C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Kansal Shocker
26 hectares marked ‘institutional’
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 20
Jurong, a Singapore-based company that recently released the master plan of Naya Gaon notified area committee (NAC), has demarcated a large piece of land as “institutional”, unaware that it is owned by VVIPs.

The land in question is in Kansal village, on the Chandigarh-Punjab border. If the plan is passed without any changes, it would mean that no residential or commercial activity can take place on that land.

This may bring down the exorbitant land rates in the area. The bigwigs who would get affected include son of a former Punjab Governor, wife of a former HC judge, an IG with Punjab Police, a Punjab principal secretary and a PPCC general secretary.

The master plan was released on February 28 and is on display for inviting objections. It states that 60 per cent of Kansal village constitutes the existing residential area. Another 19 per cent has been proposed as a residential area in the plan.

As much as 18 per cent of the total area (about 26 hectares) has been kept aside for institutional purposes.

This has been divided into three blocks, one of which is largely owned by VIPs.

Several persons have already constructed houses in the area which now stands reserved as “institutional”. Some of them have sent their objections to the office of the chief town planner, Punjab.

One such objection states that there is no need for an institutional area in Kansal as the village is very close to Chandigarh which has all the institutions that are needed.

The objections can be filed till March 28. Thereafter, a committee would examine the objections before finalising and notifying the master plan.

Sources said efforts were on in the highest government circles to change the master plan and convert the proposed “institutional” area into “residential”.

Another feature of the plan is the proposed 100-foot road that passes through Kansal and joins it to Karoran and Nadah, the other two villages in the NAC.

The road passes through 50 acres of land owned by Tata Housing in Kansal. Though the land falls in the area demarcated as “residential” in the plan, it is learnt that the company has objected to the road “within its boundary”.

The government may have to dole out a hefty sum in order to acquire the land for the proposed road.



140 illegal structures removed in Sec 45
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Residents of Sector 45 blocked the internal roads of the sector following a major demolition drive by the Chandigarh Housing Board here this afternoon.

The enforcement wing razed about 140 unauthorised structures. Notices had been given to residents regarding this over a year ago. People had, however, not removed the violations themselves.

The residents turned violent when the enforcement staff started pulling down the structures. The police was called to control the crowd. Residents blocked traffic, after which the police had to forcibly push them back.

According to officials of the CHB, the residents had been informed about the encroachments and special drives had being organised to educate residents in this regard.

There are about 200 illegal structures, out of which 140 have been demolished.

The team stopped the demolition after the residents said they would remove the encroachments on their own.



No work, all pay
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The administration is finding it hard to maintain its fleet of vehicles and machinery with the engineering department. Reason, the administration has no funds to keep the machinery running.

The administration does not have funds to maintain its machinery, but it is giving salary to the staff attached with its vehicles. The drivers and mechanics are sitting idle.

The machinery worth lakhs has been left to rust at the Sector 26 store of the engineering department. A senior official of the department, however, denied that vehicles were lying idle.

The department is reportedly paying higher rates to private contractors to carry out development works, which could otherwise be done with its own men and machinery at lesser rates.

A large number of trucks, tractors, loaders, and other heavy machinery are in need for repair, but officials concerned are allegedly not sanctioning repair work. Some vehicles are lying idle for want of a tyre or replacement of battery.



Passing off murder as natural death
Reveal name of probe officer: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Chandigarh Police is in the dock for its attempt to pass off a murder as natural death.

Taking a serious view of the attempt to “hush up the truth” involving Mohali district resident Shamsher Singh’s death, Justice Mahesh Grover of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the counsel for the UT to reveal the name of the officer involved in the investigations of the matter.

Justice Grover made it clear that the court would burden the officer with “exemplary costs”.

Expressing “deep concern”, he observed that prima facie the death appeared to have occurred due to poisoning, but the police was trying to project it as a natural death and had failed to give a plausible explanation.

Shamsher Singh’s body was found near a petrol station in Sector 34 on September 5, 2005. A note was also found mentioning the names of certain persons. It stated that in case of his death, the persons mentioned in the note would be responsible.

As the matter came up for hearing this afternoon, the UT counsel tried to explain the presence of poison in the body, saying it was due to “insecticides” in food.

Not convinced, Justice Grover asked him to make a categorical statement in this regard. After the counsel tried to skirt the issue, Justice Grover asked him to name the officer.

The counsel, however, sought time on the ground that the officer handling the case was not present in the courtroom as he was undergoing training. Justice Grover then fixed Monday as the next date of hearing.

Shamsher Singh’s son Balwinder Singh had filed a petition against the UT administration and other respondents. It was alleged that initially a head constable was helping a rival party in a matter pertaining to the possession of a plot. Subsequently, Shamsher Singh was implicated in a false case.

Balwinder Singh had further alleged that a conspiracy to eliminate his father was also hatched by the rival party and later a constable informed him about Shamsher Singh’s death.

Counsel for the petitioner said insecticide had been detected in the postmortem. A detailed representation was forwarded on December 7, 2005, for the registration of a criminal case, but the police had refused to register an FIR.



Proposal for urban arts panel junked
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The proposed urban arts commission, conceived on the pattern of the Delhi Arts Commission last year, has been scrapped.

Sources said the commission, believed to be the brainchild of union minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal to check the powers of the local bureaucracy, has been scrapped owing to “lack of initiative” of the Chandigarh administration and the ministry of home affairs.

“Talking about the commission is like flogging a dead horse,” a senior official said when asked about the status of the commission. Bansal, too, hinted at its scrapping, but said it was not his brainchild.

A remark about the scrapping of the commission by a senior administration official at a recent meeting between officials of the MC and the administration had sparked a controversy.

Mayor Pradeep Chhabra went public about the remark and administration officials said the administration was yet to get a final word on it from the central government.



Woman hospitalised after bee attack
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
A woman was hospitalised after being attacked by a swarm of bees in Sector 27 this afternoon. A resident of Bahadurgarh, Tribha was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, where her condition was said to be stable.

The incident occurred outside Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, Sector 27, where Tribha was waiting for a bus.

According to sources at the hospital, the patient was under observation. When contacted, officials concerned at the municipal corporation had no knowledge about the incident.



‘Give the girl child equal importance’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 20
The killing of an ‘unborn daughter’ has to be stopped. A girl child should be given equal importance as a male child and not be harmed in any way, said Adity Dua, a communication expert and wife of H.K.Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune group of newspapers, after inaugurating ‘Fortis Paalna’, a complete obstetrics and maternity division at Fortis Hospital, here today.

She said Punjab had a lower child birth rate and a high infant mortality rate. The percentage of female foeticide cases was also high. Even pregnant women were found to be under-nourished and as such the children born to them were usually underweight.

The incubation facilities were also not very good. Therefore, there is an urgent need to provide proper nutrition, care and education to women. “The health of the hand that rocks the cradle has to be taken care of,” added Adity.

Laying stress on the importance of breast-feeding, she said according to a WHO study newly born children who were breast fed during the first hour after delivery developed a greater immunity. But in Punjab the percentage of children who were given their mother’s milk in that first hour was quite low.

Shivinder Mohan Singh, CEO and managing director, Fortis Healthcare Limited, said enough money was not spent by parents on keeping a girl child healthy.

‘Paalna’, headed by Dr. Sarla Malhotra, a senior gynaecologist, Fortis Hospital, is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art equipment such as the continuous digital monitor where the foetal heartbeat can be monitored from the beginning to detect early problems.

Earlier in the day Rotary Club of Chandigarh commemorated the 200th heart surgery under its Rotary Heartline project at Fortis Hospital.



Computerised project to help MC save water
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Turning to information technology (IT) to conserve water in a bid to provide round-the-clock water supply to the city, the municipal corporation will commission a Rs 20-crore unique computerised project — Surveillance Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) — next month.

To be installed under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission of the ministry of urban development, SCADA will entail a saving of around Rs 4.25 crore for the civic body every year, mayor Pradeep Chhabra said here today.

The project will provide electromagnetic flow meters, besides providing sluice valves with actuators.

Besides, remote terminal units will be provided to all water works and over 200 tubewells in the jurisdiction of the civic body.

Flow of any pump in the water works and tubewells will be known at the click of the mouse by the staff sitting at the centralised office at the MC office in Sector 17, officials highlighted.

The mayor said flow of any pump at waterworks and tubewells would be known through computer by the staff.

The mayor said besides conserving water, the project would help the corporation realise its dream of 24-hour water supply for the city.

The new system will optimise peak hour requirements and save around Rs 1 crore through conservation of energy and reduction in wear and tear.

Human error during the operation will be eliminated and there will be a reduction in unaccounted water from 3 per cent to 5 per cent.

This will result in saving of 2 million gallons of water per day every year, thus saving the MC Rs 1.6 crore.

The operation of tubewells will be computerised and there will be no need to engage any outside agency to maintain them.

This will entail a saving of Rs 2.6 crore annually, Chhabra added.



Spl train cleared in place of Garib Rath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Instead of a Garib Rath between Chandigarh and Jaipur that the railway minister had announced in the railway Budget, the Railways has cleared a special train for just three months beginning April 4.

The train will run on just three days of the week. From Chandigarh station, the Jaipur Special (train no. 0990) would run every Monday, Friday and Saturday. The train in the reverse direction (no. 0989) would ply from Jaipur to Chandigarh every Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

The train would start from Chandigarh at 9 pm and reach Jaipur at 9.35 am the next day after covering a distance of 605 km. The special train will have three AC and sleeper coaches.

J.S. Bhogal, member of the Zonal Railway User Consultative Committee, said the frequency of the train should be increased and it should be extended up till Ajmer Sharif.



Child Labour
Admn warns offenders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Chandigarh administration has announced strict action against those found guilty under the Child Labour Law, 1986.

UT home secretary Krishna Mohan today said employment of any child of 14 years of age or less on payment or otherwise would be considered as crime under the aforesaid law.

This would include work in factory, homes, food outlets, brick kilns. Those found guilty face imprisonment ranging from three months to two years and fine up to Rs 20,000, added Mohan.

The home secretary-cum-education secretary added that such children would be given scholarship for Rs 250 per month, clothes, uniforms, afternoon food, books and copies and material necessary for personal care.

Homeless children or those who worked in food outlets or factories at night would be provided with space and food, he added.

The administration would also take action against callous parents who involved children in crime and begging.

Principals/headmasters of government schools have been vested with the power of inspectors under the Section 17 of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 to curb child labour in the city.



Woman receives burns, dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
A 26-year-old mother of one received severe burns after she accidentally caught fire from a stove while cooking at her Mauli Jagran residence this morning. She was taken to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, where she succumbed to her injuries.

According to the police, the victim has been identified as Anjum, wife of Mohammad Yusuf, a labourer. She had a two-year-old son.

The incident took place around 8.30 am when Anjum was lighting the stove, which went up in flames. She caught fire and before her husband could manage to extinguish the flames, she was severely burnt.

The SHO Manimajra police station said the victim was declared not fit to record his statement. He, however, ruled out the possibility of foul play behind the incident. The police was informed about the incident and took the victim to the hospital. The police has initiated inquest proceedings.



NRI body opens local chapter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), an international NRI organisation, opened its Chandigarh chapter today.

Advocate Ranjit Malhotra has been appointed as the head of the chapter. Other founder members are Punjab Advocate General Hardev Singh Mattewal, Professor Virendra Kumar, Ved P. Venayak and automobile businessman H.L. Vij.

GOPIO is a non-partisan, secular and global organisation engaged in promoting the well-being of the people of Indian origin and enhancing cooperation and communication between Indians living in different countries. It aims to promote the interests and aspirations of the Indian communities around the world and of specific groups residing in various countries of their adoption.



MC poll: 26 withdraw nominations
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 20
The stage for municipal committee elections has been set as 185 candidates are left in the fray after 26 people submitted papers to withdraw their names, here today. A total of 211 nomination papers were submitted for the elections to be held on March 30, for the 31 seats in the civic body.

Symbols were also allotted to all the candidates today. The three major political parties including Congress, INLD and BJP had already announced to contest the elections on the symbol. However, the two sitting councillors of Congress party R.K. Kakkar, the city president of party, and V.K. Kapoor were allotted the symbols of ‘rising sun’ and ‘conch’ (shankh) respectively, as the party did not allot the ticket to any one from ward numbers 6 and 12. Meanwhile, deputy commissiner of Panchkula Rajinder Kataria has banned the use of motor vehicles for campaigning from 8 pm to midnight.




Popularise Panchkula

It is really surprising to see that Panchkula, even after undergoing a massive development in all fields, has not yet been able to get recognition all over. As it can be seen on almost all major online shopping websites like rediffshopping, futurebazaar, no shipment is available for Panchkula.

All these networks claim to ship their products to any area. But, Panchkula finds no place on such websites though one can easily locate names of small towns like Zirakpur and alike.

Panchkula is a big city with excellence in all sectors and is consistently heading towards progress. So, it should also gain countrywide as well as worldwide recognition, so that no Panchkula resident needs to explain the landmarks in Chandigarh to outsiders to reach the place.

Shruti Kapoor

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



‘Need to integrate language depts’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
“The very idea of a unified Indian nation was suspect considering that Indian nationalism is governed more by constitutional imperatives than by a homogenous sentiment of nationalism. India never had one language which could facilitate a transformation into an official nation state,” said Prof Aijaz Ahmad, a noted Marxist scholar, in his inaugural address during a national seminar on ‘Making of India as a nation: An inter-language dialogue’ organised by the Faculty of Languages at Panjab University here today.

Tracing the lineages of the present, he elaborated upon the role of pre-nationalist reform movements and the contingencies of inter-communal tolerance as a pre-condition for nationalist struggle. Prof Ahmad thus ruled out the possibility of its communalisation. In his presidential remarks, vice-chancellor of the university Prof R.C. Sobti underlined the need of integrating language departments of the university under one umbrella so as to facilitate a dialogue among the literatures that is produced in Indian and European languages.

In his welcome address, Prof Shelley Walia, dean, Faculty of Languages, presented a synoptic view of the processes of the making of the nation and nationalisms in the first and third worlds.

Prof Sudhir Chandra, a historian, in his keynote address, drew attention to the subtleties of linguistic exchange by citing the correspondence between Gandhi and Nehru on the issue of their particular visions of India.



Felling of trees at PU illegal: NGO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Panjab University has auctioned 120 trees within the campus by declaring them a threat to people and building. The Burning Brain Society (BBS), an NGO, has objected to such unmindful and illegal cutting of trees in the university. Hemant Goswami said the BBS had formed a citizens’ environmental audit team to assess the reasons for cutting each and every tree. The team will be headed by Dr Gaurav Chabra and shall have students and concerned citizens of the city.

“We shall also seek civil and criminal action against all people who allowed the unapproved trees to be felled and also against the officials concerned in the environment department who allowed the trees to be cut on flimsy grounds without verification of the facts,” he said.

Dr Chabra said it was unfortunate that despite complaint, the police refused to lodge any FIR and intervene in the matter. Only a DDR was registered. “Instead of seeking action against people involved in the theft of trees and breach of trust, the police arrested one of the witnesses to the theft in a false case.” Goswami said this was an abuse of the process of law and breach of trust by the custodians of the university property. “Such cases have become the order of the day in Chandigarh and the citizens’ team will ensure that the guilty are brought to book,” Hemant added.



PU Notes
World Punjabi Conference from March 30
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
A two-day World Punjabi Conference will be organised at the university on March 30-31. The Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will inaugurate the conference while Governor of Tamil Naidu Surjit Singh Barnala will preside over the function. Member of Parliament Dr Kuldeep Nayyar will deliver the keynote address during the inaugural function. The scholars will deliberate on the theme “Punjabi identity in the global context”.Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister of Haryana, will be the chief guest of the last session. Delegates from America, Germany, Norway, Canada, Holland, England, Pakistan and France would participate in the conference.

Workshop: The department of history will organise a three-day diamond jubilee workshop of college and university teachers on “Problems and Perspectives of History Teaching” on March 23-24. The workshop would be inaugurated by historian and former chairman of the UGC Prof Satish Chandra. Teachers from Amritsar, Patiala, Shimla, Kurukshetra, Rohtak and Aligarh will participate in the workshop. Meanwhile, the department of statistics conducted a one-day workshop on ‘Applied Statistical Techniques’ for social scientists today.

Programme: A programme on drug addiction and intensive remedial measures was held today on the fourth day of Social Awareness Week being celebrated by the PU Campus Students’ Council.



Fire damages students’ answer sheets
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 20
Hundreds of answer sheets of students who appeared in the Classes X and XII examinations of the Punjab School Education Board were damaged in a fire that broke out during the wee hours here today.

According to reports, the answer sheets were lying in a truck and had been brought here from other areas of the state. Smoke coming out of the truck was seen by some members of the security staff at around 2.30 am who immediately swung into action and controlled it from spreading. Senior officials of the board reached the spot early in the morning.

According to sources, the truck had brought answer sheets from examination centres located in Batala and Gurdaspur area. The truck contained answer sheets of physical education and Sanskrit subjects of class X and computer application of class XII. In all about 48 bundles of answer sheets were damaged, out of which around 500 were badly affected, but most of these were readable.

However, chairman of the board Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon said the answer sheets had come from Hoshiarpur area and only a few were damaged. He suspected that the fire might have been caused due to a spark from the silencer of the truck. Dhillon added that he had constituted a committee headed by the vice-chairman to look into the matter. Interests of students would be protected and if need be a re-examination would be conducted, he said.



VC changes statement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Panjab University vice chancellor today backed out from his statement with regard to the unadjusted advances of about Rs 20.74 crore a day after The Tribune reported the matter.

He stated that the advances he took during his tenure as the chairman of the biotechnology department had been adjusted. However, he could not provide any supporting documents for the same.



Angry students stone bus
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 20
A PEPSU bus going from Chandigarh to Faridkot was stoned by students of Government College Mohali, here today. Students were venting their anger over the fact that these buses do not pick them up, due to which they have to wait for hours for private and CTU buses.

The front glass of the bus cracked due to the stone pelting. Later, the bus driver lodged a police complaint against the students. This is the fourth such incident in the college during the past five years. On November 13, 2006 students of the college had stoned a Punjab Roadways bus full of passengers, injuring one person.



Srivastava appointed MC commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Chandigarh administration today appointed Punjab-cadre IAS officer Raji P. Srivastava as the commissioner of the Chandigarh municipal corporation.

She will hold the charge of commissioner in addition to other duties.

By virtue of the order, deputy commissioner-cum-estate officer R.K. Rao has been relieved of the additional charge of the commissioner. The DC had written to the administration to relieve him of the additional charge.

Sources in the administration said since the panel of Punjab-cadre IAS officers sent to the Centre had not been approved, appointment of Srivastava as commissioner was a stopgap arrangement.



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