C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Decks cleared for 4-laning of Ambala-UT road
Forest Dept okays felling of trees
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, April 15
Decks have been cleared for the ambitious project of the four-laning of the Ambala-Chandigarh highway with the Punjab Forest Department giving its nod to the felling of hundreds of trees along the highway.

And with this, the much-awaited four-laning project to widen the 35-km “killer stretch” has moved a step closer to the actual start of the work. he project is slated for completion by mid-2008, sources said.

Te Dera Bassi SDM, Mr Narinder Sangha, confirmed that the Forest Department had approved the felling of the trees to widen the road and it would be started soon.

Recently, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had slapped demolition notices on scores of shopkeepers on both sides of the road. The notices had warned the shopkeepers to remove the encroachments on public land, failing which they would be removed forcibly.


* ”Bhoomi poojan” performed during the NDA regime.

* 1.8-km flyover over at Zirakpur.

* Four-laning to tackle traffic jams at Zirakpur.

* Dera Bassi, Lalru, to benefit most from the project.

* Project slated for completion by mid-2008.

The felling of the trees and demolition of shops pose two major challenges before the authorities concerned. The demolition is likely to kick up a storm with the shopkeepers, including influential property consultants, set to oppose government move. Even the issuance of the demolition notices had been opposed by the shopkeepers, who alleged that proper measurement had not been carried out by the authorities concerned.

The completion of the project, which entails building a 1.8-km flyover at Zirakpur, three major bridges, besides the service roads, will remove major traffic bottlenecks on the highway. With thousands of vehicles passing through the road everyday, accidents are a routine affair, making this a “killer stretch”.

The four-laning of the road will also reduce the travelling time between Chandigarh and Ambala. While currently close to one hour is spent for travelling between the two cities, the four-laning would reduce the time up to 30 minutes.

Currently, in the wake of the encroachments on both sides of the road in Zirakpur, traffic jams are an everyday affair. The flyover at Zirakpur, the sources said, would take care of the traffic jams.

It may be recalled that the four-laning project had been hanging fire for at least a decade. It was during the previous NDA regime that the project was approved under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP). The then Minister for Surface Transport and National Highways, Maj-Gen BC Khanduri (retd), had performed the “bhoomi poojan” of the project over two years back.



Praise showered on Yuvraj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
By sealing victory for India in the seventh one-day international against England at Indore today, Yuvraj Singh has again justified his role in the team as a finisher.

He had clinched three man of the match awards in the series and the man of the series award.

He won the man of the series award for the third consecutive one-day series.

With today’s knock, he also became a member of the 4,000-run club.

He had scored 237 runs in the one-day series at an average of 47.39.

Former cricketer Kapil Dev expressed happiness over the success of Yuvraj and termed his future bright.

He said, “Winning three man of the series awards speaks volumes about his game. He has transformed himself into a responsible cricketer, which is good for Indian cricket”.

Cricket coach Sukhwinder Bawa said, “He has found his natural touch and his strokes can change any game. I hope that his touch will last longer and he will be a trump card in the World Cup next year”.

Chandigarh Cricket Association secretary Surinder Singh Baijee said, “He has made us proud and has been growing technically sound day by day. We are looking forward to the World Cup and hope that he will live up to expectations and lead India one day”.

Punjab Ranji player Gaurav Gupta said, “This is just the beginning and he has a long way to go. He has the ingredients of leading India in the future”.

He termed Yuvraj the Indian Michael Bevan for his capabilities as a finisher.



UPSC denial of scribe: disabilities group petitions PM
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The UPSC’s vehement denial of equal opportunity to Chandigarh-based disabled girl Sunita Dogra has caught the attention of leading NGOs working in the disability sector in Delhi.

Shocked at the UPSC’s refusal to provide a scribe to Dogra, an IAS 2005 aspirant who has 90 per cent dysfunctional upper limbs, the Disabilities Rights Group, Delhi, has taken up the case at the highest level in the Central Government. Reacting to the April 6 Tribune report which highlighted the UPSC’s painful neglect of the Persons with Disabilities Act and a subsequent ordinance the Prime Minister passed to ensure equal representation to the disabled in government services, including civil services, the group has petitioned PM Manmohan Singh on Sunita Dogra’s case.

It has also appealed to Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Ms Sonia Gandhi to make a policy intervention that does not allow such a discrimination and denial of justice and opportunity to Sunita Dogra and others of her kind.

Known for winning landmark cases for the disabled, the NGO is confident of securing justice this time too, especially in view of the 2005 ordinance whereby the Prime Minister had directed government departments like the UPSC to review the status of 3 per cent reservation for the disabled every three years. The UPSC has not conducted such a review for long.

It has, in the past too, been unsympathetic to the rights of the disabled who are as much entitled by the law to sit for civil services exams and get recruited to the IAS and allied services as able bodied people are. Parvinder Singh of the Disabilities Rights Group said his organisation was fighting the UPSC for denial of justice to four disabled persons.

“Our petitions are pending in the Delhi High Court and we are hopeful of positive orders. Sunita’s case only strengthens our pleas in the wake of IAS preliminary exams on May 14. If the government does not react to our demands by Monday, we will take aggressive action to secure justice for Sunita.”

In fact the logic behind allowing the disabled an equal right of recruitment in government sectors is quite clear. An advocate from Delhi High Court who has fought several cases against UPSC’s infringement of the Disabilities Act, reasons, “If the law is any consideration, rights of the disabled to get recruited as civil servants can, by no means, be weakened by their physical limitation.



New cabs in UT fail to keep their date
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The much-hyped 1000 cc taxi service which was to commence its service in the Union Territory today failed to take off as the cabs of the companies hired for the job have failed to report at the office of the State Transport Authority, till date.

The service has been postponed indefinitely and no new date has been announced. The administration officials are hopeful to have the taxis plying on the city roads in the first week of May.

Sources in the administration said that “the taxi firms had assured us to commence the services by April 15. We believed them, so it was decided that the car models and other specifications will be checked only two days before the services began.”

Confirming the development, Mr P.S.Shergill, secretary of the STA, said, “The service had been postponed because we have not cleared the models which will be declared fit for the city roads. The cars need to be fit with a number of facilities, including electronic meters, air conditioners and certain other facilities, before they are declared fit for the city roads.”

Mr Shergill said, “We will not like to announce the next date for the commencement of the services till the time we receive the cars for the job. We will conduct the inspection first before announcing the date of commencement of the services. We are hopeful to start the services by the first week of May.”

The existing local taxis which were supposed to stop their services on the city roads for the local traffic from today could be seen plying on the city roads. Officials said they would be allowed to continue their services till the new arrangements were in place.

Sources also pointed out that the administration might be forced to take a strict decision in case the taxi service providers failed to keep their date next time. We will be forced to look for new options. The local taxi operators might be approached once again. They will then stand a chance of being incorporated in the service incase they follow the laid out standards.

The administration, meanwhile, is carrying out the exercise of identifying the taxi stands in the city for the commuter convenience. There will be fixed spots for hiring the cab services. The cabs will be fixed with electronic meters to check over charging by the cab operators, as is being currently done.

The administration has fixed a cost of Rs 12 per kilometre for availing the services which is besides Rs 15 for the ‘meter down payment’ and will include the distance of the first kilometre.

There were frequent complaints of overcharging by the existing service providers. The cab tops will be fixed with three lights. The red will mean the cab is occupied and the green will mean it was available for service. The yellow will mean it was travelling to a certain spot from where it was already booked. 



Farmers urge CM to cancel acquisition notification
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 15
The Kissan Hit Bachao Committee has appealed to the Chief Minister to get the notification of compulsory acquisition of land in adjoining villages cancelled as farmers of the area are ready to participate in development activities.

In a letter given to Capt Amarinder Singh when he reached Sector 80 here to lay the foundation stone of the 220-KV grid substation yesterday, Mr D.P. Singh Baidwan, convener of the committee, stated that the government had issued a notification for compulsory acquisition of land in Mauli Baidwan, Sohana, Raipur Khurd, Kumbra, Lakhnour, Landran, Behrampur, Dhurali, Chilla, Kambala, Kambali and Manouli villages.

He said the authorities concerned were not allowing private builders and developers to purchase land directly from farmers of these villages on the pretext that land fell in the notified area, where acquisition was to be done only by PUDA and the PSIEC.

He said this attitude had been harming the image of the government and adversely affecting interests of farmers.

He said farmers of a number of villages had been protesting against the compulsory acquisition of land as it would lead to unemployment and uprooting of farmers.

He said a meeting of the authorities concerned and representatives of the committee should be called to solve the problem amicably.



Women Savings Day observed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
A state-level function to mark Women Savings Day was held at the Government Museum and Art Gallery. The function witnessed participation from the Mahila Pradhan Kshetriya Bachat Yojna agents, a press note said here today.

The function was organised jointly by the National Savings Institute and the Directorate of Small Savings.

Ms Manjula Prashar, Chief Post Master General, Punjab and Chandigarh, while addressing yojna agents, highlighted the role of women in development and in building the national economy by generating household savings.

Ms Raji P. Shrivastava, joint-secretary (Finance), Chandigarh Administration, said that small saving collections in the city were showing an upward trend. The city had nearly 350 women agents striving to make the small savings movement a success. She said that the city contributed at least Rs 227 crores through small savings.

Mr M.K. Malhotra, regional director and Mr K.K.Sharma, assistant director of the National Savings Institute, also spoke on the occasion. Workers were honoured on their occasion for their laudatory performance in the field.



Residents rue ‘wrong’ location of liquor shops
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 15
The new excise policy implemented by the Haryana Government has no doubt broken the monopoly of certain liquor barons and provided a platform to unemployed youth for coming into the trade, but it has affected the common man with the opening of liquor shops at “inappropriate” locations.

The shops are being opened in various shopping complexes and even in residential areas, much to the concern of the residents.

According to Mr S.K. Nayar, president of the Panchkula Citizens Welfare Association, the government in order to earn revenue was putting convenience of the public at stake.

“The Excise and Taxation Department has superseded the norms while allotting the liquor shops”, he alleged.

Mr Nayar pointed out that inappropriate location of liquor shops in Sectors 18 and 19 and MDC, had been proving cause of concern for the residents. “One is just on the entry point to the city from Chandigarh in Sector 18 and another just at a distance of about 50 m from a temple.”

The association has urged Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to intervene and take steps in the public interest.

Mr B.B. Kashyap, who runs a call centre in Sector 20, has also objected over the opening of a liquor shop near his establishment. He said tipplers often create hooliganism and pick up quarrels.

The boozers had been creating nuisance for the employees especially girls, besides affecting the functioning of his establishment, he lamented. 



Dr Ambedkar’s birth anniversary celebrated
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 15
The Haryana Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Chander Mohan, has called upon the people to wage a war against social evils to fulfill the cherished dreams of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. He was speaking at a function organised to mark the birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar here today. Mr Mohan said Dr Ambedkar, who always advocated for a casteless society, incorporated equal rights for all citizens in the Constitution. He also advocated secularism and advised people to contribute their might for the progress of the country, he said.

On a demand of land for the construction of a bhavan by Dr B.R. Ambedkar Mahasabha, Panchkula, Mr Mohan said he would take up the matter with the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) at the earliest.

While replying queries of the Raipur Rani Guru Ambedkar Sabha regarding status of subdivision to Raipur Rani, he assured that the issue would be raised in the Cabinet meeting. He also announced a grant of Rs 3 lakh from for the Raipur Rani Guru Ravidas Sabha for the construction of Ambedkar Bhawan.

Those who spoke on the occasion included Mr Vijay Bansal, HPPC secretary, Mr Ravindra Rawal, media advisor to district Congress, Mr Lehri Singh, former MLA, Mr Virender Bahu, Zila Parishad chairman, Mr Om Parkash Devinagar, and several local leaders. 



Incomplete cycle track an eyesore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Two months after the newly paved cycle track was dug up along the outer periphery of Sector 34 on the Sector 34 and 44 dividing road for laying of pipes for the harvesting of sewage effluent as tertiary treated water for irrigation, the contractors have left the work unfinished. It not only poses a threat of an accident to the commuters, but is also an eyesore.

The UT Administration and Municipal Corporation that gives out contracts for laying of such pipes has not bothered to check if the cycle track has been re-carpeted after the pipe work was completed.

The then UT Administrator O.P Verma had approved the laying of cycle tracks in the city way back in early 2004. Two years down the road, the cycle tracks are still not fully functional as many are incomplete, broken and need to be re-laid.

Based on the city’s master plan as envisaged by Le Corbusier, the city will have around 106 kilometres of cycle tracks, laid at a cost of around Rs 7 crore by the UT Engineering Department. Two year after the work started, the roads are still being widened at many places. These fall under the V-7 category of the road development plan and are the last ones to be developed. 



Non-allotment of booths irks residents
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 15
The People’s Welfare Society, Phase III B 1, has said that the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has not allotted booths, constructed long time back, resulting in a loss of revenue to the state exchequer.

Mr S.S. Jaspal, general secretary, said that 132 booths were constructed by PUDA for shopkeepers of the Janta market in the area but had not been allotted so far for reasons best known to PUDA authorities.

He said that vacant plots in the town had become garbage dumps as these were full of wild growth. The area was also used for defecating by slum dwellers. This resulted in foul smell, apart from becoming a breeding place for insects leading to health problems.

In some residential plots, owners had only constructed a room to avoid the non-construction penalty but a room without a water, sewerage and power connection could not be considered a dwelling unit. They demanded that the PUDA authorities should impose a heavy penalty on the owners of the plots who have failed to complete the construction of their houses within a stipulated period.

He urged PUDA authorities to follow the Chandigarh pattern where the administration had announced that houses be constructed by March 2006 or face action like cancellation or resumption of plots.



Car falls into Morni gorge, 2 hurt
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 15
Two youths of Sector 12 were injured when their car plunged into a deep gorge in Berwala village on the Panchkula-Morni road, about 5 km from here, this afternoon.

According to information, Abhishek and Aman were on their way to Morni Hills when they met with the accident. The driver reportedly lost control over the steering and the vehicle fell into the gorge.

Hearing a loud thud, road users and villagers assembled at the site and swung into a rescue operation.

The injured were rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where their condition is said to be stable.



3 fires, no damage
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 15
Fire broke out at three different sites here today, though no damage to property had been reported in this regard.

Fire broke out in bushes at two places in the Phase VII industrial area which was soon brought under control. Bushes also caught fire near a transformer in Sector 62. Had the fire brigade employees not acted swiftly in controlling the situation, damage could have occurred to the transformer. 



Two homoeopaths arrested on cheating charge
Our correspondent

Mohali, April 15
The police has arrested two doctors with qualifications of electro-homoeopathy on the charge of cheating.

According to the police, the two persons, Dr Deepak and Dr V.K. Arora, both residents of Sector 70 here, have been booked under Section 420 of the IPC on a complaint by the Registrar, Medical Council.

According to reports, the two had allegedly been using MD with their names even though they had qualifications of electro-homoeopathy. 



Pedestrian crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 15
A 45-year-old resident of Reor village was crushed to death by a truck on the Panchkula-Naraingarh highway near Barwala this afternoon.

According to the police, the deceased Ranjit Singh, a labourer, was crossing the road when a truck heading to Panchkula ran over him. He died on the spot. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and two sons.

The truck driver, reportedly, fled the scene.



Two city residents held for duping firm
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 15
The local police has arrested two city residents on the charges of duping a company of over Rs 1.71 lakh by forging signatures of its General Manager.

Sources in Sector 3 police station said Surinder and Ram Sharma, both residents of Sector 40, had allegedly withdrawn Rs 1,71,500 from the account of Ms Hardeep Kaur, the General Manager of I-On Soft NET Solutions, Phase VIII, Mohali, from the OBC Bank branch in Sector 8. Mr Rajiv Sharma, legal adviser of the company, reported the matter to the police alleging that the accused had forged signatures of Ms Hardeep Kaur. A case of forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy under various provisions of the IPC has been registered in this regard.

Three held for theft

In two separate incidents, the police has arrested two persons and recovered a stolen car and a scooter from their possession.

Vikram of Indira Colony was arrested from Mani Majra with a Maruti car stolen from Shanti Nagar in Mani Majra on Thursday. The car belonged to Mr Harminder Singh.

In another incident, Parminder Singh was arrested for stealing a scooter belonging to Mr Manohar Lal of Mori gate, Mani Majra. Mr Lal had reported to the police that his scooter was stolen from his residence.

Two separate cases have been registered in this regard.

The Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police has arrested Kuldeep Singh of Pinjore from the Poultry Farm Chowk and claimed to have solved four cases of theft.

The police has recovered four stolen car stereos form his possession.

It said the accused was earlier convicted in seven cases of thefts. He was produced before a local court, which remanded him in police custody.



Body found

Panchkula, April 15
The body of a youth, aged about 22 years, was found in Ghatiwala village near Kalka today.

Some children, while grazing their cattle, noticed the body. The body, with injuries on the face and head, was lying in the thickets with its face down. The children informed the village sarpanch, Mr Ramswaroop, who informed the police. The police took the body into its custody.

The police found a slip with a mobile phone number from the pocket of the deceased. The dog squad was also pressed into service. TNS



Automobile companies seek general industry status
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Leading automobile companies in the city are seeking that they be covered in the ambit of ‘general industry’ by the Chandigarh Administration for the purpose of land use in the Industrial Area.

The Federation of the Chandigarh Region Automobile Dealers, in a press note here today, said that they had met top functionaries of the administration with regard to their demands.

The automobile companies specialising in two and four wheelers in the city include Maruti, Telco, Hyundai, Ford, General Motors, Mahindra and Mahindra, Bajaj, Honda and Suzuki, besides others.

It has been pointed out that “in the last more than 50 years, the administration has not earmarked any special category of plots for the automobile units. On the other hand, trades like coal depots, building material, grain market and petroleum had been given specific areas.”

“Automobile dealership is a composite unit and sales and service are an integral part of the industry. All facilities pertaining to service and repair are expected under the same roof,” the release said.

The administration has framed a special policy for allotment of sites to mechanics who have encroached on government land, but no policy has ever been framed for the betterment of automobile dealers.

The press note said, “Some prominent automobile dealers have been issued notices for misuse by the administration.”

“In the event of no positive action by the administration and to save day-to-day hardships being faced by the automobile dealers, the units may be forced to shift out of the city which will mean a huge revenue loss to the UT. General public will also face inconvenience,” the press note added.



Mixed response to rise in gold price
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
There has been a mixed reaction in the city to the record high in the prices of gold and silver. While the jewellers and economists say that the price rise portends well for the Indian economy, the common man and the housewives seem to be a worried lot.

“It was long overdue in the wake of the start in the trading of these commodities,” Mr Rajeev Sahdev, president of the Chandigarh Jewellers Association, told Chandigarh Tribune. With the foreign buyers and investors active in the bullion market, the stabilisation of the market would take the Indian economy to new heights, he added.

Echoing similar sentiments, Dr J.C. Verma, who keeps an eye on the changing trends in the bullion market, said the price rise was keeping in view the trends in the real estate market and the stock market.

However, Dr Verma wanted monitoring by government agencies to ensure that there was no shortage of gold and silver in the ongoing marriage season.

On the other hand, Mr Jagdish Singh, a government employee, blamed the price hike on hoarding by vested interests. In the Indian traditions, gold has a significant place and efforts should be made to make it available at the reasonable rates for the common man.

Mr Anupama Singh, a housewife from Panchkula, was of the opinion that the price hike had come at a wrong time, as it would upset the budgets of several households in the marriage season.

The government should step in and not allow the vested interests bent upon making a fast buck by creating artificial scarcity, she added.

It may be recalled that the prices of spot silver and gold touched highest peak at Rs 19,890 per kg and Rs 8,905 per 10 gm, respectively, on the increase of fresh demand in Mumbai today.



4 products launched at MobilTek
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
A Montreal-based multinational group, DataWind Corporation, today launched the PocketSurfer, a dedicated wireless web-access device for cellular networks.

The ongoing MobilTek-2006 expo at CII also witnessed three more product launches by the Novel Amson, JVC and the LG Electronics.

DataWind presented the PocketSurfer that provided the world’s most affordable access to mobile Internet. Proven as the best Internet experience on a GPRS network, the PocketSurfer delivers billions of web pages, i.e. rich web pages in their original HTML format, Mr Harjinder Singh, Chief Executive Officer (India Operations), DataWind, told reporters here today.

The second day of the MobilTek also saw launch of storage devices by Novel Interconnect Private Limited. Novel is a well-known name in the field of mobile phone accessories.

JVC presented its new range of video cameras, while the LG Electronics introduced a new mobile phone with a unique feature of storing digital data through an inbuilt pen drive. “LG believes in high penetration of its products in the market, instead of increasing the price tag, Mr Anirudh Mohan, Zonal Manager GSM Mobile Phones said. 


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |