C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Probe on into ‘allowing’ bylaws violation
Hundreds of plot holders given conditional occupation certificates despite violations
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The Administration is probing into the alleged “allowing” of building bylaws violation while issuing conditional occupation certificates to hundreds of plot holders in the city.

The role of certain officials of the Building Branch is under the scanner for allowing serious violations of building bylaws.

Two years ago, the practice of issuing conditional occupation certificates was stopped by the Estate Office.

Before that, hundreds of allottees of residential, commercial and industrial plots were issued conditional occupation certificate for a period ranging from three moths to six moths. Buildings of some of the housing societies had had been occupied on the basis of conditional occupation certificate.

On the expiry of the period, neither the officials of the Estate Office bothered to check the status of the plots for any building bylaws’ violation nor did the allottees approached the Estate Office for getting regular occupation certificate. Those who applied for regular occupation certificate never got it.

Sources said though there was no major financial implication involved in the irregularity, lack of record of such plots had resulted in absence of information about the extent of violation of building bylaws. This thing would have been checked at the time of inspection for a regular occupation certificate, but the process for that never started in most of the cases. This aspect is covered under the Punjab Capital Act (Building Rules), 1952.

In April, 2004, the Finance Secretary, in a letter written to the Estate Office, had categorically stated that all cases in which conditional occupation certificate had been issued should be inspected within a specific time and a report be sent to this office.

The officials concerned were asked to maintain a register for all such cases. No conditional occupation certificate could be issued as there was no provision under the rules, the letter stated.

Till date, there is neither any record of such cases, nor a register had been maintained for this purpose.

Certain officials of the building branch, who are said to responsible for the errors, have found their way back into the same branch again.

Sources said on receiving a similar complaint in at least 18 such cases, the Finance Secretary had directed the Estate Office to inquire into the matter. But, since the original inquiry of December, 1999, the name of erring officials was not pointed out for fixing responsibility.

In November, 2005, the Estate Officer had directed Mr S.K. Setia, presently Secretary of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), to hold a preliminary inquiry into the matter. Mr Setia confirmed that he was inquiring into the 18 cases and said the inquiry was in its final stage.



Crime Branch grills Deputy Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The Deputy Mayor, Mr H.S. Lucky, was today quizzed for over an hour by the Crime Branch sleuths in connection with the infamous case of theft of expensive garments from an exclusive ladies garments showroom in the Sector 17 here.

The name of the councillor’ wife has also figured in the case.

Mr Lucky, accompanied by three lawyers, Mr N.K. Nanda, Mr A.S. Gujral and Mr Baljeet, reached the Crime Branch along with about 40 supporters.

On the basis of the evidence collected by the police, the Deputy Mayor was asked about the phone calls exchanged between him, the salesman and his wife.

He was confronted with the statement of the night watchman, Nand Kumar, and details of the mobile calls.

Inspector Satbir Singh, in charge of the Crime Branch, said if required Mr Lucky would be called again.

He said the entire questioning was videographed to maintain the records.

In reply to the question posed by Crime Branch sleuths, Mr Lucky said he only used the car and he knew the salesman from Sector 8.

He said since he was the Deputy Mayor, he could receive calls from members of the public.

Regarding the phone calls, he said the phone numbers were used either by him or his wife.

Sources in the Crime Branch said the Deputy Mayor could not give satisfactory reply to most of the queries put forth by the police.

Meanwhile, the police today moved an application in the court of the CJM seeking permission to question the salesman,Raju, in the Burail Jail. The application would come up for hearing tomorrow.

The sources said the police was trying to ascertain the location of the towers from where the calls were made and received so that the place of crime could be ascertained.

Yesterday, the owner and the manager of the Sector-17 shop had failed to satisfy the investigating officials regarding certain points that led to the alleged hushing up of the entire episode.

Mr Jain was asked to explain why the he did not mention about the women and the car in his statement as had been stated by the watchman, Nand Kumar.



Rs 73-cr project for Sukhna
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The Chandigarh Administration has filed a detailed project report worth Rs 73 crore on development of Sukhna Lake, particularly by arresting silt assimilation, with the National River\Lake Conservation Directorate under the Ministry of Environment. The project envisages overall development of Sukhna Lake and its catchment area.

Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, the Chief Engineer, confirmed that the project report was sent to the ministry last week. Under the scheme the UT expects 70 per cent of finances from the centre and the remaining contributions will be made out of the UT coffers. One of the prime objectives of the project is to retrieve the original depth of the lake. The original lake depth measured nearly 18 feet while the official data shows that the lake measured only 11.3 feet in 2002.

The Engineering Department is working in collaboration with the office of the Deputy Conservator of Forests for the overall development of the area. The Engineering Department will look after the development of the area near the lake while the Forests Department will look after the catchment area. The earthen ‘bundhs’ and bushes in the lake area will remain untouched because they are the perfect breeding grounds for the migratory birds.

Giving the details of the project implementation, Mr Bhardwaj said a sizeable amount of the funds will be spent on purchasing the machinery. A floating platform will be anchored to the ground in the identified spot. A pontoon connection will ensure the arrival of trucks to the spot. A crane will download silt from the lake bed on to the trucks which will carry it to the shores.

In a related development, the authorities are all geared up to begin the desilting process at the lake by the weekend. The ‘shramdan’ or the manual desilting which was an annual feature for years has been discontinued since last year. The Army has already sent its share of the machinery for desilting at the lake. The Punjab Irrigation Department is expected to send its machinery within this week and the Municipal Corporation machinery is still awaited.

Mr S.K. Jaitley, a Superintending Engineer, said: “We will begin the process later this week. The process will carry on till the end of June”. He said:” A large quantity of water at the Regulator end needs to be pumped out so that machinery for mechanical desilting can fit in”.

Reliable sources pointed out that the flow of silt into the lake had gone down massively. An artificial tank has been created pretty far from where the water enters the lake. The tank retains a large quantity of the silt.



Demolition drive in the offing
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The Chandigarh Administration has taken a decision in principal to rid the city of all encroachments. The Administration that was looking for a way “to achieve the impossible”, has received strength from a recent Supreme Court judgment on encroachments that has put encroachers on the mat.

The Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), is believed to have conveyed to senior officials to prepare a “plan for removing encroachments in a quick, effective and permanent manner”.

He is believed to have given his mind to the officials at the meeting of the Advisory Committee held at the Punjab Raj Bhavan on Tuesday.

According to a senior official, General Rodrigues said, “I am the custodian of all the land that has been encroached in the city, I have taken an oath to protect it from illegal use and I am bound by that oath.”

The Administration has conveyed to the politicians in clear terms that they should not try to hinder any such move for safeguarding their vote bank.

“The Administration should impose penalty of sorts on these people for misusing the government land, rather than offering them alternative sites” is what some officials of the Administration have suggested.

The suggestion was turned down on the grounds that this will lead to legal implication by “establishing tenancy rights” of the “illegal occupants” of the government land.

General Rodrigues is believed to be thinking of stepping up the anti-encroachment drive for the past few months, but the incident at the Bapu Dham Colony where three persons were buried alive a few days ago due to the collapse of an illegal building, he has asked the officials concerned to formulate a strategy in that regard.

The Administration, as part of this project, will identify encroachments and also map out areas that are vulnerable to encroachment in future.

Encroachments are being removed from various places in the city on a smaller level. Some small buildings that housed factories and homes were removed from along the railway line in Kishangarh village last week.

A school building near the IT Park was also demolished. But after the policy on encroachments is announced, it will result in large-scale removal of encroachments.

The Administration is citing the case of large-scale demolitions in Delhi. “If Delhi Administration could do it, so can we,” say some officials.

The Administration is contemplating coming out with a log that says “Chandigarh is City Beautiful and it should remain that way”. With this, the Administration is trying garner public support so as to silence politicians who may hinder the drive for electoral gains.

The Administration has already come out with statements from the Administrator seeking support in removal of encroachments. Some city residents are, however, sceptical about the seriousness of the Administration on the issue.

“Only time will tell if the Administrator is serious. Such statements are generally meant for publicity only,” they say. They specifically mention about the “surprise check campaign” started by General Rodrigues. The campaign had died down after two or three newspaper reports, they say.



Factory worker stabbed to death

Mohali , May 10
An employee of the local Godrej factory was found stabbed near Sector 71 here this evening. He was taken to the local Civil Hospital, where he was declared as having been brought dead.

Mr Rupinder Singh, DSP, said that the employee, identified as Ashok Kumar, had sustained four stab wounds. Three of these were on the thighs while the fatal one seemed to be in the stomach.

He said that the deceased was going on a bicycle and was found injured on the road dividing Sector 71 and the premises owned by the Radha Soami Satsang authorities. OC



Passing thru

Naveen Jindal
Mr Naveen Jindal, Member of Parliament from Kurukshetra

What is your first priority as the chief of the Haryana Olympic Association (HOA)?

I will make efforts to keep politics away from sports. There are so many scams in the sports circle being highlighted by the media. Politicking in the arena can be a big dampener on the true spirit of sports. It is also pointed out that several deserving players are left out in the final selection of the teams. Cleaning up the work environment is my top priority.

Will you like to try any innovation?

I will like to tap the huge potential of sportspersons in rural areas and also of people who do not have any major backing. Coming up of players like Mahender Singh Dhoni in cricket has proved the presence of huge untapped potential in the sports arena.

Do you have any plans to change the existing setup in the HOA?

I will try to include outstanding sportspersons as nominated members in the HOA. This needs to be done in order to give more voice to the sportspersons in making policies for their fraternity. Currently, it is alleged that the HOA needs a better feedback from sportspersons for better functioning of the body. The champions at the national and the international level can be of immense help.

— Bipin Bhardwaj



Admn in a hurry, proper carpeting be damned
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
In an effort to finish the carpeting of cycle tracks in the city in a time- bound manner, private contractors are least bothered about preparing the foundation for these tracks.

The Chandigarh Administration is also insisting only in the early completion of the work, irrespective of it being done in a proper fashion.

For example in Sector 20 coal tar has already been sprinkled on the grass without removing it and preparing the ground. This will eventually lead to erosion in the track and create patches.

The Tribune lensman also captured some cycle tracks in other parts of the city where the obstacles on the cycle tracks have not been removed before completing the carpeting work.

In Sector 28, electric poles, bearing high-tension wires, and supporting wires are still there in the middle of the road, causing difficulty to both the cyclists and pedestrians.

In Sector 19 and Sector 18, water pipes have been placed on the road waiting to be laid but the private contractors have already started preparing for carpeting the tracks.

In a couple of days, when the water department decides to lay the pipes, it will again have to dig the track, causing huge lose to the public exchequer, besides the inconvenience to the public.Residents in these areas are up in arms demanding an explanation from the UT Administration and seeking that a responsibility be fixed for these lapses. Mr Rajesh of Sector 19 said: “ The administration thinks that its work is over after the tenders have been accepted and work allocated to a contractor.

“It is the tax payer's money that is being wasted and the administration should fix responsibility as to which officer is supposed to oversee the work.” Another city resident, Ms Anjali of Sector 18, said: “Due to haphazard digging and frequent breaking of the tracks many accidents are taking place.

“The administration should cancel the contracts of the contractors who are trying to finish the work without following proper procedure. The Administration should also take the erring officials to task.”



JD seeks CBI probe into DLF land deal
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, May 10
The Chandigarh Territorial Janata Dal(United) today demanded a CBI enquiry into the alleged scam in the land deal in which the Administration has allotted land to DLF, a real estate developer, at throwaway prices.

The Janata Dal staged a dharna and a protest rally opposite the DLF complex led by its president, Mr Surinder Bhardwaj, at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park here today. Oustees of the Kishangarh village area and members of the Chandigarh Farmers Action Group were also present on the occasion.

Mr Bhardwaj said that the DLF was allotted a plot measuring 12.4 acre at “throwaway price of Rs 32 crore and 82 lakh, outside the Special Economic Zone. At the same time another plot measuring five acres was auctioned for Rs 108 crore, recently”.

A memo with regard to objections and demanding a “bulldozing of the DLF building as in case of residential apartments of poor people demolished on pretext of being outside the lal dora” has been sent to the Prime Minister.

The Janata Dal(U) has sought a re-evaluation of the land, proper rehabilitation of oustees and immediate stopping of the merciless demolition in the city.



Patients suffer as power cuts continue in dispensaries
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
A paid two-hour break — it’s a summer bonanza for the “overworked” doctors at various dispensaries of the city, courtesy the UT Electricity Department. While patients sweat it out and cool their heels in “powerless” dispensaries, all work comes to a virtual standstill during the two-hour rotational power cuts.

And, interestingly, while government buildings where the entire administrative paraphernalia sits, are fully equipped to handle power breakdowns, these dispensaries have no back-up arrangement to deal with power failures.

The Chandigarh Health Centre, Sector 22, the only one among dispensaries to be equipped with X-ray and ultrasound facilities, is the worst hit. Not only are patients, awaiting their turn in the OPDs, put to a great deal of inconvenience, but also the cuts plunge the operation theatre and labour room into darkness.

A doctor on the condition of anonymity says, “There is a near two-hour cut in the hospital. We try to finish our operations before the cut. It is doctors and staff of the labour room, however, who are usually on tenterhooks, hoping deliveries don’t happen when there is no power.”

Also, patients in wards at the Chandigarh Health Centre are particularly discomforted in the absence of power and kill time by using newspapers and hand-held fans to keep themselves sweat-free.

Meanwhile, the sterilisation of instruments is suffering in practically all civil dispensaries barring a couple of them where the power cuts are either after working hours or are spread over the day and limited to 15 minutes at a time.

“We try to keep the vaccinations and anti-natal clinics going despite the power cuts. The Dental Department is forced to shut shop during the forced break since little can be done in the absence of power. The power cuts have become the bane of our working,” adds a doctor at the Civil Dispensary in Sector 20.

The one-and-a-half hour power breakdown is ailing the Polyclinic at Sector 45 as well. Offering dental, eye, ENT, X-ray, ECG, gynecological facilities, doctors maintain that work is paralysed and patients have to be sent back with the advise to come before or after the scheduled cut on a later date.

Sources said a handful of doctors had got together and approached the Director, Health Services, Dr Inderjeet Kaur Walia, to take up the matter of power cuts in dispensaries with the UT Administration and the Chief Engineer.

At their own level, they have even written to the Chief Engineer seeking exemption of dispensaries from the rotational power cuts, which are adversely affecting their working.

“Though it has been over a week since the letter was forwarded, we have not heard from the Engineering Wing. The power cuts are continuing like before. While the power cuts don’t bother us much, the patients are at the receiving end. We have their and the public’s interest at heart but it seems nobody cares,” a doctor rues.

The hapless patients, meanwhile, have no choice but to sit through the cut and wait outside rooms of helpless doctors who can’t attend to them in the absence of power.



AAI info on city airport obsolete
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
It seems that not only does the infrastructure at the city airport needs an upgradation but also the information listed about it on the official website of the Airports Authority of India.

While the airport is inching towards introducing more flights and becoming an international airport, the official website does not even mention it as a domestic airport. It can only be found under the “All Airports” section.

Moreover, while some of the information given is incomplete, most of it is incorrect. Under the “passenger information” section, the website only lists two flights — Jet Airways and Indian Airlines — as operational from the airport.

It may be mentioned here that Air Deccan has been operational in the region with daily flights to Delhi for the past one year or so. And is on its way to introducing other flights soon.

The website further states that the usage of telephone is free in the under-security area of the airport. However, there is only one coin- phone in the area, which too is out of order mostly. Furthermore, under the “flight schedules”, only Jet Airways, Indian Airlines and Sahara are mentioned for the domestic sector.

There is again no mention of Air Deccan which is operational in the area. Nor is there a mention of other flights which are operational in India. Another lacunae is that the telephone numbers have not been updated.

Various hotels in the city, their phone numbers and approximate distance from the airport have been listed.However, the STD code of the city has been listed as 0712 in place 0172. Moreover the prefix 2 which was added to all city phone numbers two years ago has also not been added.

When contacted, Mr A.K. Verma Senior Aerodrome Officer, confirmed that they were supposed to send the information to AAI office in New Delhi. “We send the information to the headquarters. Now that you have informed us, we will get in touch with them soon and update it,” he added.



New software may enable users to send sms in Punjabi
Tribune News Service

Mridul Srivastava
Mridul Srivastava

Chandigarh, May 10
Mobile messaging, which is one of the fastest growing markets, will no longer be the prerogative of those who know the English language. A US major, American Online Limited's wireless division, Tegic, has now developed T9 Text Input Software, which will help send messages in Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil and Urdu.

This was stated by Mr Mridul Srivastava, Senior Country Manager, AOL Mobile, while launching the Punjabi software here today.

This new version of T9 Text enables the Punjabi speaking mobile users to quickly send text messages, through use of smart punctuation, complete word support multiple language and toggling between two languages.

"This is a predictive text input software for mobile device, smart phones and pocket PC. This offers advanced alpha and character-based text input production.

We had earlier launched a Hindi software, which was lapped up by all major mobile handset manufacturers — Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, LG, Sony Ericsson, which later came up with T9 enabled handsets, " he said.

Mr Srivastava said the company was observing this year as the year of Indian languages.

"We have already launched a software in Marathi, and will be launching softwares in Urdu, Bengali and Tamil this year. Software in Kannada and Gujarati is currently being prepared at our R & D centre in Seattle, USA," he said.

He informed TNS that talks were on with mobile phone manufacturers for adopting this technology and making T9 enabled handsets in these languages.

He said surveys had shown that the sms was expected to grow to 180 million sms by 2010.

"This is the biggest contributor to the overall revenue in the non-voice market, and is expected to remain so. Thus, we have created this software for expanding customer base," he added.



Taxi service to start today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The new taxi service in the city starts tomorrow. The first cab will be flagged off by Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator, at Rock Garden, tomorrow morning.

The first lot includes cabs from the Mega Cab Service and the Indus Travel and Logistics. Mega Cabs is learnt to have submitted 25 Indigo Marina cabs and the other party has offered 15 vehicles, out of which 13 are Maruti Esteem and two Bolero. All cabs are required to be air conditioned under the new policy. This will be the first metered taxi service in the city.



Two scooterists hurt in mishap
Tribune news service

Panchkula, May 10
Two scooterists were injured seriously when their scooter collided head on with a Tata Sumo adjacent to a bridge on the dividing road between Sectors 17-18 here this afternoon.

Mahesh and Sunil of Mauli Jagran met with the accident while they were riding their scooter (CH-0L-5903) towards Mauli Jagran. A Tata Sumo (HR-68-4053) approaching from the opposite direction collided with the scooter head-on leaving the two seriously injured.

The injured were rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6. The doctors referred them to the PGI in Chandigarh after their condition deteriorated. The driver of the Tata Sumo fled from the scene after the accident leaving behind the vehicle.

The police has registered a case after impounding both the vehicles. No arrest has been made.



Two held with charas
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 10
The CIA staff of the district police arrested two persons for carrying 650 gm of charas worth lakhs of rupees here today.

Acting on a tip-off, the CIA staff laid a trap and nabbed Manoj Kumar of Azad Colony and Seva Mandal of West Bengal while carrying the contraband. The duo were arrested near from KC Theatre last night, sources in the police disclosed.

The police said that Manoj Kumar and Seva Mandal were indulging in the trade for the last a couple of months. During questioning they admitted to have smuggled the narcotics from Kulu and were to sell it in parts of Haryana and Punjab on retail basis.

A case under the NDPS Act has been registered against the two at Sector 5 police station. The police is investigating the matter establish their relations with some other youths. 



Phase IV murder: two more held
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 10
The Mohali police has rounded up two more persons in connection with the killing of an elderly couple in Phase IV here on May 3.

It is learnt that the police had sent teams to UP to pick up persons suspected to be involved in the crime .

Three persons were brought here last night and were being questioned.

However , the rickshaw puller who used to take Raghbir Sharan, one of the deceased, to various places on a regular basis had still not been traced.

Raghbir Sharan and his wife Shakuntala Devi were killed by sharp-edged weapons in their house located on the B-road. 



CII team calls on Supdt Engg
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
A delegation of CII led by Mr Rajender Guleria, Chairman, CII Himachal Pradesh State Council, called on Mr A K Nagpal, Superintending Engineer, Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, to discuss the widening and maintenance of Pinjore-Baddi road; Baddi-Chandigarh Road and Pinjore-Kalka-Parwanoo bypass on NH 22 for Shimla, to facilitate smooth flow of traffic.

On the issue of widening and maintenance of NH 21-A, Mr Nagpal assured the CII delegation that the Pinjore-Baddi section of the road would be completely rebuilt from the base. The work would be initiated immediately after the monsoon and would be completed by December 2006. Till monsoon, the road would be maintained as and when required. He also mentioned that the complete patch of 35 km from Pinjore to Nalagarh would be two-laned by March 2007.

Mr Nagpal also shared with the CII Delegation their plan on the NH 22 “Pinjore-Kalka-Parwanoo bypass for Shimla”. He mentioned that by the end of July work would be awarded and the project would be completed by 2009. He also shared the plan for the four-laning of the Zirakpur-Shimla highway.



Industry concerned over power situation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The Federation of Small Scale Industries has expressed anguish over the deteriorating condition of power supply, along with peak load hour restrictions and rotational weekly off days.

A meeting of the executive committee of the federation was held today to discuss the dismal power supply situation. They said that the industry was suffering badly because they were unable to meet their commitments due to unavailability of power. “We are unable to plan our production schedules and fulfil commitments with the buyers,” said Mr Rajeev Gupta, general secretary of the association.

He said that the Chandigarh Administration should initiate steps to conserve electricity by banning use of neon lights, display boards, ACs etc.


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