C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Theft incidents on rise; 1,350 cases reported this year

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
Thieves are having a field day in the city as is evident from the fact that at least eight thefts were reported in the past 24 hours. The police was caught napping while thieves and burglars made merry and gave residents sleepless nights.

The police has been unable to curb the rising number of thefts in the city. Around 1,350 thefts have already been reported this year. Thieves also made an unsuccessful attempt to break an ATM machine in Sarangpur village last night.

Besides the ATM, miscreants targeted as many as seven shops and residential accommodations and decamped with cash and valuables worth crores in separate incidents.

Statistics available with the police depict a shoddy recovery rate as only 30 per cent of the theft cases have been solved.

ATM tampered with

An ATM machine of the State Bank of Patiala located at Sarangpur was found tampered with this morning. Police investigation revealed that the accused opened the lid of the ATM with a tool, but were unable to break the locker. The absence of any security guard made it easier for the thieves. The police is scrutinising CCTV footage for clues. A case has been registered on the complaint of Harjit Singh, branch manager of the bank.

Theft at electronics godown

Thieves stole as many as 105 Samsung mobile phones, six LEDs, seven DVDs, seven laptops and their covers from the godown of Samsung Electronics last night. Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Raipur Kala village, said the locks of the godown were found broken in the morning and goods worth lakhs were missing. A case has been registered.

Vehicles stolen

A Sector 20 resident, Sandeep Kumar, in a complaint to the police said his TVS Apache motorcycle (CH03 Y 7162) was stolen from Leisure Valley in Sector 10 yesterday. Sukhram of Ram Darbar has reported that his Activa Honda scooter (CH-01-AC-1603) was stolen from Sector 16.

Two shops burgled

Surinder Singh of Burail village has reported that ~10,000, and copper worth Rs 3 lakh was stolen from his shop on the night intervening November 25 and 26. Munish Bajaj, owner of an SCO in Sector 26, told the police that thieves had decamped with Rs 43,500 from his shop. The accused have been arrested.

Two houses ransacked

Sumitra of Ram Darbar has told the police that thieves stole an LCD TV, a microwave and two silver sets from her house last night. Vikram Giri of Sector 35-D, said thieves ransacked his house and stole jewellery, besides an LCD TV and ~65,000.



Unheard travails of an uprooted civilisation
Poor representation to inhabitants of 50 villages uprooted for creation of city

Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
Negligible representation to original inhabitants of 50 villages, uprooted for the creation of the city in the list of Municipal Corporation candidates, is clearly indicative of the insignificant place they occupy in the priority list of politicians.

Villages have vanished and whatever land is left is always under the threat of being occupied by some new project. There are no voices to carry their agenda before the MC. More than 15 years after the creation of the MC, issues concerning villages are nowhere on the priority of the House.

Farmers have been very poorly compensated when they gave their land for new habitation. Besides giving them paltry amounts initially, farmers even later, got only a maximum of about Rs 50 lakh for an acre after going to the court.

On the other hand in an auction held in December 2009, the average price fetched by a residential property was Rs 74,820 per square yard.

More pertinently, all villagers did not own land. A sizeable number of them were workers on farmlands, blacksmiths, cobblers, tailors and carpenters who were rendered jobless and had to move outside the limits of the city.

The BJP has given a nominal representation to the villagers in the name of Mam Chand Rana. The Congress list has the name of Jasbir Singh Bunty and mother of Vijay Rana, a former councillor. Several old timers of the Congress, who were inhabitants of the original villages, including Bhupinder Singh Badheri, a former senior deputy mayor and a third generation Congressman, and Kuldip Singh Kajehri, a former deputy mayor, have been denied ticket by the party.

Man Chand Rana said: “My name has come in as an exemption in the final list of candidates. Our land continues to be acquired at throwaway prices. A casual look at the villages will reveal that this area needs immediate MC attention.”

Badheri said: “The decision of denying me ticket rests with the party. But the list is not fair to villagers in an overall perspective.”

Anand Singh Kajheri, who was denied ticket by a national party, said: “An entire civilisation in the lap of the lower Shivaliks was wiped out for the creation of Chandigarh. Subsequent administrations have not given a thought to the original inhabitants. While it continued to sell land to money sharks, we were meagerly compensated. We were not even given a place to make a house.”



Acid attack on 19-yr-old mall employee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
A 19-year-old girl working as a sales service associate with a mall in the Industrial Area, Phase 1, was critically injured in an acid attack near the Sector 28 lights here late this evening. 
The victim, Neha Thakur, a resident of Burail, was walking along with a colleague, Nirmala, when two unidentified youths on a motorcycle threw acid on them. While Nirmala had a narrow escape, Neha is battling serious burns at the Government Medial College and Hospital, Sector 32, where she has been admitted.

The incident occurred at 9.20 pm when Neha and her colleague were returning home after work. The police said usually their work at the mall gets over by 8.30 pm, but being a Sunday today, they got late due to the increased rush at the mall.

The girls, who were waiting for their family to pick them up, started walking and when they reached the Sector 28 lights, two youths wearing helmets stopped their motorbike near them. The pillion rider then threw the acid on them and fled.

Nirmala called the police and a police control room van rushed the victim to the hospital. Inspector Malkit Singh, SHO, Industrial Area police station, said Neha was not fit to record her statement and had suffered burns on the right side of her body and face. Employees of the mall gathered in large numbers at the GMCH following the incident. The police has registered a case and is investigating the matter.



Fog to prevail
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, November 27
The weatherman has predicted foggy conditions will prevail in the early morning hours over the next couple of days, which is likely to hit the train services in the region.

Even though most trains are running on schedule, the 2231 Lucknow-Chandigarh Unchahaar Express was late by three-and-a-half hours while the Shatabdi was delayed by half an hour, said station superintendent Parveen Kumar.

In view of the dry weather in the region, the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana are likely to witness foggy conditions in the early mornings and late night hours during the next couple of days.

The Director Meteorological Department Chandigarh said foggy conditions would prevail for the next couple of days due to the northwesterly winds, which had increased the moisture content. There was also no cloud formation in the region due to the dry weather.



79 trees face axe in city
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, November 27
At least 79 green trees are likely to be felled in the name of development of the city. The permission to cut these trees has been sought from the authorities, claimed a senior official of the UT Administration.

These fully grown trees are reportedly coming in the way of the completion of six projects. The project pertaining to the alignment of two-lane dual carriageway from Hallomajra to Panchkula (route number 2) will consume the maximum of 36 trees which include six eucalyptus, five jamoa, five sehtut, four Arjun, six ashoka, three dek, one peepal, one shisham, one neem, one gulmohar, one mango and one kachnar.

While 19 trees (five chakrussia, two kikar, five dek, five tun and two mahagony) will be cut down to construct a slow carriageway along Vikas Marg in Sectors 48, 49, 50 and 51, the same number of trees (nine Arjun, five kusum, two mahagony, one dek and one chakrussia) will be uprooted for the improvement of junction numbers 50, 51 and 52.

The other projects for which the trees will be sacrificed include extension of the guest house at Haryana Raj Bhawan, Sector 6 (three mango trees); construction of judges’ houses in Sector 24 (two shisham); and at Government Primary School, Manimajra (one peepal).

Belying the concerns raised by environmentalists on the cutting of trees, the official said: “Felling is not a random exercise. A survey was conducted by the departments concerned, and now we need the permission of the UT Adviser before cutting down the trees. Trees have been cut only where it was required and we compensate by growing more trees elsewhere, particularly in the forest area.”



Commercial space being misused blatantly
Notices to follow latest UT estate office survey
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
More than 50 per cent of commercial establishments in Sector 22, the oldest and one of the major shopping centres of the city, have been blatantly violating norms of allotment by the UT estate office.

The fact came to light in a survey which was conducted by the estate office recently to check violations by commercial establishments in the sector.

According to the list being prepared by the department’s officials, over 70 cases of misuse of property were detected in a total of 155 commercial sites.

“Several owners of commercial establishments have been violating norms blatantly by renting out basements and upper floors of their showrooms to other businesses against the rules,” said a senior official of the state office.

Basements were only meant for storage purposes while upper floors could only be used to run offices under the law.

Though many violators in the sector had already been served notices and several properties had been resumed for violations, the department will initiate stringent action against violators who were left out earlier, he added.

The purpose of the latest survey was to check the present status of violations in the commercial sectors of the city.

The lists of violations in commercial establishments located in other sectors are also being prepared.

Fraught with danger

Several owners of commercial sites in sectors like 22, 34, 35, 36, 7, 8, 9 and 26 have erected cabins in basements and upper floors of their establishments which are being used to run shops and other businesses. There is constraint of space and movement is restricted. Moreover, all showrooms in the city have one staircase each for the basement and upper floors. In case of a fire or other mishap, the consequences would be disastrous.

Tough action

The UT Administration is going to initiate stern measures against violators. After preparing the new list, we will begin sending notices to violators. We have already started sending fresh notices in some sectors after a survey was conducted there.

— Ravinder Sharma, Chief Inspector, UT estate office


A proud moment for armoured regiments


  • For the first time, as many as 132 tanks were on parade. The five regiments fielded 26 tanks each, with one for the regiment commandant and five each representing their squadrons.
  • Besides the T-90s on parade, a large number of tanks, BMP mechanised combat vehicles, Bofors Howitzers and other equipment were displayed at the periphery of the parade ground.
  • The Colonel Commandants, the seniormost serving officer from the regiments honoured, were also present on the occasion. So were the Army Chief, GOsC-in-C of the Western and Southern Commands, Lt-Gen SR Ghosh and Lt-Gen AK Singh, and GOC 2 Corps, Lt-Gen AS Chabewal.
  • The function, scheduled to commence at 11 am, started over half an hour late as the arrival of the President was delayed, apparently by low visibility conditions over the Patiala airfield.
  • A special First Day Cover to commemorate the event was also released by the Army Postal Service.
  • Before being presented, the Standards were blessed by religious teachers from different faiths.
  • A large number of serving and retired regimental officers, their families and ex-servicemen were also present on the occasion.

— Vijay Mohan



MC poll
BJP, SAD agree, finally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
The ongoing tussle between the BJP and the SAD over the sharing of seats for municipal corporation elections finally ended today, with the SAD settling for four seats. Not compromising on ward 15, Harjinder Kaur would contest from the ward on the BJP-SAD ticket. SAD candidates would also contest from wards 5, 9 and 10.

The SAD had earlier decided to field six candidates, but the BJP did not agree. Meanwhile, the BJP had set aside three seats for the SAD. However, both parties failed to arrive at a conclusion.

Later, the BJP offered wards 5, 9 and 10, besides 15. However, the SAD wanted to swap ward 5 with ward 18. During this disagreement over seats, no BJP candidate filed nomination papers.

With just a day left for filing nominations, the parties decided on four seats for the SAD. Jagjeet Singh Kang, a Congress rebel, would contest from ward 5, Inderjit Kaur Kang from ward 9 and Malkit Singh from ward 10.

Harjinder Kaur would stick to the ward from where she had won during the past three MC elections. There was a dispute over the candidate from this ward.

While the BJP wanted to file its candidate from this ward, the SAD had refused to budge. All BJP and SAD candidates would file their nominations tomorrow, the last day for the purpose.

Poll pitch precis

  • The Congress has finalised Mukesh Bassi as candidate from ward 17, comprising Sectors 18, 19 and 21. Bassi will file his nomination on Monday. Bassi has been president of the Industry Association of Chandigarh.
  • An Independent will also contest from ward 17. He is Baljinder Singh, president of the Citizens Association, a resident welfare body of Sector 21.
  • Residents of Hallo Majra, a part of ward 23, have announced Kamla Devi as their independent candidate. The residents held a rally at Hallo Majra on Sunday.
  • The confusion within the Congress over the candidate from ward 26 ended on Sunday. Congress worker Subhash Dhiman agreed to the party’s decision of fielding Arshad Khan.



Woman falls in lake, rescued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 27
An assistant sub-inspector with the UT police rescued a woman who had accidentally slipped into the Sukhna lake here this morning. Poonam of Mani Majra. slipped while she was feeding fish.

The police said Poonam was sitting on the stairs when she slipped and fell into the lake. Sub-inspector Hari Om, in charge, lake police post, said that ASI Daljit Singh, who was on patrol duty, saw her, jumped into the lake and rescued her.

Poonam was rushed to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, where her condition was stated to be stable. The police termed it an accident and ruled out the possibility of suicide.

The victim was not fit to record her statement.

This was the second incident this month of Daljit risking his life to save somebody from drowning. On November 6, he rescued a 40-year-old woman from Panchkula.



Ward No. 8
MC Ward Woes
Councillor mostly away, area cries for MC care

Ward No. 8 has always been in the limelight because of the area councillor remaining out of the country. The ward has been crying for proper sanitation and a garbage collection system, but no foolproof arrangements have been made so far by the authorities to streamlining these facilities.

A majority of the ongoing works in the ward have been held up by the authorities for one reason or other and no fresh work started, due to which residents have been facing a number of problems. Residents of Sector 38 (West) have been trying for over a year to get five exit points get shut. Despite the approval of and visits by CHB officials, the demand is yet to be met.

Garbage dumped in a backlane
at Sector 37 of Chandigarh.
Tribune Photos: Manoj Mahajan


The MC has shirked its responsibility of collecting and disposing of garbage in the ward. As a result, residents have been forced to hire workers to collect and dispose of day-to-day garbage in residential areas. In fact, the authorities have not even appointed sweepers in the area for regular cleaning. Residents have always demanded that the MC appoint staff for collecting garbage.

Condition of roads

Internal roads in the sectors are in a pitiable condition. While motorists have a tough time driving on narrow stretches, two-wheeler riders, cyclists and pedestrians are the worst affected. Potholes greet commuters, making it a nightmare travelling at night.

e-sampark centre

The UT Administration has ignored this ward completely when it comes to providing services introduced in other parts of the city. An e-sampark center is a long-pending demand of residents. Resident welfare associations of the sectors has been demanding an e-sampark centre for the past few years. This is one issue that residents do not forget to take up during their meeting with the UT Administration. Although the authorities claim to have finalised a site at Sector 37, nothing has been done on the ground so far.

Ward No. 8: (Sectors 37, 38 and 38-West)

Voter Population

Sector 37 12,000

Sector 38 8,000

Sector 38 (West) 6,000

Councillor: Rita Sharma

Party: Congress

Ward development fund?

Of Rs 130 lakh allotted in the past five years, a sum of Rs 70.06 lakh spent till March, 2011

Tech know-how?

Has neither used Facebook to respond to public grievances, nor used official e-mail to resolve their problems

Questions asked in House in 2010

Has not tabled even a single question in the General House


  • Greenbelt at Sector 38 (West)
  • Paver blocks around all parks
  • Internal streets in EWS blocks

‘Work went on’

Rita SharmaIt is wrong if people say that I mostly stay out of the country. I had gone abroad in 2010 for about nine months. Even in that period, development work did not stop in my ward.~

— Rita Sharma, ward councillor

Residents speak

‘Civic body should help’

Harbhajan SinghParks in our sector need to be given more attention. The authorities needs to beautify those with lights and swings for children. Parks should be maintained on a regular basis.

— Harbhajan Singh, resident of Sector 37

Sandesh KumarThe MC should employ its own staff to collect garbage as private workers charge their own rates. Sometimes, they disappear for many days without informing us or making any alternative arrangements.~

— Sandesh Kumar, resident of Sector 38

Internal parks

Wild growth and broken benches and huts in internal parks of the ward developed by the MC in the past five years present a picture of neglect. The parks are crying for attention, with residents demanding swings for children in most of the parks. Even the open spaces in Sectors 38 and 38 (West) have wild growth, sheltering bad elements, who take refuge here after committing acts of crime. Though residents keep reminding the authorities of getting the wild growth cleared, the latter seldom get into action.


It seems that there is no check by the department concerned on defective streetlights in the area. Poles not working for long due to technical faults have not been repaired despite a number of reminders to the department. Streetlights in various parts of Sectors 38 and 38 (West) are not working.



Phase Revisited
Things start falling in place at Phase VII
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 27
Unlike other areas of the town, there has been some improvement in the civic amenities in Phase VII after the problems were highlighted in these columns more than two months ago. The condition of parks has been improved and roads have been strengthened due to the efforts of a former municipal councillor.

Many parks in the area have been given a facelift and the work has been carried out by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority ( GMADA). Play items have been installed in these parks. But one park near the swimming pool is being misused where playitems are used for drying clothes.

An open junction box can cause mishaps in Phase VII of Mohali.
Clothes being dried in a park. Tribune photos: Vicky Gharu

Open junction boxes of streetlights pose a threat, especially to children, who play on streets. There is no parking space in the market area.

A proper enclosure is being constructed by GMADA near St Soldier School for dumping garbage. Unhygienic conditions earlier prevailed near the school, where a lot of garbage was dumped. Foul smell emanating from the area had worsen the situation.

Phool Raj Singh, former municipal councillor, said the state of sanitation was not satisfactory in his ward. In fact, the civic body authorities had stopped making payments to the contractor concerned for failing to do work as per terms of the agreement. Safai sewaks did not clean the area on a regular basis and often complaints were received from residents.

Another former councillor Paramjeet Singh Kahlon said footpaths had not been constructed in some parts of his ward. Had the elected body not been dissolved about 11 months ago, the work would have got completed by now.

He said parking problem was acute in the market area and the only way out was to have a multi-storeyed parking. The sanitation contractor had to be contacted on a regular basis to get the work done, failing which the state of sanitation would have been poor.



Hotels overhauling profile of Industrial Area
Roads, parking, power and water supply need major revamp
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Altius hotel that is coming up at Industrial Area in Phase II, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, November 27
Chandigarh’s Industrial Area is slowly, but definitely, undergoing a major upheaval, both in its look and making place for a bigger clientele. More than half a dozen hotels, including two five-star ones, are coming up with building designs which are distinctively different from the “rather monotonous” sketches on the master plan of Le Corbusier. Far from the routine rush of the working class, the venue is all set to house retiring rooms for visitors, besides world-class conference venues.

Work is on an advanced stage of two five-star hotels, Sheraton and Hyatt, besides more than half a dozen comparatively smaller, but ‘smart’ structures. Hotel experts say against the 304-odd luxury rooms in the city at the moment, the city will have at least 500. Two major projects, Altius Phase II and Lemon Tree Phase I, are nearing completion and will be among the first projects to be operational within a couple of months.

It is being felt that rising traffic has given very little scope to hotels in markets of the city. As it does not handle any major industrial projects, experts feel that Industrial Area is best suited to requirements of a changed area profile. The upcoming Chandigarh international airport is potentially a big market for visitors and hotels are seen to be the correct destination.

Lemon Tree hotel at Industrial Area in Phase I, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Says Sumeet Singh Sidhu, a dealer with Nokia, “Very often, because of packed accommodation in major hotels of the city, including Mount View, Taj and Shivalik View, we are not left with any choice but to take our top officers to Ludhiana or Shimla. The city definitely needs more hotel accommodation under a changed market perspective.”

Offering a difference of opinion, Anjani Kumar, a visitor working on a project of the World Health Organisation, says, “What appears monotonous to some is, in fact, the hallmark of the beauty of the city. The unique nature of the city is worth preserving. If the government is interested in making time-based changes, these should be done in adjoining areas of Mohali and Panchkula.”

Sanjay Khurana, an IT manager, says, “I have a feeling that the hotel industry had envisaged a big rush in wake of the planned major IT projects in the Chandigarh Technology Park and also similar projects in the neighbouring areas of Mohali and Panchkula. We have seen that the IT industry has not grown at the expected rate and so, the hotels may not get the expected rush.”

Dheeraj Jain, a businessman, says, “I think that the upcoming hotels have big business prospects, going by the changed societal norms, particularly during marriage and other family functions. Instead of huge family participation in making arrangements and carrying out ceremonies, families prefer going to hotels or marriage palaces, where the entire event is professionally planned and neatly executed.”

Anupam Lal, an advocate, says, “I do not think that the hotels will execute any construction activity in case those do not see a potential market in their ventures. The customer profile has undergone a massive change. The industry shows the indication of an upward trend. There is a scope for major growth.”

Hotel projects in Industrial Area cannot think of being an oasis in the desert of monotonous buildings. One good building in an area surrounded by routine industry is not a great idea. People come here to see the city, its gardens, lake and buildings and not merely to spend their nights at luxury hotels. The uniformity in structure of the city is probably the biggest tourist attraction. I think that making any amends is not a good idea

— AK Malhotra, general manager with the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation

MPS ChawlaAllowing a changed look is a very big development for the local hotel industry. These changes have been allowed by the Administration and the projects have big potential for tourist attraction. Our feedback shows that a sizeable number of tourists to Himachal Pradesh will be attracted to spend a night in the city as a part of their tourism package

— MPS Chawla, director of the upcoming Altius Project

Areas of concern

Parking: The existing malls in Industrial Area show inadequate arrangements, leading to vehicles parked on roads and pavements

Roads: The existing roads are narrow and inadequate to handle the expected rush in the wake of new hotels and shopping malls

Water: The existing water pipelines are far below the capacity required in the wake of big construction in Industrial Area

Electricity: The Administration will have to make adequate arrangements for power supply to the hotels and malls

Major projects

Sheraton: The proposed five-star hotel, located near the airport and not far from the local railway station, has an outlay of 177 spacious guest rooms and suites. Other facilities include spa, health club, swimming pool, gift shop, business centre and meeting rooms.

Hyatt: It is coming up as part of the 27-acre Larsen and Toubro Mall at Phase I. The project report shows 200 rooms, a banquet area, multiple meeting rooms, health club and night club.

Altius: The eight-floor hotel, coming up at Phase II, near Sector 29, will have between 30 and 35 rooms. The location on the main road from Ambala and proximity to the airport are the biggest advantages of the project.

Pelican: The hotel proposes 27 air-conditioned rooms, conference hall, coffee shop, kitty hall, restaurant, lounge, bar and banquet hall, spread over 18,000 square feet. A jungle home and a rooftop restaurant are the highlights of the project.

Fern: Located merely three km from the airport, about five km from the railway station and just eight km from the bus stand, Fern Residency, three-star hotel is well-connected by all means of transport. The hotel, owned by the Rajeshwari group, offers wi-fi connectivity, mini-bar and writing desk, besides regular services.

Hometel: Located in Phase I, the hotel will offer 114 spacious rooms. The 8,200-square-foot banquet area will be the largest in the city, with a capacity to organise and handle receptions of up to 600 guests.

Lemon Tree: Located in Phase I, 85 guest rooms and suites at the hotel are nearly complete. The hotel is likely to cash in on the benefits of an early launch.



Open house Response
With expenses going through the roof, should state bear poll expenditure?

Contesting elections calls for a lot of money. Apart from arranging funds for canvassing, candidates have to organise meetings and rallies, thus one has to spend money on public address systems, decoration of rostrums, tents, use of vehicles and so on. Candidates have to take care of supporters by arranging food and drinks for them. Obviously, a poor candidate with no money and meagre resources, cannot hope to meet all these requirements and fight the elections.

Under the current extenuating position, if the poor candidate does not have the required money, he cannot even think of contesting the elections, thus he or she will be deprived of a chance to become the voice of people, which tantamount to inequality in the eyes of law. To maintain equality before the law, the question takes place for state funding. The demand for state funding of elections is not new. Over the years, several committees have been mulling over whether at least a part of the candidates’ election expenses should be met by the state. The Jagannadha Rao Committee (1971), the Dinesh Goswami Report (1990), the Inter-Parliamentary Council Resolution (1994), the Inderjit Gupta Committee Report (1998), the Law Commission of India Report (1999), the second Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Verrappa Moily (2008) have all examined the issue at length and inferred that state aid should be given to candidates. Though state aid may bridge the dichotomy between the rich and poor contestants, it may turn out to be a source of money-making to some with reckless optimism. Consequently, it may become legalised corruption at the instance of the state. The question is: should all candidates be given the state aid? Before we arrive at some conclusion, we have to examine the prevailing practice in some other countries. In Britain, postal services is accessible free of charge to candidates. In addition, free accommodation is given to them for convening the meetings. In France, money is not given directly to candidates by the state, but pamphlets, leaflets, posters, handbills and other publicity material, including election manifestos and statements are printed by the state machinery on candidates’ request. Candidates also get money to hold meetings. To avoid heavy rush of contesting candidates, especially independent ones, candidates are asked to execute a bond and also furnish a bank guarantee for the financial support extended to them so that in case they get less than 8 per cent votes, they will have to forfeit their bond and money will be recovered from the guarantor.

SK Khosla, Sector 40-C, Chandigarh.

The system has the potential to change

In a recent report published in these columns, I read that the Election Officer said he had not received any complaint regarding any wasteful expenditure during the current elections in the municipal corporation. The report also mentioned that candidates doled liquor to woo voters, particularly in colonies and adjoining slum areas. The election office should keep a check on malpractices. It is quite expected that candidates will cover up the ‘wasteful” expenditure.

Labourers in these areas say they cannot forgo their day’s work for election duty as their kitchen runs on their daily earnings.

Whenever the authorities are serious enough to implement any law they can tighten their noose as has been proven by different regulations recently, including the RTI. A similar change needs to be made in the election campaigning expenditure. Only the officials concerned need to be determined enough to set examples.

Sandeep Dhull, Mani Majra

Minimise wasteful expenditure

The Election Commission’s control on poll expenditure has failed to yield results. There are lavish public campaigns, massive rallies, posters and banners everywhere. Huge sums are spent by candidates to woo voters. Instead of wasting money on such campaigns, something productive can be done with these funds. Lavish public campaigns must end; candidates or agents should launch door-to-door campaigns. Also, people should not be fooled by the ones who can only show a rosy picture to get their vote but a sincere logical decision should be taken in order to choose the right candidate.

Vineet Kapoor, Panchkula.

Online campaigning should be introduced

India is reeling under financial crunch. People have lost their jobs, industries are not performing well and more than 50 per cent of the country’s population is living in penury. More and more people are dying of hunger. But still we are spending crores on elections in a single month. Only a few lakhs are expected to be spent on the process, but in reality crores of rupees are spent by political parties only to impress voters. Either parties are thrown for voters or they are given expensive gifts.

Every party spends huge sums on posters, banners and destroys the beauty of cities and then nobody takes the initiative to clean the cities after elections are over. But after seeing all those lavish parties and keeping in mind the poll expenditure, one question arises that where does this money come from? Of course, business honchos arrange funds for these parties for their own benefit and in this process the one who suffers is the common man. In spite of wasting money on banners and pamphlets, online campaigning should be introduced. Candidates should start e-campaigning and should start sending SMSes. They can also launch a website for the purpose.

The Election Commission should ask the elite Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), functioning under the Finance Ministry, to sift through their records for any instance of information about the assets and liabilities of candidates participating in the poll. The EC should create an exclusive Election Expenditure Monitoring (EEM) Cell and it should be headed by a senior Indian Revenue Service officer.

Transparency in public-sector decision making is totally absent. This absence, in turn, contributes to corruption. Without a strong political commitment, bureaucratic re-orientation and a vibrant and effective civil society, checking corruption turns into a very difficult almost impossible task. The presence of three crucial variables - committed political leadership, re-oriented bureaucracy and an organised and vocal civil society- need to be adopted to effectively contain as well as control corruption.

Er Sachin Sharma, Chandigarh

Both the prominent political parties, including the Congress and BJP, have consciously incorporated young faces in the list of their candidates for the forthcoming municipal corporation elections. Write your opinion on participation of the youth in city politics to the [email protected] or City Reporting, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh.



Assembly Poll
Capt Kanwaljit’s daughter stakes claim to SAD ticket
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, November 27
Late Capt Kanwaljit Singh’s family has finally bidden goodbye to the Dera Bassi assembly segment as his daughter Manpreet Kaur Dolly has staked claim to SAD ticket from Rajpura seat in Patiala district.

Sources in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) revealed that senior leaders of the party had denied her the ticket, as the Rajpura seat was reserved for the candidate of the Bharatiya Janta Party. On the other hand, sources indicated that the SAD leadership had asked chairman of the District Planning Board and Zirakpur municipal council president NK Sharma to take care of the Dera Bassi segment after seeing the development work done by him in the area.

Former Cooperative Minister and Akali stalwart Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who died two years ago, had nurtured Dera Bassi seat which was earlier Banur and its major area was a part of the Patiala district.

After his demise on March 29, 2009, his son Jasjit Singh Bunny had challenged the SAD leadership by contesting as an independent candidate from the Patiala Lok Sabha seat that, too, on the occasion of ‘Antim Ardas Samagm’ of the Akali stalwart leaving the SAD leadership in a quandary.

After much persuasion by followers of the leader and with efforts of the SAD leadership, he returned to the party fold in around a week’s time. When the byelection for the Banur seat was declared in August, the party leadership was hesitant to give ticket to him but was forced by the family to do so and he emerged as winner in this election with a margin of over 20,000 votes.

His relation with the SAD leadership severed during the last SGPC elections when he ‘eloped’ under mysterious circumstances when the SAD denied ticket to his wife Sanjit Kaur and he returned only after the elections were over. Since then, he has been away from the Dera Bassi constituency and people of the area have been looking for a new leader like Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

As Manpreet Kaur Dolly has staked the claim to the Rajpura seat, political observers said the party would desist from giving two seats to the family. “As Bunny has lost the confidence of the party and as well as the people, it is almost certain that the party will now adjust his sister Manpreet Kaur Dolly which will also save the party from public embarrassment,” they added.

On her claim for the Rajpura seat, Manpreet Kaur Doll said she had asked the Akali leadership for the ticket to contest the Assembly elections from the Rajpura seat.

Dolly added that she wanted to contest the elections from the SAD ticket and if she failed to get it, she would discuss the issue with Capt Kanwaljit’s supporters and would contest as an independent candidate.



Stink makes residents’ lives miserable in town
Demand shifting of garbage dumping site to some other place

Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 27
There seems to be no end to the woes of residents living in Sectors 25 and 26 of Panchkula extension. Even as they have been requesting the authorities to shift the garbage dumping site to some other place, as stench emanating from the area has made their lives miserable, nothing has been done to tide over the problem so far.

Aggravating their woes, garbage is set on fire, which makes it difficult for them to breathe.

“Things have become intolerable,” said Himanshu, a resident of Sector 25.

In fact, the Panchkula municipal corporation has failed to find a proper site to dump the town’s garbage, leaving the residents of trans-Ghaggar sectors i.e. 23 to 28 in a lurch.

As the garbage is dumped in an open space near Sectors 23 and 25, the area has turned into a breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies. Though the area residents have been taking out protest march over the issue, the situation remained the same.

As no solution has been worked out, things have turned from bad to worse for us, as the garbage is regularly burnt in the area, said Himanshu. “I am suffering from asthma,” said Naresh Gulati, a resident of Sector 25. And when ever garbage is put on fire, I have to face a bout of cough,” he added.

Panchkula MC executive officer KK Jain, when contacted, said the problem was brought to his notice by the residents and he had issued orders to the contractor concerned asking him not to burn the garbage. Later, it was noticed that some mischievous persons set the garbage on fire. “We, however, have been in the process of shifting the garbage dumping site and it will be shifted in the coming days,” he said.



Mullanpur Eco City
200 policemen to be deployed at venue for draw
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 27
For tomorrow’s draw of lots for Mullanpur Eco City, around 200 policemen have been deployed to manage 20,000 applicants at the venue for the draw that will begin at 9.30 am.

Chief Administrator of GMADA Saravjit Singh said being an important event that was expected to attract huge rush, adequate police force had been sought to maintain law and order and regulate traffic during the one-day event.

The DSP, City-II, DS Mann, along with four Inspectors and 200 constabulary, will be deputed around the venue for the draw.

GMADA is holding the draw of lots consecutively in three different tents, set up at a short distance from each other. The proceedings of the draw will be videographed and displayed on the LCDs put up at different places at the venue for the draw.

To ensure transparency, GMADA has printed the slips in the from of bundles like currency notes. Members of applicants will be invited on to the stage to check any receipt and then the slips will be kept in the box.

It is for the first time that plot numbers are being given to successful applicants soon after the draw. Mullanpur Eco City has been divided into five blocks - A, B, C, D and E - which will be further divided into different streets. As many as 1,58,227 applications have been received for different sizes of plots.

Compared to an overwhelming response to 100 sq yd and 200 sq yd plots, the total number of applications received for 300 sq yd, 400 sq yd and 500 sq yd plots is 14,379, 11,043 and 12,493, respectively. While the total number of applications against different sizes of plots in the general category is 1,30,673, the number of applications received against all reserved categories is 27,554.

A senior police official said since it was a public event, check posts had been set up to regulate the traffic.



Maintenance of streetlights
MC to recruit employees to look after work

Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 27
Residents of the town can be hopeful of seeing functional and well-maintained streetlights, as the Panchkula municipal corporation has decided to recruit employees for the purpose. A contractor had been looking after the work so far.

“We have decided to done away with the contract system and from now onwards our own employees are going to look after the work,” said Panchkula municipal corporation executive officer KK Jain. “As a number of complaints have been pouring in from residents, the change in maintenance system is expected to fulfil the expectations of the residents,” said Jain. Out of the total 9,000 streetlights, a majority of these have been lying defunct for long. As the contractor concerned avoided replacing these, residents expressed resentment over the state of affairs.

“Now the corporation will purchase the material on its own and constitute six teams to take care of the work,” said Jain. “In addition to attending to complaints, the teams will be sent to different areas on a regular basis to repair the streetlights. The Resident Welfare Associations will be informed about the visit of these teams so that their representatives can monitor the work to be done by these employees,” said the EO.

We have decided to done away with the contract system and our own employees are going to look after the work from now onwards~

— KK Jain, MC executive officer



Chandigarh Scan
Jungle boundary wall sought

Security and safety of citizens is the paramount need of the hour. From the security point of view, the forest area from Sectors 39 to 42 is very dangerous to residents of these sectors. There are a large numbers of houses adjacent to this forest area which face the danger. The residents often encounter insects, snakes and other reptiles, endangering the lives of residents. The position is aggravated during the rainy season. Children playing near the forest area are always in danger. In the absence of a boundary wall, unscrupulous elements are roaming free. In a joint statement, Dilbagh Singh, president of the Welfare Association, MIG-I Houses, Sector 40-C, and SK Khosla, general secretary of the association, said several sectors were provided with boundary walls, which served the purpose of security of residents. They said several requests had been made to the authorities concerned to construct a boundary wall in the area, but in vain. They added that the gravity of the situation warranted that the Administration come to the rescue of residents by constructing a boundary wall adjacent to the jungle from Sectors 39 to 42.

Talent hunt

More than 3,500 students appeared in the first stage of the Aakash National Talent Hunt Exam, organised by Aakash Institute and Aakash IIT-JEE, on Sunday. The examination was being conducted across India and over 46,000 students were appearing at 115 test centres. The result of the preliminary examination would be declared on December 10.

PNB association

Retired officers of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) formed a new welfare body, PNB Retired Employees Association, on Sunday. They elected OP Ummat president, KC Nanda vice-president, PP Ghai general secretary, KS Rathi organising secretary and OK Rishi finance secretary.

CME organised

The department of internal medicine at the PGI organised a day-long CME ‘Current Perspectives in Rheumatology’ on Sunday. The CME started with the welcome address by Prof Y Chawla, director, PGI. The major theme of this CME was vasculitis. The faculty included Prof Justin Mason, professor of vascular rheumatology, Cardiovascular Sciences, Eric Bywaters Centre for Vascular Inflammation, National Heart and Lung Institute, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK. Prof Pradeep Bambery, former chief of rheumatology clinic at the PGI, Prof Ramnath Misra, national coordinator of the Indian Rheumatology Association Vascultis Group, Maj-Gen Ved Chaturvedi, president of the Indian Rheumatology Association, and Dr Aman Sharma, organising secretary, spoke on the occasion.

Seminar for CAs

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India organised a national seminar for chartered accountants (CAs) under their advance awareness programme at the PHDCCI, Sector 31. The objective of the seminar was to orient the fraternity about the latest specifications of the trade so that chartered accountants could advise further. Ramji Sinha, Chairman, Income Tax Settlement Commission, Government of India, and SJ Singh, Commissioner, Central Excise, Chandigarh, were the chief guests. Over 200 chartered accountants of the region attended the seminar. Addressing the gathering, Sinha said the commission had played a crucial role in the settlement of cases, with a resultant gain in revenue.

— Tribune Reporters



Chandigarh Carnival comes to melodic end

Chandigarh, November 27
Entertainment unlimited for people from all walks of life remained in full swing during the three-day Chandigarh Carnival 2011, which concluded at the Leisure Valley on a melodious and folksy note here this evening.

Providing a grand finale to the fest, acclaimed Punjabi film actor and playback and folk singer Harbhajan Mann brought alive the verve and vitality of the rich Punjabi folk and film music in a captivating spell.

Commencing with the invocatory song ‘Rabba mere haal da mehram tu’, Mann paid a tribute to motherhood in his next song ‘Maa jannat da parchhavan’. Mann doled out romance-filled and soul-stirring songs from his albums and films.

The intrusive audience, probably the largest ever during the carnival, clapped and burst into dancing as he doled out hits like ‘Laali laal dupatte wali’, ‘Yara o dildara’, ‘Kal subah yaar ki hona’, ‘Gallan goriyan’ and many more.

Earlier magician Ashiq Ali enchanted the public with magical tricks. Laughter Challenge Show comedian Chandan Parbhakar failed to click in the opening spell while compere Baljit Johal recited meaningful poetry, besides anchoring the show.



Truck skids off road
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 27
A truck skidded off a road near Yadavindra Garden after its brakes failed. This led to a traffic jam. Driver of the truck Tejpal said he was going towards Pinjore after loading coal from Mandi Gobindgarh. As he crossed the Yadavindra Garden, the brakes of the vehicle failed and it got stuck in a drain.

A heavy duty machine was pressed into service to push the vehicle out of the drain.

A truck stuck in a drain near Yadavindra Garden at Pinjore on Sunday. A Tribune photograph




Manav Mangal students enthral
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 27
The three-day cultural programme of Manav Mangal High School concluded here today. Little angels studying in nursery created a cultural scenario of Punjab in ‘Rooh Punjab Di’.

‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, an item by tiny tots, mesmerised the spectators. Through a dance, students in the senior section depicted mother as an epitome of unconditional love showered on children.

Through a thrilling Japanese dance, the young ones infused a spirit of inspiration. They saluted martyrs for their efforts to get the country freedom, through the dance ‘Jai Bharat’.



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