C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No caretaker for over 3 months
Contractor withdrew 29 employees due to non-payment of Rs 13-lakh dues
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
In a startling revelation, exposing the functioning of the UT’s social welfare department in its self professed mission to protect the “young at risk” at Snehalaya, there were no caretakers at the shelter for over three months (June 1 to September 8), a period which witnessed several children disappearing from the home.

Interestingly, while a special investigation team (SIT) had been formed to probe the disappearance of the dozen-odd children, it turns out that Snehalaya worked with practically no staff after the contractor withdrew his 29 employees, a majority of whom were caretakers, on June 1 due to non-payment of dues of over Rs 13 lakh.

The employees were reportedly called back on duty on September 9, the same day as the formation of the SIT, after the UT administration hurriedly cleared the contractor’s bills and promised prompt payment to him.

Sources said Snehalaya, housing about 250 children in the age group of 5 to 18 years, was without any of its 22 caretakers (aka house mothers), four sweepers and three watch wards for nearly three months.

All through this period, the children were virtually on their own, with just a skeletal permanent staff at Snehalaya, that comprised a warden, three watchmen and four gatemen.

With watchmen and gatemen working on eight-hour shifts each, the 250-odd children were being virtually looked after by only two staff members during most part of the day and night for three long months.

Insiders revealed that after June 1, there were five house mothers on duty in every eight-hour shift, besides the permanent staff. In addition, each shift had one watch ward and at least one sweeper on duty. However, all these were withdrawn after the administration failed to clear the dues of the contractor.

Sources said the contractor had written to the administration for clearance of his dues several times, but they failed to settle the same. “He had threatened to withdraw his staff, but that too, failed to evoke a reaction,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

Intriguingly, while the issue was hanging fire for over three months, the UT administration spurred into action only after news about the disappearance of children hit the headlines. On September 9, the contractor reportedly redeployed his staff, following an assurance from the administration.

Meanwhile, it was reliably learnt that the administration had decreased the strength of house mothers by almost 50 per cent, from the earlier 22 to 11.

Staff members expressed surprise at the move and wondered how reduction of caretakers could improve the functioning at the shelter. One positive fallout was that security had been tightened, with an increase of seven gatemen or watchmen, they revealed.

Efforts to contact social welfare director Varsha Khangwal were futile as she neither took calls on her cell, nor responded to questions sent to her through SMS. (Concluded)



Man with Midas touch — to controversy
Ram Niwas’ tenure memorable
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Known for self-professing his ability to execute different projects simultaneously, Ram Niwas, who relinquished charge as the UT’s Home Secretary the previous Friday, had a three-year tenure that was better known for the controversies he generated, for taking decisions that were more arbitrary than consensual, and, on occasions, for actions that bordered on the comical. Equally serious have been two major scams during his tenure.

The two scams pertained to teachers’ recruitment to government schools and CTU conductors’ recruitment, both of which were the biggest recruitment drives during his tenure and in recent years. In addition, he was accused of “mishandling” the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

The teachers’ cash-for-recruitment scam in September, 2009, during his tenure as the Education Secretary, of which he held additional charge, took its toll on then DPI (Schools) Samwartak Singh, an officer of the Haryana Civil Service, who found himself being unceremoniously repatriated to his parent cadre.

The issue of fraud in the recruitment of conductors for the CTU came to the limelight after a Punjab minister alleged in the state Assembly that as many as 139 out of 141 CTU conductors selected were from Haryana, which reflected an alleged regional bias of the Home Secretary.

The scam later led to the UT administration cancelling the recruitment after large-scale impersonations were established by the Central Forensic Scientific Laboratory, Chandigarh.

Then again, the controversy surrounding the implementation of the RTE Act put him in direct conflict with private schools. While Ram Niwas, a 1985-batch

officer of the IAS, was accused of mishandling the implementation of the Act, in addition to imposing 25 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections, along with being accused of bias against certain schools, the Home Secretary had stubbornly stuck to his guns. His exit from the Education Department is largely seen as a fallout of his tug-of-war with private schools over the implementation of the Act.

Ram Niwas’ role as Education Secretary also came under cloud for his approving appointment of his wife to the coveted Government College for Girls, Sector 11. Then again, shortly before he was to relinquish charge, Ram Niwas allocated himself in name his official residence, otherwise designated for the UT Home Secretary. This led to questions being raised on how he had managed to keep his official residence in his possession even after his repatriation.

Ram Niwas joined the UT administration when Chandigarh was reeling under the aftershocks of alleged irregularities in the allotment of land for mega-projects, including the Film City and Amusement Park and the IT Park. It was a time when both HCS and PCS officers were avoiding postings to the UT administration owing to controversies and investigations pertaining to land acquisitions by the Central Vigilance Commission and the CBI.

Ram Niwas also oversaw some development projects in the areas of tourism, hospitality and art and culture, but also was arbitrary in formulating a policy of seeking a large number of passes from organizations hiring Tagore Theatre to stage programmes.

On the somewhat comical side, Ram Niwas would visit government schools and ‘teach’ children about various aspects of life, that often left students and teachers nonplussed. His claim to achievements included interaction with young students; work on upgrade of Rose Garden, Garden of Silence, Japanese and Palm Gardens and crafts melas.


  • Schoolteacher recruitment scam
  • CTU conductor recruitment scam
  • Transfer of wife to Government College for Girls, Sector 11
  • Getting official residence of Home Secretary transferred to him by name even after he relinquished charge



Woman stabbed to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
A 45-year-old woman was stabbed to death in Mauli Jagran today. The incident took place at around 10.30 pm when the victim and her son were attacked at their residence.

Bhanuvati, a resident of Charan Singh Colony in Mauli Jagran, was declared brought dead at the Sector 6 hospital in Panchkula.

The two sons of the victim, Nanku and Bheem, complained to the police that Surinder Singh, Cheeku, Rajiv, Barista and Muniya attacked them with sharp-edged weapons owing to a rivalry.



lounge terror
22-year-old victim says city no longer safe at night
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Even 48 hours after the murderous attack on him on Saturday night at the Tao discotheque in Sector 26, Sohail Goel, whose 22nd birthday celebrations turned awry, continues to be in a state of trauma.

“The attack could have been fatal for me as the sword was directed towards my head. I used my hand to save myself from the fury of the assailants, all of whom were unknown to me. It was a narrow escape,” said Sohail, whose forefinger of the left hand was chopped off in the attack.

Although it had since been stitched back after surgery at the PGI, it was not known whether he would recover full control of his finger. In addition, he suffered a serious injury on his neck.

Sohail’s presence at Tao was a spur-of-the-moment decision. About two hours and-a-half earlier, he cut his birthday cake with his family and friends Akshay Kapoor, Manit and Manav Gupta at home at midnight. “Around 1 am, the four of us decided to go to Tao to celebrate my birthday,” he said.

Son of Rajeev Goel, managing director of Surya Pharmaceuticals, Sohail was among four victims who received injuries after 15 armed men, some of them wearing masks, barged into Tao at 2:37 am and were on the rampage for 41 seconds. Others who were injured were two bouncers and another staff member of the discotheque.

“All the assailants were unknown to me. I am surprised at the deteriorating law and order situation in the city. For the first time, I felt that the city was not safe at all for a night life,” Sohail stated.

“There was no PCR jeep nearby and there were no policemen in sight when the incident occurred. I could see the bone of my finger after I was attacked. I then realised that my shirt was soaked in blood as I had a deep injury on my neck as well,” he added.

“It was my friend who rushed me to the PGI. The police practically did nothing. Even after two days, it failed to arrest the accused despite the fact that he had been identified,” he further said.

The 22-year-old had just returned from Delhi, where he had been helping his father in his business, to celebrate his birthday this weekend.

No arrest, just MUV impounded
The Range Rover which was reportedly used by the accused
The Range Rover which was reportedly used by the accused.

The police failed to arrest any of the 15 assailants who were clearly seen in CCTV footage, creating a ruckus. The police booked Amandeep Gill, son of Mohali-based real estate developer and Gilco Valley owner, as the prime accused in the attempt-to-murder case registered at the Sector-26 police station. His Range Rover was impounded from his Phase-VII Mohali residence, but the accused continued to be on the run. Amandeep and with his friend were turned out of the discotheque at 11:20 pm after two girls complained of being teased. They threatened the Tao manager that they would return shortly and launched an attack three hours later on all those who were coming out.

Late timings violating norms

As viewed in the CCTV footage, the attack occurred at 2:37 am while the official closing time for discos on weekends, as per magisterial orders, was 2 am. UT SSP Naunihal Singh said licence norms were being violated and they had issued strict instructions to station house officers concerned to keep a close watch on all discos and ensure that timings were regulated. The police also deputed a PCR outside each disco in the city.



Left hand doesn’t know what right’s doing
CLU permission on disputed land at Haryana village!
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 25
It seems that different departments in Haryana are working at cross purposes, especially when it comes to protecting government land. A classic example of this is the case of the multi-crore shamlat land at Chowki village.

The Haryana town and country planning department has granted change of land use (CLU) permission to a hotelier for the disputed land, in which connection a criminal case had recently been registered against revenue officials for fraud of panchayat land at the village.

On February 9, a case of fraud of a shamlat land deal at Chowki village, worth crores, was registered against the officials, including the circle revenue officer and the land acquisition officer, at the Chandi Mandir police station.

The officials concerned had allegedly forged documents and provided ownership of shamlat land to villagers without the permission of district administration since 1984-85.

Despite the registration of an FIR and a probe by the CID wing of the Haryana Police, town and country planning Director-General TC Gupta had granted the CLU.

The permission for the CLU, to construct a hotel by Polo Hotels Private Limited, was granted on August 18. The hotel applied for the CLU on January 24 the previous year for the construction of a hotel on 7,208 square metres.

The letter for grant of permission showed that the land in question bore ‘khasra’ numbers 62, 64, 66, 68, 5/2min, 69 min and 73/3 min in revenue records of the Chowki village in the periphery control area.

The same ‘khasra’ numbers had been included in mutation numbers 231, dated February 10, 1987, and 241, dated September 14, 1988, which had been found illegal by the inquiry committee and mentioned in the FIR.

Despite repeated attempts, Gupta was not available for comment. Chief town planner JS Redhu said only Gupta was authorised to talk to the media on the matter.


their dawn after dusk
where Nightlife is lifeline of youth
Chandigarh not only beautiful, but also rocking and happening, feel youngsters
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Youngsters set the floor on fire at a discotheque at Sector 26 in Chandigarh at 12.50 am on Sunday
Youngsters set the floor on fire at a discotheque at Sector 26 in Chandigarh at 12.50 am on Sunday. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, September 25
Roshni Sinha, a 20-something resident of New Delhi, loves to party hard. So what’s unusual about that? Well, Roshni is among a growing breed of youngsters who regularly travel to Chandigarh, uncharitably known as the city of the tired and the retired, to party. Her story is a microcosm of this new trend in a city that seems to be finally ‘happening’.

Roshni is not alone as the dance bars have special weekend visitors from as far as New Delhi, even Mumbai and of course different parts of the adjoining states.

The new face of the regional capital is unknown to a sizable portion of the city population.

Youngsters have weekend specific destinations at different places in Sectors, including 8, 9, 26, 34 and 35. Life here begins well after 10 pm and sometimes continues well into early morning.

‘Not a sleepy city anymore’

While a majority of city residents believed that the city did not stay awake beyond 10 pm, Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru are known as the party lovers paradise.

A visit to the bylanes at the rear of showrooms housing the pubs and dance bars was a revelation about the unknown face of the city. The make of the cars and mobikes on display, including the BMWs, Audis, Mercs and Harley Davidsons make style statements.

As usual, Roshni was in the city on Friday evening for “a few hours of fun.”

Weekends, in particular, show packed venue.

Youngsters in different groups smoking or drinking, even in the open, might appear offensive to the traditional lot, however, as Gurinder “Guri” said “call it whatever you want to, however, this is life of the new youngsters. I am sure many of our elders would have done the same in case they had the opportunity. This is our way of enjoying.”

A nightclub DJ, requesting anonymity, said, “Today’s generation wants to party harder.

Though not as active as other metros, Chandigarh’s nightlife is still happening enough for people from surrounding areas to crowd the city.”

Besides partying, bars and nightclubs have become places to socialise after hectic office schedule.

Anil Sharma, an IT professional, said, “After a week long schedule of stretched office hours, an evening in a dance bar, on Saturday, along with friends, is very relaxing.”



Ticket to Mumbai
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
One significant group of party freaks frequenting the pubs and discotheques, on weekends, is that of budding models, currently based in the city and looking for greener pastures in the fashion towns outside. For them the fun parties have “much more to offer than mere partying”. In fact, models keep a tab on the parties thrown by a renowned fashion designer or a celebrity and try all means “right or wrong” to manage their entry in the party.

Without mincing words to state the obvious, Ranjan Kumar, an aspiring model said, “It is very easy to get noticed in a discotheque, here, rather than carrying a bundle of our portfolio pictures to different offices. Professionals from the fashion industry, too, are frequent visitors to the party lounges.”

People, who matter in the industry are frequent visitors here. We have heard cases where certain local aspirants found their way to Mumbai and Delhi via local discs,” Varun Singh, another aspirant said.

He said clubs were the best place to get noticed and develop links with people from other cities who might help them in getting a modelling assignment even in other cities. “It’s always good to attend parties when we know that some celeb or a fashion designer is attending it,” he added. On a visit to the weekend late night parties, one can spot many local models, fresh into the profession trying to find their way, with a hope that they might meet people who get them work. Shweta Gupta, another local model, and a frequent disco visitor, said it helped in developing contacts and giving an exposure that certainly helps in the later stages of life. “After choosing modelling as a career, attending parties becomes a part of it,” she added.

Open House Question

Till now, Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangaluru were popular among party hoppers when it came to pubs and clubs. But Chandigarh can now boast of nightlife, which is picking up with party freaks from other metro cities also flying to Chandigarh during weekends to attend parties. The city was perceived to have gone to sleep after 9 pm till a few years back. Write your experiences, if any, in a changed perspective, today, to




‘Nightlife not just about boozing, partying’
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
“Nightlife is not just about drinking and partying. Except for a small group there is a sizable young population engaged in more productive activity. They would love places of nightlife even for a cup of coffee,” says Mehar Verma, a PU student, giving his opinion on nightlife in the city.

Talking to a cross section of youngsters, the Tribune correspondent discovered that apart from waiting for booze and dance sessions at the weekends, a sizable portion of party animals were satisfied with places for a cup of hot coffee and snacks.

While it is correct to point out that the discotheques are full to the brim, particularly during the weekends, it is not wrong to say that Panjab University library, too, remains flooded with students. Student groups coming out of their rooms for late night cups of tea and ‘gupshup’ too have not reduced.

Mehar Verma said pubs and eateries should remain open even after 2 in the morning throughout the week. “We need quality nightlife, not just night masti. Nightlife is not just about drinking and dancing, it’s something more,” he said.

Vandana Mittal, a paying guest in Chandigarh, believed that nightlife was not just about clubbing. “People focus only on certain negative aspects when we talk about nightlife. This needs to change. People should be facilitated to come out of their houses for a late night session in coffee shops.”

Shikha Singh agrees that rules should not be forced upon people by ordering closure of shops, restaurants or pubs at a particular time.



ward woes
Civic neglect continues to dog ward no. 12 residents
MC ward no. 12 comprises Sectors 43, 52 & 61, Kajheri, EWS LIG colony

Special green belt development for stray cattle of the area by the municipal corporation in Sector 52; and (right) bad condition of a road at Kajheri in Chandigarh
Special green belt development for stray cattle of the area by the municipal corporation in Sector 52; and (right) bad condition of a road at Kajheri in Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan

Registered voters

Sector 61: 2,000; Sector 43: 5,000; Sector 52: 3,000

Khajeri: 5,000; LIG colony: 2,000


Kuldeep Singh (senior deputy mayor)

Party: Congress

Ward development fund

Of the Rs 130 lakh allotted for civic projects in the ward during the past five years, Rs 96.47 lakh spent till March 2011


Councillor has failed to respond to grievances posted by ward residents, both on Facebook and his official email ID

Questions asked in MC house in 2010

Despite holding the position of senior deputy mayor last year, Kuldeep Singh failed to table any question at general house meetings of the municipal corporation.


  • Playground in Khajeri
  • Community centre in Khajeri
  • Boosters for smooth water supply installed in Sector 43

Civic amenities

The ward, which has been plagued by the stray cattle menace, is characterized by a neglect of civic amenities including the dismal condition of internal parks, nonfunctional streetlights and lack of healthcare facilities.

Public utility services

Civil dispensary: For the past five years residents of the ward have made repeated requests to the authorities to open a health centre in the area, which could cater to their healthcare needs. However, till date civic officials have not even allocated land in any part of the ward for this purpose.

Community centre: The residents’ long standing demand for a community center in the ward has also been hanging fire for the past five years. Due to the absence of such a facility they have to organize social functions at far off places in the city.

Stray animals

The problem of stray animals wandering around is not new to the ward. Stray cows are creating havoc on the streets and in green belts, often obstructing vehicular traffic and even causing accidents. Their dung clutters parks and clogs sewers, which in turn makes the surroundings unclean, often leading to spread of diseases. Sometimes stray cattle attack passersby.

Condition of internal parks

The state of lush green lawns, plants, bushes and shrubs in internal parks in these sectors has gone from bad to worse with many of them having literally converted into garbage dumps. Refuse from dustbins scattered around and stray dogs is what people see when they come here for their morning and evening walks. No one is concerned about the grass being cut, the bushes trimmed and wild weeds removed. Since these internal parks are close to residential areas people do not prefer to come here often.

Nonfunctional streetlights, dilapidated roads

About three years ago civic officials had assured the area residents there would be a separate budget allocation for providing basic civic amenities in the city’s southern sectors. However, till date no step has been taken in this direction. The ground reality is that in Sector 43 the condition of internal roads is very bad and streetlights in Sector 52 have remained out of order for a long time.

Water supply woes

In Sector 43 there is an acute shortage of water supply on the top floors of houses and apartments. The supply is regular only for three hours in the morning and the rest of the time the residents have to use boosters to pump water to the upper floors.

Ward councillor’s take

Kuldeep Singh, councillor & senior deputy mayor Ward No 12To check the menace of stray cattle in the area the municipal corporation had approved a plan to shift all residents having milch animals within six months, but no action on this front has been taken yet even though a number of reminders were sent to civic officials. In fact, I had allotted funds from the ward development fund for speeding up work on maintaining parks and recarpeting roads.

Kuldeep Singh, councillor & senior deputy mayor Ward No 12




Housing societies a picture of neglect
Admn, MC fail to chalk out development plan for Sectors 48-51
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
In a clear case of misplaced priorities, the Chandigarh Administration and the municipal corporation seem to be meting out a step motherly treatment to residents of cooperative housing societies spread across Sectors 48 to 51.

The administration has collected crores as development charges from the cooperative societies. However, it has failed to chalk out a development plan for these sectors. These sectors are devoid of basic amenities like healthcare, schools, police station, community centres and sports facilities.

The land to the cooperative house building societies was allocated under the Chandigarh Allotment of Land to Cooperative Societies Scheme 1991. Two decades later, the inhabitants have to commute to Mohali or neighbouring sectors for household shopping. The residents continue to be at the receiving end as far as primary healthcare is concerned.

YP Garg, a resident of Verka Enclave, 49-D, said there is no dispensary or a health centre and residents have to depend on private hospitals in Mohali and pay heavily in case of an emergency. Residents rue that there are no community centres in the whole belt from Sectors 49 to 51. Resultantly, the residents have to go to banquet halls or community centres in Mohali or other sectors of the city for even a small function.

Anil Sood, a resident of Popular Society, Sector 49, said the area was full of shrubs and wild grass. Stray dogs and cattle roam freely causing scare in the minds of children and women while commuting on roads. “Nearby Colony Number 5 remains an eyesore, despite administration claiming its relocation to rehabilitation colonies developed by it. This causes law and order problem in the sector,” said Sood.

As if this was not enough, residents rue that the administration is shirking from its responsibility of providing basic amenities and facilities.

Satish Chandra Sharma, chairman, Group Housing Cooperative Societies’ Welfare Council, said the cooperative societies were considered self-sustaining entities by the administration. “As stipulated in rules, the cooperative societies have to set up and maintain horticulture, public health, sanitation, electrification within the societies on their own,” Sharma said.

He said they would submit a memorandum to the Advisor of the Administrator to highlight the problems being faced by the cooperative societies.

Welfare council formed

Residents of the cooperative societies have formed the Group Housing Cooperative Societies’ Welfare Council to redress the problems being faced by them. Satish Chandra Sharma has unanimously been elected its president.



UN-HABITAT thumbs up slum rehab scheme
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) has given a thumps up to the ambitious slum rehabilitation programme of the UT Administration aimed at making the city the first slum-free city in the country.

In a brief chat with The Tribune, Dr Joan Clos, executive director of the UN-HABITAT, said making Chandigarh slum-free reflected the political commitment of the Indian government and the local authorities.

During his visit to tenements for slum dwellers, Dr Clos was accompanied by Adviser to the UT Administrator KK Sharma, MC Commissioner Prerna Puri and chief architect Sumit Kaur. Earlier, he held a meeting with UT officials where he was given a presentation on making Chandigarh a planned city.

Dr Clos, who was on a one-day visit to Chandigarh as part of his India tour, said though rehabilitating all slum dwellers was a major challenge, yet the Indian government’s strategy to minimise slums was heartening.

During his seven-day visit to India, which began on September 23, Dr Clos will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja, Minister of Urban Development Kamal Nath and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia to work out strategies for sustainable development in the urban areas.

Dr Kulwant Singh, Adviser of the UT-HABITAT, said that India was high on the agenda of the agency with several programmes, including its flagship sustainable cities programme, under progress in the country.

The Indian connection

Headquartered at the UN office in Nairobi, Kenya. The United Nations agency for human settlements - UN-HABITAT - was established in 1978. Dr Arcot Ramachandran was the first Executive Director from 1978 to 1992. The agency is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.



Jet to fly to Leh twice a week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Adding more destinations connecting the city, Jet Airways is all set to introduce direct biweekly flights from Chandigarh to Leh from October 31. The flights, on Mondays and Wednesdays, are likely to take off in October when the airline’s winter schedule will come into effect.

Last Friday, the Jet launched a direct service from the city to Jaipur and a connecting one to Indore. The new flights will take the total number of flights operational from the city from 14 to 15. Jet officials said fares from Chandigarh to Leh will start at Rs 2,635 while those to Jaipur and Indore pegged at around Rs 2,600 and Rs 2,800, respectively, depending on the time of booking.

At present a dozen flights operated by four airlines operate from the city. These include six by Kingfisher Airlines (four for Delhi, one for Bombay and one for Jammu-Srinagar), two by Go-Air (both for Bombay) and one by Indian Airways for Delhi and three by Jet Airways (two to Delhi, one for Bombay).



Stores packed with deadwood
UT yet to vacate stores; MC unable to purchase machinery for parks
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Sounds strange, but the cash-rich Municipal Corporation (MC) is falling short of space to accommodate the machinery of its horticulture wing despite having 14 stores across the city.

Reason: Most of the stores of the department are jam-packed with logs of trees which fall during rains or otherwise during the year as the department has not auctioned the wood so far. The four stores located in gardens that were recently transferred to the MC are full of dead trees.

When contacted, MC chief engineer SS Bidda said they had written to the UT horticulture department to vacate the stores that were recently transferred to the MC. “The trees lying in the stores will be auctioned in the coming months,” he said.

Sources in the MC said that for the past four years, the authorities have not accorded sanction to auction the trees lying in the stores. Even cases of the auction sent by the department are pending for the past three years. Most of the wood is of ornamental trees, which do not have much monetary value.

Sources stated that four gardens, including Rajinder Garden in Sector 1, Leisure Valley in Sector 10, Rose Garden in Sector 16 and Bamboo Valley in Sector 23, have their own stores to accommodate the machinery required for maintenance. Sources said the UT Administration had handed over the gardens and the stores to the MC, but the UT horticulture department was yet to vacate the same. Resultantly, the machinery which the MC horticulture is planning to buy for these gardens is being delayed as there is no place to store it.

MC stores in greens belts

  • Sector 8
  • Sector 28
  • Sector 29
  • Sector 33
  • Sector 35
  • Sector 36
  • Sector 38
  • Sector 47
  • Mani Majra

MC stores in gardens

  • Rajinder garden, Sector 1
  • Leisure Valley, Sector 10
  • Shanti Kunj, Sector 16
  • Rose Garden, Sector 16
  • Bamboo Valley, Sector 23



Sector Scan
Sector 66 in ‘no man’s land’
Located south of old Mohali, the sector is bereft of basic amenities. With the sector still not transferred to the Mohali Municipal Corporation, the upkeep of basic amenities is with GMADA, which pays no attention to it.
Tribune News Service
Wild growth covers a tract at Sector 66, Mohali. tribune photos: vicky gharu; (middle) A park, which is being used as a parking lot for trucks; (below left) Garbage strewn in a; sector market; (below right) A potholed road, which is hindrance for commuters.
Wild growth covers a tract at Sector 66, Mohali. tribune photos: vicky gharu; (middle) A park, which is being used as a parking lot for trucks; (below left) Garbage strewn in a; sector market; (below right) A potholed road, which is hindrance for commuters.

Mohali, September 25
Development has failed to touch the lives of residents of Sector 66, which is located to the south of Mohali. As a result, neither the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) nor the Mohali Municipal Corporation owns the residential sector that houses around 600 dwelling units, apart from two private schools, a police housing colony, and a residential colonies of Punjab Mandi Board and BSNL.

But the sector located to the south of old Mohali is bereft of basic amenities, as 30 per cent area of the un-developed sector is full of wild growth. The sector is still not transferred to the Mohali Municipal Corporation, the upkeep of basic amenities is with GMADA. But the concerned wing of GMADA seldom pays attention to the sector where the residents have been complaining of basic amenities.

A survey of the area revealed that despite being well connected with other part of the city, the sector was being largely neglected by GMADA. Most of the parks and green belts are not being maintained. A contractor was using a green belt to park trucks and heavy machinery. Despite being inhabited for the last few years, the sector does not have a proper sector market. The sites in sector booth market allotted few years ago hardly attract any business

The residents point out that they hardly see any policemen doing patrolling in the area. It may be mentioned that the sector is located right across the upcoming knowledge City in Sector 81.



6 am: JCB machines at work; 100 shanties razed in Zirakpur
An anti-encroachment drive conducted by Mohali admn on the proposed bus terminus site
Rajiv Bhatia
A view of razed illegal dwellings near Paras Downtown Mall at Zirakpur on Sunday
A view of razed illegal dwellings near Paras Downtown Mall at Zirakpur on Sunday.
Slum-dwellers remove their belongings during the anti-encroachment drive
Slum-dwellers remove their belongings during the anti-encroachment drive. Tribune photos: nitin mittal

Zirakpur, September 25
In a major anti-encroachment drive on Sunday early morning, the Mohali administration along with a heavy police force removed more than 100 illegal shanties, including shops from the 2.7 acre PWD land where a bus terminus is proposed by the Punjab Government.

The land located on the Zirakpur-Ambala highway near Paras Down Town Square. A bus terminus, the long-pending demand of Zirakpur residents, will be constructed by the PIDB and the tender for it has been floated. PWD XEN Zorawar Singh stated that the work of the bus terminus would be started within 15 days.

MC sources said earlier the encroachment drive was carried out on the same spot in 2003.

Meanwhile, hundreds of commuters were put to inconvenience as the traffic was diverted and blocked on the Zirakpur-Ambala highway near Chandigarh barrier, Zirakpur and Panchkula. Several passengers were seen walking on the flyover to board the buses.

In the nearly five hours- long drive more than 100 shanties, including shops, were removed with the help of JCB machines. Dera Bassi SDM Rajesh Tripathi led the drive along with SP Bhupinder Singh, PWD Xen Zorawar Singh and staff members, Zirakpur Municipal staff besides the DSP, Dera Bassi, and SHOs were present at the spot.

The drive began around 6 am. Heavy police force from Dera Bassi, Lalru and Balongi were deployed to check any untoward incident. Three fire brigades, Anti-riot vehicle, ambulances cordoned off the area during the drive. The administration had give an ultimatum and asked the encroachers to remove their household goods. After repeated announcements the anti-encroachment staff razed shops and hundreds of shanties with the JCB machines.

However, the drive was conducted peacefully except for a protest by Nirmala, who owned a shop on the land. The police asked the woman to deposit her documents if she had any. The encroachers alleged that the administration should have given them another piece of land before removing them from here as they had been residing here for the past 20 years.

Talking to Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roojam about the drive, he said the administration in its prior notices had informed the encroachers and had asked them to remove their shanties. He said the drive was conducted peacefully without any untoward incident. “Now, the development of the town is the priority and work of the bus terminal will start soon”, he added.

Residents all praises for administration

Scores of residents praised the drive conducted by the Mohali Administration.They said that their long-pending demand to get a bus terminal would now be fulfilled. They were of the view that the slum area was blocking the development of the town. and the drive organised was planned well.

Loss for some

I have been running my business here from the past 25 years but now I will have to shift my business from here. People in the area know me for my art and sculpture.So it will be tough for me as I will lose many customers.

Phool Chand, a sculpture



Contaminated potable water being supplied to Phase VI
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 25
Pungent-smelling potable water is being supplied by the Public Health Department to a pocket of houses in Phase VI for the past two days. Residents have complained that after consuming the water many had fallen sick and had to be hospitalised.

Harjinder Singh, a resident of the area, said the public health department officials swung in to action two days after the complaint was lodged with them. A public health official said an inspection of the area revealed that being the dead end of the supply line the water had begun to stagnate. “ It was cleared immediately”, he said while ruling out any chance of contamination of the water supply.



Encroachments at housing board flats continue unchecked
Arun Sharma

Panchkula, September 25
It appears the issue of encroachments at the housing board apartments in Panchkulas is nobody’s baby. Even though for years almost every second flat owner has been involved in unauthorized construction the authorities concerned have chosen to simply look the other way.

Construction of illegal extensions in violation of building bylaws has been rampant to such an extent that almost every internal street in the area has become congested. After realizing the local enforcement agencies have virtually abdicated their responsibility, a few of the residents in Sectors 19 and 18 even blocked passages in their flats and encroached upon open spaces, converting them into parking areas, kitchens or gardens.

In several cases the encroachments have led to intrusion into residents’ privacy. Shanti Devi, a resident of Sector 19, has filed a complaint with enforcement officials of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and the municipal corporation accusing a neighbour of having built stairs in such a manner that any one on them could “peep” into her home.

When contacted HUDA officials said these sectors were under the civic body’s purview and it was the job of the MC authorities to remove any encroachments. MC executive officer KK Jain On the other hand said he would “look into the matter.”



Mullanpur Eco City
A clause in guidelines’ column raises hackles
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 25
Even as the sale of application forms for the Mullanpur Eco City is yet to pick up, a clause in the column for guidelines to fill the form regarding forfeiture of the entire earnest money in case of false or fabricated information has raised hackles with the applicants and enlisted banks objecting to the clause.

During the Aerocity scheme, the forfeiture amount was 10 per cent of the earnest money. “ If any applicant is found to have furnished wrong information, the amount financed by banks will be forfeited. To recover money form an applicant, banks will have to take legal recourse,” pointed out a bank official.

Officials in GMADA said the guidelines had been made strict to keep speculators at bay and allow genuine applicants to come forward. The clause of allowing one person to apply for only one plot was one of the conditions. It was seen in the case of Aerocity that applicants had filed multiple applications, thereby increasing the number of applications to over three lakh.

Sources said during a recent meeting, representatives of the enlisted banks while raising the issue of forfeiture with GMADA officials demanded an assurance that in case any such thing was detected, the earnest money would not be withheld. Though GMADA has not given in writing any such assurance, it is learnt that GMADA will be adopting lenient view in such cases.

Notice issued

To acquire 1,400 acres of land for IT City, the Land Acquisition Collector of GMADA has issued notices under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act. A month has been given to landowners to file their objections. GMADA has announced a land compensation of Rs 1.69 crore per acre. Apart from IT component, the project will have commercial and residential components.



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