C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rent Act Changes
Tenants have little to cheer
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Hundreds of tenants occupying prime commercial properties across the city have little to cheer.

Almost a year after quashing of the Rent Act notification by the Supreme Court, the Chandigarh administration has initiated the process to re-notify the Act with “negligible” changes, as suggested in the model rent legislation.

This has led to anxiety among investors and speculators. Traders feel that the need of the hour is to have a ‘balanced rent act’ that is fair to both owners and the tenants.

The administration has retained a clause in the quashed notification which provides that a tenant paying a monthly rent of Rs 1,500 or less is liable to be proceeded against under the provisions of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1974 (EPURRA), in an eviction suit.

The only deviation from the quashed notification is that it will now be placed before Parliament for approval. Sources in the finance department said certain amendments in the rent control law was necessary as the administration was getting crores of rupee under the centrally sponsored Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission. Under this scheme, reform in the rental law was an important clause. 

Orders have been passed by the UT Administrator under Section 3 of the Act wherein certain properties have been exempted for a period of five years from the date of issue of sewerage connection. 

The recommendations of the Sachar Committee, relating to the rent control law and tabled in Parliament on November 11, 2006, has been quoted by the administration for the amendments. Exemptions 

  • Premises belonging to government
  • Premises taken on lease 
  • Premises, whether residential or not, with a monthly rent that exceeds Rs 1,500 
  • Premises constructed on or after the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction (Chandigarh Amendment) Act, 2007, for a period of five years from the date of completion of such construction 
  • Any building owned by religious or charitable trust, including educational societies.

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Cricket Star back from UK
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Twenty-year-old Sukhvir Happy Singh, who was selected among 23 players from 25,000 hopefuls as winner of Cricket Star Series, returned home from Leicester in England today.

Sukhvir braved several odds on his way to the top. Son of a local bus driver from Shahpur near Mohali, he became the‘Cricket Star’ at a cricket talent hunt TV show by a big margin.

A series of Twenty20 cricket matches were conducted among 23 contestants to select 11 contestants.The viewers were then asked to vote on the phone or SMS to choose the ‘Cricket Star’ in thr final episode at the end of March. He left studies after Class XII for cricket.

Talking to TNS on his arrival today, Sukhvir said: “Stalwarts from the Indian team like Yuvraj Singh, Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir, Ramesh Powar and Wasim Jaffer provided valuable tips to me. It was an amazing experience.” 

“I played seven matches for Leicestershire Ivanhoe Club and took 17 wickets,” he added further.

“I was lucky to spend the summers in England where I got a fresh insight into the game with the help of  cricket gurus.”

“The selectors were reportedly impressed by my fast bowling. Now, I wish to be selected in the Indian cricket team.”

“I met all my heroes- Kapil Dev, Waqar Younis, Geoffery Boycott, Sanjay Manjrekar and Monty Panesar. The moments spent with them have left an indelible impression on my mind,” Suhkvir said.

Thanking the voters, Sukhvir said: “I feel honoured and I owe it to all to them.”

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Failure to allot house
Sahara India asked to pay Rs 5 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
A compensation of Rs 5 lakh is to be paid by Sahara India Pariwar Housing Unit due to negligence of service as the firm was not able to allot a house in the housing unit to the complainant though he had made necessary payments even after three years of registration.

The complainant, R.K. Sharma, stated that in an advertisement, the firm stated that they were introducing Sahara City Homes Township at Chandigarh in various newspapers.

On enquiring about the advertisement the complainant was told that respondents were introducing a scheme, Swarna Yojna.

All the members of this plan would be kept on the priority list during the allotment of the township.

The complainant was impressed by the plan and got him registered after paying Rs one lakh for which he was handed over the papers on December 31, 2004.

Later, R.K. Sharma was told by the respondent that the allotment of the first phase of the township was completed and by mistake he was not considered.

He was further assured by them that in the next phase he would be given preference.

He stated that he was not informed about the progress of the allotment of the housing unit during the second phase so the complainant made a representation on May 2, 2006, to the Sahara India Pariwar Kartvya Council, Lucknow, and requested them to refund the amount that he had deposited with interest.

The complainant, R.K. Sharma asked the firm to allot him a two bedroom pent house instead of the plot on July 5, 2006.

In response, the unit alleged that the terms of and conditions of the Swarna Yojna were construed by the complainant.

As per the plan those who had bought coupon of high value would be preferred for allotment of plots.

The respondent stated that the complainant has never used any of the benefits of the above mentioned scheme.

They denied the allegations that the R.K. Sharma (the complainant) was never informed about the alternate schemes as it was published in various newspapers.

The Consumer Disputed Redressal Forum-I stated that the complainant was told when he had registered for the scheme that he would always be given top priority.

They further said the respondents failed to allot a house even after three years of making payment of Rs one lakh and also had not been able to refund the deposited amount after twelve months of registration.

The forum has also directed the respondent to refund Rs one lakh deposited by R.K. Sharma.

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Demolition drive stalled on residents’ assurance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
A major demolition drive in Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, was stalled today after residents, led by area councillor Sarita Devi, gave an undertaking to the administration and the MC to voluntarily remove encroachments in front of their houses.

To widen roads passing through the colony, the MC had decided to remove the encroachments on either side of the roads. A 6-ft wide area on both sides of the roads has to be cleared.

The resettlement colony was set up in the 70s. Due to the encroachments, various upgradation plans for the colony went haywire as sewer and water supply lines could not be relocated.

In case of an emergency, fire engines and other machinery would not reach the inner roads.

The deputy commissioner, R.K. Rao, who held a meeting with the residents, said the councillor had assured that the residents would start removing the encroachments from tomorrow. The residents had said during the encroachment drive, as witnessed in Ram Darbar last year, the structures of the houses had been damaged. 

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Drive resumes at Mansa Devi

Panchkula, September 21
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), the PWD (B&R) and the MC jointly resumed the anti-encroachment drive around Mansa Devi shrine, here today.

The drive was launched as a part of an exercise to clean up the complex for the forthcoming Navrata mela. During the demolition drive, a portion of the dera of Nepali Baba, an illegal structure, was reportedly razed. Apart from this, unauthorised structures raised by the shopkeepers and rehri owners were removed during the drive that began around 10 am and continued till 2 pm.

It was learnt that DC Rajinder Kataria had already warned the shopkeepers about today’s drive. The enforcement staff has again given time to the traders to clear the encroachments.

Armed with a posse of enforcement staff led by the DC and HUDA executive officer, the demolition process was carried out under the supervision of a duty magistrate, a sub-divisional magistrate, MC executive officer, SDOs and junior engineers. The drive, which was carried out using bulldozers and trucks, was reportedly carried out peacefully. — TNS

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BJP condemns arrests
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The BJP today criticised the Chandigarh administration for the arrest of 120 persons in Peer Colony in Sector 56.

According to a press note here today, residents had been agitating in support of their demands for the past over four years. It said all persons who had been covered under the rehabilitation scheme, should be allotted dwelling units immediately. 

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Stop forcible acquisition of land: CPI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Protesting against the “anti-people” policies of the Chandigarh administration, the local unit of the CPI held a dharna in Sector 17 here today.

Speakers alleged that the administration was acquiring land at rock-bottom prices and selling it to multinational companies and big builders.

The administration had allotted about 230 acre to the IT park. The land was more than sufficient for the purpose.

Similarly, 42 acres was being used to set up a modern terminal market. Fruit and vegetable markets in the Grain Market, Sector 26, and apni mandis were already functioning properly and fulfill the needs of people. So, there was no need for another market.

The administration had constructed only 3,688 houses of various categories during the past about 12 years. It showed that the administration had failed badly to solve the housing problems, they said.

In a memorandum, they demanded that the “forcible” acquisition of land and selling it to get more money should be stopped immediately. Besides, at least 30,000 houses should be constructed and given to the needy people on hire-purchase basis.

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BJP may go the Punjab way
Appointment of president
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The BJP high command may replicate the Punjab model in appointing the president of the local unit.

With unanimity eluding the party on the local chief's issue, the Punjab pattern of first appointing the president and later going in for the “unopposed” election may come in handy, sources said here yesterday.

In fact, names of several leaders are doing the rounds in the run-up to the elections next month. Prominent among those are P.D. Mongia, Kamla Sharma, Jairam Joshi, Bal Krishan Kapoor, Neeraj Tayal and Sanjay Tandon.

Neeraj Tayal is a former general secretary of the BJP and Sanjay Tandon is the son of Balramji Dass Tandon. Joshi has been an organisational man and wields considerable influence among colony residents.

The sources said lobbying would pick up momentum after the three-day BJP national executive meeting in Bhopal.

The present incumbent Yash Pal Mahajan is seen as a Satya Pal Jain loyalist and is not eligible for the next term. Jain, a former MP, is seen as controlling the party organisation and with the elections round the corner, the opposition group had become active and had been lobbying for its candidates to make the organisation stronger.

The party organisation had suffered in the recent years and it was time to rejuvenate it with the induction of a leader who was largely acceptable to all sections of the party cadre, a senior leader said.

An allegation against the present leadership is that it had sidelined certain senior leaders. However, the leadership claimed that all sections find adequate representation in various party forums. In case the local leadership failed to arrive on a consensus, the high command may “impose” a candidate who has least resistance from the opposition groups.

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MC creating hurdles: FR
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The Chandigarh MC was today accused of creating hurdles in the functioning of Fun Republic.

Reacting to news reports about the MC issuing orders to resume the site of the multiplex, Girish Pandey, chief operating officer of EMPS, a mall management company of the Essel group which manages Fun Republic, said at a press conference that the multiplex had been generating revenue for the government.

Regarding the violations, he said these had already been removed. “We are ready to pay for the misuse. But he have not got any resumption orders so far. The matter has only been reported in the media,” he said.

The building was opened in 2003 but the official version was that violations had suddenly cropped up. One of the violations being talked about were kiosks.

The management claimed that allowing kiosks was a universal practise and the administration had to be realistic in allowing the relaxations, he said.

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Good Samaritan dead

Chandigarh, September 21
Janak Raj Grover (68), a good Samaritan who donated blood 103 times died here today.

A former president of the Rotary Club Chandigarh and the Chandigarh Industrialist Association, he was one of the most decorated businessmen. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. — TNS

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‘…And the World Remained Silent’
Recalling the agony of Kashmiri Pandits
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
This awareness campaign was different because it chose dialogue and film to convey a message of atrocity and pain being inflicted upon a community in its own country.

‘Roots in Kashmir’ (RIK), a youth initiative by some Kashmiri Pandit students launched in Delhi in October 2006, to highlight the plight of Kashmiri Pandits and to reclaim their “roots” made its presence felt 
in the city.

RIK organised documentary screenings and a panel discussion on ‘Why the Nation Remains Silent’ in the English auditorium at Panjab University today.

The initiative made a strong presence on campus with more than 30 students being part of the movement. They left no stone unturned to ensure a wide turnout.

And it was a packed auditorium that came to see the critically acclaimed documentary ‘…And the World Remained Silent’ by film-maker Ashok Pandit, an interview of terrorist Bitta Karate alias Farooq Ahmed Dar conducted by eminent journalist Manoj Raghuvanshi for Newstrack in 1991 and an audio-visual presentation by RIK focusing on the plight of the community. The screenings were followed by an enthusiastic debate.

The message clearly went home. “All we seek is awareness,” said 18-year-old Aditya Raj Kaul, founder member of RIK and a second-year student of political science at Delhi University. “It is a community that is dwindling sharply and those who are still in Kashmir, are languishing in camps in Jammu that are in deplorable condition. The government has totally forsaken the community because we do not constitute a sizeable vote-bank,” he said.

Interestingly, this youth initiative that started with just a handful of youngsters after the Priyadarshini Mattoo case, has grown by leaps and bounds today. With more than 20 chapters around the country and with a presence in the US, UK and Canada, their call for support has definitely been heard by the people.

Unfortunately, the government is still not listening. “We have filed more than 50 RTI applications in a bid to find out what the government is doing to rehabilitate the community and what is happening to those who inflicted the atrocities on them. But we hit a roadblock every time. Till date, not a single terrorist who killed Kashmiri Pandits, has been convicted,” 
says Kaul.

What this student initiative is hoping for is, to convince the government to set up a committee of sitting Supreme Court judges to found out what happened to Kashmiri Pandits, and to focus attention on the existing camps in Jammu to provide education, sanitation, medical facilities and of course, justice to those living like refugees in their own state.

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Decomposed body found
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 21
The police yesterday registered a murder case after the postmortem was carried out on the decomposed body of an unidentified man that was found in the bushes of Kanguwal village, near Kalka, on Tuesday.

The police said the body was spotted around 9.30 am when someone informed the police about it. The body was lying in the bushes and was decomposed. It appeared that the death might have occurred about two weeks ago.

The body had been shifted to Karnal for the postmortem. Meanwhile, the inquest proceedings had been initiated under Section 174 of the CrPC in this connection.

The postmortem report declared facial injuries and murder as a cause of death. On this basis, the police registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC against the unknown person.

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Letters
Stop land grab

There was news in the paper on September 21 that 100 hutments have been razed in Sector 56, Chandigarh.

This is not a new phenomenon. Politicians are responsible for this problem that the city has faced since its inception. They have always been more interested about filling up their vote banks and have never thought of the welfare of the city and its people.

The menace of land grabbing cannot be stopped till there are dirty politicians in the country. The slums in Chandigarh are the result the deeds of these politicians.

Around the election time, as part of their election campaign, new colonies are sprung up to bribe the poor for votes. What is it if not land grabbing?

But after the elections, when the new government takes over, nobody takes up the issue. So, the vivacious circle goes on.

The only way to end this dirty game is to take stern action against the defaulters and a law should be passed to book them and they should be debarred for life to contest the elections besides award of rigorous imprisonment.

This is the only way to make city beautiful slum free.

G.K. Chopra, Chandigarh 

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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2 held for snatching

Chandigarh, September 21
The crime branch of the Chandigarh police arrested two alleged snatchers — Rajinder, alias Raju, of Rajiv Colony, Panchkula; and Mukesh — near the government hospital, Mani Majra, here
yesterday.

According to sources, the police got a tip off on the movement of the miscreants. “The two admitted to having snatched a gold chain of a woman on the Mani Majra-Mansa Devi road on September 9. They also left their bicycle at the crime scene,” said Satbir Singh, in charge of the crime branch. Both were produced in the court today and remanded in police custody till September 23.

More cases of snatching are expected to be solved with their arrest.— TNS

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Man held for robbery

Chandigarh, September 21
The Chandigarh police arrested Amar Singh Amra, a resident of Bapu Dham colony, for armed robbery here today.

In his complaint lodged with the police station-26, Vicky Gupta of Mauli Jagran had alleged that he was robbed of his wallet containing Rs 450 and a gold ring, after being intimidated by the robber, while he was riding a bicycle near the railway bridge around 11.30 pm yesterday. The police arrested Amar Singh and recovered the stolen goods from his possession today. A case has been registered against Amar. — TNS

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Investment mantra — Small and steady

Chandigarh, September 21
“Invest regularly and make small investments” was the basic advice wealth creator Ajay Bagga, CEO Lotus India, gave at The Tribune-sponsored CNBC-TV 18’s wealth maximisation forum held here today.

The channel, India’s leading business medium, presented the wealth maximisation forum for the first time in the city. The forum was aimed at providing platform for investors to learn how to maximise their wealth by investing money in equity and real estate sector. The forum discussed issues ranging from identifying attractive properties and investment locations, bank loan systems and property investment techniques.

It also provided insights into investing in equity and wealth management by sharing tools specific to harnessing the gains of a booming economy.

Starting early to invest was another way to ensure good investment, stated Bagga. “We save well but we don’t invest properly. Neither do we write our wills. To get something we have to take risks,” he added.

The panel also constituted Sanjay Dutt, deputy MD, Cushman and Wakefield, while the session was moderated by Vivek Law, consumer affairs editor, CNBC-TV18. — TNS

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