C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

UT ignores signal for sparing land for SEZs
Plans to acquire 272 acres; loss of 50,000 trees estimated
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Despite the Centre and the Punjab Government sending strong signals that no agriculture lands will be acquired for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) projects in the country and also in Punjab, there is no signal of any respite in the Union Territory for farmers whose land has been acquired for different projects or is scheduled to be acquired.

The next on the line of acquisition are big farm houses on way to the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park, which will affect one of the most prominent green belts in the UT. The UT is acquiring the 272 acres of land for which notices have been issued. This will mean loss of approximately 50,000 full grown trees.

The Commerce Minister, Mr Kamal Nath, has announced recently that no SEZ on farm lands will be cleared for future projects. The Ministry of Commerce has given the status of SEZ to Phase II yesterday and the administration has also drawn up a plan to acquire land in Phase III for which notices have already been issued. The Phase II includes land in UT villages and the Phase III includes the heavy cover of green belts in the farm houses on way to the IT park.

A senior UT official said that Chandigarh only has 2200 acres of agriculture land left which was contributing negligible to the food supplies of the city. The changing times spell a change in priorities in tune with the current times.

“Even at the national level the industry which commands 30 to 35 per cent of the economy accounts for 75 per cent of the GDP. The growth of the city needs to be understood in an independent context of the need of the time going by the fact that it is the capital of two states and has state of the art facilities of infrastructure, particularly roads and electricity for bigger projects.”

Maj (Retd) R.S. Virk of the Pind Bachao Committee said, “the administration needs to react to the government announcements and spare the agriculturist from acquiring their lands.

There are two important aspects related to the case. The farmers are being paid peanuts according to the market rates.

Imagine a farmer who will get approximately Rs 12 lakh for an acre of land from the government which will sell it in crores worth for the same.”

Mr Ajai Johl, an architect, had earlier pointed out there are more than 150 acres of government land lying vacant right next to the IT park “which needed to be acquired for the IT park before the farm houses. There is negligible plantation there”.

Quoting US environmental scientist Rudolph Greger who has been awarded for his study on the microenvironment, Mr H.S. Johl, had said a full grown tree of 30-50 feet diameter provides approximately 4.8 tonnes of oxygen daily and consumes approximately 6 tonnes of carbondioxide. “Acquiring the 272 acres of land for which the notices have been issued will mean loss of approximately 50,000 full grown trees. Imagine the environmental concern.

The area also provided high quality fruit. There is no immediate replacement in sight for the massive green cover which will disturb the entire environment.”

Mr Tarsem Lal, a resident of Faidan village, said “the administration needs to rethink on acquiring land. Even if it has to be acquired the farmers need to be given a bigger share in what the administration earns through resale later”. 



  City to have terminal market for fruits, vegetables
100 acres in Sector 39 envisaged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The city is all set to have a modern terminal market for fruits, vegetables and other perishables in the Agriculture Zone in Sector 39. The project is envisaged in an area of more than 100 acres.

On anvil

  • Agri-tech infrastructure zone
  • Food processing plants
  • Public-private tie-up mode

The city emerged as a “natural choice” for setting up the terminal market as it serves as a market for fruits, vegetables, flowers and other perishable products for the adjoining villages of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Western Uttar Pradesh also.

Well-developed infrastructure like availability of land, road, adequate power and water resources have made the city a focal point for catering to the needs of the farmers as well as of the consumers.

The facilitatory administrative structure coupled with sound infrastructure and technical support gave the city an edge over other states in setting up the terminal market.

The terminal market will be built, owned and operated in a public-private-partnership mode. The Chandigarh Marketing Board will be the nodal agency for the execution of the project. It will operate on a hub-spoke format wherein the terminal market(hub) will be linked to a number of collection centers, which will be located at key production centers in the adjoining states for the convenience of farmers.

An agri-tech infrastructure zone and other facilities such as food processing plants are also proposed to come up on the adjoining area.

To ensure that legal and administrative policy framework is in place by the time project comes up, amendments to allow private sector participation in the Punjab Agricultural Produce Market Act, 1961, have already been adopted by the UT. The engagement of the private partner will be on the basis of an open, competitive and transparent bidding process and will take into account, both technical and financial parameters.

Several benefits will accrue to all stakeholders with the adoption of this initiative. 



Passport adalat: helpful staff
a pleasant surprise for public

Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
Casting off their ‘unapproachable image’ the staff of the regional passport office donned the role of ‘polite helpers’ for more than 1000 persons who came to get there grievances addressed at the first regional passport adalat held for three districts of Punjab-Patiala, Sangrur and Bathinda here today.

People, not only from the designate districts, but also other places of Punjab came for the adalat after reading about it in the newspapers. A heavy rush was witnessed at the passport office today much before it opened at 9:30 am for public dealing. The passport adalat, which was to be held till 12:30 pm, was later extended till late evening due to the heavy rush, till all cases were cleared.

The adalat being held for the first time took many applicants by surprise. Used to being snubbed by the staff and harassed by touts they were pleasantly surprised by the change. “I have paid numerous visits to the passport office for the past one year. Not only has my grievance been addressed this time, but that too without any harassment unlike in the past.”

Mr Vitul Kumar, Regional Passport Officer, who was present till the end, ensured that no query was left unanswered. “We will not turn back anyone and help everybody,” he stated.

The staff addressed all kinds of cases and queries, many of them related to closed cases and even general cases.

“I had paid Rs 1500 to an agent, but I am yet to receive my passport,” said Ms Sukhwinder Kaur from Kakarala village, Sangrur district. She was informed it would be getting it in 21 days.

The passport office had also deputed an officer to help applicants fill up an enquiry slip, which was printed in English and Hindi. Despite having made such helpful arrangements for the applicants, still the biggest problem faced was that many were uneducated and at least 80 per cent of the queries were in Punjabi.

“We will print the enquiry form in Punjabi and will also put up the instructions in Punjabi,” stated Mr Kumar.

The adalat was also a learning experience for the staff and officials, who were not expecting many to turn up. “We were expecting around 300 persons, but a lot more have come.”

The otherwise indifferent staff left no stone unturned today. Extra seating arrangements were made for the people. More than 50 per cent of the staff was put on the job to answer queries; eight officials manned the counters to ensure that the files were cleared immediately. As many as 700 applications were finally cleared till evening.

Earlier this month, individual letters were dispatched to around 1000 applicants whose cases were found pending in the office for various reasons till September 20. The letters asked them to attend the passport adalat along with the documents in original and also attested photocopies of the same to avail for on-the-spot grant of their case. They were asked to bring with them a proof of date of birth, proof of residence and passport-size photographs. Each applicant was also informed about the reason for his case being pending and was asked to bring along the relevant documents for the same.

People, who came today, were first made to fill an enquiry slip with particulars like name, father’s name, address as given in the application, date of submission of application, application for fresh passport, additional booklet, renewal, police clearance certificate, etc, fee receipt no, etc. Their case file was then procured and they were attended too.

Talking to TNS Mr Vitul Kumar, Regional Passport Officer, stated that this was the first in a series of adalats, which would be held, “We will be having another one next month and a few shortcomings which were found this time will be covered.”

For the general public, many of whom came from far, it was a relief to finally have their doubts cleared.



CSIO develops robo arm for disabled
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
A novel device to enable people, who have lost both their forelimbs to become self reliant in taking their meals, has been developed by the Central Instruments Organisation (CSIO) here.

The prosthetic device, referred to as the Spoon Feeding Robot System (SFRS) has been developed in two versions. One version is mechanically controlled through foot pedals, while its more advanced version reacts to voice commands from the user.

“The development is complete and the SFRS is being sent for testing to the National Institute for the Orthopaedically Handicapped at Kolkata,” CSIO Director, Dr Pawan Kapur, said.

The system consists of a single, multi-functional arm with a spoon attached to its end. It is able to choose and feed from the contents of three bowls as per the wish of the user.

Research and development on the robot has been going on for the past about two years. According to sources, the development of the voice-activated version suffered a setback, when one of the laboratories associated with the development of the voice command unit was closed down. Thereafter the voice activator was sources from a different agency.

The cost of the indigenously produced SPRS would be just a fraction of the imported versions. The system would also go a long way in the rehabilitation of people who have lost both their hands and arms.

It will also be of interest to the armed forces as there are a number of battle casualties who have been permanently maimed or suffering from paralyses. The Army’s Artificial Limbs Centre at Pune, which has several orthopaedically handicapped soldiers, is also associated with its testing, sources said.

The CSIO has also developed a “Myoelectric Arm”, an artificial limb that simulates the functioning of a human hand and arm. During tests it has been able to pluck flowers, write on a blackboard and on paper as well as and lift and place items from and on a table.



Watch out

Mamta Kharab Though Mamta Kharab’s goal against Germany was not enough to get India its first point in the ongoing Women’s World Cup, she will again spearhead the country’s attack in the match against England, which is scheduled for Sunday. Like her teammates, Deepika and Saba Anjum, she also comes from the SAI Coaching Centre at Sector 18.

Mamta, an Arjuna Awardee, has been the mainstay of Indian women hockey team for a long time. She emerged on to the scene during the four-nation hockey tournament where the team bagged the first place. This was the beginning of her remarkable career.

She was also a member of the team that won the Test series against Germany in March 2000. This was followed by another gold medal performance in the Commonwealth Games held at Manchester (England) in 2002.

Mamta, known for her speed and striking power, is one player who can single-handedly win matches for her team. Though India has yet to win a point after two games, a good performance by Mamta in tomorrow’s game is all what hockey lovers back home are hoping for.



Passing Through

Joanna Barnecka, a scholar of the Association of International Students of Education Community(AISEC), Poland
Joanna Barnecka, a scholar of the Association of International Students of Education Community(AISEC), Poland

What brings you to Chandigarh?

I am at the British School, Panchkula, on a four-month trip as the AISEC scholar to study the Indian education system.

How do you rate the Indian education system vis-a-vis the European system?

The Indian education system, particularly that conforming to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is comparable to the European system. However, in countries like Poland there is more emphasis on physical activities.

Tell us something more about the Polish education system?

The children enter the junior school at the age of six. The education, including the university education, is free of cost. Though there are private universities yet the government-run educational institutes have been maintaining better standards.

How has your experience of interaction with the Indian students been during workshop?

It was a sheer pleasure. The Indian children have the potential to compete with the best in the world.

Your impressions of Chandigarh?

With wide roads and plenty of greenery, Chandigarh is one of the best cities I have ever visited. I will miss the city for a long time after my departure. In fact, I do not want to leave it.

— Pradeep Sharma



Young and old attempt to bridge generation gap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The synergy between elders and youngsters was more than visible at a function organised at Khukrain Bhavan, Sector 35, on Thursday.

The occasion would have been routine, had it just been about the coming together of senior citizens from the Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association’s Sector 35 chapter. But it became special when elders, guided by Mr P.H. Vaishnav, president of the association, and Mr D.S. Grewal, allowed youngsters to talk about their expectations from elders.

Free computer classes for elderly

Mr P. H. Vaishnav announced the opening of a physiotherapy centre at the Sector 35 gurdwara. Senior citizens and physically disabled persons will be entitled to free treatment here. Further, Mr Vasdev Sahni, who presided over the function, announced free computer classes for the elderly. These will be held at Khukrain Bhavan, Sector 35, here. 

Some students from government and private schools of the city shared their views on the topic and presented papers. Angel Dutta from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, stressed on the need for greater dialogue between people of the two generations. She began by listing causes of discord and went on to explain ways to handle it. “Both generations must respect each other’s needs,” she said.

Garima and Savitri spoke along similar lines; the crux of their presentation was that youngsters and elders can together make a better world. They dwelt on reasons that cause heartburn between elders and youngsters. She said it was important for elders to allow youngsters their space.

The most candid of all presentations came from Nisha, a student of Government Model, Sector 35 who spoke in Punjabi. She dared to speak up on the behalf of elderly, who suffer humiliation and indignation at the hands of their wards. The points she made were very valid in the wake of the huge challenge India faces — the challenge of giving its elderly their due.



No liquor on Oct 2 worries party hosts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
October 2 might be an auspicious day to solemnise marriages. But it is certainly an unpleasant day for the Bacchus lovers. The festival of Dasehra also falls on October 2.

Officials of the Excise and Taxation Department disclose that it being Gandhi Jayanti, the liquor vends will remain closed from 11 pm on October 1 to 9 pm on October 2. This means there would be no retail sale of liquor.

Mr Kishore Sharma, who had thrown a reception party of his son is a worried man. “Without serving liquor to my guests, hospitality would not be complete”, he added.

Sources in the Excise Department disclosed that as per the law, no permission can be granted to serve liquor at a public place like hotel, restaurant or a garden.

As per the Excise Act, permission has to be taken. Enquiries reveal that no permission had been granted by the UT Excise Department.



MC panel meeting put off due to lack of quorum
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) meeting of municipal corporation was today postponed for a second time this week. It is for the first time in the corporation’s history that the meeting has been postponed due to non-fulfillment of the quorum. Earlier this week, the meeting was postponed due to the Prime Minister’s visit.

It is being stated that the some of the members of committee deliberately did not attend the meeting because they were opposed to five items on the house agenda related to public water works, which were marked for consideration to the F&CC by the Mayor in yesterday’s general house meeting.

The F&CC has six members — Ms Lalit Joshi, Brig Sant Singh, Vijay Singh Rana and Subhash Chawla, P.C. Sanghi and the Mayor, who is also the Chairman. Today, however only the Mayor and Lalit Joshi were present.

At the meeting of the MC held yesterday, the Public Water Works Department presented five different agendas on which a sum of Rs 37 crore was to be spent. There was heated discussion on this issue. It was questioned that as to why the officials did not inform about this amount earlier as many of the development projects could not be taken up due to paucity of funds? The councillors stated that they were unsatisfied with the utilisation of funds on different projects, which the department had prepared. However, an expert opinion should be taken up by the House for setting up these projects.

Mr Subhash Chawla, Councillor, and also a member of the F&CC had opposed these issues, which had later been referred to the F & CC meeting. He had suggested to the Mayor that these agendas should not be referred to the F&CC but send to technical experts for their expert opinion.

However, Mr Vijay Singh Rana, councillor and member of the F&CC demanded the resignation of the Mayor as the Mayor, without looking into the matter had referred the agenda allegedly to the F&CC. He stated that Mr Surinder Singh, the Mayor, should have constituted a committee of experts when such a huge amount was to be spent on these projects.

When contacted, however the members denied that they had boycotted the meeting and in fact individually stated that they had been out of town or busy with other work. 



Judicial activism needs to be controlled, says NHRC chief
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 30
The importance of an expanded role of the judiciary and judicial activism is a move, particularly for the expansion of jurisdictional limits of the courts, said Dr Justice A.S. Anand, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) while speaking at an interactive guest lecture on “Judicial Activism” at Army Institute of Law yesterday.

He said that if the judiciary was to shut its door to the citizens who found the legislatures unresponsive and the executive to be indifferent, they would take to the streets and that would be a bad scar both on the rule of law and the democratic functioning of the state.

He said, “The judiciary should not only act as an alarm clock but also as a time keeper”.

He also answered queries put forth by the students and staff concerning the nature of judicial activism and other legal aspects.

He said activism had to be controlled and properly channelised. Courts had to function within established parameters and constitutional bounds. He also reiterated that decisions should have a jurisprudential base with clear discernable principles. He also talked of judicial despotism - an act that arises out of betrayal of trust, which the posterity, he cautioned, would not forgive.

Justice Anand concluded saying that society had placed judges and legal representatives on a high pedestal and that they must justify their position in the society and must not forget that the Constitution did not give unlimited powers to any one including judges and legal representatives

Maj Gen A. Srivastava, Chairman AIL, proposed the vote of thanks.



Baby dies of pneumonia
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 30
One-and-a-half-year-old Varun, living at Bal Bhavan, died of pneumonia at Bal Bhavan, last night. The baby was found abandoned in the bushes in Bahadurgarh in 2005 when he was barely two-day old.

Attendants at the bhavan said he was put to bed last night after being fed as usual. At night, during the daily round, the in charge found the baby vomitting and alerted the authorities. The child, who had a history of pneumonia and was undergoing treatment at the PGI and at General Hospital, was taken to General Hospital, Sector 6, where he was declared brought dead. A post-mortem was conducted. It stated a history of vomitting as the cause of death.

Another five-month-old baby boy from Mauli was brought dead at the hospital last night. The baby, whose parents were not at home when he suffered a nasal bleed, had died before medical aid could be sought. While his father was away for a Ramlila, his mother, too, was not around.

In-laws held

Residents of Tibbi village, Mamdin and his father Walidin, were arrested for allegedly demanding dowry. In her complaint, Karamwati, wife of Mamdin, said the father and the son demanded Rs 50,00 and a scooter. A case was registered against them on September 23.



Candlelight march organised on Blood Donation Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
To create awareness among people to donate blood voluntarily, over 100 men, women and children participated in a candlelight march in the city this evening.

The event was organised by the Blood Bank Society to observe the All-India Blood Donation Day.

Holding candles and placards with messages like “Your blood will give life to several persons”, the participants marched from the UT guest house to the Peace monument at Sukhna Lake.

Dr A.R. Kidwai, Governor of Haryana, flagged off the march by lighting a large-size candle.

Ms Niti Sarin, Honorary General Secretary, Blood Bank Society, Chandigarh, said, “We need to constantly spread the message of blood donation. Like lighting a candle, your blood can save a life and spread light in darkness.”

Mr R.S. Verma, former Chief Secretary of Haryana was also present on the occasion.



Ban on cutting of paddy crop at night

Mohali, September 30
Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh has banned the cutting of paddy crop with combines from 7 pm to 10 am. These orders will remain in force till November 24.

He said the paddy produce had started arriving at mandis but it was to be ensured that the produce was clean and dry as per the norms.

The crop absorbed moisture during the night due to dew. Thus its cutting adversely affected its purchase by procurement agencies. OC



Maid found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
A 21 year-old Bengali maid servant was found dead at the top floor of house no. 417, Sector 30-A here today.

The deceased, Urmila, was seen last night by her employer, Ms Archna Bhardwaj.

The maid left after completing her chores last night and went to sleep in her room.

The death was revealed in the morning when she did not respond to the calls of her employers.

The Station House Officer, Industrial Area, Mr B.S. Chadha , said the cause of death would be known after the post-mortem.

Froth was found coming out from her mouth. No injury marks were found on the body.



Unscheduled power cuts, scheduled discomfort
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 30
Power and water have become a chronic problem for city residents. The ever-dwindling power availability in the city and its suburban areas has led to low water pressure, leaving taps dry in almost all houses with multiple floors.

The unscheduled power cuts have almost become “scheduled” power cuts, keeping up with the time table day after day.

Power cuts have dogged residents and the frequency of cuts has only grown over the past month. Right from Mansa Devi to Panchkula Extension, frequent breakdowns and low water pressure are two problems that have become a bane of residents.

Irked by frequent cuts, Rekha Sharma, a housewife of Sector 12, says: “These power cuts are getting more and more troublesome. We have tenants staying on the first floor. They have to make do with water from the overhead tank only as pressure of fresh water is not enough to cater to their needs. They have been filling buckets from downstairs to meet their need of drinking for the past two months.”

Besides unscheduled cuts, the department has imposed nearly an hour’s cut in the wee hours as also in the evening.

There’s hectic activity in the Bal household in Sector 9 with children getting ready to go to school. “They have to be dressed, tiffins have to be packed and a whole lot of work, including packing of bags, has to be done. With so much to do, we can very well do without these cuts in the morning,” says florist Sukhwinder who has two school-going children.

President of the Residents’ Welfare Association of Sector 10 K.K. Katial maintains: “Water supply has also been affected due to power cuts imposed at the time when water pressure is maximum. There are cuts in the morning and evening when water pressure is at its maximum. Since these cuts can’t be rescheduled, the Haryana Urban Development Authority should think of ways of rescheduling water timing to coincide with power availability. It will save the common man from undergoing a lot of problems.”

In housing societies, power shortage manifests itself in non-functional lifts, putting the medically unfit and the elderly to a lot of inconvenience. In the housing societies of Mansa Devi Complex and those in Sector 20, it has been a “troublesome” last month.

The Electricity Department, too, seems helpless with officials maintaining that the unscheduled cuts are essentially carried out from the load control centre in Delhi to maintain a grid code.

“Whenever there is overdrawing, the centre imposes these unscheduled power cuts,” an official explained.

In HUDA, too, the Public Health Department says residents will just have to bear with the low water pressure till the problem of power cuts can be corrected and rectified.



720 gm of heroin seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 30
The special cell of the Chandigarh police today claimed to have busted a gang of drug peddlers and seized 720 grams of heroin from their possession. The contraband is valued at Rs 50 lakh in the local market.

The DSP, Mr D.S. Thakur, told mediapersons that the suspected peddlers — Ajay Kumar, a property dealer, Sham Singh Wajir, Manager of Hotel KC Cross Roads, Panchkula, Narinder Singh, owner of private school and Mohammed Yunus, a head constable in the Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police — had allegedly bought the contraband from Lyakat Ali.

The contraband is said to be of high quality and a gram of it is sold at Rs 5000 in the market. Mr Thakur said they received a tip off that the peddlers were looking for customers. After striking a deal, the heroin was brought in a car ( JK 02 AB 2317).

Yesterday, the suspects were arrested from Sector 35. A local court today sent them to three-day police remand.



Biz Clip

Chandigarh:The Sharekhan, one of the leading retail brokerage houses in the country, announced its first branch in the city here today. The Sharekhan has a total of 510 outlets across 170 cities in the city. — TNS



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 |