C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Uppal housing
Councillors gun for MC officials
Seek CBI probe into omission of EWS clause
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Cutting across party lines, councillors attending the general meeting of the municipal corporation house today demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against civic officials for allegedly omitting the clause on construction of flats for economically weaker sections (EWS) at the Uppal Housing project in Mani Majra.

A decision on the unanimous demand was taken by city mayor Ravinder Pal Singh, who chaired the meeting. However, he said the “no objection certificates” should be issued to individual flat owners while a CBI probe should be initiated against the officials concerned.

Congress party councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma claimed the MC house had decided four months ago to fix the responsibility of the UT estate 
office and civic officials in the case. With no decision having been yet made on the issue, the house decided to recommend a CBI inquiry.

The MC’s estate branch had earlier notified residents of the Uppal Housing project that they would not be issued NOCs till the matter was resolved by the authorities.

Meanwhile, both ruling and opposition councillors today came down heavily on the officials for implementing the the MC house’s decisions “on their whims and fancies”.

Besides the Uppal Housing case, the blacklisting a firm allegedly involved in a cement scam for five years was reportedly reduced to one year.

Meanwhile, the decision of the house on revocation of termination orders of two daily wage workers have yet be implemented even after several months.

Nominated councillor AP Sanwaria also raised the issue over the decision taken at the recent MC finance & contract committee meeting that 15 days’ notice would be given for the auction of the exhibition ground in Sector 34, and the auction would be held after October 11. However, ignoring the decision, the department concerned had put out an advertisement in newspapers that the auction would be held on October 4.

The mayor said instructions had been issued to the department to readvertise the auction notice for October 11.



Uproar at General House, councillors flog dead horse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The issue of the garbage processing plant in Dadumajra sparked a heated debate at the monthly general meeting of the municipal corporation house held on Wednesday.

High drama was witnessed with Congress party councillors questioning why opposition councillors had attended the plant’s inauguration in 2008. Meanwhile, agitated colony residents protested outside the MC office over the foul smell in the area, which they had attributed to the plant.

City mayor Ravinder Pal Singh responded to the somewhat disorderly scenes both within and outside the House in a tough manner. While he ordered the arrest of 32 residents of Dadumajra for staging a protest outside the MC building, he disallowed the councillors from discussing the status report on the plant on the ground that they needed to wait for the

report of the committee set up by UT adviser KK Sharma on September 21.

However, what came as a surprise was that all Congress councilors, who had been among the most vocal on the issue of foul smell and for which they had even staged a three-day protest only a week ago, chose to stay quiet on the matter.

They also did not raise any objections to the mayor’s decision not to discuss the issue of the plant on Wednesday, for which the house was postponed on September 23.

Even the opposition chose to stay quiet on the issue of the foul smell. Instead they were more concerned that the plant had been set up by the Congress party and their councillors had gone on a “study tour” organized by a company.

During zero hour SAD councillor Jagjit Singh Kang raised an issue over the fate of the plant, objecting to which Congress councillor Pardeep Chhabra alleged: “Opposition councillors were the ones who were keen to participate in the plant’s inaugural function even though I had out it was not ready to be made operational”.

Meanwhile, as media photographers turned up to click photos of the protest staged by the residents outside the house, opposition councillors hurriedly sat in the front row of the protestors.

However, as the police began arresting the latter all opposition councillors returned to attend the house meeting.



No slowdown for these corporate giants
22% jump in advance tax filed by them this fiscal
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Notwithstanding apprehensions of a slowdown in the growth rate and a double recession hitting the US and Europe, top corporate companies in the region seem to be looking ahead for greater profits as the advance tax filed by them for the financial year 2011-12 has registered a jump of 22.3 per cent with a whopping figure of Rs 449.1 crore.

Direct tax collections from the city have also registered an increase of 40 per cent. The good news is that advance tax payment for the individual (tax on other than companies) category has also registered a hike of 39.17 per cent, going up from Rs 50.3 crore in 2010-11 to Rs 70 crore for the fiscal 2011-12.

The advance tax collection from the companies in the corresponding period was Rs 367.2 crore. The top five highest advance taxpayer companies from the region are State Bank of Patiala, Glaxo SmithKline, Swaraj Engine Pvt Ltd, Swaraj Mazda, Punjab State Cooperative Bank and Government Corporation, and Punjab State Container and Warehousing Corporation.

According to the income tax department, the State Bank of Patiala has paid an advance tax of Rs 139 crore as against Rs 90 crore in the corresponding quarter of the last financial year, a growth of 54 per cent. The UK-based pharmaceutical company, Glaxo SmithKline Asia Ltd, has paid advance tax of Rs 16 crore against Rs 12 crore in the previous years, registering a growth of 33 per cent.

While Swaraj Engine Pvt Ltd has paid Rs 6.4 crore as against Rs 6.09 crore, the advance tax payment by Swaraj Mazda Limited is Rs 4.32 crores as against Rs 2.6 crore, registering a growth of 66 per cent. Punjab State Coop Bank Ltd has paid Rs 3.8 crore as against Rs 2.15 crore.

Meanwhile, the direct tax collections in the city have also registered a phenomenal growth of almost 40 per cent. The overall direct tax collection went up to Rs 1,971 crore during the first half fiscal compared to Rs 1,423 crore during the corresponding period in the last fiscal.



Heritage items go for Rs 1.03 crore

Chandigarh, September 28
The auction of the 11 lots of Chandigarh’s heritage furniture fetched nearly Rs 1.03 crore at an auction by a London auction house today.

The highest price of about Rs 33 lakh was netted by a pair of armchairs originally belonging to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Furniture belonging to several organisations, including Panjab University, was put under the hammer in London today. — TNS



This festive season to burn more holes in pocket
Dry fruit prices up by over 50 pc
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
There has been a hike of more than 50 per cent in the prices of sweets and dry fruits this season. But this is not reflective of festival shopping enthusiasm, as is evident from stocks that shopkeepers are piling up.

A Tribune survey in various markets of the city today revealed that the raw materials for sweets, an intricate part of festivals, had also registered a massive hike. “It is nearly twice the cost of items prevalent last year. The soaring prices have hit milk, pulses, gram flour, flour, edible oils and even ‘desi ghee’. Fuel prices also translate into extra burden on the pocket,” said Neeraj Bajaj of Sindhi Sweets in Sector 17.

Increasing consistently, the price of “desi ghee” has now touched Rs 320 per kg as opposed to Rs 250 per kg last year. The prices of gram flour have witnessed a 40 per cent hike.

Almond kernel, available for Rs 360 a kg last year, is now being sold for Rs 460. Cashew was being sold for Rs 440 a kg last year while the current prices are Rs 680. Similarly, the prices of walnut have almost doubled from last year. It is being sold for Rs 800 a kg against Rs 440 last season.

The increase in the prices of dry fruits will force sweet makers to hike the prices of their products, said Chander Prakash, a sweet shop owner.

Subhash of Maa Durga Sweets in Sector 34 said: “People have already started making enquiries about special festival packages, specially in case of sweets.”



itbp scam
3 held for fake appointment letters
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 28
With the arrest of three Uttarakhand residents, lapse in the security of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has come to the fore. Three youths hailing from Uttarakhand had obtained fake appointment letters issued from the Dehradun headquarters of the ITBP.

The authorities detected the fraud when the youths reached the ITBP Bhanu Centre in Panchkula with the appointment letters. When a verification was conducted, the appointment letters were found to be fake.

On the complaint of Tapas Niyoni, Assistant Commandant, ITBP, Bhanu Training Centre, the Panchkula police has arrested Rajbir Singh, a resident of Tehri Garhwal, and Anil Bisht and Naveen Chand, both residents of Chamoli in Uttarakhand.

During investigation, the Panchkula police learnt that a constable posted at the ITBP centre in Arunachal Pradesh had provided the accused with the appointment letters. The accused had appeared for a written examination conducted by the ITBP in 2010, but had failed.

Sources said the police was investigating how much money the accused had given to the constable for the fake appointment letters.

The accused were produced in a local court, which sent them to a 14-day judicial custody in Ambala Jail.

Not a first

In 2008, the Panchkula police had arrested two brothers from Vellore and a resident of Thiruvellare in Tamil Nadu. They had visited the ITBP centre in Panchkula for the post of waterman, but their documents were found to be fake.


Farmers, students hold up traffic for seven hrs
Seek revocation of the Punjab Prevention of Damage to Public and Private Property Bill and Punjab Special Security Group Bill
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, September 28
Medical practitioners, student and farmer unions and members of various associations today blocked the Zirakpur-Patiala highway for more than seven hours. They were demanding revocation of the Punjab Prevention of Damage to Public and Private Property Bill, 2010, and the Punjab Special Security Group Bill, 2010, passed by the Punjab government in Vidhan Sabha.

Earlier in the day, members of the Punjab State Electricity Board Union tried to enter Chandigarh, but they were stopped by the Chandigarh police on the Zirakpur-Chandigarh border.

After having been denied permission to enter Chandigarh, the protesters staged a dharna on the Patiala highway near Nabha Sahib Gurdwara and raised slogans against the Punjab government and Chandigarh administration. Heavy police force and riot control vehicles were deployed to prevent any untoward incident on the highway.

During the dharna, leaders of various unions termed both the Bills anti-people. Agitators lamented that the Punjab Prevention of Damage to Public and Private Property Bill, 2010, was totally against the fundamental right of people to hold peaceful demonstrations. Protesters said according to the Bill, they could not hold a protest without seeking permission from the Deputy Commissioner of the area. Leaders also opposed the Punjab Special Security Group Bill, 2010, by terming it black law.

The Hind Mazdoor Kisan Sabha, Kirti Kisan Union, Pendu Mazdoor Union, Punjab Student Unions from Patiala, Nabha and Bathinda, Punjab Kisan Union, Istri Jagriti Manch, BKU (Krantikari), DTF, Kisan Sangharsh Mazdoor Mukti Morcha, Medical Practitioners and others association from Punjab voiced anger over the Punjab government’s move.

Meanwhile, hundreds of commuters had to go through a harrowing time. School buses and ambulances remained stuck in traffic jam for hours. The traffic had to be diverted to Chaat village from the Zirakpur-Patiala highway near Nabha Sahib Gurdwara. Several passengers were seen walking.

Vehicles stuck in a jam on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur border on Wednesday
Vehicles stuck in a jam on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur border on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Mohali: As many as 34 farmer organisations blocked traffic on certain roads here this afternoon in protest against various laws formulated by the state government as a result of which a large number of commuters faced harassment.

The blockade started around 2 pm and went on till the evening. It was lifted only after union leaders were made to talk to Daljeet Singh Cheema, Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, by the SDM. He also assured the protesters that a meeting with the Chief Minister would be fixed in two days.

Commuters faced a tough time as nobody from Mohali or Chandigarh was allowed to go to other parts of Punjab and neither those coming from other areas were allowed to enter Chandigarh. Those travelling by buses from Kharar side got off at Balongi and walked a few kilometres to reach Mohali.

The protesters were coming to Chandigarh to demand the withdrawal of the Punjab Prevention of Damage to Public and Private Property Bill, 2010, and Punjab Special Security Group Bill, but were stopped on the outskirts of Mohali by the police. The protesters then blocked traffic at Balongi and Landran T-point and raised slogans against the government. They said if these laws were implemented, people would not be able to hold protests and the situation would worsen. They said it was unfortunate that even after Chandigarh being considered as the capital of the state, they were not allowed to enter Chandigarh by the Punjab Chief Minister.



The onset of festive season
Marks the beginning of ‘Sharad rutt’, ushering in change in crop, food and attires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Festive fever gripped city beautiful with the onset of Navratras today. Marked by beelines in temples, puja shops decorated with colorful chunaris and prasad, decked up markets and vibrant dandiya nights, the city is all geared for the festive season ahead, which begins with worship of Godess Durga - The deity of power.

The Navratras, which will be celebrated from September 28 to October 5 this year is known as Sharad Navaratri or Maha Navratri and is the most important of all Navratris. The nine days generally celebrated in autumn, mark the confluence of summer and winters. The onset of ‘Sharad rutt’ (winters ) and ushers in a change in crops, foods and even attires.

Durga is worshipped in different forms and ways by different communities where rituals involve elaborate pujas and fasts. The zeal and fervour gears up people for festivities bound to continue for almost two months with Dashera and Diwali.

Nine forms of Durga worshipped on each day of Navratras:

Shailaputri Literally meaning daughter (putri) of the mountains (shaila). Believed to be the embodiment of power of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, she rides a bull and carries a trident and a lotus in her two hands is worshipped on the first day.

Bharmacharini She is worshipped on the second day of Navratra and referrred to the form of Durga practicing devout austerity. Holding a rosary in her right hand and a water utensil in her left she is the deity of emancipation.

Chandraghanta Having a ‘chandra’ or half moon on her forehead in the shape of a ‘ghanta’ or bell. The deity is worshipped on the third day as she is an apostle of bravery.

Kushmanda She is worshipped on the fourth day and is considered the creator of the universe. Often she is depicted as having eight or 10 hands. She holds weapons, glitter, rosary, etc., in her hands, and she rides a lion.

Skandamata Known as ‘- the mother of Skanda or Lord Kartikeya, who was chosen by gods as their commander-in-chief in the war against the demons, she is worshipped on the fifth day of Navaratra. The Lord Skanda in his infant form accompanies her.

Katyayani Katyayani was born to great sage Kata as an avatar of Durga. The sixth form of mother Durga symbolizes the power of deity to grant miraculous boons.

Kaalratri She has a dark complexion, disheveled hair and a fearful posture. A necklace flashing lightning adorns her neck. She has three eyes that shine bright and terrible flames emanate from her breath. Her vehicle is the donkey. So she is also known as ‘Shubhamkari’ - one who does good and defeats evil.

Mahagauri She is worshipped on the eighth day of Navaratra. Her power is unfailing and instantly fruitful. As a result of her worship, all sins of the past, present and future get washed away and devotees get purified in all aspects of life.

Siddhidatri She is the ninth form of the Goddess. She blesses all Gods, saints, yogis, tantrics and all devotees as a manifestation of mother Goddess. In ‘Devi Bhagvata Purana’ it is mentioned that Lord Shiva worshipped her and was blessed with all Siddhis (supernatural powers). By her blessings his half body became female and other half body male in the avatar of Ardhnarishvara.

Story behind the Navratras
Women apply vermilion on each other during Durga Puja celebrations at Sector 5, Panchkula
Women apply vermilion on each other during Durga Puja celebrations at Sector 5, Panchkula. A file photo

Lord Brahm granted Mahishasura the “buffalo demon,” a boon that protected him from any man in the world. Empowered by this gift, Mahishasura set out to conquer the world, heaven and the world, and brought about the defeat of the king of deities, Indra. After Indra pleaded, the king of the Gods, Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva created Devi Durga, by combining their own divine powers (shakti). Endowed with the trinity’s shakti, Durga proved to be a formidable opponent who fought Mahisa for nine days, beheading him on the day 10. The nine nights known as Navratri, symbolises the nine days of battle between Devi Durga and Mahisasura, while the day 10, which is vijayadashami-literally means the victorious tenth day of conquest of good over evil.

Fast food

Instead of binging on packaged foods like potato chips, opt for healthier foods and keep it light. Make sure you eat something in the morning. Eat fruits or dry fruits every two hours to prevent acidity. Have fruits like bananas, papayas and apples frequently as they keep you energised. Make sure you drink a lot of water and fluids like buttermilk and fruit juices. For other foods opt for kuttu cheela rather than puri or pakoda.

Check out this Navratras

Pooja thalis

  • The latest trend in this Navratra is the specially prepared thali for the puja, which consists of all the required elements of worshipping including camphor, vermilion, coconut, barley seeds, lotus etc. This year everything will be ready made, whether it is the puja thali or even the kanya bhoj

Navratra thalis

  • A majority of city restaurants in Sectors 35, 8 and DT mall have dished out extensive Navratra platters, which include variety of ‘fast food’ and a large range of snacks in addition to the main course. The thali is priced between ~ 150- 250.


  • Navratras remain incomplete without daandiya where people dance to folk tunes and Bollywood numbers to let their hair down, the traditional way and celebrate the onset of festive season. The two daandiya nights are on till October 5 in Gujraat Bhawan, Sector 24 and Dashera Ground, Sector 34.

Chaniya choli

  • Celebrate this Navratras in true Gujrati style with a stylish pair of Chaniya Choli, which can either be worn in regular way or given modern makeover. While many options are available across the city visit Guajari in Sector 20 for the best pick.

Gold ornaments

  • Following a lull due to sharadhs, Gold shoppers are out again to check out on the latest designs of ornaments and idols. With festivities setting in it’s the gold coins, which are in much demand.

Navratras not auspicious for marriages this year

  • Going by some astrologers, while this Navratra is good for all purchases, including automobiles, but don’t have good mahurats for marriages.
  • “ Venus, the key planet for marriage is combust and will rise only after October 6 so these Navratras are not too shubh for marriages” says local astrologer Madan Sapatu.


Other than their religious importance, the fasts during Navratras provide the much required detoxification of one’s body. The ancient Indian medical system sees accumulation of toxic materials in the digestive system as the basic cause of many diseases. Regular cleansing of toxic materials keeps one healthy. By fasting, the digestive organs get rest and all body mechanisms are cleansed and corrected. A complete fast is good for heath, and the occasional intake of warm lemon juice during the period of fasting prevents the flatulence.

Fast, don’t feast!

Fasting entails a lot of self-control and aims to cleanse your body so a regular intake of food like pakodas or puris defeats the very purpose.

Health comes first

  • Not everybody should fast. “However religious you may be, if you suffer from diabetes, hyperacidity or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) you should give fasting a miss.
  • A no-salt fast is a strict no no.

Don’t starve

  • Fasting doesn’t mean starving yourself. Prolonged fasts lead to problems like weakness, anaemia, acidity, fatigue and headaches that can interfere with your everyday chores. So make sure you are not depriving your body of energy.



Navratra fair
Over 50,000 pay obeisance at Mansa Devi Temple
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune news service

Panchkula, September 28
Distance does not matter when it comes to offering prayers at the historic Mansa Devi temple as people from far-off places throng the religious place to seek blessings.

People from all parts of northern region came to offer prayers on the first day of Navratra Fair.

Shri Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board officials said on the first day, the authorities had received Rs 10,05,226 (including Rs 2 lakh as donations from Kali Mata temple, Kalka). Whereas, as far as the number of devotees is concerned, it has crossed the figure of 50,000 on the first Navratra.

Ludhiana resident Naresh Bansal, who visited the temple, along with his family, said his forefathers also visited the religious place during Navratra. “Initially, I used to come alone, but this time I have come with my family to pay obeisance at the temple,” he added.

Similarly, Hisar resident Suresh Sharma said he had been coming to Mansa Devi temple for the past five to six years. He added that Mata Mansa Devi had fulfilled all his wishes.

Among the devotees, there were some, who were coming for the first time as well.



If wishes were horses, UT would stand first

Sukhna Lake

A few happy tourists provide only silver lining to dark tourism clouds, official inaction notwithstanding

As Chandigarh observes International Tourism Week, Akash Ghai and photographer Pradeep Tewari do a reality check on how tourist-friendly the city is and whether the administration is doing enough

Just a transit point

In the absence of any major attraction for tourists in the form of a major monument or a place of considerable historic or religious significance, the city is still being used as a transit point by tourists, who prefer to head to various places in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.

Despite the tall claims and announcements of various tourism projects being made from time to time, the Chandigarh administration has not got much success in converting the city into a full-fledged tourist destination.

“Most tourists stay here for just a night or so, en route to attractive tourist places like Shimla, Manali and Amritsar. Except for the Rock Garden and the Sukhna Lake, there is no other attraction which can hold tourists for more than a day,” said Ashok Bansal, general secretary of the Hotels Association of Chandigarh.

He added that the association had presented a paper with various suggestions to promote tourism in a big way, but these had been discarded by the authorities.

No package on offer

Unlike other tourist places, the tourism department offers no sight-seeing packages. The hop-on-hop-off bus is no answer to the professional packages which attract the tourists a big way.

If the department introduces or allows private players to run such packages, which include a visit to Kasauli, the Sukhna wildlife sanctuary, the Pinjore garden and the Chattbir zoo, tourists can halt here for three or four days.

Perspective plan in limbo

In 2003, a report on a 20-year perspective plan for sustainable tourism development in the union territory was submitted to the Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture by the India Tourism Development Corporation. In the plan, five projects in basic tourism infrastructure and eight in visitor-generating projects were shortlisted.

The projects in basic tourism infrastructure included setting up a system of coordination between departments through a mission approach, assessing the economic impact of tourism in Chandigarh through annual surveys and use of multipliers, setting up of police outposts in the new concept ‘cultural and tourism centres’, setting up a system for accreditation of shops and transportation and creating a tourist and cultural centre.

The visitor-generating projects included promoting traditional cuisine, horse racetrack, amusement park, linking scenic sights, conference centre for business travellers, adventure and wildlife tourism, developing city centre and attracting private sector. Even after eight years, most of these projects were yet to see the light of the day.

Night tourism to be promoted

“The concept of tourism is different for the ‘City Beautiful’, which has nothing significant to attract tourists in large numbers,” feels Manmohan Singh, one of the owners of the Aroma Hotel.

In today’s hectic life, many people want to spend quality time for one or two days with their families. For such people, the city is the perfect destination, with the availability of top-class hotels, restaurants, discotheques, clubs and shopping centres. We should target the clientele by promoting night tourism, he stated.

“We know this and efforts have been started,” said DK Tiwari. To promote night tourism, the administration had decided to illuminate architectural edifices and monuments of Le Corbusier at the Capitol Complex soon.

“About Rs 5 crore will be spent on the project,” added Tiwari. The illumination of these architectural buildings would be done in a manner that there would be a high visual effect on special occasions and days, he said.

“With this, we hope to change the image of Chandigarh as a transit city and create sufficient interest for tourists and other visitors to spend much more time here and enjoy tourist destinations in neighbouring states,” said Tiwari.

Info centres of little help

Though the tourism department boasts of initiating projects worth crores for promoting tourism in the city, the need is to streamline shortcomings at the grassroots level.

The UT administration has set up four tourist information centres, one each at the Sector-17 bus terminus, the railway station, the airport and the Sector-17 plaza, but these provide little help.

First, these centres are open only from 9 am to 5 pm. Secondly, employees posted at these centres are neither professional, nor have been given any special training. A random survey of two centres revealed that the employees on duty were missing from the counters.

At the Sector-17 centre, a couple from Austria was seen searching for someone to get information on how to travel to Shimla. “This is our second round to the centre, but the counter is unmanned,” said the couple.

The counters are shut every Monday. “As far as the UT tourism department is concerned, tourists do not come on Mondays,” Sanjay Gupta, a tourist from Amritsar, remarked sarcastically.

City Beautiful for this French tourist

“Chandigarh is as amazing a place as its people,” said Loec, a French tourist, who was ‘saved’ from being fleeced by a rickshaw-puller by two students of Government College, Sector 11.

First-time visitor Loec, who was standing in front of the Inter-State Bus Terminus at Sector 17, was about to hire a rickshaw to reach a local hotel, just a stone’s throw away from the terminus, was asked to shell out Rs 100 by the rickshaw-puller.

The students, who overheard the conversation, not only stopped Loec from being fleeced, but also accompanied him to the hotel on foot.

“Chandigarhians are simply great. I am impressed and equally thankful to these youngsters. Though one can term it a minor incident, it nevertheless shows how concerned local residents are about tourists. I will never forget the company of my two unknown friends to my destination,” said Loec.

According to Harkirat Singh and his friend, who came to help Loec, “It is the duty of every citizen to take care of foreign tourists. This is not the first time we are helping a foreign guest. Whenever we get a chance, we come to the Rose Garden, which is visited by several foreign tourists. Vendors and other migrants are often seen cheating them there by charging exorbitantly. We help the tourists out in such situations many a time,” they said.

Fleecing at railway station and airport

Auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers, particularly those who have been operating from the local railway station and the airport, are notorious for fleecing tourists from abroad.

Blame it on shortcomings on the part of the local administration or the lackadaisical approach of the police, these tourists, particularly from overseas, are fleeced by these private operators as soon as they step into the city.

Private taxi drivers charge Rs 500 or more from the railway station to any sector of the city, depending on the distance. The minimum fare from the airport is Rs 750.

Post-paid auto-rickshaw drivers demand between Rs 300 and Rs 400 for a trip to any sector. The rates are simply doubled or tripled during late-night hours.

Many of these transport operators also act as agents of small-time hotels and illegal guest houses. Though pre-paid counters to hire transport have been set up at these points, swindlers often manage to cheat tourists.

A senior UT administration official admitted that they were aware of the problem. “Private transport operators have made a caucus and do not allow other operators, including those official approved, to park their vehicles near these places. The police hardly bothers,” said the official on the condition of anonymity.

Tourist police staff invisible

  • The Chandigarh Police has deputed a mere 20 personnel as tourist police to assist tourists. They have supposedly been deployed at various tourist spots, including the Sukhna Lake, the bus stands, the railway station, the Rock Garden, the Rose Garden and the Sector-17 plaza. But apart from the Sukhna Lake and the Rock Garden, the Tribune team did not find any tourist police personnel at any other spot. “I have heard about the tourist police, but have never seen it,” said a shopkeeper at the Sector-17 market.


Decreasing tourist inflow

Despite the UT administration’s tall claims of having promoted tourism in the city, Chandigarh witnessed a minor increase of about seven per cent in foreign tourists the previous year compared to 2009, with a decrease of around 10 per cent in domestic tourists.

Year Domestic visitors Foreign tourists

2008 9,08,569 34,762

2009 9,14,742 37,967

2010 9,05,450 39,343

2011 (up to July 31) 5,32,987 18,309

‘Image takes a beating’

}Such illegal practices surely tarnish the image of the city, besides hampering the efforts of promoting tourism here. These need to be curbed strictly and immediately.

DK Tiwari, UT tourism department Director

UT admn’s take

Projects worth Rs 50 crore on development of tourism are in the pipeline. To attract tourists in a big way, we are converting the city into a city of gardens by setting up projects like the Japanese Garden, the Garden of Silence and the Value for Animals, say the authorities. Besides this, the administration has been concentrating on golf tourism, night tourism, Bollywood tourism and shopping tourism.

Non-starter projects

Many ambitious plans launched with much fanfare have failed to take off. These included the amusement park, wedding tourism, meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions tourism, affordable bus service to tourist spots in adjoining states and city cards to visitors for discounts at UT-run restaurants.



What tourists say about City Beautiful

Chandigarh is a very beautiful city. I specially like the people here, whom I find to be very nice and friendly. Though the weather is a matter of concern for us, we are very happy to be here.

— Eshly and her mother-in-law Zehava from Israel

This city is different from other cities of India. It has clean and pollution-free surroundings and wide roads, which are impressive. It is fun to walk here. People are helpful and they go out of the way to help. I want to come again and again.~

Sabina and Rolaud Blass from Austria

We are happy to be here. Though everything is fine, the local administration needs to ensure safety of the tourists from private transport operators and small-time hoteliers. I had a bad experience as an auto-rickshaw driver charged me Rs 500 from a hotel near the Chandigarh railway station to the Kalka railway station.

S Kashyap and his wife J Dean from Ranchi in Jharkhand

We are surprised to see swanky cars here. The local people are very warm, civilised and friendly and they live in style. We are impressed. Wide roads and green belts are other attractions here. We want to come here again and again.

— Shankar and his friends, students of VIT Bhimavaram Institute at Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh



No refreshments during MC functions anymore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The municipal corporation (MC) will no longer arrange ‘free refreshments’ for councillors during inaugural ceremonies and foundation stone laying functions.

This was stated by MC Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh during the General House today.

The House unanimously decided that the corporation would not spend money on arranging refreshments for such events.

The issue was raised by nominated councillor Dr AP Sanwaria, who after conducting an inquiry, learnt that lakhs of rupees were spent on refreshments during functions. Chief Engineer SS Bidda said contingency funds were being spent on organising such functions. To which Sanwaria objected and said contingency funds were for unseen expenditures and not for inaugurations. Taking note of it, the Mayor announced that no refreshments would be arranged even for House meetings from now on.

Meanwhile, nominated councillor Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri raised the issue of appointment of ex-servicemen in the MC. To which, the Mayor replied that the recruitments would be made only after the UT finance department’s approval.

The House unanimously passed a resolution that the UT senior town planner should be repatriated as he did nothing to complete the pending projects despite repeated reminders.


  • The General House deferred the issue of augmentation of water supply scheme of Kajauli water works, Phase V and VI. Congress councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma said under JNNRUM two states would not get funds for the same project, so clarification should be sought as to who would receive grants for the project.
  • The House gave a go-ahead to “Horticulture Bylaws 2011” for the maintenance and safety in green belts and parks.
  • Senior Deputy Mayor Kuldeep Singh chaired the proceedings of the House twice, while the Mayor was away.
  • Councillors demanded that a sanitation drive should be initiated in Sectors 21 and 22.



Gunners’ Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Gunners’ Day was celebrated at Chandimandir Military Station to mark the 184th anniversary of the Regiment of Artillery.

The day commemorates the raising of the first artillery unit, the Bombay Battery, on September 28, 1827.

A wreath laying ceremony was held at the Veer Smriti war memorial to pay homage to the martyrs of the regiment. Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lt Gen Baljeet Singh paid floral tributes at the memorial on behalf of all ranks.

A special Sainik Sammelan and a tea party for artillery personnel were held later.

A social get together at the Officers’ Institute, Chandimandir, was also organised for serving and retired officers and their families.

The Regiment of Artillery is in a rapid phase of transition with the acquisition of a plethora of modern equipment being on the horizon.

These will considerable enhance firepower and target acquisition capability, thereby increasing its battle winning potential manifold.



clu permission
Notice to Polo owner
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 28
Haryana town and country planning Director-General TC Gupta has issued a show-cause notice to the owner of the Polo Hotel as to why the change of land use (CLU) permission granted for a plot at Chowki village should not be withdrawn. It was mentioned in these columns on September 26 that the hotel owner had been issued CLU certificate even as the land was subject to litigation. In a communication to Chandigarh Tribune, Gupta said no construction had been allowed at the site so far as building plans were yet to be approved, which would be considered only after the issue of ownership was settled.

The department had granted CLU permission to the hotelier for disputed land, which recently saw the registration of a criminal case against revenue officials for panchayat land fraud at the village. On February 9, a case of shamlat land deal fraud worth crores was registered against revenue officials.

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

The plot for which the CLU was granted was part of this land. Gupta claimed that there was no lapse on his part.

He said the owner had submitted revenue documents, including registration deeds, mutation deeds and ‘jamaabandi’, for 2004-05 to prove ownership of the land.

He said the land was subject to acquisition by the urban estate department and was released in favour of the owners by the government. He stated that the decision to grant CLU was taken after duly verifying ownership in favour of the applicants, he said. When it came to the notice the previous week that the land in question was subject to a criminal investigation, the department issued a show-cause notice to the owner, added Gupta.



Setting up of solid waste mgmt facility opposed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 28
Residents of nearby areas opposed the setting up of a solid waste management facility at Samgauli village where a public hearing was held by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) today.

A protest was staged by residents who demanded that the facility should be set up in some other area and not at Samgauli village.

The protesters carried black flags and also raised slogans against the Punjab government.

SS Matharu, environmental engineer, PPCB, said the statements of 14 persons were recorded during the public hearing. When asked if somebody else was interested in getting his views recorded, most of the people present there said they were against the setting up of the project in this area. Videography of the hearing was also done, he added.

He said the proceedings of the meeting were being prepared which would be sent to the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

As part of the procedure for seeking environmental clearance, as notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, the Mohali municipal corporation had applied to the PPCB for conducting a public hearing of its proposed landfill facility.

A six-member Site Selection Committee constituted by the state government for the setting up of a common municipal solid waste management facility had recommended three sites for the purpose. Samgauli was found to be the most suitable as it was away from inhabited areas and also did not appear to be flood-prone.

No part of the land fell under the forest area, no river passed near the site and the highways were also at a distance.

The garbage generated from the town at present is being dumped near Industrial Area, Phase VIII, here much to the annoyance of entrepreneurs of the area.

Most suitable site

A six-member Site Selection Committee constituted by the state government for the setting up of a common municipal solid waste management facility had recommended three sites for the purpose. Samgauli was found to be the most suitable as it was away from inhabited areas and also did not appear to be flood-prone.



2 CSIO scientists honoured

Chandigarh, September 28
Two scientists of the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) here have been honoured by the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers for their contributions and achievements in the field of electronics and avionics.

Dr Pawan Kapur, Director, CSIO, has been conferred with the 34th IETE--Ram Lal Wadhwa Gold Medal Award - 2011 for his contributions in electronic monitoring and control instrumentation involving sensor design, PC-based hardware and application-specific software for use in various agro-based industries, such as sugar, tea, mushroom and storage.

Vinod Karar, Principal Scientist, CSIO, has been given the IETE-Hariramji Toshniwal Award - 2011 for his contribution in the indigenous development of the Head Up Display (HUD) technology for use in combat aircraft. — TNS



dav fiasco
Despite holiday, Josan shows up on campus

Chandigarh, September 28
It seems that the controversial principal of DAV College, BC Josan, is relentlessly trying to assume the principal’s office. Even as the college was shut on Wednesday, Josan made it a point to visit the campus and stay there for sometime. Josan took a round of the premises to make his presence felt and then left.

Despite the fact that a holiday was announced in all the colleges, Josan reached the campus early morning. There was no staff member present there.

Speaking to the Tribune, Josan admitted that even though it was a holiday today he went to the college for sometime. Josan has been trying all means to assume the office without any green signal from the DAV management committee. He has taken over the charge following revocation of his suspension by the Panjab University Registrar.

From the past two days, Josan has been discharging his duties as a college principal from the lobby outside the locked principal’s office.

Josan said that for him he was the college principal and he would visit the college everyday to look after the daily functioning. “Although I am not taking any decisions I am addressing the problems faced by the students and teachers”, he added.

The students and staff members are still in a fix as who should be considered as the college principal Josan whose suspension has been revoked by the PU registrar or Shashi Gupta, presently on medical leave who was appointed as the officiating principal. — TNS



TETTRA School turns 25
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The Air Force’s No.1 TETTRA (Technical Type Training) School has turned 25. A special function was organised at the Air Force High Grounds here to mark the occasion.

Set up on February 7, 1987, it was formally inaugurated by the then Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal DA La Fontaine, on September 28, 1987.

It is the oldest TETTRA schools in the IAF and imparts comprehensive technical training to pilots, engineers and technicians on the MiG-27 and MiG-29 fighters as well as the Mi-26 helicopter before they are posted to units operating these aircraft.



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