C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Police lucks out, gets its accused
Set-up leaves mother in trauma
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
In a bizarre twist of fate, the police got hold of a car theft accused, but not before putting his mother through emotional trauma.

For the Chandigarh Police, it was a “smart” set-up to catch Kapil, a driver with Kajheri resident Arvinder Singh, who allegedly stole his employer’s Honda City car on Wednesday morning. But their “professional skills” ended up traumatizing a worried mother, Suman, who was told that her son was lying in a hospital bed with a fractured leg after meeting with an accident.

After receiving a complaint from the owner of the car around 8 am, the police procured the telephone number of the mother of the accused through a Karnal-based placement agency that had arranged the job for Kapil.

Expecting to extract some information from Suman, the police fabricated a story of her son’s accident and asked her to come to Chandigarh immediately.

As luck would have it, before Suman could leave from her residence in Kundli, near Delhi, she received another call, this time from the Haryana Police, informing that her son had met with an accident and badly injured two persons at Trawidi, near Karnal. They asked her to come to the Trawidi police station immediately.

Bewildered by conflicting information about her son’s status, Suman called up the Chandigarh Police and accused it of misleading her.

She told them that her son had been arrested by the Haryana Police in an accident case. Startled by the information, the Chandigarh police brushed aside the issue saying it was just a ploy to catch the accused. Enthused by the information, they contacted the Haryana police to ascertain the identity of the accused.

On getting a match both of the accused and the car, the Chandigarh police dispatched a team to Trawidi police station to get his custody.



MC has no database of encroachments
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

No list, admits MC official

MC Additional Commissioner-II Lalit Siwach “The department has not prepared any list of encroachers. It is for the first time that a list of habitual offenders is being prepared on the directions of the enforcement committee. Preparing a list of offenders will not serve the purpose so long as the department continues to face a shortage of staff to effectively check this menace.

Proposal on fine

About four years ago, a draft recommendation to increase the fine from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000 was sent to the UT Administration, which had forwarded it to the Union Government for approval. Neither the MC councillors nor officials have any information about the fate of the proposal.

Hot Spots

n Parantha sellers near Home Science College in Sector 10
n Area adjoining PGI in Sector 14
n Area adjoining Panjab University in Sector 15
n Opposite the bus stand in Sector 22
n Sector 48 motor market
n Fruit sellers on the Sectors 51 and 52 roundabout
n Manimajra motor market

Staff crunch

Records show that the market of Sector 58 are headed by two enforcement inspectors, out of which one is from the public health department. Similarly, out of 15 enforcement sub-inspectors, eight are regular employees. Even the supporting staff has a similar story. Out of 97 supporting labour staff, 22 are from the engineering wing and 55 have been outsourced from various agencies and the rest 20 are regular employees of the department. In the enforcement police wing, there are 10 constables and an inspector to assist a drive in the city.

Physically fit staff

Records of the department shows that there are 22 employees in the supporting staff wing who are not physically fit for the field job. No special physical training has been provided by the department

Chandigarh, October 28
Shocking as it may sound, but even 11 years after coming into being, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) has failed to compile data on encroachments on government land, which is valued at crores of rupees. Clueless about the number of encroachers, the MC’s enforcement teams have been blindly conducting anti-encroachment drives in every market of the city.

Sources in the enforcement department estimate that there are around 60 places where habitual encroachers have encroached on MC land. This includes markets in Sectors 15, 19, 22 and 34. Officials said there were around 50 habitual encroachers in these markets, who had been challaned up to 15 times and end up paying a meagre fine of Rs 500 each time.

According to the existing enforcement law, an inspector can impose a maximum fine of Rs 500 on the encroachers in addition to confiscating their articles. All that the encroacher needs to do is pay the fine and get the goods released from the authorities.

An attempt was made to hike the fine by the MC’s enforcement department in February 2009. A proposal to increase the fine from Rs 500 to Rs 800 was tabled twice in the house meeting last year, but a majority of councillors rejected it, suggesting that the fine should be reduced from Rs 500 to Rs 100 as most of the encroachers belonged to economically weaker sections of society.

Records of the department show that there are seven enforcement inspectors posted in the wing, out of which three were transferred in 2006 from the engineering department and one was a junior assistant. Two employees were shifted from the medical office in 2008 and one was appointed on contract basis in 2007. During reshuffling, none of the employee was sent back to their parent department.

Sources said there were nine regular inspectors who were transferred to non-cadre posts in various departments by the authorities four years ago under the routine shuffling process. Out of these, three were reverted to the department but the remaining were still holding the same posts in different departments.

The sources said in 2001 it was decided that till there was a shortage of staff in the enforcement department, the manpower of other departments would be shifted on a six-month basis. But at present, there were two sanctioned posts of inspector and 20 posts of sub inspector in the enforcement department. Out of these, 16 had been filled by the authorities and eight were filled by employees from various wings.



CHB not far behind
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

True, says Asst Estate Officer

“We do not have a list of offenders. Our staff visit the sites at regular intervals and notices are issued. We have submitted a proposal to the UT finance department to divide the city into four zones to keep a tab on these zones so that we can have a database”.

— Hargunjit Kaur,
Assistant Estate Officer

“We are compiling all property related records. Even though we have details of notices issued in the past to a specific house or a commercial property on each file, a consolidated record would make it easy.”

— Sanjay Kumar,
UT Secretary Housing

Chandigarh, October 28
Both the UT estate office (EO) and the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), responsible for making the city encroachment free, have no database of persistent encroachers or violators of bylaws.

While officials of both departments claim to be surveying their respective areas from time to time and doing their bit by issuing notices to offenders, none of the two wings of the UT Administration have a database of violations.

While the EO checks violations in private residential areas and commercial properties, the CHB keeps an eye on encroachments and violations in the nearly 45,000 flats constructed by it. Even the CHB does not have a consolidated list of violators and encroachers. “We serve notices on violators and encroachers. After giving them a hearing, we demolish illegal structures as a procedural measure. After that we close the case,” an estate office official said.



Here, medicare is a long way
No healthcare facility in Sectors 48-61, Phase III sectors
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
In a glaring oversight, the UT Administration has not provided primary healthcare in the entire belt of Phase III sectors and between Sectors 48 and 61. Housing a major chunk of the total city’s population, the belt has no place for hospitals or even emergency services, except for a dispensary in Sector 55.

The belt, recently developed in the city, does not even have a fraction of the huge infrastructure in place in the city. The rest of the city has 53 dispensaries, seven sub-centres, two community health centres, a polyclinic and three big public sector hospitals.

The biggest problem, in the immediate context, is the non-availability of emergency services. The Tribune spoke to a cross-section of residents who said it became difficult in cases of emergency like delivery or serious injuries. In the absence of any health facility in the area, residents have to depend on hospitals and dispensaries in Sectors 45 and 47 and the GMCH-32.

“We have spoken to the authorities at all levels, but to no avail,” KL Banga, president of the Resident Welfare Society, Sector 52, said. Sector 52 has a population of approximately 20,000. Major Surjit Gill (retd) said: “We do not even have a ‘popular’ quack in the adjoining village where we could rush to in an emergency.”

Senior citizens are among the most harassed in the area. Narinder Kaur, a 75-year old woman in Sector 48, said: “I am required to visit doctors often with regard to various problems. My son is in the Army and is posted in Nagaland. I have no one to drive me to hospital. There are scores of cases in the neighbourhood where senior citizens look for conveyance to the PGI, GMSH-16 and GMCH-32.”

Sandeep Sharma of Sector 48 and Anil Kumar, president of the Resident Welfare Association of Sector 61, said problems regarding health had been brought to the notice of the administration on several occasions, but nothing had come of it.



Funds squeeze derails trauma centre project
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Why in Sec 53?

n Will take the load off PGI, GMCH & GMSH
n Will be a major facility for trauma cases from the region
n Will upgrade health infrastructure in the southern sectors

Chandigarh, October 28
Over two years after the central government accorded technical approval to a state-of-art trauma centre in Sector 53, shortage of funds appears to have become a big hurdle in completing the ambitious facility.

Planned as an extension of Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32, the Rs 244-crore project in the city’s southern belt was touted to be a major project to reduce the load of trauma cases from the three major government hospitals - PGI, Government Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16 and GMCH.

While the need to have a multispecialty trauma centre in the southern sectors had been long felt, with the other hospitals bursting at the seams in the backdrop of a rise in such cases, the project seems to have been caught in a bureaucratic rigmarole. This is despite the fact that ten acres of land had already been allotted for the facility. However, aside from the boundary wall, no concrete steps have been taken for executing the project.

Sources said while the project had got the feasibility nod from the central government, money was a major stumbling block in completing the project. They added the UT administration has been regularly taking up the issue with the health & family welfare ministry.

While pleading for liberal financial assistance for upgrading the city’s health infrastructure, Punjab governor & UT administrator Shivraj V Patil also took up the case of the trauma centre at a high-level meeting held recently in New Delhi.

When contacted, UT home & health secretary Ram Niwas conceded a resource crunch was to be blamed for delay in executing the project. "We’ll again take up the matter with the health ministry for release of the requisite funds to enable early completion of the trauma centre,” he promised.

In addition to local cases, a large number of trauma patients from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir visit the city for treatment. It has been underscored that setting up a trauma centre in the city’s south would go a long way in reducing response to casualties.



CII Chandigarh fair begins today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
From bringing in diverse exhibitors to having an ample space for the NGOs, which has been termed as “social expo”, the CII fair this season has something different to offer.

One can also witness an exotic range of goods from Thailand and Afghanistan as well at the CII Chandigarh Fair, which is entering its 15th annual appearance in the city beautiful at the Parade Ground from October 29 to November 1, this year. Also for the first time, the CII will be organising an Agro Expo in Jaipur from November 11 to November 14.

RM Khanna, chairman, CII Chandigarh Council, “The fair is perfectly timed to cater to buoyant consumer sentiments in the festive season. It showcases a wide array of products and services in 10 focused concurrent expositions: States of India, International Arcade, Consumer Fair, The North India Auto Show, Infocom, Mega Brands, Décor, Finmart, Persona and Social Expo.”

Detailing on the fair, Charu Mathur, Regional Director, CII Northern Region, informed that with 421 exhibitors in total, CII Chandigarh Fair, in fact, attests to the biggest scale ever, with more than 5,000 sqm space occupied, and with 40 per cent increase as compared to the previous edition. “With a dedicated space of more than 350 sqm for social exposition we look forward to promote the work of various NGOs and other related organisations contributing towards the society, through this initiative”, she exclaimed.

The social expo display includes items made by inmates of Tihar Jail, spices/craft items made by mentally challenged etc. Mahinder Kumar, GM, NABARD, shared his excitement as a participant at this edition of Chandigarh Consumer Fair, as this will provide an opportunity to bring the work being done by NABARD for deprived sections of society to the notice of common people.

Detailing about the International Pavilion being complimented by niche product range from Thailand, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Charu also told that enthused by the previous response from Consumer Fair and Made in Pakistan last year, Pakistan is participating in a much bigger way with over 84 companies as against 38 last year exhibiting products like melamine, crokery, stylish leather, onyx, wall hangings, embroidery floor rugs and other specialties to woo the shopping enthusiasts.

Kausar Barlas, from Pakistan World Trade & Expo Centre extending an invitation to the Indian business and trade community to Pakistan, said, “Communication and trade provides an opportunity for two nations to get closer and strengthen the emotional ties and we participating in this fair are trying to act as a bridge between the two countries.”

Sharing about his organisation’s consistent participation, Vipul Shah, RM, Samsung India Electronics Pvt Ltd said, “Every year we get magnificent response and this year also we expect an upscale in the business.” The fair will be inaugurated by Pardeep Mehra, Advisor to the Administrator, UT Chandigarh at 4.15 pm. Chandigarh Fair 2010 is sponsored by Samsung. In addition to this, Logitech is the principal sponsor for Infocom 2010. The Tribune is the English print media partner and Danik Bhaskar is the Hindi print media partner for the event.



A slice of Pakistan at trade fair
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
Mohammad Ayaz from Lahore is well versed with the apparel choice of cricketer Wasim Akram. Not just Wasim, Ayaz has a star clientele from the world of cricket and films.

Some leading names include Pakistani actor Reema and Siama. “In fact the whole family of cricketer Salman Batt comes to me for getting their clothes designed and stitched. Even the new entrant, Afzal Qadir, is my customer,” Ayaz, who is in the city for the first time to participate in the CII trade fair, said.

He said he had a whole range of ethnic Karandi duppattas and embroidered suits with a Pakistani flavour which had been priced between Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,000.

Ayaz is one among 83 Pakistani participants with specialities like melamine crockery, leather and Mulatani fabrics. For the first time, desides singers, the fair also has mouth-watering Pakistani delicacies on offer.

Participating in the fair for the third time, Kausar Barlas, a member of the Pak World Trade and Expo Centre, said: “I have started a joint venture with my brother. When I had first put up a stall at the CII fair in 2007 the response was very good and I was flattered by the warmth and love of the people here. So, we decided to ask the businessmen of our country to put up their stalls here. Our motive is to break the barriers between the two countries through business.”

Rashid, a specialist in metal goods, claimed that a 40-inch lampshade with minakari work on it was a big draw in his stall.

The fair also has a stall of ethnic Pakistani furniture in rosewood. The owner, Ahmad Barlas, said: “We have a range of furniture. A bedroom set, including beds and dressing table, will cost Rs 1.5 lakh.”

On what she purchases from the city, Kausar Barlas remarked: “I love the crockery with a silver lining and picked it up.”

Javed Iqbal, who deals in ceramics, revealed that Indian products were very popular in Pakistan. “The ‘sonpapri’ of Haldiram is liked a lot in our country, besides Kohlapuri chappals, artificial jewellery and Hyderabadi bangles.”


GMADA’s pick-and-choose policy irks allottees
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 28
Taking note of encroachments in form of grills and hedges around corner houses, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has issued notices to about 120 houses in Sector 70.

In a public notice issued recently, the estate officer of GMADA has given 15 days time to the allottees to remove encroachments, failing which the violations would be removed by the authority.

A senior GMADA official said the notices were the outcome of complaints made by residents of the area. However, allottees question the authority’s pick-and-choose policy on encroachments. The notices pertain to LIG, MIG and HIG flats.

“Just few metres away similar encroachments have been done by allottees of marla houses. No survey of the houses has been carried out by GMADA,” said JNS Sodhi, general secretary of the Suchna Adhikar Manch.

Citing the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in November 2001, on encroachments such as grills and hedges in front of houses, GMADA has issued the public notice. “The notice can not be applied to one specific pocket. It pertains to entire city and should be applied to all violators,” said Dr DS Multani, patron of the Suchna Adikar Manch.

Officials point out that there was a policy on landscaping of road berms and incidental open spaces in the Mohali urban estate.

Landscaping policy

As per the policy, the portion of the road berm that can be used for landscaping shall be restricted to the entire available depth of the road berm subject to leaving a minimum of five feet adjoining all internal metalled roads, except shopping street (V4) where a minimum distance of eight feet will be left from the metalled portion.

In case of V6 internal roads, where the width of available road berm is less than five feet, the entire berm area shall be permitted for planting grass only and no plants, shrubs or fencing will be allowed. The area of road berms permitted for landscaping shall be used for planting grass, ornamental shrubs, cacti and seasonal flowers only.

Landscaping only at the level of road berms shall be permitted and no raising or lowering of berms will be allowed. However, fencing of standardised colour and design up to a height of 2 ft 3 inches to enclose the landscaped area shall be permitted.

No landscaping of road berms will be allowed unless front and side boundary wall of plot is constructed. No hedges, trees or shrubs shall be planted in the “vision splay” areas at road junctions for vehicular and pedestrian safety reasons.



Biometric system to check teachers’ absenteeism
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 28
A number of government school teachers at the Government Senior Secondary School, Phase 3B-1, here reported at the school ahead of time today.

Reason: it is the first senior secondary school in Punjab where the biometric system to mark attendance has become functional, making proxy attendance an impossible task. To ensure the attendance the teachers have been asked to mark their attendance twice -- in the morning and evening.

“The Phase 3B-1 school is among the 20 schools in Mohali district where the biometric system has been installed,” said Baljinder Singh, principal of the school. The machines have also been installed at a number of schools in the rural areas.

Mohali is among the five districts of Punjab where the system was being installed. The other districts are Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Bathinda and Muktsar. The system will also be extended to the rest of the schools of the state.

The authorities in the education department had recognised absenteeism of teachers as the biggest problem affecting results of these schools.



Sketches of robbery accused released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The police today released sketches of the maidservant and her accomplice, who robbed an elderly woman at her Sector 61 residence on October 25.

The station house officer of the Sector 36 police station said the sketches were prepared on the basis of the description of the suspects provided by Savita, the victim.

The maidservant, who had identified herself as Sonia at the time of being employed a week before she robbed Savita, was five feet tall and had dark complexion, with a scar on her left eyebrow.

The man who was accompanying her was five feet and 10 inches in height, with a strong built and fair complexion, and appeared to be in his mid-twenties.



Bus operators challaned for playing vulgar music
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 28
The Punjab Transport Department challaned bus operators for playing vulgar music. District Transport Officer Karan Singh said playing vulgar music caused embarrassment to female passengers and there were several such complaints with the department. He said 15 bus operators were challaned for playing vulgar music in Mohali.

Besides, 15 bus operators honking pressure horns while moving on the main road from Balongi to Phase VIII bus stand were also challaned. The DTO said there were reports that the bus operators did not respect traffic signals, used pressure horns and drove in wrong lanes to overtake other vehicles.

This was resulting in accidents on narrow roads. In the last two days about 120 buses, including buses of educational institutions, had been challaned. He said the drive would continue in the coming days.



Inspection at three cold storage units
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
A team of UT officials inspected three cold storage units in the Industrial Area and collected samples of stored eatables, including sweets, here today. The three units inspected were Khukhrain Cold Store, Gold Store and Freezeking Cold Store.

While no sweets were found at Gold Cold Store, Freezeking had sweets belonging to Chandigarh Sweets in its storage. At Khukhrain Cold Storage, “petha” and “rasgullas” belonging to Dildar Sweets, Gobind Sweets and Fauji Sweets were stored in plastic containers, while those belonging to Chandigarh Sweets, including “khoya burfi”, were stored in aluminum tins.

The team also inspected the manufacturing units and retail outlets of Chandigarh Sweets and found the hygiene and safety standards satisfactory.

The team then raided Crystal Creations in Sector 22 selling imported eatables. The officials maintained that the shop had kept expired items and was challaned under Rule 50 of PFA Act.



TFT-Oscar theatre fest concludes
‘Station’ staged at Inderdhanush auditorium
SD Sharma

Panchkula , October 28
The four-day TFT-Oscar Theatre Festival-2010 concluded at the Inderdhanush auditorium with the staging of a Hindi play “ Station” presented by Rang Virasat group under the direction of Vandana Vashisht, an NSD alumnus. The composite play evolved from four short stories by Hari Mohan Jha with diverse thematic contents melted into each other to form a cohesive theatre production. The stories interwoven in the play “ Station” included Chikitsa, Chanchla ki Kartoot and Saraswati ki prajya.

The story Station, enacted with a brilliant performance displayed the wit and immense knowledge of spiritual subjects of a Pandit who ventures to indulge in debate and emerge a winner always negating any logic or fact with conviction. Chikitsa ends up with a lofty humour as a vaid in an attempt to cure the hiccups of youth narrates false stories about his family. A victim of doubt Chanchla faces many unfair situations from her old aged husband and settling for agreement shaving off his moustaches. In the concluding story a learned wife struggles to educate her illiterate husband to make him acceptable socially.

All the stories drawn from day-to-day life was brilliantly. Surinder Kumar, Jagdish Tewari, Jyoiti Bisht, Vijay Kumar, Nisha Sharma, Lalit Chandra, Yogesh, Vivek and co director Chakresh Kumar played multiple roles. Chief guest VK Sood and guest of honour Sham Lal Bansal complimented the artistes and audience. Festival director Sudesh Sharma conducted the programme.



10 stolen cars recovered

Zirakpur, October 28
The CIA staff recovered 10 more cars from the possession of arrested gang members of inter-state car thieves. The police official stated that the accused had brought the vehicles from UP to sell it in Punjab. The police team arrested the accused on October 24, identified as Sukhwant Singh and Varinder Singh. They were produced in a local court, which remanded them in four days police custody.

During preliminary investigation it was found that Iqbal was operating the gang from Muradabad and stole the vehicles from various localities.

A CIA official said Iqbal contacted his gang members in Punjab over phone and asked them to come to Delhi to finalise the deal of the cars.

The police official claimed that 10 cars have been recovered from their possession. On October 22, three members of inter-state gang, including Daljit Singh, a resident of Zirakpur, Gursewak, a resident of Pabhat, and Rajesh Verma, a resident of Phase IX, Mohali, were arrested and three vehicles were recovered from their possession. — TNS



Students work on potter’s wheel to hone skills
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The Environment Committee of MCM College, Sector 36, in collaboration with the Department of Interior Designing and Decoration and Fine Arts Department organised a pottery workshop to acquaint the students with the aesthetics of the art of pottery and diya making and painting. A live experience of the potter’s wheel was given to the students along with an opportunity to express their creativity.

The day long workshop was designed to give the students a hands-on experience in this artistic area and to strengthen their bond with this traditional art form.

The principal of the college Dr Puneet Bedi lauded the joint efforts of the faculty and students in organising this workshop and said that such workshops not only provided the students with an opportunity to hone their creative skills but also to realise the significance of traditional art forms.



NITTTR Seminar
Awareness programme for principals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
Environment Matters, a city based NGO, in collaboration with UT Environment Department and the National institute Of Technical Teachers Training and Research (NITTTR), Sector 26, organized a one-day awareness programme for principals and the eco clubs in charges of UT schools.MoEF organised the programme under the agesis of National Green Corps Programme.

According to Santosh Kumar, Director, Environment, UT administration, appreciated the effort as path breaking initiative.“ Teachers are the best tools to trigger a mass movement amongst students to save environment. Being future citizens, inculcation of Environment savy behaviour can bring about tremendous change in the society. Till date Eco clubs have concentrated their efforts more on the general issues but its high time that they take their activities a step further from awareness programmes,” he said.

Sandeep Garg, chairman, environment matters emphasised on the need of education outside the conventional classrooms. According to him special programmes need to be launched to make teachers master trainers so that eco clubs deliver their best.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |