C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Hike in collectors’ rates on cards
Farmers may get more compensation
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
To check the registry of property at under-value rates, the Chandigarh Administration is all set to considerably hike the collectors’ rate, a benchmark for the sale and purchase of property. A hike of over 50 per cent or more was expected, sources in the Finance Department confirmed.
Stamp duty likely to be reduced from 6 pc to 5 pc
Under- valuation of property may decline.

Though the final orders from the Finance Department were awaited, the necessary exercise to revise the rates had been done by revenue officials.

While revising the collectors’ rate, the Administration is proposing to reduce the stamp duty from existing 6 per cent to 5 per cent. Though there were certain reservations about the reduction in stamp duty, officials believe that the reduction in stamp duty will make selling and buying of property cheaper. It will prevent under-valuation of property and as a result will boost the revenue collection in the city as more people will prefer to show the true value of the sale.

Sources also revealed that in the wake of long-pending demand of farmers for substantial hike in the land acquisition rates, the Administration could give some relief in form of enhanced compensation. Nearly 2500 acres of land is yet to be acquired by the Administration in different villages.

A logic for the increase in the compensation rates could be the high rates at which the sale deed of the land transactions took place in UT villages. There is large disparity in the land compensation rates and the rates at which agricultural land was being sold.

The trend in the past few months reveal that a compensation of about Rs 37 lakh had been announced for an acquisition in Sarangpur village; about Rs 45 lakh for an acquisition in Dhanas and about Rs 25 lakh for an acquisition in Mauli Jagran.

Coming back to the issue of collectors’ rates, officials said after the conversion policy for Industrial Area, the property rates had seen a jump and sale deed of about 20 industrial sites had been registered in the past one year.

In case of urban commercial and residential property, before the quashing of the Rent Act in November last year, sale deed of nearly 150 commercial properties were registered. All such transactions registered above the minimum rates fixed by the Sub Registrar were being scrutinised by officials.



Office of profit: Councillors may have to pay penalty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The election petitions filed against three councilors in the case of office of profit may just end up costing them a dear amount. As according to section 13-sub section 3 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1976 as extended to the Union Territory they will be required to pay a penalty of Rs 300 per day.

They were a councillor as well as were in the chair of office of profit.

The same will be recovered as an arrear of tax under the act.

Ex Mayor Lalit Joshi was disqualified from contesting the MC elections for holding an office of profit by being the chairperson of the Chandigarh social welfare advisory board.

According to Ms Joshi, she was holding the office since November 24, 2006. However, sources state that she has been in office since June last year, making her liable to pay tax to the tune of Rs 50,000 and above.

Election petitions have also been filed against sitting councillor Ms Anu Chatarth and Jagjit Singh Kang.

The elections of both have been challenged on the grounds of office of profit.

The petition against Ms Chatrath challenges the returning officers decision to reject the objection filed by Rajini Gupta at the time of scrutiny of nominations.

It had been alleged that Ms Chatrath was on the panel of many government and semi Government organisations. If the petition is accepted, Ms Chatrath will have to pay more than Rs 5 lakhs as penalty.

The petition against Mr Kang states that he holds an office of profit, as he is the director of central co-operative bank, SAS Nagar.

The petition further states that he enjoys all the powers that comes with the post. If proven true he would be penalised from the day he took oath as a MC councillor. 



Poll code violation: 30 vehicles impounded
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 28
The SAS Nagar police today impounded over 30 vehicles being used for canvassing without the requisite permit by various candidates.

The SDM-cum-Returning Officer, Mohali, had written to the SSP yesterday that a number of candidates were using vehicles without permits. The financial observer for the three constituencies in the district had also pointed out that the candidates were using a large number of vehicles, without permit letters from the returning officer.

Mr Indermohan Singh, SP, headquarters, said over 30 vehicles were impounded today. SHOs of various police stations in Kharar, Banur and Morinda had been directed to impound any vehicle being used in canvassing which did not have a permit. He added that the cars belonged to almost all candidates.

Meanwhile candidates in Kharar collected over 60 vehicle permits from the returning office today. As many as 25 permits were taken by the Congress candidate, six by the SAD candidate and over 15 by the Independent candidate Tarlochan Singh Mann. Sources in the SDM office added that some Independent candidates were yet to take even a single permit.



BSNL counter of inconvenience
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Subscribers queue up at a cash collection counter to make payments at the BSNL building in Sector 34, Chandigarh, on Saturday.
Subscribers queue up at a cash collection counter to make payments at the BSNL building in Sector 34, Chandigarh, on Saturday. — Tribune photo by Vinay Malik

Chandigarh, January 28
Scores of subscribers visiting the office of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in Sector 34 to make payments of their phone bills are being put through great hardship due to the alleged mismanagement on part of its officials.

Due to the absence of separate money collection counters for men, women, senior citizens and physically challenged persons, subscribers have to stand in long queues for hours together to make their payments.

Moreover, frequently changing counter makes the matters worse for subscribers as they have to hustle around to pay their bills.

When subscribers finally get their turn to make payments after a long wait, employees at the counter close the window at their will, leaving them high and dry.

Mr Surinder Singh, a Sector-7 resident, who had been awaiting his turn in a queue at the office, said clerks often closed cash collection window during lunch time and tell customers to approach their seniors for a replacement at the counter.

Mr Pyara Singh, a senior citizen from Sector 35, lamented that the BSNL had hardly given a thought to creating separate counters for senior citizens and handicapped persons alike.

“BSNL employees usually ask senior citizens to join the queue meant for women. Though the building houses two cash collection counters, these are never opened simultaneously for the convenience of general public,” he complained.

Mr Surinder Singh, a Sector 32 resident, said: “To line up in queues for hours together and that too in the absence of any ventilation makes it really taxing”.

On a visit to the office, a TNS team found that employees had closed the window to have their meal, paying little heed to the inconvenience being caused to those who had been waiting for their turn for hours.

Placement of a huge cabin right in the centre of the hall on the ground floor has further aggravated the problem, leaving insufficient space for customers to move about.

Also, the bill collection counter at the main door of the hall, where customers queue up, blocks the passage leading to the other counters inside the hall.

Employees clarified that subscribers often created chaos by leaving it to the last date to make the payments.

Mr D.R. Paul, Principal General Manager (Chandigarh), said: “Usually there isn’t much rush at the Sector 34 office. Employees go on lunch in turns, keeping public convenience in consideration. Provision for separate counters for senior citizens and women at Sector 34 can be worked out.”



Botched jobs: Police goes into shell
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The top brass of the Chandigarh Police has retreated into its shell. No senior functionary of the department has been accessible to mediapersons since Inspector Jagir Singh episode hit the headlines.

All attempts by mediapersons to establish contact with the Inspector-General or the Senior Superintendent of Police went in vain, as repeated answers from their offices as well as from their residences were the same: “The boss has gone out.”

Only some weeks ago, the Chandigarh police organised workshops for its non-gazetted officers and gazetted officers, impressing upon them the need to have cordial and congenial relations with the media. This exercise was undertaken mainly for minimising conflicts and bridging communication gap between the media and the law enforcing agency. But a series of unsavoury incidents during the past some weeks have made the police personnel retreat into their shell

One of these incidents was about the alleged kidnapping of two youths (including one wanted in several cases of heinous crimes) from the busy Sector 15 market. Though, the local police was not directly responsible for the controversial kidnapping, yet, it was caught napping as it had no inkling about the exact identity of the alleged kidnappers, the Delhi police in mufti. In this case, the police was caught in a piquant situation as it had registered a case of kidnapping in response to public outcry against a broad daylight crime.

Before the criticism of Sector 15 case could die down, the police found itself caught in yet another unsavoury controversy. This time the two parties involved in the case were none other than senior officers.

On January 22, SHO of Sector 34 police station Inspector Jagir Singh, was arrested on the allegations of molesting and intimidating a woman sub-inspector. He was allegedly picked up by a team of crime branch officials the same day. There were allegations and counter-allegations. Inspector Jagir Singh reportedly lodged a complaint of kidnapping against crime branch officials in Sector 34 police station. The family of Inspector Jagir Singh has alleged that the police has yet to proceed on the complaint.

And this was not the end of it. The body swapping incident in the PGI mortuary early this month and the recent incident of the Sector 17 police station in which two Ludhiana residents took away a body of an unidentified man claiming it to be of their relative have also tarnished the image of the police.



Official apathy stalls projects
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 28
Development works here have come to a grinding halt as officials of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) have failed to prepare expenditure estimates in time for projects that had got the nod over two months before the Election Commission clamped the Election Code of Conduct for the Assembly poll.

Sources said the officials concerned had prepared estimates for various small development projects, which the Technical Committee of the GMADA found to be highly inflated.

These estimates were rejected by the Technical Adviser and officials were asked to prepare fresh estimates.

They were almost through with the exercise of drawing up new and more realistic estimates when the poll code came into force on December 29, last year.

Residents are unhappy at the sudden halt of work, including that on beautification schemes, due to inefficiency of officials.

The around Rs 4-crore works cleared by the GMADA at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chief Administrator, GMADA, on October 17, 2006, ranged from landscaping and renovation to park development.

Deadlines had been set up for the completion of the works to ensure fund utilisation before the end of the current financial year.

Some of the works had to be carried out by the Municipal Council, which too had failed to meet the deadlines.

Officials said the works got delayed due to procedural delays.

It was planned to hold a flower show for the town in the City Park in Sector 68 this year after giving a facelift to the area.

But as officials concerned would not be able to carry out work on the park now, the holding of flower show had been jeopardised, as was to be held only after the repairs were carried out.

Some of the projects cleared at the October meeting included landscaping of the central meridian road separating Sectors 61 and 62 from Yadavindra Public School to Sohana.

It had also been decided to construct footpaths on the either side of the widened road from the NIPER bridge to Industrial Area, Phase IX.

Under one scheme, all roundabouts were to be painted in white with cat’s eye indicators afixed on four sides.

Landscaping was to be improved at roundabouts at Madanpura, the truck union area and Dara Studio.

The road from Semi-Conductors Limited (SCL) to the Chandigarh border had to be taken up for special cleaning of berms and repair of footpaths and sidewalks.

Earlier, the GMADA could not carry out development works in the town in the absence of required staff.

Development plans were drawn up only after the services of 190 employees of PUDA were placed at the disposal of the GMADA.



Several projects hang fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Different projects of the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation are held up for reasons ranging from delay in the acquisition of land to clearance of architectural drawings. A project monitoring report sought by the UT Administrator has revealed that significant projects like multi- level parking for Sector 17 and developing of the Sub City Centre in Sector 34 are still under the stage of implementation. The architecture plans of the Garbage Disposal Plant in Dadu Majra were held up with the Architecture Department, said sources.

Meanwhile, the completion of the 1.2-km stretch of the first concrete road between Sectors 31 and 32 was delayed for several months.

An alternative link from National Highway 21( taking off near Hallo Majra village) to Panchkula is yet to be completed. Though the earth embankment has been completed on a part of the proposed road from the Mauli Jagran railway crossing to Bell Factory, getting clearance from the Forest Department and litigation involving a private land are delaying the project.

In the report, it has been stated that work on the land earmarked for rag- pickers and junk dealers in Sectors 48, 52 , 56 and Dhanas has not started, as the architectural drawings had been sent to the Chief Engineer.



Trailing life: Mishap victim needs good Samaritans
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
A budding management professional, Nitin Khanna, who met with a serious road accident at the Sectors 18-21 crossing here in October last year, is struggling for life in Fortis Hospital, Mohali. He was admitted to General Hospital, Sector 16, soon after his motor cycle had a collision with a car. Subsequently, he was shifted to the PGI.

Hailing from Hoshiarpur, he is the only hope for his elderly parents. Unfortunately, he met with the accident just a few days after joining Dell, a call centre at Mohali. After getting information about the mishap, the centre management shifted him to Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

A case was also been registered at Sector 19 police station against Sanjay Singla, a commission agent of a Delhi-based travelling agency. Mr Singla had reportedly been driving the car (DL-8C-5093) that rammed into the motor cycle (PB-07N-7319) of Nitin.

The shattered father of Nitin told Chandigarh Tribune that the hospital management had demanded Rs 15 lakh as charges of the treatment but his son is still unconscious. “Though I have paid over Rs 7.5 lakh yet the hospital authorities are telling me to pay the balance money or take the patient away,” alleged Mr Satish Chander Khanna.

Mr Khanna resides in a rented accommodation at New Colony, along the Una Road in Hoshiarpur. He had taken loan for his son’s studies.

The accident has put the family under a huge debt and the family desperately needs financial assistance. Donors can contact father of he victim at 9876643548.



Water toxicity ‘leads to bird mortality’
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Water pollution in Sukhna could be a possible cause. Dead storage level and pollution level in the Lake has been rising.

UT Wildlife Department might have acted fast in the matter concerning the death of migratory birds, but it is yet to explore the role of Sukhna's water in the rising mortality of birds. Water quality of the Lake, experts in water conservation area say, might have solutions to the mystery behind the death and sickness among the flocking birds. Very often, fall in the levels of dissolved oxygen in water has been found to cause bird mortality.

In case of Sukhna, therefore, testing of water samples is an absolute necessity. Over the past, pollution levels in the Lake have raised rapidly on account of several reasons, main being the rise in dead storage level of the Lake. Dead storage level is the level below which water cannot be drained out of the Lake. Water present below this level is always highly polluted because it gets saturated with toxic elements and gets devoid of dissolved oxygen present in water.

The same might be true in case of Sukhna Lake where dead storage level currently stands at elevation -- EL 1151 feet. There was a time when the level was 1148 feet, but the same has risen over the past due to increase in water level of the Lake by three feet. Naturally, more and more water under the dead storage level would have become concentrated, making it unhealthy for aquatic life.

Another reason why Sukhna's water has become highly polluted is that the Lake's spill away gates were last opened in the monsoon season of 2005. That is more than one and a half years earlier. During 2006, there was no escape of water from the Lake at all. This has led to increased level of toxicity in the water and this toxicity, in turn, could cause sickness and death among birds, unless detected otherwise.

Admitting to the possibility of water pollution behind the death of birds, Mr G.S. Dhillon, water resources expert, said a similar problem had once arisen in Harike Lake. "In certain pockets of the Lake, migratory birds were found dying without apparent symptoms. We sampled the waters from those pockets and sent them to Irrigation and Power Research Institute at Amritsar for testing. We found that water was so toxic and so deprived of oxygen that no aquatic or any other form of life could exist. For years, decaying organic matter had caused the absence of dissolved oxygen in water, leading to death of birds. Finally, water had to be pumped out of the Lake and fresh water introduced."

The same institute can be asked to conduct water sample testing of Sukhna.



Maloya resident stabbed by in-laws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
A matrimonial dispute took a violent turn late on Saturday night when city resident was allegedly stabbed by his brother-in-law and three others. The victim was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital in a critical condition with multiple stab and other blunt injuries.

Giving details of the incident, sources in the Sector 39 Police Station said the victim, Mr Tarsem Singh of Maloya reported to the police alleging that he was waylaid by his brother-in-law Pehru, who was accompanied by his cousins, Gurdeep, Channu and Guddu near Maloya Colony on Saturday night. He was on his way to his brother’s residence in Maloya and was riding a motorcycle. Pehru belonged to Saifalpur village in Ropar district.

Narrating the incident, he told the police that the accused had pushed him following which he fell on the road. Then, they all pounced upon him and Pehru caught hold of him by his arms. Gurdeep stabbed in his stomach with a knife. Channu repeatedly stabbed him and in order to save himself he injured his arms. Guddu hit him with an iron rod as a result of which he fractured two of his fingers.

The police said that the doctors admitted him following his serious condition. A case of assault and criminal intimidation under various provisions of the Indian penal code has been registered in the Sector 39 Police station and all the accused are still at large.

A police officer said the case was registered on the basis of preliminary investigations. The medical reports of the victim were awaited and relevant sections should be subsequently added in the case following the reports. The victim had a strained relationship with his wife soon after the marriage. He was living along with his brother in Maloya.



Two injured in separate mishaps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
A scooterist and a pedestrian were injured In two separate road accident while in another incident a car was damaged in a mishap in the city.

The police said a pedestrian, Renu Bhalla of Ramgarh village in Panchkula district was hurt after being hit by a Toyota Inova. She was rushed to Sector 6, Panchkula. Similarly, a scooterist, Mr Sham Lal, suffered injuries after his scooter collided with an unidentified vehicle near small Chowk on road dividing sector 24 and 25 on Saturday. He was rushed to the PGI in a critical condition. Two separate cases of causing hurt due to rash and negligent driving have been registered in this regard.

In another incident, Mr Abhishek Rattan Pal of Sector 49-D lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Sanjiv Kumar of Patiala district rammed his car into his vehicle near the Sector 9 and 10 rotary on Saturday.


Mr Anurag Sharma of sector 42-A reported to the police alleging that Rs 22,000, three pairs of gold ear rings, 500 grams of silver and a pair of shoes were stolen form his residence during the day time between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm on Saturday. A case has been registered in this regard in the Sector 36 Police Station.



Connect scheme for pre-paid users
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
HFCL Connect mobile and Talky subscribers can get latest news, cricket updates, jokes, horoscope and tips on beauty, health, skin, body and hair care through SMS.

The subscribers can select and ask for information by sending an SMS to 56565 at just Rs 2.

For any other assistance on the scheme the users can call on Connect's customer care number 1920.

Connect mobile users can also avail extra talk time of Rs 34 on the recharge of Rs 375 upto January 31. The offer is available only to pre-paid users.



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