C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Water a drain on MC
Payments of UT, Punjab departments pending
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
At least 103 government departments of the UT administration and the Punjab government have left the municipal corporation (MC) poorer by a whopping Rs 5.06 crore on account of pending water dues.

The MC’s own horticulture wing has failed to pay Rs 1.70 crore as dues. Another MC department which figures in the list of defaulters is the cremation ground, Industrial Area.

The MC’s last resort, of disconnecting water connections, has failed to move the defaulters, that incidentally, include Hotel Mountview, a CITCO-run five-star hotel, and the PGI, the region’s premier health institution.

MC officials have expressed their helplessness in recovering the dues as they have no other authority or mechanism, other than disconnecting water connections, to get the dues.

MC records show that bills worth approximately Rs 5.63 crore of 103 government departments are pending for over two years now. Of the list of water tariff defaulters, 11 departments have pending bills worth over Rs 1 lakh each.

Topping the list of defaulters is the UT administration’s horticulture department, which has not cleared water bills worth Rs 4 crore, pending since 2002.

For over four years, all divisions of the UT horticulture department are not depositing water tariff with the corporation and the long-pending amount has now gone up to more than Rs 64 lakh for each division.

While the MC has disconnected water connections to most major green belts, the UT authorities, in order to tackle the situation, have installed fresh tubewells.

The staff of other departments, such as the UT Police Hostel at Sector 29, the CISF at Sector 1, the CTU workshop at Sector 25, the Deputy Commissioner’s office at Sector 17, the DPI (Punjab) office at Sector 17 and the Punjab Police Barrack at Sector 39, whose water connections have been disconnected for non-payment, are now fetching water from nearby buildings for routine use.

MC Superintendent Engineer (public health) RK Goyal, expressing helplessness, said the authorities had no power to act against defaulters except disconnecting water meters.

He said the department kept communicating with the defaulting government departments to clear their dues, but none had paid their arrears till now.



Khushpreet murder case cracked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
In a major breakthrough, a Chandigarh police team, led by DSP Vijay Kumar, have cracked the Khushpreet murder case. Police sources said they had arrested four persons in this connection from Uttar Pradesh.


* Police had arrested four persons in this connection from UP

* Khushpreet was kept in a flat at Sector 68 in Mohali till Jan 5

The DSP had earlier been transferred following failure to crack the case. The accused were being questioned.

The sources said Khushpreet was kept in a flat at Sector 68 in Mohali till his body was found on January 5.

Refusing to divulge details, a police official said the persons who kept five-year-old Khushpreet in their custody for 14 days before killing him had been identified.

Efforts were being made to ascertain if they had some connection with someone in Khushpreet’s family.

Raids are being conducted at several places by the police in connection with the case. The police also said it would take them a few days to come out with details.

Khushpreet was kidnapped from outside his residence on December 21 last year and the family received a ransom call soon after. A police trap to nab the culprits failed and the accused fled with Rs 4 lakh right from under the nose of the police the next day.

Khushpreet’s body was recovered on January 5 from Mohali. The incident had led to public outcry in Burail and the UT police had received flak from all corners.



Parking staff fleece visitors
PGI’s Advanced Cardiac Centre parking attendants misbehave with objectors
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Hardly a month after a woman was allegedly slapped by the parking staff at the new OPD parking, an incident of visitors being fleeced by the contractor at the Advanced Cardiac Centre at the PGI came to light today.

Instead of Rs 5, the contractor charged Rs 10 from visitors, resulting in a protest by the visitors. Instead of apologising, the parking staff misbehaved with visitors.

“It seems that the PGI authorities have failed to rein in the parking contractors, who have been hitting the headlines quite often for their misbehaviour and fleecing of visitors,” remarked Charanjit Singh, a resident of Sector 50, who came to see his father-in-law, admitted to the hospital.

At the PGI, a visitor is supposed to pay Rs 5 for a one-time parking of four-wheeler at specified parking lots. A full-day pass is available for those who need to frequent the hospital many times a day, against a payment of Rs 10.

The staff at the parking lot of the Advanced Cardiac Centre today allegedly issued a pass to everyone visting the parking, charging Rs 10. “When I objected, the staff on duty asked me to take away the vehicle from the spot,” alleged Charanjit.

A taxi driver from Ambala, Harjinder said when he objected to this practice, the staff at the parking lot showed him the way out. “I had to wait for the patient who had gone for a check-up at the OPD. I had no option but to park the car in the parking, paying whatever was demanded,” he said.

The parking staff disappeared as soon as a Tribune team reached the spot. All efforts to contact the contractor proved futile. Deputy Medical Superintendent (Administration) Dr RK Sharma, when contacted, said a penalty was slaped on the contractor whenever a complaint was received.



Crime busters need stress busters
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur/Mohali, March 19
Over 40 per cent of policemen posted in Mohali district, especially in Zirakpur, have been found to be suffering from hypertension and stress.

Burdened by long and late duty hours, the men in khakhi registered signs of poor heart condition and stress while undergoing a health check-up at a medical camp in Zirakpur today.

Most of the policemen who were examined have in the recent past been performing extended duty hours.

The discovery coincided with senior police officials organising a cultural Holi evening for policemen and their families at a banquet hall. Special buses ferried them to the venue of the event. Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police GPS Bhullar said celebrating Holi was the best occasion to compensate them for their hard work. “I favour organising such events in the future,” he said.

Often criticised for being harsh with the common man, policemen have been performing extended duty hours while also performing VVIP duties, maintaining law and order and keeping vigil during the ongoing World Cup matches at the PCA Stadium.

Earlier in the day, 65 police personnel posted at the Zirakpur police station were found to be suffering from high stress levels at the medical camp. Of these, 50 were also diagnosed to be suffering from hypertension. “The policemen told me that this was mostly because of their heavy workload and lack of sleep,” a doctor said, adding that a few cops were found to be suffering from both diabetes and heart problems.



Police set to rein in unruly Holi revellers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
‘Bura na maano, Holi hai (Don’t get me wrong, it’s Holi)’ - this excuse is unlikely to work in the event of anyone indulging in hooliganism, “eve teasing” (harassing girls), helmetless riding on motorcycles or scooters without a helmet and other violations of law and order with the police saying it is in no mood to go easy with “mischievous elements” just because it is ‘Holi hai’ on Sunday.

For, city roads is all set to witness as many as 74 ‘nakas’ (checkposts) at various locations with about 1,600 cops including 235 female police officials on duty to keep a check on Holi revellers. In addition, 16 police control room (PCR) vehicles and three quick reaction teams across the three city divisions of central, south and east would be readied to deal with any untoward incident on the festival.

The well-known ‘gehri’ route will come under greater scrutiny with several barricades set up to “welcome” any overenthusiastic reveller. The cops have put up video and still cameras at various places to record vehicular traffic and movement of people.

“We’ve noticed youngsters keep driving on this route. By putting up ‘nakas’ we’ll manage to slow down their speed apart from preventing any nuisance,” said deputy superintendent of police Roshan Lal, adding barricades have already been put up in markets in Sectors 10, 11, 15 and 16.

“Cops will also deployed outside colleges, particularly the Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Postgraduate Government College, Sector 11 and DAV College, Sector 10 as well as on and around the Panjab University campus,” said Lal.

All arrangements would be supervised by eight DSPs with 18 inspectors assisting them to maintain law and order.

“Our motive is not to spoil the festive spirit of city residents but only to prevent mischief and hooliganism, especially ‘eve teasing’, which would be dealt with sternly,” Lal added.


Dismissed cop to sit on dharna 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 19
Sub-Inspector Narinder Singh, who was dismissed from service about two years ago and released from judicial custody today, alleged that police officials had lifted him forcibly from the office of the DGP on March 7 and produced him in the court.

Narinder alleged that the police authorities did not allow him to inform his family members or his lawyer on the day of his arrest. He further alleged that the police officials had also taken away from him Rs 24,490, four mobile phones and some clothes.

A complaint was lodged with the DGP against Narinder on July 13, 2007, accusing him to have sided with a particular group in a land dispute case. He was found guilty in a departmental inquiry conducted by the police department. He was suspended on August 22, 2007, and was subsequently dismissed from service after the inquiry conducted by the then ASP, Ambala, on February 6, 2008.

However, the police authorities had maintained that the dismissed police official was leveling baseless allegations just to get undue attention. Narinder said he would continue his protest by sitting on fast-unto-death in front of the DGP office in Sector 6 from Monday.

He said he would also approach the President of India, Chief Justices of Supreme Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the “grave injustice” done to him by the Haryana police authorities.



Fireworks in MC’s budget meeting likely
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 19
With the municipal council officials allegedly ignoring four wards, the budget meeting scheduled for March 21 is likely to witness fireworks.

Councillors of the four wards (wards number 7, 8, 9 and 27) alleged that this was perhaps for the first time that the authorities had decided to allocate funds for various development schemes sector wise. Earlier, the funds were allocated ward wise in the city, they added.

Rajeev Colony councillor Harinder Saini said slums of the city, which had a sizable migrant population, were being ignored. He said around 7,900 migrant families were living in various slums of the city, including Azad Colony, Budhanpur village and Madrasi Colony, besides Rajeev Colony. He said the draft proposal sent by the MC authorities had failed to even mention the name of these colonies, leave aside allocating development funds for the area.

MC executive officer KK Jain said they had prepared the budget of Rs 58 crore, a major part of which would be spent on the maintenance of roads, parks and 

An amount of Rs 35 lakh has been allocated for the maintenance of streetlights, while Rs 23 crore will be spent on roads and Rs 6.5 crore on parks

Jain said Rs 1 crore had been kept by the MC for shifting 54 dairies, while Rs 1 crore would be spent on the construction of cattle ponds. An amount of Rs 65 lakh has been allocated for the construction a sub-fire station, Rs 25 lakh for 100 dustbins and Rs 50 lakh has been kept for replacing broken grills on roads in the proposed budget.

The MC was restored in October 29, 2010, following the order of Punjab and Haryana High Court. However, councillors had been complaining that they were not being consulted for developmental works in the city.

Usually, budget meetings are called during the month of January, but as the Panchkula municipal council is working without a president, the discussion got delayed. Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar on March 17 had authorised the Panchkula ADC to chair a meeting with the MC councillors for discussing budget.

Meanwhile, the BJP leaders are up in arms against the budget meeting. MC vice-president BB Singal said all figures in the budget were irrelevant, insufficient and far from realities. He said estimates prepared by the MC officials showed their incapability and unconcerned approach towards the development of the city. The councillors’ meeting was held only at the time of passing the budget.



Post of State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (I)
Interview scheduled for March 23
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
With Justice SS Gupta taking over the reigns of the UT State Disputes Redressal Commission as it’s president, the long-pending process of filling the post of president of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (I) has started once again, with interview of the candidates being scheduled for March 23.

However, a controversy can hit the selection process, as demands are now being raised from certain quarters that the entire recruitment/selection procedure be started afresh, as applications for the post were invited seven months ago.

Though applications for the post were received seven months ago, the selection could not take place during the tenure of the then president, Justice Pritam Pal. After Pal's elevation as Haryana Lok Pal, the entire process was stalled, as it was mandatory for the commission’s president to be part of the selection process.

After the appointment of commission’s president Justice SS Gupta in the first week of March, the process for appointment of the president of the forum (I) has started. The selection committee headed by the state commission president has initiated the recruitment process by calling for applications from retired judges for the post of president. Around 50 applications were received and 30 were shortlisted for an interview.

Pankaj Chandgothia, president, Chandigarh Consumer Courts Bar Association, said, “Although the process has started, fresh applications need to be invited, as the post was advertised seven months ago.”



CBI probe into land scams sought
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 19
The Shivalik Vikas Manch (SVM) yesterday demanded a CBI inquiry into various land scams of the Congress-led state government, which had been pursuing an “anti-farmer” policy to serve the interests of capitalists.

Vijay Bansal, SVM patron and INLD leader, alleged in a press note that land acquisition rules had been changed time and again to benefit the land mafia.

He said the government had acquired 673 acres at Islamnagar, Bhagwanpur and Naggal Sodiyan villages at Rs 600 per square yard, of which 400 acres had been reserved for estate developers.

Bansal alleged that DLF and EURO had been allotted 66 acres and 21 acres, respectively, and those were disposing of the land for Rs 40,000 per square yard.

The government, in order to favour the DLF, had widened the Kaushalya dam from 12 feet to 30 feet and had turned land acquisition into a source of income, farmers being the losers, he added.



A treat for music lovers
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, March 19
A semi-classical musical soiree “Holi Ayi Re” by the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademy mesmerised all at Randhawa auditorium.

The event commenced with a light classical genre dhamaar “Holi khelat Nandlal” by Raj Bahadur Singh and Harvinder Singh. After a thumri by Raj Bahadur, tabla maestro Hargeet Singh gave a scintillating solo performance, while Dr Hem Raj presented a Holi gayan. A group song “ Moh pe daar gayi..” in a cohesive melody by versatile singers Dr Priyanka, Harshdeep and Vandna concluded the programme. Chief guest Pandit Yashpaul honoured artistes.



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