C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Mohali airport set to take wings
*Aviation secy arrives tomorrow
*Haryana, HP asked to be partners
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
The Punjab government is all set to sign an MoU with the airport authority of India to set up an international airport at Mohali.

Led by union civil aviation secretary Ashok Chawla, a team of senior officers of the AAI will come here on July 26.

Accompanied by state chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh, the team members will visit the proposed sites for the setting up of airports at Mohali, Sahnewal and Halwara and review the project regarding the ongoing expansion of Raja Sansi airport at Amritsar.

Chawla will hold a meeting with Ramesh Inder Singh and other officers concerned of the state government. He is also expected to call on Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. “We are ready with the draft of the MoU. It will be discussed with Chawla before signing it at the appropriate level”, said Ramesh Inder Singh while talking to The Tribune here today.

About 300 acres will be required to set up the airport at Mohali. “ We will provide the land to the AAI for setting up the airport”, said Ramesh Inder Singh. Asked whether the union territory of Chandigarh would also be a partner in the airport, Ramesh Inder Singh said the UT administration was given an offer to be a partner, but there was no response yet.

“However, our offer to the UT administration stands”, he added. In fact, Punjab had asked the Haryana and Himachal Pradesh governments to be partners in the Mohali airport project.

The state government would set up a special purpose vehicle to acquire land and handle other related matters in the case of the Mohali project. As land was costly in the Mohali region, the state government will have pay about Rs 600 crore to acquire the land.

Asked about the proposed Sahnewal airport project, Ramesh Inder Singh said as the technical team of the AAI would be accompanying Chawla, all issues relating to that airport would be discussed with it.The team would visit the proposed sites of airport projects and also inspect the ongoing expansion work at Amritsar airport.



Limits of 5 villages redefined
Move aimed to check real estate speculation
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Chandigarh, July 24
The Chandigarh administration has redefined the boundaries in five villages transferred to the Municipal Corporation recently, clearly segregating the abadi(inhabited) areas from the rest of the revenue estate.

The villages include Maloya, Palsora, Kajheri, Daddu Majra and Hallo Majra. The decision will put an end to real estate speculation that had resulted from the agricultural land being included in the “abadi” areas. A notification in this regard will be issued shortly.

Nearly nine months ago, the Home Secretary had ordered that the proposed extended “abadi” be exempted from the provisions of the periphery Act. However, owing to official carelessness, the decision was not placed on record.

Land deals registered with the sub-registrar showed more than 70 transactions between January and May 2007. Most of these were in Maloya and Hallo Majra.

It was also alleged that certain officials of the revenue department had facilitated the land deals.This had led to unplanned construction in the periphery of the villages.

It has been decided that the Administration Erection and Re-erection of Building Rules, 2006, will be suitably amended and made applicable to "only the area under redefined abadi and not the entire revenue estate of the villages".

The Estate Office has been asked to redefine the boundaries of the villages by excluding specific 'khasra' numbers from the Periphery Control Act. The administration will initiate steps to acquire the land of these villages, which fall outside the 'abadi' area, for public purposes. The land acquisition officer has been asked to speed up work concerning acquisition of land in Maloya (7.08 acres) and Dadu Majra (13.68 acres) for the MC. The case is pending since September, 2006.

The issue arose when the MC received a proposal for developing a shopping mall on agricultural land near the road dividing Sectors 38 and 38 (West) in Shahpur village.



Bar body wants judge transferred

Chandigarh, July 24
The Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association today passed a resolution, seeking transfer of Mr Justice Uma Nath Singh for his order on advocate Tahar Singh.

The association’s general house meeting this morning decided that the Chief Justice of the High Court be requested to withdraw work from the judge. Another resolution stated that the court of Justice Uma Nath Singh should be boycotted.

Importantly, a proposal was mooted to initiate impeachment proceedings against him.The house thanked the Chief Justice for constituting a Division Bench last night to hear the plea filed by the association. The lawyers resorted to sloganeering against the Justice Uma Nath Singh and sat outside his courtroom, blocking entry. No lawyer appeared before the judge, who, nevertheless, carried on with his work.

Omkar Singh Batalvi, honorary secretary of the association, said the boycott would continue and so would the campaign to “restore the dignity of the Bar.” — TNS



Tahar Singh issue
Don’t discuss it outside court, HC to lawyers
Tribune News Service

Boycott Call

The Bar association members decided to boycott Justice Uma Nath Singh’s court permanently. A resolution to the effect was passed by the association’s general house this morning. The association president, Anmol Rattan Sidhu, and secretary Omkar Singh Batalvi, said the boycott would continue but Tahar Singh issue would not be discussed following the court order.

Chandigarh, July 24
Truce is still far, but the high court’s division Bench, comprising Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Surya Kant, paved the way for it by observing that the Tahar Singh issue was sub judice so it would not be proper for Bar members to rake up the issue on other fora.

Even as the sounds of sanity drowned in the cacophony of agitating lawyers, who felt that Justice Uma Nath Singh’s order was an assault on the freedom and dignity of the Bar, the Bench observed: “If issue can be resolved by going to streets then go to streets. Where was the need of the court to address it?”

Questioning the rationale behind the stir by Bar members, who have decided to permanently boycott Justice Uma Nath’s court, the judges asked if there was a need to discuss the matter outside when the Bar association only had moved the petition challenging Justice Uma Nath’s order.

Nevertheless, a majority of lawyers jampacking the courtroom were full of whispers about future strategies to be adapted in the “battle”. They seemed completely oblivious of the Bench’s mature and conciliatory approach.

The Bench also observed that the petition by the Bar association needed to be filed again in an amended manner as it seemed to be written in a hurry. Turning to the complaint of torture against Tahar Singh by his wife Sujata Sharma, the judges asked the UT counsel if he was carrying the investigation file with him. The counsel replied in the affirmative and informed the court that the complaint was originally filed on April 30 following which counselling and reconciliation sessions were conducted.

Eventually, when there was violation of the terms of conciliation, an FIR against Tahar Singh was registered at Sector 26 police station on July 6. The counsel also informed the court that the police had recorded statements of Tahar Singh’s children, also, but the statements of neighbours, colleagues etc., were yet to be recorded. Importantly, the court asked Tahar Singh to file an affidavit and allowed the interim relief to continue. The court further directed that an amended petition be filed by July 27 and fixed the next date of hearing for July 30. Meanwhile, the CBI counsel, Rajan Gupta, informed the court that Justice Uma Nath Singh’s order had been complied with to the extent that Tahar had been taken into custody and sent to Agra with a CBI team.

The Bench also sought the presence of Anmol Rattan Sidhu, Bar association president, and Omkar Singh Batalvi, secretary of the association. On their arrival to the courtroom, the judges observed: “We expect you to make statement that you will not discuss the matter at any forum.”



Lawyers exhibit unusual solidarity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
Solidarity of the legal fraternity of the Punjab and Haryana High Court culminated in the “release” of advocate Tahar Singh from the CBI custody in the wee hours today.

In fact, the protesting lawyers remained stationed outside the CBI office in Sector 30 till 3.30 am and dispersed only after taking Tahar Singh along with them to senior advocate R.S. Cheema’s house, as per high court’s orders.

Soon after coming out of the CBI office, Tahar Singh told mediapersons that he was picked up from the court premises. Replying to a query, he said he was not tortured by the CBI officials.

Before his arrival, the CBI was in the firing line of the advocates, who alleged that injustice was done to Tahar Singh.

The advocates banged the main gate of the CBI as no senior official of the agency was available to take court’s order regarding his release.

The assurance of DIG, CBI, B.L. Soni to the protesters that the team sent to Agra along with Tahar Singh was on its way back home failed to convince the lawyers.

Tahar Singh reached the CBI office at around 2.40 am. He was taken inside the office. After about half an hour, Tahar Singh came out and thanked fellow lawyers for expressing solidarity with him.



Pat For UT
Efforts to evict illegal occupants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
The Supreme Court today gave the Chandigarh administration a pat on the back for the measures taken to evict those occupying government houses illegally.

Talking to the Tribune, Home Secretary Krishna Mohan said the process of evicting such persons was started on the directions of the Supreme Court more than a year back. “We issued notices for eviction and realised penalties. As sought, the matter was reported to the court regularly". The list of defaulters included MLAs, former ministers and officers of the administration and those of Punjab and Haryana.

A senior officer said the administration had placed more than 40 cases before the court. Barring two, all were settled. A majority of these pertained to non-payment of rent and electricity charges.

Kamini Jaiswal, counsel for the administration, had told the court earlier that almost all houses in illegal occupation had been vacated.

Describing the continued occupation of government houses by officials illegally and the failure of the authorities to evict them as a serious matter, a Bench of Justice B.N.Agrawal and Justice P.P.Naolekar directed that the Orrisa government should place 48 officials defying rules under suspension, besides registering FRIs against them under Section 447 of IPC for trespass.

The court also directed that the government should initiate action for recovery of rent from these officials.



Drive to enhance voluntary blood donation
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
In pursuance of the National AIDS Control Policy (NACP) III, the Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society (SACS) has set itself the target of achieving 90 per cent voluntary blood donation in the coming year.

Right now, voluntary blood donation in Chandigarh is 76 per cent - a figure much higher than the national average of 53 per cent.

The society will especially target women in this effort as they contribute a dismal 15 per cent of the blood donated voluntarily.This will be done by collaborating with women who can assume motivational roles.

Acting project director Dr Suvir Saxena told Chandigarh Tribune that the society had chalked out a plan to network with principals of GCG-11, 42, MCM DAV, Government Polytechnic and Government Home Science College.

The new targets follow National AIDS Control Organization’s (NACO) renewed focus on “blood safety”. NACP III also stresses the need to strengthen blood safety to prevent HIV/AIDS. It is well-known that chances of HIV transmission due to infected blood are 100 per cent.

“Voluntary blood donation is the best indicator of blood safety. In Chandigarh, we are collecting 60,000 units of blood through voluntary donation annually. Of this, only 15 per cent come from women,” said Saxena. The national average of voluntary blood donation by women is even poorer -- just 6 per cent.

Another focus area will be blood separation, for which the society is working closely with all four local blood banks (PGI, GMCH-32, GMSH-16 and Rotary-37). “One unit of blood, if separated, can be used for four persons,” informed Saxena.

Chandigarh prepares 92,000 components of blood a year.



Now, a black box for vehicles
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 24
The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) here has developed a black box technology for automobiles. The black box designed to monitor and store parameters of road vehicles will provide crucial information about the vehicle’s behaviour during an accident.

Government of India, CDAC is now talking to almost a dozen companies, which have shown interest in purchasing the technology for the commercial production of these boxes.

Packed in a small unbreakable, shock and waterproof container, the box is built on technology that monitors parameters like the speed of the vehicle, engine temperature, brake oil level, overload, start and stop time and road conditions. It also has the unique ability to keep a tab on how drunk the driver is through a breath sensor. The box also records video clippings of the road in front of the driver and contains information about the use of headlights and turning indicators.

“This product not just enables us to judge the conditions in which the vehicle was being driven when the accident took place, but also helps us in preventing accidents to a considerable extent. The data collected from these boxes during accidents can lead to vital analyses of how and when the maximum number of accidents take place. An automobile black box would be most useful to the traffic police, transport departments, insurance companies, truck operators and also automobile manufacturing companies,” said J.S. Bhatia, director, CDAC, Mohali.

“The black box concept comes from their use in aeroplanes and becomes the most crucial part of the wreckage following an aeroplane crash. The automobile black box stores similar quality of data. Advances in automobile engineering have provided good performance vehicles, but this is one feature that is still unavailable in cars,” said Baljit Singh, senior design engineer, CDAC, and chief investigator of the project.

Baljit Singh added that the black box that was available for car was basically only a tracking system. “Those boxes do not store information about an accident. They track the vehicle on the road. We are adding the tracking feature in our black box also, but primarily it is an accident data storage box,” he said.

Using the GSM and GPRS technology, which is available in mobile phones, these boxes will also help an operator track the vehicle. The box is designed to store relevant information for one week except the video information, which will be limited to the last 5 frames. The information stored in the box can be downloaded into a computer and analysed. Interestingly, the information can be downloaded remotely using the wireless technology. “Once GSM and GPRS is enabled in the boxes the information stored can be retrieved from anywhere around the world,” said Baljit, adding that the black box would contain the best hardware and some of the latest software available and the finished box would cost less than Rs 14,000.



11 food joint owners challaned
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, July 24
Tightening the noose around violators of the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, the UT health department officials today challaned owners of 11 food joints in Sectors 8, 9, 10, 11 and 26. One person was challaned for smoking in public at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16.

In a daylong operation across the city, UT drug inspector Sukhwinder Singh challaned the owners of popula restaurants/food joints - Mr Beans in Sector 9, Mocha in Sector 26, Bakes and Beans in Sector 11, Degchi and Goldie’s Red Square in Sector 8.

Most of the owners were challened for not having displayed the mandatory anti-smoking information inside and outside their joints. “Despite wide publicity regarding the Act, which requires food joint owners to display boards of a certain measurement, the violators had not done that.”

The drug inspector said: “They had not demarcated smoking and no-smoking zones, which is mandatory under the Act, more so because the city is now smoke-free.”

The challan amount is Rs 200.



Police-Public Meet
All speeches, no complaint
Rajay Deep

Mohali, July 24
The first police-public meet of the district held at Khizrabad village here ended up as a mere collection of village heads and local politicians with only a handful of persons airing their grievances before the SSP.

SSP Ranbir Singh Khatra chose the village for his first interaction with rural residents to hear and redress their problems relating to the police.

But during the meeting, which lasted for over an hour before shifting to the Majri block, very few persons came forward with their complaints.

Most of the time was spent on local leaders’ speeches, lauding the efforts of the police in maintaining law and order or repeating their demands.

The leaders demanded the opening of a police post in the village so that residents were saved from travelling up to Kurali to register a complaint.

They also highlighted the problem of drug addiction and poor roads in the area.

They added that a police patrol vehicle was also needed to check the activities of anti-social elements. Khatra assured of looking into the demands.

Village heads, lambardars, and sarpanches flocked the meeting, which had been widely advertised through public announcements from gurdwaras.

But a very few villagers seemed to have realised the purpose of the meeting.

An old woman of the village told the SSP that she next to a carcass dumping site. Stench enveloped the area, causing inconvenience to people, she said.

The SSP said the matter required the attention of a different agency to whom he would forward the complaint.

Another pertained to request for withdrawal of name from an FIR registered in 1983 by 80-year-old Hakam Singh.

He claimed that he had no role to play in the matter yet policemen were troubling him by calling him to the police station repeatedly.

When asked why the police meet had not elicited much response, Ilaka Sudhar Committee chairman Ghaar Kamal Kishore said people of the area were a satisfied lot and did not have any problems with the police.



No More Queues
Suvidha goes SMS way
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, July 24
No need for applicants to visit district-level offices in Phase I every now and then to pursue their cases. The administration has become computer savy. Applicants will be told about the status of their work through SMSs and visit the offices only to collect their documents when the work had been done.

The district administration has started SMS service from the Suvidha Centre here. This is the first district among the three new districts to have provided such a service to prevent harassment of those who visit the district headquarters.

The SMS service was started on July 19 and till date 37 messages have been sent to applicants on the status of their work. While making inquiries using the SMS service, applicants are asked to SMS their token number and the year to which the work is related to. A token number is given to each applicant at the time of submission of application.

Under the new process, the mobile number of an applicant is fed into the computer, along with other details, regarding his work. The computer checks the status of work of the applicants and SMSs are sent accordingly.

If the work is pending, the applicants are asked to wait for a week and if completed, the applicant is asked to collect his document.

The Centre is starting a token system from tomorrow. Units displaying token numbers have been installed.



HUDA draw of lot today
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 24
The stage is set for the much-awaited Haryana Urban Development Authority’s (HUDA) draw of lot for plots in Sector 31 slated for tomorrow.

Last-minute details for the smooth conduct of the draw were finalised as officers and staff of HUDA spent the day preparing a blueprint for tomorrow.

The draw will get under way at the HUDA office in Sector 6 and the authorities have made adequate seating arrangements, including a separate enclosure for senior citizens.

HUDA has received around 88,000 applications for the 193 plots of different dimensions.

Two screens will be put up at the entry and the rear end of the building to enable public have a close view of the draws.

Two loudspeakers will also be installed for public convenience.

Also, HUDA has made arrangements with the local cable network to air of the draw live from the venue.

While there are 7,677 applicants for 35 plots in the one-kanal category, nearly 15,000 applicants have applied for the 45 14-marla plots in the sector.

The authority has received 24,321 applications for 41 plots in the 10-marla category, over 10,000 applications for six-marla plots and 30,509 applications for 48 four-marla plots.

Sources in HUDA said 742 applicants who failed to deposit the requisite earnest money or who applied for more than one plot had been disqualified.



BSNL claims normalcy, but complaints pour in
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
Even as the BSNL today claimed normalcy in its services in the wake of the devastating June 30 fire at the Sector 17 telephone exchange, complaints of faulty telephones continue to pour in.

The equipment damaged in the fire have either been set right or replaced and all telecom services have been restored, S.R. Aggarwal, chief general manager, telecom, Punjab circle, claimed here today.

However, if any subscriber is still experiencing any problem then he should intimate the department at toll-free telephone number 1500, Aggarwal said.

However, Aggarwal’s claims notwithstanding, the telecom subscribers are a harassed lot with the scores of landline connections still cut off from the rest of world.

Lakhwinder Singh, a Sector 18 resident, is one of such inconvenienced persons whose landline connection is yet to be restored by the BSNL after the fire incident. Repeated visits to the telephone exchange in Sector 17 have failed to yield any result, he claimed.



Dam: Strife continues

Mohali, July 24
Work on the Banur canal weir at Chatt village continued to be suspended for the third day today. Following the confrontation of villagers on the two sides of the canal, Dera Bassi SDM Sohan Lal Bhumbak met a delegation of villagers today.

While residents of over 80 villages downstream have forced the irrigation department officials to stop the construction of a protection dam over the river fearing a threat of floods, the standing crops of farmers of another 25 villages on the other side of the river has begun to wilt in the absence of the water. Kisan Bachao Sangharsh Committee president Jaspal Singh, on the downstream said their representatives met the SDM and told them that the protection dam that was being constructed was too high and would lead to the collection of a huge amount of water. — TNS



Villagers block traffic
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 24
In protest against an unscheduled power cut, residents of Attawa village blocked traffic at the Sector 36-42 rotary tonight.

The power in the village went out at 7.30 pm when the electricity department failed to restore power even after a hour the residents resorted to protests, causing inconvenience for scores of motorists.

Although unannounced power cuts are a routine affair here, the department is least bothered about the plight of the residents, said Gurdeep Singh, a Congress leader.

Police force reached the spot to avoid any untoward incident from taking place. Meanwhile, the electricity department staff also reached the spot and were trying to rectify the technical snag.




Congestion on slip roads

The slip roads in Chandigarh near light point and round about are of not much use. These sleek left turns or slip roads are too close to light points or round about that when ever there is rush it blocks the way. It leads to congestion on the road. The vehicles taking left turn also have to wait for the way to slip roads to be cleared. For the proper utilisation of slip roads and to manage rush on the main road, it is suggested to keep distance between light points or round about.

V.K. Kapur

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Taxi driver killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 24
Taxi driver Sudhir Kumar of Kurali was killed when his vehicle was hit by a truck near Ramgarh, here today.

The accident took place when the victim was returning home after dropping some passengers at Dehra Dun.

The truck (HP 12 9377), on its way from Himachal Pradesh to Delhi, hit the Tavera (PB 12 H 0054) killing the driver on the spot.

The truck driver fled the scene. The police has registered a case in this regard.



Three accused released
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 24
The Nayagaon police today released the three accused in the land grab attempt on bail. Yesterday the police had booked the complainant, Rajbir Singh, as well in the case. The case was registered under Section 307 which was later removed from the FIR against the three brothers. They claimed ownership of land in Karoran village and allegedly fired shots at the other group of persons constructing a house on the land yesterday.



369 booked

Chandigarh, July 24
The Chandigarh traffic police today booked 369 motorists for violating traffic rules. The police had set up eight nakas across the city to check violators.

The police said Rs 12,800 was collected as fines. The police also conducted a special drive against school buses in the morning and booked nine drivers for not wearing their uniforms. Of the total persons booked, 123 were challaned for over-speeding and 76 for riding two-wheelers without helmets. — TNS



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