C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Gang making bogus bail bonds busted
Cops seek names of beneficiaries from court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The crime branch of the city police has busted a well-organised gang involved in generating bogus bail bonds for criminals at the Sector 17 District Courts. An alleged key operator of the gang, Manoj Kumar, was arrested by the police yesterday.

This is the second such gang involved in making fake documents for bails that has been busted in the last four months.

Investigations carried out so far reveal that the list of beneficiaries include some hardcore criminals. Based on the interrogation of the suspects, the police has requested the court authorities to provide it with details of the beneficiaries.

The main suspect in the case, Manoj Kumar, a resident of Mundate village in Muzaffarnagar district (UP), was arrested from Sector 17 on Friday.

Another accused, Hardit, alias Balbir Singh, is absconding. The police has also recovered fake documents, including identity card and salary slips of Punjab Government which were used for filing bail sureties.

Another member of the gang, Sachin Kumar, a resident of Burail, is already in the custody of the police since October 25.

In a similar case, Virender Singh, a tainted Junior Engineer (JE) of the Punjab irrigation department was arrested in June. Virender and his associates used to file sureties. He had reportedly filed sureties for over 100 criminals and most of them were granted regular bail against their criminal cases.

The police has also filed a detailed chargesheet against Virender Singh in the district courts. Police sources said a reply to the request of the police seeking details of beneficiaries under trial and pertaining to fake documents furnished by Virender Singh was still pending in court.

Crime branch Sub-Inspector Sohan Lal, who is the investigating officer in the case, said they got a tip-off about the gang operating in the district courts during investigation of the gang involving Virender Singh. “The investigations have revealed that the gang was operating in the court for a long time,” he said.

A case under various sections of the IPC has been registered against Manoj and Hardit at the Sector 17 police station.



Say cheese, chicken lovers!
Over Rs 200 a kg, paneer more expensive than chicken
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
A kilogram of chicken is cheaper than a kilogram of cottage cheese. Inflation is weighing heavy on those preferring vegetarian food as prices of cheese have surpassed that of chicken.

With the gradual increase in the procurement prices of milk, milk-based products have become dearer by 25 per cent during the last one year. On the contrary, the price of chicken has not changed much.

While a kg of cottage cheese is being sold for Rs 200, the same quantity of chicken in the local markets can be bought for as low as Rs 130 a kg.

The prices of green vegetables have also gone up, putting additional burden on those shunning non-vegetarian food.

“Last year, milk was available for Rs 26 a litre, but now it has gone up to Rs 34 a kg,” says Sukhwant Singh of Gobind Dairy. This has led to a spurt in the prices of milk products.

Milk cream and desi ghee are now selling at a price of Rs 180 a kg and Rs 340 a kg, respectively. Last year these were available for Rs 150 and Rs 260, respectively.

As if this was not enough, the prices of pulses have also shot up. Any pulse of good quality is not available below the price of Rs 50 a kg. While the prices of white gram and “moong” are touching Rs 100 per kg, “mah sabut”, “rajma” and “rongi” are being sold for nearly Rs 75 a kg.



Plot Allotment
HUDA hits a roadblock in Mansa Devi Complex
Landowners threaten to move court
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 29
The proposed allotment of 55 residential plots by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) in Sector 2 of Mansa Devi Complex, a prime area located north-east of Sukhna Lake, has run into rough weather with landowners threatening to move court and seeking allotment of plots to them under the oustees’ quota.

HUDA is planning to offer 387 residential plots in various sectors. The plots range from two kanal to four marlas and are available in sectors 2 and 6 of Mansa Devi Complex (MDC); and sectors 12, 17, 21, 23, 25 and 26. In Sector 2 of MDC, out of a total of 55 vacant plots, 41 are one kanal, 10 are 14 marla and four are two kanal. It is the only sector where two kanal plots are available.

Nirmal Singh, a farmer, said he owned about three acres in Saketri village. The land was acquired by HUDA a few years ago to develop Sector 2 (MDC). In November 2010, he approached HUDA seeking details of vacant plots for allotment under the Right to Information Act. At first, HUDA did not give him the information. He then filed an appeal before the HUDA Administrator, who on April 15, 2011, directed the HUDA estate officer to provide him with the details.

The information said all plots had been allotted. Now, after receiving information about the proposed allotment by HUDA, Nirmal Singh and some other farmers have decided to move court.

Estate officer Ashwani Sharma said he had no idea about such cases and would enquire about them.

The plots will be offered through a draw and are likely to be offered for Rs 12,000 to Rs 13,000 per sq yard.



Five years gone, 2,442 VAT returns still to be assessed
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The UT excise and taxation department has again failed to meet the deadline in completing the VAT assessment of annual returns of as many as 2,442 dealers for the year 2005-06.

As the deadline has been set for November 20, only 22 days (including holidays) have been left with the department to assess annual returns of the selected dealers. The remaining returns (around 14,000) would be deemed self-assessed. This means that everyday around 110 cases have to be assessed by the department, which is said to be an “impossible” task by certain officials of the department. Citing severe shortage of employees, a senior official said it was impossible to assess so many traders in such a short period.

Under the rules, the job had to be completed on or before November 20, 2009, as the Punjab Value Added Tax Act, 2005 (as extended to the UT), states that: “The returns of all taxable or registered persons need to be scrutinised and wherever required, assessments have to be framed within a period of three years after the date when the annual statement was filed or due to be filed, whichever is later”.

Since the department failed to meet the deadline, the UT Deputy Commissioner granted it one-year extension on November 19, 2009. The department, however, again failed to meet the deadline and the authorities had to extended the period by another year.

“Already five years have passed, but still the work is pending. Now in 20 days, the assessment of 2,442 returns is not possible. Surely, the department has ‘detected’ these cases for assessment on some basis. It should also make the status of the remaining cases clear,” said a local dealer on the condition of anonymity.

The taxable or registered dealers of the city have been divided into eight wards. Each ward is being looked after by one clerk, who has to assess the returns, besides miscellaneous work.

3,939 cases selected for 2006-07

For the assessment year 2006-2007, the department has selected 3,939 cases. The deadline, which includes a two-year extension, will end on November 20, 2012.



Chill brings along viral infections
The elderly more susceptible to ailments
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Chilly evenings are here, and so are viral fever cases. Runny nose, hoarse voice and upper respiratory tract infections are common during this season. “There is a rise in viral infection cases in the city and this will last till it rains,” warns head of the ENT department of the GMSH-16, Dr Rajesh Dheer.

What has compounded the problem is the large variation between day and night temperatures, which doctors say is a perfect condition for bacterial growth and transmission. Doctors say that there has been a 30 to 40 per cent increase in cases of viral and upper respiratory tract infection.

Dr SK Bhandari, a physician, said the most common complaints were of sore throat, blocked nose and fever, both low and high grade.

It was even more difficult for the elderly who were suffering from asthma or heart ailments. According to heart specialists, elderly people with weak hearts could have a hard time during fluctuating temperatures as they tend to catch cold and cough easily. When the cough aggravates, it leads to breathlessness. Doctors advised people to delay their morning walks in cold weather.

Dr SK Jindal, head of the pulmonary medicine department, PGI, said: “Cases of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) have gone up in the last two weeks. People have symptoms of allergic infection. Among the total number of patients I attend to in the out-patient department, around 20-30 per cent suffer from viral fever and URTI. The sudden increase can be attributed to fluctuating temperatures throughout the day. It is cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon. Changing weather over the last few days has provided a conducive atmosphere for disease-causing agents. Those suffering from asthma should not stop using inhalers.”

If high fever continued for more than 48 hours, one must consult a doctor.


  • Moderate to high fever
  • Persistent cold and cough
  • Headache
  • Bodyache
  • Lack of energy
  • Muscle pain


  • Sudden change in temperature
  • Fluctuating day and night temperatures
  • Pollen in atmosphere


Encroachment, unkempt parks & poor garbage collection

Ward No. 17 comprises centrally located Sectors i.e. 18, 19 and 21. This ward is infested with encroachment, with residents infringing on service lanes by storing construction material or parking vehicles during night. Even makeshift rooms and security tents for guards have been set up there. Some residents have used the MC land for displaying plants. The lanes are also being used by laundrymen, who have set up shanties there.


Two years ago, the UT administration had earmarked a site for the construction of an e-sampark centre in Sector 21 after area residents made a number of representations. Even though work has been allotted to the contractor, who has stored his construction material there, the construction is yet to start.

Playing equipment for children is overrun by wild growth at a park in Sector 18
(Above) Playing equipment for children is overrun by wild growth at a park in Sector 18; and (below) a trench dug up in a park along with illegally parked private buses in Sector 21.

A trench dug up in a park along with illegally parked private buses in Sector 21

Garbage strewn near a residential area in Sector 19, Chandigarh
Garbage strewn near a residential area in Sector 19, Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan


The authorities have failed to monitor the proper functioning of the door-to-door garbage collection system and have been blaming the contractor, allotted the contract for the collection of garbage in the ward, for lapses. The contractor’s staff often fail to turn up in the area for the collection of garbage. In fact, sweepers also work at will as the department has failed to supervise their work. Even though the authorities have constructed Sehaj Safai Kendras for the collection of garbage, the residents have been forced to use their back alleys to dispose of their horticulture and domestic waste.

Internal parks

A majority of internal parks developed in the ward have not been properly maintained by the MC horticulture department. The authorities have spent lakhs of rupees on installing lights in the parks but have not bothered to ensure their proper maintenance. In most parks, lights are broken and have not been replaced for a long time. Whenever residents complain about it, officials wash their hands of the issue citing paucity of adequate material for replacement.

Encroachment on back lanes

Encroachers are having a field day as the MC has failed to frame any policy on encroachment on service lanes in the city. City’s master plan had earmarked these service lanes to ease traffic congestion in front of markets but the authorities have not devised any policy for their proper maintenance. These are currently being used by residents for storing construction material, parking vehicles, putting up maids or security guards and displaying plants. These lanes are also being used by laundrymen, who have set up temporary shanties.

Encroachment on MC land

This ward tops in terms of encroachment on MC land in the city. In Sector 18, an illegal taxi stand has been running for a long time and residents have been complaining to the authorities in this regard. However, no action has been taken to remove it so far. Similarly, in Sector 21, private bus operators illegally use MC land to park their vehicles. However, all complaints made to the authorities have fallen on deaf ears.

Stray animals

On paper, the MC has chalked out plans to control the problem of stray dogs in the ward, but on the ground, the picture is entirely different. Special campaigns have been organised by the authorities to deal with the menace but the issue remains unresolved.


Anju Baniwala

(Sr Deputy Mayor in 2008)

Ward development fund?
Out of Rs 130 lakh allotted in the past five years, Rs 133.90 lakh have been spent till March, 2011

Tech know-how?
Has failed to respond to the grievances of residents posted both on Facebook and official e-mail ID

Questions asked in House in 2010
Never tabled any question in the question hour of the General House


  • First community parking in Sector 19
  • Community centre in Sector 21, pending for 40 years
  • Two green belts each in three sectors



135 challaned during anti-encroachment drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The enforcement staff of the municipal corporation carried out an anti-encroachment drive in Sector 17 and 22 markets today. Around 135 challans were issued to offenders for encroaching upon government land.

The drive was initiated in Sector 17 plaza and Bank Square, where the MC staff issued 65 challans. The staff then went on to the main market of Sector 22 and Shastri Market and removed encroachment.

Officials said 40 challans were issued at Shastri Market, while 30 challans were issued in the outer market.

The MC staff also removed six motorcycles dumped in a park in Sector 15.



4 bikers performing stunts challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Four bikers performing stunts on their motorcycles were challaned for rash and negligent driving by the Chandigarh police near the Sector-42 lake here today.

The police station-36 had received information about the bikers performing stunts near the lake for the past few months. The police had been keeping a watchful eye on such activities.

A team of police caught the youngsters performing stunts today and issued them challans after verifying the documents of their vehicles. The police sources said stunt biking was not new to the city, as bikers had identified certain places, including Leisure Valley, Sector 10, roads leading to the IT park and Sector-42 lake, where they performed stunts regularly.

“Also, several stunt biking clubs were operating in the city,” they said.

Police station-36 SHO Sukhbir Rana said the youngsters had been warned against engaging in such activity, which could lead to accidents.

“The stunts involve high-speed and reckless driving that poses threat to the motorcycle riders as well as to other motorists, following which the challans have been issued,” the SHO said.



Want to Learn driving? Check out the school
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Planning to learn driving from a driving school? Ensure that the driving school has a qualified instructor and a classroom for theory classes.

While there are a number of driving schools operating across the city, only 20 are registered with the State Transport Authority (STA) and have a valid licence to teach driving.

One can find a driving school in every corner of the city, but how many of these have the licence is yet to be found by the STA.

To run a driving school, there is a need to obtain a licence from the STA after completing various requirements, one of which is to have a classroom with a qualified instructor.

The instructor should have a diploma or a degree in mechanical engineering or a diploma in motor mechanics. These rules are hardly followed, with operators running from parking lots and markets.

According to rules, one needs to pay Rs 500 as licence fee every year to register a driving school and Rs 1,000 for pollution check.

Vehicles used by driving schools need to have controls on the left side as well. Before enrolling a student, the driving school should ensure that the applicant has a learner’s licence.

STA secretary Mahavir Kaushik has said they will hold special checks to ensure that driving schools operating across the city have a valid licence.

“We regularly penalise schools running without STA permission and ensure that the rules are being followed,” he has stated.

Official sources say the STA is also preparing a list of driving schools with licence and those being run without permission.

Conditions that are a must

  • Classroom with instructor having diploma or degree in mechanical engineering or diploma in motor mechanics
  • Valid licence from State Transport Authority
  • Vehicle used should have controls on the left side as well
  • Boards on vehicle displaying ‘L’ clearly so that other commuters are aware that the driver in under training



Experts dwell on prevention of drug abuse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
On the second day of national conference of Federation of Indian NGOs for Drug Abuse Prevention (FINGODAP) being held at Panjab University, discussions on various issues, including concerns related to addicted children, challenges in treatment, Hepatitis C infection and other co-morbid illness were held.

Representatives and members of various NGOs from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat attended the conference and gave presentations on drug abuses.

“Our aim is to end drug abuse,” said OP Sharma, member of an NGO.

Another member Ruksana Hasan said though the sale of tobacco and gutka was restricted near educational institutions, people continued to flout norms with impunity.

Hasan said the government and authorities concerned should take action against violators.

Experts dwelt on topics like “Women in Addiction Issues and Concerns” and “Treatment and Rehabilitation Opportunities”. Discussion on “Convergence for Addressing Drug and HIV Concerns, Harm Reduction and OST, Enabling Environment, Linkage with De-addiction Centres” was also held.



MC fails to rid Zirakpur of stray cattle
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, October 29
Cattle menace continues to haunt residents of the town. Even after spending lakhs of rupees on a trailer for rounding up stray animals recently, the MC has failed to check the menace.

With complaints pouring in from residents and a Rajya Sabha MP approaching the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, the Mohali Deputy Commissioner has been asked to submit a report in this regard.

In the absence of any check, these animals stray into parks and are even seen roaming on roads posing a threat to commuters. Sources in the traffic police said a number of accidents occurred everyday, with most of the incidents going unnoticed.

Sources in the Zirakpur municipal council asserted that in an attempt to deal with the menace, the council had procured a low-height trailer, but it failed to serve the purpose.

Elaborating on the problem, the council officials said as there was no cattle pound in Zirakpur, the problem could not be solved. They added that the animals had been pushed out of the township a number of times, but still they returned.

Rahul, a resident of Lohgarh, lamented that the council officials were not bothered to check the menace. He alleged that despite repeated complaints, the council had failed to tide over the problem.

Meanwhile, an official of the civic body claimed that drives were being carried on a regular basis to check the menace.





CME on blood transfusion services

A CME on “Total Quality Management in Blood Transfusion Services” was organised at Inderdhanush auditorium, Panchkula, here today. It was inaugurated by Prof JG Jolly, professor emeritus, department of transfusion medicine, PGI, Chandigarh, who was also the founder president of Indian Society of Blood Transfusion and Immunohaematology. Dr BK Rana from the Quality Council of India spoke on the process of accreditation of blood banks. Experts also deliberated upon quality management in donor room procedures, blood components preparation laboratory and blood grouping and infectious disease testing laboratories. Dr Dheeral Khetan stressed on the need of maintaining cold chain while transporting and storing blood to preserve quality of blood unit.

Student honoured

Himanshu Gupta of Chandigarh was felicitated by DAV School, Sector 15, today for securing full marks in physics in the All-India PMT, 2011. Felicitated at a warm ceremony held here, Himanshu thanked his father and mentor Prof SC Gupta. Principal of the school Dr Rakesh Sachdeva congratulated Himanshu on his achievement.


Grants announced

“The Punjab government will allot land for the proposed construction of Vishavkarma Municipal Bhawan at Dera Bassi soon,” said District Planning Board chairman Narinder Sharma. He announced a financial help of Rs 3 lakh, while MLA Jasjit Bunny announced Rs 2 lakh to Vishavkarma Sikhiya Prachar Committee. Sharma also honoured Mukesh Rana with Vishavkarma Udyog Rattan Award-2011.

Kharar MLA criticises SAD

MLA of the Kharar constituency Balbir Singh Sidhu criticised Chief Minister of Punjab Parkash Singh Badal for inviting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to inaugurate projects in Punjab on moral and ethical grounds.

Badal’s OSD discharged

Hardeep Singh Bhambar, former OSD to Parkash Singh Badal, was today discharged in a case in which he was declared a proclaimed offender (PO) in a local court here. In the disproportionate assets case against the Badals, Hardeep had been declared a PO after he had failed to appear in the court.

Tribune Reporters



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