C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cong’s Pali wins by 1 vote
Aarti Kapur/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Amidst high drama on the floor of the House of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, Congress candidate Ravinder Pal Singh ‘Pali’ defeated Independent candidate Jagjit Singh Kang by one vote to become the 17th Mayor of the corporation.

The two other Congress candidates, Kuldeep Singh and Sheela Devi, were elected Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor. It is the fourth consecutive time that Congress candidates have won the polls for the posts of Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

The contest results hold significance as the Congress Mayor is expected to play a crucial role for the party in the run-up to the MC elections scheduled in 2012.

Ravinder Pal Singh became the ninth Congress Mayor to hold the chair ever since the MC came into being in 1996.

In today’s contest, while the Congress bagged the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor by a narrow margin of one vote each, the Senior Deputy Mayor won by a margin of five votes.

JS Kang, independent candidate for Mayor, thinking that he won offers prayers while Congress MP in front row is shocked after the wrong declaration of results in Chandigarh on Saturday
JS Kang, independent candidate for Mayor, thinking that he won offers prayers while Congress MP in front row is shocked after the wrong declaration of results in Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

While 17 votes were polled in favour of Ravinder Pal Singh, Kang polled 16 votes. Congress candidate Kuldeep Singh was elected Senior Deputy Mayor by defeating BJP candidate Anil Kumar Dubey by a margin of five votes. Kuldeep Singh got 20 votes. Congress candidate Sheela Devi defeated the BJP candidate Sarita Sharma by a narrow margin of one vote.

After the counting of votes of the mayoral election, presiding officer Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri made an announcement in the House that Jagjit Singh Kang had won the election of Mayor. Vijay Singh Rana, who was observer for the election, raised the point that wrong announcement had been made, at which Brig Chandpuri corrected himself and declared Ravinder Pal Singh as winner of the mayoral election. A total of 35 votes were polled in the 36-member house. While nominated councilor Neelam Malik was abroad, two votes were declared invalid in the counting of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor election.


  • Independent candidate Jagjit Singh Kang became Mayor of the MC for two minutes due to slip of tongue of the presiding officer Brig Chandpuri, who initially announced him as the winner for the Mayor’s post.
  • Presiding officer Brig Chandpuri by “mistake” made an announcement initially that there were three invalid votes in the Mayor’s election, but later corrected himself and said that these were only two.
  • A notice board at the entrance to the assembly hall read that the visitors, after taking due permission, could sit inside to watch the House proceedings but could not disturb the House by making noise or raise slogans. However, the scene inside the house was in complete contradiction to the notice. Not only were the visitors shouting but they were also taking pictures inside the House and recording the proceedings against the rules.

Mobile phone controversy

As the presiding officer Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri made an announcement that cell phones having cameras would not be allowed in election booths, Member of Parliament Pawan Kumar Bansal, who is an ex-offico member, refused to follow these instructions. He objected, saying there was no norm in the MC Act that councillors could not carry cell phones in the booths. Sources in the Congress said to avoid cross-voting during the election, all Congress councillors were instructed by the party to click the pictures in their cell phones of the ballot paper before casting their votes.

‘Great day in democracy’

Nominated councillor Pallav Mukherjee stated that it was a “great day” in the history of democracy in India, as in the name of “fair and secret voting” Congress councillors used camera cell phones in election booth to prove their loyalty towards their party. He said it is an ideal way to conduct elections of the MC mayoral poll, where the union minister oversees the whole drama.

Use of cameras

  • Presiding officer Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri informed the House in the morning that he had received an anonymous letter claiming that councillors were going to use cameras in booth, which is against the MC Act, so he should make arrangements to check this act to happen in the house.


  • Congress councillor Anu Chatrath objected that the ballot paper to cast vote already had some mark on Kang’s column.



Victory margin worries Bansal
Aarti Kapur/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
With eyes set on the forthcoming municipal corporation elections, today’s margin of victory in the mayoral election of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation left Member of Parliament Pawan Kumar Bansal a concerned man.

Political analysts believe that it being an election year, the voting pattern of certain rebels within the party could spell doom in the next MC elections. Concerned at the developments during the day in the mayoral election, Bansal reportedly convened a meeting of the councillors and party leaders late this evening. Though officially it was a party to celebrate Ravinder Pal Singh’s victory, insiders said it was an exercise to ascertain the “loyalty” of the Congress councillors who were crucial in today’s poll.

Sources in the Congress party confirmed that at the meeting they were asked to produce their cell phones in which they were asked to capture the picture of their ballot papers. Sources said two councillors were not present at the meeting.

Party insiders said during the meeting, one of the councillors made an excuse that he did not know how to operate camera, while another said he forgot his phone at residence during the election. A councillor even made the plea that he did not find it necessary to click the picture.

After the result of the mayoral election, Bansal, while interacting with mediapersons, clarified that after the parting of Congress candidate Jagjit Singh Kang, 16 votes were still in the kitty of the Congress, but the party managed to get 17, which showed unity in the party. Denying the fact that any Congress councillor had cross voted during the election, Bansal said nominated councillors had not supported the party.

When asked about the use of cell phone in the election booth, Bansal said there were no such norms in the existing Act and the Act had to be amended before it was implemented in the House.

The BJP, in a press statement, meanwhile, alleged that the declaration of the Presiding Authority that Ravinder Pal Singh was elected was illegal and void and they were going to challenge this decision in the court of law.



Cops still groping in the dark
SSP denies recovery rumours
Akash Ghai/TNS

Chandigarh, January 1
On the first day of the New Year, ‘rumours’ were rife that abducted child Khushpreet had been recovered by the police.

However, UT Senior Superintendent of Police Naunihal Singh vehemently denied any such development towards the evening. “We are investigating the case. But there is no recovery of the child,” he categorically stated.

The family of the kidnapped child, too, said they had no clue about the child being recovered by the police. Lakhbir Singh, father of Khushpreet, said: “It would have been the happiest moment of our life had Khushpreet been released. But we have no clue about my son so far,” the anguished father said while talking to TNS late this evening.

Earlier, there was a rumour in the air that someone had left the child near the house on Friday night and the child was with the family. But the police and the family of the child were not ready to divulge the details as the police suspected involvement of some close relatives in the abduction, according the rumour. “Only after thorough investigations, the case would be disclosed,” said sources.

Uday Pal, SHO of the Sector 34 police station, visited the kidnapped boy’s residence this morning. “I went there to check the authenticity of the ‘news’ (read rumour). On our part, we are still investigating in the case. The child is yet to be recovered,” said Uday Pal while talking to the TNS.

Khushpreet was kidnapped from his Burail residence on December 21. The police also called on Khushpreet’s father Lakhbir Singh first and then his uncle Sukhwinder Singh and three other persons, Ravinder Singh, Gulshan and Banwari Lal, all friends of the victim’s family, at the Sector 36 police station this evening.

Ravinder, Gulashan and Banwari had accompanied Sukhwinder Singh when he went to deliver ransom amount to the kidnappers at Dau village on December 22, said Lakhbir Singh.

On being asked, whether the police suspected the involvement of any close relative in the kidnapping of the five-year-old child, DSP Vijay said it was too early to say anything.

“We called on Lakhbir, Sukhwinder and other persons today for some investigations,” said DSP Vijay Kumar.

Earlier today a number of persons, including local mediapersons, members of a local NGO, relatives and neighbours, started gathering at Khushpreet’s residence in Burail with the spread of the news, which later turned out to be a rumour.

Last night DSP Vijay took along Sukhwinder Singh to the spots in Kharar and Dau village, where he had delivered the ransom amount. “We returned around 3 am to our home,” said Sukhwinder Singh today at his residence in Burail.



Jan 1 spells joy for 45 families
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 1
It was double celebrations in many homes in the tri city, as the first day of the New Year spelt happiness for many families in the city as 45 babies were born in hospitals of the tricity after midnight.

While 25 babies were born at three main hospitals of the ‘City Beautiful’, 16 and five babies were born in Panchkula and Mohali civil hospitals respectively. Another five children, three girls and two boys were born at the Dera Bassi Civil Hospital.

Some believe that a child born on this day brings luck and prosperity. The figure of 25 girls among the newborns outnumbered the boys.

There were four deliveries at the PGI. Two mothers, Parvinder and Deepandeep who gave birth to baby girls felt that it was a blessing in disguise. Harpreet, husband of Parwinder, said the New Year had brought happiness for them.

At Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, eight children were born till midnight. Kavita, who delivered a baby girl at GMCH, felt that the girls represented goddess Lakshmi in our country and would bring in wealth, luck and prosperity for all. At the Mohali Civil Hospital, four boys and one girl was born since morning.


Pending projects high on Mayor’s agenda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Mayor of the Corporation, Ravinder Pal Singh, while addressing his first press conference here today said the priority this year will be to complete all pending projects that commenced four years ago. He said within a fortnight he would hold a meeting with the MC officials to get the status of the pending projects to ensure fast execution.

Besides, he will also take up the projects that were held up with the UT administration.

Ravinder also said in the coming week he would convene a ward-wise meeting of the councillors and ask them to suggest vacant land in their areas for construction of community parking.

He said considering the increasing number of vehicles in the city, the issue of parking is of utmost importance. Soon in each sector land would be earmarked for the construction of community parking, he added.

Revealing the fact that the construction of marriage palaces has become the need of the hour, Ravinder said by the end of this year, the construction of two marriage palaces, including one at Mani Majra and another in the Southern sector would be commenced. He said that at the House meeting he would also propose for a free MC community centre to the BPL families for marriage of girls. Mayor also has a plan to get one e-Sampark centre and Sehaj Safai Kendra constructed in each sector of the city. 



Lukewarm response to CHB scheme
The scheme, which opened on December 13, has till date sold only about 3,400 forms
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The latest housing scheme of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), offering 160 two-bedroom flats in Sector 51, seems to be eliciting a poor response if the number of forms sold till date is any indication.

The scheme, which opened on December 13, has till date sold only about 3,400 forms. Interestingly, officials of the Board were pegging the number of forms sold by the end of the month at around 25,000. With only 11 days left for the closing of the scheme on January 13, it is unlikely that the number would be achieved.

In fact, the number is far less compared to the CHB’s previous schemes, which not only got good openings but also received a massive response.

Blame it on the lesser number of flats, high pricing or the clause that one can fill in more than one application, the fact of the matter is that this time the CHB is finding itself in a spot with its scheme.

It may be noted that the recent reprimand to the CHB officials by two union ministers Union Minister of Poverty Alleviation and Tourism Kumari Selja and Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Kumar Bansal for constructing houses within the reach of the common man had landed officials in soup so much so that they had to make a presentation to the UT Administration to justify the high cost of houses.

Another reason attributed to the lukewarm response is the recently closed DDA housing scheme.

A comparison between the two housing schemes highlights the stark contrast between the two, making the CHB scheme rather less lucrative for the prospective buyers.

The DDA is constructing 16,000 flats, while the CHB is constructing 160 flats. While the application form for the DDA flat was priced at ` 150, for the CHB scheme, one has to shell out ` 1,000. Similarly, the application fee for the DDA scheme is ` 50,000-1.5 lakh, whereas for the CHB scheme it is ` 5 lakh.

Despite this, the Board officials maintain that in the last week of the scheme, the sale of forms will definitely pick up.

The CHB had drawn flak from all quarters over the pricing of the proposed flats in Sector 51.

The CHB is to construct 160 two-bedroom flats in Sector 51-A, priced at ` 50 lakh for a ground floor flat and ` 47 lakh for upper floors.

The Board was also criticised for pricing the forms for ` 1,000. Also, 10 per cent of the houses, 16 in number, which will be in the “assured” category, would be priced after taking the average of all bids.



Bombshell Explosion
Another victim succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 1
One more victim seriously injured in the yesterday’s bombshell blast succumbed to his injuries at the PGI, Chandigarh, this morning. With this the total number of casualties have gone up to three.

The victim, Sandeep (18), son of the scrap dealer Ved, was seriously injured when a misfired bombshell in scrap had exploded at the scrap shop in Budhanpur village near Sector 16 yesterday around 6.45 pm. Two children, Sonu and Karan, had died on the spot while seven were injured in the incident.

Tehsildar Satish Singla, who visited the injured at the PGI, said that two children Anil (12) and Sunil (12) were discharged today while the condition of the 10-year-old Vrinjan was still stated to be critical. He said three other persons who had received minor injuries were recuperating at General Hospital, Sector 6, here. He said the administration would bear the expenses on the treatment of the injured.

Two victims were cremated today after their bodies were handed over to their parents after the post-mortem was conducted.

Meanwhile, the Army’s bomb disposal squad from the Chandimandir Cantonment descended at the scrap market at 11 am and combed the area for about two hours searching for other possible bombshell, which might have found its way to the scrap market.

According to sources, the squad did not find any exploding material from the first phase of combing in one area, which was sealed by the police officials last night.

Sources further said the bomb squad would also search the second phase, which remained sealed for the day. The scrap dealers in the first phase, however, did the usual business after the squad left the place. The ballistic wing of the forensic science laboratory from Madhuban also visited the spot and took samples.



Uprooted road berms bane for Sec 28 residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Residents of Sector 28 D are harassed lot these days courtesy, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. It was more than a week ago that the Municipal Corporation through a contractor got the road berms uprooted in order to widen the road. However, the workers never returned to finish the work.

As a result, the residents are finding it difficult to enter into their homes. This coupled with heavy rains that lashed the city over the past two days has added to the woes of these residents who are also not able to park their vehicles inside their premises.

“ I have visited the place, residents have a genuine grievance. We have got a temporary arrangement made for the convenience of the residents so that their cars can be parked inside. As soon the water logged outside dries up, work will be finished”, aid Devider Singh Babla, area councillor.

“for the past eight days we have been waiting for the workers to finish the work. But nobody has come so far. It is so difficult especially for children and the elderly to get into the houses”, said a resident.

“To top it all certain wires have also been uprooted affecting other services as well”, said Rajesh, another resident.



The Tribune employees retire
Tribune News Service

RM Sharma
RM Sharma
AN Misra
AN Misra

Chandigarh, January 1
Mr Rajinder Mohan Sharma, deputy accounts manager, retired yesterday after putting in 35 years of service.

Meanwhile, Awad Narayan Misra Head Daftri, also retired yesterday after putting in 38 yrs of service.




Contractual workers’ meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The contractual workers at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, and Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, held a meeting and formed a joint action committee here today.

Dinesh, general secretary of the GMCH Contract Workers’ Union, said the issue belonging to the workers on contract in these institutes would be taken up by the committee with authorities.

Others who attended the meeting include members of the GMCH Sweepers’ Union, GMCH Security Guards, and GMSH Contract Workers’ Union.



Pat on back for city traffic police
2010 saw 24 pc drop in fatal accidents compared to 2009
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
It can be good news for road users in the ‘City Beautiful’ that the year 2010 witnessed about 24 per cent decrease in fatal accidents in comparison of 2009.

If 2009 has seen 164 fatal accidents in the city, the figure was reduced to 125 last year despite the fact that the city roads witnessed 22 to 25 per cent growth in vehicular traffic in 2010. The police authorities attributed the ‘success’ to the tight security measures, being taken by them to control the hazards on the roads.

“We have increased the late-hour traffic duties and laid special ‘nakas’ to check drunken driving four times in a week. In my viewpoint, the strictness on the part of Chandigarh traffic police bore the results,” said DSP (Traffic) BS Negi.

It is to be noted that from 2006, an increasing trend in fatal accidents was seen till 2009. In 2006, as many as 131 fatal accidents had taken place, the figure in 2007 was 137. The figure had reached to 144 in 2008.

In contrary to the above-mentioned facts, an increase of about 21 per cent non-fatal accidents has been noticed in 2010 in comparison of 2009.

In 2010, the total number of non-fatal accidents on the city roads was 313, an addition of 53 numbers (260) in the figure of 2009.

Interestingly, there had been decreasing trend in the non-fatal accidents since 2006. In 2006 the figure was 393, it had come down to 388 in 2007. In 2008, it further had reduced to 338 the next year.

“We will continue our special drives to check the road hazards. Though addition of about 150 vehicles on the city roads every day poses a big challenge, we are ready to take it,” said Negi.

Last day: 47 accidents

The last day of the year 2010, was a busy day for the Chandigarh Police. The day saw 47 accidents, 45 quarrels, 12 noise pollution complaints and 63 other miscellaneous spots. As many as 18 persons under various cases, including two IPC and one under Excise Act, were arrested on Friday. “The PCR attended as many as 167 spots on December 31. Apart from that we have also noticed 121 traffic violations against which we have issued 120 TVI slips and one traffic violation challan,” said a senior police official.



New Year rings in foggy, chilly, sunny day
Flight and train services continue to be paralysed
Anil Jerath/TNS

Chandigarh, January 1
For the past few days the foggy weather and a sharp drop in the day and night temperatures had sent the residents scurrying for woollens. Today, though the minimum temperature dropped to 8.2 degrees Celsius (°C), it was a relatively a warmer day with the maximum temperature rising marginally to 14.5 °C from yesterday’s 14°C.

The early morning shallow fog also disappeared as the day progressed. People could be seen basking in the afternoon sun in the city. The scene was no different in Sector 17, Terrace Garden in Sector 33 and the Chandigarh Lake, with most people trying to make the most of the warm sunshine.

Business activity picked up as people thronged commercial centres. Some others preferred to travel to picnic spots in adjoining areas.

“The intense cold seemed to have robbed us of all the cheer. People would be shivering and complaining about the cold, but with today’s change in the weather everybody was willing to go out in the sun,” said Rajwinder, a bank employee.

The warmth of the sun was short lived as chilly winds began blowing in the afternoon and people began moving for cover.

The Met office has predicted a cloudy sky in the next 24 hours and mist or fog at night and in the morning. Temperatures are likely to dip further and hover between 7 and 16 °C on Sunday. The city will also witness cold-wave conditions and chill will persist, he added. Though the minimum temperature was recorded at 8.2°C, the clear weather could be a short phenomenon and it could be a foggy and cloudy day tomorrow, said the Director of the regional office of the meteorological department, Surender Paul. He said strong winds had led to the dispersing of the fog.

However, the sunshine brought no respite for air travellers as majority of flights were delayed by an hour to three hours. Kingfisher Airlines morning Delhi-Chandigarh flights at 9 and 11 were delayed by over two hours and three hours respectively. Jet Airways has announced the cancellation of its morning flight that was to land at 10.15 am till January 7.

Similarly, GoAir Airlines Mumbai-Delhi-Chandigarh flight arrived late by three hours. It was to land here at 11.30 am but arrived at 2.30 pm and Indian Airlines Mumbai-Chandigarh flight landed one hour late as against its scheduled arrival of 2 pm and departed at 3.30 pm.

Trains continued to arrive on time for the second consecutive day today except Paschim Express running between Bandra and Chandigarh. The train, which was to arrive at the city railway station at 4 pm yesterday, reached late by 22 hours at 2 pm today. It will depart at 2 am tonight, D.K. Meena, station superintendent, Chandigarh railway station, said.



HSIIDC to develop 12 new industrial estates, IMTs

Chandigarh, January 1
The Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) will develop Industrial Estates (IE) and IMTs at 12 new places in the state over 14,702 acres to facilitate development and growth of industry in the state.

A spokesman for the HSIIDC said here today that the new IEs and IMTs to be developed included Bawal Growth Centre Phase-IV over 679 acres, Rai IE, Sector 39, over 379 acres, Manakpur Phase-II over 259 acres, Roz-Ka-Meo IMT over 1,506 acres, Dharuhera Phase-I and II over 494 acres, Manesar Phase-V over 952 acres and Manesar IMT Phase-VI over 3,325 acres, Barwala Phase-II over 568 acres, Rohtak IMT Phase-III over 964 acres, Kharkhauda IMT over 3,364 acres, Ambala IMT over 1,850 acres, Kaithal IE over 200 acres and Panchkula Technology Park, Phase-II over 162 acres.

He said the HSIIDC had framed its own internal set of guidelines for the management of industrial estates, prescribed the terms and conditions for allotment, transfer, leasing, resumption of plots and all other related processes and procedures to be followed by the development agency and allottees of the plots under the news Industrial Policy announced by the state government. — TNS



Village students visit Vidhan Sabha, high court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
Students from remote and rural villages of Hoshiarpur visited the Vidhan Sabha, the Civil Secretariat and the High Court buildings here today. The tour was organised by Member Parliament Rajya Sabha Avinash Rai Khanna, who nd guided the students about the buildings.

Later, the students were taken to Rock Garden, Sukhna Lake and other monumental landmarks of the City Beautiful. Khanna explained to the students how the Houses operate and the Members of the Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) perform their vital duties. The students also clicked pictures during their tour of the city.

Speaking about the tour, Khanna said he fulfilled his commitment to the students of Garhshankar, Nawanshahar and Hoshiarpur after organising an educational tour so that the students came to know about the functioning of the judiciary and administration.



Spreading awareness on traffic rules

Zirakpur, January 1
Considering the present violation of traffic rules in the town, the traffic police today initiated a traffic awareness week.

Setting up an example, the police, instead of issuing challans, gave flowers to the traffic rules violators. Devinder Singh, Zirakpur traffic in charge, said to spread awareness among people, the department had started a road safety week.

Various functions like a lecture would be given to auto-rickshaw drivers of the area, painting-cum-slogan competition for schoolchildren and various other activities related to traffic awareness would be organised during the week.

The last day of awareness would be celebrated at Mohali head office, he added.

A visit to the area revealed that two-wheeler drivers were violating the rules the most. — TNS



BJP threatens to launch stir against admn
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 1
The BJP here has threatened to launch a stir from today against district administration for not allowing party MC vice-president to work as president in violation of the Constitution, Legislation and Municipal Act.

Addressing the media persons here yesterday, party district president Kanwar Sein Singla and convener CB Goyal alleged that administration was acting on politically motivated directions of the Congress led government in the state.

He said though a delegation of the state leaders had also submitted a memorandum to the Governor last month, the state government had not allowed BB Singal, vice-president in the local municipal council, to work as president, who had been unseated vide a court order about a year ago.

Goyal alleged that state government was adopting double standards. On one hand it didn’t allow vice-president Singal to function as president in the absence of president and on the other allowed vice-president, MC, Hisar, to function as president in the absence of president.

He said it was in violation of Section 18, 25, 28, 35 and 50 of the Municipal Act, bylaws 3, 20, 21, 23 (4) and 44 of the Haryana Municipal bylaws, 1981.

This reflected undemocratic function and political vendetta of the ruling Congress against BJP, because Singal, was elected vice-resident of the MC, belonged to BJP.

Kanwar Sein claimed that this unconstitutional and undemocratic action of the state government had also badly hit all the development works in the city and residents were made to suffer for no fault.

He alleged that MC had also refused payment to the residents’ committees formed to maintain the sector-level parks for the past four months.

He said authorities had withheld the payment on the pretext that the amounts of the payments were yet 
to be decided.

BJP councillor from Sector 19 Ramesh Bartwal and Ashish Garg and BJP spokesperson Advocate Varinder Garg were present on the occasion.



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