C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC Budget
Big money sought for roads
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The proposed budget of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) accords top priority to improvement of road infrastructure in the city.

A demand for Rs 65 crore has been made by the body for the purpose. In all, the proposed budget for 2008-2009 is Rs 534. 98 crore; out of this, a grant-in-aid of Rs 394.13 crore is to be provided by the UT administration.

A huge chunk of the proposed budget is meant to strengthen the road infrastructure, with the MC proposing to set aside Rs 19 crore to spruce up sector roads. In its budget estimates, the MC clearly underlines the need to strengthen and widen V-4, V-5 and V-6 roads to ease traffic and prevent accidents.

The 11th Five-Year-Plan (2007-2012) also recognises this need as it makes a provision of Rs 85 crore for construction/widening and strengthening of V-4, V-5, V-6 roads, parkings and title pavements along sector roads falling under the MC jurisdiction.

In the budget estimates to be placed before the 126th meeting of the general house (estimates were recently approved by the finance and contract committee) on February 27, the MC has proposed to strengthen and recarpet all internal roads of sectors.

The maximum amount of Rs 4 crore (among all budget estimates for roads) has been sought to widen and recarpet V-5 roads, followed by a demand for Rs 3 crore for V-6 and Rs 1.5 crore for V-4 roads, said mayor Pradeep Chhabra, adding that traffic congestion needed to be tackled at the earliest.

A separate budget estimate has been prepared for the purpose of widening sector roads -- Rs 8 crore is proposed to be spent on widening V-5 roads, where most educational, private institutes, religious places and mini markets are located. Density of traffic and rate of accidents on these roads is high; hence the budgetary demand. The MC has decided to widen V-5 roads from 24 to 33 ft in various sectors where road-land reservation exists. The civic body has further proposed a budget of Rs 15 crore to widen V-6 roads in various sectors - mainly Modern Housing Complex and Shivalik Enclave, Mani Majra. The MC has identified Sectors 11, 16, 19, 20, 21, 27, 28, 30, 32, 43, 45, 46 and 47 for the widening of internal V-6 roads.

There is also a proposal to get Rs 1.65 crore to widen all major peripheral roads of the city centre in Sector 17. These include the road from hotel Shivalikview to Hotel Taj; from Hotel Taj to SBI and the road from SBI to the fire station.



Cops loath to move against rich and mighty
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 22
When it comes to taking action against the influential, the local police appears to look the other way. In at least three cases in the recent past, the police has failed to take action against the accused, bringing its credibility under a cloud.

Even though courts have rejected pleas for anticipatory bail in two cases, the police has failed to act against the accused.

In the accident in which the relative of mayor Seema Chaudhary was allegedly involved, the police has yet to arrest him even after a week of the incident in which one person was killed and two injured seriously.

Gautam, who was driving a car owned by the mayor, hit a scooter on the night of February 15, killing one person. He too suffered injuries and was given first-aid at a local hospital after which he went scot free. The police booked him the following day but is yet to arrest him.

In another case, the accused failed to get anticipatory bail but the police has not bothered to arrest them. The complainant, in a letter to the Governor and chief minister, has said the police was forcing him to withdraw the complaint and reach a compromise with the accused.

Bimal Roy Ghai, partner in East West Décor, lodged a complaint with the police that his partner, along with his family members, took away goods lying in the company showroom at Sector 9.

The police took one week in registering a case even as the court denied the accused anticipatory bail.

In yet another case, Shubham Hospital owner Sandeep Sharma, who claimed to be an ophthalmologist and was running the hospital on the basis of forged certificates, filed an anticipatory bail application in the local court and subsequently in the Punjab and Haryana High court. Thought his bail plea was denied by both courts and the matter transferred to the crime branch, the “doctor” has not been arrested even though it has been a month since he was booked.



Rose Festival a withering affair
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
It’s an annual affair with monotony creeping into it each time. The 36th Annual Rose Festival, which was thrown open to the people today, proved to be a routine affair, bordering on the tedious.

Seeking a break from the drudgery of life, hundreds of residents, most of them youngsters, turned up at the festival which was inaugurated by U.T Administrator S.F. Rodrigues. Promising to be a fun affair, it proved to be nothing but an exercise in repetition.

The youngsters sauntering in and out of the stalls through the day were disappointed at the lack of novelty.The police band, folk dances, the promotion of the theme ‘unity in diversity’, the competitions-all have been regular features at the festival for the past several years.

“From the time I entered the fair, I have been looking for something different than last year, but in vain,” complained Vijay Bhargava of D.A.V College, Sector 10.

There were not too many audiences for the brass and pipe competition, which saw participation by 10 parties from the armed forces, the police and paramilitary forces.

Nevertheless, the authorities claim the festival goes a long way in giving people a taste of different cultures in the country.

A stall put up by the Chandigarh Traffic Police on road safety was vacant most part of the day. While youngsters swarmed CITCO Di Rasoi, the police stall attracted only a few and even they were there to enquire about the rising rate in challans and not road safety.

Traffic police personnel, however, said they expected a better turnout at the weekend.



DAV marks inquiry into charges against principal
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 22
The DAV college managing committee, New Delhi , has marked an inquiry into the alleged misuse of position by the principal of the local Chaman Lal DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 11, Anjali Marriya.

The committee has constituted a two-member panel to inquire into the anonymous complaint received by its office alleging that the principal was “misusing” her position for personal gains. Director (PS-IV) J.P. Shoor, when contacted, confirmed that an inquiry had been marked while clarifying that on receipt of the complaint, he had erroneously asked the regional director, Panchkula Zone, S. Marriya, a relative of the principal, to conduct the probe.

Shoor said he had received the inquiry report from Marriya but was not satisfied with it. “So, we have constituted a two-member sub-committee of office-bearers of the managing committee,” he explained.

According to the complaint, the Anjali Marriya was able to get appointment even though she had no certificate to support her claim that she had an 11-year teaching experience as also administrative experience.

It was alleged in the complaint that the principal had deputed several persons without the approval of the managing committee and was ‘charging students’ to pay them wages. The complaint further stated that the school was gradually losing its reputation with the student strength reduced by 18 per cent.

Anjali Marriya, when contacted, denied the allegations, saying that “it was mischief played by disgruntled elements who had been shifted to other stations .”

“I cannot be blamed for the dwindling strength of the school,” she said. Her teaching experience formed part of the duly verified by the Central Board of Education, she added.



Remand for rape accused; accomplice not traced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Constable Dinesh of the Haryana Armed Force and Vijender, a commando with Governor’s security, who allegedly raped a 40-year-old woman inside the staff quarters of Haryana Raj Bhawan, were sent to 14 days’ judicial custody today. The third accused, Situ, a resident of Rohtak, is yet to be traced.

K.K. Khandelwal, DPR, Haryana, said the rape took place inside the official quarters of the security guards of Raj Bhawan in Sector 7, and not inside Raj Bhawan, located in Sector 6, as mentioned in these columns on Thursday.

The accused, allegedly in an inebriated state, took the victim to the police quarters allotted to the security staff in the wee hours of Thursday and raped her. The victim works as a cook with a caterer and was returning home in an autorickshaw with her employer, Mahavir.



38-yr-old housewife commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Arshi Sharma, 38, a resident of Sector 22, allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling fan at her residence this afternoon. She is survived by her husband and a 10-year-old son.

Her husband was home at the time of the incident. The police said they had found no suicide note.

Her husband could not cite any reason for his wife’s suicide. The police is waiting for the victim’s parents to record their statement for further investigations.



Information on military quarters can be revealed: CIC
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that information pertaining to allotment of military residential accommodation and occupation thereof is within the realm of public domain as defined by the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Acting upon a petition filed by Maj Gen Mahipal Singh of Panchkula, the central information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah has held that there are public premises to which allotment is made only by public authority. It could not, therefore, be argued that activity concerning such public premises was private activity.

Major General Mahipal had sought information from the Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka Area on officers or their families, who without authorisation, are occupying accommodation in Bangalore since January 2000, damage rent charged from them and relaxation in special Army orders concerning allocation of accommodation.

He had also sought some other details, including correspondence pertaining to his own case pertaining to levy of damage rent.

On queries raised by the officer, the Army had maintained that the information pertained to allotment of accommodation to various officers and his own personal case had no relation to any public activity of interest.

In response to a first appeal filed by him, Maj Gen P. Venkateswarulu, in charge, administration, Southern Command, in a formatted statement, maintained that that it was personal information and the disclosure of which had no relationship to any public activity and which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of an individual.

The appellate authority held that from the appeal filed by Major General Mahipal, it could not be discerned whether there was any nexus between the right to seek the information under the Act and any public interest. Since the appellant had failed to show any relationship with public activity, the appeal lacked merit.

Setting aside the order of the Army authorities denying information to the appellant, the CIC observed that responding to the first appeal in form of a formatted statement would indicate scant application of mind by the appellate authority to the issues raised, which are expected to be discussed and a reasoned order be given.



Awaiting a plot for 30 years
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 22
Lt Col Ashok Budhiraja is still waiting for the fulfillment of a promise made three decades ago. The retired Army officer, who suffered injuries during the 1971 Indo-Pak war and remained in the hospital for over a year, has been waiting for a plot from the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) since 1977 (then the Punjab Housing and Urban development Department).

Budhiraja, who is settled in USA now after he retired in 1994, said he had applied for the plot under the Army category in response to an advertisement for a housing scheme in Jalandhar. He also paid Rs 2,000 as application amount. “But nothing happened. I was neither informed about the draw of lots, that is if any took place, nor the status of the scheme. In 1984, I received a letter asking for an additional Rs 8,000 which I paid for the scheduled draw of lots. I was posted in Delhi then. But when again nothing happened I sent many reminders but did not get any reply from the PUDA,” he said.

Now, Budhiraja has received a letter from PUDA stating that plots were only available in Sultanpur Lodhi. “I do not want a plot in Sultanpur Lodhi. I am interested in a plot only in Jalandhar where I had originally applied thirty years ago. Is this how the Punjab government deals with army men?” said Budhiraja.



Rotary Club celebrates 103 years
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Rotary Club is celebrating 103 years of its establishment tomorrow. Paul Harris founded the Rotary in Chicago in 1905. More than 1,000 Rotarians from Chandigarh, Panjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and UP, will be converging for the annual district conference, which will be held at Inder Dhanush Auditorium in Panchkula.

Addressing a press conference at Press Club here, Shaju Peter, district governor of Rotary International District 3080, said, “There are several Rotarians from UK and Pakistan who are in Chandigarh under the Rotary friendship exchange programme, who will attend the conference.

The Rotary International president Wilf Wilkinson has appointed Carolyn E. Jones, from Alaska, a senior Rotarian and currently the trustee of The Rotary Foundation to represent him at the district meet.

Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Science and Technology, will be the chief guest. Other prominent speakers, including Dr. A.R. Kidwai, Governor of Haryana, Sudershan Aggarwal, Governor of Sikkim, T.K.A. Nair, principal secretary to the Prime Minister of India, H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune will be present on the occasion.



Beopar mandal elections tomorrow
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
A balanced rent act and simplified building bylaws figure prominently on the agenda of the two contenders for the post of the president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM), elections to which are slated to be held on February 24.

In fact, for the candidates-incumbent president Charanjiv Singh and Sukhpal Singh-maintaining the non-political character of the organisation also figures prominently on their agenda. Construction of CBM bhavan is also an important issue highlighted in the manifestos. A closer interaction with officials of Chandigarh has also been promised by the candidates.

Meanwhile, keen competition is expected between the candidates as the traders have failed to evolve consensus this time.



Short-circuit causes fire, 1 hurt
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 22
Fire broke out at a printing press in the basement of a shop in Phase VII, here on Friday. No loss of life was, however, reported. According to fire brigade officials, the cause behind the fire was a short-circuit. Although most of the employees working at that time managed to escape, one of them sustained minor burns.




MC should pay attention

Roads in Sector 34 are in a very bad shape. Commuters have to suffer due to the laxity on part of the MC officials. Potholes are worsening the situation further. Driving becomes difficult. The condition is almost same in other sectors. Accidents are on the rise due to bad roads. Roads in the Industrial Area are no better. Due to heavy traffic, roads need to be constantly repaired. Chandigarh is called city beautiful but with every passing day the beauty seems to minify. It is expected that Municipal authorities pay attention to it.

Narendra Kumar

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UT home secy reviews education projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
UT home secretary Krishna Mohan today reviewed status of the higher and technical education projects with an aim of adding speed to these projects. He said that education deserves top priority and new projects like education city and Vocational Training Centre were in the offing.

In the Government Home Science College, Sector 10, designs of a temporary shed for boxing ring had been approved and drawings of alterations to be done on the first floor of the college building were also approved. Provision for green house security of the girls’ hostel and air conditioning of the multipurpose auditorium in Government Polytechnic for Women, Sector 10, was under construction and locations of AHUs had been issued, he added.

A new block has been designed on the ITI campus, Sector 28, with the provision of workshops and classrooms for upgrading the ITI centre.

Administrative approval amounting to Rs. 2,86,10,700 has already been sanctioned for Vocational Training and Production Centre, Sector 46, for the work of three-storied building, which would be completed by the end of March 2009, while the Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator has already asked the concerned officials to get the work 50 per cent complete by the end of July, 2008.

Unveiling the status of the projects falling under director higher education, Mohan said an estimate of Rs. 49,40,000 along with administrative approval had already been sent for the administrative block for Government College of Art, Sector 10.

The Type IV and V houses in Chandigarh College of Architecture was under planning stage while conceptual drawings for gymnasium hall in Government College for Boys, Sector 11, had already been approved from DPI (C).

Chief engineer is preparing new designs for Government College of Commerce and Business Management. Construction drawings for multipurpose hall in SIE, Sector 32, have also been made available.



From Schools & Colleges
Akshay wins ‘Intoxication-2008’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
A cocktail competition, “Intoxication-2008,” was organised by food and beverage club members at Dr B.R. Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management and Catering, Sector 42. The students of the college were judged on the basis of knowledge and skills. Akshay stood first in the competition.

CELEBRATION: On Lord Baden Powell’s birth anniversary, founder of Bharat scout and guide movement, ‘World Thinking Day’ was celebrated here today in Government Model High School, Sector 43. Pradip Mehra, advisor to the Administrator was the chief guest. S. K. Setia honoured the winners of various competitions. Also, a holiday on February 23 was announced in all government schools of the city. There will be no holiday for the teachers of these schools.

MEET: The education department is organising an alumni meet for the first time for class XII vocational students in the GMSSS-10 on February 23.

RECORD: More than 100 teachers of the Ryan International, Sector 46, are set to join Limca Book of Records for being the largest group to join online education course in collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

CAMP: Government College, Sector 20, organised a blood donation camp. The camp was organised in collaboration with Blood Bank Society, Sector 37. More than 300 students donated blood.

DEMONSTRATION: The science committee of MCM DAV College, Sector 36, organised an experimental demonstration on laser and spectroscopy. Prof. Simon George from department of physics, astronomy, California graced the occasion.



From Schools & Colleges
Auditorium inaugurated at Manav Mangal
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 22
Punjab minister for industries Manoranjan Kalia inaugurated a state-of-the art auditorium at the Manav Mangal Smart School here this evening. The auditorium is air-conditioned and has a seating capacity of around 900 people. The inauguration was followed by a cultural programme by budding artists of the school. In his address, the chief guest appreciated efforts of the management for providing children with top of the line facilities and congratulated the faculty and students for putting up a wonderful show.


Shivalik Public School, Phase VI, here organised a picnic for students of classes Nursery to II. Students were taken to International Doll Museum and Traffic Park Sector-23 Chandigarh. It was an educational as well as a fun-filled outing. Students had lunch at the traffic park.

Kirtan darbar

Gian Jyoti Public School and Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology, Phase 2, Mohali, jointly organised the 9th annual kirtan darbar at their campus today. Hundreds of devotees from all walks of life were enthralled by the melodious rendition of kirtan by renowned ‘ragis’ including Bhai Sahib Bhai Ravinder Singh, Hazuri Ragi Sri Harmandir Sahib, Bhai Sahib Bhai Joginder Singh Riar Ludhiana Wale, Bhai Sahib Devinder Singh Akal Ashram Sohana Wale, Bhai Sahib Bhai Inderpal Singh Chandigarh Wale.



Consumer Court
Travel firm fined Rs 50,000
Medical insurance, visa service denied

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Enhancing the compensation, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed an agent of SOTC, Sector 8, Bikram S. Boparai, and chief executive officer, Zubin Karkaria, to pay Rs 50,000 for not providing adequate facilities to the appellant, Karamjit Singh Rudra.

The travel firm was also asked to refund Rs 28,200 paid by Rudra for a trip.

Last year, in November, the forum had directed Mumbai-based SOTC to pay compensation of Rs 1 lakh for deficiency in service.

After the order was passed by the forum, both the petitioner, Rudra, and the travel firm had appealed before the commission.

Partly accepting the appeal of Rudra, the commission headed by K.C. Gupta stated, “The amount to be refunded by the opposite party is partly allowed and the impugned order is modified.

The opposite party is further directed to pay another amount of Rs 50,000 from the main tour price as the purpose of the tour was not fulfilled due to deficiency in service. Subject to the above modification, the impugned order is upheld.”

The appeal of SOTC was dismissed by the commission. The petitioner, Rudra, a resident of Mohali, had booked an educational tour to Europe for himself and his daughter for which he deposited Rs 2 lakh along with a medical insurance of Rs 963 per person. He alleged that he was neither given medical insurance nor provided visa service for which the firm charged him Rs 8,000.

The firm had assured Karamjit of giving him tickets and medical insurance on May 19, 2007. He was scheduled to leave from the Delhi airport on May 23, 2007.

On not receiving the documents, Rudra went to the firm’s office where he was told that the documents would be given to him at the airport on May 23, 2007.

He averred that on reaching Rome, he found that no medical insurance was given to them.

He further stated that the matter was taken up with the SOTC office in Chandigarh but nothing concrete was done.

After receiving the notice, the firm admitted that a tour was booked by Rudra but denied that medical insurance was levied on him.

Also, they claimed that the travel documents were given to Karamjit at the last moment.



Man acquitted in NDPS case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Additional district and sessions judge Raj Shekhar Attri today acquitted Major Singh in the NDPS case as the prosecution failed to prove the allegations against him. Major Singh was arrested with 8 kg poppy husk in 2002. As the prosecution failed to prove the allegations, he was acquitted.

Meanwhile, district additional and sessions judge Ravi Kumar Sondhi today acquitted Sarbjit Singh in an attempt to murder case.

The complainant, Naveen Badania, had alleged that Sarbjit Singh had allegedly assaulted him. Badania was studying Panjab University and was staying in a hostel there.



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