C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Pvt consultants to prepare Mohali master plan
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 6
The Punjab Government would engage private consultants to prepare the Master Plan of Greater Mohali. A job that should have been done by the Department of Country and Town Planning would instead be handed over to private agencies.

Interestingly, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has had to deploy Delhi-based Feedback Consultants even for the preparation of a ‘‘request for proposal’’ (RFP) document which will provide the private consultant bidders with ‘‘information to assist the formulation of their proposal.’’

PUDA had earlier doled out about Rs 40 lakh to Gujarat-based Vaastushilp Consultants who prepared the layout plan of the City Centre in Sector 62. However, even after five years these plans are merely gathering dust in the PUDA office.

The drafting of master plans in the state is the duty of the Department of Town and Country Planning and this is the first time that the task of the preparation of a master plan would be sourced out to a private agency. Sources went to the extent of stating that not just that there was no precedence, this decision also went against national security interests since vital maps would have to be shared with private agencies.

While the consultant is expected to charge lakhs of rupees for the preparation of the Greater Mohali Master Plan (the ‘request for proposal’ alone is costing the government Rs 4 lakh), the role of the host of professional town planners working with the Department of Country and Town Planning for years would be limited to providing inputs to the selected private consultant.

According to draft ‘request for proposal’ by feedback ventures submitted to the Chief Administrator, PUDA, the company would require the various outline master plans of Mohali and other towns in the district, plans of Chandigarh inter-state region and the aerial photography of Chandigarh Periphery of Punjab Region done in March 1998 for the preparation of the RFP document.

Stating that the new plan would be nothing more than old wine in a new bottle, sources in the Department of Town and Country Planning pointed out that a majority of the ground work had already been done by the department for the constitution of the SAS Nagar district and the master plan can easily be prepared by the department itself.

Sources in PUDA, however, alleged the department had neither the manpower nor the infrastructure to undertake the activity. ‘‘The preparation of the master plan by an outside agency will not only teach us something new but would also ensure that no vague areas were left in the master plan. The vague areas like ‘mixed use’ etc leave immense scope for many to misuse the plan and gain benefits. A detailed and comprehensive master plan would help us plan Greater Mohali better which is going to be one of the most urbane areas in Punjab,’’ said a PUDA official who requested not to be named.

The outline master plan of Mohali was prepared in 2001 and was approved in 2003 and amended in 2005 and 2006. As many as 114 sectors have already been planned as part of this master plan.



BJP leader done to death
Tribune News Service

Lalru, August 6
Panic gripped in this town following the murder of former BJP mandal president Bharath Singh Rana (65) here last night.

The bloodstained body was noticed by a sweeper this morning. The sweeper informed her brother Jatin Singh about the incident.

The victim’s neck was slit with sharp-edged weapons, the police said.

Jatin Singh informed the police that last night Jasbir Singh, a resident of Ramgarh Rurki, was with him and both had dinner together.

On the complaint of Jatin Singh, the police has registered a case under Section 302, IPC, against Jasbir Singh.

Rana had been living separately from his wife Maya Devi for the past 15 years. She is living with her son at Lalru Mandi.

Rana lived on the ground floor of his house with the first floor being occupied by a tenant, who was reportedly out of station last night.

Rana, who was considered close to former Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, was an ex-serviceman and also had a licensed revolver. The revolver and household items were taken into possession by the police.

The police has ruled out the robbery angle as no article belonging to the victim was taken away. Senior police officials, including the Mohali SSP, Mr Naunihal Singh, SP (City), visited the spot.



Need to bring villages under MC: Bansal
Says this will remove imbalance in urban and rural areas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The Minister of State for Finance, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, today endorsed the plan of the Chandigarh Administration to regularise constructions in the 'pherni' of the UT villages. This was the only way out to bring the villages at par with the urban areas, he said.

Addressing a 'Rural Conference' at Kajheri village here today, Mr Bansal, who is the Member of Parliament from Chandigarh, said it was necessary to bring the villages under Municipal Corporation to remove the imbalance in the urban and rural areas. The inclusion would bring the rural property at par with the urban property.

Pointing towards the gram panchayats which were protesting against the inclusion of villages in the Municipal Corporation, he said there was misconception which was being exploited by opposition parties.

Mr Didar Singh, Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti, while sharing the dias with the MP, said the consent of the Panchayats and other representatives of the villages should be taken before effecting the inclusion.

Though the show of strength by the Congress was staged to show that there were few takers for the non-inclusion of the villages in the Municipal Corporation, a few sarpanches and representatives of the Panchayati Raj institutions were conspicuous by their absence from the conference.

Assuring the villagers that no construction outside the Lal Dora would be demolished, the minister said the relevance of lal dora had lost its significance. The land would be exempted from the Periphery Control Act for planning for growth up to 2021. An environment shield will be developed around villages to mark the area beyond which no construction will be allowed.

In a proposal of the UT Administration to cover all UT villages in the Municipal Corporation, the UT has decided to include five villages in the first step including Hallo Majra, Dadu Majra, Maloya, Palsora and Kajheri.

Mr Bhupinder Badheri, General Secretary of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, said inclusion of villages in the MC would save the structures outside the lal dora. He called upon the leaders of all political parties to support the cause of the villagers.

Mr Surinder Singh, Mayor of the Municipal Corporation, said for the pockets in Mani Majra and Deep Complex, Hallo Majra, against which the Administration had issued notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, exemption would be taken.

At least 15 representatives of the villagers in a recent memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner had opposed the move to include all the villages in the MC.

While participating in the conference, the representatives of the Welfare Society of the 50 UT villagers Capital Project Chandigarh, protested against the failure of the MP in rehabilitating their uprooted families. A memorandum of the society was given to the MP. They demanded the 1950 rehabilitation scheme for the 5000 families of the oustees.



Indian nurses can work in UK despite “partial” ban
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Gurpreet Kalsi from Amritsar is a proud woman today. A staff nurse with three years’ experience from Delhi, she is ready to enter the UK with a work permit as senior care assistant. The British Government’s decision of a clampdown on recruitment of Indian nurses does not affect her prospects a bit. In fact, her visa was issued on August 1, a few days after the “ban” announcement.

In Chandigarh today to meet her immigration consultant, Gurpreet talked of how she had panicked following reports of the ban and how she discovered the ban was not applicable to her. A closer look at the new rule reveals there is no cause for alarm for Indian nurses. In fact, the door has only been partially shut on nurses with less than two years experience. Even they need not worry as the Overseas Nursing Programme (ONP) which the British Government announced in September last year is open and more promising than any other rule under which Indian nurses can work in the UK.

Clearing the confusion created by the recent announcement, Mr Arvind Ashat of Foreign Horizons, Sector 8, which has arranged visas for five staff nurses over the past month, says, “We have been receiving panic calls from parents of girls studying in nursing institutes. But we want to clarify that the new rule applies only to grade 5 and 6 nurses - those with less than two years experience. Now the British hospitals will be required to advertise the vacancy, look for candidates in the UK and then the EU. If they fail to find one, they can hire from India. Only now the employer needs to have a work permit for the candidates - something which was not mandatory until now.” Sumandeep from Chandigarh and Sukhwinder Kaur from Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana, have just entered the UK despite the ban. Both had three years’ experience and had applied for visas under the Senior Care Assistant Programme of the British government which has been open for five years.

For immigration under this law, an Indian nurse requires three years’ experience and a banding score of 5.5 in the general module of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)/or good spoken English skills. Sumandeep and Sukhwinder did not have the required IELTS score but they had the communication skills needed for the job. Interestingly, the very fact that Foreign Horizons has sent six staff nurses to the UK under this programme shows there is no cause for alarm over the “ban”. Even freshers stand a chance under Overseas Nurses Programme (ONP).



Govt nod to second expansion of Panchkula
SEZ on 2,500 acres at Ambala soon
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 6
The Haryana Government has decided to go ahead with second expansion of Panchkula besides setting up of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) on over 2,500 acres at Ambala shortly. The DLF has submitted a proposal for the SEZ.

This was stated by Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) Managing Director Rajeev Arora at a meeting organised by the India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO), the HSIIDC, the PHD Chamber of Commerce of Industry, Gurgaon, and the Panchkula Chamber of Commerce and Industry here today.

Union Minister of State for Poverty Alleviation and Urban Employment Kumari Selja asked ITPO Executive Director Rajiv Yadav and Mr Arora to organise a trade fair here to apprise small entrepreneurs of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and neighbouring states of the various avenues for industries.

The exhibitions will also give them international exposures, thus enabling them to export their products.

She said while entrepreneurs of large and medium scale units were aware of the benefits of trade expositions, entrepreneurs of small-scale units were yet to get exposure.

The minister said Ambala would get added infrastructure facilities and a centre of excellence would be set up at the cost of Rs 76 crore.

The UPA government had given a number of incentives to industrial units and the process of FDI investment had been simplified.

Mr Arora said a technology park would be set up in Panchkula in the next six months.

He said all industrial plots in Barwala estate had been allotted and there was a plan to expand this industrial estate over an area of 300 acres.

He also added that a full industrial estate would be developed at Jagadhri over 700 acres of land.

Mr Yadav said with the changing scenario, Africa had offered a big market and asked Indian entrepreneurs to participate in the South Africa International Trade Exhibition to be held at Johannesburg from October 10 to 13.

The 26th India International Trade Fair would be held at New Delhi from November 14.



Avery workers stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Faced with suspension, over 60 industrial workers employed at Avery Freewheel Pvt Ltd, a local industry involved in making cycle spares, staged a dharna against the factory management today.

The workers, supported by the Chandigarh chapter of the Centre of Trade Unions, Punjab, raised slogans against the management and demanded immediate withdrawal of the orders and reinstatement of employees who had been suspended on August 3.

The police was called in to avoid any untoward incident.

The trouble at the factory began on Thursday when the management suspended three employees for alleged “misbehaviour with senior colleagues”.

On August 4, a majority of the 250 workers of the factory went on a strike in protest against the suspension.

CITU, Punjab, organising secretary Yagya Narain claimed that the management had threatened to suspend around 100 employees if they did not resume work. A notice to this effect was also pasted in the factory.

The management on the other hand has denied all allegations.

Speaking to the TNS, general manager Chander Sharma said the management had suspended the employees for their alleged misbehaviour and refusal to take orders from senior colleagues.

“We have not suspended any other employee besides the three. The notice was pasted for other employees as they had absented themselves from duty,” he said.

On Friday, the employees forwarded an application to the Labour Commissioner, Chandigarh, and the case would come up for hearing on August 7.

“We have approached the Chandigarh Administration for the flouting of labour laws,” workers said.



From hell and back
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
“God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference”. With this prayer on the lips and gratitude in the heart, hundreds of recovering alcoholics today underlined the fact that life can be fun without drinks.

The seventh anniversary celebrations of the Disha Group of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) at Shivalik Public School, Sector 41, proved to be a grand affair with recovering alcoholics and their family members joining in for celebrations and public information meeting to pass on the AA message to the “still suffering” alcoholics.

Speakers shared how drinking had thrown their lives out of gear. They had tried every imaginable remedy but to no avail. “It was a virtual hell and it was my family that bore the brunt of my drinking bouts, as I ceased to be a human after a few drinks. It was a hopeless state of mind and body,” said Anant, who celebrated his seventh “sober birthday” today.

Once Anant came to the AA fellowship, a worldwide fellowship of over 2 million men and women for whom drinking had become a major problem, he began recovering “one day at a time”. “I was told that I was not a bad person but a sick person. In fact, alcoholism is a family disease. An alcoholic cannot safely take any mood-altering substance.”

However, all this is a thing of the past for Anant. “Today I am a useful member of family and society, who enjoys every bit of life with my family.”

Ditto for Mahadev, a professional, who remained a “slave” of alcohol for over 25 years.

“I wanted to quit but could not. The drink, which I enjoyed in initial years, was hard to digest but I had to take my daily quota. About a decade ago, a newspaper article on the AA changed my life for the better,” he said with a twinkle in his eyes.

An AA member said the AA was a self-supporting worldwide fellowship functioning through over one lakh groups, whose members regularly met to share experiences, strength and hope.

The AA does not charge any fee or dues for membership. The only requirement is a desire to stop drinking, he said.

Those with drinking problem can contact the 24-hour AA Helpline at 94170-37358, he added.



French woman cruises world on bicycle
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Beatrice Maine is no ordinary rider. She is travelling across 35 countries in the world on her German Giant, a bicycle with a difference. Beatrice stopped in Chandigarh on Friday, her bike by her side.

She has been out of Le Mans, her home city, for more than 10 months and has covered 11 countries, including some tough ones like Tunisia, Albania and Greece where the terrain posed a potential challenge. But there was no stopping for the tough lady from France who has plenty of patience and spirits. The rest is taken care of by her bicycle, especially crafted for tough roads and endless routes.

Ask Beatrice how it felt like being on a bicycle for better part of the day while passing through different nations, she flashes a warm smile: “It feels like home. I am carrying 28 kg of essential load on the bike. which includes all basic necessities, including food, water, summer and winter clothing, tent, sleeping bag, mattress and a few medicines. When near habitation, I sleep in homes, requesting people for some space for a night or so. When away from villages and cities, I put up my tent. So far, I have stayed safe and at home too.”

People have welcomed Beatrice with open arms wherever she has gone. But India is her favourite. “People here are exceptionally warm. After covering Italy, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia and Iran, I took a flight from Taiwan to Mumbai. From there I went to Ahmedabad and then reached Delhi by train. I covered the distance from Delhi to Chandigarh on my bike and am leaving for Leh tomorrow. I have been most comfortable here,” she said.

After covering Srinagar, Beatrice will return to Delhi to undertake the onward journey to Nepal and China and then to Australia and New Zealand. Till then she is happy sticking to her winning routine - 60 to 90 km a day. All for the love of nature, countries, and people.



Job opportunities for service officers
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
There is some good news for senior Defence officers worried over post-retirement blues, courtesy the Ministry of Defence.

The ministry, with the active help from the Resettlement Directorate, has decided to create avenues of decent employment, primarily in the corporate sector, for the about-to-retire armed forces’ officers.

It is eager to enable them to don the mantle of corporate CEOs for which they would be provided quality management education at leading institutes of the country, including IIMs.

“There is a huge pool of officers retiring every year from Services and it is of deep concern to us to provide them with decent alternate job opportunities,” said a top Army source.

It is estimated that around 3,000 officers retire from the three Services (Army, Navy and Air Force) every year. This mammoth talent pool can be suitably harnessed in the ever-growing industrial sector.

The source said the Resettlement Directorate was seriously considering giving management training to the senior officers, even at the level of the chief and the vice-chief , and sufficient funds would be earmarked for the purpose.

The industry estimates say that around 3000-4000 Director-level officials are required in the corporate sector.

Incidentally, a one-week ‘Director’s Programme’ for senior officers in collaboration with the Management Development Institute will be conducted at Gurgaon from August 7.



City records 49.2 mm rain in 48 hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Changes in the weather system are auguring well for the city, which received a fair amount of rainfall over the past 48 hours. Although Chandigarh and surrounding areas recorded only one mm of rainfall today, figures for the past 48 hours are an impressive 49.2 mm, a heavy monsoon shower by all standards.

The maximum rainfall was recorded from the morning of August 4 to 5 when it poured through the night, causing the day temperature to drop by a few degrees. However, as against yesterday when the city recorded a maximum temperature of 32.6 degree, today the temperature rose to 33 degree, accounting to high levels of humidity in the air.

The rainfall was highly scattered in nature today, with Mohali taking the maximum share of the shower. The Industrial Area of Mohali remained inundated for some time, even while the northern sectors in Chandigarh remained dry.

In the region, however, rains have been promising, says Met Department. Over the past two days, Madhopur in Punjab has received a heavy rainfall of 68 mm. Ranjit Sagar Dam and Shahpur Kandi areas also recorded heavy showers of 44 mm and 69 mm, respectively the past 24 hours.

From among the adjoining areas, Patiala received a heavy shower of 14 mm; followed by Ambala which recorded 11 mm. Shimla recorded 10 mm rainfall.



Prince visits Gurdwara Nada Sahib
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 6
Visitors today thronged Gurdwara Nada Sahib to have a glimpse of Prince, a five-year-old boy who was recently rescued from a 60-foot hole in Kurukshetra district. Prince visited the gurdwara to offer prayers.

Accompanied by his father, Ram Chander, and mother, Karamjit Kaur, Prince attended an akhand path and a bhog organised by Dera Bassi-based industrialist Hari Singh.

The industrialist also arranged a taxi to the family for bringing them to Panchkula from Ambala.

Prince was also presented siropas by the gurdwara management, while the industrialist handed over him a cheque for Rs 21,000.

Apart from this, Rs 2,100 was given to him by staff of the gurdwara.



Rotary Club function
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 6
Rotary District 3080, Panchkula, celebrated its first intercity function ‘PRAGATI’ with much fanfare at Zirakpur today. The chief guest of the function Mr Raja Saboo, in his keynote address, stressed on the need of true and dedicated Rotarians who could tackle various issues concerning literacy, water management, health and hunger. Various aspects of membership development were also discussed in the function.

Mr Dhiman Chand, District Governor, asked leaders of different clubs to ensure implementation of programmes. A question- answer session was also organised.

Students of Doon Public School, Panchkula, enthralled the audience.



Body identified
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 6
Body of the middle-aged woman that kept lying unattended for almost eight hours in front of the main gate of the judicial complex yesterday was identified today.

The deceased was identified as Chuniya (30), a resident of Old Panchkula, who had allegedly eloped with some person about six years ago. The woman had returned a couple of months ago and was staying along with parents in slums adjacent to Majri Chowk.

The body was identified by her father Dil Sukh, a migrant labour with a stone crusher, at the General Hospital, Sector 6, today.

Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Mr Dil Sukh said that Chuniya had been suffering from TB for the last many years and had gone to the Secretariat with some work.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case and the body has been kept at hospital for post-mortem examination.



Councillor, 5 others quizzed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 6
A CBI team led by an inspector today quizzed a local Municipal Councillor and over five others in connection with the Gohana fire incident, here today.

According to information, Inspector Ajay Singh along with his team questioned Dalbir Singh, MC, and his accomplices Hari Krishan, Roshan, Mohinder, Naresh and others for almost five hours.

The CBI has been questioning Dalbir Singh and others in connection with the damages caused by them to the public property in the city on September 2, 2005, after Gohana fire incident.



Workshop for professionals

Chandigarh, August 6
The British Library, Sector 9, today organised a one-day workshop in the library for professionals.

Nearly 35 persons representing companies like Reliance, Punjab Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd., Spice Communications, Ranbaxy, Godfrey Phillips, ACC Cement, Alchemist Ltd, etc, participated.

One the occasion, 100 books on self-development were released. The books will be on display till August 18. — TNS



Fraud: more complaints pour in
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
More complaints are pouring in against three persons who were arrested by the police for duping a Sector 30 resident on Friday.

In a fresh complaint, Harmesh of Taprian Amrasingh village in Ropar district, alleged that the trio — Gagan, Gautam and Romi Wadhwa — took Rs 8.15 lakh from him on the pretext of sending him abroad. Another complainant, Rajpal of Sejomajra, also from Ropar district, alleged that he was duped of Rs 8.5 lakh.

Sources in the operations cell of the Chandigarh Police claimed that a thorough investigation was being conducted to establish links of the accused with certain high-ups in the city.

The trio has been remanded to police remand for five days.



Molestation case registered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
The Chandigarh Police has registered a case of abduction and molestation against Pira Ram and Jagdish, Head Constable and Constable of ITBP at the Sector 30 Police Station. Both were posted in the VIP security at flats of Punjab Government ministers in Sector 39.

The complainant was going home when she was molested by the paramilitary personnel.

Booked for pornography

The local police today arrested Jhakku, a resident of Rajiv Colony, Panchkula, for selling pornographic reading material near the Poultry Farm Chowk.

A case under Section 292 of the IPC has been registered at the Industrial Area police station.



Biz Clips

SBP TARGETS: The State Bank of Patiala (SBP), Kalka, has achieved all its targets in deposits, advances and profit for the financial year, 2005-06. Staff of the bank was felicitated by the Assistant General Manager, Regional Office, Mr V.A. Ghai at Kalka today. TNS

BSNL: The BSNL has launched a new scheme to provide enhanced value to its pre-paid and post-paid mobile customers. Subscribers can now call any two BSNL numbers in the Punjab circle at reduced call rates. Of these two numbers one should be a BSNL landline number and the other a BSNL mobile, WLL and landline connection. The calls made to these two selected numbers will be charged at 10 paise per minute. TNS

Contest: Spice Telecom on Sunday announced a new Value Added Services to celebrate Friendship Day, for its pre-paid and post-paid subscribers. The subscriber has to dial 5705 to access special Friendship Day contest and dedicate songs and messages free anywhere in India. Mr Navdeep Kapur, Senior Manager (Marketing), Spice Telecom, said that the subscribers will have to select and dedicate a special friendship song on Spice Jukebox and the best message will win a special dinner date for two at The Taj, Chandigarh. TNS

Punjab National Bank (PNB), Phase I, Mohali, will conduct a programme to exchange mutilated notes on August 5, according to a press note issued by the bank. TNS



Indian Oil dealers honoured

Chandigarh, August 6
Dealers of the Indian Oil Gold Circle held a meting at Parwanoo yesterday.

It was organised by the Punjab office of the Indian Oil corporation Limited. Dealers from Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh took part. As many as 33 dealers were honoured.

The city's Sukhna Automobile bagged the roll of honour. General Manager of Indian Oil H. S. Bedi said there was a proposal to modernise its retail outlets.

To fulfil the needs of consumers extra care outlets had been opened in the urban areas. In the rural areas kisan seva kendras had been opened, he added. TNS



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