C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

They belled the CAT
Vineet Saini, with 100 percentile, has raised the bar
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Vineet Saini, working as a software engineer with Infosys at the IT park here has scored 100 percentile in the CAT, the result of which was declared today.

Group discussions and interviews will be conducted from February onwards and the final results will be declared in April.

Vineet said: “Persistence and discipline are the key to success. I believe that more is expected from those who expect more.” With his achievement among over two lakh candidates, he has set new standards for CAT across the country.

About 12,500 candidates took the exam in Chandigarh. This year, for the first time, the seventh IIM will be taking its first batch of students at Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Management, Shillong.

So far, close to 50 candidates from Chandigarh have reported percentiles of 98.5 plus. Due to heavy traffic on the website, the exact status of IIM calls is still not clear.

Harpreet scored 99.98 percentile to grab the second place in Chandigarh. An alumnus of PEC, Harpreet completed his engineering in 2005 in electronics. He owes his success not only to diligence, but also to his faculty at Triniti-center for learning, Chandigarh, where he took coaching.

Madhusudan Aggarwal, also of PEC, has scored 99.95 percentile. He said, “It was tough balancing college studies with the preparation for CAT, but where there is a will, there is a way.”



Going Green: Sector 51 to be first model housing enclave
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) enclave in Sector 51-A is set to become the city’s first model housing unit conforming to international standards in environment management.

This is the first of its kind exercise in the region after the one undertaken by a housing society in Hoshiarpur. It will ensure an international certification for effective management and auditing of its environment aspects.

CHB officials today confirmed that the documentation required to be completed before applying for ISO 14001 certification was complete and the application would be sent soon.

ISO 14001 certification specifies requirements for environmental management system to enable an organisation to develop and implement a policy that takes into account legal requirements concerning environmental aspects.

J.K. Anand, ISO certification expert handling the project for the CHB, said, “We have finished our gap analysis, framed our environmental policy and defined its aspects, nature and scale. The policy includes commitment to continual improvement and prevention of pollution. Also, we will comply with all applicable legal requirements related to the environment. Among other things, we will conserve natural resources and achieve energy efficiency within the enclave.”

Among the targets set in the document are reduction in consumption of electricity by 2 per cent, reduction in consumption of paper by 2 per cent and reduction in wastage of municipal water by 2 per cent. June 2008 has been set as the deadline. “We have formed seven committees to look after different aspects of the environment. All environment related Acts will be followed inside the enclave and levels of noise and air pollution will be controlled. Battery disposal system is also being worked out,” he said.

The Targets

* Reduction in consumption of electricity by 2 pc

* Cutting down on consumption of paper by 2 pc

* Noise, air pollution will be controlled

The CHB is planning a similar scheme for all of its housing colonies, provided the colonies comply with building bylaws. Board will bear 70 per cent of the cost

— CHB chairman



Auction of 24-storeyed 5 star hotel site on Jan 16
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 8
Basking under the glory of the recently concluded Twenty20 cricket tournament and taking a giant leap in the hospitality sector, HUDA today announced January 16 as the auction date for the 24-storeyed five star hotel site in the Sector 5 city centre here.

Realty Bites

* The 24-storeyed hotel will be the tallest building in Haryana

* The 8-acre site is the largest hotel area in the tricity

* The reserve price has been fixed at Rs 260 crore

The decision to auction the 8-acre site, which will transform the skyline of the tricity, on a freehold basis with a reserve price of Rs 260 crore, would see the town having the tallest building in the state. Gurgaon reportedly has the tallest building in the state (18 storeys) with a permissible height of 60 metres as against 75 metres in this project.

“There has been a long-standing demand for a premier hotel in the region. With major projects like IT parks, film city, education city and health city coming up in the tricity, the demand for luxury hotel rooms is sure to increase,” HUDA chief administrator T.C. Gupta said here today while unveiling the blueprint for the development of the 250-acre city centre.

HUDA is showcasing the hotel site as the prime commercial property for its several inherent advantages and strategic location. A 60-metre-wide road, proximity to multi-level parking and two shopping malls would attract realtors, sources said.

Commercial property rates had skyrocketed in Panchkula with the highest price touching about Rs 4 lakh per sq metre.

With commercial property being sold on a freehold basis as against leasehold in Chandigarh, there is likely to be a better response, sources added.



Sale of cheap cigarette brands on
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Unscrupulous manufactures of various brands of Indian and international cigarettes are causing losses to the tune of crores of rupees to the state exchequer in the region by evading taxes.

These cigarette brands, which come under the category of “regular filter”, are being sold by retailers and roadside vendors here without any fear of the excise and taxation authorities.

A city-based wholesale retailer, preferring anonymity, told The Tribune that despite the fact that they had taken up the issue with the UT excise and taxation department numerous times, no serious efforts had been made to prevent the illegal practice, which is not only causing huge losses to the state exchequer, but also harming interest of genuine companies.

An investigation by The Tribune team into the illegal practice revealed that the cigarette brands of regular filter, including Vintage, Kartoos Filter, No. 10, Club, Perfect, Mugal, Good time, Paradise, Fighter Filter, Indus, Vintage, Impact and Magnet, are sold between Rs 8 and 10.

It is learnt that under the prevailing excise and tax system, each cigarette packet, having a maximum length of 70 mm, carries Rs 9 as excise tax with additional 12 per cent VAT on it.

It is mentioned on the packets of regular filter cigarettes that the length of the product is 69 mm. Thus, the total tax on each pack is around Rs 10.

“As these cigarettes are available for just Rs 8 or 10, one can well imagine the manufacture is not selling these products by incurring losses, but are evading excise duty and taxes to make quick bucks. The authorities concerned largely turn a blind eye to this gross loss, except for conducting a few raids that too not on a regular basis”, a person associated with the cigarette industry said.

A shopkeeper said: “The salesmen of these cigarette brands never come on a regular basis. They might land anytime and charge Rs 4 per packet from them and they sell it further for Rs 8 or 10. The buyers of these cigarettes are from lower strata of society comprising migrant labourers”.

Even certain duplicate foreign brands, including Camel, Marlboro and Benson & Hedges are also available at much lower prices in the market.

Additional excise and taxation commissioner (UT) Inderjit Singh Sandhu said he was aware of the matter and raids were conducted on a regular basis. He had also received complaints in that connection.

The illegal stocks were seized during the raids and the dealers were asked to pay taxes against the stock recovered from them.

In case, a dealer fails to deposit the requisite amount, he is put under action as per the provisions of the law, he added.

He maintained that their action confined realising taxes and excise duty from a dealer, who distributed and kept those products.

The matter such as where those products were manufactured and whether they were posing any threat to the hygiene of its consumer did not come under their purview.

In those cases the departments concerned were alerted, Sandhu said. 



GMADA to auction 11.24 acre 
Looks to make over Rs 550 cr
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 8
For the cash strapped Punjab state, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) will once again prove to be the goose that lays golden eggs. The authority is all set to earn over Rs 550 crore from the auction of its most prime land in the township.

The authority will auction 11.24 acres of land in Phase X here, adjoining Chandigarh, for ‘mixed use’. The land was occupied by the inhabitants of Guru Nanak Colony till June 2005. A massive anti-encroachment drive had cleared the site for use.

GMADA chief Vivek Pratap Singh said the reserve price for the site was likely to be fixed at Rs 550 crore but the site was expected to fetch much more.

‘Mixed use’ allows the buyer to built anything on the site except put up an industry. The buyer can use it for high-end residential colony with a mall, a multiplex and a five-star hotel.

Earlier, GMADA had planned to auction the site in three components specifying the use of the components. The specified uses included a five-star hotel, a mall and a multiplex. The proposed plan had also been approved by the regional town planning committee and forwarded to the planning and design committee for approval.

“The plan has been changed. Instead of auctioning the site in parts specifying the use, it was decided to give the buyer complete freedom of what he wants to construct, provided it meets the requirements of the master plan,” said Vivek Pratap adding that this would attract bigger players and hence more revenue.

GMADA is expecting national as well as international real estate companies and hoteliers to bid for this land, which is barely two kms from the PCA stadium in Phase IX.

Sources added that GMADA would announce the date of the auction soon as it required money to pay compensation to farmers who are expected to part with their land for the Mohali international airport, for which 300 acres of land is being acquired in Jheorerahi village.

The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority’s (PUDA) Mohali wing had got this prime site vacated on June 26, 2005. In one of the largest demolition and rehabilitation operations undertaken by PUDA, over 3,000 persons had been shifted from this site to a vacant piece of land in Jagatpura village.

A plan to utilise the vacated site was laid out in 2005. Other than a multiplex and a shopping mall, a part of the site was to be set aside for cooperative housing societies. Later, a new plan envisaged that the entire site be developed commercially keeping in view is central location.



Sector 41
Remove violations or face demolition: CHB
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) today issued an ultimatum to Sector 41 residents to remove building bylaw violations or face demolition.

Talking tough with representatives of resident welfare associations of the sector, CHB secretary Kamlesh Kumar listed gross violations like construction of additional stories and encroachment on government land.

Residents claimed that the CHB had earlier assured them status quo on need-based alterations made by them.

CHB officials sternly asked them to do the needful if they wanted to avoid facing demolitions. “By constructing additional stories on your houses you have made the structures unsafe. As regards need-based additions, there has to be a limit. How long can you go on accommodating people in houses meant for two?” the secretary asked, adding that residents needed to work out an alternative.

One of the suggestions made at the meeting was provision for alternative land at cheaper rates where Sector 41-A and D residents could eventually shift. Some residents also suggested recovery of fine from violators. They, however, did not commit themselves to removal of alterations.

The board has held similar meetings with residents of Sectors 38 (West), 51, 43, 44 and 45.



Media fellowships announced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in India and the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-NES) today announced three media fellowships, each carrying an individual award of Rs 45,000 for travel and research.

Print media journalists aged between 30 and 45, seeking to research and write on refugee issues, can apply for the three-month duration fellowships.

An official release of the C-NES said the fellowships were scheduled to begin in March and run consecutively till November.

“The fellowships are expected to give journalists an opportunity to minutely look at refugee related issues, including their movement into the country, their condition and the problems of mixed migration,” said senior journalist-cum-C-NES managing trustee Sanjoy Hazarika. He can be contacted for further details at sanjoy@c-nes.org and sanjoyha@gmail.com



Newborn girl found abandoned
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 8
A newborn baby girl was found abandoned at the Singh Shaheedan Gurudwara in Sohana here today.

According to Sohana SHO Mahinder Singh, the child was abandoned within hours of her birth. The child was wearing only a vest and was wrapped in a dupatta. “The person who left her probably presumed that the child will be discovered in a few hours and taken care of,” said the SHO.

Visitors to the Gurudwara found the child and informed the members of the management, following which, the police was called in.  The child was immediately rushed to the civil hospital where she warmed and fed.

According to the doctors, the child is in good health now but was cold and hungry when brought to the hospital.

Mohali SDM Raghubir Kaur Khaira said she had written to the civil surgeon to inform her whenever the child was ready to be transferred to the adoption centre. “The child is very small and needs care. We will wait for a few days for her parents to claim her. Later, if she is healthy enough, we will send here to a government-approved adoption centre,” she said.



Inconvenience to devotees

All devotees who visit the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine to pay their obeisance are required to obtain a ‘yatra slip’ from Tourist Information Centre, Katra. But this office works between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM.

As a result thereof, the devotees who reach Katra after 11:00 PM are put through great inconvenience as they have to wait for hours together to get the yatra slip, which is a must for every devotee. As the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine is open all 24 hours for darshans, it is suggested that yatra slip should also be made available round the clock.

V.K.Kapur, Panchkula

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Car stolen from Sec 35
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
A car was stolen and a house burgled in the city in the past 24 hours. Sandeep Kashyap of Sector 45 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Maruti Esteem car (CH 01 W 0699) was stolen from a parking lot in Sector 35 late last night. A case has been registered.


Tavra of Indira Colony, Mani Majra, reported to the police that a pair of earrings, some clothes and other articles were stolen from her residence last night. A case has been registered.



2 killed in road accidents
Labourer loses life after fall
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Two persons were killed in two road accidents, including one hit-and-run case, here today. In another incident, a labourer had a fatal fall at a construction site in Sector 37 this afternoon.

In first accident, a motorcyclist was found lying badly injured around 1 am near the bridge on Sukhna choe in Daria. The victim, Vijay Kumar (25) of Mauli Jagran, was taken to the GMCH-32 from where he was referred to the GMSH-16. He succumbed to his injuries there. His motorcycle was knocked down by an unidentified vehicle. Vijay was a whitewasher by profession.

Also, a cyclist, Utam Kumar (38) of Daria village, was killed after being run over by a speeding truck near the CTU trafficlights this afternoon.

In another case, 35-year-old Ram Jatin suffered serious injuries after he fell from the first floor of a dharmashala in a temple in Sector 37. Three cases have been registered.



No cut in liquor prices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The city will continue to have liquor vends at every half kilometre. In the new excise policy for 2008-2009, the Chandigarh administration today announced to continue with the two-year-old system of allotting licence for liquor vends.


* No reduction in number of vends

* Import fee increased

* Licence fee of Rs 25 lakh to be paid in two parts

* No fresh orders to check public drinking

There is little to cheer for Bacchus lovers, as there would be no reduction in the prices of liquor. Social issues like public drinking outside liquor vends and related incidents of crime have not been touched. This year again, the number of vends will remain 215, including 65 vends of country liquor.

Sources in the liquor trade said due to mode of payment of the licence fee and heavy rentals, at least 20 per cent old licencees were expected to surrender their licence.

Withdrawing its earlier decision to not allow makeshift vends, the administration has decided to renew the permission of the existing licencees to have makeshift vends. However, no new player will be allowed to run their business from such vends.

Among other changes made is availability of new pack of 150ml size nip with minimum selling price of Rs 10 of 50 degree country liquor and Rs 12 of 60 degree IMFL.

The import fee has been fixed at a uniform rate of Rs 2 per proof litre for both of country liquor (50 degree) and IMFL (60 degree) from earlier rate of Rs 1.75 per proof litre. On IMFL (75 degree) it has been increased from Rs 1 to Rs 2 per proof litre.

The franchise fee, which will be levied on brands of other distilleries bottled in the bottling plants of UT, has been abolished.

To help retail trade, various brands of the IMFL 75 degree have been put in six categories for the purpose of fixation of minimum retail sale price.

The segments are: cheap brand, economy brand, medium brand, premium brand, semi-deluxe brand and deluxe brand. The cost of L-2 licence will be calculated inclusive of all levies ecept licence fee/assessed fee for the purposes of categorisation.

No change in case of beer has been proposed. Bar licences of five star hotel and above category have been allowed to procure their requirement of liquor also from authorised sources outside Chandigarh, on payment of additional licence fee.

The licence fee of wine and liquor stores (L-10B) licences has been enhanced and fixed at Rs 1 lakh per annum from existing Rs 50,000 per annum.



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