C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Old debts return to haunt ICL
HUDA sends notice for payment of Rs 25 lakh
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 27
The rebellious Indian Cricket League (ICL) is yet to pay more than Rs 25 lakh to the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) for using Tau Devi Lal Stadium at Sector 3 here, where two seasons of the ICL have been held.

Failing to receive the payment, HUDA has now sent a final notice and given the last opportunity to Essel Sports Private Limited to clear the amount.

Confirming the development, HUDA Estate Officer Ashwini Sharma said it would be the last opportunity for Essel Sports to pay the dues to HUDA, failing which they would take legal action.

According to the terms and conditions of the contract between HUDA and the ICL, the cost of renovation and upgrade required for an international stadium was to be borne by the company.

The stadium was given on a lease of 10 years at a cost of Rs 6.75 lakh for 30 days, with an increase of 15 per cent after every three years. It was to be used by the ICL for 50 days a year.

The upgrade and facilities were to become HUDA assets without any claim or recovery and it could use those for the rest of the year.

Fifteen per cent of the revenue generated from sale of tickets, food and beverages was to be shared with HUDA, along with 15 per cent of the amount generated from on-field advertisement sales. Till now, HUDA was awaiting its dues. The ICL was the first tournament outside the BCCI fold with international players, that followed the T20 format. Floated by Kapil Dev in association with Subhash Chandra of Zee TV in 2006-07, ICL matches were initially held at Tau Devi Lal Stadium.

Its two seasons included tournaments between four international teams, including Lahore Badshahs from Pakistan, and nine domestic teams at major Indian cities.






Talks with CITCO over Rs 7.29 lakh under way
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
The management of the Indian Cricket League (ICL), which has to pay outstanding dues of Rs 7.29 lakh to the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO), is reportedly engaged in backdoor discussion for an out-of-court settlement at slightly lower rates.

Confirming the development, CITCO Managing Director DK Tiwari said ICL officials had contacted them for an out-of-court settlement for outstanding dues, which had been lying pending for almost over four years.

“They want us to waive a certain amount and are ready to pay the rest,” he said, adding that CITCO had filed a case in a local district court for the recovery of the outstanding amount.

The ICL has booked a number of rooms at Hotel Mountview during the ICL at Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula’s Sector 3 in 2007-08 and 2008-09. CITCO accounts showed that bills for the stay of teams amounted to Rs 2.25 crore.

“All payments, except Rs 7.29 lakh, have been made by the ICL. We had contacted them for the dues several times, but in vain. Following this, we filed a case for recovery,” said a CITCO official.

Senior officials said all backdoor discussions meant nothing because under the rules, CITCO could not afford waiving any disputed amount.



3-yr RI for Merchant Navy ex-officer
His wife had killed their son before committing suicide in 2005
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
Seven years after a 35-year-old woman committed suicide after killing her seven-year-old son, the court of sessions judge SK Goel today sentenced her husband, Amarjit Singh Behniwal, to three years’ rigorous imprisonment (RI). He was convicted of abetment to suicide under Section 306 of the IPC. He was also fined Rs 5,000.

The incident occurred on July 18, 2005, when the police found the bodies of Sukhwinder Kaur and her son Navjot, alias Navi, at their Sector-45 residence here. In the suicide note on a wall of the house, she mentioned that she could not afford to let her only surviving child live a life of neglect after her death.

In the note, she had forbidden her husband from even touching their bodies and begged forgiveness from God. Strained relations ere the reason behind her taking the extreme step. Their 13-year-old daughter had died three years ago in a road mishap.

A former chief officer with the Merchant Navy, Amarjit was also the owner of a resort at Bharatgarh, near Ropar. He had returned home and found his son hanging from a ceiling fan. He entered the next room and discovered his wife hanging from another ceiling fan.

He had then called the police. As per the prosecution, Sukhwinder killed Navjot that morning, scribbled the suicide note with a black crayon on the wall and ended her life. The prosecution stated that harassment by her husband had forced her to take the extreme step. She had also been suffering from depression.



Head constable commits suicide
Tribune News Service

The son and wife of the deceased.
The son and wife of the deceased. Tribune Photos: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, February 27
A 44-year-old head constable with the Chandigarh Police committed suicide by hanging himself at his residence in Sector 10 here today. Head constable Omkar Singh was posted at the Sector-26 police station.

The incident came to light this morning when a cable operator, living in a room at the front, discovered him hanging with a bedsheet from a fan hook.

According to information available, the victim had been under depression for the past many years following a family dispute. His wife and son had been living separately at Sector 26.

His daughter Preet, who was a basketball player, had committed suicide two years back. Omkar had been staying in rented accommodation at Sector 10 for the last one year. He had been living in the servant quarters at the back of the house. No suicide note was recovered from the spot. A team of the CFSL and forensic experts with the Chandigarh Police visited the spot.

According to Shanti, the maid who had been coming from Naya Gaon, Omkar used to cry after consuming liquor. “We used to hear him cry. He was going through a bad phase. He used to scream many a time, following which sometimes we consoled him,” she said.

The victim was on seven-day leave and was expected join back today. He had taken leave to attend a colleague’s wedding function at Sector 26.

This was the second incident of suicide by a constable this month.

On February 6, a 43-year-old constable with the police control room committed suicide by shooting himself below the neck with his service revolver near the petrol station at Sector 28.

On December 30 last year, 45-year-old Anil Kumar, posted as additional ‘munshi’, hanged himself to death at his residence at the Police Lines in Sector 26.

Woman constable Manpreet Kaur committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at her house in the wee hours on April 28 last year.



Light rail transport for city in offing
Get off Metro, board tram to periphery
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
In a major development, the UT Administration has decided to ply light rail transport in the city and periphery.
The proposed trams will run parallel to the ambitious Metro project across the tricity and act as major feeder to it.

Giving details, UT Finance Secretary VK Singh said about Rs 10 crore had been set aside for studying the tram project in the next annual budget of the Administration.

“The project is a step towards upgrading public transport,” he said. He added that there would be two Metro lines, against the four proposed by the Rail India Technical and Economic Services.

“There is need to connect certain important parts of the city with peripheral towns like Zirakpur and Kharar, on which tram lines will be laid,” he said.

The proposed trams would not disturb Metro lines, but act as feeder at certain points, he said. The possible routes were Zirakpur-ISBTs-Kharar and PGI-southern sectors-IT Park.

A detailed project report would be prepared shortly, he said, adding that there would be high-speed trams with air-conditioned coaches and modern facilities.

The main purpose behind the project was to shift residents of the city from their private vehicles to public transport.

About 40 per cent of the population used private transport in developed cities, but the figure here was about 80 per cent.



Applicants seek GMADA refund
Over 100 flat-appliers want their earnest money back
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 27
Perhaps for the first time, applicants are seeking a refund of the earnest money paid to the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) for the allotment of flats in a multi-storeyed housing scheme at Sector 88 here.

So far, at least 100 applicants have applied for a refund of the earnest money, mostly for two-bedroom and three-bedroom flats. As per the prevailing practice, the GMADA will deduct 2 per cent of the amount while refunding the earnest money.

More requests for refund are expected over the next few days, before the draw of lots begins on March 16. Flats have been priced at between Rs 37 lakh and Rs 69 lakh.

The first-of-its kind scheme had been launched last year. GMADA Chief Administrator Saravjit Singh said the money was being refunded as per the policy.

“Term it recession in the real-estate sector or flat cost, but only a few applications have been received in some reserved categories, resulting in assured allotment. Going by the experience of Aerocity and Ecocity, the scheme has not attracted a good response apparently making applicants nervous,” said another official.

Against the 4,500 multi-storeyed flats, GMADA had received 11,987 applications. The maximum applications had been received for one-bedroom and two-bedroom flats.

For 900 one-bedroom flats, around 3,300 applications had been received. For 1,800 two-bedroom flats, around 5,000 applications had been received. For 1,800 three-bedroom flats, around 3,700 applications had been received.

The GMADA move during a recent meeting to increase the number of flats by around 1,200 was turned down by the executive committee chairman. The increase would have ensured assured allotment to most applicants, said sources.

To woo more applicants, GMADA had relaxed the domicile eligibility criteria for applicants. Persons residing anywhere in the country could apply, but the response was still not good enough.



Four special trains to chug off from city
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
The Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) yesterday announced a special train from the city in April and May. These trains will be to Goa, Shirdi, South India and seven ‘jyotirlingas’ in the country.

Giving details of the four trains Chief Regional Manager (North) RK Sondh said the train to Goa would chug off from the local railway station on April 8 and pass through Ambala, Kurukshetra, Panipat, Delhi Cantonment, Jaipur and Madgaon.

The train would return to the city on April 15. Each passenger would be charged Rs 4,104, which would cover the expenses for travel, food and stay at ‘serais’ during night halts at Mumbai and Goa. The passengers would also be covered under the insurance scheme, he added. Sondh said the second train under the IRCTC’s ‘Bharat Darshan’ programme would leave the local railway station on April 18.

Devotees would be able to pay obeisance at seven ‘jyotirlingas’ in South India, including Mahakaleshwar, Grishneshwar and Bhimashankar. The train would pass through Ambala, Moradabad, Ujjain and Dwarika. Passengers would have to pay Rs 6,159 for the 12-day tour.

The train to South India would start from the city on May 2. After passing through Ambala, Panipat, Delhi, Jaipur, Dwarika and Ahmedabad, it would return here on May 6. Each passenger would be charged Rs 3,591 for the seven-day tour.

The train to Shirdi was announced for May 11. During the 12-day tour, passengers would be able to visit Shirdi, Shanisignapur, Tirupati and Ujjain. Each passenger would be charged Rs 5,643, he added.

Earlier, Union Minister of Railways Dinesh Trivedi flew down from Delhi. He inspected various facilities, including telephone, washrooms and cleanliness at platforms and food items being provided to commuters at the railway station.

He expressed satisfaction over the working of the railway station. He said the authorities had made optimum and prudent use of the funds being provided for upkeep.


Rose festival turns out to be a thorny affair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
The Rose Festival which was organised by the municipal corporation may have proved to be a hit with thousands of visitors, but it certainly has resulted in a considerable damage to the Sector 16 Rose Garden, the venue for the festival.

The three-day festival, which concluded on Sunday, damaged lawns, flower beds and water feature.

Officials of the civic body said a large number of people trampled the lawns which had been drenched owing to mist created by the constant flow of water from the fountain during the festival.

What posed a threat to the beauty of the place was the presence of a large number of plastic bags and wrappers of food items in different parts of the garden. The maximum concentration of the plastic trash was found to be in flower beds and in the water channel passing through the garden.

A senior official of the MC said a special fertiliser would be used in these lawns. “Within one month, grass will regain its glory. As far as the loss of flowers was concerned, he had identified some problem areas, where maximum number of flowers had been plucked by people. We will take preventive steps next time,” the official added.



UT Admn prepares list of heritage items
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
Chandigarh Administration has prepared a catalogue of its heritage items. A copy of the catalogue, “Heritage Artifacts and Documents with Metadata on Making of Chandigarh”, was today placed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which has now disposed of a petition seeking heritage status for the city.

The catalogue has been prepared by Government Museum and Arty Gallery Director Jaswinder Kaur, and nodal officer, Heritage Artifacts Committee, PC Sharma.

Already, UT’s senior standing counsel has told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that artifacts or heritage furniture would not be sold. Sanjay Kaushal also told the court that instructions have been issued to all the departments in Chandigarh in this regard.

The assertion came on a petition filed in public interest by local advocate Ajay Jagga on the issue of “World Heritage City” status for Chandigarh. His counsel, Alok Jagga, argued that the pilferage of heritage items in Chandigarh was endless and UT was just not serious on the issue. He added that the heritage items were being pilfered in absence of guidelines on maintaining an inventory for the same.

In his petition, Jagga has sought directions to the UT Administration to pursue an application filed with UNESCO (dated October 23, 2006) and also submit requisite information demanded by the body in compliance with “Operational guidelines for implementation of the World Heritage Convention” required for the conferment of the status.

His counsel has already demanded that the Chandigarh Administration be asked to preserve the heritage property of Chandigarh in its original form and design material.He has demanded that a list of antique furniture, artifacts, tapestry and other material collected by the Chandigarh Administration from various heritage buildings be prepared and steps be initiated for their preservation.

“During the pendency of the petition, all repairs in Le Corbusier’s creations be taken up, keeping in view the mandatory undertaking of UNESCO which will help in getting the World Heritage City status, enhance international tourism and ensure protection of these creations for all times to come,” the petition reads.



PU award ceremony expected to be low key
Despite two-month long wait, no VIP has agreed to attend the function for awarding medals to toppers
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
In sharp contrast to the VIP-studded convocation held in December 2011, the forthcoming ceremony to award gold medals to over 200 PU toppers could be a low-key affair.

What is bound to dampen the spirit of these achievers is the fact that the university waited for two months to get a VIP for the function, but has till date not got any, including UT Administrator Shivraj Patil. VC RC Sobti had earlier insisted that it was not the wait for a VIP, but the chilly weather which delayed the ceremony by two months.

Given the current situation, it appears that just like the last ceremony this time too it will be VC RC Sobti who will run it as a one man show.

“Convocations are days when students are supreme. It is a day to celebrate our achievements but the university uses these occasions to appease VIP’s and expects us to stay quiet because it will get us funds. We were promised a grand gold medal ceremony but just like last time it appears that the medals would be handed out as pamphlets,” said Pushpinder Sharma, president PU Student Council.

The university had come under the scanner this December when it virtually had taken the shine off students’ success by not awarding them medals on the convocation held on December 16 as visiting dignitaries did not have enough time.

The students were promised another ceremony for medals within a month, but nothing has been decided so far. Incidentally, the situation was the same in 2010 when toppers did not get their medals during the convocation, and had to wait for months.



Male chauvinism, gender disparity in society to fore
SD Sharma
Artistes enact ‘Damru’ at the TFT Basant Theatre Festival at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16, Chandigarh, on Monday.
Artistes enact ‘Damru’ at the TFT Basant Theatre Festival at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16, Chandigarh, on Monday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, February 27
The second four-day TFT Basant Theatre Festival, organised by a leading drama ensemble ‘Theatre for Theatre’, commenced with the staging of a Punjabi play ‘Damru’ at the Randhawa auditorium here today. The socially relevant play was based on the theme of gender disparity due male chauvinism in society. The play, written by Hardeep Gill, was ably directed by noted thespian Anita Devgan for the Theatre Person, Amritsar.

Though dealing with the age old problem of marginalisation of women, their ideological suppression and the hurdles they face in their struggle for parity with men. The play gave an authentic glimpse of village women’s struggle for a career and marriage to the person of their choice. Structured in an orthodox milieu where imparting education to girls is deemed as a curse, the protagonist (Mandeep Kaur) somehow manages to acquire a sound qualification to shape her career. But her dreams are cut short after her marriage to a man (GS Bhatti), much older to her in years, but little in wisdom. She, however, attempts to revolt to live life with her beloved friend (Munish) who though a devout lover withdraws, succumbing to the opposition and pressure from social patriarchs. The play brought into focus many social evils and addresses the problems faced by women who want to live on their own terms and prove their mettle. The sound effects and symbolic sets added grace to the production. Cheif guest

Mohinder Singh, Accountant General Punjab, honoured the artistes.



Pvt buses take passengers for a ride
Chandigarh-bound travellers are dropped at Kharar, to be ferried to Sector 43 in auto-rickshaws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
Private transporters from across Punjab continue to fool hundreds of passengers daily, when they drop them at Kharar, about 15 km short of the city, and ferried them to the ISBT, Sector 43, in auto-rickshaws.

Buses, without due permit, from Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar, besides other places, continue to transport passengers till Kharar town and then make them face the inconvenience of travelling to the ISBT by auto-rickshaws, packed into these “like sardines”.

Harjit Singh, Punjab State Transport Commissioner, said: “I am unaware about any such illegal practice, on the ground. The matter will be probed by the department and necessary action initiated against the guilty”.

The issue is complicated because when the buses start from the chosen stations, the signboard mentions Chandigarh as the destination on the display board. However, a little before the destination the signboard is changed to Kharar. Even on the route back to the respective stations they don’t drop passengers at the respective bus terminus.

Summing up the situation, Jasbir Singh Sohal, a resident of Phagwara, said: “The problem does not affect the officers or the rich directly, so a common man continues to be exploited. I have been reading about the problem in different newspapers for the past nearly a decade. However, there has been no action on the ground till date”.

Hardev Singh, a resident of Khurdpur in Jalandhar district, said: “We know that transporters are greasing the palms of the authorities concerned, so there has been no action on the ground till date”.

The buses don’t start from any earmarked bus stand. They start from local stops such as the Samrala chowk in Ludhiana or near the courts in Hoshiarpur. As the bus nears Kharar, the conductor changes the original signboard mentioning Chandigarh as the final destination. A majority of the hassled crowd consists of first-time travellers who do not know that they are boarding a wrong bus.

There are no reports of any checks by the department concerned, leading to a mass violation of traffic rules. Col Iqbal Singh Bariana (retd), showed three pieces of tickets given by the conductor from Hoshiarpur in a bus, last week. He had not bothered to check the destination details on the ticket slips he was given by the conductor. In the first place, the figures on the tickets totalled Rs 90 whereas he paid Rs 110, which the conductor scribbled on the ticket with his pen.

In the second place, the Colonel Bariana’s ticket mentioned the names of stations he had never heard of before. “I am sure such a practice cannot go on without the knowledge of the authorities concerned. Instead of waiting for a formal complaint, the authorities should initiate action on their own”.

An auto-rickshaw driver, requesting anonymity, said: “I know the practice of ferrying passengers stranded midway by auto-rickshaws was very unfair. However, why should our owner be bothered when the government does not want to interfere, feigning ignorance”.



Statement of SHOs, doctors recorded
Suicide by Ambala youth
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
Inquiring into the recent incident of suicide by Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology (SVIET) faculty member Amit Garg, the vigilance department of the Chandigarh police has recorded the statements of police officials of police stations of Sector 17 and 34 and doctors here.

According to sources, DSP (PCR and Communication) Roshan Lal, along with industrial area SHO Malkit Singh, was questioned by the officials. A team from the Ambala police is also expected to question the two policemen.

According to sources in the vigilance team, doctors from both the hospitals (Fortis and GMCH 32) will also be questioned and a team from Chandigarh will also visit Ambala to study the postmortem report of the victim.

The SHOs (Station House Officers) of both the police stations of Sector 17 and 34 were questioned and their statements were recorded by the officials of the vigilance department.

According to sources, both the officers have accepted that Amit had brought the body to the police stations the day before he committed suicide. It was also revealed that a woman constable also gave valuable information about the Amit’s visit to the police stations.

“After it came to our knowledge that he also went to both th police stations, we called the SHOs. The questioning is over and the report will be submitted soon,” said an official.

Amit was found dead at a Mohra-based hotel while his mother’s body lay in his car. He had come to the city with his mother’s body and claimed that she had committed suicide. He then went to two hospitals and police stations before contacting the Tribune team. The Chandigarh police officials had asked Amit to take the body to his native place and perform cremation.



UT ‘stabbed’ us in back: Haryana
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
If Punjab wants water for Mohali, it should carry it from Anandpur Sahib Hydel Channel, the State of Haryana today told the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Haryana also objected to the proposal of Punjab of laying a wider pipeline for Phase VII and VII of the Kajauli water works.

Virtually accusing the Chandigarh Administration of stabbing the state in the back, Haryana added: “The Chandigarh Administration reached a sort of understanding with the Government of Punjab, without involving any officers of the State of Haryana to allocate the entire water of Phase V and VI to Punjab”.

In its affidavit placed before the Bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover, Engineer-in-Chief with the Haryana Irrigation Department Harmail Singh said the UT even failed to bring this to the notice of Haryana.

Coming down heavily on the UT, he added: “In the garb of taking water for Chandigarh, the UT Administration is not only pleading its own case for 40 MGD for two additional phases on the pattern of Phase I to IV, but is also making the State of Haryana agree to give further 40 MGD of water to the State of Punjab, knowing fully well that the entire water is going out of the share of water of Haryana”.

Elaborating, he added: “The supply at Haryana contact point in the Bhakra Main Line will reduce by the same quantity as is utilised at the Kajauli water works. This agreement is not acceptable to Haryana.

The affidavit also stated despite Supreme Court orders, Haryana was not getting its share of 3.50 million acre feet water of Ravi-Beas. It was permitted to utilise only 1.62 MAF of its share. The balance share was being used by Punjab at Anandpur Sahib Hydel Channel and Ropar Head Works.

Before parting, Haryana agreed to Chandigarh using its share in phase V and VI of the Kajauli water works, subject to Chandigarh abiding by the terms agreed at a meeting in 1983 on the issue of augmentation of water.

According to the reply given at a meeting held in May, 2010, the Haryana government had agreed to give its share of water in phase V and VI. But, the consent was subject to some conditions.

The conditions agreed were the Chandigarh Administration would expeditiously construct the carrier channel to deliver the share of Haryana of 12 cusecs of water each day. Another condition was that Chandigarh would be paid the charges of utilisation of raw water, which was meant for Panchkula but was consumed by the Chandigarh Administration.

Haryana would also be entitled for the share of treated effluent from the sewerage treatment plant of Chandigarh. The Chandigarh administration was also to approach the Government of India or the Bhakra-Beas Management Board for an increase in the capacity of Nangal Hydel Channel. The Bench has adjourned the hearing of the case for April 17.



Shopkeepers protest against removal of hoardings
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 27
High drama prevailed at the Phase VII market, adjoining the traffic junction of Phases VII and VIII here, when shopkeepers of the area protested against the enforcement staff of the municipal council for removing hoardings from a shop.

The hoardings that were removed from a shop in Mohali on Monday.
The hoardings that were removed from a shop in Mohali on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Alleging that the MC was adopting a pick-and-choose policy in targeting billboards and advertisements put up outside shops, owner of the shop, Bhupinder Sabharwal, said he was not given a prior notice by the MC.

MC superintendent Gurdharshan Singh, who supervised the drive, said hoardings put up on the stretch between the YPS Chowk and Phase VIII traffic light point were removed.

The administrator of the MC, GS Sabharwal, said he was not aware of the drive. The Executive Officer of the MC, Jagjit Singh Shahi, said a drive had been launched to clear advertisements on roads and outside shops.

The shopkeepers lamented hoardings atop shops were not removed which was in violation of the Act. The markets in Phases IIIB2, V and VII were full of such advertisements. 



MC converts community centre into night shelter
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 27
Coming to the aid of homeless in Zirakpur, the municipal council has converted a community centre into a night shelter at ward number 5.

The council is in the process of putting up signboards indicating the location of the Raen Basera (night shelter) at bus stops and public places. It will also hire an attendant for taking care of those staying in the shelter.
A view of the night shelter in Zirakpur.
A view of the night shelter in Zirakpur. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

An MC official said they had received a letter from the government on the directions of Supreme Court stating that a night shelter should be set up within six months. Following which the council had converted the community centre in ward number 5 into a night shelter.

The official said the council had done arrangements for 10 persons. All basic amenities, including water, electricity and first aid, will be provided in the shelter. There will also be common kitchen. An attendant will be hired to keep the shelter clean and the civic body will bear all expenses.

“Expenses for running the facility will be discussed in the budget,” the official added.

The official stated that the civic body would put up boards displaying name, location of the nigh shelter and name of the nodal official at bus stops, council’s office and main markets.

The council would also ask various NGOs and social organisations to come forward and inform it about the needy persons, the official said.

A team will be constituted to survey the town. He said as per guidelines a survey would be conducted every six months to identify the homeless in the town and a report would be sent to the Deputy Commissioner.

MC Executive Officer Paramjit Singh said the council had provided a night shelter to the homeless. “We will put up boards at various places and all facilities will be provided to the needy,” he added. 



Police initiative receives poor response
Security to persons withdrawing huge sums
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 27
The recent gunpoint robbery incident in which two employees of a roadways firm were robbed of Rs 6 lakh by masked miscreants has exposed the apathy of public towards the police’s initiative of providing protection to persons withdrawing huge sums.

Two years ago, the Panchkula police had launched its ambitious project to provide security to persons withdrawing Rs 2 lakh or above from banks in Panchkula, but till now not even a single person has come forward.

The recent robbery committed by the white Zen gang members has forced the Panchkula Police to start spreading awareness once again about the project among the city residents.

As per the initiative, which was launched two years ago by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Panchkula, Maneesh Chaudhary, the police would provide an armed guard to the persons availing the facility. The police would provide its own vehicle for travelling, but if a person wants to use his own vehicle, he can use the same. But the police had clarified that it would provide protection within the limits of Panchkula district only.

A senior police official stated that they would provide security for the withdrawal of cash not for the jewellery. He added that directions were issued to all DSPs, SHOs and police heads not to ask questions like from where the money was obtained, why the person was withdrawing huge amount and to whom he would deliver the money. “To avail the facility, residents can submit an application to the police or can approach the DCP’s office,” he added.

Panchkula-based businessman Rakesh Dhiman said there was doubt among residents that by availing the facility, the police might leak details of their wealth to the Income Tax department therefore people were skeptical about going in for the same.



Houses sans power for 12 hrs

Zirakpur, February 27
Residents of the town had to remain sans power for more than 12 hours. Sources said a vehicle rammed into an electricity pole on the Zirakpur-Baltana road last night.

A passerby informed the electricity department about the incident following which the supply was disrupted. An official of the department said the supply was restored in the afternoon. — TNS



Business council meets AETC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
The office-bearers and senior functionaries of the Chandigarh Business Council (regd), an apex traders’ body met Naresh Dubey, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC), and discuss with him the traders’ problems relating to sales tax/VAT.

A team comprising Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, senior vice-president, LC Arora and JPS Kalra, general secretaries, discussed with the commissioner issues relating to shortage of ‘C’ forms, deemed assessment before the introduction of VAT, etc. The issue of submission of Form ‘D’ was also discussed.



FCI told to pay Rs 10,000 to complainant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
The UT Consumer Disputes Redressal forum has directed the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation to a complainant for mental agony and harassment besides Rs 5,000 as costs of litigation for the delay in releasing the pension of a manager who retired in 2007.

The complainant, Manmohan Singh, a former manager with the Food Corporation of India, stated in his complaint that he retired on November 30, 2007, and was a member of the Family Pension Scheme at the time of retirement. All the formalities and application forms were filled in and sent to the authority concerned before the retirement but the FCI did not fix the family pension. The complainant sent a legal notice to the corporation but to no avail.

In their reply, officials of the FCI stated that the pension papers of the complainant were forwarded by his Controlling Officer to the Executive Director (North) who further forwarded the case to the headquarters.

As there were certain discrepancies in the papers with regard to the date of birth certificate, the intimation was sent to the complainant but he failed to submit the requisite papers, due to which, the case could not be processed.

In the order, president of the forum PD Goel said his pension papers were forwarded but till the filing of the complaint, his pension had not been finalised. There is a delay of two years, which amounts to deficiency in service on the part of the FCI.

It was further stated in the order that the pension case of the complainant has been settled by the FCI after the filing of the complaint, therefore, the complainant is entitled for compensation and litigation costs.



Violators of building bylaws called
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
In an effort to maintain the original façade of the buildings in Sector 17, the UT Estate Office has called the owners or occupiers of those buildings where building bylaws have been violated by covering the corridors of upper floors with glazing and other material.

The UT Assistant Estate Officer, Rahul Gupta, said he had called all the violators, who have been identified through a survey recently.

“We want to persuade them through talks for the removal of the violations to maintain the heritage status here as the defacement of buildings was also against the heritage plan. Our purpose is to do the needful peacefully,” said Gupta.



Criminal complaint filed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
A day after a Dadumajra resident accused the police of torture, a criminal complaint was filed in a court against the police officers of Sector 39 police station. The court had deferred the case for the next hearing on April 23 for the recording of evidence.

Sikander had alleged electrocution of his private parts and his claims were supported by a medical examination report which states bruises were found on his private parts and left arm.

According to the complaint, Sikander was arrested on February 24 when he was going to pick up his children from school.

Taking a serious note of the complaint, the Judicial Magistrate had directed the police to get him examined once again by a board of three doctors at the GMSH, Sector 16. The board confirmed the bruises and said those were 48 hours old.



Malba bylaws to be tabled in House
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
Municipal Corporation Malba and Debris Bylaws, 2005, which have been hanging fire for the past more than a year, will again be tabled in the MC General House scheduled for February 29. In the proposed malba bylaws, as stringent action against violators of Malba and Debris Bylaws, 2005, the authorities will propose a hike in the fine.

It may be mentioned that in March, 2010, the House had constituted a malba bylaw committee under the chairmanship of late nominated councillor Arshad Khan. It had made recommendations for the amendments to the existing norms. The proposal of this committee was tabled in the House meeting of August 25, 2010. Councillors had suggested a few amendments to it. But, later no committee meeting was held for making amendments to the norms.

The committee has proposed in the bylaws that if any owner or occupier of a construction site throws malba or construction material on the roadside, the corporation will impose a fine of Rs 1,500 on him for the first offence and directions will be given to him to remove it within 72 hours.



Upgrade of software in limbo
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
Ignoring hefty annual financial losses due to unavailability of proper data, the Municipal Corporation (MC) is least bothered to streamline its tax-collection system.

In 2010, the MC authorities proposed the upgrade of software to maintain the record of 20,000 files relating to property tax as the department concerned does not have the details of the outstanding amount of the tax towards the defaulters. Resultantly, in the past five years the taxation department has failed to recover the target amount from the defaulters. According to the records of the current financial year, against a target of Rs 19 crore, till December the department has been able to recover only Rs 14 crore.

In the past two budgets, the authorities had got Rs 20 lakh approved from the General House for the upgrade of the software of the property tax but till date no action has been initiated by the department concerned in this regard. A senior official said the department was chalking out a proposal to execute a system for streamlining the tax collection in order to make maximum recovery from the defaulters.

At present, the department has no records with it regarding the taxable property in the five villages which were transferred to the MC in 2004, as no survey has been conducted in these areas till date. Interestingly, in the last MC budget, the House had sanctioned Rs 150 lakh for this purpose but the department is yet to compile the records of the property tax.

Surprisingly, the tax department annually spends around Rs 20 lakh to issue notices and bills to the property-tax defaulters by hiring DOEACC. But, in the current year, out of 1,848 tax defaulters the department had sent notices to only 589.

A senior official in the UT Administration expressed surprise that on one hand, the corporation is exploring more areas for getting funds from the administration to meet their requirements, while on the other they are least bothered about the losses of crores of rupees due to non-recovery of the property tax.



Wait for aerobridges at airport gets longer
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
The installation of aerobridges at the airport complex has been delayed by about six months as work on the apron area near the now-razed old terminal building is yet to be completed.

According to sources, work on extending the apron area was initiated a few months back after demolishing the old terminal building. The process was a part of the Rs 78-crore airport upgrade plan.

The apron area would have a capacity to station five aircraft compared to the existing capacity of three. Once the work was complete, the airport would be technically ready to handle international flights. The new, state-of-the-art, centrally airconditioned terminal of the civilian airport was made operational in April, 2011, and the installation of two aerobridges was kept pending.

Those were to be installed at the site of the old terminal building and that could only have happened after it was razed. Once the aerobridges were in place, passengers would be able to enter and exit aeroplanes without facing any hassle.

The airport director, Capt HS Toor, said they had placed the order for aerobridges. He added thar it would take between eight and 10 months for making those fully functional. He further said there was no delay in their construction.

At present, the civilian airport had very low traffic load compared to other major cities. Around 12 regular flights were being operated everyday for domestic destinations like Delhi, Mumbai, Jammu, Srinagar and Bengaluru.

Facilities at the airport were being controlled by the Air Force. The airport could have international flights in the near future. Air Arabia had offered to start a flight from Chandigarh to Sharjah and was awaiting the green signal from the Defence Ministry.

The customs department had earmarked a site at the terminal building to set up its immigration centre. The Chandigarh Police had already been asked to handle immigration at the airport after the start of international flights.



Chandigarh scan
Blood donation camp at PU

Himachal Pradesh Students Union (HPSU) orgainsed the 10th Captain Vikram Batra (Param Vir Chakra) Annual Blood Donation Camp today at the Student's Centre in PU Campus. Vikramaditya Singh, president of Himachal Pradesh Sports, Environment and Cultural Association (HPSECA), and son of Cabinet Minister Raja Virbhadra Singh, was the chief guest of the event. The camp received a good response and 103 units of blood has been collected. Motivated by the response of the youngsters, the chief guest himself also donated the blood.

Rally held
Children take part in a fun race during the annual sports day of The Millennium School, Mohali,at Sports Complex, Sector 7, Chandigarh,
Children take part in a fun race during the annual sports day of The Millennium School, Mohali,at Sports Complex, Sector 7, Chandigarh, on Monday. A Tribune Photograph

A Sewadal Rally was organised on the occasion of Guru Puja Diwas at Sant Nirankari Bhawan, Sector -30A, here today. Thousands of Sewadal members, adorning Sewaldal uniform, took part in the event. Women and children were also a part of the rally. PT parade, sewadal song, prayer and various games were held from 9:00-11:00 a.m.

Water shortage

There will be no water supply from 1:00 pm to 9.00 pm on Tuesday in Sectors 48, 49, 50, 51 and 52, Chandigarh, a press release said here on Monday.

Residents suffer

Residents of Sector 45-D are sore at the callous attitude of the Chandigarh Administration for not supplying adequate water for the past several weeks to the locality. People residing in dwelling units no. 3001 to 3245 have suffered the most. Niranjan Sharma, a spokesman of the colony commitee, lamented that due to low pressure, water supply dosn’t reach upto the roof top tanks and, as a result, taps in bathroom and toilets go dry and stink. Non-availability of water in toilets could be a health hazard and cause diseases, he added.

Farewell function

‘Rukhsat’ was organised by Shivalik Public School, Sector-41, Chandigarh for its class XII students. The event was full of fun games, songs and dances, tongue twister, counting in Hindi and English etc. A ‘Shivalik contest’, having three rounds-personality, Self introduction, and extempore-was held. Kyba Nanuan of Class XII, was declared Miss Shivalik and Arshdeep Singh was declared Mr Shivalik. DS Bedi, director, Shivalik Public Schools and Mrs Gurkiran Nalwa, principal, Shivalik Public School, Chandigarh, appreciated the efforts of class XI students and teachers and conferred prizes on the winners.

Mohali scan


Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, in association with Mission10X today started a five- day faculty development workshop at Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology. Over 30 delegates attended the event. Dr Verinder Kaur, executive director, SVGOI, inaugurated the workshop.


Vertical Limit HR Consulting Pvt Ltd, headed by Jyoti Mahajan, has been awarded ‘Best Consultant of Year 2011-2012’ by the vice-president and HR team of Apollo.

Decision opposed

The Punjab School Education Board Employees Union has opposed the board’s decision to bear the expenses of installing CCTV cameras at examination centres across the state. The association said the board was reeling under financial crunch. The union also objected to the renting out of a vacant building.

Tribune reporters



Class-X ICSE exams begin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 27
The examination season kick started for the tricity students today with over 800 class X students appearing for their very first Indian School Certificate Examinations (ICSE). The students appeared for their English paper in various centres across the city.

The paper left a majority of students with smiles who claimed that, though a little lengthy, it was not much difficult, and the questions were along the expected pattern.“While there has been a buzz that the ICSE would raise difficulty levels of their question papers, today’s paper was just like the last year. Many students felt it was a bit lengthy, but the overall response was quite encouraging,” said a local principal.

City schools have been conducting workshops and counselling sessions after the preliminary exams to teach students learning strategies and to help them deal with exam related stress.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |