C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


4-laning of NH-21 put on hold
Toll barrier within restricted area
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 28
Work on the four-laning of the Chandigarh-Ambala national highway (NH-21) has been put on hold from today after it was found that the toll plaza being set up on the highway was in violation of norms laid down by the ministry of defence.

In a notification issued in 2004, the ministry had said no construction would be allowed within a distance of 1097.28 metres (1200 yards) of the Dappar ammunition depot. But the SAS Nagar deputy commissioner, H.I.S Grewal, today found that the toll plaza was within 830 metres of the ammunition depot.

Taking up a petition filed by the depot against the NHAI, a division bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on December 21 directed the DC to inspect the spot and have a joint measurement exercise with the Army.

“The construction on the highway has been stopped until further orders of the court,” Grewal said.

Col Sanjay Sethi, station commander of the depot, Sanjay Puri, chief project manager of GMR highways, and Col K.P. Sharma, project in charge of the NHAI, were present during the exercise.

The Dappar depot has been notified by the Government of India under the Works of Defence Act, 1903, that bans construction within a distance of 1200 yards from the crest of the outer parapet of the depot.

That the toll plaza was being planned near the depot, was brought to the notice of the NHAI more than a year ago, but the NHAI did not seek any clearance from the depot.

A meeting of the station commander and the project in charge was also held over the issue, but the NHAI reportedly refused to stall work.

The ministry also contacted the ministry of surface transport and finally, the depot approached the high court on October 15 this year. The matter would come up for hearing on January 10.

Preparations for the construction of the toll plaza were on for the past six months and according to the DC, the NHAI had already spent over Rs 350 crore on the four-laning of the highway. The toll would recover the cost of construction in eight years.

Both Sanjiv Puri and Col K.P. Sharma refused to comment.

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Singapore Junket
Study tour only in name
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
A seven-day educational trip meant for 15 education officials and teachers to Singapore was nothing more than a jaunt. The group spent five days in Singapore and two in Bangladesh.

Singaporeans are known for discipline and punctuality, but most of the group members would generally turn up late for interaction sessions.

No one in the group could tell what they had learnt from the tour. The infrastructure and luxurious ambience was the only topic on which they were happy to talk about. No one could tell the exact name of the three schools that they visited in Singapore.

The teachers were also not comfortable talking about the teaching methodology they had learnt. The two JBT teachers from the GGHS-35 hardly had an idea about the primary wing of Singapore schools.

“Actually, it was the end of the session and students were on vacation so we could not observe much,” was their reply.

Another senior secondary school lecturer could not visit a senior secondary school there. “This time I could only visit a primary school. May be next time,” was her reply.

Officials of the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan and the financial accounts department could hardly find anything to learn in Singapore.

One official revealed the truth, but on the condition of anonymity. “Actually, we met an official of the curriculum and cultural administration department, but we could hardly understand anything because of our poor knowledge of English,” he said. Another one chipped in: “It was a flop show. We were made to board a Bangladesh Airlines flight, which took off 11 hours behind schedule. So most of our time was used in travelling only. We were made to stay in Bangladesh for two days for no reason,” another official said.

The department had announced that students and teachers who managed to make the maximum sales at the annual Diwali fair would be sent on the trip.

The students were excluded on the plea that they their terminal exams were on. Sources in the education department said another group was ready for the trip, but again without students.

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Pole Vault
CBI raids MC office to verify project work
Tribune News Service

CBI officials inspect the digging work at the site of the newly erected electricity poles in Chandigarh on Friday.
CBI officials inspect the digging work at the site of the newly erected electricity poles in Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, December 28
CBI sleuths today conducted a raid on the office of the Chandigarh MC to verify the quality and authenticity of the work carried out on the Dakshin Marg to erect streetlight poles.

UT vigilance officials were also seen assisting the CBI in verifying documents. After seizing the record, the CBI officials carried out a physical verification of the spots where the poles had been erected.

A few days ago, The Tribune had highlighted the needless “engineering activity” to replace functional poles. It was stated that this was aimed at spending the allocated budget, rather than serve any utility. Preliminary investigation revealed that for the sake of making payment in advance, the project had been shown to be executed on paper.

The works were approved during the tenure of the previous MC commissioner.

Sources in the administration said a payment of Rs 35 lakh had been made for the work which was yet to be carried out. The total cost worked out around Rs 60 lakh. Against the 188 poles which were to be replaced, 160 were found at the spot.

Besides, 6,000 metres of electricity cable which had been shown to have been laid was found lying unused.

The sources said similar work had been approved for Madhya Marg and Jan Marg. Public money running into lakhs was being spent on replacing streetlights.

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Seminar Boycott
9 school teachers suspended
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 28
Even as the protest by government school teachers against holding of seminars during vacation is on, nine teachers have been suspended for trying to obstruct government work.

The teachers were given the suspension orders today. While four of the teachers are union leaders, five women teachers who played an active part in the protest have been suspended. However, this move of the education department has not demoralised teachers who plan to intensify their protest.

Protesters submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner, demanding that the suspension orders be withdrawn and the holding of seminars during vacation stopped.

Government teachers are supposed to attend a 20-day training seminar during a year under the Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan. They had attended the seminars conducted earlier on, but now the remaining seminars had been organised during winter break.

Photo on P4

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7,000 pirated CDs seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The police today seized 7,000 pirated CDs worth over Rs 2 lakh from a house in Morigate, Mani Majra, this afternoon.

The police said Gurdial Singh, investigator of Indian Music Industries, Noida, had lodged a complaint, alleging that Mustaq Ali of Morigate was involved in the sale of pirated and blue film CDs.

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COMMUNITY
 

Looking Ahead
Mohali skyline set to change in New Year
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 28
For the Punjab government, the Greater Mohali Area is the engine that is going to chug along the development of the entire state. And going by the stupendous plans that the government has for this part of the state, the skyline of Mohali as we know it, is bound to change drastically.

The biggest story of 2008 will be the construction of the Mohali international airport. The Punjab government is signing an MoU with the union ministry of civil aviation on January 4 and flights are expected to begin by October 2008.

Quark City’s F3 building, the tallest building in Mohali, is all set to be completed in 2008.

Other than this, some private residential complexes are also being constructed as high-rise buildings following relaxation of FAR norms by the government. Some of these might see the light of the day early next year.

The Emaar MGF’s residential project coming up on the Landran-Banur road is also to be looked out for. Designed as an international housing complex, the team of its planners had laid out unique layout for the complex. A part of the project should be visible on the ground in 2008.

Many other housing projects are waiting to be launched in 2008. Closest to the developed Mohali will be the ones coming up in Sector 85 and 86.

Most awaited by Mohali residents is the district’s first mall. Parsavnath in Industrial Area, Phase VIIIB, Mohali, Paras Panorama on the Zirakpur-Panchkula road, Cosmo Plaza, Rishi Mall and Chandigarh City Centre, all on the Chandigarh-Ambala road, are working at breakneck speed to complete their malls by 2008.

The proposed IT tower project for Sector 67, which will provide working space to IT companies, is also expected to be launched next year.

An IT incubation centre in Industrial Area and a bridging school for IT graduates could also see the light of the day in 2008.

With the allotment of plots to a thousand letter of intent holders in Sectors 77 and 78, construction activity in the area will be seen through the coming year and see its first residents shifting in.

The year 2007 saw a marked change in the façade of industrial units in Mohali. With MNC’s taking office space in Industrial Area, the gray and red boring façade of offices here is a thing of the past giving way to all-glass façades. Though till date there is only one building in Mohali with a rooftop parking facility, the year 2008 will see many more coming up.

The government’s intention to allow industrial plot owners to convert these for budget hotels, hospitals, schools etc could also become a reality in the New Year. This move will bring about a big change in Mohali’s skyline, as hundreds of industrial plots are lying vacant in the area.

The government is also proposing the setting up of a notified area committee for Mullanpur Garibdass comprising of over 30 villages of the area. If the move comes through in 2008, it could lead to a spurt of development in the area.

A proposal for creating a rural tourism hub at Chatt village has been approved by the centre and major changes are expected in the village in the coming year.

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Third front soon: Karat
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The CPM is preparing a road map for the creating of a third front that will provide a political alternative to the Congress and BJP. The constitution of this front comprising secular and anti-imperialistic will be announced at the party’s general house in three months.

Disclosing this, CPM general secretary Parkash Karat said, “Both the BJP and the Congress were outdoing each other to come close to the US, so we will provide the people with an alternative in the form of a third front”.

This third front, comprising Leftists parties, secular and anti-imperialistic forces, would be an alternative to the communal forces represented by the BJP and the imperialistic forces represented by the Congress, Karat told a huge gathering at the inaugural session of the three-day 13th Punjab State CPM Conference here today. Though the CPM general secretary lashed out at the two main national parties, he made it clear that the Left would not withdraw its support to the UPA government and the current Parliament would last its full term. He also disclosed that the Congress had accepted the Left formula on the Indo-US Nuclear Deal wherein the UPA government would discuss the issue with the Left after taking the matter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“This third front will prevent the repeat of Gujarat”, he said adding that BJP-ruled states were in a state of chaos. “In Rajasthan ministers are openly levelling allegations against each other. There have been 47 cases of police firing on peaceful protestors, including farmers, in which 16 farmers have lost their lives”.

Referring to the BJP victory in Himachal Pradesh, he said, “There is a lot of discontentment about the policies and programmes of the Congress amongst the masses".

Talking about the plight of farmers and the downtrodden in the country, Karat said while productivity of foodgrain was dropping, forcing the government to import wheat, yet the government was provide support to the farmers on important inputs like water, fertilizer, power, etc.

He demanded that the prices of foodgrains in the international market should be taken into consideration before determining the prices in the country.

"The third front, besides being opposed to the communal and imperialistic forces, would work for the progress of the country and the prosperity of all sections of society, particularly the farming community which is in the midst of a crisis", he added.

Talking about the 9 per cent growth rate as claimed by the UPA government, the CPM leader wondered where all money was going. "We are boasting of the increasing number of millionaires and billionaires and are not bothered about the common man", he lamented.

Earlier, in his address R. C. Pillay, in charge of the Kisan Cell of the CPM, demanded that the recommendations of the National Farmers Commission should be implemented in letter and spirit to solve the agrarian crisis in the country. Punjab state CPM secretary Balwant Singh also addressed the conference.

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Chandigarh-Morinda rail line
Electrification work begins
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Work on electrification of the 45-km section of the rail track between Chandigarh and Morinda has begun.

Electrification of the tracks means faster connectivity on the rail section. Otherwise, two daily trains, including a diesel multiple unit, have been running on the Chandigarh-Morinda-Una section since the section was inaugurated about a year ago.

Officials of the Electrification Department of the northern railways are erecting poles to hold high-tension power traction line. The work is expected to take few more months, said sources in the railways.

A senior official said since the work on constructing the remaining 67-km-long Morinda-Sahnewal-Ludhiana track was underway, the electrification could only be done after the track was complete.

About Rs 14 crore has been sanctioned for the electrification. The total cost of electrification up to Ludhiana has been estimated at around Rs 42 crore.

Explaining its significance, the sources said without electrification, rail connectivity to Chandigarh was a major hurdle despite the new track. All major routes in north India are electrified.

It would be possible to divert any long distance train presently running on the electrified Ambala-Rajpura-Ludhiana section, to the Ambala-Chandigarh-Ludhiana sections. Non- electrification means changing of locomotives at Chandigarh and then at Morinda.

A senior officials said once electrified, the goods train between Nangal Dam and Ambala would be diverted through this track.

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Mayoral Poll
Cong councillors warned against cross-voting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
With just three days to go for the MC mayoral elections, a meeting of Congress councillors along with senior delegates of the party was held at Congress Bhawan here today.

Congress MP and union minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal, president Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee B.B Behl were present.

Directions were issued to party councillors to remain united in voting for their candidate and members were warned against cross-voting.

Holding a majority in the house with 13 candidates plus one vote of Bansal, the party looks to ensure the win of its candidate Pradeep Chhabra on January 1.

The Congress had faced allegations of cross-voting by its councillors in the last elections.

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Protest over LPG shortage
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 28
Residents of Raipur Rani blocked the Chandigarh-Raipur Rani road for two hours here today to protest against the shortage of LPG in their town.

The residents were enraged when they saw a three-wheeler loaded with LPG cylinders leaving the town for some unknown destination. After intercepting the vehicle near a petrol pump on the road, they found that the cylinders were found full of gas. They alleged that the local dealer was selling the cylinders in black market while their delivery to connection holders was taking more than a month.

Later, the officials of the gas agency and food and supply officials also reached the spot.

However, the blockade was removed after assurance by SHO Karan Sigh that appropriate action would be taken.

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Condolence meeting by PGI staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Faculty and staff of the PGI held a condolence meeting to mourn the death of Prof Y.N. Mehra, former dean and head of the department of otolaryngology, here today.

Tributes were paid by PGI director Prof K.K. Talwar, Prof I.C. Pathak, Prof B.K. Sharma and Prof B.N.S. Walia, all former PGI directors, Prof K.S. Chugh, Prof S.B.S. Mann, former head of the ENT department, and Prof Naresh Panda, head of the department of Otolaryngology, PGI. Meanwhile, Professor Panda, a student of Professor Mehra, said he was a man of unflinching integrity and utmost dedication. They said he was good surgeon and had a great command of surgical anatomy.

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New Year at Sunbeam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
New Year’s eve revellers can enjoy a rooftop party at Hotel Sunbeam, Sector 22, on December 31.

According to a press note, the party will have a live band, female singer, DJ and bonfire. Prizes in various categories, including the best dancing couple and most handsome couple, would be the added attraction, the press note added.

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Letters
Restrict burning of waste material

Burning of shrubs and waste material, including worn out tiers and plastic products, by cigarette vendors, rickshaw pullers and auto drivers is a common sight in winters. It pollutes the air and causes suffocation. Its impact is more pronounced in the morning. The roundabout of Sectors 44, 45 is one such place where one can see burnt tiers and other material.

The UT administration should do the needful to curb this practice and save environment.

Bhartendu Sood, 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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CRIME
 

Mani Majra man held for robbery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The police today arrested a Mani Majra resident for allegedly robbing a Shastri Nagar man of Rs 4,100 on knife-point here late last night.

According to the police, the accused, Babbal, was arrested from Sector 26 this morning following a tip-off.

The accused is working as a sweeper in a private school, which he had joined a few days ago.

Rakesh of Shashtri Nagar had lodged a complaint with the police alleging that an unidentified man had robbed him on knife-point on Thursday night near fish market in Shastri Nagar.

He alleged that the accused had thrashed him and robbed him later. The police registered a case in this regard.

Arrested

Vikas Rana of Sector 15 reported to the police alleging that Jitender Singh of Khuda Lahora was caught snatching his mobile phone from Sector 15 on Thursday night.

The accused was handed over to the police. He was arrested on charges of snatching. The stolen property was recovered from him.

Similarly, Kamlesh Ram of Burail lodged a complaint with the police alleging that a person snatched his mobile phone near the kerosene station in Sector 45 on Thursday evening.

The accused was later arrested near the green belt in Sector 45.

He has been identified as Raju of Colony No. 5. The police has registered a case in this connection and recovered stolen property from him.

A case under Sections 380 and 411, IPC, has been registered at the police station-19.

Also, Parveen Kumar of Sector 20 lodged a complaint alleging that Shiv Bajaj of Sector 21 was caught red-handed while stealing an LPG cylinder from the complainant’s booth in Azad market in Sector 20 today. Police is investigating the case.

Theft

Jaswant Kaur of Bapu Dham Colony reported to the police alleging that her granddaughter Jatinder Kaur and her husband Rajesh Kumar of Panchkula had stolen a gold chain, two gold earrings, a gold ring, two gold bangles and Rs 14,000 from the her residence.

A case of theft has been registered.

Vehicles stolen

Rajan Vasudeva of Mundi Kharar reported that his Enfield motor cycle (PB 16 B 8079) was stolen from Sector 34 on Thursday.

In another incident, Jagbir Singh of Sector 69, Mohali, reported to the police alleging that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH 01 Z 5602) was stolen from Sector 22 on Thursday.

Cases of theft have been registered.

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MC Raids
30 quintal unhygienic meat seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Around 30 quintal of unhygienic meat was seized during inspection of meat shops in various sectors, villages and colonies of the UT by the municipal corporation. The drive was carried out on December 26, 27 and 28 under joint commissioner-II H.S Khandola and assistant commissioner Parminder Pal Singh.

Also, 30 challans were issued for causing unsanitary conditions and violating provisions of the bylaws. The seized meat was later destroyed by officials of the corporation’s health department.

Municipal commissioner R.K. Rao said the slaughter of birds under unhygienic conditions would not be tolerated and such drives would be carried out in the future till desirable results were achieved.

The officers checked 30 licenced meat shops in Sectors 7, 9, 15, 21, 22 and 35. Of these, one meat seller was found selling unstamped meat and a challan was issued to the defaulter.

Officials of the sanitation department also issued 13 challans to various meat sellers for maintaining unhygienic conditions in and around the meat shops.

Inspections were conducted in Maloya, Sectors 55 and 56, Kajheri and Daruya village.

In Daruya village, the team seized unhygienic meat weighing around 20 quintal. The team issued 10 challans for keeping unhygienic stuff and four challans for violating provisions of meat bylaws there.

Inspections were also carried out at Shanti Nagar, near Kishangarh and Khuda Lahora, where dressed meat weighing around 10 quintal was seized from unlicensed premises/slaughtering houses owned by Atul Poultry Farms and Paramjit Poultry Farms.

According to sources, Paramjit Poultry Farms is a subsidiary of the famous King Broilers.

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Four held for cheating auto-dealers
Three bikes, fake driver’s licences seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The police today arrested four persons on allegations of duping auto-dealers in Chandigarh and Panchkula by purchasing motor cycles on fake documents and cheques.

According to the police, the accused have been identified as 35-year-old Preet Kumar of Baltana, Zafar Iqbal of Una, Rajan Singh of Zirakpur and Gurdawar of Nawanshahr, all in their mid-twenties.

Preet is the kingpin of the gang and runs a shop at Baltana village. Earlier, he used to sell carpets.

Rajan is a photographer and came in touch with Preet, after which they started making fake driver’s licences.

Police station-17 SHO Kulwant Singh Pannu said three motor cycles had been recovered from the accused.

They had been purchased by furnishing fake documents to auto-dealers in the two cities.

Police post-22 in charge Charanjit Singh Virk said the gang was busted after the police got a telephone number on which the investigating officials worked and tracked down the accused. They were arrested following a tip-off from Baltana that claimed that the four were riding the motor cycles.

They had purchased two motor cycles from a Sector 35-based auto-dealer, one each from Sector 22 and Panchkula.

Virk said they recovered three fake driver’s licences from Preet.

About their modus operandi, he said they used to open bank account by furnishing fake driver’s licence as proof for identity.

Thereafter, they used to produce fake salary slip and other documents to purchase the motor cycle.

The police said they came to know about another motor cycle believed to be purchased by the accused.

The motor cycle is in possession of the police station-36 . So far, the police has solved four cases of cheating.

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