C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CHB Housing Scheme for UT Employees
Top officials closer to allotment
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
A UT administration’s scheme to allot itself the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) flats moved a step closer to fruition with the names of over a dozen IAS, IPS, PCS and HCS officers along with almost an equal number of civil judges figuring in the list of eligible candidates for the housing scheme floated for UT employees.

Prominent among those who figure as eligible candidates for the ‘Category-A’ flats under the special Housing Scheme for UT employees include Adviser to the UT Administrator Pradip Mehra, UT Finance Secretary-cum-Secretary, Housing, Sanjay Kumar, former UT IGP Shanti Kumar Jain, DIG (operations) Mahabir Singh, former chief executive officer, CHB, Amarnath, assistant estate officer Hargunjit Kaur, former SSP Dinesh Bhat, former joint secretary (Home) Bhupinder Singh, MC additional commissioner (I) TPS Phoolka, Vandana Disodia, Niharika Rai, Madhur Verma and former UT conservator of forests Ishwar Singh, besides over a dozen civil judges.

The names of 7,666 eligible applicants under four different categories have been displayed at the Sector 9 CHB office along with the names of 96 ineligible candidates.

The special housing scheme was floated in 2008. It had earlier run into rough weather for the eligibility criteria. The CHB had even announced the draw of lots as the Diwali bonanza for employees. However, given the fact that the department of urban planning rejected the design and layout plans of the scheme, it still remains to be seen if the CHB is able to keep its promise.

Till date, each applicant for the Category A, B or C house has deposited between Rs 70,000 and Rs 1.75 lakh as the initial deposit for the housing scheme since March 2008. Thanks to the delay in the scheme, most of the applicants, who had got their applications financed through various banks, have already paid interest on the earnest money they had paid to the board.

As a norm, all of them had to pay six months’ interest to the bank in advance on the amount that they have taken individually. Till now, on an average, an employee applying for a ‘Category B’ house has already paid Rs 40,000 as the interest to the bank.

Candidates in ‘Category A’

  • Adviser to UT Administrator Pradip Mehra
  • UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar
  • Former UT IGP Shanti Kumar Jain
  • DIG (op) Mahabir Singh
  • Former CEO, CHB, Amarnath
  • Assistant estate officer Hargunjit Kaur
  • Former SSP Dinesh Bhat
  • Former joint secretary (Home) Bhupinder Singh
  • MC additional commissioner (I) TPS Phoolka
  • Vandana Disodia, Niharika Rai, Madhur Verma
  • Former conservator of forests, UT, Ishwar Singh 

Still waiting

While the special housing scheme for UT employees seem to be back on track, allottees of a housing scheme in Sector 63, which was floated in 2007, are still waiting for their dreams to be realised. For, the CHB is yet to float tenders for the construction work. Even the allottees of the Sector 49 general housing scheme were given possession of their flats in 2009, a year-and-a-half after the stipulated deadline.

Flat categories

Category A (3 bedroom)

Area: 2,000 sq ft. Cost: Rs 34.7 lakh

Category B (2 bedroom)

Area: 1,400 sq ft. Cost: Rs 24.3 lakh

Category C (1 bedroom)

Area: 900 sq ft. Cost: Rs 13.53 lakh

Number of eligible candidates

Category A 546

Category B 326

Category C 5,981

Category D 863

Ineligible candidates 96


Latest to add to the bag of controversies are a section of applicants who had applied in the ‘Category B’ but after a revision of pay scale in retrospective, they became eligible for the ‘Category A’ flats. They had moved the High Court which had ordered to provisionally include these applicants for consideration under the ‘Category A’ flats. The CHB authorities have invited the names of such applicants by October 25 for a revised option.

The scheme had run into rough weather in the beginning itself when a section of employees of Panjab University and another institution had challenged the inclusiveness of the scheme. Four employees of the Delhi Finance Corporation had also moved court over the eligibility of deputationists in the scheme. The scheme had been since then hanging fire with the court reserving its judgment for almost a year. The judgment only came in the first quarter of this year.



Anti-encroachment Drive
MC staff manhandled
Tribune News Service

MC enforcement staff remove material lying in the corridor of Shastri Market, Sector 22, during an anti-encroachment drive in Chandigarh on Saturday
MC enforcement staff remove material lying in the corridor of Shastri Market, Sector 22, during an anti-encroachment drive in Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune photo: S Chandan 

Chandigarh, October 23
High drama prevailed at the Sector 22 Shastri Market when MC employees were manhandled by an unruly mob of shopkeepers who were protesting against an anti-encroachment drive this afternoon. The irritated mob also broke the windscreen of vehicles of the MC enforcement staff soon after the drive started. As many as 78 shopkeepers were challaned and the enforcement staff seized 5 truckloads of items while clearing the passage of the market, which was encroached upon by the shopkeepers. The incident took a violent turn when the MC staff targeted the shop of Sham Sunder, president of Shastri Market, for encroaching the corridors in front of his shop. Infuriated, he challenged the MC staff to remove the material from his shop and carry on the drive. Sensing the mood of the shopkeepers, the enforcement staff led by the police forcibly began removing the goods lying in the corridors.

A majority of shopkeepers of the market began protesting on the road against the enforcement staff and alleged that the team was following pick and choose policy in removing the encroachments from the market.

After an hour argument with the enforcement staff led by MC Additional Commissioner II Lalit Siwach, area councillor Pardeep Chabbra intervened to resolve the matter.

Lalit Siwach said that before conducting the drive, a warning had been given to all shopkeepers to remove the encroachments by themselves. He said that the drive was being conducted by the enforcement staff in view of the approaching festival season, as complaints were received that there was congestion in the rehri markets due to encroachments by the shopkeepers.

He said as the festival season was on and major markets, including Sector 19, 22, 34 and 35 were jampacked and if any untoward incident took place it would be difficult for the commuters to escape from the market due to encroachments in the corridors.

When contacted, Sham Sundar alleged that there was no fixed policy for confiscating their material while conducting drives. He said that the MC had permitted them to display their material in 2-feet area in front of the shop but during drives they usually considered it also as an encroachment by the shopkeepers.

Meanwhile, the enforcement staff seized 5 truckloads of items while clearing the passage of the market, which was encroached upon by the shopkeepers. The team challaned 78 shopkeepers for encroaching the corridors of the market.

Earlier incidents

  • In March this year during a routine drive in Sector 22 Shastri market one of the shopkeeper manhandled the enforcement staff inspector.
  • In July when special drive was conducted to remove encroachments near juice shops, two employees of the shop manhandled the encroachment staff



Forget car, Mohali to have swanky public transport
GMADA, PRTC to run low-floor AC buses
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 23
Mohali can now look forward to a much improved and reliable public transport. In its 35-year history, the city will have a fleet of low floor air-conditioned buses by early next year.

The state-owned Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) is tying with the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) under a unique Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) model to run the AC bus service.

Chief administrator, GMADA, VP Singh said a meeting to work out the modalities of the bus service, which figures in a detailed report submitted by the PRTC, has been scheduled for next week. PRTC managing director Manvesh Singh Sidhu said it would take them four months to start the bus service after the viability of the project is worked out.

The PRTC will not only operate on different routes between Mohali and Chandigarh, but also connect surrounding townships, including Kharar, Landran, Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Banur. GMADA has been asked to provide a capital outlay of Rs 25 crore to purchase and maintain a fleet of about 60 buses.

The bus service will partially address the current deficiency of a public transport system in Mohali, comprising a range of residential, commercial and industrial sectors with a 3.5 lakh population. But this may not be

sufficient since Mohali is slated to expand to 125 sectors from the present 30.

The master plan of this city envisages many new mega residential and industrial projects. Residents and daily commuters travelling between Mohali and Chandigarh currently have to depend on the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses which operate on a grid system.

Under the SPV model, it has been proposed to run low floor buses for local routes between Mohali and Chandigarh, semi-low floor buses on routes between peripheral townships and Mohali and mini-buses to run on shorter routes and congested roads within Mohali. The mini-buses would also run on routes between different sectors and important destinations such as the Mohali bus stand, Mohali district administrative complex and the Sector 43 inter-state bus terminus in Chandigarh. The buses will run from the East to the West edge of the horizontally planned town.

Though the PRTC has proposed 20 buses each under three categories - low floor, semi-low floor and mini-buses - at a cost of around Rs 25 crore, GMADA officials said they were proposing to initially fund 20 buses and the remaining 40 buses in phases. “Providing finance is not an issue. The technicalities have to be worked out,” said GMADA chief administrator VP Singh.

Under the model of revenue, the PRTC has projected revenue earnings from monthly passes, from advertisement rights on buses and fixed charges from GMADA for operating, maintaining and the upkeep of buses. GMADA was contemplating to point out that the revenue earned from these buses should be invested in buying more buses and maintaining the bus queue shelters. 

Proposed fare

Up to 5 km: Rs 10
5 km to 15 km: Rs 15
15 km to 25 km: Rs 20
Over 25 km: Rs 25

What needs to be done?

  • Widen roads to run low-floor buses
  • Bus queue shelters need to be maintained well and made user-friendly
  • Bus service connecting peripheral towns to Mohali



From heena, facial, waxing to stitching clothes
...Anything for you teacher
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
With Karva Chauth just three days away, UT government school students have their hands literally full; not with books but with heena cones.

In what seems to have become an annual ritual, students, including those of classes X and XII, have been asked to apply heena on their teachers’ hands and feet. Students of vocational courses are going a step further by stitching clothes for their teachers and that, too, free of cost.

Sources said students enrolled in various courses like fine arts, stitching, beauty techniques and hair dressing were asked to get free from their classes by 10 am on Monday. Free “services”, which include applying heena, stitching clothes, waxing and facials, have left these students grumbling.

When contacted, DPI (Schools) PK Sharma said such things would not be tolerated and the education department would keep a check on all schools. Culprits would be punished, he added.

“I have been applying heena on teachers’ hands since Class VIII. I am a fine arts student. Last year, I had applied heena on the hands of a dozen

teachers. One of them even paid me Rs 51. We cannot say much, but it becomes intolerable at times. I have to prepare for my board exams. Every single day counts. I was planning to take an off on Monday and study. But now I will have to toil uselessly,” revealed a Class XII student.

“Earlier, the UT education department would set up stalls, sell our work and earn money. Over the last one week, I have stitched blouses for almost 10 teachers, as all of them wanted these before Karva Chauth. It is not just during the festive season that we are kept busy. Rather, throughout the year we are asked to alter suits and stitch bags,” added another student of a vocational course.

If the buzz in the education department is anything to go by, teachers of a government school were in for a rude shock when they had to break their mini shopping expo following a rumour of surprise inspection. The teachers had allegedly called a trader in school and were buying bags and suits. It eventually turned out to be a rumour eventually, leaving the teachers cribbing.


Snatchers on the prowl in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Making mockery of tall claims of tight security in the city by the Chandigarh Police, the snatchers have been on the prowl of late. Four snatching incidents at different sectors, including one unsuccessful attempt and one theft today, just corroborated the fact that the law and order situation is not up to the mark here.

On an average, everyday at least one snatching incidents in the past couple of days has been witnessed. As the festival season is on, the Chandigarh Police has claimed to have made special security arrangements to curb anti-social elements. Even special ‘nakas’ are being laid at various places but all such attempts seemed to have proved futile with the rise in snatching and theft incidents.

On the issue, UT officiating SSP HS Doon said that the police had identified some of snatchers and would soon arrest them. “We are also laying traps to lure the snatchers through women police officials, who are being positioned at various points wearing ornaments.

Snatching incidents

1) A 78-year-old woman, Santosh, lost her 45 gm gold chain to two scooter riders in front of her residence at Sector 42 this morning. According to Santosh, both the snatchers were between 18 to 20 years of age and were wearing orange sweaters. “I was standing in front of my house when the snatchers came and sped away after snatching my chain,” told Santosh to the police.

2) Thirty-year-old Sukhpreet, also from Sector 42, was lucky as she became the victim of unsuccessful attempt of chain snatching. Sukhpreet complained that two motorcycle- borne youths attempted to snatch her gold chain in front of her house. “The attempt proved futile as the miscreants could not snatch my chain which consequently fell down. Meanwhile, both the snatchers fled away on their bike,” alleged Sukhpreet.

3) The third victim, Aarti, a resident of Sector 44, alleged that she lost her chain to two motorcycle- borne youths when she was travelling by rickshaw to meet her relative in Sector 40. “The snatchers just came near the rickshaw and snatched my chain and sped away before I could react,” said Aarti in her complaint.

4) Ramandeep (32), a resident of Sector 32, lost her purse, containing Rs 1,000 and a mobile phone in Sector 22 near Kiran Theatre. She alleged that she was 
coming from Shastri Market when two motorcycle- borne youths snatched her purse near the theatre and fled away.



Power snag hits water supply in Raipur Khurd
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Power failure following a high velocity winds and later heavy downpour yesterday hit the water supply to Raipur Khurd village for around 20 hours.

Tube wells could not function in the absence of power and as a result, taps went dry. The municipal corporation (MC) made the last supply of water from 5 am to 9 am yesterday. Till the filing of this report, many areas in the village were yet to be supplied water. Residents said the MC should have made arrangements for such situations well in time.

Harjeet, a resident of the village, said: “The situation was a little better as schools are closed, but the daily chores were a problem. There was neither water in the morning nor in the afternoon today.” He added that though power was restored in the village at around 9 am, the water supply was not available till 5 pm.

Poonam, a resident, complained that without water the entire day was disturbed. “No water tanker was made available by the MC and it did not even direct tube well operators to supply water before time,” she said, adding that MC being city’s largest civic body, neither the sarpanch of the village nor officials had thought of introducing generators at tube wells.

When contacted, Chandigarh electricity department official said the situation had more or less been resolved, and the village residents would get normal water supply by today evening.

“We have repaired the fault in power supply line that had got some technical snag due to heavy downpour yesterday,” he stated.



Kanishka Tragedy
Co-pilot’s widow not happy with compensation
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 23
The offer made by the Canadian government to offer USD 20,000 to USD 25,000 to the families of each Air India Kanishka victim has been described as a mere joke by Amarjeet Kaur, widow of Kanishka co-pilot SS Bhinder.

She told The Tribune that 25 years after all 329 persons on board Flight 182 from Montreal to New Delhi perished, the offer was nothing more than a mockery. “USD 1,000 an year was a joke. The guilty have not been punished,” she said.

She said a Canada-based family of a victim told her that a meeting was held yesterday but no decision had been taken so far.

It has been a quarter century since the tragedy, but the grief remains as pronounced. She closes her eyes for a moment, recalling 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.

Though the families had already been paid about USD 75,000 each in an out of court settlement a few years ago, a former Canadian Chief Justice John Major in a public inquiry had asked the government to compensate the families further.

But some of the families are not happy with the offer.



Mushaira enthrals audience
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 23
Prominent poets regaled audience at a poetic symposium Shaam-e-Ghazal organised by the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademy at the UBS auditorium, PU, here today.

Akademy chairperson welcomed audience and chief guest Ram Niwas, IAS, who rendered a ghazal “Safar mein dhoop to hogi jo chal sko toh chalo …”.

Earlier, internationally acclaimed lyrical poet with real vision Ramendra Jakhu, IAS, doled out five ghazals.

Mehak Bharti stole the lime light with her Urdu ghazals and Hindi geets. Prolific Punjabi poets Nirmal Dutt and Vijay Vivek were very impressive. Noted poet and Akademy secretary Madhav Kaushik conducted the mushaira with admirable literary elegance.



Cultures brought alive

Chandigarh, October 23
Young artistes brought alive the diverse cultures during the Annual Intra-Regional Cultural Festival organised by the Northern Region Transmission System II of Power Grid Corporation of India at Tagore Theatre here today.

Chief guest Ashok Khanna, director, Powergrid, gave away prizes. — OC



Cab hits 30-year-old man, injured
Tribune News Service

The tempo that overturned after hitting two-wheelers on the Kalka-Zirakpur highway on Saturday
The tempo that overturned after hitting two-wheelers on the Kalka-Zirakpur highway on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, October 23
A 30-year-old man was injured when a Maxi cab hit him near the old Panchkula chowk on the National Highway- 22 here this afternoon.

The injured has been identified as Pawan, resident of Lalru. He was immediately taken to the Sector 6 General Hospital from where he was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, where his condition was said to be serious.

The owner of the cab Rinku said the incident occurred when he tried to save himself from a speeding tipper coming from the opposite direction near the chowk.

He said though he had put the right indicator and signalled to take right turn, the driver ignored his signal.

Rinku said he diverted his cab to his left in order to save himself and in the process hit Pawan, who was also standing on the road. The cab overturned after hitting the motorcycle and a scooter parked on the road.




Chandigarh, October 23
A national symposium on “New Horizons in Avionic Display-2010” was organised at Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) on Saturday. Experts from various parts of the country deliberated upon display technologies, sensors, optics, metrology, fabrication, certification and standards.

PS Subramanyam, director, Aeronautical Development Agency, and project head of Light Combat Aircraft said one should come out with newer display technologies and advanced cockpit displays like Helmet Mounted Display. — TNS



Merchant Navy officers donate Rs 1 lakh for Leh victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The Chandigarh chapter of the Merchant Navy Officers Association has contributed Rs 1 lakh towards the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the victims of cloudburst that devastated Leh recently.

The chapter is also financially helping the family of a seaman who was killed by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. This was stated during the release of its members’ directory at a function held here today. Head of the Orthopaedic Department, PGI, Prof MS Dhillon was the chief guest on the occasion.



Engineering students design three-wheeler
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), Panjab University, today hosted a national-level event “Efficycle”.

The event was organised by SAE (Society of Automotive Engineering).

Around 17 teams from institutes like IIT-Roorkee, NIT Rourkela, IGIT, Delhi, Madras Institute of Technology, Mulana Azad Institute of Technology, BITS Pilani, KIET Ghaziabad and NIT Jamshedpur participated in the event.

Students created a two-seater three-wheeler “innovative cycle”.

The two-day event saw the testing of technical part and practical running of cycles created by various teams.

The wining team will be awarded Rs 1 lakh.



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