C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Don’t mess with master plan: Sharma
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

M.N. Sharma
The city was meant to house not more than five lakh people. I know requirements change with time, but the changes should not play havoc with the master plan.— M.N. Sharma

Chandigarh, March 18
The Chandigarh Administration needs to take remedial steps lest the citadels of modern architecture in the city crumble under the weight of mindless experimentation, says M.N.Sharma, the first Indian Chief Architect of the city.

Talking to the Tribune, Sharma said he intended to call on "people in power" to make them see the urgency in saving the architecture of the first modern city in the country, vying for a place in the World Heritage list of UNESCO.

Sharma was part of the delegation that called on Sonia Gandhi, UPA president, seeking that the city architecture and the green belt be preserved. A proposal for an urban art commission was made at the meeting. The Centre is expected to set up the commission any time.

“The city is surrounded by habitation. It is bursting at the seams, despite the fact that the master plan clearly provides that in a radius of 10 km, there must be no constructions. The Industrial Area, too, will see a massive rush in the wake of the conversion policy. The Film City project defies logic because even a country of the size of the USA has its movie Mecca at Hollywood and not within the city.

"We are forgetting the preamble laid down by Le Corbusier. The city was meant to house not more than five lakh people. I know requirements change with time, but the changes should not play havoc with the master plan."

Sharma is concerned at the change in land use in the Industrial Area. "Changes in land use will go against the basic concept of the master plan. It will cause many problems which will not be easy to resolve without affecting the existing planned development."

"I have seen construction in progress on the Sukhna island. Nothing should be built that obstructs the view of the Shivalik ranges. The administration needs to refrain from over-developing the approach to the lake".

Sharma expressed dismay over the way the colour of the wall at the Chandigarh Museum had been changed for the “Light and sound programme” which commenced today. The rain waterpool has been tampered with. " I feel this is a bad precedent and the administration must make amends".



Petro scam
ST men under scanner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The investigation into the Rs 1,000 crore inter-state petro scam by the operation cell of the Chandigarh Police points towards the connivance of excise and sales tax officials.

In charge of the cell, inspector Vijay Kumar said so far they had found 28 bogus firms involved in the scam. These firms existed on paper alone. The role of Karnataka State Cooperation Marketing Federation was being examined as the company had granted a letter of credit to procure solvents and other chemicals, licensed items, from ports.

However, senior officials of the federation had not bothered to cross-examine the end use of products for which the licences were obtained.

The connivance of senior officials of excise and sales tax in the scam could not be ruled out as records of these companies showed that they had been paying tax. These companies were depositing sales tax regularly and hence had escaped being checked by the officials concerned.

The investigation officials tracked records of three such bogus firms-Hindustan Industrial Cooperation, Bihar, Shri Banke Bihari Chemicals, Muradabad, and Shri Reliable Industries, Sekundrabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Verification of Hindustan Industrial Cooperation revealed that the company was registered in 2003-04 and had filed Rs 4,290 as sales tax for the year 2003-04 and Rs 31,681 for 2004-05. However, the company registered in the name of one, Tribhuwan Singh, had applied for cancellation of its registration on October 15, 2005, which was granted. As per the records, 500 litres of naphtha was shown to be supplied to the firm even after its cancellation.

Inspector Vijay Kumar said they had apprised the excise and sales tax department of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Gujarat on the irregularities being committed in there areas and the modus operandi being adopted by the offenders.

They were contemplating seeking help from the CBI.One of the accused, Vinod Aggarwal, had been booked by the CBI earlier too.

The Chandigarh police had registered a case in this connection on November 19, last year, following a complaint by Anil Modi of Mani Majra. It was alleged that a bogus firm, Mahaveer Enterprises, was being run in Mani Majra. This led to the unearthing of an interstate gang.



Collector rate charge on unearned profit
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March18
The prevailing collector rate of Rs 19,200 per sq yard will decide the unearned profit to be charged from owners of industrial plots given land on a lease-hold basis. A decision in this regard is expected this week.

A long-pending demand of the owners of industrial plots, the move would enable the holders of general power of attorney (GPA) to get the properties transferred in their name after paying the collector rate and stamp duty.

Sources said the decision would have to be taken before March 31 as the UT Finance Department had proposed to hike the collector rate by over 50 per cent.The collector rate is the benchmark for the sale and purchase of property.

Ever since the Industrial Area, Phase I and II were developed, hundreds of plots were allotted on a lease-hold basis. “ Since no auction of industrial plots has been done in the past, it was difficult to calculate unearned profit, as is being charged as transfer fee in case of lease-hold commercial and residential properties.

“The collector rate is the only option to decide the unearned profit”, said an official. The proposal to decide on the issue has been sent to the Finance Department for approval. By rough estimates, the unearned profit for a kanal plot comes to around Rs 30 lakh.

The department is also expected to decide on the issue of stamp duty from persons who have got their sites converted under the conversion policy. 



This truant cop just won’t give up

Chandigarh, March 18
Suspended constable of the Panchkula police Pawan Kumar, who was arrested by here on Saturday for cheating and impersonation, managed to dodge the police when being taken for a medical examination last night.

The police nabbed him from outside his house in Sector 38-C in the wee hours today. A case under Section 224 of the IPC has been registered against him. Two assistant sub-inspector Jai Dev and head constable Mohinder Singh, from whose custody Pawan Kumar fled, have been booked for negligence in duty.

On Saturday when the policemen took Pawan Kumar and his accomplice Mustaq to the Civil Hospital for examination, Pawan fled. A police party tracked him near his residence in the wee hours. — TNS



Speaking Out
What a fall, my countrymen!

The defeat of India in their first World Cup match at the hands of Bangladesh and that of Pakistan by Ireland has shocked cricket lovers. This is what some of them had to say to our reporter Akash Ghai.

Gaurav GuptaGaurav Gupta: No one was expecting what happened yesterday. Pakistan is out and India is on the verge of being ousted. For the Bangladesh win, all credit goes to coach Dave More, who had steered the Sri Lankan team to a win in 1996.

Karanveer SinghKaranveer Singh: It was teen power that defeated the Indian team, regarded as one of the best in the world. The lethargic Indians were hapless in front of Bangladesh’s energetic teenagers Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Saqibal Hasan.

Gaurav MalhotraGaurav Malhotra: For the shameful defeat, the much touted batting line of India was accountable. Our batsmen just threw their wickets away with bad shots. All our heroes were made zero by determined and energetic rivals.

Veerkaran GoyalVeerkaran Goyal: It was disappointing to see India’s dismal start . Bangladesh put up a valiant show. They fought for every run and tore the Indian bowling attack apart. The way Bangladesh’s players performed is praiseworthy. But India should not lose heart. 

Sahib Malhotra: Age is catching up with most Indian players. This was evident during fielding. Despite warnings, India took their rivals lightly. More seriously, all senior players, except for Saurav Ganguly, failed to deliver. 



Mansa Devi shrine bedecked for Navratras
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 18
The Mansa Devi shrine has been decked up with flowers and lights with scores of small shops lining the shrine’s road preparing for the annual rush of devotees who will throng the temple for the Chaitra Navratra mela which begins tomorrow. The mela will be inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda who will perform a yagya at the shrine.

The floors of the temple complex are getting a last-minute scrub and efforts are on to complete pending works before the eight-day mela gets underway.

Chief administrator of the Shri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board and deputy commissioner Neerja Shekhar said adequate arrangements had been made for the devotees. A special bus service has been initiated for those coming from Chandigarh, Pinjore, Kalka, and other surrounding areas.

Meanwhile, tight security arrangements have been made for the fair. The deputy superintendent of police (city), OM Prakash, has been made overall in-charge of the security.

Over 500 cops from various districts have been deployed in and around the shrine to keep a check on anti-social elements. The personnel have been posted at the nakas en route to the shrine.

For the first time, CCTV cameras installed at 16 locations, will be operational during the fair. The authorities said this had been done to prevent pickpocketing and chain snatching.

The board has also made elaborate arrangements that include adequate drinking water, proper toilets and sanitation facilities and parking. For public conveniences, besides a temporary police station, a control room has also been set up. Separate parking lots have been earmarked for vehicles near the Haryana Urban Development Authority’s shopping complex.

To meet drinking water requirement of the devotees, the board has arranged water tankers and stationed them at different locations. Arrangements for accommodation of the devotees from far-flung areas in the temple dharmashala and guest houses have also been made.

Apart from three bhandaras being run by the board every year, five more will be organised during the fair. For the first time, private bhandaras have been asked to deposit a security to ensure they clean up the areas allocated to them on the conclusion of the mela. 



Pabhat — a picture of neglect 
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 18
The godown area in Pabhat village here on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur highway, which houses the godowns of the top MNCs and Indian companies and contributes crores of rupees to the state exchequer, has virtually no basic amenities.

Almost six years after it was incorporated into the Zirakpur Nagar Panchyat, the area, including the residential parts of Sunny Enclave and Palam Enclave, continues to lack the basic amenities.

“In fact, the our area seems to be nobody's baby with repeated representations to the nagar panchayat and the state government authorities falling on the deaf ears,” alleges F.S. Nagra, president of the Commercial Welfare Association, who had been waging a battle for better civic amenities in the area.

Proximity to Chandigarh has sent the land prices skyrocketing. Every available yard of land has been used for setting up commercial and residential establishments, turning the area into a virtual concrete jungle. The drainage system is virtually non-existent. Venturing out could be a nightmarish experience during the rainy season.

Residents alleged that groundwater was “unfit” for drinking. Residents had to fetch water from adjoining areas.

A visit to the area reveals that a majority of the approach roads were kutcha and dotted with potholes. With land selling at a premium, certain property dealers had encroached on the roads and sold them off as part of the plots. Since the demarcation of the roads left much to be desired, the roads had become too narrow for the heavy vehicular traffic to pass, alleges Nagra.

As scores of heavy vehicles park in the area for loading and unloading daily, the non-functional streetlights have made the area accident-prone.

Underlining the commercial importance of the area, Nagra urged cooperation minister Kanwaljit Singh to get a special economic package for the area.

Meanwhile, official sources admitted that the area was beset with problems. The haphazard construction, particularly the construction of multi-storeyed apartments, posed a serious problem for the provision of the civic amenities in the area.

With the formation of the new government, better days are near for the township, the sources added.



Muslims want schemes implemented
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The Federation of Muslim Societies, Chandigarh, and the United Democratic Progressive Front, Chandigarh, today protested against the demolition of a 20-year-old mosque at Indira Colony, Mani Majra. They also demanded the UT administration to implement several welfare programmes announced by the PMO for the minorities.

Addressing a press conference, Mohammad Sadiq, president, Islamia committee, said cases for allotment of land to mosques had been lying pending for the past 15 years. “All necessary documents have been cleared and provided, however, nothing has been done so far,” he stated.

He added that in spite of the recommendations by the UT Administrator and adviser, land for masjid in Ram Darbar had yet not been allotted.

Khalil Ahmed, federation chairman, said the Muslims in Dadu Majra were facing a problem in offering prayers, as the mosque there had been demolished without any prior notice.

They demanded the 15-point minority programme announced by the Prime Minister to be implemented in the city for the welfare of minorities, rehabilitation of poor vendors of Sector 26 subzi mandi and allocation of a madrasa plot at Mauli Jagran.



Maintenance Command chief in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the IAF’s Nagpur-based Maintenance Command Air Marshal K.S. Chaturvedi arrived on a two-day inspection visit at No. 3 Base Repair Depot here today.

He was received by Air Officer Commanding 3 BRD Air Cmde R.K. Srivastava (Air Force) and senior officers.

During his stay at the 3 BRD, the Air Marshal will review a ceremonial parade and inspect various sites, flights and projects within the depot.

A presentation on multifaceted activates of the depot will be made by Air Commodore Srivastava.

Air Marshal Chaturvedi was selected to reorient specialised technical training to enhance flight safety. This project has culminated in the now well-established system of technical type training (TETTRA) courses for various aircraft and ground-based systems.



Umbrella body for ex-servicemen needed: Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Advocating the need for setting up an umbrella body for ex-servicemen, UT Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) today said the organisation will help provide a more effective and responsive mechanism to meet the needs of ex-servicemen and redress their grievances in a systematic and speedy manner.

Addressing the sixth national convention of the War Decorated, India, a national body of gallantry award winners, here this evening, General Rodrigues said: “Currently different ex-servicemen groups are functioning in the region with different programmes. We must create a single fora that will give us a common platform for the welfare of ex-servicemen and their families.”

He said district-level chapters of the umbrella organisation could be set up and single-window facility could be provided for sorting out various issues like pensionary benefits, medical relief, rehabilitation programmes and setting up of business establishments by ex-servicemen and their families.

Lauding the role of war decorated soldiers and other ex-servicemen in protecting the country, General Rodrigues said with citizens initiative a war memorial had been set up in Chandigarh to perpetuate the memory of soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the honour of the country.

He said they were pursuing the setting up of a national memorial at Delhi in the memory of soldiers.

“The President has confirmed that the Government of India has processed this and it will soon be a fulfilled dream,” he added.

Ms Jean Rodrigues distributed cheques of financial assistance to 18 widows of the war decorated soldiers of different ranks.

Brig Sant Singh, president, War Decorated, India, said: “This organisation has undertaken the cause of looking after the welfare of heroes and also their families and dependents.”

Artistes of the North Zone Cultural Centre presented a cultural programme on the occasion.



High-five for light and sound show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Pride in showing “open hand” as the symbol of Chandigarh by residents emerges as a strong message in a well drafted and executed light and sound show that began at the Government Museum and Art gallery, here, this evening.
It was launched by Punjab Governor and UT Administrator General S.F. Rodrigues (retd).

The 45-minute show, the first project of its kind to showcase modern architecture in the country, beautifully exhibits the details of some of the finest works of modern architecture conceived by Le Corbusier, renowned French architect.

Explaining the symbol as a living organism, the show interestingly weaves a talk show of a guide with the visitors, explaining the High Court and the secretariat as the head, Panjab University as the hand and Sector 17 as the heart.

The quality of picture and sound requires a special mention. Different voices narrate features unique to the city, making it more special to all who want to explore the architectural wonder.

The show has been conceived and executed by the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) and the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO).

The show features various tourist attractions in the city, including Rock Garden, Sukhna Lake and Rose Garden.

Chandni Luthra, vice-president, ITDC, said: “CITCO will manage the show on the growth of the 55-year-old city.”

The 1.61-crore project has a 150-seat enclosure between administrative block and the museum. The giant projection has been made on the facade of the museum building, supported by the lighting and sound effects.

The Tribune is depicted on at least two occasions in the presentation, once showing stories on the death of an architect associated with the city and the other a story on the partition.



Panel summons info officer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The Central Information Commission has directed the public information officer, estate office, to appear before the commission on March 23. The orders have been passed on an application moved by Vinod Sharma, a resident of Sector 22.

The commission has also served a show-cause notice as to why a penalty of Rs 250 per day from the date when the information was to be actually supplied to the applicant, not exceeding Rs 25,000, should not be imposed on him under Section 20 (I) of the RTI Act.

The applicant had stated that he had not received information in spite of his following the standard procedure.



Ordnance factory celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
An exhibition depicting the history of the Ordnance Cable Factory (OCF) and its products was the highlight of the Ordnance Factories’ Day celebrations, here today.
The celebrations begun with the flag-hoisting ceremony by general manager J.P. Sharma, followed by the administration of a pledge by the employees.

Senior officers, including joint general managers G.C. Agnihotri, R.K. Amar and Rajiv Kumar; deputy general managers R.M. Verma and J.K. Ray; assistant labour welfare commissioner K.S. Guru, and Sukhgeet Kaur were present.

A colourful cultural programme marked the culmination of the celebrations in the evening.



Youth convention

Chandigarh, March 18
A two-day state convention organised by the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, Punjab and Chandigarh, will begin in the city tomorrow. The aim of the convention is to focus on the Revolution of 1857 and the panchayat yuva shakti abhiyan.

“The Yuva Kriti”, an exhibition on handicraft, will also be held. R.K Mishra, regional director, Commonwealth Youth Programme, Asia Centre, Chandigarh, will inaugurate the convention. — TNS



HUDA warned against demolitions

Panchkula, March 18
Saketri residents have warned HUDA against demolitions in the area to widen the road leading to their village.
Maintaining that the authority had initiated the process of widening the road without prior notice to the gram panchayat, sarpanch Mohan Singh said a temple and a number of houses fell in the proposed area being used for road widening. — TNS



1 killed, 1 hurt in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
In two separate hit-and-run cases, a scooterist was killed while another was injured in the city.
50-year-old Mian Singh of Sector 50, deputy superintendent of PWD, Chandigarh, was killed after being hit by a tipper truck on Chandigarh-Panchkula road this afternoon.

The victim suffered severe head injuries and reportedly, died on the spot. A police vehicle took him to the Sector 16 hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

In the other incident, Mandeep Kumar of Phase IX, Mohali, suffered injuries after the scooter he was riding on was hit by a car on the road dividing Sectors 52 and 53 this afternoon. The victim was admitted to the Sector 16 hospital. Cases have been registered.

Vehicles stolen: Ram of Sector 28 reported to the police that his Mahindra Bolero (CH-01-G-1-0700) was stolen from his house on the last night. Sudesh Kumar of Burail also complained that his Maruti car (CH-03-S-3410) was stolen from Burail on March 15. In another incident, Amrik Singh of Sector 23-D said his Bajaj Boxer (PB-52-9166) was stolen from his residence on Friday night. Three separate cases of theft have been registered.

Purse stolen: Dr Punam Bali of Sector 8 lodged a complaint alleging that her purse containing Rs 1,000, some documents and other articles, was stolen from her car parked near the cremation ground this morning. A case has been registered.



Youths thrash Mohali resident

Chandigarh, March 18
A group of at least 15 persons thrashed a Mohali resident and smashed his car outside Hot Millions in Sector 17 tonight. According to eyewitnesses, the assailants fled after bashing up the man. Alert staff of the restaurant and onlookers nabbed one of the assailants. In the meantime, a Punjab Police Gypsy (PB-65-8200) reached there and whisked away the man.

One of the eyewitnesses said despite the fact that they informed the police on the phone, none reached the spot. He was told help would come in 30 minutes and they should inform the police station about the incident.

The victim, Paramjit Singh of Phase V, Mohali, alleged that the youths pounced upon him as soon as he came out of the restaurant. They smashed his Hyundai Accent car (PB-07-P-2000).

Paramjit was taken to the police station. He claimed that he had suffered a fracture. He said the other party at the hospital blamed him for the assault. — TNS



Biz Clips

Kinetic offer:
A four-day event, organised by scooter manufacturer Kinetic, is currently under way at Sector 17. On the purchase of company’s product, the customer will get a gift hamper. The company is celebrating winning five awards in the two-wheeler segment this year. — TNS

Launched: Mobile operator Airtel today announced the launch of its scheme wherein cricket scores on hello tunes will be provider for its post-paid and pre-paid customers throughout Punjab. Subscribers to this service will now be able to hear latest score updates instead of the usual ring tones. — TNS



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