C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Transport Policy Ready
Focus on road safety, decongestion
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Chandigarh administration has finalised the transport policy for the city.

The focus of the policy will be to put the public transport vehicles in dedicated corridors, depending upon the width of the roads. Different roads will be specified for different categories of vehicles.

* Efforts to popularise public transport

* CNG-run vehicles to replace autos

* Suitable mass rapid transit system

* Corridors for various categories of vehicles

A senior official said the policy had been prepared after taking a holistic view of providing efficient, adequate, economical, comfortable and properly co-coordinated transport service to the residents of Chandigarh as well as other people visiting the city.

The policy envisions a shift from personal vehicles to public transport by the users to decongest the city roads, increase public safety, reduce pollution and save fuel. A mass rapid transit system of a suitable type and capacity will be developed keeping in view the long-term requirements of city and the region.

The policy further envisages fixing of fares of public transport at reasonable level, so that these are attractive for the users and competitive with the other modes of private transport. The administration will promote local air-conditioned taxis for the convenience of residents and tourists. The petrol/diesel auto-rickshaws will be replaced by eco-friendly and economically viable LPG/CNG-run vehicles in a phased manner.

Entry of auto-rickshaws coming from outside and which are older than the life span fixed by the Chandigarh administration will not be allowed. The existing ordinary contract carriage buses will be replaced by air-conditioned buses only.

All buses and queue shelters will be installed with public information system/global positioning system and manual ticketing will be replaced by electronic ticketing system in a phased manner. On the inter-state routes, as per the inter-state agreements with the respective states, all types of buses of other State Transport Undertakings will be allowed in the Union Territory . 



Don’t toy with your child’s health
Toxicity in playthings making kids sick
Symptoms: Stomach-ache, nausea
Swati Sharma
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, October 24
If your child suffers from low haemoglobin, stomach-ache or nausea, the reason may be prolonged exposure to toys.

A study by Toxic Link, a Delhi-based environment group, says 65 per cent toys in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai with non-toxic label has in fact lead content.

Sangeeta, mother of six-year-old Prateek and eight-year-old Shreya, laments the lack of awareness and absence of government regulations regarding toxic toys.

“Children keep falling sick time and again, but the infection is never related to toxicity in toys, because there is no way to check the source of infection,” she says. “Attractive colours and packaging entice children and parents perforce have to buy what the child picks, even though the quality may be suspect. The only way out is to ban ban these toys. These ought to be banished from the shelves of shops.

President of the Consumer Court Bar Association Pankaj Chandgothia says law provides a remedy to the menace of toxic toys. “There are standards laid down by the BIS with regard to toy products, but these are more in the nature of guidelines. In the absence of mandatory specifications, the procedure to obtain relief becomes long.”

On the sale of hazardous goods, lawyer Munish Goyal says: “If there is usage of any hazardous substance that has harmed you, according to the law you can get it tested at a laboratory to ascertain the toxic levels.”

There is a glut of Chinese toys in the market and no measures have been taken to check their quality. Doctors, however, caution against the use of toys with lead or cadmium.

Dr Anil Narang, head of the paediatrics department at the PGI, says: “It is difficult to establish if the particular ailment a child is suffering from is due to toys. Cadmium may be present in other things also.”

Advocate Pankaj says: “Before purchasing a toy, one must check the ingredients, importer’s address, date of manufacturing and the retail price.”

Sub-Sections (g) (h) and (ha) of Section 14 of the Consumer Protection Act authorise the consumer court to prohibit the sale of hazardous goods and even cease the hazardous goods.

Also, if one wants to get the ingredients checked, people, under Section 13 of the Consumer Protection Act, can seek a laboratory test to ascertain the toxic contents of the product.



Obscenity complaint against painter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
City artist Viren Tanwar’s paintings, part of a group display of well-known artists at the Alliance Francaisein September, have come under ‘moral’ attack, with a complaint of obscenity against the artist.

The complainant, Arvind Thakur, is a human rights activist.

For Tanwar it came as a complete surprise when he got a phone call this evening from an inspector at the Sector 36 police station, informing him of the complaint. “I was asked to come to the police station. I will be going there at 9 am tomorrow to give my statement,” he said.

According to Tanwar these paintings were made for an exhibition curated in Delhi earlier this year titled, ‘Digressing Domains’ comprising more than 40 artists. The paintings had received much appreciation.

DSP K.I.P. Singh said the matter was under investigation. Thakur maintains that the paintings “have no message, are totally vulgar and in violation of the law.” He has quoted Sections 292 and 294 of the IPC, dealing with obscenity, as the basis for his complaint.

The paintings portray nude figures and animals in “objectionable acts.” 



Woman stabs 2 cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
A woman stabbed two policemen of the Chandigarh Police in Kajheri village last night.

Kirpal Singh, in charge of the Sector 61 police post, and woman constable Kulwant Kaur went to Pandit Colony in Sector 52 for a search operation. They checked a tea stall being run by a woman named Ranjana. Objecting to the search, she assaulted the policemen.

She was arrested for assault on public servant and criminal intimidation.



CHB opts for multi-storey flats too
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
In a departure from what has been the practice so far, the Chandigarh administration has decided to opt for multi-storey housing.

The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has been asked to work out the modalities. The 10-storey housing project in Sector 63 has been revived, confirm sources.

The new line of thinking has emerged after the UT advisor reportedly instructed the housing board to cut construction costs.

Though the concept of tall buildings do not go well with the architectural plan of City Beautiful, the administration has already allowed multiplexes under the conversion policy in Industrial Area.

The sources said the EWS, MIG and LIG flats in Sectors 53, 54, 55, Hallomajra and Bapu Dham could go up to seven storeys.



Staff to continue agitation
State, not PU, regulations applicable to DAV colleges: Mgmt 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Only state regulations are applicable to the DAV colleges and the DAV managing committee, there is no relevance of the PU Act as mentioned in the PU calendar. This was stated by D.R. Gupta, director (colleges), DAV managing committee, New Delhi, who was in town today in connection with the ongoing crisis at DAV College, Sector 10, and MCM DAV College, Sector 36.

Meanwhile, representatives of the employee unions of DAV College, Sector 10, and MCM DAV College, Sector 36, met D.R. Gupta and J.K. Kapoor, secretary, DAV managing committee, without any positive outcome.

So, the unions have decided to continue with their action programme. Tomorrow, the unions will hold a rally-cum-protest in front of the PU’s Administrative Block where the syndicate is meeting in the evening. One of the items on the agenda of the syndicate meeting is the imposition of penalties on the two colleges for not abiding by the PU rules and regulations regarding contributory provident fund and leave encashment.

Addressing mediapersons, Gupta said a delegation on behalf of the DAV managing committee met the UT education secretary-cum-home secretary Krishna Mohan and requested him to take effective steps to disburse grant on pay and allowances of teaching and non-teaching staff as per their endorsement issued on July 7, 2006.

According to Gupta, the home secretary assured in the presence of higher education director Raji P. Shrivastava that he would take effective steps with the centre government so that the grant was paid on the combined salary of pay plus DA.

Gupta told the reporters that in no case they were committed to make payment of leave encashment. 



Insurance firm refuses to pay kidney patient
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Struggles never end. After giving up his regular nine-to-five job about seven years ago, Beant Singh was hoping to spend some relaxing time with his wife in their Sector 4, Panchkula, residence. But kidney ailment, and an insurance company's alleged apathy, has ensured that a bed-ridden Beant remains on his toes.

Going by his contentions, the insurance company has failed to honour his claim even after a decision in his favour by the Ombudsman. In an attempt to get his due after fighting the matter out, Beant Singh says he has been climbing three sets of stairs all the way to the Ombudsman's office and distant hope, though he cannot take even a single step without support.

In an exhausted voice punctuated with deep emotion, he says, “For the past two years now, I have been spending something like Rs 25,000 per month on treatment. Money from the insurance company would definitely have helped. But, unfortunately, it has been a long wait and endless struggle for us".

Heaving a deep sigh, Beant Singh recalls how it all started with a little swelling and restlessness. "I was taken to a private hospital where the doctors diagnosed pneumonia. The antibiotics brought the problem under control, but left the kidneys affected, permanently".

Beant Singh says it was just the beginning of the ordeal, and infinite visits to the PGI. As the treatment left the bank balance in red, Beant Singh moved the insurance company "to get what was his". But the plea was turned down reportedly on the ground that the ailment was chronic.

Not at his best, yet determined, Beant Singh placed the matter before the Ombudsman. "After hearing the rival contentions and going through the records, the Ombudsman on July 10 directed the insurance company to release the money, but so far we have not received even a single buck," he asserts.

Instead of crediting the money to his bank account, the company started seeking details. "Subsequently, we were told that the cheques have been sent by the head office, but we have not received them. These have reportedly been held back at the local level for reasons unknown to us," he asserts. "As a result, the amount of over Rs 2 lakh, long due to me, continues to evade us".

Describing it as "procedural delay", a senior officer in the insurance company says it is just a matter of time before the amount is handed over. "Taking a humanitarian view of the entire matter, we have not even challenged the award," he adds.

Giving details, he asserts, “The case pertains to our Hyderabad office and we have no control over the matter. Some amount was indeed released by the agency to which the work of making payments has been outsourced, but it was far less than the claim. As such, the matter has been referred back. Since the family is suffering, we will send a reminder today itself.”



Excise dept empties liquor bottles into Ghaggar 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 24
Green Label, Bagpiper, Red Knight, Aristocrat and many more bottles of Indian-made foreign liquor were drained into the Ghaggar river while empty bottles were smashed to pieces during an exercise of the district excise department, here, today.
Labourers empty bottles of liquor as officials of the district excise department look on in Sector 25, Panchkula, during an exercise to destroy confiscated liquor
Labourers empty bottles of liquor as officials of the district excise department look on in Sector 25, Panchkula, during an exercise to destroy confiscated liquor. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

The contents of the 4,200-odd bottles of liquor were emptied into the river in Sector 25 before labourers broke the bottles to prevent their misuse, in an exercise that lasted for nearly four hours.

The bottles confiscated during the last four months were destroyed in the presence of J.S. Chahal, deputy excise and taxation commissioner (excise).

Over Rs 9 lakh fine had been recovered from those found possessing liquor. Tehsildar Satish Goyal was present as a representative of the deputy commissioner along with ATO Yoginder Rana. Eight labourers were employed for the job of emptying the bottles and breaking them.

Chahal said as per amendment in the excise policy, the department had fined the offenders anything between Rs 50 and Rs 500 per bottle and the cases had been compounded.

“In case somebody is unable to pay the fine, the case is referred to the ilaqua magistrate based on the report of the investigation officer. We also give the offenders a month to appeal against our decision,” he explained. 



Seminar on emerging economies
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 24
The SAS Institute of Information Technology and Research, Mohali, organised a one-day national seminar on ‘India and other Emerging Economies - A Comparative Study’ on the institute premises on Wednesday.

The chairman of the institute Dr J.S. Dhaliwal, general secretary Sukhbir Singh Shergill, and Gurbir Shergill welcomed the chief guest.

The inaugural address was delivered by A.J. Phillip, senior associate editor, The Tribune.

The seminar was divided into three technical sessions, each one headed by prominent economists and academicians.

The major objective of the seminar was to provide a special forum to prominent academicians, leading executives and professionals to discuss in detail, issues related to the fastest emerging economies of the world with special reference to Brazil, Russia, India and China.

More than 50 technical papers were received from prominent academicians and practicing managers from various states in India.



Land allotment to hospitals through auction
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 24
Following the Chandigarh and Haryana pattern for allotment of land to super specialty hospitals and nursing homes, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has decided to allot land to hospitals through open auction in Mohali.
R.I. Singh, chief secretary, department of housing and urban development, addressing the meeting of GMADA in Mohali
R.I. Singh, chief secretary, department of housing and urban development, addressing the meeting of GMADA in Mohali on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

It was decided that at least three sites be identified for providing land to super specialty hospitals in the town and these sites should be put to auction at the earliest.

The decision was taken at the first meeting of GMADA held under the chairmanship of Parkash Singh Badal, chief minister, Punjab, on October 4.

Earlier, sites were allotted to hospitals after inviting applications for land allotment. Applicants found suitable by the selection committee were allotted land at a price that was two to three times higher than that fixed for residential plots.

Though the minimum reserve price for sites had not been fixed so far, it was presumed that reserve price would be at least three times higher than the present land rates fixed by GMADA. It is expected that the sites would be able to fetch a much higher revenue than before through auction. Moreover, some conditions had also been laid down for those interested in getting sites for hospitals.

Among those present at the meeting were R.I. Singh, chief secretary, Punjab, D.S. Guru, principal secretary to the Punjab Chief Minister, Arun Goel, secretary, department of housing and urban development, Sanjay Kumar, secretary, department of finance, Rajinder Sharma and M.S. Aujla, chief town planners, and Krishan Kumar, chief administrator, GMADA. 



Curb encroachments

The Supreme Court’s order regarding the sealing of unauthorised business and curbing encroachments in Delhi is really commendable. This kind of order is needed in Chandigarh also.

In my opinion, the rate of encroachment in Chandigarh is higher than that in Delhi. The situation is becoming worse by the day and if not checked, City Beautiful will soon become a disorganised place to live in.

The administration should take necessary steps to curb encroachments if it wants to retain the image of the city.


ChandigarhReaders 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




Sector 41 resident held with two passports
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The police has arrested a Sector 41 resident on the allegation of possessing two passports, obtained by furnishing forged documents.

The accused, Davinder Singh Sandhu, reportedly told the police that he was refused visa by the US embassy on his first passport following which he applied for a new passport by furnishing false information. Sources in the police said the role of certain police and passport office officials has also come under the scanner with the arrest of the accused on Tuesday.

Giving details of the case, in charge of the crime branch, inspector Satbir Singh, said Sandhu had applied to the UT home department for a police verification certificate. The application was forwarded to the CID wing of the Chandigarh police on September 11. Sandhu’s passport was also attached with the application. After some time, the CID wing got another application for passport verification. The officials in the CID wing got suspicious after finding photographs of the same person on different applications.

The matter was handed over to the crime branch for investigation.

The investigating officials found that a passport (no. 5446542) was issued on November 12, 2005, in the name of Devinder Singh Sandhu of house number 47, Sector 46-A. Later the passport was renewed on April 11 this year and its number was G-2961959.

In this passport the name of Sandhu’s father was mentioned as Makhan Singh and his mother’s as Bakhshinder Kaur. The investigating officials also found that the house number 47 in Sector 46-A was allotted in the name of Avtar Singh, a fireman.

The verification of another passport issued on September 3 this year revealed that the name of Sandhu’s mother was mentioned as Rashwinder Kaur. At this, Sandhu told the investigating officials that his parents were in the US.

Inspector Satbir Singh said they looked into the matter to find out the reason behind applying for the second passport by furnishing wrong information. Terming the matter as a serious one, he added that the role of police officials and also of passport office came under the scanner to find out anomalies at various levels of verification.

A case of cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery under various provisions of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 34 police station on a complaint of ASI Surinder Kumar of the crime branch. 



Honda rally to mark sale of 2 cr bikes 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
To commemorate the sale of 2 crore bikes, a rally was flagged off from the Lake Sports Complex, here, today. The rally named as ‘Bike-a-thon’ featured riders riding the entire range of Hero Honda bikes. Janmeja Singh Sekhon, irrigation minister, Punjab, flagged off the riders. Earlier, the riders were also felicitated at the Lakhwinder Wadali Night, an event organised by Hero Honda.

The bikers, who are traversing thousands of kilometres across the country, will converge in Delhi towards the end of this month.

Rajeev Manchanda, area manager, Hero Honda Motors Ltd said, “The Hero Honda 2 Crore Bike-a-thon was flagged off simultaneously from eight cities- Srinagar, Kolhapur, Katihar, Kolkata, Kakinada, Kanyakumari, Chennai and Mangalore on October 12. The riders, starting from Srinagar, passed through Jammu, Amritsar, Abohar, Malerkotla and Ludhiana, before reaching Chandigarh.” 



VAT exemption on tobacco withdrawn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Chandigarh Administration has withdrawn the exemption from CST on the inter-state transactions of “tobacco and its products”.

The Government of India had brought one of the additional excise duty items i.e. tobacco and its products under VAT in the recent past.

The item has thus been brought in the list of taxable goods of the Value Added Tax Schedules in Union Territory on May 22, 2007.

The item was not taxable under the Central Sales Tax (CST) Act. Thereafter, with the coming into existence of the UT, the item remained tax-free under the CST Act i.e. the transaction from Chandigarh dealer to any other state, as the provisions of sales tax law applicable earlier to re-organisation were made applicable to the UT by virtue of provisions of the Punjab Re-organisation Act (Parliament Act No. 31 of 1966). 



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