C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


HC rebuff to admn over land acquisition
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The UT administration has virtually received a rap on its knuckles in a case of acquisition of land. Quashing its notification issued for acquiring land in 2008, the Punjab & Haryana High Court has held the administration and other respondents simply indulged in an “empty formality” rather than applying their mind to the issue.

The ruling came on a petition filed by Varinder Kumar, which had sought quashing of a notification dated December 3, 2008 under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 for acquiring three marlas for the public purpose of developing the “commercial and residential scheme no 3, pocket no 11 in the left out area”.

Directions were also sought for quashing the declaration dated July 31, 2009 under section 6 of the Act.

The petitioner had contended a division bench had set aside the acquisition of his land in Mani Majra on August 19, 1993 as this land was not included in the notification issued on August 9, 1990 under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act. Yet, the ‘khasra’ number belonging to him was included in the declaration under section 6 published on August 8, 1991, the petitioner had stated.

In 2001 the UT legal remembrancer, after his views were sought, gave his opinion against acquiring the petitioner’s land. Still, a notification under section 4 was again issued on December 3, 2008. In objections under section 5A of the Act, the petitioner contended “the whole scheme notified in 1991 stood developed” and there was a huge delay in acquiring the land.

The petitioner’s counsel, Puneet Bali, vehemently argued “public purpose” could not be achieved by acquiring 75 yards, and it was not possible to conceive any “development” in such a small area.

The bench of justices MM Kumar and Jitendra Chauhan observed: “We are of the view that the objections raised by the petitioner have not been given consideration, which they deserved. Before rejecting objections on July 10, 2009, the respondents had already prepared the draft notification on July 8, 2009. It does not require any imagination about the nature of application of mind by the respondents. It was simply an empty formality”.

“Further, the construction has been completed long ago and it was unlikely to achieve public purpose of acquiring the land…. We are of the view that the impugned notifications are liable to be quashed”, the bench said.

‘State must avoid misdirection in law’

Underscoring the importance of hearing in land acquisition matters, the bench asserted: “It is common knowledge that a hearing given to a person must be an effective one and not a mere formality. Formation of opinion as regards the public purpose as also suitability thereof must be preceded by application of mind as regards consideration of relevant factors and rejection of irrelevant ones. The state in its decision-making process must not commit any misdirection in law”.



A first — Replanting uprooted trees
Most of those were along roads that had been widened
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
In a unique initiative, the UT horticulture department has replanted six trees, which were uprooted in the recent thunderstorm, in the past two days.

A majority of these trees were along roads where road-widening projects were being undertaken by the Chandigarh administration and the municipal corporation (MC).

A 20-year-old pilkan tree is the oldest tree to be replanted by the department, which has identified trees that can be saved, including peepal and ficus.

Horticulture officials said they were preparing a survey report on uprooted trees in Sectors 9, 10, 11, 23 and 24, where these two types of trees were found. These varieties were easy to replant and even a tree that had snapped from the middle could survive if it got proper support.

At a meeting recently, UT Adviser Pradeep Mehra had instructed horticulture officials to try to save uprooted trees if possible since every year during monsoon, a large number of trees fell due to strong wind. Officials stated that when road berms were dug up for widening or laying of tiles, very little space was left, rendering the roots of trees weak. The officials said they would try to replant other varieties also if the roots were not badly damaged.



‘I wish I could spend another life with him’
Kanishka co-pilot SS Bhinder’s widow battles to keep memories alive
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
It has been a quarter century since the tragedy, but the grief remains as pronounced. She closes her eyes for a moment, recalling those wonderful 14 years of her marriage that was brutally cut short. From a young bride ebbing with life then to a mature woman now, she has seen life’s roughest side all alone.

“Ours was an arranged marriage but I wish I had had a love affair with him”, says ‘Ambi’, as her husband, Capt Satwinder Bhinder, who was co-piloting the ill-fated Air India plane that crashed into the Atlantic off the Irish coast in 1985, lovingly called her.

“He never called me by my name, Amarjeet. He gave us a life that one can only dream of, travelling across the world first class”, she recalls, trying desperately to hold back her tears.

“Ours was one of the most beautiful marriages on earth”, Amarjeet recollects fondly. “And perhaps that is the reason I have no regrets but only satisfaction in my heart to this day”.

“Despite having servants I would polish his shoes and hand wash his uniform. A thorough gentleman who would impress his friends and ladies equally with his demeanour - I was always so proud of him,” she adds.

A love so binding that on the fateful day itself - June 23, 1985 - Bhinder’s wife even had a bad dream. “I dreamt early morning that I put his uniform in the washing machine and it blew off. I woke up hearing the blast in my dream,” she says.

“That entire day things were unusual with me and I was only waiting for him to land in London, the airport where the plane’s crew was to change. As a practice I would always call him when he would reach the hotel. But that day it never happened as he never did reach London,” she reminisces with tears.

“Everyone thinks only about passengers. An aircraft’s crewmembers are the last ones on anybody’s mind. People think they are on duty and it’s okay for them to die”, she says with anguish.

“My world came crashing down when I heard the news. From a pampered housewife I suddenly found myself hanging midair. It was like all was over for me. My daughter was barely 10 years old then and my son only seven. For eight months, I was so emotionally tormented that I kept myself inside the house before I finally went to Air India for a job to support my children”, recounts Amarjeet.

“After convincing my children to move from Bombay to Chandigarh, I decided to work to attain financial stability. My postgraduate degree in political science from Panjab University came in handy and, after a written test for which I prepared from the thesis written by my husband, I landed a job as a manager with Air India”, says Amarjeet who worked with the airline for 19 years before taking premature retirement in 2005 as a senior AI official posted in Malaysia.

Talking about her children, she says: “I still remember turning down my daughter for many things I couldn’t get her due to financial constraints. She was used to living a life like princess. My son was younger but understood everything. He always wanted to be a pilot like his dad. Even his father’s death could not shake him from his dream. Today he flies with Air India”.

As we get up to wind up, she puts her wish forward with a twinkle in eye like a teenaged girl: “I wish for another life with him in which we grow old together, watch our children mature. I know that will happen. In my next life, I know, he’ll wait for me”, says Amarjeet.

‘He was passionate about flying’

Kanwal Bhinder, brother of Capt SS Bhinder, recalled how his elder brother was always passionate about flying. After he took premature retirement, he joined Air India. Kanwal said he was a brilliant officer and an excellent pilot. “He was sent to London for training once. On his return he told me how safe it was to fly over the sea compared to over land,” he said. The family members are aggrieved neither the Indian government at that time nor the Punjab government ever recognised Capt Bhinder’s “sacrifice”.

‘Culprits must be brought to book’

Both the wife and the brother of the late Captain have expressed their satisfaction over justice Major’s recent findings that concluded it was indeed an intelligence failure and a security lapse on the part of Canadian agencies. With the news of the Canada’s prime minister apologising, the family believes justice has been done to some extent, but nevertheless, the real culprits must be brought to book.



Govt employees rue anomalies in travel allowance
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
While the Government has revised the rules and rates for claiming the Travel Allowance for transportation of personal effects by Central employees, certain anomalies continue to remain.

On the basis of classification of cities, an anomalous situation has been created where a person travelling between two big towns would be paid much more than someone travelling from a large city to a smaller city.

Further, a person moving from a larger city to a smaller city would be paid almost double than a person moving vice-versa between the same cities despite the distance being the same.

Following complaints by individuals that the scales notified under the Sixth Pay Commission in September 2008 had actually lowered the rates for transportation, a memorandum issued this month by the Ministry of Finance to government departments states that rates decided in 2008 would be replaced by revised rates.

Different rates are fixed for to and fro transportation from X, Y and Z class cities. Classification of cities is the same as is done for the purpose of admissibility of the House Rent Allowance.

Citing an example of the continuing anomaly, an officer said a person drawing a grade pay of Rs 7,600 was posted from Udhampur (Z class) to Delhi, 644 km away, he would be entitled to Rs 11, 592. If, however, he moves from Jammu to Delhi i.e. 620 km, he will get Rs 18,600.

The situation worsens if people are posted to far away places like Guwahati. The distance of Guwahati from Jammu and Udhampur is 2,315 km and 2,381 km, respectively, whereas the respective entitlement works out to be Rs 69, 450 and Rs 42,858.

Under the new rates issued this month, government employees drawing a grade pay of Rs 4, 200 per month and above are entitled Rs 30/km for X and Y class cities and Rs 18 for Z class cities. For those drawing a grade pay of Rs 2,800, rates are Rs 15 and 9, respectively, while for those getting a grade pay of below Rs 2,800 the rates are Rs 7.50 and 4.60, respectively.



Soccer fever runs high as UT enter final
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Soccer fans in city have enough reasons to cheer as Chandigarh junior team has raced into the final of the 47th Junior (U-19) National Football Tournament for Dr BC Roy Trophy, being conducted at Kolkata today.

The local outfit drubbed strong contender Karnataka by 4-1 in the semifinal match at Mohun Bagan ground.

Now, the team is just one match away from the national trophy. This is the first time that any soccer team from the city has advanced into the final of any national tournament by the All-India Football Federation.

In today’s match, city skipper Gagandeep Singh led the team from front and scored two goals (17th and 75th minute) in the course. City continued to dominate the proceedings in the remaining half and netted two more goals through forward Sumit Passi (50th and 87th minute), while Karnataka got consolation in 11 minutes from the game when Lokesh scored the crucial goal for the team.


Admn shocker for pvt nursing students
GMCH ‘not allowed’ to impart training
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
In a significant move, the UT administration has disallowed the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, from conducting training classes for students of private nursing colleges, a practice which was going on for past several years.

According to sources in health department, a proposal for formulating a policy for training of BSc (basic) students from private nursing colleges was recently received from the GMCH authorities. The proposal was reportedly examined and was turned down after it was revealed that none of the government institutes in Punjab and Haryana were providing such facility to private nursing colleges.

It was also observed that the staff and faculty at the hospital were only sufficient to perform their duties and none could be spared to train students from private nursing colleges. Though the decision could be described as prudent, as the government institute is under no obligation to train students of private nursing colleges and this practice had been going on for the past five years without any policy or approval. Expressing surprise on the fact that the GMCH had been training such students for the past several years, a senior official in the health department said, the institute had been directed to "stop" the practice soon. "There is no training cell for nursing students and there is no staff for the purpose," the official said.

Dr Raj Bahadur, director principal of the GMCH-32, said training was being imparted to nursing students from some private institute of Mohali from the past few years. He said: "We have sent the proposal to administration for making some policy and if they approve it, we will continue with it or else discontinue.”

According to sources, GMCH was reportedly charging Rs 5,000 per student from nursing colleges, who in turn were charging Rs 10,000 from their students.



Tuesday’s Assault
Victim’s brother alleges kidnapping, pressure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Commotion prevailed in front of the districts courts at Sector 17 here today when Raju, a brother of one the victims of the murderous assault at Sector 45 on Tuesday, alleged that a group of youngsters supporting the accused had forced him to give a statement in their favour in court.

He told the police that he was threatened and forced by the group of youngsters to give an affidavit in court in their favour. He claimed that they kidnapped him from his residence at Sector 45 and took him to the district courts.

A police team headed by sub-inspector Poonam Dilawari was present there to produce the four accused. On seeing the police, Raju rushed to Dilawari and narrated the incident to her. Sensing trouble, she called for additional police force.

She also got the scene videographed, following which supporters of the accused fled the spot. Raju’s brother Ram Lal was in coma after he was admitted to the PGI in a critical condition on Tuesday night.

Raju reportedly told police that they threatened him of dire consequences if he gave a statement against them. They told him that there were bleak chances of his brother’s survival and he would meet the same fate if he went against them, he claimed.

The police assured him of protection and he left for home after the incident. DSP (South) Vijay Kumar said Raju’s statement was yet to be recorded and action would be taken after examining it.

Raju told the police that he did not know any of his abductors, but could recognise them if they were produced before him. “We will show the video footage to him to identify them,” the DSP said. The police recorded a daily diary report into the incident.

Meanwhile, a local court sent Prince, Sonu Shah, Dilbar and Sukhwinder Singh, arrested for rioting and attempt to murder, to judicial custody. Their fifth accomplice, Parveen, was at large.

The murderous assault had left Mehboob, Akbar, Chander, Taslim, Abdul, Ram Lal, Sazid and Sadam injured on Tuesday night.



Teacher Recruitment
Final list of candidates released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The UT education department has released the list of successful candidates in the teacher-recruitment process, which had been in news for all wrong reasons for the past six months.

After conclusion of the second round of interviews of candidates, who were left out due to discrepancies in the original result, the education department released the final list. The previous result was declared in February this year.

The department has posted the result on the official website for social studies. The list for physical education, Punjabi, Hindi, medical and non-medical courses has also been finalised.

“The list will also include teachers in the JBT category,” said DPI Sunil Bhatia.

According to the department, the new list will not affect those teachers who have already joined the services.

Earlier, a number of unsuccessful candidates cried foul over the compilation of merit list. The department had been evading answers on the issue for long. On revision of the result, an error was detected in the tabulation. Certain deserving candidates were left out during the interviews.



Consumer Court
Forum corrects its mistake, enhances claim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Accepting its mistake of granting less insurance claim to a complainant, the district consumer disputes redressal forum has directed Oriental Insurance Company Limited to enhance it from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.

Pronouncing the orders, the forum held: “It is a cardinal principle of law that no party should suffer due to wrongs committed by the court or the authority. Since the complainant is otherwise entitled to a compensation of Rs 5 lakh, she would be granted the same. The order dated November 21, 2008, therefore needs correction.”

The forum had earlier directed the insurance company to make the payment of Rs 2 lakh to complainant Praveen Kumari Garg.

The complainant had moved an application for correction of the mistake and to enhance the claim. The insurance company had opposed the request on the ground that there was deliberate delay in filing the application.



Tourism dept functions from rented office
Has its own building at Sector 2, Panchkula
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 24
Despite having its own building in Sector 2 here, the Haryana Tourism Department is functioning from a rented accommodation in Sector 17, Chandigarh.

Presently, the Sector 2 building is housing the offices of four government departments, including National Rural Health Mission, State Environment Impact Assessment Society, Mines and Geology Department, Haryana, and Employment Department, Haryana.

According to sources, the main reason for the tourism department not shifting to the new building was the money earned by the department through rents obtained from the four government departments mentioned above.

Sources further said that the tourism department was getting a rent of about Rs 8 lakh per month while it was paying the rent of about Rs 1.20 lakh per month. Thus the department was earning a profit of Rs 81.6 lakh per year by renting out its own building.

The building displays the name “Paryatan Bhawan”, which creates confusion among the general masses, especially the artistes who come to the city for presenting their items during the festivals conducted by the department.

Managing director SN Roy said the low rentals for the Sector 17 building suits them and “law also permits us for that”.

The new building of the tourism department, having a carpet area of around 30,000 sq feet, was constructed about one and a half years ago at a cost of about Rs 4 crore. Former Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala laid the foundation stone of the building.



Row sparks traffic chaos on Ambala highway
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, June 24
Traffic came to a standstill today afternoon for over half an hour today near the diversion to Kalka in Zirakpur on the busy Chandigarh-Ambala highway after an altercation between a Haryana Roadways bus driver and two traffic cops. The incident took place at about 2 pm when a traffic policeman on duty objected to the driver parking the bus on one side of the road.

In their complaint to the police, a traffic police head constable Manjit Singh and constable Surjit said they had asked Sushil Kumar, the driver of the Haryana Roadways bus, to park the bus on the roadside to avoid any traffic jam but he refused. Subsequently the driver began assaulting Surjit and tried to block the highway after parking his bus in the middle of the road, they alleged.

Zirakpur traffic in charge Devinder Singh said the cops were performing their duty but the bus driver “misbehaved” with them.

However, no case was registered as the matter ended with the driver and the traffic cops reaching a compromise.



Dense smoke clouds Phase III as garbage set on fire
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 24
Garbage dumped near the traffic lights, close to Phase III-A, was set on fire in violation of the norms resulting in a lot of pollution in the area.

The fire was set last night after which fire engines had to reach the spot to bring the situation under control. Dense smoke had engulfed the area early this morning much to the annoyance of many residents.

Some of them had also presumed that a major fire had broken out close to Phase III-A. Fire was again noticed in the morning after which fire engines were pressed into service all over again. Employees of the sanitation wing used a JCB machine to assist in the fire-fighting operations so that smouldering could be checked.

A lot of garbage is dumped in the open area close to the seasonal nullah, which was not lifted by the sanitation contractor on a regular basis. It is alleged that garbage was dumped there by safai sewaks who collected it from house to house on rehris.

Devinder Singh, sanitary inspector, said some person plying a rehri had set the garbage on fire.

The role of the contractor was ruled out. He, however, said the contractor lifted the garbage from this point on a daily basis.

Kulwant Singh, president of the municipal council, who was out of station, said he would inquire into the matter once he was back in the town and action would be taken against the contractor if he was found guilty.



Burial Ground
GMADA to acquire land in Balongi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 24
The issue of providing a burial ground in Mohali has at last been solved. The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has agreed to acquire six acres in Balongi village and hand it over to the local civic body.

The issue had become a bone of contention between the Mohali district administration and members of the Muslim community. Residents of Sector 57 and Sector 63 had been objecting to the burials near residential areas.

In the meeting chaired by the ADC, Mohali, it was decided that six acres of panchayat land in Balongi would be acquired for the burial ground.



Sikh history comes alive on stage
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, June 24
A three-day festival of Sikh historical plays organised by the Panj Pani Rangmanch commenced at the Randhawa Auditorium with the staging of a play “Chandni Chowk Ton Sirhind Takk”.

Written by master playwright Gursharan Singh, the play depicted a saga of courage, conviction and supreme sacrifices in a slice of Sikh history under the direction of Jarnail Singh Gogi.

In spite of certain religious principles under which great gurus cannot be presented in flesh and blood, the actors successfully attempted to delineate the factual happenings through narratives supported by light, sound and playback.

Director Gogi, playing Darvesh, ably supported by Parvesh Sethi, SP Singh, Nagenther Gakhar and others illustrated events in three acts. These include an oblique depiction of the supreme sacrifice by great Guru Teg Bahadur and heinous brutality committed on Sahibzadas and rising of Sikh forces to take on the corrupt Mughal rule.

Punjab minister Seva Singh Sekhwan graced the function as the chief guest.



1,500 open account in good wishes bank
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
In order to carry out a new spiritual experiment, a unique bank named “Billion Minutes Good Wishes Bank” was launched here today to mark the Ascension Day of Mateshwari Jagadamba at the Rajyoga Bhawan in Sector 33.

More than 1,500 people in the city opened their good wishes accounts today. For a period of 52 days starting from today to August 15, it has been planned to collect one billion minutes of good wishes throughout the world by Brahma Kumaris organisation.

Home secretary AR Talwar, Punjab, Justice AN Jindal and Justice MM Aggarwal launched the programme.

AR Talwar said this project was innovative and would bring drastic changes in society.

There should be good wishes for everyone without any limitations of caste, religion and nationality. It will help to solve various problems of society, he added.

The main objective of establishing this unique bank is to bring about feelings of universal brotherhood and world peace through the power of good wishes.

This bank also aims to bring together all men, women and children irrespective of their caste, culture, nationality, community, religion, politics and profession to participate in this global project without spending a penny.



Tribune employee bereaved

Chandigarh, June 24
Seventy four-year-old Bimla Devi, mother of Ashok Kapila, sectional head, The Tribune, died here today after a brief illness. She is survived by her husband Kesho Ram, former press supervisor with The Tribune, three sons and a daughter.

The funeral procession will start from House No.1, Tribune Society, Raipur Khurd (near Airport) at 11 am to the Sector-25 crematorium tomorrow. — TNS



Proficiency step-up demanded

Mohali, June 24
The Association of Diploma Engineers, irrigation department, Punjab, has demanded that a proficiency step-up be granted to employees after varying periods of service, failing which an agitation will be started.

Kuldeep Singh Dhiman, general secretary, said the proficiency step-up should be granted after four, nine and 14 years of service. Only junior engineers (JEs) and assistant engineers (AEs) are deprived of such a benefit. Under the previously-adopted Assured Career Progress Scheme, the step-up, which was to be given after eight, 16, 24 and 32 years of service, was denied to JEs and AEs even after their regular service of 24 years and 32 years. — OC



Need to integrate skills, education
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
CII deputy chairman Vijay Thadani, Northern Region, yesterday called for skills’ movement in India, while speaking at the CII Centre, Chandigarh. “Skills and education need to be integrated and this is going to be one of the primary focuses of the CII,” said Vijay Thadani.

Speaking to change the mindset of the industry, Thadani urged the industry to provide dignity on how skills are viewed. “The time is right and the matchmaking is perfect,” he said while mentioning three directional changes by the Government of India.



Students develop hi-tech car

Panchkula, June 24
In order to have zero steer capability separating the direction of the motion of the left wheels with respect to the right wheels in a four-wheeler, students of Swami Devi Dayal Group of Professional Institutes have developed a new car “Cyclone”.

The steering technologies have been named as “two-way integrated steering ” and the transmission-shifter technology as “centrally-assisted power play arrangement”. Using these two technologies, one can rotate the car as a whole without moving back.

“Cyclone” car has been developed by seven final year students of mechanical engineering, including Amandeep Singh, Pulkit Roy, Archit Shekar, Paras Sapra (technical) and Digvijay Dahiya, Hunny Bhasin and Dinesh. — TNS



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