C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Resume FR, orders MC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Citing serious building violations and misuse of premises, the Chandigarh MC today issued orders to resume the site of Fun Republic, the first multiplex in the city.The proprietors of the multiplex and certain UT officials are already facing a CBI probe for making changes in the structure of the multiplex without sanction.

What Next?
The violator is given 30 days to appeal before the court of Chief Administrator
The MC has been harassing us. There is nothing wrong in the building plans.
— Girish Pandey, CEO

Estate officer P.K. Sharma, secretary of the civic body, has written to the UT Chief Administrator to withdraw the permission to the run the Mani Majra-based multiplex, a property of Dhillion Brothers Pvt Ltd.

In 2005, the land acquisition officer, UT, had issued a notice for building violations and misuse of premises. Subsequently, the property was transferred to the MC which has been hearing the case.

During the course of resumption proceedings, the estate officer found that the building had been re-erected beyond the sanctioned building plan. The use of certain areas had been changed to commercial and the basement meant for parking also used for commercial purposes.

On getting the site converted on November 20, 2000, under the “Setting up of Multiplex Theatre and Conversion of Existing Cinema into Multiplex Theatre Scheme, 2000”, the revised building plan of the multiplex was approved on April 16, 2004. The multiplex was occupied in 2004 on the basis of occupation certificate shown to have been issued in 1982.

According to the MC, the owners of the property had been given opportunity to remove the misuse and re-erect the building as per the sanctioned plan. On a statement given by counsel for E-City entertainment, a group running the multiplex, and the proprietors that the violations had been removed, a team of the MC on a visit to the spot found the violations still existed.

Thereafter, the violators failed to get the building approved and get occupation certificate. Finally the MC issued orders to resume the site. 



Police Lines has illegal occupants - Cops
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 18
Those enforcing law have turned law breakers, all for a roof over their head. Police personnel, unable to resist the temptation of a “decent living” at the newly constructed Police Lines in Sector 25, gave the rules the go-by and occupied houses in the colony without allotment.

Three months on, the SP Sandeep Khirwar, has issued the “illegal occupants” a notice, asking them to vacate the premises. The cops have been given time till September 30 to move out failing which their belongings will be thrown out and the houses locked.

“We will get a completion certificate for the houses once they are vacated. After that the process of allotment will be initiated,” Khirwar said.

The policemen and their families just walked into their new homes lock, stock and barrel and occupied these without any permission. They occupied houses on the ground floor and the first floor as per their convenience. Little did they realise that they would be asked to move out of their “own colony”.

Families which moved into the new houses about three months back said it was not ust to ask them to shift out. “We have barely settled down.

The department must be considerate about its own men and allot the houses in the names of those occupying it,” a resident of the colony said.

For now, the cops living in the houses are desperate. Though they are keeping fingers crossed, expecting the SP to “accommodate” them, there is a some panic among them.

“We are hoping the issue will be resolved but have asked friends for alternative arrangement in case we have to move out,” a police personnel said. As of now, the authorities are unlikely to bend backwards.



Speaking Out
‘Young Turks will work wonders’
Wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has taken over as the ODI captain while Yuvraj Singh will assist him as vice-captain. Tribune staffer G.S. Paul talked to cricket enthusiasts to elicit their response on the young leadership

I appreciate the BCCI move to hand over Team India’s reins to the young brigade. This excellent combination of Dhoni and Yuvi will come out with flying colours, especially for the ODI matches, which is more of a power play. This young duo share a good rapport with senior players and will give their best.

— Yog Raj Singh

It is a bold decision of the BCCI that young players be given a chance to lead Team India. Dhoni, who is also captain at the ongoing Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa, looks cool. He had coped well with the incredible pressure as captain against Pakistan too.The Dhoni,Yuvraj duo will lead our team to new heights.

— I.S. Bindra

I see Dhoni like Pataudi, who was also made captain when young and performed the job with a strong mind. It was the need of the hour to give a chance to younger players like Dhoni and Yuvraj. There are great expectations from this pair and they will take the game in the right direction.

— Ranbir Mahendra

Appointing Dhoni as captain and Yuvraj Singh as vice-captain is a debatable question. However, it is a beginning in the right direction. Younger players need to be given a chance keeping in mind the forthcoming World Cup. But we are desperately in need of changing other team members, especially for ODIs.

— Ashok Malhotra



Mohali MC
House slashes EO’s financial powers
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 18
The local Municipal Council slashed the financial powers of the executive officer (EO) of the civic body alleging that these were being misused. This took place at a general House meeting held here today.

The proposal was presented as a table item at the meeting where it was stated that the power of the EO to give his approval in connection with purchases worth Rs 4,000 should be reduced to Rs 1,000. Fifteen councillors of the ruling group had given in writing that the EO was allegedly misusing his financial powers as the approval for making purchases had been given too many times during the month. The proposal was cleared by members of the ruling group while those belonging to the opposition objected to it saying that even Rs 4,000 were inadequate.

EO J.S. Thind, however, said such powers were given to all executive officers of civic bodies. He denied he was misusing his powers and said that approval to make purchases was only given under compulsions. He said recently he had to give his approval to make purchases for some streetlight material as the Department of Local Government stayed the proposal cleared by the House in this regard.

The House rejected the proposal to declare 17 employees as surplus at the civic body office. The proposal stated that at present 19 junior assistants, nine senior assistants and 19 clerks were working in the office. But keeping in view the workloads of the civic body, services of only 30 junior assistants or clerks were required. The Department of Local Government had asked the council to declare its surplus staff and to pass a resolution in this regard.

The employees of the civic body held a protest against the proposal to declare its staff surplus. They raised slogans against the authorities. Employees complained that the council had far too many number of senior officials but no action was being taken on that front. However, after the House rejected the proposal the employees raised slogans in favour of the civic body and even thanked MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, who is the ex-officio member, and president Rajinder Singh Rana.

There were heated arguments when some councillors of the opposition group said the town was facing the menace of stray animals and lack of sanitation. Rana said how could development take place when the opposition councillors were getting the estimates for development works stayed from higher authorities.



GPA-holders will get water connections in their name
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
In a significant decision bringing relief to hundreds of general power of attorney(GPA) holders in group housing societies in the city, the permanent lok adalat has ruled that they should be given water connections in their names and domestic rates should be charged from them.

Deciding a case filed by Manjit Singh Dilawar, a resident of the PSB officers society, Sector 49, R.P. Bajaj and S.K. Dewan, chairman and member, respectively, ordered the MC to adjust the excess charges paid by the applicant at commercial rate by way of adjustment in future bills.

“Therefore, the charging of commercial tariff from the applicant is totally unwarranted and amount to deficiency in service,” the order said, adding that even the High Court had ruled that the persons occupying flats built by societies should be charged water tariff at the domestic rates.

Dilawar had contended that he was being charged at the commercial rate by the MC. Besides, the water connection was not released in his name despite the fact that he had submitted an affidavit from the owner of the house.

It was contended that the applicant was already getting electricity in his own name at the domestic rate. But the civic body was dilly-dalling on the release of a water connection in his name and was charging him commercial rate.

However, the MC contended that the “applicant was having illegal water connection and had rightly been charged commercial rate.” 



Punjab Rent Act to be renotified
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The Chandigarh administration will again notify the Punjab Rent Act in the city after getting the mandate of Parliament. The decision affects hundreds of properties in the city.

In November, the Supreme Court had struck down the notification of November 7, 2002, issued by the finance secretary, Chandigarh, by way of which the provisions of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act (EPURRA) were made applicable to the UT.

It had been stated that provisions of EPURRA could not be made applicable to the city by a mere notification as it required the approval of Parliament.

Sources said to remove the lacunae, a draft of the notification was being sent to the ministry of home affairs (MHA) after getting it approved from the administrator.

The quashed notification provided that even a tenant paying a monthly rent of Rs 1,500 or less was liable to be proceeded against under the provisions of EPURRA before the rent controller in an eviction suit.



Indian, Russian troops carry out para-drop exercises 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
After intense preparations, the joint airborne exercise at Pskov in Russia commenced on 16 September with para-drops taking place from Indian and Russian IL-76 aircraft.

The event was marked by the arrival of General J.J. Singh, Chief of the Army Staff, a statement issued here said. He interacted with Indian as well as Russian troops before they boarded the IAF aircraft for the exercise.

The Indian contingent is led by Gp Capt S R K Nair and an IL-76 from Chandigarh based 25 Squadron is participating in the exercise.

Adverse weather in the form of very low clouds and extremely strong surface winds delayed the launching of the aircraft. The cloud base was quite low with intermittent showers and surface winds exceeded 20 knots.

With weather as the main playing factor, it was finally decided to go ahead with the airdrop.

The time over target (TOT) was rescheduled, with the Russian IL-76 flying five minutes ahead of the Indian aircraft.

Notwithstanding the strong cross wind component, both the aircraft carried out a near perfect drop, according to the statement.

The Indian IL-76 crew carried out a live exercise with their Russian counterparts on foreign soil for the first time.



US support for India’s orphans
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
India is home to the largest HIV positive population in the world, but its voices are yet to be heard on global platforms.

As a destination for global funding in HIV and related public health matters, India still appears pale in comparison to Africa.

That’s exactly what Jennifer Delaney, executive director, Global Action for Children, a US-based group, is here to address.

Her focus is orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), which number 35 million in India, as per UN estimates.

There are, however, no policies to cover the OVCs and secure them from abuse.

“For us, the Indian tour is a learning experience, an opportunity to meet with grassroots organizations engaged with OVCs. We will assess the requirements of children and make their voices heard. We will release our advocacy brief on India’s OVCs on November 14, the Children’s Day,” said Delaney, credited with getting 10 per cent of the US President’s Plan for AIDS Relief reserved for OVCs.

Partnering with GAC in the Indian cause is Stop HIV/AIDS in India Initiative (SHAII), another US-based organization which earlier spearheaded a campaign that prompted National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) to arrange pediatric medications through government programmes.

Accompanying Delaney is Dr Vineeta Gupta from SHAII, who says, “We don’t yet know how many AIDS orphans India has. There is no data. But we are visiting high prevalence states to engage with NGOs and children and listen to their aspirations. We need to strengthen coordination between Indian and international NGOs working for OVCs.”

Delaney and Vineeta are covering Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Manipur.

Today they halted in Chandigarh where the incidence of HIV has been reported in groups other than high risk.

Here even the women in matrimony face infection; children’s risk is a natural corollary.

The statistics are also disturbing -- of the 250,000 HIV positive children in India, less than five per cent are receiving antiretrovirals (ARVs).

In 2005, 75,000 new pediatric infections and 60,000 deaths were reported. And yet, India’s policy on the matter is unclear.

Dr Vineeta points out, “During the 2001 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on HIV/AIDS, world leaders came together to formulate goals towards the HIV/AIDS pandemic. India made major commitments and promised to develop protocols for care and treatment of OVCs.” But the goals were not met. 



New York to hold Sikh Heritage Week 
Burnaby compliments with Bhagat Singh Day
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
If New York is celebrating the Sikh Heritage Week from September 22 to 28, Burnaby in British Columbia (Canada) will be observing September 27 as Shaheed Bhagat Singh Day.

Members of the Indian diaspora in general and Sikhs in particular could not have asked for more as Mayors of both New York - Michael N. Bloomberg - and Burnaby - Derrek R. Corrigan - have already made proclamations, signifying the importance of the celebrations taking place in their respective cities later this month.

Never before two cities in North America ever chose to make special proclamations to celebrate events of historic importance to Indians or better say Punjabis.

While New York will be witnessing its fourth annual spinning wheel film festival featuring 15 films and documentaries entirely on Sikh themes, the town of Burnaby will be celebrating birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh on September 27.

Burnaby becomes the first town in North America where City Council’s support has been promised to the event.

Guests of Honour for the heritage week in New York will be Congressman Jospeh Crowley and Tarlochan Singh,Rajya Sabha MP, and a former Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities. Indian Ambassador to the USA, Ronen Sen, will also be a special guest.

Among the important films and documentaries to be screened in New York between September 22 and 28 are Ali Kazimi’s “Continuous Journey” on Komagata Maru, Kate Forshaw’s “Monty Panesar” (first Sikh to play for England in Test cricket), and Hardeep Singh Kohli’s “In Search of the Turban Turban”, and Sundeep Singh’s “Fighting for My Crown”. The last two films are about the Sikh turban.

Besides Sikh Rattle and Roll (Ekta Walia), Gatka (Sartaj Singh Dhami), Sikhs Help protect America (unsung hero who works for the FBI and happens to be a follower of Sikh faith), Golden Kitchen (Langar at the Golden Temple complex, by Valerie Berteau and Philippe Witjes of Belgium), Where Not To Do Bhangra (Davinder Mahal, Amrinder Randhawa and Shane Gill), and two films on 1984 riots - Ninteen Eightyfour and the Via Dolorosa Project (The Singh Twins) and the Widow Colony (Harpreet Kaur).

Besides, a film by Reema Anand on diplomat-turned-social worker Bhagwant Singh Dilawari will also be screened during the festival.

The festival is being organized by the Sikh Art and Film Foundation, a New York-based non-profit organisation, which has roped in small and big screen stars like Mona Singh (Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin), Jagdeep Singh, Shonali Base, Debabrata Pain and Thomas Dinapoli for their invaluable contribution to the New York community. Sukhsinder Shinda will be the star performer on the occasion.

In his proclamation, Mayor Bloomberg held that Guru Nanak Dev “opposed superstition, injustice and hypocrisy and his followers called Sikhs, “seekers of truth”.

The divine songs Nanak performed are basis of sacred writings of Sikhism, and they continue to inspire thousands of believers worldwide - including tens of thousands of Sikh New Yorkers.

In Burnaby, it is primarily because of the efforts of Sav Dhaliwal that Mayoral proclamation was made yesterday.

The proclamation said since September 27, 2007 marks the birth centenary of Sardar Bhagat Singh, one of the most prominent personalities of the freedom movement in India, who was sentenced to death for his beliefs and actions to establish a free and just society; and upon his execution, was immortalised as Shaheed - a martyr, Burnaby will celebrate Shaheed Bhagat Singh Day on September 27.



BJYM to hold essay writing competition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) would organise an essay writing competition to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first War of Independence.

According to a press note, youths in the age group of 18-35 years can sent their essays (about 1,000 words) to the BJP office, Sector 33, by October 1.

The topics are: ‘Conception of New India Free from Fear, Hunger and Corruption’, ‘Free India-The Vision of Youth’, ‘Social Disparity and Casteism - One More War of Independence is Needed’ and ‘Role of Past Glorious History in Building of Future’.

Three national prices amounting to Rs 51,000, Rs 21,000 and Rs 11,000 besides, a consolation prize of Rs 1,000 would be awarded to the winners.



Residents burn police effigy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Protesting against “police inaction”, residents of Colony No. 4 today blocked traffic and burnt the effigy of the Chandigarh police here this afternoon.

They demanded the arrest of the remaining three accused allegedly involved in the murder of Kamlesh in June. Kamlesh was injured in a brawl with his neighbours and had died at a hospital the next day. The police had arrested four persons but the prime suspects, Sunil, Shanti Dass and Sonu are still at large.

The protesters blocked traffic for an hour and the protest ended after the DSP (east) assured them of speedy action.

The residents alleged that the accused were linked to influential persons, who had been threatening the victim’s family.

The SHO of the Industrial Area police station, inspector Jagir Singh, said the absconding accused had been declared proclaimed offenders by a local court and efforts were on to trace them.



Undertrial chained to stretcher
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Paying scant regard to human rights, the Chandigarh police has chained an undertrial involved in a theft case in the GMCH-32. The youth was admitted to the hospital on Sunday after he complained of uneasiness in Burail Jail.

Amar Nath of Sector 56 was arrested by the police a few days ago in connection with a case of theft. He was sent to jail, from where he was sent to the emergency ward of the hospital after he complained of uneasiness.

When The Tribune team reached the emergency ward in the wee hours today, Amar Nath was lying chained to his stretcher. Two policemen were sitting near him. Constable Kuldeep Singh said Amar Nath was a drug addict and he had been chained as he created “problems”. 



Power cuts annoy residents

Chandigarh, September 18
Unscheduled power cuts have made the lives of Sector 44 residents miserable.

The power supply, which was disrupted around midnight last night, was restored only around 10 am. However, the relief for residents was shortlived as there was another power breakdown at about 3 pm, which was restored at about 8 pm.

A technical snag in the transformer is cited as reason behind the recent power shutdowns. — TNS



Boy with heart disease in need of help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Kishore, a labourer from Ferozpore district, needs financial help to save his 14-year-old son who is suffering from heart disease. Doctors have asked him to arrange for Rs 1.2 lakh for the treatment.

“It is not possible for me to save my son without help sent by the Almighty,” he said.

His son, Chan Singh, requires mitral valve replacement with feicurpid valve repair, the doctors at the department of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, PGI, said.

“Only a miracle can help us,” Kishore added.

Those interested in donation can contact the public relation office at the PGI at phone no. 0172 2756003.



Vigilance cell arrests corpn official

Chandigarh, September 18
The UT Vigilance cell today arrested Pardeep Kumar, superintendent of registrar of companies, ministry of corporate affairs from Jalandhar, in connection with a corruption case registered earlier this month.

The cell said a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy had been registered on September 10. M.K. Dutta and K.K. Dutta, both of Sector 19-C here, had confessed that they would get a company registered through Pardeep by paying illegal gratification. Dutta was also involved in a case registered in 2003 for misusing his official position while preparing the inventory of ALTOS India limited, Udyog Vihar, Delhi. — TNS



Rs 10 lakh embezzled from hospital
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 18
Embezzlement of Rs 10 lakh, collected by way of fee, has come to light in a scam unearthed at General Hospital, Sector 6, here today. Sources in the hospital said that the fraud was committed by a clerk responsible for collecting cash at the fee counter of the hospital.

While the clerk, identified as Sudesh Kumari, has proceeded on leave, the inquiry carried out by district malaria officer Dr R. Sarna along with three other doctors has held the clerk guilty of embezzlement.

Sources said an accountant who found that the receipts issued in 2005 did not match with the funds that went into the bank detected the fraud.

The money deposited in the bank was much less than what was collected by way of fee. The accountant later took out all records of the fee counter till August 31 and found that fee money had been pinched.

Sources in the hospital said if an audit had been held at the hospital every year, the matter would have come into the open much earlier. Now, a case in this regard has been registered by the police on the complaint of Dr Sarna and investigations are on. 



Woman duped of ornaments

Chandigarh, September 18
Two women duped a housewife in Sector 7-B of her gold ear-rings on the pretext of “purifying” her house and “doubling” her jewellery, here this afternoon.

The police said Sushma Devi, a housewife, said two women in their early 30s came to her house at around 2.30 pm. They were carrying idols of deities on a plate and told her that they were blessed with supernatural powers and could double jewellery.

When they asked her to bring ornaments and put them on the plate, she put two gold ear-rings there. After some time, the women gave her a small packet and told her to open it after 15 minutes. When she opened the packet later, she found some rice in it. — TNS



Articles worth lakhs stolen from workshop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Thieves decamped with articles worth lakhs of rupees after breaking into a workshop in the Industrial Area.

Sushil Kumar reported to the police that 18 sets of dye were stolen from his workshop last night.

The police said Sushil had a dispute with his partner and the matter was pending in court.

A case of theft has been registered.

Vehicle stolen

Randhir Singh of Bathinda has reported to the police alleging that his Santro car (PB-03-Q-1347) was stolen from the parking of Kisan Bhavan, Sector 35, last night.

In another incident, Harpreet Singh of Sector 32 lodged a complaint with the police that his motorcycle (PB-11-AD-363) was stolen from his house on September 10. Meanwhile, Amardeep Singh of Sector 21 also reported that his Kinetic Honda scooter (CHL-144) was stolen from Sector 22 yesterday.

Three cases under various Section have been registered.


Vikram Dhara of Mauli Complex has reported that Rs 9,000 and some computer parts were stolen from his shop last night.

A case has been registered.

Smack seized

The police arrested Sunil Kumar of Janta Colony, Sector 25, from near Government School in the same sector while allegedly carrying 25 gm of smack. A case under the NDPS Act has been registered. 



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