C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Illegal structures
Panicky villagers turn to MLA
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

The Punjab government has already filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court stating that over 67000 hectares of land in five districts of Punjab was wrongly notified as ‘forest’ land and should be exempted from the provisions of the forest Act. The SC is yet to give a final decision on the matter.

Chandigarh, March 14
For hundreds of Nayagaon residents, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has rendered the status of Notified Area Committee (NAC) accorded to the village meaningless. Those who had razed structures in the area today received demolition notices for violating the Forest Act.

The authority has asked residents of Karoran and Nadah to demolish the structures raised in violation of the Act within 45 days of the date of issue of the notice, failing which it will initiate action against them.

Kansal is the only village in the NAC which does not have land under the forest Act. The entire land in Karoran and Nadah is locked under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900. The villages also attract the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980. No structure can be raised on this land.

Panic-struck residents, held an emergency meeting with Morinda MLA Ujagar Singh Badali in Nayagaon this evening. He assured them that their houses would be protected. He has sought an appointment with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Other than these two NAC villages, some other villages in the periphery are also locked under the forest Act.

The authority has actually dealt a double whammy to those who have constructed structures in these villages The authority has served notices to those who had applied to the authority for regularising their structures following the implementation of the New Punjab Capital Periphery Control Act in January last year.

The structures that had been constructed in the area before November 1, 2005, are to be regularised. The Panjab Urban planning and development authority (PUDA) then had through advertisements asked all those who had raised structures in the area to apply for regularisation. Over 3,000 such applications were received.



On return, Sunil faces mob ire
Plays the victim at hands of parents, wife
*Girls say they were tricked by teacher
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Chaos prevailed when an enraged mob, including relatives of the kidnapped girl students of Sector 22 Government Senior Secondary School, pounced on Sunil Kumar and gave him a beating the moment he disembarked from the police vehicle. Sunil Kumar, the two victims and his two accomplices, a servant and his wife, were brought to the crime branch in Sector 11 here this evening.

Cops managed to rescue the accused before the crowd could pull him out of the security circle. A police team reached there at 7:25 pm, whisked away the accused and the girls and brought the situation under control within minutes. Nisha’s uncle Paras Ram fainted during the commotion.

Talking to mediapersons, the victims alleged that Sunil Kumar had allured them with helping them with question papers for their Class X exams.

Chamandeep alleged that Sunil Kumar had given them some juice to drink on that day, following which they fell unconscious.

When they regained consciousness, they found themselves in a hilly area. They were kept in confinement and Sunil’s servant along with his wife kept an eye on them.

Admitting his fault, Sunil Kumar said he had done no harm to the girls. He treated one of them as his beloved while the other one was like a daughter to him and wanted to adopt her.

In an attempt to win over the media, he said he was a neglected child. He did not get love from his wife either. He said he doubted the fidelity of his wife. Fed-up, he wanted to star afresh.

A sobbing Chamandeep alleged that Sunil Kumar had threatened to kill them. He had forced them into writing suicide notes, which he planned to post to their parents to mislead them. She said Sunil Kumar used to chant mantras in the night and had shorn their hair for occult practises.

“He forced us to give statements to the police against our parents as we were under his spell. We did what he wanted us to do.”

Inspector Satbir Singh, in charge of the crime branch, said Sunil Kumar had admitted to his crime. The girls would be sent back to their families tomorrow.

Denying knowledge of occult powers, Sunil Kumar, a double MA and a gold medallist in Hindi from Panjab University, maintained that the girls used to discuss their domestic problems with him. He used to help them financially and emotionally. He wanted to marry Nisha of Nayagaon, when she become a major.

He said he wanted to save the girls from their parents as they were opposed to their studies.



News Effect
Missed meal: Rights panel seeks report
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has directed the Deputy Commissioner of Ropar to submit a report on hundreds of government primary school students in Morinda and Kharar going without their mid-day meal on March 12 due to incessant rain.

Taking suo motu notice of the report, the commission said prima facie “it is a fit case which requires scrutiny and examination”. Those who participated in the proceedings were acting chairperson Justice R.L. Anand (retd) and members B.C. Rajput, N.K. Arora and K.K. Bhatnagar.

Food for the students is cooked on mud stoves outside the school buildings and with no alternative arrangements to prepare the meal inside, the kids had to return home without their daily diet.

In village Manikpur Sharif in Morinda, the 180 students of the primary school did not get the meal.

In Fatehpur village too, the meal could not be cooked. In some other schools, women employed to cook the meals could not reach the school due to the downpour.

The commission has listed the matter for April 24.



Neelam’s turn to get malled
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Neelam Cinema in Sector 17 is all set to get a new look. Succumbing to the market forces, the theatre which has been synonymous with the good old affordable cinema is paving way for a mall.

A multiplex-cum-mall is already coming up in place of Jagat Cinema in Sector 17. The construction of a multiplex in place of KC Cinema is yet to begin as the owner of the property is still waiting for sanction of the building plans.

Though the owners of Neelam Cinema have yet to apply for conversion under the Multiplex Policy-2006, sources in the real estate business confirmed that a Bangalore-based group had acquired leasehold rights of the property for a period of 35 years.

The arrangement would work as in case of the Fun Republic multiplex. The owner of the property had leased out the property to a subsidiary of Zee Group. The sources said the value of Neelam Cinema had been assessed at around Rs 280 crore.

One of the owners GS Kairon was contacted on the phone but was elusive on the issue.



Traders face conversion pangs
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
A large number of industrialists are wary of the conversion policy. Those who have opted for the same want the administration to clarify the provisions under the new policy as also the expected results.

Industrialists allege that the administration has tailored its policy to help a few. “ A majority of us do not have enough money or resources to go in for conversion. At least 80 per cent of those who volunteered for conversion are now stuck with the hike in rates on transfer of lease rights. This is also leading to outsiders gaining entry to the land of local industrialists through GPA."

M.P.S.Chawla ,president of the Chandigarh Industrial Association, said: " The administration is not honouring its assurance. We were assured that the transfer rate would be about Rs 2,500 per two kanals but now we are told that the transfer rate will be calculated on the current price of property, which works out at around Rs 6 lakh.”

The Industrial Area has not seen even five per cent conversions in more than a year after the same was allowed. Only 29 units out of the 1,443 applied for it.

A senior official said:" Don’t expect any changes overnight. We are aware of the fact that not all will apply. However, the change is important for future development of the city. There are several big plots vacant. The owners can now expect big financial returns even if they lease these out." 



MC MONEY: Gone with the rain
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, March 14
Rain and hail left a trail of damage behind. All major and minor roads across the city were severely damaged following the daylong downpour and hailstorm.

The downpour ruined the recarpeting exercise undertaken by the authorities just before the elections to the MC. The entire effort seems to have gone down the drain. And so has a sum of Rs 50 crore spent on the repair of roads. The money was kept aside in the last budget of the corporation especially for roads.

Not only were the inner roads to sectors damaged, the main roads, especially Purav Marg, was in extremely poor shape. In Sector 11, one of the side walls of YWCA was damaged.

The road beyond Sector 44 leading to Mohali was a mess and saw some minor accidents. Similar was the case with the main road turning right from the Chandigarh Housing Board into Panchkula. Rains rutted the roads and caused several potholes, making driving a nightmare. Besides, all roads were littered with whatever the rain brought down yesterday, from stems, branches to leaves.



52-yr-old hangs himself to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
A 52-year-old man allegedly hanged himself to death at his Sector 41 residence here today. The police is yet to ascertain the cause behind the extreme step. Quoting the family, they said the man was upset for some time.

Inderjit Singh, was found hanging from a ceiling fan at 1:30 pm by his daughter-in-law. She raised an alarm. The body was brought down and taken to the Sector 16 General hospital.

The deceased was a conductor with the CTU. He had been terminated from service about 18 years ago and was said to be in depression.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code. 



Rare view of deer at Sukhna
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Visitors to the Sukhna Lake these days are treated with a rare view of deer population visiting the shores at the far end for their outing by the water side. A herd of more than 20 deer had a pleasant outing today much to the delight of the curious onlookers.

The antics of the fawn accompanying the elders was a special attraction for the onlookers who made a beeline for the motor boats to have a closer look at the visitors from the adjoining reservoir. The group of the visitors was largely engaged in drinking water and lazing in a chilly wind on a sunny day when it sensed human interest drawing near on the boats.

The onlookers could be seen loaded with their cameras trying to click the forester from as near as possible which was the immediate provocation for the visitors to beat a retreat.

Mr Atma Ram, a senior citizen, said “we are aware of the deer population in the adjoining forest area and there are rare sightings. We have also seen ‘neelgai’ and ‘sambhers’”.

Talking to The Tribune Mr Ishwar Singh, deputy conservator of forests, said “it is heartening to record more frequent sightings of the forest population. They appear to be more secure. We have about 40 sambhers, nearly 20 blue bulls and more than two dozen spotted deer in the Sukhna Lake reservoir.”

He said “the forest area in the Sukhna Lake catchment area which was about 26 sq km had a population of more than 250 spotted deer and more than 45 sambhers.”



Speaking Out
World Cup @ wrong time
Cricket versus Exam fever

Cricket fever has reached its peak with the start of World Cup 2007 on Tuesday. But has it come at a wrong time for students who are taking their final exams these days? Akash Ghai and G.S. Paul get the views of parents and children on the issue:

We are totally confused. My children are school going and are taking their final exams these days. The World Cup has started and they insist on seeing the matches. Their exam preparation has also been effected as they discuss the matches. We, as parents, feel helpless.

Amarjit Singh, an officer in Indian Oil

Vinod Pandit, a local businessman The clash of dates of the World Cup and the final exams is a big cause of worry for parents. My son is taking his Class X Board exams. Earlier, he used to study till 2 am but now, the matches are diverting his attention. He is more interested in the latest score than his studies.

                                                   Vinod Pandit, a local businessman

Sanjeev Kumar, I and my son always wait for limited over matches. As the exams of my son, who is a Class IX student, are on, I am forced to see the match on mute mode. The studies of my son have been hampered as he comes again and again to enquire about the latest score.

Sanjeev Kumar, a lawyer

Indira Narula, a social worker I welcome the step of the Chandigarh Administration, which has allowed city restaurants to remain open till the culmination of the match. A child, who has been preparing for his exams, would definitely be disturbed if anyone at the house watches the match on TV.

                                                        Indira Narula, a social worker

Vikram Veer Sharma, a Class IX student I and my friends are in a catch-22 situation. Last night, I could not give proper attention to my studies as the match between Pakistan and West Indies was being played. I also received many phone calls from my friends during the match. The ICC should have scheduled the cup during summer vacations.

Vikram Veer Sharma, a Class IX student

Nishant, a student of Class X Oh God, please help me. I can’t keep away from a one-day match. I have to take my Class X exams at a time when World Cup matches are being played. As my parents do not allow me to watch the matches on TV, I have activated the ‘cricket update’ services on my mobile.

                                                          Nishant, a student of Class X



Hail crushes farmers’ hopes
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Rajpura\Dera Bassi, March 14
The recent rain and hailstorm have brought misery to the farmers of Chandigarh’s periphery, particularly in Mohali and Patiala districts, with extensive damage to the standing wheat crop.

With the rain showing no signs of let-up, panic has gripped the farmers, already at the receiving end of the rising input costs.

A Tribune team yesterday found worried farmers assessing the loss to the crop in the Dera Bassi, Lalru and Banur-Rajpura areas. Sohan Singh, a farmer from Bhaswan village in the Banur area, said his wheat crop on almost 15 acres had virtually been flattened causing him huge financial losses.

Wheat crop on scores of acres was inundated in Kheri Gurna village in the Banur area. ”The untimely rain threatens to ruin us. The Punjab Government should announce a package for the rain-affected farmers”, Santokh Singh of Kheri Gurna said.

At several places, the farmers, particularly those having small landholdings, were worst-affected. They were seen draining out the water. Raj Kumar, a farmer of Khanpur Bhoglan in the Rajpura area, said the wheat crop on his almost four bighas was virtually destroyed.

In Dera Bassi subdivision the situation was no better. Surmukh Singh of Dera Bassi said the rain had come at a wrong time. The rain during the Assembly elections had brought cheers to the farmers as it was considered good for the wheat crop. However, the recent spell, accompanied by hailstorm, has upset the calculations of the farmers, he added.

Even as a majority of farmers are affected by the rain and the hailstorm, these have played havoc with crops of the small farmers, who had taken the land on a contract basis. They are likely to default on the payments to the landlords.

The government should announce a compensation of at least Rs 12,000 per acre to save us from the impending economic crisis, Gurnam Singh, a farmer of Kheri Gurna, demanded.



DC assesses damage
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 14
Crop on about 347 acres of 18 villages in Dera Bassi subdivision have been damaged in rain.

This was pointed out by deputy commissioner Harjit Inder Singh Garewal after visiting Dharamgarh, Jastana Kalan, Jastana Khurd, Sirsini and Ramgarh Rurki and other villages of the subdivision today. According to an estimate, crop on 85 acres in Dharamgarh, 42 acres in Jastana Kalan, 12 acres in Jastana Khurd, 12 acres in Sirsini and 50 acres in Ramgarh Rurki were damaged by the unseasonal rain.

Garewal told officials of the revenue department to prepare a detailed report regarding the damage to the crops so that adequate compensation could be demanded from the government.



Homeless again: Houses of refugees brought down
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Kashmiri migrants living on the outskirts of Kajehri village allege that their dwelling units were demolished without taking a sympathetic view about their refugee status.

On March 12, the enforcement staff of the Estate Office they said had demolished 20 dwelling units constructed by them in 1997. “We are refugees in our own land. After losing everything to terrorism in Kashmir, we had invested our hard earned money in constructing the small dwelling units”, said P.K.Pandit, one of the displaced persons.

At least 47 families had purchased the land thinking that they could restart their shattered lives. “But the administration has once again dashed our dreams to own a small house,” said Pandit. He said this had been done despite repeatedly been assured by officers that going by their refugee status, they would not be touched.

Deputy Commissioner RK Rao said the owners of the dwelling units had raised constructions in violation of the periphery Act. The land on which the houses were constructed had been acquired by the estate office. He denied that any such assurance had been given by any official.

The Chandigarh Housing Board had allotted dwelling units on the basis of “refugee status”. A list of 28 persons had also been forwarded to the Chandigarh Housing Board.



Train experience to get better
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The Indian Railways has big plans on promoting Chandigarh and its surrounding cities as a tourism destination. A “Palace on Wheels” train for promoting tourism in Punjab will include Chandigarh as an important destination, a special weekly tourism package will be designed for Chandigarh and the Chandigarh Railway Station will be overhauled to have upmarket dispensing kiosks serving tea, coffee and eatables.

This was stated by the Managing Director of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), Dr P.K. Goel, after inaugurating the first water-vending machine at the Chandigarh Railway Station. This has been set up by Ion Exchange in association with the IRCTC and has been initiated to facilitate the common man with quality drinking water at railway stations.

“Initially, we will put up 670 water-vending machines in Class A and B railway stations across the country, but subsequently, these will be put up at 3000 railway stations. This purified drinking water can be had for Re 1 a glass or Rs 3 per litre, as compared to the packaged water available for Rs 12 a bottle,” he said.

He said that the budget hotel proposed by the Indian Railways, in Chandigarh, will be constructed by Zoom Developers. A tender for the same was floated recently. A technical team from the company will be conducting a technical survey of the site soon. “Besides Chandigarh, the budget hotels by Indian Railways in North India will also be set up at Shimla, Amritsar, Ambala, Ludhiana, Katra and Srinagar. The tenders for all these hotels have also been floated,” he added.

Dr Goel said that the “Palace on Wheels” train would start from Delhi and include Amritsar, Patiala, Chandigarh, Pinjore and Nangal (for Gobind Sagar Dam and Kiratpur Sahib). This would have a spa, suites with attached bathrooms, bar, beauty parlour and would have 20 coaches.



Add a coach to Shatabdi: Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Local MP and minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal has asked the railway ministry to meet the urgent demand of the city by adding another executive coach to the Kalka-Chandigarh Delhi Shatabdi.

Bansal pointed out that over the years the city had emerged as an important educational, IT and tourist centre.



300 deluxe buses for roadways
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 14
As many as 300 new deluxe buses will be added to the fleet of the Punjab Roadways in the coming three months.

This was stated by the transport minister, Punjab, Master Mohan Lal, while talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the inauguration of a showroom in Phase VI, Industrial Area, here today.

He said financial irregularities while making purchases for the transport department in the past would be exposed.



Councillors visit sewerage treatment plant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Councillors of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation visited one of its major technical projects, sewerage treatment plant at Raipur Kalan, commissioned in the recent past. The councillors led by mayor Harjinder Kaur and commissioner P.S. Aujla had an overview regarding the functioning of the plant. All councillors appreciated the efforts put in by the supervisory engineers for maintaining the plant like a garden.

It was felt that most of the city residents and even public representatives were not aware about the highly technical activities being performed by the corporation.

While explaining about the plant, an MCC spokesman said the plant of 5 MGD capacity caters to the sewage treatment requirements of Mani Majra. It works on the upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) which is an anaerobic treatment system where organic matter without aid of oxygen is digested, degraded, absorbed and converted into bacterial cell mass and biogas.

The advantage of the UASB process over other processes is that no external electrical energy and mechanical equipments are required in the UASB and maintenance requirements is less than other processes as there is no moving equipment.

The plant at Raipur Kalan is being fed from the sewage of Mani Majra Township, Modern Housing Complex, Shivalik Enclave and Mauli Jagran Colony. The sewage after being treated up to the desired level i.e. 30 mg/l is being discharged into a natural choe. 



Constable suspended for graft

Chandigarh, March 14
The Chandigarh police today suspended constable Jasbir Singh on the allegation of taking bribe from motorists at a checkpoint set up in Ram Darbar on Sunday.

The police said the guilty was placed under suspension by a senior police officer following a report of a fact-finding inquiry.

A regular inquiry has been ordered against him and action will be taken on the basis of the findings.

Sources in the police said Jasbir Singh was caught in the act when a motorist handed him over a marked currency and reported the matter to senior officers. — TNS



Months gone, no FIR
Lawyers threaten stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
MS Naryal, a lawyer at the local district courts, today questioned claims of the Chandigarh Police on prompt registeration of FIR.

The advocate said despite recovery of his mobile phone from a constable of the Chandigarh Police, the police had failed to register an FIR even after three months of the recovery.

The Global Human Rights Council today organised a press conference to expose the false claims of the police. Arvind Thakur, chairman of the council, said the phone of the advocate was stolen from his car parked in front of Hotel Shivalik View on August 12, 2006.

After four months, the police called up the lawyer to inform him that the same had been recovered from a constable.

The advocates had met the IGP and the SSP to get an FIR registered, but in vain . The lawyers body has threatened to start a hunger strike if the FIR is not registered. 



Roadways staff protest

Chandigarh, March 14
Members of the Haryana Roadways Employees Joint Action Committee gheraoed transport secretary Ramneder Jakhoo at the Mini Secretariat (Haryana) in Sector 17, here today.

Before reaching the secretariat, the members, who were thousands in number, demonstrated in front of the office of the transport commissioner. The protestors were demanding permanent recruitment, addition of 8000 new buses in the roadways’ fleet and were protesting against privatisation of the roadways.

The committee also decided to hold a rally in Rohtak on April 22. — TNS



Drive to curb bee menace
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The team of pest control staff of the Municipal Corporation continued to treat the beehives to control the bee menace in the city.

Today, the team attended 23 complaints in 11 sectors of the city i.e. Sectors 7, 19, 20, 24, 32, 44, 46, 48, 49, 50 and 51. The campaign to control the menace will continue.



Check on bogus voting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Impersonation for casting vote will soon be a thing of the past in the Union Territory as the election department is publishing draft photo electoral rolls. Booth-level officers will visit every house to check the photo electoral rolls from tomorrow.

It will be the first time when electoral rolls will be published along with the photographs of the electors. As per the directions of the Election Commission, photo electoral rolls prepared till January 1, 2007, will be printed.

The department has sought public cooperation for the verification.



Seminar on drug discovery

Mohali, March 14
Drug discovery is a complex, costly, risky, a long-term process and requires substantial human and financial resources, said Dr Girish Sahni, director, IMTECH, Chandigarh, while inaugurating a three-day workshop on “Pharmacoinformatics: Tools for Drug Target Identification” at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), here today.

He also delivered the keynote address on “Harvesting New functions from ‘Old’ Protein Scaffolds: Opportunities for the Proteomics Era”. Dr Sahni described how one could harvest new functions from ‘old’ protein scaffolds, which can lead to the development of new technologies. — TNS



Mongia inaugurates consultancy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Local cricketer Dinesh Mongia inaugurated Seven Seas Education Services at Sector 38 D here today. The company will provide free education consultancy to students who wish to study in UK. Advice on immigration will also be provided.

“We will start classes for spoken English, IELTS, TOEFL and personality development programmes very shortly,” said a local company official.



Biz Clips

Snacks launched: Leading food and healthcare company, Sarda Group, today launched its range of healthy snacks and sherbets in the city. Chief operating officer of the group Sandip Sinha said the company had come up with Yogi Vitamla (a healthy snacking product), Yogi Vita (sherbet) and Yogi Kanthika (mouth fresheners) while expanding their Yogi brand of snacking product portfolio.

Blood donation: A blood donation camp was organised at the Kumbra branch of the State Bank of Patiala. As many as 60 persons donated blood in the camp. Loans worth Rs 17.13 crore were also sanctioned by the branch today.

Loan Mela: A loan mela was organised at the Morinda branch of the State Bank of Patiala where loans of more than Rs 1 crore were sanctioned. The deputy general manager, Chandigarh zone, presided over the function.

Connect service: Connect has launched World Cup 2007 service for its subscribers, who can dial 1767 to get the latest cricket scores of the World Cup, enquire about match schedules and rankings besides playing the Cricket World Cup contest. For every 50 points, users would get one entry into the daily prize contest and win assured gift.

Spice Offer: Spice Telecom has announced the launch of an exciting new super value combo offer, in which customers get a brand new Spice handset, a Spice connection with 18000 minutes of free talktime and three years of free incoming calls. This offer is available at Rs 2699 for a 65k colour display handset and at Rs 1999 for a sleek metallic B&W handset, said Manmohan Nandwani, chief operating officer, Spice Telecom, Punjab.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |