C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Tribune Special
In Mohali, govt plays foul yet again
Bypasses transparency in picking company for master plan
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

History speaks

PUDA had earlier doled out about Rs 40 lakh to Gujarat-based Vaastushilp Consultants who prepared the layout plans of the City Centre in Sector 62.

However, even after five years of having these plans with them, PUDA has nothing tangible to show on the ground. These plans are merely gathering dust in the PUDA office.

Chandigarh, December 6
The fact that the government does not care how it spends taxpayers money is well-known, but this certainly is the limit. The Punjab Government will pay Rs 8 crore to a Singapore-based company to “compose” the master plan of the area falling under the jurisdiction of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA).

While this is a virtual admission that the government’s own battery of town planners cannot deliver and only “phoren” is good, the government has also not shown any transparency in choosing the consultant.

Having picked a particular company, the government has left in the lurch over 15 companies, including some from Singapore, the UK and Canada who had in response to an advertisement offered to do this job reportedly at less than half the cost. In fact, the entire process of shortlisting consultants through an open-bidding process seems to have been blatantly set aside midway with no accountability offered.

Interestingly, even the process of choosing a consultant through an open advertisement was outsourced by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) two months ago to a Delhi-based consultant, Feedback Ventures.

This consultant, hired to find another consultant, was paid Rs 4 lakh for the preparation of a ‘request for proposal’ document that was to provide the bidders “information to assist the formulation of their proposal.”

Having prepared the request for the proposal draft, Feedback Ventures, on behalf of GMADA, issued advertisements in newspapers (the advertisement is still on PUDA’s official website) inviting applications for the appointment of a consultant.

Other than the scope for work, Feedback Ventures also laid down the selection criteria for the consulting firm. It was stated that the company should have experience in the preparation of master plan of region/city project of 10,000 acres or two projects of 6,000 acres each and the average annual turnover of Rs 4 crore in past three years.

A single-stage bid process was chalked out and selection was to be made on the basis of calculating the firm’s technical and financial aspects and the lowest price of proposal quoted by the bidder.

The sources added that at least 15 companies sent their proposals in response to this advertisement. They added that though the proposals did not contain the actual bid amounts, the cost of getting the master plan made would not have gone beyond Rs 2 crore. However, a high-powered team of government officials, led by the Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, during its recent visit to Singapore, finalised the company, Jurong Corporation, whom the Punjab Government will pay 1.8 billion dollars (more than Rs 8 crore) for the preparation of the plan.

The drafting of master plans in the state is the duty of the Department of Town and Country Planning and this is the first time that the preparation of a master plan will be outsourced to a private agency. The sources said the decision was against national security interests since vital maps would have to be shared with private agencies.

The outline master plan of Mohali was prepared in 2001 after which it was approved in 2003 and amended in 2005 and 2006. As many as 114 sectors have already been planned as part of this master plan. Other than this, the department had also finalised plans for another 77 villages of SAS Nagar and many other areas in Zirakpur, Kharar, Lalru, Banur and Dera Bassi.



Stage set for entertainment city
Admn inks pact with Unitech
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Chandigarh Administration has signed an agreement regarding an entertainment city with Unitech Limited which could change the face of tourism in the city and the region.

Unitech is to develop, operate, manage and maintain the 73-acre entertainment city, offering a wide range of entertainment experience for all age groups.

The first phase of the approximately Rs 250-crore project will be operational within 30 months while the entire infrastructure will be complete within 42 months. The Administration will get its share of 1 per cent of the gross annual revenue, besides an annual rent of nearly Rs 5 crore.

A theme park will come up over 73 acres near Sarangpur village. The Administration will continue to own the land and the developer will only be entitled to utilise it on payment of rent plus a percentage of the gross annual revenue from the project.

The Joint Secretary, Tourism, Mr Vivek Atray, signed the pact on behalf of the UT Administration while Mr V.K. Chadha represented Unitech. The theme park is seen as a big potential site for providing large-scale employment to people and will also boost the economy of the city.

The park will have a mini-India model based on Indian culture to include performance areas (amphitheatre to enact dramas from Indian culture) and an entertainment street consisting of galleries, wax museums, food courts, restaurants and other facilities like art gallery and craft shops.

The theme park will consist of high-technology rides and world-class entertainment facilities, food courts and restaurants, retail/shopping facility, green spaces, mini-India model spread over three to four acres, wax museums on the pattern of Madame Tussad’s, glass boats in the lake, cycling tracks and cycling facilities, mini-mono rail and small AC buses.

Chandigarh being the hub of the region will be able to provide people of neighbouring states entertainment.

Speaking on the project, Mr V.K. Chadha, Executive Vice-President, Unitech Limited, said, “Chandigarh has a great potential. With the addition of the entertainment city, it is set to achieve new standards as a tourist destination.



Smilingly, Sidhu follows on
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 6
Courtroom Number 38 where, Navjot Singh Sidhu’s fate was to be decided today, was jam-packed almost 45 minutes before the start of the day’s proceedings.

At 9.37 am, a smiling and confident Sidhu, accompanied by BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley, state BJP president Avinash Rai Khanna, former MP and senior advocate Satyapal Jain and Akali Dal leader D.S Cheema, entered the courtroom.

Dressed in a dark blue suit, Sidhu was a picture of cool composure and self-belief that would have made his captain proud in his heydays as international cricketer. After shaking hands with many of the lawyers, most of whom he did not know, and curious onlookers, he took a seat alongside Mr Jaitley and Mr Jain, one row behind his lawyer.

At 10.04 am, when the hearing began, he did not betray any emotions, smiling and even acknowledging friendly stares from others present in the court.

While his lawyer, Mr U.U. Lalit, was making his submissions, Mr Sidhu could be seen nodding his approval, on a couple of occasions even conversing with Mr Jaitley. When Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill, who was heading the Division Bench, told his counsel that everyone, including the Lordship, was aware of the popularity and public standing of Mr Sidhu, the former cricketer awarded himself a hearty laugh, the kind of which is frequently seen when he judges the Great Indian Laughter Challenge. Till then, everything was seemingly going his way.

The mood changed when senior advocate R.S. Ghai rose to oppose the contentions of Mr Sidhu’s lawyer. When Mr Ghai told the court that the Supreme Court has ruled that “undue sympathy” should not be shown while awarding punishment, Mr Sidhu looked up surprised. From then onwards, he was all ears, taking in each and every word of Mr Ghai intently.

Whenever Mr Jaitley leaned forward to suggest something to Mr Lalit, Mr Sidhu too stretched to hear the words of wisdom.

Whenever the Bench referred to his counsel’s contentions, Mr Sidhu would look eager, even joyful. But, when the same Bench observed something that seemed to be against his case, he looked askance. But, even as the pendulum swung in favour of a lenient sentence than a harsher one, Mr Sidhu never once looked completely dejected.

Around 12.10 pm, when the court was adjourned till 3 pm, he was mobbed by his supporters and fans. Looking cheerful, he accepted the blessings of his well-wishers.

At around 2.30 pm, Mr Sidhu and his VIP supporters again entered the court to hear the verdict. Patiently waiting for over one hour before the Judges pronounced their verdict, Mr Sidhu, Mr Jaitley, Mr Jain and Mr Lalit immediately went into a huddle the moment the Judges left the courtroom. The crux of their conference, which continued for over 15 minutes, was that Mr Sidhu would challenge the High Court order in the Supreme Court at the earliest.

Despite the setback, when he left the court, Mr Sidhu was smiling, self-assured that everything was under control.



Campaign business on
Tribune News Service

8 file nominations

Eight candidates today filed their nominations as Independents for the Panchayat Samiti elections. Mr Surmukh Singh and Mr Balwinder Singh of Makhan Majra village filed their nominations from constituency No. 2, Mr Gurmail Singh and Mr Ranjit Singh of Khuda Alisher village from constituency No. 10, Mr Tejinder Singh from constituency No.11, Ms Mohanpreet Kaur and Ms Balbir Kaur of Khuda Lahora village from constituency No. 12 and Ms Gurpreet Kaur of Sarangpur village from constituency No. 13.

Chandigarh, December 6
With only two weeks left for the municipal corporation elections, campaigning is slowly picking up. All across the city, one can find party flags and posters of various candidates displayed. A few seem to have found a novel way of canvassing and have put up posters behind autorickshaws and cycle rickshaws! Others are busy with door-to-door campaigning. The momentum is expected to pick up in the coming days.

Congress rebel and Senior Deputy Mayor, Mrs Shyama Negi, today inaugurated her party office in Sector 41. She said she would tender her resignation before being expelled. Meanwhile, the BSP candidate, from ward No. 2, Ms Anita Sahni, started her campaign with a road show in the Sector 15 market.

Mr Manjit Singh Tiwana, CPI candidate from ward No. 21 also started his election campaign today. He met various residents of Sector 46 along with other members of the CPI. Meanwhile, Mr Vijay Uppal, the BJP candidate from ward No. 3, took out a “padyatra” in his ward. Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP, and Mr Yash Pal Mahajan inaugurated the office of the ward No. 4 candidate, Mr Surinder Jagota, in Sector 23 and in Sector 21 for the ward No. 17 candidate, Ms Veena Kohli.

Deputy Mayor Harmohinder Singh Lucky, Congress candidate from ward No. 16, also started a door-to-door campaign in Sector 20-A today. Pamphlets, listing his achievements, were also distributed. Independent candidate Mohinder Singh Chaudhary from ward No. 13 also started his door-to-door campaign from Colony No. 5.

Ms Harjinder Kaur, SAD candidate from ward No. 15, today announced that Mr Aman Sabherwal and Mr Bongi, congress workers, had announced their support to her.



Indus takes ’em for a ride
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Even before starting its operations, Indus Airways seems to have rubbed its passengers the wrong way. The airline has been selling tickets on its website even though flights have yet to take off. Passengers, two of whom were stranded at the Chandigarh airport, are an angry lot.

Indus Airways was to start its operations from the first week of October. However, it delayed its operations till the end of November as it did not receive clearance from the Director-General of Civil Aviation and the Airport Authority of India. Tickets were, however, on sale in November. This was later stopped, but not before the passengers who had already purchased tickets were inconvenienced.

According to sources, all formalities were later completed and it was decided that flights would take off in December. Tickets were once again put up for sale on November 29. However, due to “certain delays”, the flights could not take off once again. No efforts have, however, been made by the airline to stop the sale of tickets on the website. The website also does not state that the flight is yet to take off.

Talking to TNS, Mr Rajesh Mehra, Director of Jinie and Johny Apparel Private Limited, and Mr Swarandeep Singh, Director of Logics Software, stated that it was unethical on the part of the airline to leave them in the lurch. “We booked the tickets on December 4 for Mumbai. We also paid the requisite fare of Rs 6,975. However, when we reached the airport today, we were informed that there is no flight.”

The two had a business-class ticket. They, however, later took an Indian Airlines flight to Mumbai. According to the airport Director, Mr Suneel Dutt, he had not received any communication from Indus Airlines as to when it will start its operations.”

When this reporter called airline officials, they apologised for the inconvenience caused and immediately asked the department concerned to stop online bookings. Talking to TNS, Wing Commander Beri, General Manager, Indus Airways, said: “Passengers who have already bought tickets can take a refund for their ticket and can also take a complimentary ticket.”

The tickets, he informed, would now be sold only after December 9 when the flight is finally expected to take off.



VIP brats at it again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Two boys on a motor cycle were hit and injured on the Sector 9 and 10 separating road today.

It all started when a Prado and a Safari decided to race. The driver of Safari, Gurpreet Singh in a purported drunken state along with his friends Bikramjit Singh, and Surinder Singh, hit the motor cycle driven by Praveen. While the Prado drove away, the Safari turned turtle on the impact with Gurpreet Singh sustaining injuries and Bikramjit Singh hurting his leg. The injured have been taken to the General Hospital in Sector 16.

SHO of the area concerned, Rajinder Singh Dhami was not available but the Investigating Officer of Sector 3 Police Station, Subhash Chander, said they were awaiting a medical report before initiating action.



Watch out

A city-based consultant in orthopaedics at “Arthroscopy and Spinal Endoscopy Centre”, Dr Mohinder Kaushal, will present his research work titled “Innovative Device for Arthroscopic Microdiscectomy, Operative Technique & Results in 100 patients” at the orthopaedic conference of SAARC nations which started in Kathmandu, today. In the four-day seminar, Dr Kaushal will highlight the features and the benefits of the instrument, which is compatible with 30 degree arthroscope used by orthopaedicians in knee arthroscopy and conventional disc surgery instruments thus cutting the cost of instruments significantly. This is relevant to SAARC nations as European equipment is expensive.



In Town

Dr David Sadker, a professor at American University Washington, DC, will be in the city on Thursday to participate in an open discussion on ‘Confronting gender bias and sexual harassment’, at Dev Samaj College of Education Sector 36. Dr Sadker gained international repute for work in confronting gender bias and sexual harassment. Dr Sadker’s work has been reported in hundreds of newspapers and magazines including USA Today, USA Weekend, Parade Magazine, Business Week, The Washington Post, The London Times, The New York Times, Time, and Newsweek.



Passing Through

How and since when have you been involved with bird conservation?

There was a devastating decline in the Condor population which had us all very worried. That’s when the “save the Condor” plan was conceived in 1996. We have been working for 10 years on the project but I think it will require another 10 years before we are certain that we have re-established a species.

How successful is the captive breeding programme?

It is successful to the extent that it will help to raise the population of the endangered bird. And that’s all we bird-conservation enthusiasts are bothered about. So, I think it will help the vulture programme in India to a great extent but it is an uphill task and results will be slow to come. However, the agencies involved in the exercise will get indications along the way to tell them they are progressing well. However, attaining the goal of a self-sustaining population will take at least 30 years.

How is the vulture conservation programme different from that of the condor?

We are aggressively pursuing the issue. However, one big stumbling block is that we know the birds are dying of lead poisoning but still have to provide data and evidence to substantiate our theory. In India, the situation is better because the conservationists know that the birds are dying of diclofenac and have been able to get a ban on the drug. It is an achievement of sorts.

— Geetanjali Gayatri



Rodrigues warns cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Sounding a clear signal to the Chandigarh Police, the UT Administrator, Gen (retd) S.F. Rodrigues, today said there was no excuse for violating rules and laws and no leniency should be shown to the violators.

The UT Administrator released a booklet on road safety launching the “Think before You Drive” campaign at the Chandigarh Traffic Police Auditorium in Sector 29. The booklet has been brought out by FIA Foundation.

Making it clear to the men-in-khaki, he stated that a mistake is a mistake and the offenders must be brought to book, irrespective of their social or official status.

Stressing on the need for drastic measures for traffic management, he said a detailed study should be conducted to find out appropriate solutions relevant to local needs focusing on the requirements of a developing country.

Throwing a challenge to the police for evolving an innovative, sustainable and responsive traffic network, General Rodrigues told officers that there is a need of introducing best practices and unified norms and standards by sharing knowledge and experience of experts in promoting road safety measures to check the loss of lives in road accidents.

Appreciating various suggestions of the traffic advisory group constituted by the Chandigarh Administration, he said a policy framework must be drawn up on the basis of their expertise and suggestions.

Emphasising the need for minimising congestion on Chandigarh roads, General Rodrigues said the administration had already initiated the process of a visionary programme of mass rapid transport in the city to facilitate mobility and discourage the private vehicle owners.

Mr. S.K. Jain, in his welcome address, dwelled on various steps for road safety and said the Chandigarh Traffic Police had evolved a three-pronged strategy, including education, enforcement and engineering for effective traffic management.

Mr. T.K. Malhotra, President Automobile Association of Upper India and an expert in traffic management, in his presentation, elaborated various steps for road safety, including wearing of seat belts, proper child seats, non-use of mobile phone, continuous checking of vehicle tires and seeking medical advice for driving after taking medicines. He underlined the need for massive efforts of public awareness and educative means through special campaigns.

The police also organised a cultural programme on road safety.



City police is simply the best
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Chandigarh Police has been judged the best in community orientation in the country during a survey carried out by an international organisation. The local police got 89.77 per cent under this category against the national average of 74.66 per cent.

It has been rated second best in the country for practices adopted by the force in strengthening the police-public relations. Rajasthan has bagged the first position. The city police was judged excellent under all categories by scoring more than 80 per cent marks.

The Chandigarh Police has secured over all 84.9 per cent against 85.3 per cent by Rajasthan. On an average, the police stations across the country secured 68.9 per cent. The week was organised by Altus Global Alliance which assessed the quality of services delivered in the participating police stations to identify some of the best practices in use by the police and to strengthen their accountability to local citizens.

The sources in the local police assert that Rajasthan managed to take away the title from the Chandigarh Police as just 10 of their best police stations were taken into consideration. On the other hand, the functioning of all police stations in Chandigarh was scrutinised for reaching the conclusion.

In the city, the marks were given by local residents visiting the police station during the Visitor’s Week from October 29 to November 4 this year. Among the city police stations the Sector 17 police station stood first by securing an aggregate of 94.64 per cent while Sector 39 police station lagged behind its counterparts by securing 64.64 per cent. The performance was judged on the basis of five categories, including community orientation, physical conditions, equal treatment, transparency and accountability, besides detention condition.

Under the community orientation category Sector 26 and Sector 11 police stations scored cent percent marks. Under the detention category Sector 39 police station managed to get only 57.73 per cent.



NRI plans kitchen projects for kids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Reaching out to starved children, an NRI of the region is coming to India for the launch of a 24-hour kitchen in Varanasi. A similar project for Punjab and Haryana is in the offing.

In Varanasi, Sweden-based NRI Parul Sharma and the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has identified more than 500 children in 10 villages as suffering from severe malnutrition.

To begin with, a round-the-clock kitchen would come up. Subsequently, a school with a toy bank would be set up in the vicinity of the villages. The PVCHR has finalised the location for setting up the kitchen. Out of a total of Rs 5 lakh required for the project, half of the amount has been collected.

“We are not involving government institutions in the fund-raising process,” says Ms Sharma. “The idea behind the operation is to encourage the common man to come forward with his drop in the ocean. Individuals will realise small is beautiful when they see the difference each and every rupee donated by them has made,” she says.

A lawyer by profession, she says she believes in encouraging the idea of minimal volunteerism. “You can play your part by just being vocal about unfair circumstances. Or, at least by not turning a blind eye towards the problems brought about by the circumstances. It’s just about looking around, reacting and reaching out”, she says.

Once the kitchen is established in Varanasi, Ms Sharma plans to do her bit for this part of the region by launching a similar project here. She is already getting in touch with NGOs to shortlist a location.

“As my roots are in Punjab, I wish to nourish children by coming up with similar kitchen and breakfast projects here with additional focus on the girl child,” she says.
Elaborating the need for starting such projects, she says: “A starving stomach has no ears. If hunger is prevailing, you have no ears to talk to. That’s why I insist democracy and human rights begin at breakfast. For me, it’s all a matter of law and order.

“Our breakfast project has brought immense changes in the lives of approximately 50 children of Mushahar village in Uttar Pradesh. The community there eat rodents for survival. We have schemes running in Delhi, Jaipur and Wayanad in Kerala”, she adds.

India’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) needs to undergo significant changes to address the malnutrition crisis in the country. Quoting a World Bank report, NRI Pural Sharma says the prevalence of underweight children in India is among the highest in the world. It is nearly double the number of underweight children in the sub-Saharan Africa.

Malnutrition in India is a concentrated phenomenon. A relatively small number of states, districts, and villages account for a large share of the burden. Five states and 50 per cent tof the villages account for about 80 per cent of malnutrition cases in the country.



9 enclosures demolished
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 6
Nine of the 18 enclosures were demolished by the enforcement wing of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) during a demolition drive outside Kumbra village here today.

Even though the demolition drive was peaceful, one of the encroachers threatened the staff with a gun. He climbed the roof with a gun and threatened that if his enclosure was demolished, he would open fire and if it was still not stopped, he would shoot himself and members of his family.

Mr M.S. Narang, Additional Chief Administrator, GMADA, who supervised the demolition drive said a few persons started requesting for some time to remove their belongings.

Consequently, the occupants of the remaining nine enclosures have been given 24-hours time, after which the drive would be resumed.

Mr Varinder Pal Singh, SP, and Mr Ashok Sharma, DSP, accompanied by nearly 100 police personnel were present during the drive which started in the morning.

The drive was carried out on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had dismissed a PIL filed by some persons.



Trade unions’ activists stage protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Members of the Centre of Trade Unions (CTU), Punjab and Chandigarh, staged a protest in front of the Labour Commissioner’s Office in Sector 17 here this afternoon.

The protesters said in case their demands were not fulfilled, they would gherao the Labour Minister wherever he went and stage a permanent protest before the Labour Commissioner’s office.

They were demanding fixation of minimum wages, implementation of 1996 Act for construction workers, 1979 Act to safeguard the safety and security of inter-state migrant workers, implementation of minimum wages and other labour legislations for domestic servants, workers in private schools and information technology industry, repeal of SEZ Act, 2005, apart from strictly discouraging the illegal contract system.

Mr Chander Shekhar, state general secretary of the CTU, Punjab and Chandigarh, while condemning the anti-working class policies of the Central Government, said both the central and state governments were resorting to double standards.

He appealed the workers to join the December 14 nationwide strike to bring the working class agenda to the forefront. He criticised the central trade unions for supporting the anti-working class UPA government.

Mr Satpal Bharti, the state president of the union, demanded the implementation of the factory Act provisions for the brick kiln industry and setting up of a fast-track labour court in Mohali.



Farmers to hold rally on December 18
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 6
A committee of officials constituted by the Punjab Chief Minister,
Capt Amarinder Singh, more than two years ago to work on a land- pooling scheme failed to watch the interests of farmers and came out with a policy only on periphery development.

Mr Baljit Singh Kumbra of the Kissan Hit Bachao Committee said here today that the periphery development policy of the government was framed only to benefit private builders and nothing had been mentioned in the policy for the welfare of farmers. Farmers were left at the mercy of the builders who were exploiting them. The fear of forcible land acquisition was compelling farmers to sell their lands at lower rates to colonisers.

Mr D.P. Singh Baidwan, convener of the committee, said had the government framed the land-pooling scheme, farmers of Sohana, Lakhnour, Manakmajra and Chilla would not have sold their land for a price varying between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 35 lakh per acre fearing acquisition.

The president of the committee, Mr Tejinder Singh Jakhar, said the statement of the MP from Patiala that the Punjab Government was offering market rates to farmers for acquiring land was false. Even when the market rate, according to the latest land registrations and the relevant Act, was about Rs 2.65 crore per acre, the Punjab Government was giving Rs 65 lakh per acre which caused widespread resentment among farmers.

The committee would be organising a “zameenan bachao” rally on December 18 outside the office of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority, where the government would be given an ultimatum to sort out the matter of the farmers whose land had been acquired for Sectors 76 to 80 and to frame a land-pooling scheme before the code of conduct was enforced in the state. If the demands of the farmers were not conceded to, they would be compelled to launch a “pol khol” campaign where the activities of the government would be exposed.



A flowery affair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
This year's Chrysanthemum Show, scheduled for December 8, is going to be a bouquet of speculations. After all controversies that marked last year's show, the participants are once again ready to take on each other with their chrysanthemums. Kulbir Kaur, an ardent participant for the past four years, has equipped herself with some new varieties and is all set to enter in the amateur category once again. Though gardening has been her hobby since childhood, it was only in 2002 that she started participating in the flower shows, in and around the city . "I brought my chrysanthemums to the show without the intention of participating in it. But when I saw others, I also decided to register for it", says Kulbir Kaur, a resident of Sector 38 (West).

What started as a hobby has now become a passion not only for Kulbir, but also for her entire family . "Even if it is raining in the middle of the night, she will call us to move the pots indoors," laughs her elder son. For Kulbir Kaur, her plants are like kids. Owing to bad weather this year, some of the flowers could not bloom as expected. So she provided them with the right temperature by putting them in air-conditioned and halogen-lit rooms, as and when required. "The saplings are planted in June-July and the flowers start blooming by December," informs Kulbir.

A modest Kulbir doesn't want to take the credit herself. She is, in fact, grateful to her 'malis' who keep her updated with the latest techniques available to grow the chrysanthemums. She is looking forward to the show and expects a fair result. Till then, she keeps her fingers crossed, wishes all the participants luck, and hopes for the best.



Bird sanctuary opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
A bird sanctuary has been developed in Chandimandir Cantonment to protect wildlife, preserve ecological balance and protect the environment.

Christened Shivalik Bird Sanctuary, it will have an artificial lake to store rainwater, which will also recharge ground water levels and attract migratory birds.

To attract children to the sanctuary and ensure that they learn about flora, fauna and birds, a small park has been developed within the sanctuary. A herbal park will also be developed within the bird sanctuary in due course of time.

Tree houses, bird houses, play stations, trekking paths, fishing points, bridges, benches, decoration lights, signposts and barbecue have been added for the sanctuary’s beautification.

It was inaugurated by Mrs Mohini Daljeet Singh, president, Army Wives Welfare Association, Western Command. Senior Army officers were also present on the occasion.



Light and sound show from Jan 13
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The light and sound show on Chandigarh will start from January 13. A decision to this regard was taken at a high levelled meeting of the Chandigarh Administration here today.

The trial run of the show will commence on December 25 at Government Art College and Museum. A team will compile the feasibility report for putting up telescopes at Sukhna Lake for different sites are being identified for the installation of the apparatus.

It was also decided that at least four temporary camping sites will be set up at the Smriti Upvan near the lake and the site will be inaugurated in the second week of December.



Ghaggar bridge to remain closed tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Ghaggar bridge on the Kalka-Ambala highway at Bhankharpur village near Dera Bassi will remain closed for all vehicular traffic on Friday from 1 pm to 3 pm.

The two-wheelers would, however, be allowed to cross the bridge before 1 pm and after 3 pm. The bridge has been closed due to the ongoing repair work, informed Lt Col K.P. Sharma, director, project implementation unit, Chandigarh, of the National Highways Authority of India.



Muslims observe ‘black day’

Chandigarh, December 6
The local unit of the Federation of Muslim Societies observed a “black day” today to commemorate the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992.

Members of the federation assembled in Sector 31 mosque and demanded that the hearings of the cases against communal leaders should be held fast. — TNS



Contribute ‘liberally’ to Flag Day fund

Chandigarh, December 6
The Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), today called upon people to reaffirm their solidarity with the armed forces by contributing liberally to the Armed Forces Flag Day fund, which utilised for providing financial assistance to the families of martyrs. — TNS



3 held on fraud charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The local police has arrested three persons, including a woman, allegedly involved in two separate cases of cheating.

Sources in the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh Police said Pardeep Kaur of Phase VI, Mohali was arrested on a charge of cheating on a complaint filed by Ms Sikha Sharma of Sector 20.

It was alleged in the complaint that the accused had taken Rs 2.50 lakh from complainant on the pretext of selling her a plot in Kharar. However, it was later found out that no such plot existed in the name of the accused and the matter was reported to the police.

In another incident, Mr Avtar Singh of Hoshiarpur lodged a complaint alleging that Atul Mehta and Manoj Kumar had defrauded him of Rs 3.60 lakh by handing him over two fake visas for the UK, which he had asked the accused to arrange for his two sons. He told the police that the accused had demanded Rs 10 lakh from him to do the job and he had given them Rs 3.60 lakh. The fraud came to light when the visas were cross-checked and found to be fake ones.

The police has arrested both accused.

Vehicle stolen

Mr Hemant Masija of Sector 47 reported to the police alleging that his Bullet motorcycle (CH-03-D-0142) was stolen from the Sector 8 market area on Tuesday. In another incident, Mr Bharat Bhushan of Sector 46 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his scooter (CH-01-C-9542) was stolen from the Sector 34 market complex on Tuesday.

Two separate cases of theft have been registered in this connection in various police stations in the city.

Resident booked

The local police booked a city resident on a charge of duping a man of over Rs 16.54 lakh on the pretext of selling him a flat in Sector 51.

According to sources in the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh Police, Mr Surinder Pal Anand of Sector 44 lodged a complaint alleging that he had entered into an agreement with Ashwani Kumar of 40-A.

Mr Anand told the police that the accused, owner of K.C. Tent House in Sector 40, had cancelled all documents pertaining to the sale of the flat after taking full payment and thus defrauded him.

Mr Anand said the fraud came to light when he contacted the president of Singh Co-operative House Building Society Limited, Sector 51.

The accused had told the president that he had cancelled the deal and thus the property should not be transferred to him. At this the matter was reported to the police.

The police said a case of cheating under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code had been registered in this regard and efforts were on to trace the absconding accused.



Estilo — blend of Matiz, Santro with Wagon-R engine
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Snazzy headlights that promise to brighten up your mood, aerodynamic shape for revving up your style, sparkling colours teamed with soft-appealing contours for turning the road into a ramp, and a high-spirited engine for cruising down the popularity charts---the new Zen Estilo is all set to roll into the hearts of so many city residents.

Launched in the city this afternoon, the car at first glance is a blend of Matiz and Santro with Wagon-R’s engine. For those of you bored of “tall, yet not so big, cars”, Estilo does not come as a welcome relief.

But in case you are on-road with the shape, the car’s just fine. Drive your eyes closer and you realise that the new model is better than its predecessor in safety, comfort and luxury, if not the looks.

It has air-bags for added protection during impact, total effective strength structure and antilock braking system. Besides this, it has a 212-liter boot capacity, two-tone beige upholstery and meter cluster with three-dimensional effect. The front grill is smiling, and rear lights opulent.

Maruti Udyog Limited’s Regional Manager Jyoti Malhotra says the two-wheel drive car, with five-person seating capacity, has a 1061 cc engine and superior air conditioning. The ex-showroom price in Chandigarh ranges between Rs 3, 21,703 and Rs 3, 75,743.



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