C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Another jolt for admn
MHA wants land acquisition for IT Park’s phase III to be put on hold
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The UT administration’s move to acquire land for phase III of the Information Technology (IT) Park has failed to click with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).Logging the administration off, the ministry has not only recommended putting on hold the land acquisition process for the IT Park, but has also asked it “to develop a plan for the periphery”.

An inquiry into the matter has found fault with the acquisition process. In fact, the inquiry officer has concluded that lack of necessary administrative discretion is clearly manifest in the move to acquire land for phase III.

Quoting the inquiry officer, Deputy Secretary with the Union of India, ML Varma, has asserted: “It has been recommended that till a general development plan for the UT’s peripheral areas is approved by the competent authority, it will seem prudent to require clearance from the MHA of the acquisition proposed for the projects in the peripheral areas on a case-to-case basis”.

In a communication to the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Varma has added: “The report of the inquiry officer has been considered in the Union Home Ministry and it has been decided that in view of the observations made by the inquiry officer, the acquisition of land for IT Park, phase III, should be put on hold. The Chandigarh administration must develop a plan of the periphery, get it approved by the competent authority and approach the Ministry of Environment and Forests to carry out environment impact assessment before going in for further acquisition in accordance with the development plan in the future.”

The letter has been placed before the Division Bench of Justice Jasbir Singh and Justice Augustine George Masih by Assistant Solicitor-General Anmol Rattan Singh Sidhu and Sanjay Joshi.

Referring to the inquiry report, the Deputy Secretary has added: “The inquiry officer has since submitted his report, in which he has, inter alia, concluded that the move to acquire land for the IT Park, phase III, is not adequately based on sound reasoning for the reasons that the land earmarked for the acquisition is under substantial green cover and the land taken possession of for phases I and II together has an area larger than the concept layout plan suggested by the JLL report.”

He has added: “The acquisition of land for phases I and II was in legal battle, utilisation of land for phases I and II was short of expectations and the land value in the area was rising sharply.”

Taking up the matter, the Bench fixed October 25 as the next date of hearing and directed that a senior officer, preferably of Additional Secretary rank, be present in court and file a reply to the issues earlier raised in court.

The Union of India, on the previous date of hearing, had claimed that the inquiry into the “role and extent of involvement of various officers of the Chandigarh administration” in the IT Park land acquisition was complete.

The affidavit came on a bunch of petitions. In one such petition, Didar Singh and two others of Hallo Majra had challenged the notifications issued by the UT administration’s finance department under relevant sections of the Land Acquisition Act for acquiring land for public purposes, including expansion of the IT Park.



2 firemen behind bars
Got job through fraudulent means: CBI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Sleuths of the special crime branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today arrested two firemen of the Chandigarh fire and emergency department on charges of getting employed through fraudulent means.

This was the fourth scam pertaining to wrongful means of admission or recruitment in the city busted by the CBI after the PEC, PGI and CTU scams in the past couple of months.

The CBI said the accused, identified as Satbir Singh and Tinku, hailing from Sonepat district, were arrested and a case of cheating, impersonation and criminal conspiracy was registered against them and their unidentified accomplices under various provisions of the IPC.

It was found during the inquiry and the record seized from the municipal corporation yesterday that the accused had secured employment as firemen by making an impersonator appear in their place in the examination.

The duo was undergoing training at the fire station, Phase II, Industrial Area, and had drawn three months’ salary. It was also said the @accused had been regularised. They would be produced in the CBI special court for police remand tomorrow.

Even as the CBI confirmed the arrest of the duo, sources said the sleuths arrested three persons, including Pawan Kumar, also a fireman. Pawan was posted at the Ram Darbar fire station.

The fire department had conducted a recruitment test in May this year and 47 persons were recruited for the posts of fireman, telephone operator and driver.

The sources said the alleged mastermind of the CTU recruitment scam told the investigator that the impersonator appeared in the fire department recruitment examination. The CBI initiated a probe on his disclosure.

The sources further revealed that Rajiv Roy, Rinku Kumar and Newton Kumar Bharti, arrested by investigating officials for impersonating as original candidates in the CTU bus conductor examination, confessed that they had also appeared in place of three firemen.

They hailed from Bihar and were preparing for the IAS examinations. A local court had remanded them to judicial 
custody in the CTU recruitment scam.

CBI sources said Sandeep would arrange good students, provide them accommodation and transport and offer handsome amounts to them for appearing as candidates in examinations.Back


Airtel grounded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Hundreds of Airtel landline phone subscribers in Chandigarh and Mohali have been inconvenienced for the past three days because of a snag in its exchange.Subscribers complained that their phone and broadband services remained disrupted since Saturday.

Officials in the telecom company said services were disrupted because they were upgrading their telephone exchange.

They said this was being done in a phased manner and many connections had already been restored.

“We hope to restore all other phone and broadband connections by tonight,” said a company spokesman.



No plots for oustees till quota norms are fixed
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 12
Hundreds of oustees whose land had been acquired for constructing various housing projects in Mohali will not be entitled to assured allotment of plots in those schemes. However, a certain percentage of plots will be fixed for the oustees quota on the pattern presently being followed for various ‘reserved’ categories.

The percentage of plots to be reserved for the oustees will be fixed in a new policy being framed by the Punjab housing & urban development department following a recent decision by a full bench of the Punjab & Haryana High Court.

The new yardstick will be adopted for the oustees, whose land had been acquired about 10 years ago for Sector 76 to 80 housing scheme and the oustees whose land has been acquired under the Aerocity project. Issuing of allotment letters to about 800 oustees in the two schemes has been stayed till the new policy was not framed.

“Since the total reservation of plots for various categories should not exceed 50 per cent, the chances are that a draw of lots will be held for the oustees if the number of applicants was bigger”, pointed out a Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) official.

The issue has cropped up following the judgment by a full bench of the high court comprising of chief justice Mukul Mudgul and justices Jasbir Singh and Hemant Gupta after the oustees of the Sectors 76-80 housing scheme went to the court against the GMADA (erstwhile PUDA) policy on oustees that stated “All oustees of any joint ‘khata’ would be entitled to one plot only”.

While striking down the relevant clause of the policy on oustees, the full bench has observed “a co-owner, as per the eligibility criteria fixed by the state government, shall be entitled to be considered for allotment of a plot irrespective of the fact that his holding of land is joint with other co-owner. However, the oustees as a class in themselves would be entitled to reservation of plots to such an extent as the state government may deem appropriate”.

The high court has further observed that, till an appropriate policy was not framed, the state government would not allot plots under the oustees quota.

GMADA chief administrator VP Singh said the matter had been referred to the Punjab government for framing the policy.


Declamation Contests
Award money hiked from Rs 150 to Rs 5,000
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The prize money for prestigious declamation contests “AC Bali” and “KK Grover”, held at Panjab University annually, has been raised from Rs 150 to Rs 5,000, as decided at the Senate meeting on Sunday.

The popular contests, which are conducted by the language departments of the university, have been named after university employees. Students from colleges across the region participate in these declamation contests each year.

Besides, the university calendar specifically mentions about the contests and the winners are awarded at the annual convocation ceremony of the university, along with PhD holders, gold medallists and toppers of PU.

A committee was formed to raise the prize money of these contests a year ago, but the members differed on the subject.

One section of the committee members felt that the prize money was not important, it is the honour given to the winners, which is a real motivation.

One lobby opined that Rs 150 was too merger to lure good speakers to participate in the event. Other members, on the other hand, feel that the family members of the persons, in whose memory the award has been incepted, must be contacted first and the issue must be discussed with them first.

At the Senate meeting, the issue was raised by fellow Gurmeet Singh, who said the House must consider revising the prize money of the events.

PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti then approved of bringing the agenda before the House and it was decided to increase the prize money to Rs 5,000 for the first-prize winner.

The prize money for second, third and consolation prizes are yet to be worked out, said official sources. 



‘Obesity increases risk in surgery’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Dr Harinder Batth, an orthopaedic surgeon, during a programme, said knee replacement in over-weight patients was associated with increased risk of infection and surgical difficulties.

Because of thick fat over knee joints in obese patients, the standard approach has a complication rate up to 20 per cent such as infection, wound problems and intra-operative ligament injury, as reported in an international literature.

It’s a known fact that obesity increases the adverse effect of surgery. However, technical advancements in the field of surgery have now proved otherwise, he said.

The “Anterolateral approach for knee replacement” takes away the arthritic knee pain and gives patients another opportunity to enjoy pain-free movements and another chance to reduce their weight.

It may be mentioned here that this new innovation was presented in the recently concluded International Symposium “Asia Pacific Arthroplasty Society” in New 

He further claimed that recent studies have shown good results of knee replacement in obese and overweight patients, if they have good wound healing and their ligaments are taken care of. Anterolateral approach opens a new era for such patients to have a successful knee surgery.



IT survey at offices of four firms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
In a major scrutiny drive in the city, the income tax department today carried out surveys at the premises of four leading business houses including immigration consultancy firm Canam Consultants Ltd and a share trading company, Vikson Commodities Pvt Ltd. The other two firms surveyed are Mohan Fibre Products Ltd, a moulded fibre packaging producer, and Black Apparel India Ltd, a readymade garment manufacturer.

Confirming the survey operations, AK Kaushal, income tax commissioner (CIT1), told The Tribune the surveys commenced around noon and almost 20 premises owned by the four companies in and around the city were covered.

While he refused to give any details of the outcome of the survey on the plea that the operations were still under way, sources close to the department said several incriminating documents found at the business premises of these firms had been impounded.

A team led by additional commissioner, range II, Kalpana Kataria started the survey at noon and it was under way till the filing of this report. The sources said the survey was conducted on the basis of a tipoff regarding discrepancies in the companies’ accounts.

Meanwhile, the survey conducted by the income tax department on September 29 on paper manufacturer Nachiketa Papers Ltd led to the surrender of unaccounted income of Rs 5 crore.



CHB staff worried about pension
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The ongoing tussle between UT administration officials and the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has left the latter’s staff a worried lot. The recent blame game between the two over fixing accountability for the board’s empty coffers has created apprehensions among the nearly 500 employees about receiving their postretirement pension.

Members of the CHB employees union today met the advisor to the UT administrator in this regard and apprised him about their misgivings. The advisor is said to have assured them he would look into the matter.

According to the union members, a proposal had been mooted in the past to shift from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) pension benefits to a better LIC scheme for the benefit of the employees. They claimed this was done following a provision under the clause 16(1)(b) in the EPF Rules, 1951 that said if employees of any organisation could opt for a different pension scheme if they found it more beneficial than the existing one.

Legal opinion was also sought and the then standing counsel of the UT administration also reiterated that CHB employees were eligible to get pension as they are governed by same terms and conditions as those of the administration. The RPFC commissioner has also issued a ‘no objection certificate’ for the same. Moreover, the employees have already been given an option for implementation of the pension scheme.

It may be mentioned here that CHB is governed by the Haryana Housing Board Act, 1971, extended to the Chandigarh Housing Board, which states in section 12 of chapter II that contributory provident fund (CPF) under the Provident Fund Act, 1925 is applicable to the board’s employees.

However in 1988 CHB adopted the provision of the employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provision Act, 1952, called the EPF scheme, as per the statutory provision of the EPF Act, 1952. Since then it has been made applicable in all establishments and organisations engaged in building and construction having a staff strength of 20 or more. Accordingly, the funds available under CPF and interest thereon were transferred to the regional provident fund commissioner, Chandigarh.

The employees union further stated CHB had notified the “Officers & Servants Service Regulations, 2003” on October 17, 2003 in exercise of the power conferred by section 11 of the Haryana Housing Board Act, 1971 with previous approval of the UT administrator.



Residents’ body meets CHB chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
A deputation of FOSWAC, led by chairman PC Sanghi, met Chandigarh Housing Board Chairman Mohanjit Singh today over the issuance of notices to residents of CHB flats for making need-based changes/ violations in their houses.

The Chairman assured the deputation of not initiating action against the residents of EWS, LIG and MIG houses for internal need-based changes/violations made by them.

Even in the case of higher-category houses, action will only be taken against those who have made serious violations, a press note claimed here today.

Meanwhile, the Chairman along with Chief Engineer, Senior Architect and other officers of the board visited housing board colonies in Sector 38 (W), Sector 51 and Sector 52 this afternoon and listened to the grievances of Residents Welfare Associations. They assured them of taking necessary steps in the matter, the press note added.



Councillors’ study tour deferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The tour of local councillors to Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram from October 18 to 25 has been postponed following elections to the Cochin municipal corporation slated for October 24.

Mayor Anu Chartath has written to MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria to postpone the tour till a new mayor is elected to the Cochin MC. The Mayor said a majority of councillors who were going on the study tour had opined that there was no need to go ahead with the tour when there was no elected body there. The councillors want to study the execution of 74th amendment in the Cochin MC.



Court rejects bail plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
A CBI special court today rejected the application for regular bail of the six accused in the CTU bus conductor recruitment examination fraud case.

The court also sent Mohinder Bajaj, aide of Nishi Kant, the alleged mastermind in the Punjab Engineering College admission scam, to two-day police remand.

The CBI today produced Newton, Rajiv, Rinku and Sonu in court, which sent the accused to judicial custody. With this, all 10 accused were now in judicial custody.

The six accused, including Vikas, Manoj, Gajendra, Sanjay and Sandeep, the alleged mastermind in the recruitment scam, had moved an application, seeking regular bail, which was rejected today.

The CBI and the Chandigarh police registered cases on October 3. Meanwhile, the CBI secured two-day police custody of Mohinder Bajaj.

The public prosecutor, seeking police remand, said the accused had a joint account with a woman and investigating officials wanted to the trace her to further investigate links of the accused.



Mumbai man brought on production warrants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The police today brought Mumbai resident Rupesh Verma, wanted in several cases of defrauding city residents of Rs 2 lakh, on production warrants from Delhi. He was lodged in the Tihar Jail in similar cases.

Sources in the crime branch said Naresh Kumar of Sector 28 had lodged a complaint, accusing Verma of duping him of Rs 80,000. He alleged that Verma had introduced himself as a managing director of a firm and offered him huge loans after taking cheques from him. Verma had duped six city residents.



Rare pieces of furniture
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Five rare pieces of furniture have been added to the furniture collection at the Le Corbusier Centre, Sector 19-B.These have been loaned by the Punjab Engineering College University of Technology, Sector 12.

These have been collected from the Shivalik and Himalaya hostels and belong to the period between 1958 and 1962.

All pieces of furniture are in teakwood and have main designs of Pierre Jeanerette.



Police’s Pehla Kadam for needy kids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The Chandigarh police started “Pehla Kadam”, a computer training course, for the underprivileged children from Bapu Dham Colony as a welfare measure at the computer laboratory in the Recruitment Training Centre, Police Lines, Sector 26, here today.

UT IGP PK Srivastava inaugurated the course for imparting basic training in computers to children for a period of one and half months.

The IGP said the knowledge of computers improved job prospects for youngsters, as most jobs involved the use of computer.

The children would be given a certificate issued by the Chandigarh Police Family Welfare Society on the completion of the course. Among others, UT SSP (headquarters) Alok Kumar and UT SP (traffic) HS Doon were present.



505 more applicants successful
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 12
The draw of lots for 150 sq yard plots in Aerocity was held by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) today.

Against 31,106 applications, 505 applicants were successful in the draw of lots, including plots for reserved category. In sports category, there was one application against one plot.

GMADA officials said the last draw of lots for 125 sq yard would be held tomorrow. An interesting aspect of the draw was that an applicant in the defence category, Krishan Chand, hit the jackpot when his receipt was taken out from the draw box by his daughter-in-law Komal.

Officials in GMADA said they would start the process of refunding the money by first week of November.



Despite MC upgrade, ground realities worsen
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 12
From a VIP city with regard to development perspective to a literally non-existing city, it seems that Panchkula over the years has fallen on bad days.Though Panchkula municipal corporation was formed seven months back by merging Pinjore and Kalka, instead of getting any relief problem of the residents have further increased. Residents feel that there was no improvement in the basic infrastructure and converting council into corporation was only a political move and it had nothing to do with the problems of public.

The city, which was once known in Haryana for stride in development projects due to keen interest taken by two successive Chief Ministers Bhajan Lal and Bansi Lal, no more boasts of development projects. The present Hooda Government has not initiated any major projects in the last few years.

Today, the roads are full of potholes and the newly created municipal corporation has no staff to cater to the basic needs of the residents. Green belts are in bad shape as stray cattle and dogs rule the roost.

Even as the status of the civic body has changed from municipal council to municipal corporation, it is still functioning from a borrowed building of Community Centre in Sector 4 here.

Sources in the Congress said the state government was not showing any interest in the development of the city as both, former MLA Chander Mohan and MLA DK Bansal were close to Shailja group who was considered close to former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal.

However, Bansal, while refraining from making any comment over this issue, said he had been trying his best to bring mega projects for the city.

Commenting over the elections to the municipal corporation, Bansal said decision in this regard had to be taken by the state government. He said even though he tried to solve the problems, people preferred to have their local representatives in the corporation through whom they could raise their voice.

Corporation is also facing shortage of staff, which had further slowed down the pace of development in the city. According to sources, there were only 54 employees against the approved strength of 107 for disbanded municipal council, who catered to the needs of more than 3,14,000 people of the city.

After Panchkula being notified as municipal corporation on March 19, the district administration had submitted a list of about 300 employees, including a Commissioner, 3 Joint Commissioners, 5 executive engineers, one corporation secretary, one superintending engineer, 11 assistant engineers and 33 junior engineers and others.

However, Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner, municipal corporation, Ashima Brar said most of the works of the corporation, including the maintenance of streetlights, have been outsourced. The administration has also started immunisation of stray dogs to control their population besides penalising the owners of the stray cattle.

Former BJP Councillor, BB Singal, said the city had been totally neglected as no new development schemes or projects were initiated during the past few years. He said there was a dire need of educational institutes of higher learning, multi-specialty hospital and industries in the city.

He said the young generation was moving out of the city for greener pastures in other parts of the country. The people, especially the senior citizens, were feeling insecure due to this social aspect.

SK Nayyar, president of the Citizen’s Welfare Association, said the municipal corporation was in a quiet status, which was not good for the town. He said the people were facing problems, as they could not raise their problems through their representatives as no elections were being held for the corporation.

He said the city had been one of the biggest revenue-generating cities in Haryana, but rued that funds were being diverted to other parts of the state. 



Damaged ‘Shera’ to be replaced
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 12
The issue of installing back the stolen Shera, the mascot of Common Wealth Games (CWG) at Mohali, had become a headache for Mohali District Administration.A day after the mascot was found abandoned near Togan village in UT by the Chandigarh police, the Mohali administration spent the entire day discussing the issue. The mascot was damaged by the unscrupulous elements, who while removing the mascot damaged its base.

The Station House Officer, Phase I, said after being informed by the UT police, Shera was brought to the police station before being handed over the administration.

Abninder Singh Grewal, owner of Gary Arts, who installed the mascot, said another replica of the mascot, which was lying with him, would be installed at the same place tomorrow.



Navratra festival at Mansa Devi
Shopkeepers protest change of routes
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 12
Irked over the indifferent attitude of the district administration, shopkeepers near the Mata Mansa Devi shrine staged a dharna in the complex protesting against the administration for changing the entry and exit routes to the shrine.

In a memorandum to local MLA DK Bansal, the shopkeepers said this was the only time they could make earnings. He said for the past one year the administration had changed the routes and the devotees coming from far off places could not visit their shops resulting in huge losses.

Bansal urged the board officials for finding an amicable solution to shopkeepers’ demand. However, board officials maintained that the route was earmarked for the smooth conduct of the Navratra fair as lakhs of devotees visited the shrine during the 9-day fair.

Meanwhile, more than 45,000 devotees visited the temple till this evening and offered Rs 9.66 lakh, besides 74 items of silver and five gold ornaments. Hussain brothers, vocalists from the Jaipur Gharana, enthralled the audience with bhajan recitals late in the evening. 



Talent in full bloom
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Dramatics club of PEC University of Technology organised its first event of the year “Aaghaz” on the college auditorium here today.Eight dance events and three skits were performed by students of the PEC dramatics club. They performed comedy skits like “Mughle Azam”, “Billu Barber” and “Jiske budhi uski bains”.

A fusion of various dances like bhangra and Hollywood hip-hop were also presented. The function ended with a huge round of applause by the college students.

“The director of PEC and teachers were present to motivate the first year students, who showed immense talent on the stage,” said Sidhanth, a third year student of PEC.



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