending engineer.



House of Commons to stand in adulation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The political enterprise of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab is beginning to find takers in alien lands. Come March 21 and the entire strength of UK’s House of Commons will stand in adulation of the Lion King who used his acumen to inspire unity in a divided Punjab.

Members of the House of Commons will, on that day, officially launch a unique production on the life and times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who has been a key figure in the Indian and British heritage. The production titled “Lion of Punjab” has been put together by the UK-based Punjabi Theatre Akademi, a non-political organisation which has earlier struck collaborations with artistes in the Indian Punjab to deliver projects like “Sohni Mahiwal” and “Shaheed Udham Singh” who inspire faith in the richness of Punjab’s cultural past.

This time round, the akademi has collaborated with stage artistes from Chandigarh to produce this exceptional project on Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The entire research support for the play has been offered by Chandigarh-based artistes C.S. Sindran and Gaurav Sharma, who are special invitees to the launch function in London. Back in London, where the play has been produced and directed by T.P. Singh, support for the same has been forthcoming from prominent Asians, including Lord Navnit Dholakia, Lord Swaraj Paul and Lord Daljit Singh.

The best part of the production is its ability to rope in BAFTA nominee and renowned writer-producer James Brabazon and stage director Amy Bonsall who produced “Hamlet” for Swan Theatre in the UK. It has also attracted help from leading actress Sudha Bhuchar of Tamasha Theatre, UK, and of BBC TV producers Lakviar Singh and Salim Salam.

All set for the launch, the play will be presented through July on the banks of the Thames at Watermans Arts Centre, Brentford. As for the objective, it intends to bring out the reality of the times which saw Punjab reeling under the forces of division.

Gaurav Sharma, production manager of the project, says, “The project has taken a while to shape up as it has been based on authentic sources. We have struggled hard to put everything in perspective for modern-day viewers who are not in sync with the past. We have tried our best to tell the tale of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who led his army and won his first battle at the tender age of 11.”

After winning the battle, he began his 35 years of extraordinary leadership which ended with the unification of Punjab. 



HSIDC set to float sites for IT Corridor
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 19
The Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSIDC) is all set to float sites for the IT Corridor coming up in Sector 22 here, within a month.

Highly placed sources in the HSIDC told TNS that the plan outlay for the IT Corridor was being given a final shape and the sites would be floated soon. Of the total 97 acres available for the IT Corridor in the first phase, about 60 acres would be allotted to various companies and the remaining area would be utilised for roads and green belts.

The IT Corridor at Panchkula is coming up on 250 acres of which 97 acres have already been allotted to the HSIDC by HUDA. In the first phase, about six sites will be allotted ( 10 acres each). The remaining 153 acres in Sector 32 is now being acquired by HUDA, and will be handed over to the HSIDC in the second phase.

Sources say though Haryana may be late in its foray to attract investment from IT companies, as compared to Punjab, by allowing the maximum floor area ratio and a policy on campus planning and development, it hopes to outdo the competition.

As compared to a floor area ration (FAR) of 0.75 to 1.25 allowed by Chandigarh and FAR 2 allowed by the Punjab Government in IT City at Mohali, Haryana is allowing an FAR of 2.5. The state’s policy on campus planning and development lays that units (only those which have an anchor unit) being allotted a minimum 10 acres can plan housing on 10 per cent of the site, 4 per cent of the site can be used for commercial purposes and 2 per cent for recreation purposes.

Meanwhile, the Irrigation Department, the PWD (B&R) and the Forest Department have stepped up efforts to remove all infrastructural hurdles so that the sites can be allotted at the earliest. The Irrigation Department has been asked to ensure that all flood-protection works are completed and the PWD has been asked to stabilise the old Ghaggar bridge. Forest officials have been asked to demarcate forest land, stabilise hills near the site and advise on afforestation, while HUDA has been asked to finish the external development works. 



Punjabi music awards presented
S.D. Sharma

Gulshan Grover and Rageshawari compere the Punjabi movie award show held at Kala Gram on Saturday night.
Gulshan Grover and Rageshawari compere the Punjabi movie award show held at Kala Gram on Saturday night.

Gurdas Maan performs at the function.
Gurdas Maan performs at the function.
— Tribune photos

Chandigarh, March 19
The dynamism of Punjabi folk musical culture pervaded the Kala Gram complex during the eight-hour marathon programme held to mark the presentation of the ETC Channel Punjabi music annual awards.

Actors Juhi Chawla, Nagma, Gulshan Grover, Rajeshawari and Divya Dutta graced the function. The awards which were presented in 26 categories, including technical and musical, were presented on the pattern of Filmfare awards with an added provision for awards in the non-resident category. Lifetime achievement awards were bestowed on Padma Shri Puran Chand Wadali, Pyare Lal Wadali, Mohammad Siddique and B.S. Narang.

Folk melodies and pop dances were presented by Punjabi stars who performed from a well-illuminated stage. Pakistani singer Noora Lal gave a majestic start to the celebrations with "Dil mahi ve" and "Reshmi Rumal" after Gulshan Grover and Rajeshawari had set the mood with crispy compering.

Displaying versatility Gurdas Maan presented soulful songs as also UK-based singers like Malkit Singh and Jazzi B, besides Sardool Sikander, Amar Noori, Nachhatar Gill, Satinder Bugga, Inderjit Nikku and others.

The programme attained an inevitable climax when 19 Punjabi singers simultaneously sang a specially composed Punjabi song by music director Jaidev Kumar and lyricist Babu Singh Maan.

Rabinder Narayan, ETC president, and Rajie M. Shinde, vice-president of programming ETC and Zee Punjabi, said more such programmes aimed at propagating the heritage of Punjab were on the anvil. He lauded music lovers who cheered for the last award that was declared at 2.15am.

Juhi Chawla
Juhi Chawla 

Jaidev Kumar won the best music director award for "Walaitan" while Gurdas Maan was crowned the best popular male singer. Rani Randip Kaur won the award in the female category.

Malkit Singh was declared best NRI vocalist and the best NRI album award went to Sukhshinder Shinda.

Award winners in the other categories are Dalbir Singh for devotional album, Pammi Bai for folk album, Barkat Sidhu and Saleem for Sufiana album, Babbu Maan for pop album, Gurpreet Ghuggi for comedy album, Sarabjit Cheema for folk album, Gulzar for debut male singer, Taniya Gill (female category), Balkar Sidhu (best folk singer) and Sukhwinder Brar (best female folk singer), Jojo for choreography, and Manoj Punj for video direction.


  • Commotion prevailed for some time as two gas cylinders kept in front of the stage for generating flames to light up the stage, burst. The situation was, however, brought under control with no visible loss.
  • The seating arrangement was inadequate due to the paucity of space.
  • Limited passes were issued to guests and even to artistes for a specified movement area. Private securitymen indulged in arguments even with technicians and artistes who came from Mumbai, besides the local police. 



Pension to be shared equally by ‘second’ widow
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The Ministry of Home Affairs has recognised "the legally wedded second wives" as dependant pensioners of freedom fighters, and ruled that the family pension would be shared equally amongst such widows.

In a communique to pension-disbursing authorities (treasuries / public sector banks), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that these widows will not be treated as separate entities for grant of family pension. Earlier, these widows were treated as separate entities and each of them was granted full quantum of family pension under the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980.

Officials inform that the new orders have been issued after the aspect of legality of the second marriage, when dependant family pension is granted to more than one widow of a deceased freedom fighter, was re-examined in consultation with the Ministry of Law.

The orders clarify that in case of Hindus, the legality of a second marriage among Hindus is governed under the Hindu Marriage Act, and, a second marriage is illegal in case the first wife was alive at the time of second marriage. The legality of other marriages (other than Hindu marriage) is governed by the respective, applicable laws.

Meanwhile, the Central Pension Accounting Office has now allowed the payment of pension for Central Government civil pensioners to joint bank accounts operated by a pensioner with his/ her spouse. Earlier, in case of pension being disbursed through authorised banks, the pensioners were entitled to receive pension by getting it credited to a saving/ current account — operated individually.

It has now been decided to permit credit of pension to joint account of pensioner with his/ her spouse, in whose favour an authorisation for family pension exists in the Pension Payment Order (PPO). The joint account of the pensioners could be operated either by " former or survivor" or "either or survivor" basis.

The order clarifies that after the pension has been credited to a pensioner's account, the liability of the government or the bank would cease, even if the spouse wrongly draws the amount. Since pension is payable only during the lifetime of a pensioner, his death should be intimated to the bank within a month, so that bank does not continue to credit monthly pension.



Copter overhauling task doubled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The number of helicopters to be overhauled annually by the Air Force has been doubled. This sharp increase in the overhauling task has raised several questions, among them being the reason as to why does the Air Force suddenly require such a large number of helicopters to be overhauled.

The step has also brought into focus other issues like availability of trained technical manpower, adequate infrastructure and the inflow of spares. The increase in task is expected to continue for a few years.

Sources revealed that from the forthcoming financial year, No.3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) here has tasked to step up its "production" to about 35 helicopters annually. Production entails stripping open the machine, removing and overhauling the engine and other subsystems, repairing the airframe and finally reassembling and flight-testing the machine.

Over the past few years, the annual "production" at 3 BRD varied from 16-20 helicopters annually. The depot is responsible for the repair and maintenance of Soviet-origin helicopters in the IAF inventory. This includes the Mi-8 and Mi-17 medium utility helicopters and the Mi-25/35 helicopter gunships.

For the purpose of working out the modalities of the revised task, the depot has been on the itinerary of IAF top brass concerned with maintenance. the Air Officer-in-Charge, Maintenance at Air Headquarters, Air Marshal D.U. Chengappa, was here a few days ago. The Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Nagpur-based Maintenance Command, Air Marshal K.S. Chaturvedi, is also scheduled to arrive here, while a visit by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi, is on the cards though it is yet to be finalised.

One reason for the increase in task, sources said, could be that the IAF was unable to stick to its stipulated overhaul plan due to heavy commitments, particularly relief operations. A senior officer said the IAF may have decided to continue operating aircraft as long as it safely could without allowing them to be on ground for routine time-bound overhaul.

"It may have overcome immediate requirements at that time, but it has serious long term implications which were not addressed at that time," he said.

Of prime concern to IAF authorities is the availability of adequate technical manpower to meet the enhanced task, for which the IAF policy on postings is to blame. Unlike many major air forces, IAF engineers and technicians do not stick to working on one particular aircraft type. During the course of their career, they end up working on almost all types of aircraft in the IAF's inventory. 



Ban import of diseased flowers, says orchid society
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Members of the Orchid Society of India today called for a ban on the import of diseased flowers from Thailand and other South Asian countries, a trend which was harming the Indian floriculture industry.

Talking to mediapersons, Dr S.P. Vij, former professor and head of the Botany Department, Panjab University, today said that the diseased plants were sent to India at throwaway prices. "The Indian floriculturist is not able to match these low rates and faces losses," he said.

He said there was need to encourage orchid cultivation and floriculture by the government. "Since floriculture is not considered to be an agricultural activity, the benefits which farmers get in the form of subsidies and soft loans are not available to floriculturists. Since it is still not a small-scale industry there are no other subsidies or government help available. The government has to realise the potential of floriculture as an export item," he added.

"We have to engineer varieties which are resistant to heat so that these can grow in hot and humid conditions. An effort is on at Chunni village in Ropar where orchids are being cultivated," he said.

"I started with the help of some friends who encouraged me to take up this as a commercial venture. I took up the challenge and now am involved in it. I along with the rest of the team are trying to encourage Chandigarh residents to gift potted plants and not just cut flowers. It is long lasting and has a personal touch. It is a myth that orchids need a lot of attention and technical knowledge to grow and maintain. These are just like other plants and need care that's all," said Ms Kiranpreet Kaur who grows orchids.

"The orchids which we are cultivating at the Bhagta farm are used as gifts and we give these with a set of instructions of how to take care of these. These orchids have a life up to five to six years," Mr Rajneesh Vij, a technical guide.

The exhibition also showcases entries from the State Forest Research Institute, Itanagar, and some beautiful varieties of orchids from Himalayan Orchid Export.



Challenges of info Act discussed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 19
The implementation of the Right to Information Act is a challenge. As its implementation is in its gestational stage, we are facing teething problems.

This was stated by the Chief Information Commissioner, Haryana, Mr G. Madhavan, while presiding over a seminar on “Right to information and challenges”

The seminar was organised jointly by the Haryana Sahitya Akademi and the Panchkula Press Club.

“Information officers of various departments are yet not aware of the provisions of the Act, and are apprehensive about disseminating information. Thus, we have proposed to the state government to organise training programmes for the information officers at HIPA,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr A. J. Philip, Senior Associate Editor of The Tribune, said the media had a great role to play in getting the Right to Information Act implemented. “It was not a day’s effort that led to politicians and bureaucrats accepting and implementing this Act. It took years of efforts on the part of the media and various NGOs, before the Act was finally adopted and implemented,” he said.

Mr Philip said the main purpose of the Act was to make the community more vigilant and to help in bringing down the level of corruption. “The media should use the Act as a tool for dissemination of information, which will help in public welfare,” he said.

The Inspector-General of Police, Haryana, Mr K. P. Singh, said the right to information should be treated as a fundamental right of citizens. Many judgements had been pronounced by various courts that each one had a right to seek information, he said. The IG also gave details of the kind of information that could be given out by the Police Department under the Act.

Prof Veer Singh, Dean University Instructions, Panjab University, said the Act should be used for the welfare and well-being of society. Prof B. K. Kuthiala, Head, Department of Journalism, Kurukshetra University, said before the Act came into being, the information being released by the government to the media used to be either doctored or half truth. “With this Act, the media can get documented information, which should be used judiciously and for social welfare,” he said. The seminar was followed by a question-answer session.



Workshop on veterinary services
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Mr H.S. Chatha, Haryana Agriculture, Dairy Development and Fisheries Minister, yesterday stressed the need for creating more awareness among farmers about veterinary services.

Addressing a refresher workshop on dairy veterinary practices organised by Dr Amrik Singh Cheema Foundation Trust, he called upon veterinarians to educate the rural masses about the scientific approach to the treatment of their animals.

Dr Arun P. Phatak, an Indo-US animal husbandry expert, said in India the dairy profession was facing problems on account of longer dry periods, irregular pregnancies and lack of feed and disease management.

The Director-General of Animal Husbandry, Haryana, Dr K.S. Dangi, regretted that though India was the largest producer of milk in the world, the yield per acre was not of the desired level. To ensure better milk yield, better veterinary services were needed, he added.

The Registrar of the Veterinary Council of Punjab, Mr V.K. Gupta, promised support to the government and non-government agencies in the field of veterinary sciences.

Meanwhile, a farmer-veterinary officer interaction was held at Cholta Khurd in Ropar district.

The Secretary of the Punjab Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries, said the Punjab Government had got a Central Government grant of Rs 7.65 crore for the improvement of animal breeds.



Award for writers instituted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The Little Magazine (TLM), which is dedicated to literature, art and social concerns, yesterday announced that it has instituted two awards - TLM Salam and TLM New Writing awards.

A release said the The Little Magazine Salam award would honour eminent writers in any of the South Asian languages from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. The awardees would be selected in three categories - fiction, poetry and drama - by their peers. TLM Salam winners would get a cash award of Rs 1lakh.

The TLM New Writing Award, which carries a cash prize of Rs 30,000, would be given for best new writing in any of the 30-odd languages used in South Asia.

The judges for the awards include Mr U.R. Ananthamurthy, Mr Gulzar, Ms Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Ms Mrinal Pande, Mr K. Satchidanandan, Ms Selina Hossain, Mr Keki Daruwalla, Mr Upamanyu Chatterjee and Ms Lakshmi Kannan.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony being held on March 27 in New Delhi. 



Experts discuss disaster management
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
A two-day sensitisation workshop on disaster management was held here today by the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) in collaboration with the National Institute of Disaster Management, New Delhi.

Senior and district-level officers of NYKS from J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh participated in the workshop which was inaugurated by Ms Shamsher Kaur, Head of the disaster management cell, Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration, Punjab.

Various topics were taken up by the faculty of Panjab University. Dr Ravinder Kumar, Department of Geology, PU, talked about earthquake mitigation and management while Dr Surya Kant, chairman, Department of Geography, PU, gave details about floods, mitigation and management.

Dr Ahvagosha, Joint Director, Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (Defence Research and Development Organisation), also spoke.



40 Hafed employees donate blood
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 19
The Haryana State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Limited (Hafed) organised a blood donation camp at its Corporate Office in Sector 5 on Friday.

More than 40 employees of Hafed donated blood.

The camp was organised under the supervision of Dr Paramjit Kaur, consultant, Department of Immuno-Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh.

The camp was inaugurated by Mr Rajan Gupta, Managing Director, Hafed.


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