C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Beyond Chandigarh
With no infrastructure, Mullanpur going the Zirakpur way
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 9
With the Punjab government planning big for the Mullanpur and adjoining areas beyond PGI, urbanisation has preceded the requisite infrastructure. Over a year after the state government released the master plan for the area in Chandigarh’s vicinity, construction of proper roads and provision of adequate water and electricity supply remain on paper. In fact, bumpy rides await visitors who have to negotiate weather-beaten roads to reach various project sites.

While a private realtor has already launched its mega residential project along the Chandigarh-Baddi road, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is facing problems in acquiring land for four laning of the Mullanpur-Siswan road and for its proposed 500 acre urban estate.

The mega projects apart, some educational institutions and a large number of farm houses, both legal and illegal, have mushroomed in the area, which appears to have become a favourite hunting ground for investors, primarily comprising bureaucrats, politicians and the influential builders’ lobby.

Based on the land use projection and projected population of 200,000 by 2031, the water and electricity demand has been put at 165 million litres per day (MLD) and 790 MW, respectively. Planning for solid waste management and the transportation network is still a far cry.

Interestingly, the planners have their logic for the development of infrastructure facilities. “Infrastructure follows development. As projects come up, developers would create the facilities. The master plan has given a blueprint of the amenities planned”, said a town planning wing official.

Acting as a catalyst, at least for the private developers and investors, the opening of the Chandigarh-Baddi road and four-lane project of the Chandigarh-Mullanpur-Siswan road has pushed up the land prices.

While releasing the master plan for the Mullanpur planning area, the state government had earmarked 6,123 hectares of the planned area to be developed in two phases. In the first phase, 5,460 hectares will be developed, while 663.4 hectares will be developed in the second phase.

“From time to time politicians had been projecting the area as New Chandigarh and then Anandgarh. Now urbanisation is taking place on the ground which will improve the quality of our lives”, said Arvind Puri, a resident of Mullanpur.

In the master plan a state-of-the-art health village, knowledge village and eco-tourism related activities have been planned on the Shivalik foothills. Consultants for the project, Jurong Ltd, has proposed recreational facilities like an amusement park, spa village, open-air theatres, theme parks and lifestyle hub including a golf course and sports facilities around the seasonal rivulets passing through the area.

In the industrial zone only high technology in the form of a science park, business park and R&D park have been allowed with a permissible FAR of 2.0 and height of 40 metres. The entire area has been divided into three zones - between Chandigarh-Mullanpur road and the PLPA area; between Chandigarh-Mullanpur road and the proposed express highway from Mohali and Anandpur Sahib; and the third below it.



Children Science Congress
Not involved by PU, teachers disappointed
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Despite teachers’ resentment, the presence of five visually challenged students from Sector 26, who asked questions from guest speakers on life sciences, was a source of inspiration for others. “We felt amazed to see students from the blind school participating in such an enthusiastic manner,” said Preeti Mahajan, organising secretary

Chandigarh, February 9
Agitated at not being involved at the planning level of the event, school teachers present during the Children Science Congress at the Panjab University today complained that they had not been informed about the detailed topic of discussion in the invitation letter.

Asserting that there was hardly any contribution from their end, the teachers questioned the speakers on the impact of such seminars in shaping children’s future during the question-answer round.

With the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, New Delhi, directing universities to bridge the gap between different levels of education, teachers who accompanied students today stated that the university must engage teachers at the preparation level in the future to make such events meaningful for students.

“Guests have been talking about biotechnology and life sciences for the past six hours. I have got students of the non-medical stream who have made a career choice and have nothing to do with biotechnology. Our students were not told the topic on which they should prepare questions as the letter sent to us had vague information,” said Meenakshi Jindal, a physics teacher.

Another teacher showed the letter to this correspondent, which mentioned that interaction would be on ‘open-ended scientific projects of relevance to society’. “I am a post-graduate teacher and I cannot make out what questions students can prepare after reading this,” rued a teacher of a local convent school.

Some other teachers pointed out that they were not escorts and should have been involved at a higher level if the gap between schools and the university had to be bridged. “If teachers are properly engaged, they will spread the message about what they gained from the event at the school. But unfortunately, we were not even involved,” said Kamaljeet.

Expressing concern over the fate of pure sciences in the era of ‘hybrid sciences’, some college teachers lamented the loss of relevance of pure sciences in such interactive programmes. “Biotechnology is an emerging area, but the significance of pure sciences should not be neglected. There was no discussion on pure sciences and the focus of speakers was on stem cell technology and biotechnology,” said Prof MS Marwaha of the SGGS College, Sector 26.

Nearly 600 students and 84 teachers from 73 city schools attended a session of more than six hours’ duration at a stretch. The event was held under the aegis of the National Academy of Sciences (Chandigarh chapter) and the Punjab Academy of Sciences.



Cops ascertaining Rathore attacker’s mental condition
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
The local police received a faxed medical report of Utsav Sharma, the youth who attacked former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore in the district court complex here yesterday, from a private hospital in Varanasi. The report stated Utsav to be a “psycho patient”.

The police has now decided to determine this on its own and is likely to send a team to Varanasi in this regard. Besides, the cops are trying to verify whether anyone else was involved in the incident, for which they had sought one day’s remand. They also interrogated Utsav’s parents, who arrived in the city today, for two hours.

Sources said the suspect’s father, Sushil Sharma, who is an official at Banaras University, told the police his son was “brilliant” in studies and was a “gold medallist” from Banaras University. He said Utsav enrolled in the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad in 2006 for a four-year course in animation, adding he did not know when his son left his studies and came to Panchkula.

Sushil Sharma told the police he was not aware whether his son nursed a grudge against Rathore for the latter getting off lightly in the Ruchika molestation case.

“My son is a psychiatric patient who has been undergoing treatment for the past one and a half years. We came to know about the incident when the police informed us about his involvement”, he added.

In spite of being seriously hurt in the attack Rathore has not filed any complaint with the police, which may enable Utsav to get bail early. The cops today added section 506 of the IPC to the FIR registered against him yesterday under section 324.



Crime tracking system sanctioned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
With a view to upgrading the police forces, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), Union Government, has sanctioned the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS) for Chandigarh.

A centrally sponsored project which is an expanded and extended version of the Common Integrated Police Application (CIPA), it will be implemented by 2012.

SS Srivastava, SSP, said a governance committee had been constituted for the early implementation of the project. He said SPIC had been nominated as the State Designated Agency (SDA) for the purpose.

“The project will help make functioning of the Chandigarh Police citizen-friendly and transparent. It will also aim at eliminating various unnecessary channels which come in the way of or delay delivery of citizen-centric services,” Srivastava added.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has released initial funds to the tune of Rs 61.76 lakh under the project which has been deposited in the account of SPIC.

The broad reach of the project will cover registration, investigation, prosecution, law and order, crime prevention, traffic, emergency response management, reporting and external interfacing solutions.



Patil: Right mindset vital to save environment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
Shivraj Patil, the Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator, today delivered the valedictory address on the closing day of the 13th Punjab Science Congress held at Panjab University on the theme ‘Climate Change: Concerns and Solutions’.

Putting the three-day deliberations on track, the Governor called for a holistic and a cosmic approach to tackling the problem of climate change. “The need of the hour is to inculcate the right mindset, which is in fact the ultimate super science”, Patil said.

He said: “Respecting the eternal connection between all things, living and dead, is the spiritual duty of everyone and there would be sustainable human and environmental development only when this becomes a lifelong duty.”

While apprising the Governor of the academic and social initiatives taken by the university of late, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University Prof RC Sobti showcased the history of the institution from the time of its inception in 1881 in Lahore.

Dr Rakesh Tuli, director National Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology, Mohali, was the main speaker of the valedictory session. An eminent molecular biologist and biotechnologist, Dr Tuli, focused his talk on genes and promoters for designing plants.

The Governor also presented medals to awardees of the best poster competition in various sections of the Congress. Harjit Kaur and Karan Goel won the medal in section A (Agriculture and Environment, Biosciences and Biotechnology).

JK Gill won in the section B (Applied Chemistry, Applied Physics, Sugar Technology, Food Technology and Textile Chemistry). The consolation prize was awarded to Vandana Balli. In section C, D and E, Paramjit Kaur, Ashu Paul and Rishu Kapil won, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Young Scientist Awards were given to Dr Pallavi Mittal, Kawaljit Singh Sandhu, Sukhwinder Singh Billing, Davinder Parkash, Suresh Kumar, and a pending Young Scientist Award of 2006 was awarded to Indu Chhabra.

In his report of the Congress proceedings, organising secretary and dean, Faculty of Sciences, PU, Prof AS Ahluwalia, listed the major recommendations put forth by scientists and technologists who had attended the congress from across the country and abroad.

He also thanked his team and Prof Rajan Gaur, co-organising secretary and Prof Harsh Nayyar, joint secretary of the congress.


Rain, chilly winds dip mercury in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
Widespread rains in Chandigarh and its neighbouring areas of Punjab and Haryana accompanied with strong chilly winds since Sunday night brought down the temperature. The maximum temperature came down marginally to 19.5 degrees Celsius today as compared to 20.1°Celsius recorded yesterday. The minimum also plummeted to 13 ° C, 0.8 °C lower than of Monday.

As per the weather experts of the Meteorology Department, the weather will remain clear with appreciable fall in night temperature in the next 24 hours in the city. The rains were caused by western disturbances," Chandigarh’s Met Director Chattar Singh said and added that Chandigarh received 12.8 mm of rains since Sunday.

Though flight schedule to and from the city remained normal, train services were delayed by 40 minutes to over an hour. The tea-vendors had a field day in the morning, as majority of rickshaw-pullers and other commuters stopped at their stalls to get some warmth in the chilling weather. Daily walkers were seen coming late for their morning walks and daily exercises. Majority of them were seen covering their heads with scarves and caps to get respite from the chilly winds that blew before the rainfall.

The farmers of Punjab and Haryana are delighted over the widespread rainfall in the region during the past 24 hours, which the farm experts say is good for the wheat crop

DS Bains, an agro-meteorological expert, said the weather was good for all in general. He said, "Rains have brought respite to all, including human beings, animals, plants, crops and vegetables.

A farmer of Banur said the leaves of the wheat crop had started turning yellow in the past few days due to dry and frosty conditions, which if continued for another couple of weeks could have hit the wheat and other crops badly.

Various parts of Punjab, Haryana had also isolated spells of rain today. The weatherman has forecast light to moderate rain or thundershowers in isolated places of Punjab and Haryana in the next 48 hours.

“We had mild spells of rainfall in most parts of Punjab and some parts of Haryana. Patiala, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Bathinda towns and predicted night temperature might fall two to four ° C in the region, the Met official said. He further said “We are expecting similar conditions to prevail in the region for the next 48 hours”.

Amritsar recorded a minimum temperature of 14.0 ° C. Ludhiana and Patiala registered minimum of 14.1 and 13.3 ° C respectively. In Haryana, Ambala recorded a low of 11.6 ° C, four degrees above average. Hisar and Karnal recorded lows of 15.6 and 14.4 ° C respectively..

Medical experts said this present spell of rain was healthy and diseases like cough, cold and respiratory problems would be solved. They added that prior to the rain, the environment was polluted due to dense fog containing virus, bacteria and dirt particles that were causing infections and allergies.



Admn urged to return acquired land to original owners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
Members of the executive body of the Chandigarh Sanjha Morcha and representatives of an NGO, Citizens’ Voice, held a public meeting today at Sarangpur village, better known as the proposed site for the UT administration’s scam-ridden Film City and Entertainment City projects that never took off. The administration acquired hundreds of acres of land from villagers for transferring it illegally to private players for these much-publicised projects in the name of development.

Taking note of former home minister Shivraj Patil’s appointment as the new Punjab governor & UT administrator, Chandigarh Sanjah Morcha president Kuldeep Singh Kahlon said, “We welcome the change of guard in the Chandigarh administration and hope Patil will come up to the expectations of the city’s residents. Being a senior politician and having served the country for so many years, we expect him to empathise with common people’s issues.”

Kahlon said the struggle of farmers and landowners was not aimed against any particular person or any public authority but against the “ill-conceived, shortsighted and whimsical anti-people policies framed by local bureaucrats”.

“Such policies are repressive and against the constitutional spirit. The shortsightedness of bureaucrats has also undermined the City Beautiful’s basic ideals. During the past five years the concept of a green belt around Chandigarh’s periphery has been totally destroyed, resulting in landowners and farmers becoming virtually beggars. All the villages in the union territory which were inhabited by their original residents have been destroyed.” Kahlon added.

Social activist Hemant Goswami of Citizens’ Voice said, “Since it has now been established that Film City, Theme Park and other such projects were nothing but a sham and meant to make easy money for the bureaucrats, the UT administration should return the land it acquired to the farmers to whom it rightfully belongs and cancel the acquisition notifications. In cases where requirement of land is justified and is absolutely necessary, the farmers should be given compensation at current market prices so that at least they can shift elsewhere and buy an equal amount of land to carry on with their livelihoods. If the government gives a compensation of only Rs 15 to 20 lakh per acre, all marginal farmers with holdings of a couple of acres of land would be driven to penury. With this paltry amount they wouldn’t be able to buy even a one-room apartment in Chandigarh. Besides, nowhere in the country would they be able to purchase the same amount of land”.



Markfed staff threatens to intensify stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
Members of the Markfed Employees Joint Action Committee today warned the Punjab Government that they would be forced to intensify their stir if the government failed to implement the recommendations of the 5th Pay Commission.

Addressing, Bhupinder Singh, Convener, Markfed Employees Joint Action Committee, during the protest rally said even though the state government had implemented the Pay Commission report and enhanced the house rent from 15 per cent to 20 per cent to its employees it had failed to give the same to the Markfed employees.

He also urged the government to stop the interference of the Finance and Cooperative Department in the affairs of Markfed, otherwise the Cooperative Department would suffer the same fate as suffered by Punwire, Sugarfed, Spinfed and Canstofed. He said the state government was yet to make the payment of Rs 500 crore, which they paid to the farmers resulting in the loss of about Rs 50 crore annually.

Ranjeet Singh Goel, Sandeep Puri, Amar Singh Baghel, Bishan Dass and Tarlochan Singh were among those who addressed the protesters.



Showroom told to pay price of water purifier
Sonika Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum II has directed Parima Through Proprietor to refund a sum of Rs 4,800, being the price of RO Water Purifier (Aquafresh), to Jasbir Singh and to reinstall the old water purifier (Nuvec) at his residence.

It has been directed to pay a sum of Rs 4,000 as compensation to the complainant for mental agony and harassment, besides Rs 5,000 as cost of litigation.

Singh mentioned in his complaint that he had purchased a RO Water Purifier (Aquafresh) on February 12 last year under the Exchange Scheme from Parima Through Proprietor for a sum of Rs 4,800, which had a warranty of one year and lifetime free service. At the time of installation of the RO system, the existing water purifier (Nuvec) was removed by the representatives of Parima.

He claimed that the said RO system stopped working within a week, as it was not drawing water. He made repeated complaints and visited the showroom, but to no avail. On March 28 last year, Deepak from Parima checked the RO system, but he failed to repair the same and stated that membrane inside the system needed to be replaced. Thereafter, he made repeated requests to Parima for replacing the part but he was told that the said part was out of stock and it would be replaced within a day or two on receipt of the same.

Ultimately, a legal notice was served on Parima on April 6 last year, but to no effect.

The order stated that Prima needed to pay the same within a month from the date of receipt of its certified copy, failing which it shall be liable to refund the amount of Rs 8,800 to the complainant, along with penal interest at 18 per cent per annum from filing of the complaint i.e. June 25 last year till its realisation besides cost of litigation.



‘Bias in supply of tertiary water’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
The municipal corporation has been meting out stepmotherly treatment to southern sectors even for the supply of tertiary water, which is utilised for watering green belts. Residents of Sector 47 say the corporation has installed a tertiary pipeline in southern sectors so that this water can be utilised for watering green belts and parks.

They allege that most green belts have not been getting proper supply of tertiary water on a day-to-day basis as it is being diverted to the Golf Club.

The residents say they have requested the authorities to supply adequate water to parks and green belts to save plantation in southern sectors.

Mayor Anu Chatrath and MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria, after visiting the area, have told the Chief Engineer that tertiary water should daily be released to southern sectors till 2 pm, after which they can divert the supply to other areas. The residents have claimed that the engineering department has not heeded to instructions of the Mayor and the MC Commissioner

Officials of the corporation say they have laid the tertiary water pipeline at a cost of around Rs 36 crore under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission for irrigating green belts of southern areas.

Area councillor Jatinder Bhatia has stated that the huge amount spent on the project is sheer waste of money till southern areas’ green belts and parks get adequate water supply for irrigation. He has added that he has taken up the issue during a ward meeting and in the house, but there has been no fruitful result so far.



Travel agency told to pay refund
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
Holding Anand Travels and Kingfisher Airlines guilty of deficiency in service and unfair trade practice, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II has directed those to refund Rs 14,950 to Suman Bala for ticket cancellation.

She had stated she purchased three tickets of Kingfisher Airlines from Chandigarh to Mumbai and back for Rs 17,850 on April 8 last.

As per the programme, she was to leave for Mumbai on June 15 and return on June 30, but due to some personal reasons, she cancelled her programme.

She informed Anand Travels through a letter dated April 20 for cancellation of tickets and sought a refund.

In her complaint, she had stated that the company returned Rs 9,900 and on enquiry, told her that the price of the tickets was non-refundable.

In their reply, Anand Travels claimed that its employee Neha, at the time of booking the tickets, told the complainant that the tickets were non-refundable and only taxes would be refunded in case of cancellation.

The forum also said if the travel agency did not pay the full amount to Suman Bala within one month of the date of receipt of a certified copy, it would be liable to pay Rs 14,950 to the complainant along with 18 per cent penal interest from August 6 last till realisation, besides costs of litigation.



No autos in N Area
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
Acting on the recent report regarding breach of defence security, the defence authorities and the Chandigarh administration have ordered all auto-rickshaw drivers not to park or enter the N Area near the Army headquarters.

A Chandigarh Tribune team found that the area had been cleared of illegal parking.



Rotarians take part in polio campaign
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 9
Volunteers of the Rotary International, Albama, the USA, Robert Gere and Katline Gere visited Madanpur village on the third day of the national pulse polio campaign.

While appreciating the implementation of the campaign, volunteers studied its various aspects. Dr Raju Dheer, nodal officer, pulse polio, said 3,000 children were administered polio drops today.



Stress on adopting green technology
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
A national seminar on "Urban development and green buildings" was organised at Banur, near here, yesterday.

Balwinder Saini, Punjab Chief Architect, was the chief guest at the event. The key Speakers were Dr Seet Singh, Senior Town Planner, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Punjab Government, Prof PK Garg, Geomatics Engineering Section, Civil Engineering Department, IIT Roorkee; Dr Varinder Singh Kanwar, Registrar, Chitkara University, Baddi, and Dr Maneek Kumar, Professor and Head of the Civil Enginnering Deparment, Thapar University, Patiala.

Professsor PK Garg, deliberating on the role of remote sensing in urban development and planning, talked about advancements in the areas of surveying and remote sensing. Dr Varinder Kanwar spoke on urban development and green buildings.

Manmohan K. Garg, CEO, Gurukul Vidyapeeth, exhorted the students to work whole-heartedly to make the earth better place to live by adopting green technologies.



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