C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT counsel’s submissions on dera plea
Not pleased, HC seeks yet another affidavit
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
An affidavit submitted today by UT home secretary Krishna Mohan on behalf of the administration and Administrator, regarding submissions made by UT’s senior standing counsel before the High Court, failed to pacify the division bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Mr Justice Mahesh Grover.

Directing the Administrator and the home secretary to file yet another affidavit within four weeks (the next date of hearing is August 22), the Bench observed that the “decorum, dignity and majesty of the law is of paramount importance. Unsolicited advice cannot be permitted”.

Determined to drive home the point, it said no statement or assertion could be made which negatively affected the credibility of the institution of judiciary.

The court directed the authorities to respond specifically to its query as to whether Gupta’s assertions of May 18, during the first hearing on a dera petition filed by Manjit Singh, were on the instructions of the Administrator or the home secretary.

Kamini Jaiswal, appearing on behalf of the Administrator, stressed, as did today’s affidavit, that given the fast pace of events on May 18, when the dera petition was taken up, no notice was issued to the administration, and there was no time for Gupta to obtain instructions.

Jaiswal said legal submissions were generally made by counsel on their own to the best of their professional knowledge and wisdom. Importantly, the affidavit had been filed with the approval of the Administrator.

Significantly, Daya Chowdhary, assistant solicitor-general, too placed a note before the court, stating that the May 18 and May 31 orders of the court had been placed before the union home minister as directed.

The minister had discussed the matter with the Administrator, adviser to the UT and home secretary to ascertain the facts of the case. The minister had also asked the administration to take appropriate action in view of the court order.

It seems the storm raised by senior standing counsel Anupam Gupta is gathering momentum with each hearing. The furore began when Gupta submitted before the court on May 18 that its intervention in the dera row would reflect “poorly on the bona fide and impartiality of the court”.

This incurred the court’s displeasure which found the submissions bordering on contempt. The court, on May 31, directed the Administrator and the home secretary to file an affidavit (second in the series), specifying as to whether the submissions by Gupta were on instructions.

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Hema’s latest: 100 kg Rajbir

Chandigarh, July 19
A baby elephant was born at Chhat Bir Zoo early this morning. The calf, which weighed 100 kg at birth, was christened Rajbir.

“Birth of elephants seldom takes place in a zoo. This is one of the rare instances”, a zoo official said.

Hema, Rajbir’s 30-year-old mother, carried the calf in her womb for 22 months, the normal gestation period for an elephant baby. Rajbir’s father is Rajmangal, who is 50.

Hema was brought here from Assam. Rajmangal had got the death penalty after it mauled a child at Rohtak. Protests by animal right groups prevented Rajmangal from being killed and he was put in the zoo.

Hema and Rajmangal had earlier given birth to a female elephant that died at infancy. — TNS

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Possession of Mani Majra land any time
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Armed with the Supreme Court order approving the acquisition of 400 acres of land in Mani Majra, the Chandigarh Administration is preparing to take possession of the land.

A senior official said land would soon be handed over to the Chandigarh MC.

Shops and nurseries were being run on the land. Officials said the occupants could be asked to move out any time. They denied the decision had any link with the apex court’s order.

The process to acquire the land (from pocket no. 1 to 6 and pocket no. 9 to 11) on behalf of the MC for development purposes was initiated in 1989.

The affected persons, including shopkeepers, had moved the apex court after their plea was dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

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Pupilwatch
Students keep tabs on mates
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
In view of the increasing incidence of children going missing from schools, the UT education department had directed that vigil be increased at school gates for which additional staff be deployed. The DPI (Schools) had instructed that a visitor’s register be kept at the school gates.

But the Tribune team found that instead of deploying more staff, the task was left to the students.

At Government Model High School, Sector 41, where three students of Class VI ran away during school hours after scaling a wall, students have been assigned the job of keeping a tab on the movement of other students.

At the entrance of the school sat Vinay and Harish, Class IX students. They had to skip classes to keep a vigil at the school’s main gate. They said they were on “duty” to check the entry and exit of students.

Moving into the school premises, the team found Abhishek and Vikas of Class IX, sitting in the corridor opposite the Principal’s room, on a similar task. Another duo, Vinay and Sandeep were found elsewhere on “vigilant duty.”

Said the principal: “These duties are assigned in other government schools too.” Asked if these duties had an adverse impact on their studies, she could not come up with an answer.

Despite instructions by the education department, no record was being maintained at the school’s main gate.

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Rent defaulters set to lose homes
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, July 19
As many as 84 allottees of one-room dwelling units in Sector 56, rehabilitated from the “Madrasi” colony in November 2006 under the small flats scheme of 2006, will be ousted from their homes because they figure on a list of payment defaulters compiled by the Chandigarh Housing Board.

They have not paid their monthly rent of Rs 800 for the past more than three months. A total of 653 dwelling units were allotted under the scheme.

Amar Nath, chief executive officer of the board, said: “We have identified the regular defaulters and compiled a list. The occupants of the houses under question will be issued notices and if they do not make the payments within a fixed time frame, the allotments will be cancelled.”

The department is also studying the case of 18 allottees who are said to have sold ownership rights and made profits. A senior officer said: “We have got a representation with regard to subletting or selling of property rights through fraudulent measures, however, no confirmation has been made yet. We are looking into the case. We first need to study how could a person make financial gains on a property which was not even in his name.”

“During a preliminary survey, we found certain houses locked. We were told that the owners had gone to their native land on a holiday,” the officer said.

The allotment of the flats was done on the names of the applicants in a bio-metric survey conducted in March 2006.

Lalit Sharma, adviser, had said the dwelling units would not be allotted on the basis of ownership but on the licence fee. This would help in checking the practice of selling the site or allotted unit in the market and then going back to the slums. The adviser had also said “for ensuring that only genuine allottee under the scheme are provided property rights, the option of ownership on the payment of balance amount will be given to the beneficiaries after 20 years.”

The administration has identified 11 locations for the construction of units for slum dwellers. 

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Press site encroachments cleared
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
The deputy commissioner-cum-estate officer, UT, today filed a status report before the high court that nearly 700 jhuggis existing on the press sites, Industrial Area, Phase I, had been removed.

The report filed by R.K. Rao, DC, stated that after removing the encroachments, the possession of the site had been handed over to the engineering department.

The Chandigarh Housing Board, the nodal agency to shift and resettle jhuggi dwellers, had already completed 1,400 prefab structures and the possession had been given to slum dwellers.

It was further stated that basic facilities had also been provided as per the information provided by the chief executive officer of the housing board.

As many as 1,014 allotment letters had been handed over to the slum dwellers of Janata and Kumhar Colony so far. There are nearly 2,900 jhuggis in the two colonies as per a survey in 2006.

Bare sites for jhuggi dwellers

The administration has decided that due to paucity of time, prefab structures for all jhuggi dwellers may not be completed. Therefore, bare sites shall be allocated to them for immediate shifting. The CEO, Chandigarh Housing Board, has been asked to make available possession of these sites to the remaining 700 jhuggi dwellers of Kumhar Colony.

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Plan to set up 5-star hotel, mall, multiplex
11 acres to go under hammer
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 19
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is all set to auction 11 acres of its prime land in Phase X here. For the construction of a five-star hotel, a mall and a multiplex, all part of a commercial complex.

The proposed plan has been approved by the regional town planning committee headed and forwarded to the planning and design committee for approval.

The auction, expected to bring in at least Rs 250 crore to the GMADA is likely to take place early next month.

The land is on the Chandigarh-Mohali border. “With an international stadium down the road, a five-star hotel is the need of the hour. A multiplex and a shopping mall site will also be auctioned on the same day,” said sources.

This will be the first site to be allotted by GMADA in Mohali for a multiplex or a shopping mall. Till date, PUDA had limited itself to allotting shop-cum-offices and shop-cum-flats in its commercial pockets. “This will be SCO and SCFs also in the complex towards the road dividing the residential area of phase X and the site,” added an official in GMADA.

This will be the third shopping mall site in Mohali. One site in the industrial area, Phase VIII B, auctioned by the Punjab Small Industries and Exports Corporation (PSIEC), is being developed by Real Estate developers Parsavnath. The other site in Phase III here is being developed by AB Motions Limited, a company promoted by liquor baron Ponty Chadha.

PUDA’s Mohali wing had got its prime site in Phase X vacated following the demolition of Guru Nanak Colony on June 26, 2005. In one of the largest demolition and rehabilitation operations, over 3,000 persons had been shifted from this site to a vacant piece of land in Jagatpura village.

A plan to utilise the vacated site commercially was laid out last year. Other than a multiplex and a shopping mall, a small part of the area was to be kept for cooperative housing societies.

However, the new plan, which has been approved, does not include a residential component. “There are many houses in the area already,” said an official.

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Tourist buses dodge road tax
Govt decides to get smarter
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, July 19
Operators of private tourists buses passing through Mohali district are adopting novel ways in their bid to evade tax, reported to run into lakhs of rupees every year.

Although the authorities concerned have been conducting surprise checks to block the losses to the state revenue, private tourist bus operators many a time manage to skip paying the mandatory special road tax.

The modus operandi of the operators includes selecting a journey time when chances of checking by officials is likely to be minimum, getting a one-way permit on a particular day but making a surreptitious return journey the same day and changing route.

The buses that evade tax are mostly inter-state buses which ply between Delhi and Jammu and Delhi and Manali. The tax has to be deposited by such buses daily at the barrier while entering the state, which varies depending on the type of bus and the number of seats it has.

An ordinary bus with a capacity for 15 passengers is required to pay a tax of Rs 800 daily, a 30-seater Rs 1,200 and a bus with more than 30 seats Rs 1,600 daily.

A deluxe bus is required to pay Rs 2,000 daily while in the case of an air-conditioned bus the tax is Rs 2,400 per day.

It is learnt that tourist buses like to operate between midnight and 4 a.m. to evade tax because hardly any checking is done during these hours. Checking in this area is generally done at Landran, Kharar and Kurali. If the bus operator gets to know that checking is on at Landran, he tries to divert the route and reach Kharar, passing through Zirakpur and Chandigarh.

According to sources, among the buses challaned recently were those of Bluebird Travels, Moonlight Travels, Bedi Travels and People’s Bus.

DTO Balbir Singh said on the directions of the state transport commissioner, a drive was on since June 1 for strict checking of such buses.

He said as many as 81 tourist buses were challaned during June and fines to the tune of Rs 4,33,400 imposed on evaders. As many as 17 buses were challaned till July 18.

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Cops fail to trace judokas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
A team of the Chandigarh police dispatched to Hardwar to trace the missing judokas has returned empty-handed.

The team was sent there along with the fathers of Manisha and Sapna on Tuesday after Manisha’s father told the police that she called her uncle on Sunday from Hardwar from a PCO.

SHO of the Sector 36 police station Ishwar Singh Mann, said they went to the PCO, apart from temples, inns and hotels in the city but the girls could not be traced. They also quizzed a judoka, Vijay Kumar of Attawa, who, however, told the police that he was away from the city for two months.

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Interceptor vehicle to help stop death on roads

Mohali, July, 19
In order to control unruly traffic on national highways, an interceptor vehicle was launched by state transport minister Master Mohan Lal, here today.

Talking to mediapersons here today, he said the vehicle, costing Rs 22 lakh, was sponsored by the central government. The interceptor was equipped in such a way that it could detect the speed of coming vehicles and the condition of the driver from a distance.

Traffic flowing from both directions could be kept under surveillance. It would also help in determining whether the driver was under the influence of intoxicant.

He said an official on the rank of assistant district transport officer would be given charge of the interceptor. The system was being adopted by several other states too.

He said that at least one lakh persons were killed each year in road accidents. The government was constituting a road safety council under which a road safety fund would be set up. Persons dying in road accidents would be given a compensation ranging between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 5 lakh from this fund. — OC

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Chain smoker behind smoke-free poster
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
A chain smoker’s vision of a smoke-free city - that’s how Brahm Prakash describes the posters he designed for Chandigarh administration’s anti-tobacco campaign.

Pasted all over the city - on walls, medians, important road dissections and buildings - these posters have suddenly become symbols of a vigorous city that dared to lead from the front when it came to turning its back on tobacco. Besides, it helped Brahm Prakash, hooked to tobacco himself, to look at the issue from a fresh perspective.

And what better way to declare war on tobacco than to throw cigarette ash out of the ashtray and install a plant instead. For Prakash, principal of the Government College of Art, Sector 10, and a celebrated graphics artist, the assignment was not easy. This despite the fact that he has to his credit a Trinnale award among many others.

But designing a poster is different, said the unassuming master of colours, in an interview with The Tribune. His brief was clear - design a poster for a smoke-free Chandigarh and design it within a month. The product was ready before time and the UT Administration was more than happy with the posters, now dotting the city. In fact, Prakash also designed Chandigarh Tourism’s latest logo, which every official communication and invite will henceforth bear.

But he is most excited about the anti-smoking poster, whose imagery took some time to come. “I toyed with several ideas, but then I settled for the image of a bamboo plant in the ashtray. It’s all about substitution -- something which doctors want chain smokers to do,” he said, showing some of the first prints he designed in his computer.

To some, the image does not come across as one of a bamboo plant. It appears more like a “wreathed” bunch of cigarettes, shunned forever. “That’s the artistic part of the effort. Eventually every work of art, be it a poster or a painting, must be able to lend itself different meanings. If some people see in the poster an image different from what I designed, I think I have succeeded in my work as an artist,” says Prakash, who has designed a different set of anti-smoking posters for restaurants and other commercial areas.

The one with a bamboo plant is meant for open spaces across the city. It is green and catchy enough to ensure that everyone entering the city leaves their pack of cigarettes behind - Brahm Prakash including.

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Sharing his China experience
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
What Digvijay Singh remembers most from his China visit is the flattering remark the country’s vice foreign minister Dai Bingguo made about his turban. “You wear a turban just like your Prime Minister. Leaders always wear turbans,” he had said.

He was one among the only two interns from the field of medicine to be chosen for the fellowship mission headed by India’s minister for youth affairs Mani Shankar Aiyar.

In Chandigarh today to visit his grandparents, Digvijay, an intern with AIIMS, said: “Our first formal meeting was with Dai Bingguo. The thrust was on areas of cooperation between India and China, traditional medicine being one. The discussion centred on the importance of integrating ancient medicine systems with modern ones.”

“We learnt how community work could yield brilliant results. We also visited the world horticulture expo, the famous Nanjing economic technology development zone, Jiangsu software park and Confucius Temple Street. At the community youth centre in Nanjing, we learnt how the huge Chinese population found employment,” he said. 

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Letters

Zirakpur woes

This refers to the news item, ‘NHAI blames tardy Punjab’, that appeared in the Chandigarh Tribune on July 10. I completely agree with the views expressed in the article that the flyover being constructed at Zirakpur is causing problem for people there, especially motorists. I also agree that such a huge amount of money would not have been spent on the flyover had the shops near the highway been shifted elsewhere. I hope the administration does something to solve these problems.

Sunder Singh Giani, Zirakpur

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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Tips for safe driving

Overtaking - 2

It is safe to overtake only if you can see THE WHOLE of the vehicle behind you

REMEMBER — ‘MIRRORS — SIGNAL — MANOEUVRE’

Courtesy: Safe Driving, compiled by Cdr Swarup J Sarma

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Five youths injured in accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Five youngsters were injured when their speeding Scorpio collided with a Maruti Alto car at a rotary near Chandigarh Club tonight. The Scorpio went out of control and did a somersault thrice before coming to a halt. The occupant of the other vehicle escaped with minor injuries.

The injured, two of them seriously, were rushed to the Sector 16 Government Multi-Specialty Hospital.

According to eyewitnesses, the Scorpio (PB-05-M-0014) coming from the Sukhna Lake side at high speed collided with the Maruti Alto car (DL-9C-J-8346), damaging its front portion.

The occupants of Scorpio have been identified as Harpreet Singh of Moga and Harpreet Singh of Ferozpore, both students of Khalsa College here, Nachhatar Singh, Baljit Singh and Sukhchain Singh. A case of causing injury due ton rash and negligent driving has been registered against the driver of the Scorpio on a complaint by alto driver, Anil Arora of Sector 40.

Meanwhile, Bagicha Singh of Sector 41 reported to the police that his Maruti (HP-11-0044) was stolen from his residence On July 16. in another incident, Ranbir Singh Parmar of Vikas Deep Enclave, Zirakpur, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Splendour motor cycle (CH-03-9966) was stolen from Fragrance Garden, Sector 36.

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Couple, kin booked for kidnapping girl
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 19
The police today booked a couple for kidnapping a minor girl from the Commando Complex Phase XI here.

According to the police, Swami Nath, a resident of the complex, who works as a cook, complained that Pande Kumar, another cook working in the complex, and his wife “helped” Pande’s brother-in-law kidnap his minor daughter.

Investigating officer Lakha Singh said Pande’s brother-in-law Gokul was a resident of Nepal and had come last month. He lived in the complex with Pande and his sister. He met Swami Nath’s 17-year-old daughter during this period and the two reportedly liked each other. Gokul took the girl away with him to Nepal without the consent of her parents.

Swami Nath forced Pande Kumar to get his daughter back from Nepal and from where she returned today following which the complaint was lodged. Swami Nath has alleged that Gokul allured his daughter into going away with him.

The police has booked Pande, his wife and Gokul. The police said Gokul could be charged with rape only after a medical examination of the victim. The three have been booked under Sections 363, 366A and 120 B of the IPC.

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Scribes, docs file counter FIRs
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 19
The police here today registered counter FIRs against Civil Hospital doctors and mediapersons following a clash between the two parties on Tuesday.

The doctors and the mediapersons locked horns at the Civil Hospital, Phase VI, here when the doctors on duty allegedly stopped Lakhwant Singh, photographer of a vernacular paper from clicking pictures in the hospital.

While the photographer alleged that the doctors, led by Dr Amit Arora, beat him up, the doctors on the other hand alleged that the photographer was interfering in the functioning of the hospital and harassing the hospital staff.

The police has booked Dr Amit Arora and Dr I J S Bhatia under Sections 356, 506, 427 of the IPC on the complaint of Lakhwant Singh and reporter Manoj Joshi.

In his complaint, the two had alleged that the doctors manhandled them, snatched their camera and punctured Manoj Joshi’s motorcycle with a surgical needle.

Lakhwant Singh and Manoj Joshi have been booked by the police under Sections 332, 186 and 323, 506 of the IPC. The doctors have alleged that the photographer and the reporter hampered their work and stopped them from doing their government duty. They also alleged that the photographer had manhandled them.

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