C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Price spiral hassles people
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The growth in the GDP rate may be encouraging, but the high inflation rate is playing havoc with the household budget of the common man.

Ask Sanjay Mahajan, a clerk in a private office. Though his salary has grown by just 10 per cent over the last year, his monthly grocery bill has increased by almost 250 per cent.

With inflation raising its head at 8.1 per cent, he says that his monthly budgeting has taken a beating. “The spiralling prices are not keeping in pace with the income levels. As against a monthly budget of Rs 600 for buying grocery for my family of five, I am now spending Rs 1500 a month. Basmati rice, mustard oil and other edible oils are now almost out of reach, and the government seems not to be doing much to control the prices,” he rues.

All sectors in the economy, manufacturing sector, services sector, financing and real estate, construction et al, have shown an increase in growth since last year. This year, the agriculture sector, too, has shown a good growth. With a bumper wheat crop, one could have expected a correction in prices of pulses and grains, but to little avail. The increase in demand is largely responsible for prices of all these commodities hitting the roof.

Mahajan says that in the beginning of this year, he had revised the family budget and allocated Rs 1,200 for buying grocery. “But now I have to buy additional grocery for Rs 300 in the last week of each month. Only those families whose income has increased by a minimum of 15- 20 per cent, are able to take this price rise. Others have been forced to cut down their budget reserved for entertainment, socialising and leisure activities.”

With a fuel and LPG price hike on the cards this week, Mahajan says that it will be difficult for him to make both ends meet.

Residents are not only reeling under the price rise, but are also feeling cheated by FMCGs, which have reduced the quantity of goods in a packet in order to maintain the price level’s of last year. “Though there is an increase in prices of premium products like in premium washing powders, the companies have reduced the quanity from 900 gms to 700 gms for the normal washing powder. The same is true for Maggi and some sauces and even biscuits,” said Vishesh Chawla, who runs a departmental store in Sector 8, Panchkula.



Only one Mohali lad in merit
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 1
Students of Mohali district in general failed to give an outstanding performance in the 10+2 examination of the Punjab School Education Board conducted in March, the results of which were announced here today.

The top five slots in the examination went to students of a Ludhiana school.

Only one student, Rajwinder Singh (389 marks) of Paragon Senior Secondary School, Sector 71, Mohali, made it to the combined merit list of 110 examinees which was released by the board at a press conference.

With several students bracketed at the same ranks, his name was placed at the 27th slot (serial number 87) on the combined list. However, in the vocational stream list, Davinder Ahuja (387 marks) of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Phase 3BI, Mohali, came seventh.

In the adjoining Ropar district, said to be the less important educationally than Mohali district, students gave a slightly better performance. Two students of that district made it to the combined merit list. They were Sovit Singh, DAV Public Senior Secondary School, Ropar, who secured the 10th position (407 marks), and Amandeep Kaur, Government Senior Secondary School, Nurpur Bedi (389), who was placed at the 27th position.

Earlier, in the Class VIII examination of the board, which was held in February, not a single student from Mohali district made it to the merit list.



Son turns tormentor for money
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Blind greed for money can surely bring the beast out of people. And 86-year-old Surjit Singh knows it too well as he has seen his own blood, his son Sukhchan, becoming his tormentor for the sake of grabbing his house in Sector 35.

“ It is better to be childless than having a son with such a mentality. I was taken captive and beaten and my life was under constant threat,” says Surjit, lying in a private hospital after being rescued from his son’s clutches by his daughter, son-in-law Sarabjit, and the Sector 36 police.

According to Sarabjit, Surjit was living with his son, ever since his wife died in 1994. His three daughters are married. Sarabjit alleged that Surjit was living under pressure, as Sukhchan had threatened to kill him and his grandson Arpit (daughter’s son), if he attempted to go against his wishes.

He claimed that fed up with his behaviour, Surjit, a retired revenue officer from Punjab, had decided to transfer his property equally among his three daughters but Sukhchan had taken possession of the house by forging property documents.

He said to end the matter, Surjit Singh had finally transferred the house, giving the lion’s share of 80 per cent to Sukhchan and 20 per cent to the youngest daughter Hemdeep Kaur, who is married in Kharar. However, this was not to Sukhchan’s liking as he wanted to grab the entire property, he claimed.

“He then started torturing the old man and didn’t allow anyone, including us, to meet him,” Sarabjit said. He said he sought the help of the police and managed to rescue the old man last evening. Surjit, who said that he was happy to be out of the house, corroborated Sarabjit’s claims. “Now I’ll live for some more time,” he said, heaving a sigh of relief.



Mayor inspects working of apni mandi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Following complaints of overcharging and evading of market fee, city mayor Pardeep Chhabra carried out an inspection in the Sector 33 apni mandi.

Chhabra along with municipal corporation officials and nominated councillor Resham Chand Jakhu visited the mandi this afternoon and carried out random checking and inspection. He checked licences and identity cards of the vendors to check their credentials.

There were complaints that vendors other than farmers sell fruits and vegetables. Besides, there were also complaints regarding overcharging and the officials on duty paying no heed to the complaints of overcharging, a buyer told the mayor.

The mayor asked the official accompanying him to take down the names and addresses of the complainants and the vendors, who failed to give satisfactory replies.

Sources said the residents of the nearby areas had complained to higher authorities demanding shifting of the mandi from the area, citing it as a source of nuisance. They rued that the congestion on the road due to haphazardly parked vehicles and leftover and waste vegetables and fruits drew stray cattle, adding to their woes. 



Hassle-free dealing
CHB to be accountable to allottees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Over 45,000 allottees of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) dwelling units can now look forward to hassle-free and accountable dealing from the board as the first phase of a new "work flow and document management system" is set to be launched.

The trial run of the system and training of the staff is in progress. Under this system, all important documents of all files have been scanned and put online in digital format that are accessible to all staff and officers of the board through a WiFi network. Thus, missing documents, tampering of notings on file and pages of files, or entire files, going missing will become a thing of the past.

Henceforth all files will move on the computer network in the board and all notings, observations, or comments of dealing staff or senior officials will be made on the digital file, which can be accessed anytime by any senior official to know the status of the file.

According to chairman of the CHB Mohanjeet Singh, to begin with all staff working under one of the three accounts officers are being trained in working on the new system and in the near future all sections of the accounts department will follow it. "The aim is to build transparency and accountability, and bring efficiency and effectiveness into the system," he adds.

An official spokesman said as soon as a PUC (paper under consideration) is generated at the reception, it will be scanned and transferred electronically to the dealing hand concerned, showing the date and time of transfer. As soon as a dealing hand will log into his computer with his unique password, the list of files he has to process will show on his mailbox. At every level, the date and time will get noted on the electronic file.

The notings, once made, cannot be erased or amended by anyone, though a supplementary or additional noting can be made by either a dealing hand or his superior. The physical file will, however, continue to be maintained. The important documents in the file, which have been digitised are allotment letters, various affidavits.



Societies to gain by decision on transfer fee
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 1
The pro-people decision of the Haryana registrar of cooperative societies (RCS) on the transfer fee in the group housing societies has come as a shot in the arm for the latter in their fight against HUDA on the issue of the registration of the apartments under the Haryana Apartment Ownership Act.

In fact, the decision of RCS R.R. Jowel directing the societies not to charge more than Rs 10,000 as transfer fee dilutes Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA)’s stand that the society members must register under the Act by paying huge registration charges. “It vindicates our stand that the societies are not covered under the Act and the RCS was the supreme body for the management of the societies’ affairs,” Deepak Rai Walia, president of the Confederation of Group Housing Societies of Mansa Devi Complex, told Chandigarh Tribune today.

In a recent decision, Jowel had directed the societies to amend byelaws within a month, providing for a fee up to Rs 10,000 for the transfer of the flats. Earlier, HUDA had directed the society members to get themselves registered under the Act after payment of huge amount as the registration fee. After a lot of hue and cry, HUDA had given some relief to the original members of the societies saying they need not register under the Act.

However, experts felt that it would virtually be impossible for HUDA to defend its decision regarding the registration for new members of the societies in the backdrop of the recent RCS order. “The RCS is the controlling authority for the cooperative societies and its decision on the transfer fee would bring transparency in the transaction of the society flats all over the state,” opined B.K. Sanghi, president of the Haryana Group Housing Federation.

Terming the RCS decision as “landmark”, Sanghi claimed that it would go a long way in promoting the cooperative group housing movement in the state. HUDA should take a cue from the RCS and recommend the exemption of all members of the cooperative societies from registration under the Act.

Both Walia and Sanghi said it is surprising that while the RCS was taking the pro-people decision, HUDA was resorting to anti-people policies.



Sector 63 housing scheme ’highly priced’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh (FOSWAC) today came down heavily on the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) for floating the "highly priced" housing scheme in Sector 63 here.

At the monthly meeting of the federation, it was alleged that the prices were beyond the reach of low and middle-income groups and the scheme was in contravention of the aims and objectives of the board.

It was felt that the CHB has gone the realtor way by completely ignoring the social objective.

The meeting constituted two committees--one to look after the upgradation of the civic amenities in the southern sectors and the other to deal with the problems of the allottees of CHB flats.

The members rued the silence of the panel in recommending 52 amendments in the CHB flats by authorities as far back as in May 2005.

The members demanded that the above demands of the FOSWAC along with 10 per cent increase in the covered area in all types of houses should be permitted as the larger population of the city consisted of low and middle-income groups and the need-based changes were being made keeping in mind the long-pending demand of the residents and futuristic growth of the city.

The members expressed their opposition to the proposed hike in the water tariff, imposition of property tax on residential buildings and levy of cess on use of tertiary water in laws. 



Thumbs down for the West: CM
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, June 1
“Saang is the oldest extant form of Haryanvi folk theatre art popular in bordering areas of Rajasthan and UP. Laced with a rustic flavour of humble raginis, the Saang has been so firmly rooted in the Haryanvi culture that the filmy or western influence had failed to creep into its pristine purity,” opined Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister of Haryana.

He was speaking during the staging of a Saang ‘Seth Tara Chand’ where Tofa Galoor, Mubarik Zaheed, played lead roles while Akhtar, Taufis, Saleem and Beant Ram formed the music repertoire at the ongoing week-long Saang festival at Inderadhanush auditorium here today. The CM announced a special revival plan with a provision Rs 40 lakh for the dissemination of the Saang folk genre in the state and as such the Saang shows will be extensively held in all the 119 blocks of the state. Lauding the wisdom and aesthetic potential of the legendary folklorist, Pandit Lakhmi Chand he extolled him as the Shakespeare of Haryana.

The CM also announced an award of Rs 21,000 to each performing group in the Sang festival. In a jovial mood, the CM interacted with the audience sharing crisp Haryanvi jokes.



Cop succumbs to injuries
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, June 1
Avtar Singh, a Punjab police constable posted at the VIP security post in Sector 39 here, died this evening after he had fallen from a building last week.

It is learnt that Avtar was admitted to Government Medical College and Hospital-32 after he had fallen from a building. He could not survive and died this evening.

According to the doctor, Avtar was recovering well and the doctors had planned to discharge him tomorrow. The family alleged that Avtar died after consuming some medicine. The exact reasons behind the death will only be known after the postmortem tomorrow. 



Absenteeism among sweepers affects sanitation
Contractors flout rules with impunity
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Absenteeism and irregularities among the sweepers and sanitation staff continue with impunity despite regular checking by the municipal corporation officials and sanitation committee members.

Taking advantage of the “lenient attitude” of the authorities concerned, the contractors are apparently flouting the rules.

Sanitary conditions in southern sectors in general and slums and villages in particular seem to have become worse with the failure of the authorities to take punitive action against the contractors indulging in malpractices.

According to sources in the MC, the contractors are paid on the basis of persons employed by them. But to make extra bucks, the contractors deploy lesser number of persons. Whenever caught by the inspecting teams, they try to mislead the officials by showing missing men on “rest”.

Chairman of the sanitation committee of the municipal corporation RC Jakhu told The Tribune that he had submitted reports to the medical officer health (MOH), Dr GC Bansal, regarding the absenteeism and bad sanitary conditions after conducting inspection in slums and villages and in other parts of the city. He said the MOH had told him that he had issued notices to the contractors and action would be taken against them after getting their reply.

The sanitation committee conducted inspection on Saturday in Colony Number 4, Bapu Dham Colony (BDC) in Sector 26 and in Hallomajra village. The team found that heaps of garbage were found lying in the areas and the overflowing dustbins were not cleared for weeks. Streets in Hallomajra village were littered with cattle dung, which also blocked the drainage.

The sanitation team comprising chief sanitation officer, area councillors and sanitation committee members found that the sweepers were not wearing uniforms in violation of the rules. In such cases, the contractors try to pass off anyone as their employee during inspection to evade action. In order to curb the menace, the committee has decided to mark the sweepers not wearing uniform as absent.

On Saturday, over 14 persons were found absent while earlier on May 12, eight persons were absent in various parts of the city. Similarly, in March over 80 sweepers were found absent from various parts of the city during inspection. The issue was later raised in the general house and the authorities assured of action against the persons responsible for the malpractices.



Move to relocate godowns
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
After shelving the plan for medicity in Raipur Kalan village, the Chandigarh Administration has made up its mind to relocate the warehouses dotting different villages on the western and eastern rim of the city.

Due to cheaper commercial rents and lax bylaws, a number of warehouses are being illegally operated from Mauli Jagran, Makhan Majra, Hallomajra, Khuda Lahora, Khuda Jassu, Maloya and Hallomajra. The maximum concentration of godowns is around Daria and Makhan Majra villages due to there proximity to Chandigarh Railway Station.

It is learnt that the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), has already given his consent to the move. Against the initial plan to acquire around 100 acres in Daria village to rehabilitate the godown owners, the Town Planning Department has proposed to relocate the godowns on 150 acres acquired for Industrial Area, Phase III in Mauli Jagran and Raipur Kalan villages.

The proposed site is near the upcoming international airport and will be ideal for movement of cargo.

“Since the plan to set up medicity in 45 acres of land has been scrapped, the land can be used to relocate the warehouses and other establishments used to stack shuttering and construction material. A number of unallotted industrial plots are also lying vacant”, said an official.

The proposed relocation site falls on the route no. 2 to Panchkula and will have direct access to the Chandigarh-Ambala road. A proposed railway overbridge on the Chandigarh-Ambala railway track at Mauli Jagran will further facilitate the freight movement.

Before implementing the scheme, a survey will be conducted to ascertain the number of beneficiaries.

The proposal of the administration to relocate warehouses can be a bonanza for those whose godowns are under construction in Daria and other villages on agricultural land. Those who come in the survey will be the beneficiaries in the rehabilitation scheme. 



30-yr-old woman dies of burns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
Veena, a resident of Mani Majra, died this evening after she was admitted to the PGI following an incident, in which she received burn injuries from a 
gas stove.

The 30-year-old woman was working in the kitchen at the time when the incident took place. She was burnt after her clothes caught fire from a nearby gas stove. She was immediately taken to the PGI on May 30, where she died this evening.

According to Hari Kumar, SHO, Mani Majra, the body of the deceased was handed over to the family.



A bouquet of activities this summer
Jyoti Rai

Chandigarh, June 1
With the onset of summer vacations, parents are frantically searching for something to keep their kids busy. What is better than summer camps?

The trend is catching up at a pace like never before with big names like Shiamak Davar, Pracheen Kala Kendra, British Library, Press Club and a majority of private schools launching their special summer programs.

From theater, western and classical dancing to literary workshops and painting, there is something for every kid this summer.

Although, it's easy for several club members to enroll their kids but nevertheless money compensates for the rest. These programmes are on a first come first serve basis and hence parents are ready to shell out as much as required going for big names at the same time.

The Shiamak Davar institute is conducting a 15-day summer camp charging Rs 3,100 per child.

Arushi, class II student from Ryan International School says, "We have loads of fun here. Now I can dance like Kareena on 'Mauja hi Mauja.'

"I feel proud when in parties and family gatherings people compliment her dance," says Meenu, Arushi's mother.

Pracheen Kala Kendra also organises dance and theatre workshop every year. Charging Rs 1,200 per child for a month certified course, they focus on complete grooming of a child.

Several folk dances, classical dances, particularly kathak, basic course in make-up and costumes as well as story writing and creative writing are taught.

Interestingly, many parents are enrolling their kids in more than one summer camp.

"My son will be completing his Shiamak classes soon. And then we have enrolled him with Summer Kindergarten programme conducted by the British library," said Rahul Sharma, father of 4-year-old Neil Kapil.

British Library summer programmes focus on English learning, confidence building, craft, grooming, speaking and writing skills workshops and anger management workshops with an enrollment fee of Rs 500.

Chandigarh Press Club is also organising a 15-day summer camp beginning on June 4, which is exclusively for the members. With Rs 150 as camp fee, participants will be able to participate in the camp and avail transport facilities as well.

Simran Khosla, a parent said, "The charges are totally worth it. We eagerly wait to enroll our kids every year in summer camps. It's a good opportunity for our kids to enjoy and learn side by side."



Curb tobacco menace

MAY 31 is observed as world tobacco day and we must make a sincere effort to curb the tobacco menace, which is the main ingredient in cigarettes, pan parag, gutka and beedi. Last year Chandigarh administration had taken praiseworthy steps to avoid use of tobacco in public places and markets.

Smoking causes diseases like hypertension and one of the most dreadful disease cancer too comes with it.

To curb this menace, the government should ban tobacco in every way, be it growing tobacco or its intake and the offenders should be punished severely. Government should start a drive against tobacco to make the citizens aware of its harmful effects to save the younger generation, which is the future of India. Moreover, NGOs should come forward 
to make people more aware about the fatal results of using tobacco in 
any form.

Let us join hands and ban tobacco.

Avtansh Behl, Chandigarh

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



PUTA fast enters 56th day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The chain fast by the students, teachers and staff of the PU that began on April 7, today entered its 56th day. Dr Karamjit Singh, treasurer PUTA, sat on dharna along with other colleagues from the department of University Business School (UBS), today.

Others who sat on the fast today were Tejinder Singh, Sanjay Kaushik and A.K. Vashisht, all three from the UBS, and Mukesh Kumar and Naresh Kumar from the UIET.

Prof Dinesh K. Gupta, chairperson of the UBS said the department of PU is one of the three topmost departments within the university system, as per the UGC and AICTE evaluations. Instead of transferring economic burden onto the students by raising tuition fee frequently, UBS should be provided infrastructure and, in turn it can provide economic breather to the university, claimed Prof Gupta. “However, all hopes in this direction have failed to materialise so far for want of economic support from the UGC,” added Prof Gupta.

Meanwhile, parleys with different political parties of Punjab are on and there is a definite change in the mood of the parties. They are no more dismissive of the demand for central university status to PU, said Prof Manjit Singh, coordinator, JAC. The fresh round of talks with the officials of the Punjab government would be initiated next week, added Prof Singh.



‘May Queen Euphoria’ at DSOI
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The members of Defence Service Officers’ Institute (DSOI) performed 'May Queen Euphoria,' where wrinkled faces that reflected glorious years, walked the ramp too. DLF Homes and DSOI, Chandigarh, organised this unique beauty pageant on the DSOI premises, Sector 36, last night. The theme for this year's contest was 'Beauty with Brains' and the contest was open for members and their dependents only. There were around 22 participants, including officers of different ranks, in the show.

The evening saw glamour and glitterati walk up the ramp in huge numbers. The contestants wore various theme-based costumes to win the much-sought-after titles of the show. The show brought out the latest in fashion against the backdrops of Portuguese, Spanish and Goan themes. The event included couple dance titled 'Chal Baliye', 'Combat Glamour Round' and 'May Sumo’ (for males with a waistline of 45'' & above)’. The audience enjoyed every moment and cheered the participants for their impressive performances.

Sumit won the May Queen title in the age group of 18-25 years, Anureet Dhillon won the May Beauty title in the age group of 26-40 years, Sandya Saran won May Serene title in the age group of 41-55 years and Sita Khurana bagged May Repose title in the age group of 71 years and above.

“Once upon a time we had curved figure and now we have curves in our legs and knees but life still moves on. One should have a positive attitude towards life,” one of the winners of the fashion show remarked while interacting with the Tribune.



MCM prospectus goes hi-tech
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
In yet another innovative venture, the MCM DAV College, Sector 36, has introduced the college prospectus for the academic session 2008-09 in a new avatar. The students would be provided with a VCD which would enable the students to have a virtual tour of the college.

Principal of the college Dr Puneet Bedi said, “This VCD will provide a detailed overview of the college underlining its history, provisions, courses, infrastructure et al. It would give the applicants an easy and more condemnatory assistance.”

Besides this, the newly designed prospectus will answer all types of queries related to admissions and examinations.

Besides admission form, it will contain the details of courses offered, facilities or infrastructure available, number of seats available, admission rules, eligibility criteria, attendance bylaws and procedure to be adopted for admission. 



Judges, lawyers leave for Mauritius
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
A 53-member delegation, led by Justice Vijender Jain, Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court, and president, Asia Pacific Jurist Association, has left India for a round-table conference with judges of the Supreme Court of Mauritius on the independence of judiciary and latest trends in jurisprudence.

The key-note address at the inaugural ceremony of the seminar on June 2, 2008, will be delivered by Justice Jain. On June 3, key issues in international arbitration will be mutually discussed during the seminar. 

The Chief Justice was accompanied by Justice Rajive Bhalla and Justice Rajesh Bindal, judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, and Justice Kailash Gambhir, Justice S.N. Aggarwal and Justice P.K. Bhasin from the Delhi High Court as a part the delegation. 

Apart from the judges, 47 lawyers from the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Delhi High Court will also take part in this historic meet of the Indo-Mauritius Legal Fraternity under the auspices of the Asia Pacific Jurists Association.



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