C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Kalka Highway
SC allows removal of encroachments
…but without damaging original properties
Hemant Kumar

Kalka, March 2
Disposing of a special leave writ petition, the Supreme Court today allowed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to remove encroachments along National Highway-22 passing through Kalka.

The apex court, however, directed that while removing encroachments, original properties should not be damaged. The case will continue in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The chairman of the Kalka Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, Bhagat Singh, said after the hearing: “Now we will submit the affidavits pertaining to properties in the high court.”

The order has provided relief to Kalka residents who distributed sweets to express their joy.

Talking to The Tribune, the elated Kalka shopkeepers said: “We have full faith in judiciary and the apex court has redressed our grievances.”

The shopkeepers went to the Kali Mata temple here to pay obeisance and to express their gratitude. Notably, a special ‘yajna’ was being performed at the Kali Mata temple after the high court directives regarding the demolition in Kalka.

After the orders of the high court to remove encroachments from both sides of the NH-22, the affected 39 persons had moved the Supreme Court seeking relief.

On February 1, the petitioners moved a special leave petition (SLP) against the demolition orders issued on January 31 by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which asked the petitioners to remove encroachments by midnight of February 1. 



Pre-poll bonanza for GPA, plot holders
Admn notifies transfer policy
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
On the day when the model code of conduct was enforced by the Election Commission following announcement of the dates for the Lok Sabha elections, over 15,000 general power of attorney (GPA) holders in the cooperative group housing societies got a perfect pre-poll gift with the Chandigarh administration issuing a notification allowing the transfer of shares.

Much to relief to the GPA holders, the notification, which will meet their long-pending demand in acquiring ownership rights for their self-occupied dwelling units, escaped the model code of conduct by a few hours.

While the category ‘A’ member would pay Rs 50,000 for the transfer, the category ‘B’ and Category ‘C’ GPA holders will have to shell out Rs 25,000 and Rs 15,000, respectively, for the transfer.

The notification has been issued for benefit of general public after getting a final nod from UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues, UT Home-cum-Cooperation Secretary Ram Niwas said.

Lauding administration's efforts in framing a “people-friendly” policy, Minister of State for Finance Pawan Bansal claimed that he had been taking up the matter with the administration and also with the Central government since long. The new policy will fulfil the long-standing demand of the lower and middle class people, he added.

Under the new policy, the transfer of share will be allowed in societies which have deposited the dues and where there was no violation of any terms and conditions of the allotment.

The GPA should be in the possession of the dwelling unit on the date of making such application. “The transfer of share certificate will be limited to those who are holders of valid GPAs of the members of the society. A registered will is required, but is not mandatory for the transfer,” the notification said.

The GPA holders will approach the president of the society for the transfer of the share and deposit the fee, which will be deposited in the government fund. The aggrieved members will have the right to appeal to the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, within 30 days of the refusal of the society management in transferring the share.

Meanwhile, general secretary of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Council Satish C. Sharma urged the administration to make the transfer “hassle-free” and follow the Haryana pattern where an indemnity bond was sufficient for the transfer of share in the cooperative societies.

Sources said the decision would curtail the role of those unscrupulous members who had sold off their flats on premium and were monopolising the management committees for several years now.



Punjab rolls back rate for conveyance deed
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 2
Just a few hours before the modal code of conduct came into effect, the Punjab Government gave a major relief to thousands of plots holders in the state. In a notification issued today, the revenue department allowed plot holders to get conveyance deed of their property registered at the allotment price instead of the present collector rate.

A rider asking allottees to have their conveyance deed registered within three months of the date of issuing of the notification has been added. For those who have yet to pay installments, the three-month grace period will start from the date when the installments are fully paid.

The Akali government has issued the notification in light of the forthcoming general election.

Manoj Aggarwal, president of the Joint Action Committee of various resident welfare associations, said the decision would affect around one lakh allottees in the state, including 32,000 in Mohali’s Urban Estate.

Under the decision taken by the previous Congress government, the allottees had to deposit between Rs 50,000 and Rs 4.50 lakh, depending upon the size of their respective plots, to get the conveyance deed of the property registered.

Congress MLA from Kharar Balbir Singh Sidhu termed it an election gimmick. He said a number of allottees had already paid at prevailing collector rates. “I have raised the issue in the Vidhan Sabha. The extra money of such allottees should be refunded,” he demanded.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, during a recent rally here, had stated that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had asked GMADA and PUDA to immediately withdraw its letter insisting all allottees to get conveyance deed of their property registered at present collector rate.

While the allottees have been demanding registration of conveyance deed at the allotment rates, the revenue department has been seeking current collector rates to register the deeds. Though GMADA had stopped insisting on conveyance deed at higher rates, the notification of the revenue department was awaited.



Poll code violated on Day 1
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 2
In a blatant violation of the model code of conduct officials of the Zirakpur Municipal Corporation erected a foundation stone of re-carpeting work of the Baltana-Harmilap Nagar road here late this evening.

Apparently to appease the voters, the MC officials purportedly started erecting the foundation stone of the project at about 4 pm and the work went on till 10 pm. 

The foundation stone plaque read that the project had been inaugurated by Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, whereas the residents of the area claimed that neither the minister nor the executive officer of the MC Sukhjinder Singh Sidhu, whose anme also finds mention on the plaque, had visited the spot to lay the stone.

A resident of ward number 13, Praveen Sharma, whose mother is a councillor from the area, said a contractor along with some labourer had started erecting the foundation stone and left the spot at around 10 pm when the residents of the area objected to the activity.

Despite repeated attempts neither the Punjab Cooperation Minister nor the executive officer Sukhjinder Pal Singh Sidhu could be contacted for comments.

President of the Zirakpuir MC N.K. Sharma, when contacted, said, “They were not taken into confidence before erecting the foundation stone and none of the MC officials were aware of the foundations stone.

A visit to the spot at 10 pm revealed that the foundation stone was freshly laid and the construction material lied littered around. 



Top excise official in vigilance net
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 2
The Panchkula branch of the Haryana Vigilance Bureau arrested an Assistant Excise and Taxation Officer while allegedly accepting bribe here today. Sleuths from the bureau allegedly caught the official, identified as CH Goel, red-handed while accepting Rs 5,000 in bribe from a businessman at his office in mini secretariat this afternoon.

The official had allegedly accepted them money to settle a case pending with the sales tax department.

The complainant, Sunil Kanwar, who runs a firm, SK Enterprises, said he had been running from pillar to post for the past three months to settle his case of sales tax assessment for 2006-07.

Goel was allegedly reluctant in clearing his case and demanded favour for the same, he alleged.

This morning, the complainant agreed to pay Rs 10,000 on the insistence of the officer. However, he told Goel that he would pay half of the money up front and the rest after the work was done.

Kanwar approached the vigilance officials and informed about the matter. A team led by Inspector Daulat Singh caught the official allegedly accepting bribe around 3 pm.



Rs 6 lakh stolen from scooter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Thieves decamped with Rs 6 lakh from the glove box of a scooter belonging to a Dera Bassi-based government schoolteacher today.

The victim had withdrawn the money from his GPF account. Rameshwar Sharma, a resident of Narayangarh in Haryana, alleged that he parked his scooter in the school premises and went inside the school building. The victim, posted at government school in Samgoli village for board exams, said he had withdrawn the money from his GPF account from a bank in Dera Bassi.

He kept the cash in the dickey and went to have lunch with his colleagues. When he returned, he found the lock of the scooter dickey broken and cash missing. The school employees were called who searched the school but failed to recover the money.


Rodrigues inaugurates 2nd phase of Snehalaya
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
SF Rodrigues, UT administrator, dedicated the second phase of Snehalaya-a vocational training centre for street children at Maloya, here today. While interacting with the members of NGOs on the occasion he said the third phase of the project would be completed by March 31, thus making it fully functional to accommodate 900 children.

Rodrigues also laid the foundation stone of an IT Block in Government College for Girls, Sector 42, being constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 1.81 crore with a provision of computer lab, skill lab, video lab, classrooms and other support structures.

He also laid the foundation stone of an auditorium in the college to be constructed at a cost of Rs 2.11 crore with a capacity of 575 persons.

Earlier, he also listened to the grievances of the citizens as per scheduled public hearing session at the UT Secretariat. He asked officials to prepare a hostel project for girls and speed up the project of working women hostel. He also asked the officers to initiate a step for setting up a drug de-addiction centre in the city.



Poll code comes to Mehra’s rescue
To stay put till completion of election process
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
The first round of the slugfest between UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues and his Adviser Pradip Mehra seems to have gone in favour of the former.

The enforcement of the model code of conduct by the Election Commission (EC) has come as a shot in the arm for Mehra, who is also the chief electoral officer (CEO), as he would stay put in his office for at least three more months till the completion of the electoral process.

With the model code of conduct in force, Mehra will be deemed on deputation with the EC giving a serious setback to the “oust-Mehra” campaign.

Recently, there were reports that Mehra was being shifted to New Delhi following his reported tug-of-war with Rodrigues over latter pet but controversial mega projects now under the scanner of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

The relations between Rodrigues and Mehra strained following latter's strong objections to “under valuation” of the 45 acres of prime land for the proposed Medicity project in the upcoming IT Park area here. The differences reached a flashpoint with the adviser recommending a probe by an independent central agency into the ambitious film city in the Sarangpur institutional area here.

Rodrigues' recommendation of a CVC probe into the alleged diversion of CITCO funds for renovation of Mehra's Delhi house only widened the gulf between two top officials of the administration. However, that is another matter that CVC gave a clean chit to Mehra in this case.

Official sources said by virtue of his being the CEO, Mehra would enjoy enormous powers over the key bureaucrats entrusted with the elections duties in the union territory.

In fact, Mehra's retention should sound music to the ears to the local unit of the Congress and its candidate and Minister of State for Finance Pawan Bansal. The Congress had gone record endorsing the stand of Mehra and demanding a CBI inquiry into the mega projects, which it termed as “mega scandals” running into hundreds of crores.

Recently, the UT Administrator had even written to the EC demanding Mehra's removal as the CEO since his name reportedly figured in the electoral rolls of the Chandigarh constituency. However, that request seemed to have been turned down by the EC.



Woman electrocuted
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 2
A 33-year-old woman, Harinder Kaur, was electrocuted at her residence in Sector 46 here today.

According to the police, the victim was washing clothes when she came in contact with electric rod. She was electrocuted and died instantaneously. The incident took place around 2 pm.

The victim was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where she was declared brought dead.

The incident came to light when her daughter Gagandeep Kaur (7) and son Karandeep Singh (5) returned from school and saw her lying there.

They informed their neighbour, who took her to the hospital.

Harinder is survived by her husband and two children. Her husband, who runs a shop of electrical goods in Sector 45, was not at home at the time of the incident.

The police had started inquest proceedings and the post-mortem examination would be conducted tomorrow.



4,000 get SBI loan letters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
The State Bank of India (SBI) today sanctioned loans to 4,000 beneficiaries under the differential rate of interest (DRI) scheme. The loan sanction letters were given away to the beneficiaries at a function held at Community Centre, Sector 28.

Ajay Swaroop, chief general manager, Chandigarh circle, said the SBI had been a front-runner in implementing various schemes of the Government of India for the uplift of economically weaker sections.

“We have been pioneers in financing under various schemes like PMEGP, Shahri Vikas Yojna, Kisan Credit Cards, Agriculture Gold Loan Scheme, Dairy Plus, General Credit Card (GCC), Krishak Utthan Yojna, etc.,” he said.

Swaroop added that the bank will open 118 new branches in near future. Besides, 122 more ATMs will be installed shortly to widen its ATM network to 523 in the Chandigarh circle. Ashok Gupta, general manager, Chandigarh LHO, was also present.



Car catches fire
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 2
Two students of Punjab Engineering College had a providential escape when their car caught fire following a short-circuit this evening. The incident took place on the road separating Sectors 37 and 38. The car occupants got off the vehicle before it caught fire.

The car driver, identified as Sarish Chawla, along with his friend was going for some work. He said the fire was suspected to have been caused by a short-circuit.

According to eyewitnesses, the incident occurred around 6.45 pm when a Maruti 800 (HR 20 S 6029) came to a screeching halt and its driver rushed out of the vehicle. Soon, the front end of was enveloped in smoke and flames.

The fire brigade reached the scene and controlled the fire before it could spread further.

Investigation officer of Sector 39 police station Gyasi Lal said the car was equipped with an LPG kit. He added that the kit was approved.



Meeting to review poll preparations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
With the declaration of Lok Sabha polls and the model code of conduct coming into force today, district Election Officer-cum-Returning Officer R.K. Rao convened a meeting of the assistant returning officers to take stock of the election preparations.

Adviser to the Administrator and chief electoral officer (CEO) Pradip Mehra will hold a meeting tomorrow with the representatives of the political parties to brief them about the election process and to seek cooperation for ensuring implementation of provisions of the model code of conduct. 



Seminar on Majaz Lukhnavi kicks off
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, March 2
“Aei gham-e-dil kya karoon, vaihshte dil kya karoon,” a timeless poetic creation and many more alike established the literary prominence of Urdu poet, Asrar-ul-Haq, better known as Majaz Lukhnavi. In their endeavour to revitalise the grandeur of rich Urdu language the Haryana Urdu Akademy, as part of the crusade, has organised a two-day International seminar on the life and achievements of legendary poet at Haryana Niwas here today.

Dr AR Kidwai, Governor of Haryana, said poet is an omniscient person who represents the ethos of the masses from time to time and Majaz, though a poet of romance and popular among youth, enthused them to join the freedom struggle through his poems on patriotism and love for motherland. It is as such imperative to extol and disseminate the viewpoint of such legends to the coming generation through such seminars, he maintained.

Education minister, Mange Ram Gupta, read out the choicest couplets of Majaz.

Earlier, introducing Majaz, akademy secretary KL Zakir hailed him as John Keats of Urdu poetry who died at 44. Prof Sharib Radaulavi from poet’s native place presented the keynote address while Toronto based Dr Sehba Lukhnavi, niece of Majaz and Dr Liaqat Ali from Canada disclosed that he looked at woman with a different perspective, as a 'hamsafar' and yearned for an intelligent, enlightened and equal life partner.

Acclaimed Urdu and Hindi scholars are presenting papers on the myriad traits and literary works of Majaz Lukhnavi.



SAD ‘promoting’ encroachment
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 2
It’s a case of double speak, even as municipal councillors backed by the SAD-BJP combine leaders have been demanding the removal of illegal roadside vendors and rehris here, an influential leader of the combine party has recommended the case of a man who wanted to open a fruit stall on the government land.

It is learnt that Niyam Chand, a resident of Amb Sahib Colony and a fruit seller, requested the executive officer (EO) of the Municipal Council to allow him to sell fruits by the roadside in Phase X.

In an affidavit submitted to the civic body he stated that he would put up a stall 20 ft away from the road to sell fruits and would utilise 20 sq ft.

Also it was stated that he would sell fruits from January 14 to July 13 and would vacate the area whenever asked by the council.



CBSE exams begin on anxious note
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
CBSE exams for Classes XII and X began here today. The board chose to start Class XII exams with chemistry while Class X students appeared for introductory IT. Out of two lakh students who would appear for the board exams this year in entire northern region, around 20,000 students of Class X and XII appeared in 35 city centres today.

A visit to various such centres revealed an atmosphere of panic and anxiety with students being busy with the last minute revisions and parents boosting their morale.

Many teachers also reached the centres to encourage their students.

“Not many of Class X students are appearing for this paper, but for Class XII students the paper is quite important. Though they have already gone through the board exams earlier, since it is chemistry I have come here to make my students calm and confidant,” said Indu Sharma, a city-based teacher.

Though students said the chemistry paper was easy, many deemed it to be quite lengthy.

“The paper was not tough as expected, but was lengthy. I hardly managed to finish it in time,” said Renu, a Class XII student of Sacred Heart School.

“We had expected tough questions in organic chemistry, but it was quite simple. However, the number of questions was more than expected and most of them required long answers. Overall the paper was satisfactory,” added another student.



Board Exams
Students prone to anti-depressants 
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Longer study hours and sky-high goals seem to be taking a toll on the health of schoolgoing students. In a bid to enhance their performance in examinations, particularly the boards, which many consider as a watershed for their careers and lives, many resort to taking anti-depressants before and after an exam and then sleeping pills for a good night’s sleep.

While this ‘self medication’ may help control mood swings and give a kick for few days, they have a cascading effect on the health of these students in the long run. Even excessive intake of coffee for staying awake and attentive can have a detrimental effect on one’s health, feel experts.

According to the doctors, students on a large scale resort to taking these simulators, but no concerted effort has been done in a form of a study to actually assess the magnitude of the problem. Doctors at the PGI said there was no authentic data to quantify the extent of the usage of the drugs as “study aids” among students.

According to psychologists, apart from sleep-aid tablets, students are now quite familiar with anti-anxiety drugs like Alprozolam, Lorazepam. Prof Preeti Arun, department of psychiatry, GMCH-32, says these are habit forming drugs and they should not be used.

“Some of these drugs are available freely in the market. Generally, students get hooked on to them before the examination starts. We generally try to counsel them or refer them to doctors,” a city-based student counsellor said.

Instead of using drugs, one should relax through some other methods, and to get rid of stress, physical activity is a good stress buster. Meditation and physical exercises like cycling, going for a walk also relieve tension, Dr Preeti adds.

Simmi Varaich, consultant psychologist, Fortis, says: “Earlier, such a thing was unheard of. But now schoolgoing children are found taking anti-depressant pills to beat stress. Generally children belonging to the upper crust of the society indulge in such practices. They lack basic life skills.”



Pay Scale
Teachers to hold 72-hr bandh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Punjab Federation of University and College Teachers Organisations (PFUCTO), has decided to hold a 72-hour education bandh in higher education institutions, as the Punjab government has failed to adopt MHRD notification on revised pay scales for teachers and other equivalent cadres. 

This was announced during regional rallies held today at the Panjab University and at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Bathinda, Ludhiana, Patiala and Chandigarh simultaneously.

When contacted, federation vice-president Dr Ronki Ram said even though the code of conduct was implemented, as election’s date had been announced but the association would continue with its agitation.

Dr Jagwant Singh, general secretary of the federation, said it should not be believed that the government would implement the scales within a week when it had not implemented the UGC pay scales notification yet.



PU security project fails to take off
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
It seems that the Panjab University authorities only believes in framing the policies to control bad elements on the campus but often forgets to execute them. Around a year ago, the committee headed by the vice-chancellor had decided to introduce a new security plan on the campus but, it is yet to see the light of the day.

The committee comprises of DSW Naval Kishore, chief security officer of PU Vijay Pal Singh, XEN.

As per the plan, special gates were to be installed at all entry points of the university. Any outsider entering the campus on a vehicle without a university sticker was supposed to deposit one important document ie certificate of registration of the vehicle or driving licence at the gate.

The plan stated that the outsiders would be allowed to enter and exit from Gate No one (adjacent to PGI) whereas the university students and employees could have access to all gates. New parking lots were being planned in the university for students’ vehicles.

Interestingly, when the authorities cleared the project in May, 2008, at an estimated cost of Rs 25 lakh. The sources revealed at the time of execution of the plan, the university authorities could complete the work due to lack of funds with the university. It is strange that nothing has been done for raising funds to implementing this plan hitherto.

The sources further said it would not be possible for the security personnel to handle this hi-tech programme smoothly. Instead of adopting such a complex security system, why the authorities did not start a single entry point on the campus so that the security personnel could check the vehicles. 

For implementing this hi-tech system, the authorities will have to recruit sufficient manpower for the single gate only.

They further added that the authorities were also debating over a proposal to fix the responsibility of the students, who were found involved in the violence on the campus. The authorities are now looking for another proposal to solve this problem but, nothing can be said about the new security design project of the authorities.



Tips for students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
The CBSE has an advice to all those appearing in the board examinations. Through its website under the heading smile through examinations, the board suggests students to keep the last moment stress and anxiety away.


l Prepare a revision time table.
l Make your books, notes and essays more user-friendly with summary notes, headings, sub-headings, highlighting and revision cards.
l Find out the way of revision that suits you - alone or with a friend, morning or late at night, short, sharp bursts or longer revision sessions.
l Take notes of important points for future revision. Look at past examination paper and try answering some questions.
l If you feel stressed out, talk to someone you feel comfortable to.


l Collect new notes and materials from friends, read and learn them till the last minute without time for revision.
l Sit for long hours continuously to read by not taking breaks for bath, food, relaxation and sleep. It makes you feel more tired, reduces concentration and makes studying boring and anxiety producing. Or keep awake the whole night and reading for a few days before the examinations
l Excessive use of coffee or tea or cigarettes to keep awake the whole night.
l Give up studying totally
l Spending time to trace the ‘question papers’ or teachers who are probably involved in paper setting.
l Don’t look for some new notes before one day. Don’t try to learn anything new, rather focus on already prepared ones.
l Talk with your family members
l Try to have light dinner.
l Have a relaxing night before the examinations.



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