C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Counters shut
MC poll: ticket-seekers’ luck hangs in balance
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
With the submission of applications by ticket-seekers for three major parties coming to a close today, the runup to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections has sprung a surprise or two already.

The biggest one being the filing of application by P.C. Sanghi, nominated councillor of the MCC, seeking Congress ticket for ward Nos. 9 and 21.

It is perhaps for the first time that a nominated councillor has ever asked for a party ticket.

Interestingly, one of the conditions for nominating an individual to the MCC is he should not be affiliated with any political party.

Talking to the TNS, Mr Sanghi said: “Twelve associations of ward No. 9 have unanimously decided to field me as their candidate. Ward No. 21 has also extended me support. So I have shown interest.” “Also as the chairman of the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh (FOSWAC), I feel it should have a member in the MCC.”

Mr Sanghi stated that as a nominated member he could not “get the people’s work done”. “As an elected councillor, I will have funds at my disposal. Also, I don’t think second-time nomination is possible,” he added.

Two sitting councillors of the MCC along with their husbands have also sought tickets from the Congress.

It is also for the first time that a husband-wife duo have sought tickets, when wives are the councillors.

Harpreet Kaur Babla, already a councillor, has asked for a ticket from ward No. 18, while her husband Devinder Singh Babla, who contested the elections in 1996 and lost, has also sought a ticket from the same ward.

Senior Deputy Mayor Shyama Negi is seeking ticket from ward No. 8, while Santan Singh Negi is eying ward No. 9.

Today was the last date for submission of applications for tickets for the Congress. Till late evening, the party had received 150 applications. Women applicants for ward Nos. 18, 19 and 21 make up for 12 of these applications.

Meanwhile, 77 aspirants have applied for tickets of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch. The last date for receipt of applications for the party ended yesterday. According to party general secretary Sandeep Singh, tickets would be scrutinised soon.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has received 153 applications, scrutiny of which is yet to take place.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) has received 32 applications and are expected to contest from ward Nos. 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25 and 26.

According to party president Shivi Jaiswal, Mulsim candidates had applied for ward Nos. 13, 14, 24 and 26, of whom two were women.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has, however, not invited any applications as they have formed an alliance with the BJP and the CVM.

Capt Kanwanljit Singh said: “We have not invited any applications and are meeting the alliance parties on the issue of seat-sharing. We will decide on the candidates after that.”

Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has extended its last date for accepting applications to November 15.

“We have started the process and around 100 forms have been sold,” he added.

The Janata Dal (Secular) has yet to start work for the MCC elections.

Talking to the TNS, its general secretary Rajinder Mohan Kashyap stated: “We are keen on having a tie-up with another political party or field Independent candidates.”

The CPM has decided to field four candidates. Party secretary Mohammad Shenaz said Manjit Kaur would contest from ward No. 14, while candidates for ward Nos. 18, 20 and 26 were yet to be decided.

The CPI will contest on two seats. “There is a meeting on November 19 of the Chandigarh district council and we will make a decision after that,” stated district council secretary Devi Dayal Sharma.

The party currently plans to contest ward No. 21 by fielding Manjit Singh Tiwana.



Faux pas costs bank Rs 1 lakh

Panchkula, November 11
A faux pas by a Sector 25-based bank, which resulted in overdrawing of Rs 1 lakh by Ramgarh resident Ramgarh resident Makhan Singh, has cost it dearly.

Minutes after the excess payment was released to Makhan Singh, the man alleged that he was waylaid on the Panchkula-Ramgarh road and an amount of Rs 1.7 lakh was robbed from him by unidentified car-borne miscreants.

According to sources, Makhan had gone to the bank around 12.30 pm to withdraw a sum of Rs 70,000.

However, instead of handing him Rs 70,000, the bank staff inadvertently made a payment of Rs 1.7 lakh. When the mistake was realised, the bank staff were sent to look out for Makhan Singh, who had already left for Ramgarh on a scooter. According to Makhan Singh, four youths in a Zen car intercepted him on the Panchkula-Ramgarh road and robbed the amount. The police has registered a case against unidentified persons. — TNS



461 booths for pulse polio drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
Health Department is fully geared up for the forthcoming pulse polio Immunisation campaign scheduled to be held on November 12.

This was disclosed by the UT Director Health Services, Dr M.S. Bains, while talking to the press reporters at the District Family Welfare Bureau, Sector 22, here today.

Chandigarh has been divided into three zones. Each zone will be supervised by a monitor, area supervisors and Sector Supervisors. As many as 461 booths (stationary and mobile) will be set up, which will be manned by 1,844 vaccinators. Mobile booths will also be set up at the ISBT, Sectors 17 and 43, Railway Station and exit and entry points to the city.



SC certificates: draft finalised
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
The National Commission for Schedules Castes has initiated the process of issuing SC certificates to those residing in the Union Territory.

The development follows a series of meetings that Minister of State for Finance and local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal had with commission Chairman Fakir Bhai Vaghela.

Mr Vaghela has assured him of taking cognizance of the draft scheme for the SCs prepared by the UT.

The draft has already been forwarded to the Ministry of Social Justice.

The draft finalised by the Chandigarh Administration clearly provides that “a person should have been residing in the city for the past at least 10 years. He should provide a proof of his residence”.

The applicant should submit an affidavit relating to caste, residence and period of stay in the UT.

The particulars of the applicant will be displayed on the website and notice board of the issuing authority and also at the locality they reside in to allow objections, if any, against issuance of certificates to them.

The police is also required to make verifications before issuing the certificate.

It is noteworthy that the SC certificates were issued in routine before 1996. An applicant then had to submit a ration card, a voter’s card showing proof of residence in the city for at least five years. SC welfare associations, councillors or sarpanches made recommendations along with an affidavit.

However in 1996, the Law Officer ruled that certificates could only be provided to bona fide residents of the UT, which led to examination by the administration on legal grounds. The matter is stuck since then.

The certificates possessed by SCs, very few in number, show them as residents of their original states, which are not fit for any benefit to the card holders in the UT.

The problem of SC certificates in the UT has also arisen out of the unique character of the city. When it came into existence in 1966, a majority of the population settled here from other states.

Those belonging to the SC community who then came here as workers did not bring along SC certificates with them and now when their children have grown up, they have started seeking the certificate for various benefits.

Most of the people who settled here cannot get the certificate from their place of origin, as they no longer have properties there.

Also, they are unable to furnish their proof of residence in the UT on or before 1966, as they came as unregistered workers and maintained no records.

The administration is facing problems in issuing certificates for want of clarification from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.



Watch out

Eminent city-based thespian Umesh Kant is in Kolkata with the cast of his drama production “Ek Aur Dronacharya” for its staging tomorrow at the 18th All-India Sadbhvana Rangmanch Mahautsav there.

Incidentally, it is the first-ever Hindi production to take part in the five-day annual festival being held at Sujata Theatre Auditorium, Kolkata.

“Ek Aur Dronacharya”, a classic play sculpted by Shanker Shesh and directed by Umesh Kant, had won acclaim at the Pune Theatre Festival and recently at the NZCC drama festival, Allahabad.

Umesh Kant, an alumnus of the Department of Indian Theatre, Panjab University, is the recipient of Punjab state honour of “Shiromani Natak Nirdeshak” and currently the director of leading drama ensemble Theatre Lab.



In Town

Uttar Pradesh-based budding batsman Amit Chopra is in town to blitzkrieg in the Under-19 National Twenty-20 Cricket Championship, starting from November 12 to 19 at three venues.

The middle-order batsman has represented Railways in the Cooch Vihar Trophy in the Under-19 category. Representing UP, Amit will be seen in action against Haryana at DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, on Sunday.



Passing Through

Is this your first visit to the city?

Aqeel Khan
Aqeel Khan, tennis player from Pakistan 

Yes, very first. India has been a happy hunting ground for me. I have won titles on the Indian soil in the ITF satellite and futures circuits. Now, I will cherish Chandigarh in my memory as we have won the third Test of the inaugural SAIL Indo-Pak Tennis Series on the CLTA courts.

What are your achievements in this game?

I have played some fabulous games in nearly a dozen Davis Cup ties spanning over a period of seven years from 1998. I finished runner-up to Norikazu Sugiyama of Japan in the Satellite Circuit in 2004 held in India. In the same year, I won the Indian National championship held in August.

How popular is tennis in Pakistan?

Tennis is not very popular in our country. Like in India, it is only cricket which is treated as a religion. Then comes hockey and other games. Parents over there hardly see any future in this game so they seldom encourage their children to take it up seriously. But, the trend is changing slowly.

How do you compare our infrastructure with that of your country’s?

Definitely, yours is better. I am very impressed to see the CLTA courts which are very well maintained. I hope to see it get better as the Governor has announced to uplift the courts further. I wish we had such kind of facilities in Pakistan.

How is tennis helpful in bringing two countries closer?

Like Indo-Pakistan encounters in cricket or hockey, this new venture of four bilateral Test series in tennis will be helpful in making the relationship cordial between the two countries. — G.S. Pauls



Development works okayed
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, November 11
Development projects, including beautification schemes involving an expenditure of about Rs 4 crore, have been cleared by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA).

Work of development and maintenance had virtually come to a standstill in the absence of the required staff at the GMADA which was set up about three months ago. Implementation of schemes are now expected to be speeded up with the services of 190 employees of PUDA being placed at the disposal of the GMADA on deputation under an officer order of PUDA dated November 1.

The staff shifted to the GMADA include divisional engineers, sub divisional engineers, architects, junior engineers, clerks and Class IV employees. Some works are to be carried out by the municipal council.

The projects, cleared at a meeting held under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Administrator, GMADA, involved small works. Bigger projects are to be cleared later. According to sources, in the case of larger projects two committees have been set up by the GMADA.

One of the panels will deal with projects involving an expenditure of up to Rs 1 crore. It will be headed by the Additional Chief Administrator (Headquarters). The second committee, to be headed by the Chief Administrator, will approve projects worth more than Rs 1 crore.

Deadlines for completion of works have been set to ensure the utilisation of funds before the end of the current financial year.

The projects cleared at the GMADA meeting held recently included the landscaping of the central median road dividing Sectors 61 — 62 from Yadavindra Public School (YPS) to Sohana. A triangular green belt near the YPS roundabout is also to be landscaped. It was also decided to construct footpaths on both sides of the widened road from the NIPER bridge to the Industrial Area, Phase IX.

Renovation work has been proposed in the markets on Phases I, II, III B, V and VII. The markets in Phases X and XI are to be included in the second phase of the work. Public toilets blocks are also to be completed in market areas.

It has also been decided that the municipal council will undertake the fixing of bilingual reflective signboards, on the Chandigarh pattern, at all junctions of inter-sector roads.

Under one of the schemes cleared, all roundabouts are to be painted white with reflective traffic indicators fixed on four sides. Landscaping is to be improved at the roundabouts at Madanpura, the truck union area and the Dara studio.

The road from Semi-Conductors Ltd (SCL) to the Chandigarh border will be taken up for special cleaning of berms and the repair of footpaths and sidewalks by the civic body.

Besides, landscaping work along the industrial area from PCL to SCL will be completed with the planting of winter annuals. Work on the widening of two roads near the truck union area is to be completed in all respects, along with central median lighting, by the council by the end of this month.

Regarding the development of the Mango Park, near the Ranbaxy factory, efforts are to made to bring about general improvement. The area between the boundary wall and the footpath is to be cleaned.

In the case of the City Park, it has been decided that the scope of work in the second phase will be finalised. A decision will also be taken on the lease of booths in the park.



CRRID conference ends on note of spirituality
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
The International Conference on Peace and Development in memory of P.N. Haksar at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here ended on a theological note today, with experts discussing the role of spirituality in the process of peace and development. .

Stressing that spirituality does not mean praying endlessly or blindly following a cult or self-style godman, Director PGIMER, Chandigarh, Prof K.K. Talwar, said that spirituality is reflected in thoughts, actions, habits and day-to-day work.

Citing the example of the USA, which is the most scientific country and yet has a strong church going community with thriving new age spirituality, he said that science, religion and spirituality are essentially compatible.

He said that what science has not been able to explain, becomes the domain of spirituality, but it is important to realise that what science has not been able to explain till now, it will do so in the future.

All religions teach mankind to live in peace and harmony, yet large numbers of killings take place in the name of religion. Religion, he said, should be a means to attain spirituality and not to get bogged down in meaningless triviality.

Stating that spirituality helps cleanse the thought process, Mr Askok Arora, advocate in the Supreme Court of India opined that if spirituality were to become the basis for development, then peace would itself restore.

He said that every religion teaches peace and compassion but unproductive and meaningless rituals, often banking on superstition, are spoiling religion and putting the younger generations off the path of spirituality.

Visiting professor at CRRID, Col Subhash Bakshi (retd), said that spirituality was a personal thing and its definitions and understanding differed from person to person.

He said that a lot of development has taken place throughout the world but problems of mankind have increased manifold with it. He said that the world is a disturbed place today because man is not at peace with himself and hence cannot manifest peace.

A large number of scholars and experts in various fields associated with peace and development from India as well as abroad had attended the conference, which had commenced on November 4. A wide array of topics and subjects were discussed and issues deliberated.



Bhai Mardana’s descendant performs at kirtan darbar
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, November 11
Kirtan by Bhai Lal, a descendant of Bhai Mardana, a close associate of Guru Nanak, was the highlight of the kirtan darbar organised by the Guru Nanak Nam Leva Society here last night. According to a press note issued here today, prominent ragis enthralled the audience at the kirtan darbar, which started around 6 p.m. and continued well past midnight.

A former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, felicitated the ragis.



ITBP first-aid drill competition ends

Chandigarh, November 11
NE-1 Sector won the team championship trophy at the 30th inter-sector First Aid and Ambulance Drill competition of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force, which concluded yesterday at the Composite Hospital, here. Garhwal Sector was adjudged runners-up. — TNS



CTA to challenge erroneous notifications
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
It seems that the quashing of the Rent Act notification by the apex court has opened a Pandora’s Box for the Chandigarh Administration.

After winning a legal battle with the administration over “unauthorised” use of legislative powers by the executive in amending the Rent Act notification, the Commercial Tenant Association (CTA) — the body which challenged the notification — has now threatened to challenge all such notifications which have changed the entire objective of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952.

“Since policies have been framed in contravention of the Legislative Policy, we would be challenging the Apartment Act, Leasehold Policies, Multiplex policy and permission for change of land use, Commercial Establishment Act, regularising structures under the Periphery Act and auctioning of liquor vends,” said Mr Arvind Jain, president of the Chandigarh Tenant Association (CTA).

Addressing a press conference, Mr Jain said due to the erroneous notification by the administration, traders had to spent lakh of rupees first in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and then in the Supreme Court. “From the filing of the SLP to its logical end, a number of litigations came in district courts and number of properties in the city were got vacated by the mighty in connivance with the police, advocates and bureaucrats. A number of tenants suffered irreparable loss and number of investors lost money,” said office-bearers of the CTA.

Quoting the operative part of the judgment, the CTA said the apex court had observed, “The legislative objective and policy indisputably must be considered having regard to the preamble and other core provisions of the Act. Section 3 although is part of the Act, but the same cannot be said to contain an in built policy so as to empower the administrator to do all such things which can be done by the legislature itself.”

Taking credit for pursuing the SLP, Mr Jain was critical about the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal for not supporting the case. In the same tone, he announced that sensing the mood of the public, the CTA had decided to field candidates in the forthcoming elections to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.



Hoteliers told to tie up with brand names
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
Marked experts, stalwarts of the hotel and tourism industry impressed upon the hoteliers to either tie up with brand names or in alternative go in for professional training.

Addressing the gathering of hoteliers at Hotel Aroma on the second day of the 42nd annual convention of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), veterans in the field, including Man Mohan Kohli, Mandeep Lamba, Ajay Bakaya and Saeed Sherwani said tie ups were desirable in the absence of expertise. The Tribune is the media sponsor of the event.

The experts added that allowing someone else to run business was difficult for a hotelier but it was beneficial as it brought professionalism to the organisation. “The hoteliers should do their homework well and go in for a tie up after convincing themselves,” said Mr Lamba, an expert.

He added that the system of collaboration was transparent and the hoteliers should not fear the gobbling up of their organisations due to tie-ups. In alternative, the hoteliers could join professional training in hotel management institute or adopt professional approach by visiting other hotels.

Another speaker Ajay Bakaya said the industry was now facing the challenging of people leaving the industry for joining the information technology sector or the call centers. The problem could be solved by adopting a hotel management institute or by hiring housewives with good voice for room service either in the morning or the afternoon shift.

Later during the day at Hotel Mountview the dais wore a deserted look as some of the delegates scheduled to arrive got late due to a delayed flight. 



Shervani wants budget hotels for common tourist
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
Tourism in the country is on the fast track of development with a steady 8.5 per cent growth rate. But the present tourism policy of the government is off-line. It actually does not encourage the setting up of budget hotels across the country for the common tourist out of his house for sightseeing — at least this is what the Managing Director of Shervani Hospitalities Limited-cum-honorary secretary of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India S.M. Shervani has to say.

In Chandigarh for attending a three-day annual convention organised by the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), he says the policy still existing in several states is actually pushing the hotels out of the common tourists’ reach.

Elaborating, he asserts that the high rate of land offered through the open auction process makes it difficult for the hoteliers to set up budget hotels in the country. “The real buyers of hotel sites now are builders and land developers, instead of hoteliers,” he asserts.

Offering a solution, he asserts that the governments at least in this part of the region should come out with a policy for allotting one, two and three star hotel sites to people with experience at confessional rates or on lease-hold basis. This can be done by treating hotels as a part of the infrastructure to be developed by the state agencies.

“They have the expertise and the knowledge, the only thing they lack is money to invest in land and set up a hotel,” he says. “Give land to people with proven track record and three to five years experience. With their expertise they will provide you with the best budget hotel.”

Such policy, Mr Shervani asserts, is all the more essential in the light of the fact that over 250 million local tourists are on the move within the country, annually. They too need a break and a decent place to stay.

He concludes by saying: “The government should also do away with the policy of charging commercial rates for power. Charge them the industrial rates so that they can pass on the benefit to the guests”. 



Lure of herbs, spices has held her captive here
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
The lure of spices and herbs is making her stay back in India for a couple of more days.

An expert in spa management and the president-cum-founder of Thailand-based Sivalai spa, Ms Sarah Kajonborrirak, intends to remain here for taking back home some rare herbs and flowers, though she has no immediate plans of expanding her operations to cover the country.

Attending a three-day annual convention organised by the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), she says herbs and flowers are essential ingredients of spa treatment. “Though Thailand produces a large number of spices and herbs, I am looking for something extra to import to my country,” she asserts.

Ms Kajonborrirak says lack of information about the availability and the variety of aromatic plant in India is making her task difficult. “This is the first time I am coming to this country. As such, I know very little about the flora and fauna of the place,” she says. “There are research organisations across the globe offering detailed information about the spices and herbs available in different countries. But even they have nothing to say about the range and variety of such plants grown and available in India.”

In her spa-training and aerobics school, she offers as many as 60 different types of treatments. 



Property dealers seek cut in collectorate rates
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 11
The Haryana State Property Dealers Welfare Association today demanded the reduction in the collectorate rates (official rate for the registration of land) in Panchkula.

Addressing a press conference here today, association chairman O.P. Oberoi and president Suresh Aggarwal claimed that the collectorate rates in Gurgaon were lower than those in Panchkula.

While in Gurgaon the rates varied from Rs 7,500 to 15,000 per sq yd, in Panchkula they ranged between Rs 12,000 and Rs 18,000.

Urging the authorities concerned to allow the construction of three storeys in the township on the Chandigarh pattern, they alleged that currently only two and half storeys were allowed here.

Seeking the reduction in the stamp duty from 8 per cent to 6 per cent, general secretaries Satish Mehndiratta and Vivek Sharma alleged that the high rates discouraged property transactions in the current recession-ridden market.

The 2 per cent municipal cess in the 8 per cent, which was levied even in areas that were not under the jurisdiction of the municipal council, should be withdrawn, they demanded.

Mr Aggarwal also sought the withdrawal of the recent amended policy of transfer of flats of the Haryana Housing Board.

The allottees should be allowed to transfer flats to persons belonging to any category of buyers, he contended.



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