C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC nets Rs 6.83 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The open auction for eight food kiosks today at the Sector 14 Night Food Street, near PGI, fetched Rs 6.83 lakh for the municipal corporation, which will get an annual rental of Rs 81.96 lakh. The reserve price of each kiosk had been fixed at Rs 31,500.

The auction was held under the supervision of MC joint commissioner TPS Phoolka, who said the bids this time were beyond the expectations of the civic body’s officials.

The first kiosk went under the hammer for Rs 68,500 per month, the second for Rs 60,500, the third for Rs 71,500, the fourth for Rs 90,000, the fifth for Rs 1.05 lakh, the sixth for Rs 85,500, the seventh for Rs 80,500 and the last one for Rs 1.21 lakh per month.

An MC official stated most of the food stall owners who had taken the kiosks last time through tendering participated in today’s auction. Most of the old bidders could not get the kiosks as the bid was very high this time. Only Sher-e-Punjab’s owner was able to get the kiosk for the second time at the bid of over Rs 1.05 lakh, whereas last year similar kiosks were sold for Rs 30,500 through tenders.

The official said this year one of the bidders, who got two kiosks in the auction, deposited Rs 4 lakh to participate in the bidding for all the eight kiosks. The official stated this year the highest bid was of Rs 1.21 lakh and the lowest of Rs 60,500, whereas last year the highest price quoted was Rs 31,500 and the lowest Rs 6,100 through tenders. The official added the eight food kiosks measure 64 sq ft each with the total plot area being 12,180 sq ft.

Bidders who participated in today’s auction opined the rent from the kiosks would increase further if the civic body improved the sitting arrangements in the kiosks and constructed sheds in front of them.

Among those present on the occasion were councillors Pardeep Chhabra and Vijay Singh Rana, XEN (roads) Sanjay Arora and other MC officials.



Fertile land set to make way for industry
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, Janaury 28
The acquisition of fertile land by the Haryana State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Corporation (HSIIDC) — against the recommendations of the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) — to set up industry in the district is set to snowball into a major row between farmers and the government.

Though farmers, a majority of whom have small land holdings, said the acquisition would only ruin them, the authorities, claiming that it was necessary for development, said they had not received any sound objections when the planning for the area was being drafted three years ago.

The proceedings of the acquisition were being carried out despite the fact that the LAO, after giving hearing to the farmers on September 18 last year, had recommended to the government not to acquire fertile land for setting up industry.

Objecting to the acquisition of the fertile land, the LAO had even suggested to acquire barren land adjoining the proposed land for industrial development purpose in the area.

The Industries Department of the state government had issued a notification on December 15, 2008, under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 to acquire 578 acres falling in Alipur, Khangesra, Naggal, Sukhdarshanpur, Khatauli and Toka villages for the expansion of industrial estate Barwala.

A total of 105 objections were registered at the LAO office against the acquisition and after the hearing and on-the-spot inspection, the then LAO Dinesh Yadav recommended to the government to keep the said fertile land free from acquisition, suggesting that the barren land in the adjoining area of Beed Ferozdi and Beer Babupur could be used for setting up the industry.

The proposed land to be acquired not only consists of residential buildings, a school, a cold store, and a temple, but also thousands of trees, which are also expected to be sacrificed for setting up the industry.

Last month on December 18, the notification under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act had been issued.

The farmers opposing the acquisition had also claimed foul play in the acquisition of their lands.“While all fertile land in the area was being acquired for setting up the industry, only land owned by builders in the area was spared by the government,” they alleged. And that also when the land owned by these builders was adjoining the existing industrial area, they added.

The acquisition of the fertile land was, in fact, being made to oblige the strong real estate community who had purchased lands in the area, alleged Balbir Singh whose 2 acres holding would be wiped out in the process.

While these builders will earn crores after the acquisition, as the residential unit in the proximity of Industrial Area would fetch them handsome value, we would be uprooted once again to seek rehabilitation, said Baljinder Singh who had settled here after he had to leave Burail village in Chandigarh when his 30 acres were acquired by the Chandigarh administration. Baljinder would lose 5 acres out of his total land holdings of 9 acres after the acquisition.

A perusal of revenue records of the land showed that the private builders were busy in purchasing the land in the area when the Town and Country Planning Department was busy in finalising the drawings of area.

Town and Country Planning department finalised the drawings of the area on April 27, 2007, demarcating the said land as proposed industrial zone.

A look of the revenue records, however, confirms that the builders had made purchases of the land in the said area just prior to this date and the said land was also left out of acquisition.

HSIIDC managing director Rajeev Arora said they were acquiring the said land only because this land was shown as industrial zone in the planning of district by Town and Country Planning. The Town and Country Planning director TC Gupta termed the acquisition a necessity for development. 



Cancellation Report
Court issues summons to SP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate JS Sidhu today issued summons to UT SP Madhur Verma, questioning him how he gave a clean chit to Sector 19 police station SHO Ram Gopal.

Six police officials - inspector Yash Pal, SI Uday Pal, SI Hardit, SI Charanjeet, SI Dilbagh and SI Dalsher - had earlier challenged the cancellation report, which was submitted following a departmental inquiry.

Heated arguments were witnessed in the court on the issue today when the complainants demanded re-investigation of the case.

Inspector Ram Gopal has been accused of submitting a fake yoga certificate in order to seek promotion in 1997.

A preliminary inquiry conducted by DSP (CID) Satbir Singh last year had found Ram Gopal guilty of producing a fake certificate. However, another inquiry conducted by the then ASP, Madhur Verma, had found him not guilty following that a report demanding cancellation of an FIR against Ram Gopal was submitted in the court. Following this, six cops challenged the cancellation report.



Babla’s plea to attend House meet dismissed

Chandigarh, January 28
A local court today dismissed a plea filed by Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla to take part in the House meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

The court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Anshul Berry today dismissed the plea filed by Babla, who is presently in judicial custody.

Earlier, the prosecution referred to the judgment - Indira Gandhi Vs Jai Parkash Narayan - stating that when the accused was arrested and was in custody, all his rights were withdrawn.

The defence had moved the application on January 25 and the court had issued a notice for taking up the same for today. — TNS



CBI probe on fast track
Agency registers ‘preliminary enquiries’
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The CBI inquiry against two controversial mega projects of the Chandigarh administration - the Theme-cum-Amusement Park and the Film City - has gone on fast track.

According to sources, the anti-corruption branch of the CBI has registered two preliminary enquiries (PEs) for inquiring into the allegations of serious irregularities, including those highlighted in the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) inquiry report, in award of two mega projects by the administration. Interestingly, the UT administration had scrapped the Film City in November last year.

However, the “preliminary enquiry registration report” contains only allegations. “The accused is presumed to be innocent and is entitled to a fair inquiry,” sources said.

In the backdrop of the alleged acts of omission and commission in the award of projects, pushed by former Punjab Governor and UT Administrator SF Rodrigues, the Ministry of Home Affairs has ordered an inquiry by the CVC into the mega projects. Later, the CVC had recommended a CBI inquiry into the Film City and the Amusement Park projects.

The slugfest between he UT Administrator and his Adviser Pradip Mehra over the mega projects had made headlines. Mehra, commenting on Parsvnath’s request for withdrawal from the Flim City, had recommended a probe by a central agency into the project contending that the benchmark figure of Rs 175 crore was “grossly under-valued.”

The inquiry conducted by the CVC under the CVC Act, 2003, into the Amusement Park project, spread over 73.65 acres in Sarangpur village, had revealed irregularities in the award of this project to Unitech Limited. Approvals had also not been sought for the public-private partnership model and the value of land was found to be grossly under-assessed, the PE said.

Similarly, the CVC inquiry revealed manipulations in the fixing of the reserve price and the bidding process, resulting in the award of the project to Parsvnath Developers. The value of land was under assessed and distortions in the open bidding methodology led to loss to government exchequer, the PE alleged.


Approval of Bt brinjal opposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
A large number of students, teachers and social activists gathered at the Student Centre, Panjab University, to protest against the approval of Bt brinjal by the Genetic Engineering and Approval Committee, Government of India.

The protest was held in the wake of Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh’s visit scheduled for tomorrow.

“The genetically modified seed producing MNC Monsanto have faced resistance from Europe and now they are seeking a back door entry to India to earn huge profits at the cost of our health,” said student council president Amit Bhatia.

Professor Manjit Singh, president, PUTA, said the entry of Bt brinjal would be poisonous for the future generations. 



Finally, admn comes to rescue of Manauli Fort
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

The historical Mughal fort at Manauli village, Mohali.
The historical Mughal fort at Manauli village, Mohali. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu 

Mohali, January 28
At last the Mohali district administration has paved the way for preservation of the historical Manauli fort.

Located few kilometers from Mohali, the Mughal fort had been decaying for lack of preservation. After acquiring the land of the fort, the possession of the fort has been handed over to the State Department of Cultural Affairs, Archeology and Museum.

Officials of the district administration today visited the site to ascertain the security of the site.

The fort was won by legendry Nawab Kapoor Singh in 1763. The centuries-old fort declared as a protected monument by the Punjab Government in 2001, presents a poor picture of its original glory.

In the past, there has been a legal battle between the Punjab Government and descendants of Nawab Kapoor Singh, who had been contending the declaration of the fort as a protected monument.

The grand gate that guarded the entrance of the fort has perished and only two of the four corner towers are still standing. These are, however, fissured and it is just a matter of time before the entire structure becomes a heap of rubble. It is among the few forts that is made of bricks and belongs to an era when stone was largely used. The small bricks, known as the Sirhindi brick among the locals, are hanging loose from almost every wall of the fort.

Villagers of Manauli lament that despite that being declared a protected monument, the Punjab Archeology Department officials have nothing to say about the fort.



Mohali roads cry for attention
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 28
Roads in Mohali are crying for attention. Despite tall claims of the Akali government of spending lakhs on beautification of the city, potholes are turning dangerous for road users.

Call it a failure of the municipal council or Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), one of the major roads running from the Industrial Area, Phase IX, to Kumbhra traffic junction is in a deplorable condition. For the past few days, a leaking water supply line beneath the road has resulted in the potholes appearing all over.

Similarly, the potholes and cracks have started appearing on the road running between Phases IX, X and XI. Another road running between Sectors 66 and 67 needs urgent repair.



PSEB employees hold rally
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 28
The Technical Services Union of the Punjab State Electricity Board and the PSEB Employees Federation today held a rally against the Joint Forum for calling off the one-day strike without accepting their demands.

Protesters said the forum held a strike on January 28 in support of their demands, which included cancellation of the Power Bill, 2003, an end to the ban imposed on new recruitments, giving jobs to family members of the employees who lost their lives while on duty, putting an end to victimisation and privatisation, reducing the gap in the salaries of employees and officials.

They said the strike was called off after members of the forum held secret talks with the board authorities even when none of the demands of the employees had been accepted.

They added that the strike was very important, as the deadline of unbundling the board was nearing, which had been scheduled for February 15, 2010. The protesters condemned the move of the forum and said it paid no heed to the plight of the employees. 



Punjab Police Wireless Scam
No objection over closure report, say petitioners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
In the ongoing case of alleged wireless scam pertaining to the Punjab Police, which had hit the headlines a few years ago, two advocates who had filed Public Interest Litigation (PIL), today deposed before the CBI special court of Darshan Singh.

The two accepting the closure report filed by the CBI in this case earlier stated that they had filed the PIL after reading about the alleged scam in the newspapers. They further stated that they were satisfied by the investigation done by the investigating agency and they had no objection over the closure report filed by the CBI.

It must be recalled that after the PIL was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the alleged wireless scam involving some officials of the Punjab Police. The court had then ordered investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged embezzlement of about Rs 2.58 crore in the purchase of wireless sets by the Punjab Police.

The PIL filed by two advocates, Ashok Chaudhary and RK Kwatra, seeking a comprehensive inquiry by an independent agency into the alleged irregularities, the Division Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice HS Bedi had directed the CBI in 2006 to complete the inquiry expeditiously in the light of the fact that the purchase of the wireless sets was made by senior police officials and so that the guilty were brought to book.

The petitioners had claimed that the purchases were made “without technical evaluation of the wireless equipment, from a fraudulent company already blacklisted”. This, they asserted, “was endangering not only national security but also undermining the integrity of the complete police force”.

Earlier, the Punjab government had informed the court that two senior police officials, former Additional Director-General of Police (computers and wireless) DR Bhatti and former Superintendent of Police (telecommunications) Malwinder Singh Sidhu, had been charge sheeted for their alleged involvement in the scam.

However, the two had also filed affidavits in the court seeking a probe by the CBI into the alleged irregularities.

In his affidavit, Bhatti had stated that he was willing to face the consequences if the CBI came to the conclusion that there was any misconduct on his part.

He claimed that the recommendations were made after examining the final report by ADGP RK Gupta. He had also asked the High Court not to permit the Punjab government to make him and Sidhu scapegoats.



Nursing student dies
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 28
A student of nursing in the Devi Dayal Group Of Educational Institutes, Barwala, died under mysterious circumstances here today.

Though family members of the deceased did not apprehend any foul play, the doctors suspected that she had consumed some poisonous substance. According to information, Prerna, a student of nursing, began vomiting around 9 in the morning. Prerna, who belonged to Pehowa near Kaithal got admission in July last and was staying in the hostel. Finding her condition to be serious, she was taken to the hospital on the campus, from where doctors referred her to Panchkula general hospital. Prerna, however, died at General Hospital, Sector 6. The doctors at hospital said though the possibility of consuming poison by the deceased could not be ruled out, however, the exact reason for the death could be determined only after the report of post-mortem examination.

The body has been sent for post-mortem examination.



Decorated cop cremated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The mortal remains of decorated police officer Joginder Singh Pannu, who died yesterday, were consigned to flames at the Sector 25 crematorium here today.

Awarded with the Kings George Police Medal during his service with the British, the officer was instrumental in controlling the naxalite movement in Punjab and was instrumental in solving the murder case of former Punjab CM Partap Singh Kairon.

A large number of dignitaries and government officials were present. He was cremated with state honours. 



Conference on knee replacement surgery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
To study recent advancements in knee replacement surgery, Chandigarh will be hosting a two-day conference “Naviknee 2010” from tomorrow.

While talking to mediapersons here, senior consultant orthopaedician, Dr Harsimran Singh, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, who is also an organising secretary of the conference, said, “Over 30 experts from all over India and abroad are scheduled to take part in the conference.”

Dr Harsimran said pioneer of computer navigated surgery from Germany, Dr Frank Lampe would speak on role navigation in joint replacement surgeries.Dwelling on finer aspects of the computer navigated knee replacement surgery, Dr Harsimran said there were a few trained surgeons in India.

Dr Harsimran further added that the procedure involved a sophisticated computer software programme, which was used to calculate angles of knee and planned correct bone cuts and size of implant.



Amay, Sajneet adjudged healthy baby

Mohali, January 28
Amay, Toshani, Avreet and Sajneet were adjudged as the “Shemrock healthy baby” in their respective categories, 1 year to 1.6 year, 1.6 to 2 year, 2 to 3 year and 3 to 4 year, during a scintillating Shemrock Baby Show-2010, which was organised here to showcase spectacular talent of tiny tots. 

A splendid display of self-carrying and dressing sense was accentuated by equally gripping on-stage presentations amidst thumping beats and dazzling lights. Even as the campus reverberated with popular beats, a spellbound audience watched in amazement the beauty of it all.A medical check-up camp for the participants and parents by a team of doctors was also organised. — OC



MC gets hydraulic dumper placers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Four newly fabricated hydraulically operated dumper placers were added to existing fleet of the conservancy vehicles of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today.MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria flagged off the vehicles.

An official spokesman said the dumper placers would help in lifting 4.5 cubic M garbage containers. 



113 booths for physically challenged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
The Chandigarh administration has decided to allot 113 built-up booths to physically challenged - 71 in Sector 38 and 42 in Sector 40.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh administration said the process of short listing eligible applicants by the screening committee was in progress at the Social Welfare Department, and the list of eligible applicants would be supplied to the Estate Office soon for the allotment of booths.

The screening committee consists of the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Director, Social Welfare, Assistant Estate Officer and a representative of the Finance Department. The booths will be allotted under the “Licensing of Bare Booth Sites/ Built-up Booths to Persons with Disabilities Scheme 2009”, notified by the administration.



St John’s replies to DEO’s letter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
St John’s School today questioned the authority of DEO Chanchal Singh to mark any inquiry into the complaint accusing one of its teachers of demanding money in return of assured admission to school’s kindergarten.

Reacting to the DEO’s letter asking school’s comments on the compliant, the school authorities have accused the department of acting on a similar pattern as on earlier occasions in attempting to interfere in the internal working of a minority educational institution.

It may be noted that both the Principal and UT Education Department received a complaint filed under the name of “parents of children who have applied to school for admissions” accusing one of the teachers of not only taking tuitions at her residence but also levying hefty amount of money from parents by promising admissions to the KG section in school.

A videotape and couple of pictures submitted as supporting evidence also accompanied the complaint.

Acting on the complaint, the DEO had asked the school authorities to submit their comments by today failing which the matter would be moved to the higher authorities.

However, claiming to have already initiated an enquiry into the matter, the St John authorities accused the UT Education Department of intentionally damaging school’s image.

The school authorities have asked the DEO to clarify whether acting on anonymous complaints was their policy and if so, how many have so far been addressed to?

Raising further questions the letter read, “ Whether any effort has been made by you to ascertain as to who are the complainants? Is it a standard procedure to give a school less than 24 hours to respond to your letters (Kindly note that the letter, though dated January 25, 2010 was delivered to the school on January 27, 2010, which was declared a holiday in all schools in the city by the administration itself of which you as the DEO are fully aware?”



Science students protest against fee hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Students of various science departments in collaboration with the Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU) today protested in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office against fee hike and single chance being given to the students for internal exams.

PUSU president Udey Singh Wirring, who was heading the protest, asserted, “Earlier the departments had annual system of examination and they had to pay Rs 5,000 per year, but the introduction of semester system had led to a hike in the fee structure, as now the students have to pay Rs 5,000 per semester, which means Rs 10,000 per year.

Similarly, the students should be provided with two chances for internal exams and the best of the two should be recorded as score.”

Though the protest was called off midway, members of the Students’ Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), meanwhile, dismissed it as a publicity stunt.

“Both issues have peacefully been discussed with the PU authorities by student council president Amit Bhatia. The authorities are taking steps to solve the issue,” said SOPU president Brinder Dhillon.



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