C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Acquisition rate Rs 27 lakh an acre
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
If you happen to own land under acquisition for Phase III of Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP), prepare yourself for a rude shock.

Land allotment to pvt builders

The land deal between the Chandigarh Housing Board and Parsavnath Developers to develop a residential and commercial area spread over 123 acres is worth Rs 821crore and a four-acre residential complex in Mani Majra was auctioned for Rs 108 crore. The auction of a hotel site to DLF fetched Rs 75 crore. These figures are being quoted by the farmers to indicate the market rate.

Ignoring protests by the affected landowners, the Chandigarh administration will announce tomorrow the land acquisition rate at Rs 27 lakh an acre.

“The rates have been calculated on the basis of the land registered in the last one year. Even if uprooting allowance and other costs are included, the total compensation rate will not exceed Rs 40 lakh per acre,”, said a senior official in the finance department.

The announcement of the compensation will have no bearing on the interim stay granted on the dispossession of landowners by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

“When it comes to helping big companies, rules are changed. When it comes to farmers, rules are cited. We are not going to accept the low compensation amount. It is a pittance,” said Kultar Singh, a landowner.

Of the total 272 acres being acquired for Phase III of the IT park, the Chandigarh administration will initially announce the compensation rate for 104 acres.

The recent public notice on the category of landowners eligible for alternative sites under the national policy of rehabilitation and land acquisition has further angered the affected families.

“The administration is ignoring the spirit behind the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy, 2007. The proposed compensation would be less than one per cent of the market price,” said Brig K.S. Kahlon (retd), vice-president of the Mani Majra Farmers Welfare and Environmental Protection Society.

The administration has clarified that since the project involves displacement of less than 400 families, the guidelines under the policy for alternative plots does not apply to landowners who already own other property in the city or neighboring towns. The affected persons call this violation of the national rehabilitation policy.



Snatchers strike sans fear of cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Snatchers today targeted two women under the very nose of the police and decamped with the booty even as the policemen remained mute spectators to the two incidents.

The police chased two youngsters riding a motorcycle without helmets in Sector 27 and signalled the driver to stop but he sped away. They youths were nabbed only to be released later as the snatching victims could not identify either of them.

Earlier during the day, two unidentified boys on a bike snatched a gold chain off Shushma Gupta of Sector 29 near Baba Balak Nath Temple in the same sector at 12.05 pm. Interestingly, at that time two police Gypsies werestationed at a naka. The woman told the police that one of the miscreants was wearing a white shirt and the other a light brown shirt.

Only five minutes prior to the incident, Seema of Sector 46 had reported to the police that two youths on a black motorcycle (CH-01-N-7410) had snatched her gold chain from near SD temple. In yet another incident, Kanchan Aggarwal of Sector 27 filed a complaint with the police that two persons on a bike snatched a gold chain off her from near Sati Mata Mandir in Sector 27 at 12.45 pm.

Two more such cases were registered late in the evening. Altogether, six cases of snatching have been registered at various police stations in the city. Snatchers have staged a comeback in the city after lying low for two weeks. Senior officers have reportedly pulled up SHOs for the same.



Pay Rs 300 for wrong parking
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Be careful while parking your car or two-wheeler at paid parking lots. In a bid to instill civic sense, the MC has mooted a proposal to penalise people parking wrongly.

At a recent meeting of the finance and contract committee (F&CC) of the civic body, the proposal to impose a fine of Rs 300 and Rs 200 on four-wheelers and three-wheelers, respectively, was discussed. Mayor Pradeep Chhabra was authorised to form a committee to modify the terms for the allotment of paid parking areas.

The proposal was moved by M.P.S. Chawla, nominated councillor. Since the police does not challan haphazardly-parked vehicles in parking lots, the enforcement staff should be allowed to penalise offenders, Chawla told The Tribune.

“With Chandigarh having the highest vehicular density in the country, the paid parkings are already bursting at the seams. If remedial measures are not taken immediately, there will be chaos,” he said.

Meanwhile, underlining practical problems in implementing the paid parking, the mayor suggested that CCTVs should be installed at all entry points of parking lots to check malpractices by contractors.

Chawla also suggested that compulsory insurance by the contractor should be incorporated in the terms of allotment so that in case of loss of vehicle, the insurance company paid the claim to the owner.

A penalty of Rs 5,000, as against Rs 500, should be imposed on the contractor for any offence.

Construction of booths for parking attendants, and bright colour uniforms for the parking staff were also proposed at the meeting. 



Labourer killed as cantilever collapses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
A 21-year-old labourer was killed when a cantilever of an under- construction house collapsed in Sector 56 here this afternoon. He died on the spot. The body hung between the collapsed roof and the wall and was removed after a lot of effort.

The incident took place at 3:30 pm when Shakal Dev was plastering the cantilever. He pulled out a protruding object from the wall following which the whole structure came down. With his neck stuck between the cantilever and the wall, he died before he could be rescued. Other labourers working at the site escaped with minor injuries.

The house belonged to one Rakesh Kumar. The victims were rushed to the Sector 16 GMSH, where Shakal was declared “brought dead”. Shakal is survived by his ailing mother and a younger brother, who live at their native village in Bihar.

Shakal was living with his uncle in a rented accommodation in Sector 56. No case was registered as none was to be blamed for the incident, the police said.



49 participate in IOC dealers’ meet 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Indian Oil Corporation today organised a dealers’ meet for dealers from Chandigarh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir at Parwanoo. As many as 49 dealers participated in the meet.

During this meet, these dealers were given awards for recognition for their performance in petrol, diesel and lube sales. Addressing the participants, H.S. Bedi, general manager, Punjab state office, Indian Oil, lauded the efforts of the dealers and said several new initiatives like retail outlet up gradation, automation, addition of auto gas facilities besides other value added services like ATMs, convenience shopping centres and fast food joints had been planned at retail outlets.

He also stated that in order to meet different customer needs, Indian Oil had started Xtracare retail outlets in urban areas, Swagat ROs on Highways and Kissan Sewa Kendra in rural areas. He added that IOC had also chalked out a plan to make visible changes in customer service during the current year.

The dealers appreciated new initiatives taken by the corporation and appreciated efforts made by the corporation to develop facilities at the retail outlets. The select dealers shared their experiences and gave suggestions to further improve and evolve through various capability building programmes for them as well as their employees.

On this occasion, Paul Service Station (Patiala), was honoured for being the senior-most dealer of the ‘Gold Circle’ and the highest petrol seller in Sangrur divisional area.

Other notable dealers who figured in the honour list were Kapoor Service Station (Chandigarh), Pathania Service Station (Chandigarh), Bathinda Service Station (Bathinda), and GR Baweja & Sons (Ponta Sahib) for being high sellers.



Mohali airport: Rates proposed for acquisition
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 6
The land acquisition collector here has calculated a rate of Rs 32-33 lakh per acre for the price of over 307 acres of land of village Jheorehri, which is to be acquired by the Punjab government for the International airport at Mohali.

The proposed rates were discussed during a meeting of the price fixation committee held under the chairmanship of the Mohali deputy commissioner H.I.S. Grewal, here today.

However, the rates were rejected by Kharar MLA Balbir Sidhu and member of parliament from Ropar Sukhdev Singh Libra, the two persons representing the owners during the meeting. They said the price rates calculated would mean compensation of not more than Rs 50 lakh per acre to the land owner. This amount was much lower than the prevailing markets rates of land, they said.

It was also pointed out during the meeting that the Akali-led government had been promising the farmers that they would get compensation calculated on the basis of the current market rates and not the one calculated on the basis of average of rates of the past year.

Meanwhile, the DC could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. It was, however, gathered that the DC would be forwarding the points put across by various persons attending the meeting, including the two politicians, to the government for a final decision. When contacted, Punjab chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh said the DC is likely to submit his report of the outcome of the meeting to the financial commissioner (revenue) by tomorrow.

The meeting was called to fix the land acquisition rates for three different sites in Mohali. These included 307 acres of land in village Jeheorehi for the international airport, 1 kanal 4 marla land in village Kambala and another 4 kanal 7 marla in Sohana village.

SDM Mohali, who is also the land acquisition collector, in the meeting said the rates for Sohana and Kambala land would be finalised through negotiations with the landowners as the amount of land was small.

For Jheroreri, land prices were calculated on the basis of the average of price of land registered in the tehsil for the village one year prior to the date of notification. The largest registration for an amount of Rs 2 crore for a land deal that took place in January 2007 had also been taken into consideration while calculating the price of land in the village. “The cost of land in the village is not very high and neither are land-owners very rich. Land holdings are also small,” said a revenue official of the district. 



Displaced, 2 villagers attempt suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Two villagers attempted suicide in protest against the rehabilitation scheme of the Chandigarh administration here today.

Eight-year-old Gurdev Singh of Bajwara village and 75-year-old Som Nath tried to hang themselves from a tree in Sector 63 here this afternoon. The police swung into action and prevented them from doing so. The police arrested the two after registering a case of attempt to suicide. They were later released on bail.

The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) had announced construction of 2,080 flats in Sector 63 on Wednesday and reserved 104 flats for displaced villagers. The protesting villagers alleged the administration had backtracked from the promise made to them by the then Administrator Lieut Gen (retd) J.F.R. Jacob on January 24, 2003, that flats would be made in Sector 63 for the displaced residents of the 11 villages.

Gurdev Singh said he had a two-kanal house in Kanthala village over 40 years ago. The authorities displaced him by paying him a meagre sum of Rs 310 as compensation. He said this time, he had not been given a penny for the two kanals acquired.

Harjinder Singh Biling, general secretary of the Pind Vasao Committee, said they had sent court notices to the authorities concerned, demanding that flats br made for displaced families on 42 acres of land in Sector 62 within two months otherwise they would initiate legal action against them. 



Panchkula MC Poll
BJP announces first list of candidates
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 6
Opting to field new faces for majority of the seats, the BJP state unit today released the first list of 24 candidates for elections to Panchkula municipal committee scheduled to be held on March 30. State president of the party Atam Parkash Manchanda said names of candidates for the remaining seats would also be declared within a couple of days.

The municipal committee has 31 wards out of which 11 are reserved for women and two each for candidates from Scheduled Caste and Backward Class categories.

The party, which could only garner three seats in the last elections, has announced the names of many fresh candidates. Ward number 3, from where C.B. Goel, a resident of Sector 7, won the elections has been reserved for a woman candidate now. Sitting councillor from ward number 5 Jagdamba Gupta has opted out due to health reasons. V.K. Sood, who won the elections from ward number 4 last time, has been elevated to the post of national vice-president of Kissan Morcha of BJP.

There are only two candidates - Sanjay Ahuja and Ramesh Barthwal - who contested during the last elections on the party ticket.

However, Manchanda has demanded the transfer of Panchkula deputy commissioner Rajinder Kataria, SDM Virender Dahiya and municipal committee executive officer O.P. Sihag apprehending that fair elections would not be held under their administration. The party would also request the state election commissioner for the same, said Manchanda.

Candidates who are mentioned in the first list include Seema Aggarwal (ward 1), Shakuntala (ward 2), R.P. Malhotra (ward 5), Prem Chand Malik (ward 8), Harinder Saini (ward 9), Sunita Goel (ward 10), Aru Jindal (ward 11), Sanjay Ahuja (ward 12), Surinder Bansal (ward 13), Shiv Kumar Gupta (ward 14), Anita Jain (ward 15), Romesh Bartwal (ward 16) Munish Chachia (ward 18), Manjit Kaur Malhotra (ward 20), B.M. Talwar (ward 21), Jagjit Sohi (ward 22), Jagdish Nagrath (ward 23), Veena Suri (ward 24), Vidya Devi (ward 26), Abdul Mian (ward 27), Ramanand Singh (ward 28), Jaipal (ward 29), Ashish (ward 30) and Jarnail Singh (ward 31).



Mahashivratri celebrated with zeal
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 6
Around two lakh devotees paid obeisance at the Sri Shiv Mandir, Mahadevpur, Saketri, on the occasion of Mahashivratri, here today.

In fact, devotees started thronging the temple on Wednesday night. As the doors of the ancient temple were thrown open at midnight, devotees poured in to offer milk and fruit to the deity. At least 15,000 quintals of milk and huge quantity of fruits were offered till the evening. ‘Puja’ would be held four times between 8 pm and 5 am today, said the priests at the temple.

In Panchkula, devotees thronged Shri Raghunath Mandir, Sector 15, Pracheen Shiv Mandir, Sector 9, and Shri Sanatan Dharm Mandir, Sector 10.

In Bassi Pathana, the festival was celebrated with great enthusiasm at various temples and ‘bhogs’ of ‘shiv puran’ were performed. Thousands of devotees offered holy water on the ‘shiv lingam’ and paid obeisance. The ‘mandlis’ in Prachin Shiv Mandir Kila Chowk, Shiv Mandir Subzi Mandi, Ram Mandir, Namdev Mandir and Baba Ajgawa Nand Mandir recited bhajans. Social and religious organisations arranged ‘langars’ in temples. Special ‘langars’ were prepared for devotees on fast.

In Zirakpuri also, mahashivratri was celebrated with traditional gaiety at the Shri Shiv Mandir, Defence Colony, Baltana. The festival started early in the morning with the ‘abhishek’ of Lord Shiva and Ganesha, followed by kirtan. Devotees offered milk and fruits at the temple.

Chandigarh: Mahashivratri was celebrated with zeal at various temples of the city today. Devotees began thronging temples early in the morning to offer milk and fruit to Lord Shiva. Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya also celebrated the day with fervour at Rajyoga Bhawan in Sector 33.

A prabhat pheri was organised in which hundreds of Brahma Kumaris and Brahma Kumars participated.



Penalty for people draining water on roads
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 6
The local municipal committee has decided to come down heavily on people using roads as drains. From March 15 onwards, any offender would be served with challans and fined Rs 1,000. The amount of penalty would be doubled for the second challan of the same person and third time around the penalty would be Rs 5000.

The executive officer of the muncipal committee O.P. Sihag said it was noticed that residents in the city wash their cars on the road using a pipe, which damaged the roads in various sectors. The life of a road reduces three times faster when water is left on them, said the EO.

Many roads in the sectors including those in sector 6, 7, 15, 16, and 17 can be seen flooded with water in the morning after people wash their cars outside the houses. A majority of residents even drain water used to clean floors of the verandahs of houses on to the roads, said Sihag.



Water pipe bursts during digging
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The alleged careless digging in Sector 30 by a private telecom operator for the installation of cables and the MC for widening the road led to the bursting of a pipeline today.

The digging has been going on for the past several days and trenches have been left open at many places, endangering the lives of residents. Also, labourers widening the road are felling trees.

“Digging has been continuing from a number of days. The labourers are doing the work in parts. A major accident can happen,” said a resident.

In spite of several complaints, the problem persists.



24-hour bars will cause nuisance

The introduction of 24-hour bars in Haryana is an absurd idea. It will lead to more trouble and violence on the streets. With binge drinking, some places will become absolute no-go areas at night. Changing law to allow 24-hour drinking is an idea for which we will pay heavily in the long run.

People will feel intimidated by a bunch of drunken ruffians. It will result in exaggerated drunken behaviour and crime. There are already enough brawls following drinking and this idea will give tipplers more access to alcohol. Cases of drunken driving will increase. Government should aid in reducing crime, not adding to already existing evils.

Dr Shruti Kapoor, Panchkula

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‘Jhankaar-2008’ ends on high note
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The four-day youth festival ‘Jhankar-2008’ came to a colourful end with the winners being felicitated today by Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor of Panjab University, at a glittering ceremony. Prof Sobti who was the chief guest on the occasion, gave away prizes to the winners.

As many as 25 teams from various parts of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir University, Delhi University and others participated in around 30 events held during four days.

Among others present on the occasion included dean student welfare, Prof Naval Kishore, dean student welfare (women), Prof Nishtha Jaswal and other faculty members.

Major attractions during the festival were various dances, including tribal, western and folk, folk songs besides a star night where legendary singer Gurdas Mann performed, a fashion show and rock show.

In the evening, another rock show was performed on the concluding day.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Surinder Sharma, coordinator of the event while congratulating the students said this was one of the best experiences so far as a lot of hard word had gone into the event to make it a success.

Parminder Jaiswal, president, students’ council, Panjab University said, ”we had no idea that this event would be a big success and all the students have worked day and night to make this event a success.”



PU Notes
ICSSR sponsored seminar on March 18
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The department of Library and Information Science is organising ICSSR sponsored seminar on “Trends and Strategic Issues for Libraries in Global Information Society” on March 18-19.

Course: Department of biotechnology (DBT) funded the MSc (human genomics) year program, run by the National Centre for Human Genome Studies and Research. The centre received initial financial support of Rs 66.75 lakh for the year 2008-2011. Prof Tapas Mukhopadhyay, director, NCHGSR, has made a special provision that each student of MSc (human genome) should get a stipend of Rs 1200 per month from the coming session (2008-2009).

Seminar:The department of computer science and applications, PU, organised a one-day seminar on “Recent Trends and Practices in Software Engineering for Development, Education and Research,” yesterday. The chief guest of the seminar was Prof B.S. Sohi, dean, faculty of engineering. Anu Gupta, chairperson of department gave information about the achievements of the department. Prof R.K. Singla, highlighted the need of software engineering. Speakers from industries like Infosys and academia were invited to present their perspective about the subject of the seminar. About 45 participants attended the seminar.

Conference:The department of Sociology, PU, organised a weekly seminar on “Poverty Alleviation Programs in India: A Field View” by Prof H. Ramachandran, from department of geography, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University, Delhi. He apprised the participants about inter-state disparities in poverty alleviation programs especially relating to education. Further he indicated that regional variations are built over years and can be overcome with long-term measures.



6 months to go, PU warms up for senate polls
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Panjab University senate elections are no less than parliamentary elections if the campaigning in Panjab University is the deciding factor. Though the elections are still six months away but the canvassing is already on in full swing.

The senate elections, which are held after a gap of four years, are held in two phases. In the month of August elections are held for all the faculties, whereas in the month of September, elections are held for other constituencies such as graduate constituency, university professors, readers and lecturers, principals of the degree and professional colleges, principals of affiliated degree colleges, senior lecturers and lecturers of affiliated arts colleges and others.

Also at this point of time, vacancies in different colleges are to be filled. To fill their vote banks, many probable candidates are in race to press upon the vice-chancellor to name them as his nominee for the selection process thus securing their supporters.

It is pertinent to mention here that the senate is the governing body of the university and its members are the decision makers of the university concerning appointments, conferring of degrees and diplomas, regulating the functioning of the colleges as per university calendar, regulation of finances, appointment of other committees and especially the syndicate.



Truck driver gets 10-yr jail 
Had mowed down 5 persons
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Just over five years after five members of a marriage party were crushed to death under the wheels of a truck, a division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held Ganesh, driver of the truck, guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304-II of the IPC and attempt to murder. He has been sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment.

With this, the Bench comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice S.D. Anand has modified the trial court’s orders sentencing the accused to life imprisonment after holding him guilty. The incident dates back to December 1, 2002.

The development is significant as the high court, through the judgement has clarified the distinction between an offender’s intention to murder and knowledge that an act is likely to cause death.

Pronouncing the orders in an open court, the Bench observed: “The grim scenario, evidenced by the proven prosecution presentation, actuates us to fabricate the view that in the given circumstances of the case, the appellant did have the knowledge that by driving a heavy vehicle at that speed in a thickly populated area, he was likely to cause death of members of the marriage party whose signal to bring the vehicle to a halt were ignored by him.”

His conduct becomes all the more culpable in view of the fact that the marriage party was accompanied by a band and electric tube party.

The Bench ruled: “We hold that the appellant ought to have been convicted for the offence under Sections 304 (II) and 307 of the IPC and we order accordingly”.

In their detailed order, Justice Anand, speaking for the Bench, held: “Law is certainly not a static entity. While being cognisant of the legal phraseology of an offence, the courts cannot and should not withhold the process of evolution, which is the compulsive outcome of a civilisation, which in the light of the strides being made on various fronts, including automobiles, is coming of age. A particular piece of legislation can also not be interpreted in isolation from the attendant circumstances.”

As per information, the appellant was driving at the speed of 50 km per hour. The place was thickly populated. The playing of band and electric lights made the presence of the ‘barat’ pointedly noticeable…

Thus, the act of the appellants in having driven the offending vehicle at the indicated speed in a thickly populated area, and in not having brought the vehicle to a halt even in the face of signal from the members of the marriage party, it can be validly inferred that he did have the knowledge that he was likely to cause a fatal accident by his act.



CAT order on appointment ignored
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The son of Mohinder Singh, a government employee who died seven years ago, has still not got a job on compassionate grounds as per rules.

Mohinder was on deputation at the post of senior assistant in the Chandigarh Housing Board. His son Sarbjit Singh, a resident of Mohali, had filed an application before the CAT to be considered for the job in 2006. The tribunal had passed an order in his favour in December 2006, but he has still not got the job.

He obtained information under the RTI Act that 25 persons had been appointed on compassionate grounds after 2003, except him.

He then filed a contempt petition against the regional employment officer. The tribunal asked him if he also wanted to challenge the other appointments on compassionate grounds.



Graft case: Remand of accused extended
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 6
A local court today extended the police remand of Harbans Singh, who was arrested by the vigilance bureau on March 3, by another day. Harbans is the personal assistant of Robin Gupta, a senior Punjab IAS officer serving as financial commissioner (appeals).

The bureau has booked Gupta, Harbans and Joga Singh, a resident of Gurdaspur, in a graft case. Harbans was presented before the court today after the end of his two-day police remand today.

The public prosecutor told the court that he was needed for sustained questioning to gather details on various cases for which he had allegedly taken bribe. He added that they had to verify some persons in Delhi as well.



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