C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


ECHS indisposed
Private hospitals await crores in dues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
All may not be well with the much-hyped Ex-Servicemen’s Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), a welfare initiative launched by the Centre for providing comprehensive medicare to veterans and their dependants.

While some new measures are being implemented to streamline the functioning of the ECHS, some issues like large outstanding payments to private hospitals empanelled under the scheme and modifying some procedures for availing treatment need urgent redress.

With outstanding payments mounting, some private hospitals are reluctant to entertain veterans and there have been instances where they have been turned away. Over the past few years, several reputed hospitals across the country have opted out of the scheme over procedural delays and deferred payments.

Among the largest private hospitals in the tricity, Fortis in Mohali, for instance, is reported to have outstanding payments amounting to Rs 30 crore since 2004. Silver Oaks, another private hospital, has outstanding dues of Rs 8.9 crore for the past four years.

Mukut Hospital, Sector 34, is awaiting payments of Rs 4.5 crore for the past two years and-a-half. Bills worth several lakhs each by laboratories and diagnostic centres are still to be cleared.

“The verification process for bills is long and tedious, involving several establishments and hierarchical levels,” Hemendra Jain, the official dealing with ECHS as Silver Oaks, has said.

There are 30 empanelled hospitals, diagnostic centres and laboratories in the tricity and 1,400 across the country. Going by the dues, outstanding payments nationwide may run into hundreds of crores, according to the ex-servicemen’s association.

Some issues also pertain to the functioning of the polyclinics that are directly operated by the ECHS. This includes heavy patient load and inadequate infrastructure.

To cater to a clientele of about 35 lakh, including 11 lakh ex-servicemen and 24 lakh dependants, and to operate 227 polyclinics, along with medical and paramedical staff and medical supplies, the ECHS has a budget of Rs 1,000 crore.

According to a study done by the Indian Ex-Servicemen’s Movement recently, the per capita expenditure under the ECHS is Rs 2,700 compared to Rs 5,100 from the Central Government Health Scheme for civilian retirees.

Sources at Western Command Headquarters claim that ECHS bills of private hospitals are being cleared within two weeks and payments of about Rs 20 lakh are being disbursed every day. A weekly roster has been developed, under which a particular day is devoted to dealing with bills of specific hospitals.

Sources at the headquarters admit that complaints and suggestions from the ECHS clientele keep coming in and various problems at the functional level are being sorted out from time to time.

They have also hinted at some policy changes and overhaul of the ECHS system, with a new managing director assuming charge of the ECHS. Maj-Gen A George has been posted from Chandi Mandir as the new ECHS head on a short notice.

Some measures like automating polyclinics to cut down manual administrative processes and releasing payments to private hospitals online within 10 days are being devised. Universal smart cards, that can be used to avail treatment at any polyclinic instead of only the user’s parent polyclinic, are also being issued.



ASI held with stolen MUV
Had been posing as inspector
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The crime branch of the Chandigarh Police has arrested an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) with the Punjab Police, who was posing as inspector, and recovered a stolen Pajero MUV from his possession.

The police arrested Jarnail Singh, a resident of Kishanpura Kalan village in Moga district. He confessed that he had donned the uniform of an inspector to make an impression on girls.

Inspector Amanjot Singh, in charge, crime branch, said the accused was wearing the uniform of a Punjab Police inspector when he was arrested on the basis of secret information.

The accused also showed a fake identity card to fool the police that he was an inspector. He was presently posted at the Sukhna Lake as rowing coach.

The police said he was in a Pajero MUV, bearing the registration number HR51-E-3474, which was found to be stolen in New Delhi. A case registered at the Lajpat Nagar police station in 2010.

On verification from the Delhi Police, it came to light that the original number of the Pajero was RJ14-UB-0792. The number affixed and the registration certificate were found to be fake after verification from Lajpat Nagar police station.

Interestingly, the police recovered two identity cards from his possession. While one card mentioned him to be an inspector, the other showed him to be an assistant subinspector with the Punjab Police.

“He disclosed that he was wearing the uniform of inspector to get more respect in the locality, to impress girls and to keep the stolen Pajero under the cover of a higher rank,” said Amanjot.

A case under Sections 171, 411, 467, 468, 471, 473 and 474 of the IPC was registered against him. The accused was produced in court and remanded to a day’s police custody.

One nabbed with weapons

In another case, the crime branch of the Chandigarh Police arrested one person and recovered 159 live cartridges, sophisticated weapons and ammunition from his possession.

The police said the weapons were being used for smuggling. DSP (Crime) Satbir Singh said the accused had a tainted past and was earlier arrested in similar cases.

The police arrested Ranjit Singh Dhillon, alias Dupla, while he was in a red Skoda car bearing the fake registration number PDL-8. It recovered three sophisticated weapons and ammunition from his possession.

The weapons and ammunition recovered included one .30-bore carbine, two magazines along with 75 live cartridges, one 9-mm pistol, one magazine along with 14 live cartridges, one .30-bore Chinese pistol, one magazine along with 20 live cartridges, 30 live cartridges of .315-bore and 20 live cartridges of .12-bore double-barrelled gun.

The police also recovered the Skoda car bearing the fake registration number. A case under Sections 473 and 188 of the IPC and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act was registered at the Sector-39 police station.



‘Paper tiger’ is here
Home Secy divested of major departments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
For the first time in the history of the Chandigarh Administration, the Home Secretary has been divested of major departments, including those of Chief Administrator, personnel, education and CITCO, making him probably the weakest incumbent since inception.

Officially speaking, as Adviser to Administrator KK Sharma says, “New incumbent Anil Kumar’s posts were lessened to give him time to settle in his new job”.

In a reaction, a senior officer, requesting anonymity, has said, “Other Home Secretaries too came fresh, but were always given full charge. There is more than what meets the eye.”

While the Administration will like to call it an administrative shuffle for better functioning, senior officers concede that the development is basically a fallout of scandals reported during the tenure of the previous Home Secretary, Ram Niwas.

These including the recruitment scams for teachers, police, firemen and doctors. “The Administration wanted to curtail some charges of the Home Secretary,” a senior officer has said.

The officer has lost charge of the departments of education, tourism, CITCO, cultural affairs, science and technology and environment, besides others.

The shift is being seen as a major development because the Home Secretary has always held an upper hand in the UT Administration, particularly with regard to charge of education, health, personnel and CITCO.

The shift is also important because the post of Finance Secretary has become more important, probably for the first time, with charge of the Chief Administrator, education and the house allotment committee.

A former Secretary, requesting anonymity, has said, “The move can definitely be a fallout of the trail of scams during the predecessor’s tenure. The post had too many jobs and planners felt that probably the post was required to be lightened.”

At the same time, a retired IAS officer has said, “It is not going to be an easy job because Haryana-cadre officers are going to raise a hue and cry over the issue with the Centre. The powers had been decided by the Centre earlier and the role of Home Secretary had been specifically carved out.”

Power share in UT

n Anil Kumar, Home Secretary: police, prisons, transport, UT Secretariat (establishment), revenue, hospitality, social welfare, housing, industries, health, medical education and research, public relations, agriculture, animal husbandry, SC/BC and Minorities Corporation, Women and Child Development Corporation and co-operation

n Satya Gopal, Chairman, Chandigarh Housing Board: local self-overnment, food and supplies and consumer affairs, employment, labour and law and justice

n VK Singh, Finance Secretary: engineering, planning, sports, treasury and accounts, information technology, Chief Administrator, excise and taxation, local fund accounts, printing and stationery, House Allotment Committee, urban planning, rural development, education, technical education and statistics

n DK Tiwari, Managing Director, CITCO: tourism, cultural affairs, science and technology, environment and forests and Special Secretary, Health, Medical Education and Research



PGI authorities turn blind eye to fire safety
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

The locked emergency exit at the research block of the PGI in Chandigarh.
The locked emergency exit at the research block of the PGI in Chandigarh. Tribune Photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, December 13
Like the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, the region’s premier medical institute, the PGI, too, lacks adequate fire safety measures.

Locked emergency exits, inadequate exits, five-decade-old wiring and missing signage are enough to show the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities towards the safety of patients, their attendants and staff.

While one expects an institute like the PGI to fulfil all fire safety norms, a visit to the hospital, which incidentally, has had at least six incidents of minor and medium fires in the past two years, reveals that a lot needs to be done.

The A and B blocks of the research building are a classic example of how lightly the authorities treat fire safety. Though both buildings rightly have emergency exit doors, those are practically useless as the one at block A is locked and the other blocked with cupboards and furniture.

“Humein nahi maloom (we do not know),” is the response one gets from the security guards, who report to the chief security officer, when you ask them the reason for the exits being blocked or locked. The chief security officer, PC Sharma says the process to clear the route to the emergency exit has been started.

The emergency ward of the hospital, which has a large number of patients pouring in every day, has only one exit and an entry. Though the emergency PGI authorities turn blind eye to fire safety ward is connected from the inside to both the Nehru hospital and the trauma centre, the entry is used as an accessible exit by patients, their attendants and staff.

Though the hospital has an adequate number of fire extinguishers, water sprinklers, fire alarms and public address systems in place, the old building of Nehru hospital is a problem area.

The building’s wiring is almost five decades old and there have been a number of incidents of short circuit there.

Insiders admit that with the additional load of air-conditioners and other modern equipment, the danger of fire looms large, particularly in this building.

According to senior officials of the electricity division, the authorities have been asked to change the complete wiring of the Nehru hospital and the Kairon block (administrative block), but approval has not been received yet.

Interestingly, ramps or the fire escape routes, earlier missing from the advanced trauma centre, have now been constructed.

However, exit signs, to help people reach the nearest door in an eventuality, are missing in the old buildings.

Shortcomings aplenty

n Emergency exits closed in research blocks A and B

n Emergency has one accessible exit

n Exit signage missing in Nehru hospital

n Old wiring can lead to fire

Incidents of fire at PGI

n May 12, 2011: Important record gutted at administrative block

n June 27, 2011: Patient burnt to death after attempt to resuscitate him with defibrillator

n July 7, 2011: Emergency operation theatre in flames following short circuit

n July 18, 2011: PGI doctor’s house gutted due to short circuit

n February 22, 2010: Blaze at doctors’ hostel due to old wiring



Exemption in Pinjore, Kalka to be selective
Threat looms over illegal structures
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The sword of Damocles hangs over thousands of illegal structures, which have come up in contravention of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952, in the Pinjore-Kalka area of Panchkula district.

In fact, the department of town and country planning of the Haryana government is set to notify a decision that there will not be a blanket exemption to these structures from provisions of the Act.

According to the notification, only select areas, identified by the competent authority, will be denotified from provisions of the Act for planned development of the area, official sources said here today.

During the Budget session earlier this year, the Haryana Assembly had passed the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control (Haryana Amendment) Bill, 2011.

Under this, Section 15(e) of the Act had been amended to rationalise the provision of empowering the government to exempt either whole or a part of area falling within the limits of the local authority from the purview of this Act. Section 15-A had also been inserted in the Act to safeguard the area from future possible unregulated development.

The notification, which had already been vetted by the Haryana government’s legal department, would spell bad news for owners of thousands of illegal structures as 
their future would be uncertain now.

In the wake of the formation of the municipal corporation of Panchkula after the incorporation of municipal councils of Panchkula, Kalka and Pinjore by the state government in March, 2010, it was widely believed that areas falling under the jurisdiction of the corporation would be denotified, paving the way for the regularisation of these structures.

A senior functionary of the Haryana government said the notification would go a long way in checking haphazard construction in the Pinjore-Kalka area. The Haryana Urban Development Authority had been mulling the creation of more planned sectors in the area.



26 wards, 26 sports complexes!
Parties promise the moon to woo the youth, sports enthusiasts
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
If the Congress can be believed, all 26 wards in the city will have sports complexes. If one believes the BJP, the city will have a stadium of international standards.

Interestingly, tall claims of working for the uplift of sports are nothing more than false promises.

On the ground, nothing worth mention has been done till date by either party to give a fillip to sports in the city.

Interestingly, the city already has three sports complexes, one each at Sectors 7, 42 and 46, besides separate cricket, football, hockey and tennis stadia.

Making a mockery of the announcements, which are only a political gimmick, Harjinder Singh, a former Indian football captain, has said, “Providing infrastructure to juniors is a vague statement. Infrastructure needs equally qualified staff and coaches. Providing jobs under existing conditions does not have any meaning because they do not have any quota.”

A majority of candidates from other parties and Independents make a mention of their ‘sincerity towards changing sports infrastructure in the city’. Not just facilities, candidates are making tall claims about providing jobs to sportspersons.

A cross-section of experts associated with the municipal corporation (MC) say big announcements by politicians do not mean anything on the ground.

“Promises sound good, but only on paper. It is not possible on the ground. Infrastructure needs money and the MC does not have enough finances for state-of-the-art stadia or sports complexes in each ward,” they say.

To attract the youth brigade, the manifesto released by the Congress assures residents that each ward will have a sports complex. “Infrastructure is required to build a sports complex. Politicians make announcements as if a stadium means a community centre,” says a senior MC official, on the condtion of anonymity. Sumit Bhargava, a resident of Sector 22, has said “Parties making tall claims about creating sports infrastructure are doing nothing about allowing children to play in parks in the respective areas. These norms have been made by the MC. The matter should be taken up seriously and something should be done.”

Tall promises


n Gymnasium facility in every community centre, with emphasis on facilities for senior citizens and women

n Indoor sports complex with facilities of volleyball, basketball, badminton and table tennis in every ward

n More playgrounds and well-equipped training facilities for sports enthusiasts

n Scholarships and jobs for outstanding sportspersons


n Playground for children in each ward

n International stadium in two years in collaboration with Administration



Cong suspends ex-Mayor, expels 2
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) president, BB Behl, suspended former Mayor and CTCC vice-president Surinder Singh from the party for indulging in anti-party activities here today.

Surinder Singh is not the only top leader to have been sidelined by the party in the MC elections.

Sources in the party said the suspension will adversely affect the performance of the party in ward No. 25, Surinder Singh’s stronghold for the past many years.

Political observers believe Surinder Singh’s suspension will directly benefit the BJP and Independent candidates in the elections.

Besides, the Congress has also expelled two other leaders, Kesar Singh of Hallo Majra and Pardeep Manchanda (Lovely) of Mani Majra, for six years from its primary membership for indulging in anti-party activities.

The expelling of Kesar Singh, former sarpanch Iof Hallo Majra, is also seen as a setback for the Congress. In fact, two other senior leaders, Bhupinder Singh Bhadheri and Kuldeep Kajheri, who have been sidelined by the Congress are also not actively participating in the elections. The two were conspicuous by their absence from rallies addressed by Union Minister and Member of Parliament Pawan Kumar Bansal in ward Nos. 10 and 12 recently.


Woo-all manifesto by BJP
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
In a bid to woo voters of all categories in the forthcoming municipal corporation elections, the local BJP has drafted a “clean” manifesto with sops for all categories of residents.

The party in its manifesto has assured employment in MC departments only to local residents. Another giveaway involves the constitution of a trader welfare board to deal with the problems of industrialists and traders relating to the estate office.

To woo the poor voter, the party has promised to put pressure on the UT administration to construct booths for roadside vendors.

In reality, as per the existing selection rules, employment is given only on merit and not on any quota for local residents. Also, the corporation has no role in sorting out the industrialists’ issues within the purview of the estate office. In fact, issue of licence comes under the jurisdiction of the UT administration.

Interestingly, the main issue affecting the MC employees regarding the formation of recruitment and promotion rules does not figure anywhere in the manifesto.

The rules of the fire department which have been hanging fire for the past 14 years have also not been covered in the list.

The BJP has a set a list of promises which it keeps on repeating in its manifestoes, but takes no initiative to implement these. In the list of repeated promises, the party seeks to get rid of stray animal and monkey menace, review property tax, work on traffic management, tackle parking problem, boost local transportation, set up community centre in every ward and beautify markets in the city.

However, the sitting BJP councillors have never touched these issues in the General House in the past five years.

BJP National General Secretary Jagat Prakash Nadda, while releasing the manifesto, said it would be implemented in letter and spirit if the party was voted to power.

Citizen charter bungle

n The BJP seems to be clueless about the citizen charter that the MC approved in 2004 on the suggestion of their own councillor. The party has once again stated in their manifesto that the party will draft citizen charter for the MC in which they will set a time frame for every work and take action against officials for any delay. On being reminded that this Act had already been approved by the MC committee, manifesto chairman Jai Ram Joshi said his party would then work for its implementation



Focus shifts to drawing voters to polling booth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
After going through the hectic door-to-door campaigning, candidates have now started focussing on ensuring the participation of maximum number of voters of their wards on the poll day.

The Congress candidate from ward No. 8 today released a booklet appealing residents to exercise their right to vote.

Rajesh Sharma, while addressing mediapersons, said residents could elect the choice only by exercising their franchise.

“The electorate should do fair analysis regarding the candidate’s capabilities and his commitment towards his job and vote on the basis of it,” said Sharma.

He claimed that his opponents were misguiding voters stating that he was an outsider. “It’s right. My am a registered voter of Sector 23 and a resident of Sector 18. But I am contesting from the ward, comprising Sectors 37 and 38, as I started my independent life from there and have seen the area grow in front of my eyes,” he said.

Satinder Dhawan, a BJP candidate contesting the elections from ward No. 1, said her major focus was now on making the voters of Sectors 1 to 8 exercise their franchise.

“It is sad that the ward with most educated voters witnesses low turnout in elections. I even ask the residents to educate their domestic help about the importance of voting,” Dhawan added.

The number of voters registered for the upcoming MC elections also shows falling interest of people in the civic polls as compared to the previous years.

MC ward Nos. 1, 2 3 and 4, which include Sectors 1 to 24 and 36, have shown an alarming fall in the registration of voters.

The percentage fall of voters is 33.64 per cent in ward No. 1, 26.76 per cent, 22.44 per cent and 22.16 per cent in ward Nos. 2, 3 and 4, respectively.

The supporters of prominent parties have started making phone calls to voters, urging them to turn up at the polling stations on time to cast their ballot.

“We are even offering the pick-and-drop facility to those who find it difficult to reach the polling stations in a bid to ensure higher voter turnout,” said the supporter of a national party.

Meena Sharma, a Chandigarh Jan Manch candidate from ward No. 4, said they had been spreading awareness about the right to vote at “nukkad” meetings with residents.

“A meeting of senior citizens was organised to spread the message that they should turn out and vote for the deserving candidate irrespective of their political allegiance,” she said.



Frantic effort to muster support
Tribune News Service

Kamlesh Kumari, Congress candidate from ward No. 24 (with folded hands), with her supporters at Ram Darbar in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
Kamlesh Kumari, Congress candidate from ward No. 24 (with folded hands), with her supporters at Ram Darbar in Chandigarh on Tuesday. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, December 13
Rising tension and hectic ward meetings marked the day for the candidates contesting the civic elections. The election campaign is at its peak with “nukkad” meeting being held in all wards.

Manav Mehra, BSP candidate from ward No. 11, held a rally in his ward to seek support in the elections.

The candidates of the Chandigarh Jan Manch also held meetings with residents in different wards.

Shyam Sunder Singla, contesting from ward No. 11, went from door to door seeking support.

Gurpreet Kaur Chauhan from ward No. 9 also stepped up her campaigning as she went round Sector 40. She promised to improve the condition of roads and beautify parks.

Kulwinder Kaur from ward No. 14 also addressed a gathering and promised to improve the law and order situation in the area.

Shripal Yadav, another CJM candidate, organised a rally in ward No. 20.

On the demand of Sector-44 residents, SAD-BJP candidate from ward No. 15 Harjinder Kaur opened her office in Sector 44-A in the presence of senior BJP leader Satya Pal Jain and residents.

Earlier in the day, she started the third leg of her campaign by visiting and meeting residents in Garden of Annuals in Sector 44, Topiary Garden in Sector 35C-D and holding “nukkad” meetings in different sub-sector block houses.

The campaign of Davesh Moudgil, BJP candidate from ward No. 22, also picked up with the holding of meetings with residents.

Raj Bala Malik, Congress candidate from ward No. 1, visited the residential area of Sector 9 as part of her door-to-door campaigning and attended a get-together of women at the Central Club. She also attended a meeting with youngsters at the Dhobi Ghat in the evening.



Team Anna’s plea to voters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The Chandigarh unit of Team Anna held a press conference today, urging the electorate not to vote for the candidates of the BJP, the BSP and the Chandigarh Jan Manch.

Rahul Bhartiya of Team Anna said during the one-day fast on December 11 at Sector 17-21 roundabout, candidates from the BJP, the BSP, the CJM had announced their support for the “Vachan Patra” but it was all a big lie.

He said only one candidate, Sudhir Dhawan, from ward No. 22 lent open support to the “Vachan Patra” and submitted it as legal affidavit with the returning officer.

They urged people to use form-11A and use their voting right of “right to reject”. 



Plaint against BJP over fake note
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
With the election scene hotting up, complaints are reaching the Election Commission (EC) thick and fast.

The recent to join the list are Congress candidates from ward No. 3 Pardeep Chhabra and ward No. 18 Devinder Singh Babla, who have filed a compliant with the EC, returning officers and the SSP.

In their compliant, the two have alleged that the BJP was distributing duplicate currency resembling Rs 1,000 bills issued by the Reserve Bank of India.

Congress leaders have stated that the size of the duplicate currency was similar to the original currency.

The compliant further states that apart from printing the photographs of Devinder Singh Babla, Pardeep Chhabra and Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, the printer and distributor of the duplicate currency had tried to tarnish their and party’s image in violation to the model code of conduct issued by election commission.

Chhabra alleged that apart from this, the BJP had published a book — “Congress Ka Haath Ghotalon Ke Saath” — mentioning certain irregularities and illegalities committed by various officials of the Chandigarh administration.

“The allegations have nothing to do with either the Congress or its candidates contesting the municipal corporation elections,” Chhabra clarified.

Meanwhile, election agent of BJP candidate from ward No. 18 Satinder Singh has filed a compliant with the election commission against Congress candidate Devinder Singh Babla.

The compliant mentioned that a lot of discrepancies were taking place in ward No. 18 and the returning officer, Yogesh Kumar, was aware of these. However, the authorities had failed to act.

The complaint also stated that hoardings of the Congress candidates were still on display in the ward.



Police asks candidates to follow norms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
In view of the forthcoming municipal corporation elections, senior police officials of the Chandigarh Police held a meeting with candidates at the Police Headquarters in Sector 9 here today.

Around 150 candidates of different political parties attended the meeting.

The police officials requested the candidates to abide by the model code of conduct as directed by the State Election Commission.

DIG Alok Kumar requested the candidates to maintain the reputation of Chandigarh of being a peaceful city.

He said the police was unbiased and was stepping up efforts to maintain law and order. “To ensure peaceful election, police requests the candidates and political parties to follow the directions of the model code of conduct, which means hoardings, banners, buntings, posters, cutouts and wall writing shall not be permitted. Use of loud speakers at public meetings shall be allowed only up to 10 pm with prior permission and volume of the loudspeaker shall be kept within the limit. Use of loudspeaker or any sound equipment will be allowed only on three-wheelers and light motor vehicles between 3 pm and 6 pm,” said DIG Alok Kumar.

In addition, the candidates were directed to hold processions only with prior approval. Also, beating of drums and playing of trumpets was not permitted. A candidate was permitted to use only three vehicles for election purposes up to December 16, he added. All candidates would be allowed to set up their camp outside the polling booth but at the distance of 100 metre from the booth. The candidates were allowed to hoist party flags at the election office and residence of the candidate and his/her election agent. 



New project coming up on 1,699 acres
GMADA announces ~1.69 crore per acre as compensation
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 13
In one of the biggest land acquisitions in the decade, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) today announced a compensation of Rs 1.69 crore per acre for 1,699 acres being acquired for the IT City, located perpendicular to Aercoity.

The consolidated compensation also includes 30 per cent solatium, 12 per cent additional price and 10 per cent non-litigation amount. “If GMADA has to pay the entire compensation, the amount will touch around Rs 2,800 crore. But we are hopeful that most of the landowners will opt for land pooling,” said a GMADA official.

Unlike Phases I and II of Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) of Chandigarh administration, Mani Majra, that offered around 350 acres, the integrated IT park will offer plots of varying sizes in 1,500 acres. Apart from the IT component, the city will offer limited residential and commercial components. Depending upon requirements, plots measuring up to 100 acres to small sizes will be offered. Adjacent to 1,699-acre IT Park, Punjab Infotech was also acquiring 400 acres for another IT park. Compared to the 800-acre Aerocity and 400-acre Mullanpur Eco City, the IT city is a bigger project that will spread over six sectors. Apart from offering land pooling scheme, GMADA proposes to raise loans from financial institutions to fund the land acquisition. Officials said the IT city had been planned to take advantage of the expansion of airport and development in its proximity. The airport will act as a catalyst for the IT industry.

Protest by farmers

Soon after Land Acquisition Collector (LAC) Hargunjit Kaur announced the compensation, a large number of landowners led by Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu protested against the compensation amount. He stated that while the district land fixation committee had recommended a compensation of Rs 1.80 crore an acre, the cabinet sub-committee had scaled down the amount. The LAC expressed her inability in increasing the compensation amount. The farmers stated that state government was paying much less than the market value of their land. 



Driver’s licence of 9 habitual offenders to be cancelled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The Chandigarh Traffic Police has asked the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) in Sector 17 to cancel driver’s licences of nine habitual offenders. The offenders include city residents who have been repeatedly challaned for various offences like overspeeding, drunk driving, using mobile phone and jumping red light. The recommended period of cancellation of licences is six months.

The police has recommended suspension of licences of Alok Wangoo, a Sector-22 resident, who was challaned seven times between 2005 and 2011.

Other offenders include Fateh Singh, a Sector-45 resident, who had been challaned seven times since 2007, Prem Singh, a resident of Khuda Jassu, who had been challaned 15 times since 2006, Surinder Singh, a resident of Kishangarh, who had been challaned 13 times, Anil Dewan, a Sector-27 resident, who had been challaned eight times, Sachin Pathania, a Sector-29 resident, who had been challaned 10 times since 2010, Jatinder Singh, a Sector-31 resident, who had been challaned six times since 2007, Rajdeep Singh, a Sector-23 resident, who had been challaned six times and Harish Kumar, a Sector-30 resident, who had been challaned seven times for various offences.

A senior traffic police official said these offenders would be debarred from driving during the period of suspension.

Till date, the Chandigarh Traffic Police has recommended 300 cases to the RLA, Chandigarh, for suspension of driver’s licence. Around 236 habitual offenders have been awarded punishment by the RLA. City residents are advised to follow traffic rules, otherwise strict action will be taken against violators as per law. 



Notice to four food joints for flouting fire-safety norms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The fire and emergency department issued notices to four major food joints in the city for flouting fire-safety norms. During a visit to the eateries, it was found that none of these had put up entry and exit sign boards on their premises.

Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers installed at theses places were lying defunct. A fire team headed by chief fire officer Lalit Siwach inspected Gopal Sweets, KFC in Sector 8, AB’s and Swagat in Sector 26, along with a salon Headmasters in Sector 8. The department issued notices to owners of these eating joints under the Delhi Fire Prevention Fire Safety Act, 1986, (extended to Chandigarh) for flouting fire-safety norms.

The fire official said Gopal Sweets and KFC lacked exit and entry point sign boards. Even the heat detector and two fire extinguishers installed in the eatery were not functioning. The exit point on the second floor of the building had been blocked. The situation in KFC was no better. The building lacked fire and heat detectors.

In fact, in Headmasters, hydrants were not functioning properly. Similarly, AB’s in Sector 26 had also flouted the norms by not installing a sprinkler system or any detector in the restaurant.

Another food joint, Swagat, in Sector 26 had not only flouted the norms, but had also violated the building bylaws. The official said staff deployed for the maintenance of fire-safety equipment, did not even know how to operate the same in case of an emergency. The staircase leading to the basement had been blocked and it lacked an exit point sign board. Officials said the restaurant owner had not installed heat detectors and smoke detectors and the old ones needed to be replaced. 



Flats allotted months ago, but possession yet to be given
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

Panchkula, December 13
It seems that the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) is in a hurry to allot apartments to economically weaker sections of society, but when it comes to giving possession of these flats to the allottees, the former prefers to remain mum.

Around 652 flats were given to allottees during a draw of lots held today. Whereas about 865 allottees, who were given allotment letters during a draw of lots held on June 22, 2011, are yet to get the possession of these.

The beneficiaries, who were allotted apartments, include residents of three slums, including Matu Ram Colony, Ramesh Colony and Azad Colony near Sector 3 here. They will be shifted to Ashiana apartments at Sector 20, Sector 28 and Abhay Pur village in Industrial Area, Phase I.

The draw was held through a computer programme, which generated the list of allottees in a random manner. However, there was chaos, as illiterate people gathered there could not understand the new system. As soon as the list appeared on an LCD, they rushed towards it

Estate Officer Ashwani Sharma said the possession of these apartments was likely to be given to the beneficiaries by the end of this month. He said biometric survey of the beneficiaries caused a delay in the process. He said about 12 to 15 teams would be constituted to speed up transfer of the beneficiaries from the slums to apartments.

HUDA has constructed about 2,072 apartments in the first phase and the allottees whose names had appeared in the biometric survey conducted till April 1, 2003, were included in the draw. He said HUDA was in the process of identifying the land to construct more apartments under the scheme.

Sharma said huts of those allottees, who were given the possession of flats, would be simultaneously demolished to avoid further encroachment. The flats were being allotted on a monthly instalment of Rs 1,500. “If any persons is unable to pay the amount, he or she can stay in the flat by paying a monthly rent of Rs 500,” Sharma added.



Patients suffer as lab technicians strike work
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 13
Patients visiting government hospitals and dispensaries in the district faced inconvenience after laboratory technicians went on strike here today.

The protesters staged a dharna outside the Civil Surgeon’s office and raised slogans against the government.

They said the authorities concerned had been informed about their strike.

As a result, patients were compelled to get their medical tests done from private laboratories, where they had to shell out more money.

Harpal Singh, president of the district unit of the Medical Laboratory Technician Association, said medical laboratories in hospitals and rural dispensaries remained closed today.

The protesters demanded 5 per cent house rent allowance and removal of anomalies in the pay scales. The also sought regularisation of the services of employees working in the dispensaries for over 10 years.



Survey incomplete, project maybe delayed
Double tracking Chandigarh-Ambala rail link
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
With the Railways yet to complete a survey on the double tracking of rail link between Chandigarh and Ambala, there has been no progress on the project.

Another track would have facilitated smooth movement of rail traffic on about 45-km track on the Chandigarh-Ambala section, which caters to more than 22 trains plying between Chandigarh and Ambala and vice versa.

A senior official of the Ambala division said the main hurdle in the double tracking of the rail link was encroachments on the 45-km route. He said cases in this regard were pending in the court and it was likely to take another three to four years for setting up the track.

Whenever a train is held up on the track due to a technical snag, other trains get delayed as there is no second track. Recently, the Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express was held up near Lalru as the axle of the engine got jammed causing a delayed arrival of the train coming from Delhi. Departure and arrival timings of other trains from the city were also affected.

The Railways had announced Rs 90 crore in 2010 for the double tracking of the Ambala-Dappar rail link, but nothing has been done so far.

Chief Public Relations Officer (Northern Zone) SK Sharma said the process of survey was on to check the feasibility of setting up another track. He said as soon as they received a report, the same would be forwarded to the higher authorities.

Divulging details about the fixing of television screens in the Kalka-Delhi Shatabdi Express, Sharma said project would be completed by January-end. He said the department had signed a contract with two firms for running 100 channels.



Resource bank for future defence officers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 13
The Mohali-based Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Preparatory Institute, the first-of-its-kind venture by the state government to train youths for recruitment in the National Defence Academy (NDA), has set the ball rolling to create a resource bank for future officers in the armed forces.

“While the first batch of 45 cadets, selected after a state-level test, has completed about 10 months of intensive training, the institute is conducting another entrance test on January 22 to induct the second batch of students,” said Maj Gen BS Grewal (retd), director of the institute.

Explaining the concept, the director said while students (inducted after Class X) are lodged in the hostel, they are enrolled in Shemrock School for further studies. The institute imparts training to 96 boys at a time.

Apart from basic physical training, the institute also helps cadets prepare for the NDA entrance exams and service selection boards. “The cost of training is highly subsidised,” said Gen Grewal while adding that the effort would go a long way in increasing the number of Punjabi youths in the armed forces. 



Youth has close shave
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 13
A 25-year-old youth had a narrow escape when he was pushed towards a hot premix machine after being hit by a truck on the Pinjore-Nalagarh road today.

The incident occurred when the victim, identified as Bhagirath, employed with the National Highway Authority of India, was supervising re-carpeting of a road near Lohgarh village, when he was hit by a truck coming from the Nalagarh side this morning.

He suffered burn injuries on his hand. He was rushed to a hospital, where doctors referred him to the Sector 6 general hospital for treatment. 



Parents make beeline for forms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
As expected, the first day in sale of admission forms at the city’s four convent schools St John’s, Sector 26, Sacred Heart School, Sector 26, St Anne’s, Sector 32, and Carmel Convent, Sector 9, saw huge rush of parents as over 4,000 forms were sold.

Directions by the UT education department, stalling the nursery admissions, might have left the parents anxious.

Interestingly, many private schools have been apprehensive in giving application forms to economically weaker section (EWS) students.

Those parents, who belong to the EWS category, were given free forms.

“I had gone to a private school but they refused to give me form and said that the RTE was still not active. But the teachers were very supportive as they also helped me with directions to fill the form,” said Ramesh Bhika, a rickshaw puller.

Although perturbed over the stalling of nursery admissions, the private schools have decided to hold a meeting with the UT education department as the decision is bound to affect their academic calendar and even implementation of RTE act.



Workshops for revision of BEd curriculum held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Workshops for revision of BEd curriculum were organised at the Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, and the Government College of Education. Various educationists and delegates from different colleges participated in these workshops.

Educationists and delegates from 10 colleges of Punjab participated in the workshops for the revision of curriculum of various subjects at the Dev Samaj College of Education.

These included teaching of computer education, teaching of music, historical and contemporary perspectives of education, ICT skill development, internship in teaching, health and physical education, educational technology, e-education resource development, computer craft, music craft and simple expressional competency.

The inputs given by various subjects’ experts were incorporated to update the existing curriculum, which might be implemented from the next session.

About 40 participants from different education colleges of Punjab affiliated to Panjab University participated in the workshops at the government college.

The subjects included philosophical and sociological foundations of education, teaching of fine arts, home science, yoga education and value education.

The new syllabus had been recommended as per NCTE norms and would be implemented from the next academic session.



70 pc kids enrolled were illiterate
Survey on special training centres in Mohali
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, December 13
Seventy per cent of the children brought to special training centres in Mohali district to help them join the mainstream of education were illiterate and the rest school dropouts from other states.

According to a survey of the education department, 2450 children falling in the age group of 6 to 14 years were admitted to either non-residential special training centres or direct to schools as part of the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.

Children in the age group of 6 to 7 years are admitted to schools. In the age group of 7 to 8 years, six months’ training is given at special centres, after which they are adjusted in schools. The training is longer in the case of the age group of 8 to 14 years and extends up to nine months at special centres.

Sources said the maximum number of children (70) were persuaded to join training centres from a slum colony near Kambali village.

The two centres were located at Phase XI here.

At a similar centre in Phase IX, 25 children were admitted. A total of 35 each joined the centres at Phases I and II. There were 51 such training centres in the district.

The survey, which was conducted in April and a report was made available in October, showed that during the 2011-12 session, 884 children in the age group of 6 to 7 years were admitted to schools.

In the case of the age group of 7 to 8 years, 347 children were admitted to special training centres while 49 were accommodated in schools.

The survey further revealed that in the age group of 8 to 14 years, 1140 children joined special training centres and 30 were cleared for direct admission to schools. Eighty students in this category later migrated to other states.

The sources said in almost all cases, children who needed to join school stayed at brick-kilns or in slums. Counselling was a difficult process as most parents objected to their children being taken for education.

They said this adversely affected their source of income. The children were mostly working to help their families to earn their livelihood.

Efforts were made to attract the children to schools by offering incentives like free books, stationery and uniforms and taking them on awareness trips to places like the Science City at Kapurthala.

The sources said about Rs 20,000 was spent on each child by the government for providing education to such children.



Notice to 25 govt school principals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The UT education department today issued a show-cause notice to 25 government school principals for failing to attend an urgent meeting convened last week to discuss the child-mapping exercise.

The principals of the schools had sent their nominees and claimed that the department had informed them about the meeting only half an hour before the conclusion of the school and that the agenda and its urgency were also not communicated to them.



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