C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


6,000 more flats on offer soon
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Close on the heels of the special housing scheme for UT employees in Sectors 52 and 56 and the general housing scheme in Sector 63, the Chandigarh Housing Board(CHB) is set to float several schemes in different parts of the city catering to the needs of different strata of society.

In fact, the blueprint for the launch of the schemes, to be floated in Sectors 53, 54, 55 and Hallomajra and comprising over 6,000 flats, is in the final stages of approval and the projects should see the light soon, sources said here today.

The CHB is planning 4,500 to 5,000 dwelling units on 90 acres in Sectors 53, 54 and 55 and about 1,000 flats in Hallomajra on an area of about 20 acres. While one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments are being planned in Sectors 53, 54 and 55, only one-bedroom and two-bedroom dwellings would be on offer in Hallomajra, in the vicinity of the Chandigarh airport.

“The pricing will be affordable keeping in view the land and construction costs in Chandigarh,” CHB chairman Mohanjeet Singh told The Tribune.

In the Sector 63 housing scheme, the board had proposed a price of Rs 39.69 lakh for a three-bedroom flat. While Rs 29.14 lakh and Rs 17.29 lakh have been proposed for two-bedroom and one-bedroom apartments, respectively. However, the prices are much lower for the apartments offered under the special housing scheme for the UT employees.

Given the strategic location of the area comprising Sectors 53, 54 and 55 between Chandigarh and Mohali, there seems to be a good demand for the dwelling units here. With the apartment culture taking roots in the city in the wake of the habitation in the cooperative group housing societies from Sectors 48 to 51, the CHB schemes might evoke a good response from general public.

With thousands of professionals thronging the city and the adjoining areas in the wake of the entry of the MNCs and the setting up of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park here, the demand for apartments was likely to shoot up in the months to come.

And for the prospective end users and speculative buyers, Chandigarh still continues to be the first choice with its promise of world-class standard of living.

Observers feel this will be a bad news for the real estate developers as two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments does not cost as much in the periphery as in Chandigarh. As thousands of flats of various dimensions will be available in Chandigarh, the prospective buyers will have a variety of options for buying property, the observers add.

Challenge to Pvt Builders

Given their proximity to the Chandigarh airport, the housing projects are likely to offer stiff competition to private builders in Chandigarh and on its periphery as the pricing and dimensions are “almost similar” to that of the private builders.

CHB’s Proposal

The CHB is planning 4,500 to 5,000 units on 90 acres in Sectors 53, 54 and 55 and about 1,000 flats in Hallomajra. While one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments are being planned in Sectors 53, 54 and 55, only one-bedroom and two-bedroom dwellings will be on offer in Hallomajra.



Recarpeting snarls up traffic
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Internal roads of the city, which earlier meant for slow moving light traffic, are now heading towards traffic chaos. The roads in some of the sectors are witnessing congestion due to high volume of vehicular traffic leading to traffic jams lasting for hours.

Adding to this, the recarpeting work on the road dividing sectors 34 and 35 further aggravated the problems as long queues of vehicle were witnessed on the internal roads of Sectors 44, 34 and 33 bringing the traffic to a standstill in the evening hours. People were struck in jams and had to waits for more than an hour to cross the congested internal road of Sector 34. The problem began at the time when heavy vehicles started entering the internal roads of the sector.

The two-wheeler riders were seen driving on the footpaths putting the lives of pedestrian in danger with no one to check them. The men-in-white were conspicuously absent on the road leading to chaos. There was utter confusion on the stretch as the road users were trying to meander through the congestion creating troubles for others. Some cyclists entered into the nearby garden to take a detour to bypass the traffic jams. The traffic police was totally seen out of action, which added to the chaos.

According to the sources in the police, the traffic police received a call at 7 pm. Reacting to the call, at least five police personal had been deployed to control and divert the traffic.

“With the rotary of Sector 35 being closed, this is a problem that is being faced every second day, but today the jam is massive”, said a resident of Sector 35, who often use the internal road of Sector 34.


Two-wheeler riders were seen driving on the footpaths putting the lives of pedestrian in danger with no one to check them.

The men-in-white were conspicuously absent on the road leading to chaos.

There was utter confusion on the stretch as the road users were trying to meander through the congestion creating troubles for others.

Some cyclists entered the nearby garden to take a detour to bypass the
traffic jams.



Housing Board Chowk choked too
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Commuters travelling on the Chandigarh-Panchkula road are the harried lot due to the closing of the Chandigarh Housing Board light point intersection. The UT Public Health Department is digging up the road for laying sewer lines. SDO Amarjit Singh told TNS that it would take them about three days to finish the work. The department was putting up a new sewer line connecting it to the main one. The line, which is about over 100 metre in length, will help stopping the sewer and drain water from going into the choe. He added that only about 40 metres of road will be dug up for the work as the rest of the line comes under the island area.



UT projects face steel hurdle
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Shortage of steel with the engineering department of the Chandigarh Administration is taking its toll on the major projects in the city. Several projects worth crore of rupee are at various stages of completion.

For the past one month, there has been no procurement of steel from the approved sources. The earlier stock procured from different agencies, SAIL, TISCO, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam, etc, has been released to the respective department, confirmed sources.

The increasing steel price has further added to the problem. In the last one month, the steel prices have jumped from around Rs 26,000 per tonne to around Rs 48,000 per tonne. “Had the requisite amount of steel been procured in advance, the UT engineering would not have to pay higher rates to procure the metal. This will automatically add to the cost of the projects, apart from delaying the projects”, said an official.

UT chief engineer SK Jaitley, however, denied that there was any shortage of steel. All projects were going on as per the schedule. Due to the end of the financial year, the funds were sometime exhausted. As a standard practice, steel was procured in advance for important projects.

On the contrary, the sources said among the projects which were being affected due to the shortage were works under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan , vocational training centre in Sector 46, officer houses being constructed in Sector 19, Tagore Theatre, bridges to be constructed on route no.2 from Panchkula to Chandigarh, OPD block of Sector 16 government hospitals and government schools coming up in different areas.

The shortage of steel would automatically delay the projects.

A visit to the central store of the UT engineering department in Industrial Area, Phase I here revealed that there was only 12 tonne of steel left. Officials at the store confirmed that there had been no steel for the last one month. However, a tender to procure around 1200 MT was being applied soon.

Projects Hit

The Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan , vocational training centre in Sector 46, officer houses being constructed in Sector 19, Tagore Theatre, bridges to be constructed on route no.2 from Panchkula to Chandigarh, OPD block of Sector 16 government hospitals and government schools.



Machine fault puts consumers in fix
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 25
Long queues of consumers wanting to pay their power bills were witnessed at the main office of the Punjab State Electricity Board in the industrial area, here today. Reason: The computerised bill collection machine at the premises of the board office was out or order.

Some residents complained that they had to take out time from their busy schedules to pay their bills but due to the fault they had to suffer. Jaspal Singh, son of a former municipal councillor, said he had gone to pay his bill at the PSEB office but returned after seeing the long queues. He then went to the Phase I post office to make the payment, but the position there was worse as one employee was dealing with various others works apart from collecting power bill payments.

He said the authorities concerned should set up e-sampark centres in every phase of Mohali on the pattern of Chandigarh.

However, H.S.Boparai, PSEB senior executive engineer, said the board had opened collection counters in certain banks and post offices apart from PSEB counters in Phase IX, VII and I. He said most of the customers from rural areas preferred to make bill payments at the board office and that too when the last date approached. Bills are distributed well yet people do not use the time properly, he alleged.

Boparai said the bill collection machine was out of order for the past few days because of a software problem. Technical hands from Bangalore had repaired the machine many times but the problem could not be solved permanently. He alleged that wrong handling of the machine by customers created problems.



Muslim welfare panel members hold protest
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 25
Members of the Muslim Welfare Committee blocked traffic on the road opposite the cremation grounds, here today. The members were protesting against the move of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to take over the land opposite the cremation ground. President of the committee Ghulam Ali said Muslims were using the land as a burial ground and the court had upheld them as its owner.

However, the protesters alleged that GMADA was trying to take over the land. Meanwhile, the police was called and protestors were asked to clear the road.



Consumer Courts
Health clinic to pay Rs 40,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Dr Batra Super Specialty Homeopathy Positive Health Clinic has landed in the soup for printing “misleading” advertisements. The UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed the clinic to pay Rs 40,000 to Sahil Arora as the clinic failed to cure his hair fall.

The commission headed by Justice K.C. Gupta stated: “It is unethical to publish an advertisement which impliedly assures cure of the disease to trap patients into long and expensive treatment and it amounts to unfair trade practice.”

A resident of Patiala, Sahil Arora (20), stated that after reading advertisements in a national daily, he went to the Dr Batra Homeopathic Clinic to tackle the problem of hair loss. Dr Ambika assured him that after taking treatment from the clinic, his condition would improve. It was suggested to him to take the one-year gold plan. He paid a consultation fee of Rs 250.

Sahil maintained that he paid a sum of Rs 5,900 for the treatment. He further added that even after taking the treatment for a year, there was no improvement in his condition. He also complained about it to the doctor concerned. Sahil alleged that the doctor refused to take responsibility for no improvement in the problem that he was facing.

Replying to the petition, the clinic stated that Sahil was trying to defame the clinic. The clinic argued that the petitioner had low ferritin level and did not get cured.



Day 2: 40 sweepers found absent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
On the second day of raids on sweepers of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, a team comprising councillors and a sanitation inspector found 40 sweepers “absent” from duty in southern sectors today. The team had found 42 sweepers absent in Manimajra on Monday.

Giving details, Resham Chand Jakhu, a councillor, said raids were conducted by a five-member team comprising himself, Anil Kumar Dubey, Vijay Singh Rana and Parkash Singh, chief sanitation inspector. During the early morning raids, the team found 20 out of the 30 sweepers deployed in Sector 45 absent from their duties. Similarly, 28 out of the 50 sweepers deputed in Burail village and Balmiki Mohalla were found missing from their respective areas of work.

Jakhu said the localities raided by them were not cleaned for days and residents were complaining of unhygienic conditions due to no sanitation work done for days. He sent a report in this connection to the mayor for further action.



Residents form panel to improve sanitation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Aiming to improve the sanitary conditions of their localities, residents of Sectors 50, 51 and 63 formed a joint action committee today.

Residents of the sectors rue that they were a neglected lot as there is no street lighting, absence of public transport system as the CTU does not have any bus service to these areas. Besides, the roads in the areas are full of potholes.

In a statement released by Rakesh Chopra, press secretary of the committee, he said the residents unanimously elected Raghubir Singh Sandhu as president, Tarlochan Singh as vice-president, Jagtar Singh Benipal as general secretary and Pritam Singh as finance secretary.



PSEB employees hold protest
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 25
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) burnt the effigy of its chairman in protest against the anti-employee policies, here today.

They demanded that victimisation of employees should be stopped. The protesters said the authorities were ready to the give PSEB into private hands against which employees had been protesting. Meanwhile, seven employees of Patiala circle were dismissed in order to create a scare among others.



Pay hike a boon

Finally, the government employees will breathe a sigh of relief with the proposed pay hike. Prices of essential commodities were sky rocketing. It had almost become a hand-to-mouth situation for the middle class. There are anecdotes like the salary hike is nothing but a government gimmick to strengthen its vote bank. It might be true to some extent but it is definitely in favour of the employee class.

There are conditions like fewer government holidays and leaves but a week’s working has come down from six days a week to five days a week. The standard of living will increase as the buying capacity of individuals will go up. The declining number of our troops too will witness a sea change. Attractive pays and perks were needed for our men in uniform from long as we owe a lot to them.

Col Bera Singh (retd), Panchkula



UIET students stage protest
Completion of second block demanded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The students of UIET (University Institute of Engineering and Technology), Panjab University, held a protest on Sector 25 campus today in support of their demands. The students were demanding that the construction of UIET Sector 25 second block hasn’t been completed despite promises made by the director for its completion by March 2008.

The students were also protesting against the miserable conditions of the road leading to their campus. Students were of the view that in the absence of a proper parking place, they face lot of problems every day.

Even the canteen at the UIET is not up to the mark, said an agitating student. “Construction of a cafeteria is still pending despite surpassing its proposed completion date in 2007,” stated another student.

Besides these, the students were also demanding to hold their annual fest ‘Goonj’ which was cancelled for some reasons, immediate repair of furniture in the department, adequate lecture halls and proper seating arrangement for students, provision of a system for evaluation of teachers by the students as in PEC after every semester and ATM facility on the campus.

Meanwhile, the vice-chancellor went to the protesting students and assured them that all their demands would be met at the earliest.



PU Notes
450 saplings planted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
In continuation of tree plantation drive, the PU Campus Students’ Council today planted 150 Chakratia saplings along the wall near UIET building, southern campus, Sector 25, Chandigarh. Tejpal Singh Cheema, president, PUSU, Parminder Jaswal, president, PUCSC, faculty members and students of UIET along with the VC were present on the occasion.

In an earlier drive, 300 saplings of Neem and Asoka were planted on March 23 on both the campuses of the university in Sector 14 and 25. Earlier, the VC had announced that, 1000 more samplings would be planted in a week’s time to make the campus greener and more eco-friendly.



To punish perpetrators of heinous crimes
Effective evidence gathering needed: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has called upon investigating and prosecuting agencies to work in tandem for coming out with ways of gathering and projecting “effective evidence” to prevent committers of heinous crimes from going scot-free.

The significant ruling, likely to go a long way in improving the conviction rate, comes in a rape and murder case in which the accused was sentenced to be “hanged by neck till death”.

Setting aside the trial court’s order of convicting and sentencing accused Rajesh to death penalty, a Division Bench of the High Court held: “We are of the view that the prosecuting agency and the investigating agency should put their heads together to device ways and means whereby effective evidence is collected and projected so that persons committing heinous crimes cannot go scot-free.”

The Bench, comprising Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice Sham Sunder, also ruled: “Before parting with the judgement, we are compelled to record that the investigating agency has miserably failed to investigate the case effectively, and that the offender of a heinous crime has been allowed to escape merely on account of utter negligence at the hands of the investigating agency.”

The Bench added: “It pains us to record that for a crime as heinous as the one in hand, wherein the trial court had recommended death sentence against the real culprit, the latter has gone scot-free on account of lack of evidence.”

The Haryana Police had registered the case in July 2004 under Sections 376, 302 and 452 of the Indian Penal Code on the complaint of the nine-year-old victim’s father after the girl was raped and axed to death. During the course of hearing, the accused had claimed implication in the matter. The trial court had, however, held him guilty of rape and murder.

Taking up the appeal challenging the trial court’s orders, the Bench held: “We are persuaded to entertain the impression that the investigating agency had manoeuvred the evidence in this case… The absence of the name of the accused in the complaint recorded by the victim’s father to the police on July 13, 2007, also established that accused Rajesh was not even a suspect - let alone being identified as the person responsible for the crime for more than 27 hours after its occurrence.”

“Even the report of the Forensic Science Laboratory does not reveal anything so as to connect the accused with the commission of crime under reference. The allegation of rape having been committed by the accused is not supported by any evidence whatsoever.”

In their detailed order, the Judges added: “The appeal is allowed and the impugned judgement of conviction dated November 26, 2007, and the order of sentence dated November 29, 2007, by Additional Sessions Judge (Fast Track Court), Hisar, are set aside and accused Rajesh is acquitted of the charges framed against him.”



High Court
Notice to petroleum secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
A Division Bench of Justices Surya Kant and Sabina on Tuesday issued notice of motion for April 3 to the union petroleum secretary, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPC) on a petition by New Delhi-based Namrata Enterprises.

The petitioner was seeking the quashing of an ad by the HPC inviting applications for the allotment of retail outlets for LPG distribution wherein the private parties have been made ineligible and excluded from applying.

Direct recruitment of judges

Taking up a case pertaining to the relaxation of age for the appointment of additional district and sessions judges through direct recruitment from the Bar, Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Jaswant Singh has issued notices to Faridabad-based applicants, Satyaveer Sharma and Randhir Singh Tanwar.



Subham Hospital Case
Bail plea withdrawn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The blanket bail application filed by a Panchkula-based printing press owner, Manohar Lal Jain, in the Subham Hospital case was today dismissed as withdrawn before Justice Harbans Lal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Seeking the blanket bail or directions to the respondents to issue seven days advance notice in connection with the case registered on January 30, Jain had contended that he had not even been named in the first information report.

The petitioner had added: “Fraud had been played by Subham hospital”. Elaborating, he had added, according to the allegations, Dr Sandeep Sharma had described himself as MBBS, MS, ophthalmology, and had prepared a bogus degree before running a nursing home.

The petitioner had added that he had never printed any material for him and the police was harassing him due to political pressure.



Landlord’s nod ‘no ground’ for violating bylaws
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Landlords’ oral permission for additions and alterations in the original structure of a commercial property is no ground for violating the building bylaws.

Taking note of violations made by Kundan Lal in a an SCF in Sector 7 for the purpose of running a printing press business, a local court directed him to remove the illegal partitions and construction.

Judicial magistrate first class observed: “The activities of the printing press were being carried out with the consent of the petitioner. But the court is of the view that no such consent can justify the terms and conditions of the allotment and rules framed by the administration.”

The court also restrained Kundan Lal from using the premises of the printing press.

Disposing of the case, judicial magistrate first class, Atul Marya observed: “Pasrkashwati has been writing letters to the administration time and again regarding removal of illegal activities and unauthorised construction raised by the defendants; it clearly reflects her bona fide. She was very much aware that building is likely to be resumed and was moving from pillar to post. But of no use and finally resumption order was passed by the Estate Officer.”

The defendants argued that Parkashwati used to herself make alterations in the land and then wrote about it to the administration. The defence stated that she was not the owner of the SCF. Furthermore Kundan Lal alleged that the will that claimed Parkashwati as the owner was forged and fabricated.



Confusion reigns over conversion
Meeting on March 27
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Confusion continues to be the hallmark of the Chandigarh administration. In fact, lack of coordination between the finance department and the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) over the finalisation of the conversion rates for the conversion of industrial plots to commercial establishments have sent the industrialists into a tizzy.

Even as the single-window committee of the Chandigarh administration meets here on March 27 to consider the conversion applications, the applicants would be in the dark about the rate at which their plots had been converted.

In fact, the statements of top administrative functionaries have further added to the confusion. While the administration says that since the last auction of commercial property, held on December 17, 2007, the conversion fee had automatically gone up from Rs 20,000 per square yard to Rs 35,000 per square yard on the basis of formulae incorporated in the conversion policy.

The officials said the average price of auction(s) of commercial property held in the last three years decided the rates for conversion.The increase is 50 per cent of the average auction price achieved in the last three years and the new rate comes out to be Rs 35,000 per square yard.

However, with the CHB still accepting conversion applications at Rs 20,000 per yard, the applicants continue to be at their wits' end. "A number of industrialists had applied for conversion, thinking that the conversions will be allowed at the old rates. The administration must clarify its stand as a number of industrialists were already having second thoughts on conversion at the new rates," an industrialist said.

Sources said the board had been accepting applications at old rates as the finance department had failed to "intimate" the new rates to the CHB, the nodal agency for accepting applications.

Recently, the administration decided to extend the policy for another six months till September 18.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |