C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Harjinder pips Anu to the post
Wins by 1 vote; Cong wins other 2 posts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Ms Harjinder Kaur of the SAD was elected the 11th Mayor of the city here today.

In a closely contested election, she defeated Ms Anu Chatrath of the Congress by one vote.

Mr Ravinder Pal Singh and Mr Manjit Singh, both of the Congress, were elected Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor, respectively.

A total of 33 votes were cast in today’s elections for the three posts.

Nominated councillor Neelam Malik did not come to cast her vote as she was out of the country.

BSP candidate Ram Sumer Morya chose to boycott today’s elections.

Representing the SAD-BJP-CVM alliance, Ms Harjinder Kaur polled 17 votes and Ms Chatrath 16.

It was a close contest for the post of Deputy Mayor, too.

Mr Manjit Singh won by one vote, defeating Ms Sarita Devi of the CVM.

Mr Ravinder Pal Singh (20 votes) defeated Mr Gurcharan Das Kala (13 votes) of the BJP.

The election process started at 11 am, with nominated councillor Dr A.P. Sanwaria conducting it.

Once Ms Harjinder Kaur was elected, she took over the process and conducted elections for the other two posts.

The house and the area outside was packed with members and supporters.

There were tense moments within and outside the House as each vote was cast and later counted.

As the results were announced, Akali supporters broke into a war cry, much before the results were officially announced.

An elated Ms Harjinder Kaur, accompanied by Mr Gurcharan Singh Riar of the SAD and Mr Harmohan Dhawan of the CVM, later stated that development of the city would be their top priority and the city’s council would be the best.

Commenting on the divided mandate, she stated that the whole House was one and the issues would be cleared.

The decision of the House was supreme and they would respect it, she stated.

Echoing the sentiments of the Mayor, Mr Ravinder Pal Singh stated that they would all work together to finish pending issues of the city.

While the winners were busy receiving congratulations, an upset Ms Chatrath, who tried to keep her composure during the proceedings, could not control her tears later and broke down later.

This would be Ms Harjinder Kaur’s second term as Mayor.

* Yellow seemed to be the lucky colour of the day. The maximum councillors came dressed in yellow, hoping that it would prove lucky for them, as it was a Thursday. Ms Harjinder Kaur was dressed in the same colour.

* An elated Mr Gurcharan Singh Riar stated that he saw it as a win of the Sikhs as all three office-bearers were Sikhs.

* Dr A.P. Sanwaria caused a few ripples when he announced that the winner was Ms Anu Chatrath, only to correct himself later that Ms Harjinder Kaur was the next Mayor.

* Ex-Mayor Kamla Sharma of the BJP escorted Ms Harjinder Kaur to her chair in the Mayor’s office after the win. Ms Sharma was the first Mayor of the city.

* “The SAD has laid the foundation stone of its win in Punjab”, stated an elated Ms Harjinder Kaur after the win. There were only two SAD councillors elected to the MC House.



Bansal-Bahl truce under strain again
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
The fragile truce between the Minister of State for Finance, Mr Pawan Bansal, and the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) chief, Mr B.B. Bahl, came under strain today again, with the election of BJP-SAD candidate, Ms Harjinder Kaur, as the Mayor.

The truce between the two leaders, cobbled together just ahead of the December 20 MC poll, seemed to have proved shortlived, with allegations of cross-voting looming large over the faction-ridden party.

Mr Bansal refuted the allegations of cross-voting by a section of Congress councillors, claiming that nominated councillors did not support the Congress.

Facts spoke otherwise, particularly when Congress candidates bagged the posts of the Senior Deputy Mayor and the Deputy Mayor.

"If the nominated councillors had not supported us, we would also have lost the other two posts", a Congress leader said while hinting at the cross-voting.

The loss of the top post for the Congress, the largest party with 13 councillors, bode ill for the party ahead of the crucial February 13 Punjab Assembly elections.

Akalis had been showcasing the win as a prelude to the shape of things to come after the February 13 poll.

"It is the beginning of the end for the Congress in Punjab, with the SAD set to register a thumping victory", Ms Harjinder Kaur said.



Religion won’t come in the way of traffic
Structures on highway to go
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
It will be a smooth ride for vehicular traffic moving on sections of National Highway 21 passing through the southern part of the city.

All religious structures coming in way of the widening of the highway and another highway passing through Industrial Area, Phase II, will either be demolished or will have to vacate the land coming in the way.

In a significant development, the Chandigarh Administration today approved a compromise formula with managements of religious structures.

The Administration identified at least 20 such religious structures, which had been impeding the development project.

The portion of a temple in Industrial Area, Phase II, and that of a gurdwara in Sector 47 had become bottlenecks.

A number of diversions had to be carved out for the smooth flow of traffic.

Sources in the Administration disclosed that the UT Administrator had granted his approval to a formula, under which the religious structures would have to vacate the land coming in way of the widening of the highway and in return, the Administration would regularise the remaining part of land in possession of the religious structures.

In case of the gurdwara in Sector 47, adjoining the Chandigarh-Morinda railway line, an alternative area of two kanal was being allotted.

In another decision, the entrance to the religious structures would not have direct access from the highway.

In the past, officials in the Administration had been holding meetings with religious leaders to convince the latter to demolish religious structures which had come in the way of several projects in the city.

The sources said a report prepared by the Administration on encroachment stated that around 665 acres of prime land had been encroached upon.

The report stated that around 390 religious structures existed on government land in the sectoral grid, colonies and villages, of which 194 were in the sectoral grid.

In a survey it was found that 102 religious structures either existed since the inception of the city or came up without permission.

During 12 years, 17 religious places had come up in areas which had fully or partly been acquired by the Administration.

The issue has been discussed in meetings of the Administrator’s Advisory Council.

All religious structures encroaching upon land meant for widening of the highway passing through the city will have to either vacate the portion of land coming in way of widening of the highway or seek alternative land. Those agreeing to the formula will get their remaining land regularised.



UT says bye to affidavits
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
In a people-friendly decision, the Chandigarh Administration today decided to do away with the cumbersome procedure of using affidavits in day-to-day official works. Now affidavits will be required only for those works where it is mandatory as per the law. Wherever the UT Administration’s own rules require affidavits to be submitted, they stand amended.

This decision was taken at the Senior Officers Conference, chaired by Adviser to UT Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, at the UT Secretariat, here today. The decision has been taken in order to streamline and minimise technical requirements and to provide more user-friendly services to the general public.

It was felt that affidavits are causing undue hurdles and delays in the delivery of proper service to the public. Mr Lalit Sharma asked the departments to further contour their internal working and carry out changes in their procedures.



Kanwaljit promises new industrial policy
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 11
The SAD-BJP combine will be coming up with a new industrial policy for the state after winning the Punjab Legislative Assembly elections being held next month.

This was stated by Capt Kanwaljit Singh , former Finance Minister and general secretary of the SAD, at a press conference here today. He said that industry had to be encouraged for achieving economic growth and also for solving the problem of unemployment. He said that in order to attract major industrial units to the state adequate power supply had to be provided. For meeting power shortage, phase II of the Lehra Mohhabat project would be completed within six months after assuming power. He said that 500 MW of power would be generated by running the Bathinda refinery and the work would be taken up on priority. Till such projects were completed a purchase agreement would be done with states having surplus power so that Punjab did not face any power shortage.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh , who inaugurated the election office of his son, Mr Jasjit Singh, said that the Congress Government had been claiming during its tenure that Mohali was being made a hub of IT industry. But the fact was that Infosys had shifted to Chandigarh and Quark was also not planning to spread its network in the town here because the government had failed to provide the required infrastructure.

Industrial sector could not develop without adequate availability of power and Punjab was facing 30 per cent shortage of power because no new unit had been set up for power generation by the Congress Government.

He alleged that the Congress Government had done a lot of damage to the state during the past five years as no proper development had taken place. He said that the per capita income in Punjab which was at the number one position in the country during the tenure of the SAD-BJP combine had gone down to number 5 position. Even the economy of Punjab had grown only at the rate of 2.4 per cent against the national level rate of 8 . 5 per cent. Punjab was an agricultural state but wheat production had gone down by 20 per cent and the paddy yield was also stagnant. The growth rate of manufacturing industry was only 1.1 per cent even when the government had claimed of having spent a sum of Rs 1 lakh crore .The state was on the verge of becoming another Bihar if the situation was not controlled, he added.

He said that government had not only failed to provide employment to the youth of the state, it had also scrapped 95,000 posts in various government institutions. The educational sphere and health facilities were in a state of neglect as teachers and doctors were not available in villages.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said that the SAD-BJP combine would set up an excesses commission to look into the cases registered against Akali leaders by the Congress Government during the past five years. Law would take its course after inquiries were conducted into all illegal activities.

Spearheading the election campaign of his son from the Kharar constituency, the former Finance Minister said that the area would be developed in such a way so that it was made a “show piece of Punjab”.



7.5 marla houses can now have PGs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh January 11
The Chandigarh Administration has allowed the running of paying guest accommodation facility by owners of houses with area of not less than 7.5 marlas.

The administration had earlier allowed the running of PG accommodations by owners of the office with area not less than 10 marlas.

Subsequently, the administration received a number of representations from Welfare Societies and Associations of marla houses requesting to extend the same facilities to houses with area less than 7.5 marlas.

Keeping in view the fact that there were about 700-800 owners of 7.5 marla and 8 marla houses, the administration has now decided to extend this facility to houses which are 7 ½ marla in area and above and also as per the terms and condition already being availed by the owners of area not less than 10 marlas.

Sugar quota

The card holders who could not draw their quota of sugar due to delay in allocation of levy sugar late from the Government of India in December 2006, have been instructed to draw their quota for the month from the depot holders and mobile vans up to January 15, 2007.

The administration received the allocation of levy sugar late from the Government of India as a result of which some of the BPL card holders were deprived from the entitlement of levy sugar during the month of December 2006.

The consumers have been advised to bring to the notice of DFSCAO personally or on the telephone no 2703956 in case of any complaint.



Factories’ holiday in ward 7 on Jan 14

Chandigarh, January 11
The UT Administrator has declared that all factories in ward 7 of the MC will observe January 14 as weekly holiday to enable workers of factories in the ward to exercise their franchise.

The holiday has been declared instead of any weekly holiday preceding or succeeding within three days of such a declared weekly holiday, subject to the condition that no worker will be required or allowed to work in any factory on the said day, fixed for elections to the ward. — TNS



Insist on cash receipt, says Justice Mongia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
“Even though the special Act to protect consumers rights was passed to give speedy justice to the complainants, the disposal of applications are bound to be late than the stipulated period of six months due to an increase in the number of complaints received every day,” said Justice R.S. Mongia (retd), President, Punjab Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, while addressing members of the Chandigarh Management Association here today. He said an additional bench was required for the quick disposal of applications.

Mr Justice Mongia said any deficiency in services provided by educational institutions which are statutory in nature, such as universities, are now spared under the Consumer Protection Act. However, other private educational institutions are covered under the Act. For negligence of treatment by doctors, the commission takes the expert advice of a special medical panel. He advised that consumers should insist on a cash receipt from the service provider, medical practitioner or even from lawyers. He further advised that a person while getting medically insured should state all facts about his diseases while filling in the insurance forms as in case of mishaps this paper could become an important document for deciding the compensation.

Justice Mongia further said in case a consumer found that the goods or service provider was not implementing the decree passed by the commission, the consumer should file an application with the commission for taking a criminal action against the dealer.



One killed, three injured in road accident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 11
One person died and three others sustained serious injuries in a head-on collision between a car and a truck near Rampur Seuri village of Pinjore late last night.

While 23-year-old Aman Thakur died on his way to the hospital, the other three, injured in the accident are undergoing treatment at the PGIMER and are stated to be out of danger.

Police sources said the accident took place when Aman and his friends, Pushpinder Pachori, Parminder Singh, Promilla, were returning to Chandigarh after a visit to Kasauli in their car (CH -03N-2551). The truck (HR 38 E 1527) was on its way from Panchkula to Kalka when it hit the Maruti car of the victims.

They were brought to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where Aman Thakur was declared ‘brought dead’ while the others were referred to PGIMER.

Pushpinder Pachori is a resident of Chandigarh, the other three, are employees at a call centre. A case has been registered. — TNS



5 workers injured in factory fire

Dera Bassi, January 11
As many as five workers of the Ind-Swift plant on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road were injured in a fire early today.

According to sources, the fire first broke out in the production block of the factory. However, a major tragedy was averted as it was put out in time. The injured were admitted to a private hospital here.

A fire engine and the police party also reached the spot. Meanwhile, the cause of the fire could not been known immediately. — TNS



Six PU students arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
A fight over a girl took an ugly turn this afternoon in the Panjab University campus when six boys allegedly assaulted two youngsters. Both the victims sustained minor injuries and were later discharged from the Sector 16 General Hospital, said the police.

The police said a case of rioting, causing hurt and criminal intimidation has been registered in the Sector 11 Police Station on a complaint filed by Sidarath, one of the victims. A final year student of Chemical Engineering, Sidarath, was accompanied by his friend Hiteshwar Pruthi when the brawl took place at around 2 pm at gate number 2 of the university. The police said that Karan Bhatish of Sector 35 picked up a quarrel with Sidarath which turned violent, resulting in the bashing up of Sidarath and Pruthi.

The police has arrested the accused, who are final year students of B.Sc (Biotechnology). They have been identified as Karan Bathish, Suhail Pratap Singh, Vishal Gupta, Gaurav Dhanda, Surinder Kumar Yadav and Dev Kumar. 



Young woman ends life
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 11
A young woman allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan in a house in Phase V here today.

According to the police, Poonam (21) took the step when she went to a friend’s house. She told her that she wanted to change her clothes and bolted the door of a room.

She then allegedly committed suicide by using a ‘dupatta’ to hang herself.

She lived with her husband, Mr Pardeep Chauhan, at Dashmesh Colony in Balongi village.

Her husband had left home about four days ago without informing Poonam.

The police said parents of the deceased had been questioned, but they said she was happily married and had no differences with her husband.

The body was sent for postmortem examination, after which it was handed over to the next of kin of the deceased.

The police initiated proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.



Woman robbed ‘under hypnotism’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 11
A resident of Phase XI was deprived of a gold chain and a diamond ring after she was allegedly hypnotised by two persons in Phase X here today.

Ms Sukhbir Kaur (68) was going towards Phase X when she was stopped by a person, who asked her to tell him the way that led to the Radha Soami satsang.

The man was followed by a woman, who stopped near the two and started enquiring about Ms Sukhbir Kaur’s health. They allegedly hypnotised her and asked her to remove her chain and ring.

They then told her that both ornaments had been kept in a handkerchief. On seeing the handkerchief, she found that it contained only a steel ‘kara’.

Woman booked

The police booked Ms Baljit Kaur, a resident of Sector 70, on the charge of kidnapping another woman.

According to the police, she was booked after a complaint was lodged by Mr Parmeet Singh Madan, running a boutique in Phase VII.

He alleged that Ms Baljit Kaur owed some money to the family and he had sent his wife to get it back, but Ms Baljit Kaur kidnapped his wife instead.



Four held for burglary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
The local police today arrested four youngsters accused of being involved in several incidents of burglary in the city. With their arrest the police claimed to have solved three cases and recovered stolen articles worth Rs 50,000 from them.

The police said the accused were arrested from a naka in Phase I, Industrial Area, following a tip-off. They were released from jail about a month ago and were booked in several cases of thefts and burglaries earlier. They are in their early twenties.

The accused have been identified as Mangla, Sikandar and Ram Pratap, all residents of Sanjay Colony, and Pardeep Kumar is from Colony Number 4. They targeted plots in the Industrial Area and stole screws and other equipments. The police recovered three bags of screws, railway shutting plates, and 140 metres of cables, which was stolen from a tube well in Makhan Majra village.

Youth killed

A 25-year-old man from Zirakpur was killed in a road accident involving his motorcycle and an unidentified vehicle near Bhinder farm in Makhan Majra on Wednesday.

The police said, the victim, Suraj was a resident of Adrash Colony. He suffered serious head injuries in the mishap and was rushed to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), where he later succumbed to his injuries.

The police has registered a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving against the unidentified person in this connection. The body was handed over to the family after postmortem examination.

Snatcher caught

Mr Inderpal Singh of Faidan village reported to the police alleging that Tarun Kumar Chopra of Faridabad in Haryana was caught red-handed while snatching his mobile phone from near Pratap Auto, Sector 22, on Wednesday. The accused was handed over to the police. A case has been registered in this regard.



Two-day conference on real estate sector
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
For sustainable growth in the real estate sector, creating the requisite infrastructure is the need of the hour. As the population rises and the cities expand, the government will have to play a greater role in creating infrastructure for the newly developed areas.

These issues will now come up for discussion during the two-day conference-cum-exposition — “Real Estate and Infrastructure Summit”, being organised here from January 12-13, by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Tribune is the media sponsor for the event.

With both Punjab and Haryana attracting huge investments in the real estate sector, the conference will bring together investors, realtors and state government on a common platform.

Talking to TNS here yesterday, Mr Rajiv Bali, Chairman of PHD Chamber, and Mr R.S. Sachdeva, co-chairman of the chamber, said that driven by the positive growth in the economy, real estate in India is booming. With the opening of the construction and development sector by the government and allowing 100 per cent FDI, the real estate dream in the country is only going to grow bigger, they said.

“The development of real estate in India focuses on two primary areas — retail and residential. India is one of the best emerging retail markets in the world and is expected to grow by 20 per cent by 2010. The northern region in the country has witnessed all-round development in real estate, so this conference will help identify opportunities in real estate and infrastructure development in this region,” said Mr Bali.

Top realtors like TDI, DLF, Omaxe, Parasvanath Developers and Silver City Construction will be participating in the summit. The conference will provide a platform to appreciate activities undertaken by state governments and realtors, besides providing an opportunity to builders to display their products to visitors.



Biz Clips

LG mega scheme:
LG has announced a mega scheme for Lohri, where anyone who would buy a LG product between January 11- 25, would get an assured gift in the form of a scratch card. These consumers will also get to participate in a lucky draw on January 17 and 27 and a mega draw on January 31. These draws will entitle the lucky winners to win motorbikes, flat TV, semi-automatic washing machines and GSM handsets. — TNS

Tata Indicom cards: Tata Indicom has introduced India Calling Cards for Tata Indicom mobile and walky customers. This calling card enables easy STD and ISD calls irrespective of any long distance call facility activated on a connection. This also offers speed dialing and requires no security deposits for STD and ISD calls. Roaming rental will not be charged.




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