C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Major relief for tenants in Chandigarh
Supreme Court strikes down rent notification 
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 7
In a major relief to thousands of tenants in Chandigarh, the Supreme Court today quashed a government notification enforcing the Punjab Rent Act in the Union Territory bringing even the lower middle income group people staying in leased houses under its ambit.

A Bench of Mr Justice S B Sinha and Mr Justice P P Naolekar struck down the notification of November 7, 2002, issued by the Finance Secretary, Chandigarh, by way of which the provisions of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act (EPURRA) were made applicable to the Union Territory.

The judgement came on a bunch of appeals, filed by small-income tenants against the Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict, upholding the constitutional validity of the notification.

The apex court allowed the contentions of tenants that a law could not be applied to a particular territory by a simple executive order, which would have a wide effect on the society or a larg section of it. However, details of the judgement were not available due to non-availability of the verdict immediately.

The High Court in its judgement of November 9, 2004 had dismissed the petitions by tenants, including the one file by their association, holding that the notification did not violate any provisions of the Constitution.

The notification, issued under the 1974 Act applicable to the Union Territory of Chandigarh, provided that even a tenant paying a monthly rent of Rs 1500 or less was liable to be proceeded against under the provisions of the EPURRA before the Rent Controller in an eviction suit. As a result, the court of Rent Controller at Chandigarh was flooded with eviction suits.

In their appeal before the apex court, the tenants had claimed that application of a law through executive notification was a “bad law”.

They had claimed that the provisions of the General Clause Act would not be applicable to the EPURRA, to make it applicable to Chandigarh, a Union Territory by a mere notification as it required the approval of Parliament. The 1974 Act had exempted small rent paying tenants from being covered under the rent law provisions.

During the pendency of the appeal, the apex court had stayed the High Court judgement but said that there would be no stay on the notification and the Rent Controller was allowed to proceed with the pending suits before it.

But the apex court had restrained the Rent Controller from taking a decision in the suits being heard by it till the final judgement on the bunch of appeals.


Tenants have a reason to cheer
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service


  • End in sight for over 2000 Rent Act cases pending in local courts.
  • Property prices may nosedive.
  • Quashing of the Rent Act notification to boost trade.
  • Property owners seek special courts for quick settlement of cases; want the Model Rent Act to be implemented.
  • Rents to stabilise.
  • A number of property transactions put on hold .

Chandigarh, November 7
Bringing cheer to hundreds of tenants, the quashing of the Rent Act notification by the Supreme Court is set to adversely affect the property transactions in the city. However, it will boost the trade.

On the other hand, anxiety prevails among the investors and speculators, who had entered into advance agreements in the past few months, anticipating that the outcome of the special leave petition (SLP) in the apex court would result in a property boom.

After the decision of the Chandigarh Administration to amend the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949, rents had skyrocketed. But today's quashing of the Rent Act notification would reverse the trend, felt market observers. Property prices, especially of commercial property, were set to nosedive.

Unmindful of the affects of the decision on real estate, traders celebrated and danced to the beats of bhangra at the Sector 17 Plaza here this evening. Taking credit for the outcome of the case, the Commercial Tenant Association and the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal organised functions to hail the decision.

Mr Arvind Jain, president, Commercial Tenant Association stated that they had waged the legal battle with the support of traders and other tenants as well as various landlords and ultimately succeeded in their goal. "The apex court has held that the Chandigarh Administration has no power to issue such a notification under Section 3 of the Rent Act. The decision has given a substantial relief to the traders and saved their livelihood from the hands of ill-willed landlords and the property mafia", said Mr Jain.

Welcoming the decision, the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal said the Rent Act had brought the tenants on the road. Rents had increased and tenants were under constant threat of being thrown out.

Mr J.P.S. Kalra, general secretary, Mr K.S. Panchhi, vice-president, and Mr Ravi Ahuja, chairman of the Rent Act Committee, in a statement, said the decision would stabilise the rents and give a reprieve to tenants.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, a real estate agent, observed that property rates would nosedive. He felt that there was an urgent need to implement the Model Rent Act.

It was being felt that there was a need to check the practice of renting out premises on 'pagri' (huge security deposits). There was a need for setting up special courts for quick settlement of cases, especially those related to old property.

"The need of the hour was to have a balanced Rent Act, that should be fair to property owners as well as the tenants. Real progress can be made only when property owners do not fear while letting out their property on rent and on the other hand, the tenant does not feel victimised at the hands of the owner", said Mr Amarjit Singh Baiji, a young electronics trader in Sector 22-B. 



Not a drop of clean water!
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and therefore, a basic human right, but children studying in villages of the City Beautiful are being deprived of it.
A visit to some schools has revealed that proper hygiene is not being maintained at these schools.

The children, who are prone to water-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya, have no choice but to drink water from tanks which are full of dirt and scum.

The water tank at the Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 38 (West), is a shambles.

“We have apprised the authorities concerned of the situation many a time. At least they should paint the tank again. They have applied a coating which will not let it be rusty. We clean the tank twice a day, but a dirty crust accumulates there”, says Principal Karam Chand.

There are drain sump pits at the entrance to the Government High School, Dadu Majra, with the metal tray of the cooler full of green algae.

“We clean the area surrounding the tank everyday, but there is acute shortage of staff. The cleanliness is looked after by the chowkidar and gullies are being maintained by the village panchayat, which hires contractors. We will tell them to do the needful”, says Principal Suman Malik.

The Government Senior Secondary School at Dhanas has a pool of stagnant water and broken window panes.

Principal Prem Joshi could not be contacted in spite of repeated attempts.

DPI(S) Ashwani Kumar says, “We had conducted a meeting of public health officials with heads of schools. Heads of schools should be held more responsible than the department. I do not have an idea when the department carried out spraying or fogging at schools to kill mosquitoes.”

“We have been hearing a lot about cases of dengue, especially in rural areas. We need to do something to prevent it”, says a student.

The DPI(S) says, “We had conducted awareness camps among children about dengue. A circular had been sent through the DEO office to all schools in this respect. I will look into the matter and take steps in this regard before the situation worsens.”

What is chikungunya?

Chikungunya is a disease spread by the female aedes aegypti mosquito and its symptoms are high fever, joint and muscle pain, vomiting and skin rashes.

The aedes aegypti mosquito breeds in small fresh water containers and bites during the day. Children infected with dengue face a lifetime risk of developing dengue haemorrhagic fever if they are infected with a different type of dengue.



Healthy India-US-China relations
will benefit Asia: Chinese expert

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
Building a healthy India-US-China relations serve the interest of not only the three nations, but would have benefits for Asia as well as the world.
Stating this here today, Chinese arms control expert, Dr Ouyang Liping, said that new and wider areas for cooperation such as energy, maritime security, counter-terrorism, cross-border organised crime and reducing misconception should be explored.

Posted as Deputy Director, Division for Arms Control and Security Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International relations, Beijing, Dr Liping was here to deliver a talk on Relations Among Nations in a Globalised World as part of the ongoing International Conference on Peace and Development in memory of P.N. Haksar at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here.

Besides security issues, both countries have other issues and problems like managing and feeding huge populations, corruption, poverty, booming bilateral economy and confidence-building measures to deal with, for improving and stabilising bilateral relationships, Dr Liping said.

Calling for a Moscow-Delhi-Beijing triangular relationship, Dr Abdusamat Khaydarov from the Department of International Relations, Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies, said that the triple alliance would give an opportunity to each side to achieve specific goals, particularly in relations with the USA.

Tripartite relations, he said, could restrain an arms race in Asia through cooperation within the framework of the United Nations and other international organisations as well as prevent potential conflicts in other regions.

He said that despite a number of positive achievements, experts still are not inclined to consider the adjustment of relations between Moscow, Delhi and Beijing to create a tripartite alliance.

Professor Maria Vidyasova from Moscow State University gave an overview of the developments in the Arab world, while Dr Hirorichi Yamaguchi, professor on international studies from Japan discussed Japan’s role in Asia and the world and its contribution towards peace and development. Chairman, Peace Committee, The Council of States, Sudan, Dr Canon C. Janda spoke on the challenge of the Sudanese peace and development experience.

Summing up the proceedings, Governor of Karnataka, Dr T N Chaturvedi, said though globalisation was supposed to bring in peace and solve problems, this has not happened.

He said there were reservations in the minds of some major players in the global scenario.

A presentation on Human Rights and Peace and Development was made by Professor Santhi Ramanie De Silva Jayatilaka from the Department of Sociology, University of Colombo.



International Film Festival in Goa from Nov 23
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The 37th International Film Festival of India(IFFI) will be held in Goa from November 23 onwards. The theme of the 11-day festival is 'The Whole World is One Family'.
This was announced by Mr J.P.Singh, Chief Secretary of Goa, while addressing a press conference here today. He said the reason for the press conference in the city was to make the public as well as the regional film world aware about the new opportunities in the changing world of films.

The IFFI has already held press conferences at Hyderabad, Bangalore, Lucknow, Chennai, Mumbai, Kochi and Ahmedabad. Mr J.P.Singh said the inaugural function would feature leading stars from the regional cinema and music, including Harbhajan Mann from Punjab, South Indian super-hero Prabhudeva and Bhojpuri super star Manoj Tewari.

The festival will be inaugurated by actor Shashi Kapoor. The event will feature a special retrospective on Prithviraj Kapoor and NIFD films, including Gandhi, Agantuk, Jaane Bi Do Yaaro and Mirch Masala, besides others. The section will also have a retrospect feature on G. Aravindum, an ace filmmaker from South.

He said special musical evenings would be organised during the festival. The performers include Boney M, Harbhajan Mann and an evening of Konkani music.

Speaking on the occasion Ms Nandni Paliwal, CEO of the Entertainment Society of Goa, said the foreign film category would concentrate specially on entries from France, Spain, Brazil and Japan.

The festival which boasts of finest films from the earlier year will open with Penelope Cruz starrer comedy Volver which bagged the 'Best Screenplay' and 'Best Actress' award at Festival de Cannes.

The festival aims at providing a one-stop shop for film artistes, directors, producers, critics and film lovers to appreciate and discuss the finer nuisances of quality.

The best film will bag the Golden Peacock( Rs 10,00,000 cash award), Silver Peacock(Rs 5000000 cash) ad a special jury award.The jury will have Rolf de Heer, an award winning director from Australia, as the chairman. 



Watch out

V.N. Singh
Mr V.N. Singh

The Museum Computer Network, an internationally known non-profit organisation of professionals dedicated to fostering the cultural aims of museums through the use of computer technologies, has awarded the Computer Network Conference Scholarship to Mr V.N. Singh Director, Government Museumand Art Gallery of Chandigarh. He will be participating in its 34th annual conference at Pasadena, California, USA, which commences Wednesday onwards.

The Conference will be attended by over 250 museum, library and visual resources professionals and give an opportunity to delegates to exchange ideas at an international platform. Mr Singh is a known museologist in the country and specialises in the digital documentation and management of museum collections.



In Town

Margot Politis
Margot Politis

Adelaide-based actor and performer Margot Politis, presenter of popular Australian TV programme, “Study English”, will visit the Sector 32 GGDSD College on Wednesday to give two presentations to students on the benefits of international education in the global business world. She will also offer hints and tips on taking the all-important IELTS test.

Margot graduated in 2003 from Flinders University Drama Centre with an honours degree in creative arts and drama performance.



Passing Through

Prof Dipankar Gupta
Prof Dipankar Gupta, Centre for Study of Social Systems; Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

How are social sciences and peace and development inter-related ?

Development has to do with removing blockages in the path of prosperity, where the entire society becomes rich and not just a small section. Development approach should be more broad-based, and effective development can take place only when a nation is in a state of internal peace. Social sciences, peace and development are mutually compatible.

What are the blockages in the path of prosperity in India ?

We have not paid adequate attention to the agrarian sector and the farmers find it very difficult to make both ends meet. They are looking towards getting out of this sector. We also need to have a comprehensive land development policy and regulations should be suitably modified.

What can be done to remove such blockages ?

We need to establish a very good infrastructure. There cannot be development when we do not have good education and quality health care for the masses. These public services are the basic necessity. We must also listen to the farmers’ aspirations, undertake reforms and make public services available. It is then that we will have internal peace and consequently, development. Also, the mindset of the policy makers must change. The policy should be devised after listening to people’s needs and not first devising a policy and then trying to make people adjust to it.

— Vijay Mohan



Slum dwellers to get one-room flats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The Chandigarh Administration has formulated a one-time scheme ‘The Chandigarh Small Flats Scheme-2006’, which will enable slum dwellers live a life of dignity and self respect. The Finance Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, issued a notification to this effect today.

The slum dwellers will be given a one-room house along with kitchen and toilet of 270 square feet covered area. One-room flats will be given on the monthly licence basis to prevent the allottees from arbitraging entitlements for their immediate short-term gains. These beneficiary families have already been identified by a biometric survey conducted by the Estate Office.

It has been pointed out that the Chandigarh Administration is seized of the social and administrative problems of a large number of slums dwellers spread all over the city in 18 colonies. More than 23,000 families have encroached upon government land in these colonies.

A press note issued by the administration said at least 200 acres of government land meant for developmental/commercial purpose had been illegally occupied by slum dwellers. After considering all aspects and also taking a humanitarian view of the whole issue, the Chandigarh Administration decided to allot one room flats on the monthly licence basis. All persons whose name appeared in the biometrics survey and voters’ list as on January 1, 2006, shall be eligible for the allotment of a flat.

The name of the person should also appear in the latest voters’ list of the year in which allotment is to be made. A person, who owns more than one habitation in any of the notified colonies in his own name or in the name of dependent member of his family, shall be entitled for the allotment of only one flat.



UPSC files affidavit in Chahal Jr case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) today filed a rejoinder-affidavit in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) here, stating that the moderation of answer books of Bikramjit Singh Chahal, son of Punjab Chief Minister’s media adviser B.I.S. Chahal, had been carried out in other cases as well.

Giving details of the subject-wise moderation, an exercise to evaluate answer books, the UPSC denied the allegations levelled by the applicant.

Through the application, Bikramjit had moved the tribunal against the UPSC, seeking the revaluation of answer books of the civil services (main) examination 2005.

He had charged UPSC chairman Gurbachan Jagat with sabotaging his candidature due to mala fide intentions.

The counsel for the UPSC stated that the answer books of the applicant would be submitted before the bench in a sealed cover.

The next date of hearing was fixed for December 12. The UPSC, its chairman and the Centre were made party.

At last month’s hearing, UPSC under secretary R.N. Juneja had said allegations against Mr Jagat were baseless.

Replying to the averment for rechecking answer books, Mr Juneja had maintained that no error was observed and the answer books were rechecked.

In a competitive exam, it was not appropriate for a candidate to judge his own performance and Mr Jagat had no role in matters connected with confidential work, stated the previous affidavit filed by the UPSC.

Bikramjit had filed a rejoinder, challenging the reply filed by Mr Juneja.

Bikramjit had also raised questions on the moderation conducted by the UPSC in his case.

In the reply by Mr Juneja, it was maintained that moderation of answer books was carried out.

Bikramjit had asked the UPSC whether moderation was carried out only in his case or in other cases as well.

He had also alleged that by targeting him, the UPSC chairman was settling personal scores with his father.



Stone laid by VIP — tale of unkept promise
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
Come election time and politicians “in connivance” with top bureaucrats promise the moon to the electorate. While some politicians do inaugurate the schemes and projects with much fanfare, the foundation stones tell a different story.

This is a story behind a foundation stone laid by the actor-turned-politician and former Union Health Minister Shatrughan Sinha on September 29, 2002, during his first visit to the PGI after taking charge of the Health Ministry.

After four years of laying the foundation stone of a trauma centre as an extension of the overcrowded Emergency OPD in the hospital, nothing has been done in this context till date. The PGI authorities, instead of starting the construction of the building, has converted the site into a parking lot while the “stone” has gathered dust because of its negligent attitude.

The trauma centre was planned to ease the overcrowded Emergency OPD and to provide better medical care to critical patients. The sanctioned cost of the 112-bedded centre was Rs 23 crore, including the building cost of the Rs 12 crore. With facilities like six operation theatres, 16 private wards and 20 intensive care units, other facilities like MRI, CT scan, X-ray, laboratories and diagnostic centres, in addition to the cafeteria, chemist shop, waiting areas and cloakroom were also proposed.

Scores of accident victims and other serious patients lose their lives for want of adequate medical assistance in Chandigarh’s neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir every year., but the PGI management has turned a blind eye towards the construction of the centre.

As per the hospital records, nearly 350 to 400 patients are being registered at the Emergency OPD every day. The patient-doctor ratio has dwindled rapidly in last couple of years that has further put additional burden on the doctors on emergency duty.

The PGI authorities have been claiming that hospitals in the neighbouring states were ill-equipped and even doctors there were not having exposure to latest medical equipments following which patients have to suffer a lot. However, the PGI authorities too have been showing its inability in handling the huge load of patients and have even appealed to the hospital authorities in the neighbouring states not to refer every case of them.

Mr Jagdev Sharma, a resident of Hamirpur, opined that the hospital authorities should have taken up the construction of the trauma centre at the earliest so that the patients struggling for lives could be saved.

The official spokesperson of the PGI, however, claimed that the authorities were pursuing the case with the Health Ministry for the construction of the trauma centre.



Operation cell to aid crime branch crack Dimpy case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
In an attempt to speed up investigation into the Prabhjinder Singh Dimpy murder case, senior officials of the Chandigarh police today directed its operation cell to assist the crime branch in proceedings.

Members of Dimpy’s family had recently levelled allegations against the Chandigarh police that it was working under pressure from Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal and was not investigating the case properly.

They had alleged that the police was shielding the accused. They had also met the Chandigarh Administrator, seeking his intervention.

In a statement issued by the Chandigarh police, it was asserted that while reviewing the progress of the investigation, it had been found that in spite of sincere efforts of the crime branch, the culprits had not been identified.

It had therefore, decided to associate officials of the operation cell with the investigation into the case.

It was maintained by the local police that though the crime branch had been working on various theories of crime and had been interrogating a large number of people suspected to be involved in the murder, the association of the operation cell would help in enlarging the scope of investigation and in working on various theories about and motives behind for the killing.

The police said during the course of investigation, the names of Sandeep Singh, alias Bhau, and Jaswinder Singh, alias Rocky, had figured as possible suspects in the case, who could have a motive behind the crime.

Although these persons had been directed to join the investigation several times and thoroughly interrogated, sufficient evidence to connect them with the crime could not be found.

In order to reach a definitive conclusion, the police had moved an application in court for conducting brain mapping and narco-analysis tests on them.

The court had granted its approval to conducting these tests and a detailed questionnaire was being framed.

Suitable dates from the forensic science laboratory were being sought to proceed further.

To ascertain the involvement of Harneev Kaur, or otherwise, an application had been moved in court for subjecting her to brain mapping and narco-analysis tests.

Once permission would be granted by court, necessary action would follow.



Illegal gate: police beats hasty retreat
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 7
The police and a team of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority ( GMADA) staff had to withdraw hastily in the face of stone throwing by residents of Nehru Colony in Phase III-A here today.

As the protesters heavily outnumbered the police and GMADA employees, the latter were left with no choice except to save their skin by running away from the spot.

A team of GMADA employees , along with the police had gone to Phase III-A to close a gate which residents of Nehru Colony had made illegally by breaking a part of the boundary wall. As soon as the work of closing the gate began, resentment started building up among residents. Soon, nearly 200 persons gathered and started pelting stones at the police and GMADA employees. Even the wall which had been raised about 3-feet high was pulled down.. Nehru Colony falls in Chandigarh, but residents depend on Mohali for all their needs. They had broken the boundary wall to enter the adjoining Phase III-A.

The GMADA team was accompanied by 20 police personnel who were unable to control the crowd. The police was not accompanied by women staff and as such women protesters could not be handled.

When the situation went out of control, the SDM, Mr Sandeep Hans, reached the scene and tried to pacify the agitated mob. He said he had called some residents of the colony to his office tomorrow to talk about the matter.

An official of the GMADA said that the Administration had been informed well in advance about the operation so that proper security arrangements could be made because retaliation had been witnessed at earlier instances when an attempt was made to plug the illegal entry.

He said residents of Phase III-A had been complaining time and again that persons living in the Nehru Colony not only created unhygienic conditions in the area but also indulged in unlawful activities. They had demanded that their entry into Phase III-A should be stopped. 



His search for freedom ended in death
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 7
Lying lifeless behind a locked gate, a three-year-old sambhar met death in his search for freedom. Found dead this morning in Industrial Area, Phase 1, the sambhar died due to a head injury, suffered while he tried to jump over the gate to return to where he came from.

Morning to afternoon, he lay at the plot as little children and inquisitive onlookers crowded around the gate, full of pity for the animal as he lay bleeding from the mouth. Some of them scaled the gate to enter the plot and stroked the dead sambhar that had strayed into the city from the surrounding forest area at Moginand village.

Kiosk owners, witness to the sambhar’s arrival yesterday, said he strayed into the city late last night. Blinded by city lights and vehicular traffic, the scared animal scurried around in search of cover. Unable to find a secure shelter anywhere around, he ventured into the plot open from one end and surveyed the entire area for a place to hide.

Unnerved at being alone in a strange place and surrounded by high boundary walls, he finally found an opening and made one last giant leap to freedom, hoping it would deliver him from fear and anxiety. He crashed against the shed atop the gate, hitting it head on, fell to the ground with a thud and never got up. His search for freedom ended with one last whimper. Then on he lay motionless at the spot.

As night gave way to light, inquisitive onlookers, accompanied by children from surrounding shanties, began thronging the place. The crowd grew as still others stopped to “investigate” the reason for the big crowd at a vacant plot. It was the employees of an industrial unit nearby who took the initiative and informed the police about the dead sambhar. The police, in turn, made one round of the place and did not come back.

Later, in the afternoon, the Chief Wildlife Warden, Mr RD Jakati, was informed about the animal lying at the plot. It was then that the Wildlife Department swung into action and removed the dead sambhar, proceeded for a post-mortem before giving him a quiet burial.

An official said that in wasn’t unusual for a young sambhar to stray into the city during their mating season which is on. “The young sambhars are usually scared away by the senior sambhars and come into the city. Petrified by glaring lights and loud sounds, they invariably end up dead in road accidents. The post-mortem report has suggested that this sambhar died due to a head injury,” he added. 



Muslims want a share of the pie
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The Muslim community of the city wants its pie in the coming Municipal
Corporation elections. In a communication to Ms Sonia Gandhi, president, All-India Congress Committee, the community has asked for adequate representation during distribution of party ticket.

Though the community has been playing an active role in all political activities, it has never made a serious attempt into electoral politics in the city. “We have been stereotyped by the community and will like to change this, using the MC poll as a stepping stone for that,” stated Mr Arshad Khan, spokesperson for the United Progressive Muslim Front.

The letter written by the front states, “for many years, the Congress has not fielded any candidate from the community and the community requires adequate representation. The candidates who are given ticket should be community consensual candidates.”

The front asked Ms Gandhi to give ticket to Ms Dilshad Shah from Ward 20, a reserved ward for the woman (general) category. She is a daughter of Mr Mohammad Sadiq, chairman of the minority cell of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC).

Another ticket was sought for Mr S.M. Khan, a property dealer and owner of hotel Al Karim in Sector 35. A CTCC member for the past 20 years, he intended getting a ticket from Ward 24.

The front also sought support for Maulana Shakeel Ahmad Quasmi, a religious cleric, aalim from Dar-ul-ullom Deoband, for being one among the nine nominated candidates. Meetings had also been held with Mr B.B. Bahl, president, CTCC, and Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister of State for Finance.

Other parties too had been approached by Muslim candidates for ticket. Mr Mohammad Salim Khan, who had relations with the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, asked for a ticket from Ward 13.

The BJP intended fielding a candidate soon. According to senior party leaders, they had received two applications. As far as senior Muslim leaders of the city were concerned, they would like their community to be represented in the MC, irrespective of affiliations.

In the 2001 MC elections, four candidates from the Muslim community had contested. None of them had won. While two were Independents, one was supported by the SP and another by the JD(U).



NCP to contest from 26 wards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will go it alone in the forthcoming elections to the municipal corporation and contest from 26 wards.

Announcing this here today, NCP national secretary Rajinder Bhardwaj said public issues like issuance of SC certificates, simplification of ration card procedure and ownership rights to tenement allottees would be highlighted in the run-up to the elections.

The party organised a mass programme at the Colony No. 4.



Cong goes to poll with uneasy
truce between Bansal, Bahl

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The Minister of State for Finance, Mr Pawan Bansal, and the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) chief, Mr B.B. Bahl, may have buried the hatchet, but the Congress will go to the municipal corporation (MC) poll with an uneasy truce between the two leaders.

In fact, the distribution of tickets for the civic body poll is going to an uphill task for the CTCC leadership.

With scores of prospective candidates, including sitting councillors, waiting in the wings for the party ticket, keeping leaders of the two factions in good humour is going to pose major a problem for the leadership.

Though the performance of the party in the 2001 MC elections and the 2004 Lok Sabha elections looks impressive, repeating that performance may not be that easy for a variety of reasons such as anti-incumbency, rebel candidates and faction-fighting. To top it all, the BJP-CVM-SAD alliance may pose a formidablc challenege and rock the Congress boat, which is riding high on the development plank.

The Congress think tank also seems to be banking on the results of the latest battle of votes among the major parties in the 2004 Lok Sabha poll.

Two years is a long time in politics and with people's expectations rising with each passing day, the anti-incumbency factor may come into play against the Congress. Coupled with the choice of candidates, it will have a far-reaching impact on the fortunes of the civic body poll, a dress rehearsal for the Punjab Assembly poll in February 2007.



Raj Babbar’s Jan Morcha launched in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The formation of the “third front” for the forthcoming elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) got a shot in the arm today with the launch of actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar’s outfit, Jan Morcha, here.

Within minutes of the launch of the Jan Morcha by the national general secretary, Mr Vinod Singh, the morcha leaders announced an “understanding” with the Akali Dal 1920 of former Punjab Speaker Ravi Inder Singh for the MCC elections.

Mr Tarlochan Singh Bittu, who was appointed president of the local unit, said the morcha would forge an alliance with non-Congress and non-BJP-CVM-SAD alliance with a view to form the “third front” for the civic body poll.

Mr Vinod Singh announced that morcha president Raj Babbar would soon come out with its strategy for the Punjab poll.



Major fire in Lalru scrap shop
Tribune News Service

Lalru, November 7
A major fire was reported from the township today.
The fire, which first broke out in the shop of a scrap dealer, engulfed the nearby shops. Scrap items, including condemned tyres, copper wires, besides huge quantity of old newspapers, were destroyed in the fire.

However, timely intervention by Fire Brigade personnel, led by Mr B.S. Sidhu, Fire Officer of Dera Bassi, and Mr Davinder Singh Dogra, Fire Officer of Mohali, prevented further loss. Fire engines from Dera Bassi, Mohali, Dapper and Ambala City were pressed into service to put out the blaze.

The electricity supply was disrupted for some time as the flames emanating from the fire damaged the electricity wires. No loss of life was reported.



Voters’ card drive from today
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 7
The work of making photo identity cards for the Kharar constituency in connection with the forthcoming Assembly elections will start tomorrow.
Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM, said today work of making photo identity cards would go on till December 9 and all arrangements in this regard had been completed.

He said apart from making new identity cards the staff on duty would also get duplicate cards made in place of those made earlier but having mistakes.

Six teams were deputed for clicking photographs. In case voters had lost their cards, they could get new ones made on a payment of Rs 25.

He said the voter cards would be mandatory in the Assembly elections.



A clarification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
Reacting to a news item “New Generation Apt residents get raw deal” (October 3), the counsel for New Generation Real Estate has clarified that his client is strictly adhering to the approved site plan, besides the terms and conditions of the sale documents.

In a communication to The Tribune, he claimed that his company was the promoter of the apartments approved under the Punjab Government’s Town and Country Planning Scheme. The multistoreyed flats had been constructed near the railway crossing on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur-Panchkula road.

A few residents, in an attempt to “usurp power and control the complex”, launched a false propaganda against his client. As a part of the “conspiracy”, a “handful” of them gathered in the complex on October 2 and called the newspaper correspondent, he alleged.

He said a company official showed the correspondent the approved drawing and handed over to him a draft copy of the apartment buyers’ agreement. Besides this, he was also shown a copy of a civil writ petition filed by the New Generation Apartments Residents Welfare Society, the orders passed by the high court, the details of the action taken by the Punjab Government and consumer complaints filed by the society “which stood duly withdrawn”.

The correspondent, without waiting to talk to the company’s Director R.M. Singla and without referring to the documents, “concocted a totally false and baseless story”, the counsel said.

The Tribune Correspondent adds: The news item is based on written representation forwarded by the New Generation, Apartments Welfare Society to the builder. It was prepared after carrying out an “on-the-spot” assessment. As company Director R.M. Singla could not be contacted, the project manager was contacted on the phone. His version regarding the provision of basic amenities to the residents was incorporated in the report. He did not give this correspondent any documents. 



Cop sent to Police Lines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
Taking a serious note of gross misconduct on the part of an inebriated Head Constable, who hurled abuses on a woman and her husband at a bus stop on-road separating Sectors 32 and 46 yesterday, the UT Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) today placed him under suspension with immediate effect and sent him to the Police Lines.

Taking cognisance of media reports the SSP placed HC Gurnam Singh, under suspension and a regular departmental inquiry into the entire episode was being initiated.



Demolition drive carried out

Chandigarh, November 7
A demolition drive was carried out to remove unauthorised structures at Mauli Jagran and Mani Majra. An official said the structures consisted of places of worship, shops and jhuggis which had come up recently.

The drive was carried out following reports from the task force. The demolished structures include a mosque at Charan Singh Colony, two temples, 25 temporary kiosks, all in Mauli Jagran, and 25 jhuggis in Mani Majra. The demolition will continue in the coming days. — TNS



UK-based poet honoured
Tribune News Service

Tara Singh Aalam
Dr Tara Singh Aalam

Chandigarh, November 7
The Academy of National Literature and Culture honoured Dr Tara Singh Aalam, a noted literary figure based in England, here yesterday evening.
Dr Aalam is a poet and also a journalist, besides practising homoeopathy. He was handed over a letter of appreciation, besides a momento.

A cross section of personalities from the world of literature, including Prof Darshan Singh, Dr Lekhraj Parwana, H.Pal Singh, Kewal Shivpuri, Dr Panna Lal and Chaman Lal, were also present on the occasion.



Couple held for denying entrance to paying guests
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The local police arrested a man, his wife and their acquaintance for allegedly not allowing their paying guests to enter into the house rented to them.
Sources in the police said Vimal Gupta of Patiala, his wife Raman Gupta and their friend Usha Sidhu were arrested today on the basis of a joint complaint lodged by their tenants, Manmeet Singh of Gurdaspur and Manjit Singh of Ludhiana.

A case of wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation and breach of trust under Sections 341, 506 and 406 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered in this regard in the Sector 39 police Station.

Giving details, the police said on Sunday both parties had lodged complaints against each other. Manmeet and Manjit alleged that they were denied entry into the accommodation rented to them by Gupta’s. They told the police that they had given Rs 7,000 each. They further alleged that Gupta’s wife used to take keys from them when they go out, but later she denied them the keys.

On the other hand, Gupta in his complaint alleged that the youths were not his tenants. The police said they verified the complainants and found that the lodging was rented to the youths. The police further added that Gupta had a dispute with his landlord in whose premises he was running his paying guest accommodation. He was apprehending that his landlord had sent the youths to evict the house.

Both parties entered into a confrontation on Monday evening also. The police after verifying the complaints arrested Gupta, his wife and their friend. They were produced before a local court today which remanded them to judicial custody.



Man held with 15 stolen mobile phones
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police arrested a Sector 49 resident on the allegation of stealing mobile phones from shops. The police claimed to have recovered 15 stolen mobile phones from his possession.

Giving details, the in charge of the Crime Branch, Inspector Satbir Singh, said the accused was nabbed from Sector 17 on Monday evening on the basis of secrete information. He has been identified as Anuj Mehra, a resident of State Bank of India (SBI) Society flats, Sector 49.

“His preliminary interrogation led to recovery of 15 second-hand stolen mobile phones, which he had stolen from various shops in the city. He used to visit shops during rush hours in Sector 22 and 17 and asked shopkeepers to show phones. When the shopkeeper got busy with another customer, finding an opportunity he stole the mobile phones. He used to steal second-hand mobile phone as the shopkeeper generally does not have receipts of these sets,” revealed Inspector Satbir Singh.

He was today produced before a local court, which remanded him to one day of the police custody. The police said Anuj’s father had retired as DGM from SBI.

Burglary: Mr Sumir Handa of Sector 9, Panchkula, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Rs 50,000 was stolen from his office premises in Phase II, Ram Darbar, between November 4 and 6. He told the police that the thieves gained entry by breaking open the grill fixed in a ventilator. A case has been registered in this connection.

Car stereo stolen: Mr Deepak Bakhshi of Sector 43-B reported to the police alleging that a car stereo and CDs were stolen from his car parked at his residence during the intervening night of Sunday. A case has been registered.

Gambling: The local police arrested Echu of Mori gate, Mani Majra, Ashok Kumar, Bhushan Kumar, Deepak Kumar, all residents of Churian Wala Mohalla, Mani Majra, from Main Bazar in Mani Majra on Monday. The police recovered Rs 740 from their possession and registered a case under the Gambling Act.

Smack seized: The police today arrested Sunil Kumar of Sector 24-C from near Himachal Bhavan on a road dividing Sectors 24 and 25 while allegedly carrying five gram of smack. A case has been registered. 



Woman caught stealing on camera
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The installing of close-circuit television cameras (CCTV) in the office of the Registration and Licensing Authority has proved to be productive. A woman visitor, who had come to get her driving licence made, was recently caught on camera while stealing the purse of Payal, one of the staff members, from the inquiry counter.

The incident took place on November 3 during lunch break when the woman entered the area behind the counters with a plea to make some query. A scrutiny of the CTV footage revealed the identity of the woman.



Theft in bureaucrat’s house
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 7
Thieves broke into the house of a Punjab bureaucrat, Mr S.K. Ralhan, in the Sector 4 Mansa Devi Complex here today. The theft took place when the house was locked and unoccupied. Mr Ralhan and his family is away to the UK to visit this daughter.

His neighbour Mr A.K. Kaushik, said he saw a light in the house on Tuesday morning and presumed that the family had come back. But when there was no activity in the house, Mr Kaushik informed the police who found the house ransacked.



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