C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT Budget up by Rs 185.81 crore 
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
In the next fiscal of 2012-13, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has increased the UT Administration’s budget share by Rs 185.81 crore in the total budget of Rs 2,916.01 crore approved by Parliament today.

The UT Administration got Rs 2,916.01 crore against Rs 2,730.20 crore for the current financial year. The details of the expenditure are yet to be unveiled, but the initial inputs suggest urban development, education, particularly for women, health and advanced public transport system are the key areas of expenditure.

Against the allocation of Rs 661.89 crore for the current fiscal, the Union Government allotted Rs 737.23 crore Plan budget for Chandigarh for 2012-13. Under the Non-Plan head, Chandigarh has got Rs 2,178.78 crore (current year’s allocation was Rs 2,068.31 crore). The Non-Plan allocation largely goes towards committed expenditure of salaries and other recurring expenses.

For the medical and health services, the Administration received Rs 87.69 crore, particularly for medical education and research. The important areas of expenditure include upgradation of polyclinics, trauma hospital, mental health institute and government institute for mentally challenged children.

Under the transport head, the Administration got Rs 64.70 crore for metro project and improving the transport system, bus services and replacement of 208 buses, multilevel parking at ISBT, Sector 43, and creation of four new bus stands near the PGI, Mani Majra, Dadumajra and Sector 31.

The Administration received Rs 45.27 crore for the housing of government employees, residential houses for police personnel, Burail Jail building and houses for Scheduled Castes. The Administration also gets Rs 246 crore under the urban development head for state capital projects, JNNURM schemes, works in Punjab and Haryana High Court, basic amenities for economically weaker sections, solid waste management and allied activities, besides other administration works.

Under the science, technology and environment head, the Administration got Rs 20.81 crore for science and technology, information technology and e-governance, other schemes under computerisation programmes, forest and wildlife, and ecology and environment.

The Administration received Rs 18.28 crore for sports and youth services for the construction of stadiums and sports complex and for the development of sports in the city.

For heritage conservation, the Administration has received Rs 4 crore for the constitution of a heritage conservation committee, completion of unfinished projects and for the implementation of new schemes.

PGI gets Rs 546 crore

A sum of Rs 546 crore has been allocated for the PGI. This year, an increase of Rs 76 crore has been made in the allocation for the next year. It had earlier got Rs 470 crore from the Centre. This amount will be used for taking care of liabilities and salaries, besides the modernisation of buildings of Nehru Hospital, research blocks A and B and the second phase of the Advance Cardiac Centre and the Advance Eye Centre.



It’s an ‘anti-aam aadmi’ Budget
Tribune reporters spoke to a cross section of tricity residents to elicit their views on the union budget 2012-13, most of them were dissapointed as the rise in prices of essential commodities would make a dent in the pocket of common man

Govt.not in touch with ground realities
Apparently the Budget does not have much to offer to the common man as the cost of products such as television, which is no more a luxury item, has gone up. It goes on to show that the common man is no more the concern of the government. Moreover, those who have prepared the budget are not in touch with the ground reality. Especially those who grade persons earning Rs 32 per day above the poverty line are not eligible to make the Budget.

Infact, the Budget appears to be misleading at times. Certain concessions have been made in the taxes, but at the same time there has been an increase in the price of household appliances, besides other things. It is like giving with one hand and taking away with the other.
— Sanjeev Tiwari, former Director, Public Relations, Panjab University

Nothing new and exciting
Status quo has been maintained in the Budget, there is nothing new or exciting about the new plan. Outings and eating out will be costlier. More services have been covered under the service tax, so people will be shelling out more money indirectly. Indirect taxes have been imposed. For example, buying little luxury for home like a new television or eating out with family, on a weekend, will be costlier.
— Jagbir Singh, DSP (Operations Cell).

A burden Budget
The Budget presented by the Union Finance Minister is very disappointing as it is a classic example of a “burden Budget”. It will enhance the prices of all items, as the service tax and the excise duty has been hiked from 10 to 12 per cent. The benefit to the employees in the income tax slab is also not adequate because due to the hike in prices they are already facing acute financial crunch. If the prices of petrol and petroleum products are also increased then it will add to the miseries of the common man.
— PC Sanghi, a retired engineer

No reprieve for salaried class
I don’t think there is any reprieve or great benefit for the salaried class in the tax concession given by the government. In fact, the middle class continues to be the bearer of the cross of the Budget every year. The rich and the poor are less affected. For the poor, the government ensures that there is no major increase in the cost of food and the very essential items. In fact prices of items like salt and matches will be reduced. At the same time, all those having income above Rs 30 lakh annually will be covered under the 30 per cent slab. This means all the billionaires and millionaires will be weighed on the same machine, which I think was unfair.
— Tanya Dhiman, an interior designer

UPA govt. exposed
The Budget 2012 presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee (FM) has completely exposed the present UPA government in fact it is bankrupt of ideas. It has failed to find any solution to the current inflation and to the miseries of the common man. The prices of all essential commodities have gone up. The Budget has shown that taxing the common man is the only way out to enhance the revenue, as the service tax has been enhanced from 10 to 12 per cent. This means there is 20 per cent increase in the service tax and all the activities are covered under the service tax and further the government is in no mood to bring back the black money stashed in banks abroad. The worst is that the Budget has only promises and no action or roadmap about the reform process and plans to revive the economy. By saying no roadmap it means only a formality of presenting the annual Budget has been carried out by the FM. The government has nothing to give to the common man, students, the aged and someone seeking medical assistance.
— Ajay Jagga, Advocate

Health care neglected
The government has done nothing for the health-care sector, as the treatment for diseases like cancer, cardio-vascular and renal care to name a few continues to cost very high to patients. India has the highest number of patients suffering from cardio vascular disease in the world. Because of the very high costs involved the common man is not able to bear the expenses of treatment. There is too little for the public in the health sector this time. There is dire need to reduce the taxes on life-saving drugs. The country requires programme for health insurance for all.
— Dr HK Bali, director, cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

Senior citizens ignored
The UPA government has ignored the senior citizens and working women in this Budget. The Finance Minister has increased the tax limit from 1.8 lakh to 2 lakh, which is very marginal. Increased service tax will also affect the normal life of the common man. The Budget seemed to be “anti-aam admi”. We were expecting the UPA to give an “aam admi Budget” but they failed to provide any kind of relief.

In fact, the Budget presented today was absolutely directionless. There are no core areas where we can expect the government to pay extra attention. The only redeeming feature is that the government has increased the outlay for the defence expenditure.
— SS Savant, Wg Cdr (retired), Zirakpur.

Will affect businessmen
The Budget presented by the Finance Minister has failed to bring any relief to the common man. Increase in prices of petroleum products will affect the businessmen who are related to export and import. The government has ignored the interest of the common man and has not given benefit in taxes. An increase in petrol prices means indirect increase in prices on all commodities that are ferried across the nation. This will cover even the seemingly untouched areas of food items and basic items besides additional increase in prices of small luxury items, including televisions, refrigerators and air conditioners etc.
— Dr SD Rampal, president,Commercial Welfare Association, Godown Area, Pabhat.

Disappointing, projected growth a farce

Anant Paul, an employee of Pepsi, talks about the Budget, as his wife Kavita and daughter Malvi look on in Mohali on Friday.
Anant Paul, an employee of Pepsi, talks about the Budget, as his wife Kavita and daughter Malvi look on in Mohali on Friday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

The Budget for 2012-2013 is disappointing. It will further lead to inflation. Already the inflation is touching the sky. No consideration has been made for the common man. Projected growth is all farce as purchasing power of the common man has already gone down. Educating one’s children and meeting other basic requirements of life has become a challenge for the common man. The government should have brought in some incentives to pull out the common man out of financial crisis. Increasing the tax limit from Rs 1.80 lakh to Rs 2 lakh was a farce.
— Anant Paul, an employee with private sector

Inflation to hit kitchen
Inflation is bound to affect our budget in the kitchen. The grocery is going to be expensive. The items of daily use are going to cost us more. The inflation will force us to cut down on our weekly outings.
— Kavita, wife of Anant Paul

A bitter pill for many

Kamal Joshi with his family at his house in Mansa Devi Complex in Panchkula on Friday.
Kamal Joshi with his family at his house in Mansa Devi Complex in Panchkula on Friday. tribune photo nitin mittal

The new Budget proposals have left a bitter taste in the mouth of Panchkula residents. The things are becoming very tough for the common man due to rising inflation and the 20 per cent increase in the excise and other taxes announced by the Finance Minister today will further disturb the budget of families. I was planning to by an air-conditioner but the new Budget proposals have forced me to shelve the plan as the state government was also planning to raise power tariffs.
— Advocate Kamal Joshi, resident, Mansa Devi Complex

Industrialists should have been targeted
Instead of burdening the common man with more taxes the government should have targeted the rich industrialists to reduce the deficit. About 90 per cent people are from average middle-class families while 10 per cent belong to affluent families. The government should have given more relief to the average salaried person. “I have retired form government service and am supporting my son with whatever funds I had got after retiremen.
— Khemanand, father, a retired Haryana government employee.

Situation bad to worse
Prices of edible oil, pulses and domestic cylinders have already been increased and with the increase in the taxes, the situation will only turn from bad to worse. School fee has been hiked and students compete to get the top spot by taking coaching. The government should rationalise the fee structure in private schools and colleges so that wards of the poor can also study in these institutions.
— Saraswati, his wife 



Houses meant for GMSH staff being misused
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Accommodation meant for GMSH employees has been occupied by unauthorised persons.
Accommodation meant for GMSH employees has been occupied by unauthorised persons. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, March 16
A large number of government houses meant for Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, employees have been occupied by unauthorised persons. A team of the health department, during a visit on March 13, found that 22 houses of the department in Sector 15 had been locked by unauthorised persons.

A house in Sector 24 had been sublet by the widow of a former employee who had died six years ago. The house was allotted in the name of the deceased’s spouse, who rented it out. The house was, however, vacated by the tenant soon after the “scam” was detected yesterday.

A house in Sector 24 was vacated on March 14 after the visit of the health team, only to be occupied by another tenant. When a team of The Tribune visited the house the same day in the evening, it was revealed that the house was occupied by an employee of a private insurance company. He left the house after he was transferred to Patiala. The house was again rented out to an employee of the same company by the allottee, who is learnt to be an inspector with the health department.

The lid was blown off the scam when some health department employees residing in Sector 24 complained to the authorities in this regard.

Some anti-social elements were also “intruding” into houses lying vacant in the locality.

GMSH medical superintendent Rajiv Vadhera said the matter was still under investigation and action would be taken against erring employees.



Woman sets herself afire at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
A patient undergoing treatment for depression committed suicide by setting herself afire at the OPD of the PGI here today. The deceased has been identified as 38-year-old Suman, a resident of Sector 37 here.

According to eyewitnesses, the incident took place around 1.30 pm at the fire escape route on the ground floor of the New OPD building. “She was crying for help and the people present on the spot tried to douse the flames by using a fire extinguisher, sand and water,” said Vinay, a resident of Kurali, who had come to the PGI with his father. The person holding the fire extinguisher could not operate it.

The security personnel of the hospital reached the spot and wrapped the victim in a piece of cloth to control the flames. However, by that time Suman had suffered serious burn injuries and died soon after she was rushed to the emergency.

The forensic team of the Chandigarh police recovered a plastic bottle from the spot. It is believed that Suman was carrying inflammable material in the bottle and used it to commit suicide.

The securing personnel recovered a half-burnt registration card of the deceased and informed her husband about the incident.

Rama, the elder sister of the deceased, said her sister was suffering from depression and after serving breakfast to her two sons, Suman had left for the PGI for treatment.



Leopard alive, but not drawn to bait
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
After a long wait of five days, officials of the UT forest and wildlife department finally managed to see the leopard stuck in a pipe at the Air Force station. Earlier, the officials could only see his eyes, but in the wee hours of today, they saw the leopard come close to the cage, but it went back inside the pipe.

Around 50 officials of the department, besides staff of Chhatbir Zoo, have been deployed near the pipe round-the-clock to capture the leopard.

An official said this morning the leopard came close to the cage, but did not enter it.

A live chicken and a goat have been placed near the pipe, but the leopard is still not coming out. The officials had put a cage in front of the pipe to catch the leopard in case it ventured out.

An official said the noise of planes was also creating a problem. He said they had tried to scare the leopard with crackers, but to no avail. Water was also put inside the pipe, but that too did not work.


Only a few applicants turn up
Draw of lots for much-hyped multi-storeyed apartments by GMADA
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 16
Even though the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) had made elaborate arrangements for the draw of lots in connection with the much-hyped multi-storeyed Purab Premium Apartments, most of the applicants did not turn up for the event here today.

The pandal, raised outside the office building, wore a deserted look. Vacant chairs greeted a few applicants who turned up for the draw. The draw which started around 9.30 am ended around midday.

Sources said one of the reasons why applicants had not turned up was that GMADA had not given any notice regarding the draw about a week before the date was fixed in this regard as was the general practice in earlier cases. The date of the draw was mentioned only in the brochures purchased by applicants at the time of applying for flats.

The draw of lots for 900 single bedroom flats was organised by GMADA out of which 692 flats fell in the general category and 208 in the reserved categories. A total of 2,972 applications were received for the Type-I apartments.

Sources said only 576 apartments had been earmarked for the general category, but 166 flats belonging to the reserved categories were added to the general category as no response was received in those categories. The categories for which GMADA had failed to receive any response were legal heirs of defence personnel, disabled soldiers, riot victims, sports persons and gallantry award winners.

The GMADA scheme on the whole had not attracted a good response as it did not suit investors. It was felt that the clause incorporated by GMADA that the property could not be sold or transferred for five years acted as a hindrance for applicants. Moreover, people had as yet not got used to the concept of living in 15-storeyed apartments. 

Lakhs spent on arrangements

While making elaborate arrangements for the applicants during the draw of lots for multi-storeyed Purav Apartments, GMADA officials seemed to have miscalculated the expected number of visitors on the first day. Though the authority had provided around 1,800 chairs in two separate tents, a few persons came forward to witness the draw of lots. Large LCD screens had been arranged for the event. Sources said lakhs of rupees had been spent on the the arrangements.



Calculate seniority of faculty before finalising: PUTA
List of candidates eligible for post of Vice-Chancellor
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, March 16
The Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) today held a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor (VC). It demanded that the seniority of faculty be calculated before finalising the list of candidates eligible for the post of VC.

Sources said PU officials denied making a list of 20 professors on the basis of seniority. PUTA secretary Khalid Mohammad said the VC assured them of forming a committee under the chairmanship of the Dean University Instructions to prepare the seniority list.

PUTA also raised the issue of implementation of childcare leave for woman employees.

He said as per the recommendations of the UGC, every woman teacher was entitled to childcare leave for a maximum period of two years during the period of service.

“The Syndicate and the Senate have adopted the recommendations in toto. The recommendations giving this benefit to woman teachers has not been introduced,” he said.

The PUTA secretary said they had been receiving complaints about the counting of past service. He added that they demanded a two-day camp, supervised by the Registrar, the Deputy Registrar and other officials, to sort out the issues.



New pedal boats for visitors to Sukhna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
Visitors to the Sukhna Lake will soon enjoy rides on new pedal boats. The Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Corporation (CITCO) has decided to purchase 25 new pedal boats.

Two-seater, four-seater and six-seater pedal boats are being acquired for visitors. CITCO has also decided to purchase new life jackets to replace old ones.

AK Malhotra, General Manager (Tourism), CITCO, said acquiring new boats was a part of the UT plan to promote the lake as a popular tourist spot.

CITCO also decided to upgrade other amenities for tourists and use boats and ‘shikaras’ to attract tourists.

Meanwhile, following the incident of two youths being stranded at the lake around 2:30 am, CITCO strengthened security in the area where boats were tied.

Instructions were issued to the contractor concerned to chain the boats properly and keep a vigil on those.



Fire staff inspect TDI mall
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
A technical team of the Chandigarh fire and emergency department today inspected the TDI mall-cum-multiplex at Sector 17 here for issuing a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the building.

The team was headed by chief fire officer Lalit Siwach and included four fire station officers. It found that major violations in the building were yet to be rectified.

Last year, the department had rejected the application for NOC twice as the management had flouted the National Building Code of India.

According to the last report of the department, the major violation was the non-availability of a six-metre passage around the building for fire vehicles to access it.

In case of fire, vehicles weighing up to 45 tonnes could not get access. Referring to the building code, the officials said it was mandatory to have six metres of open space on all sides.

The team found that the fire control room and the main electricity panel had been shifted to the ground floor, near main entrance to the building.

As per the building code, it was mandatory for multiplexes to have those on the ground floor, which would be handy in case of emergency.



BSNL landlines in Sec 8 down
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
Hundreds of residents of Sector 8 here have been having a harrowing time as BSNL landlines have been non-functional for the past few days.

Over 200 BSNL telephone lines have been non-functional as a 1,200-pair BSNL cable was stolen from near the Chandigarh Housing Board office.

Many residents have not been able to get in touch with their relatives and friends. “I had an emergency and could not make a call last night,” said a resident.

Satya of Sector 8 said, “I have not been able to contact my children, who are settled abroad, as this is the only way of communication.” Broadband was also affected, said Parul.

According to residents, thieves stole the cable two days back. This was not the first time underground cable wires were stolen, they added.

BSNL officials admitted that four or five incidents of theft had been reported in the last one month. “The maintenance staff is at work. The cable is likely to be restored in two or three days,” said an official.

The police had registered a complaint after the cable was stolen. “Investigations are on and we are trying to figure out how it happened,” said a police official.



Law students continue stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
Continuing their strike, law students in the evening shift at Panjab University (PU) today staged a protest, demanding the immediate declaration of semester results.

They also disrupted classes and raised slogans against the PU authorities. Manoj Lubana, a student leader, said the department had made it a habit of declaring results late, causing inconvenience to students.

PU officials reached the spot to pacify students, but the protest continued till the evening. While the date-sheet for the next semester had been finalised, results of the previous semester had not been declared.

PU students rued that the university had asked students to fill in compartment forms without declaring results. “How is it possible for us to fill in compartment forms without results,” they asked.



F&CC to Admn: Consult MC on vehicle-free zones in Sec 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 16
The Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) today passed a resolution, requesting the UT Administration to consult the municipal corporation (MC) before finalising a decision on the issue of vehicle-free zones at Sector 17.

During a meeting chaired by Mayor Raj Bala Malik, it was decided that the MC should be consulted as it was a stakeholder in parking lots.

Members said the present status of and obligations in terms of parking lots, which had been given on contract, needed to be considered.

The F&CC also decided that the pilot project of door-to-door garbage collection at Sector 22 would be started before April 16.

It agreed that a consultant to be appointed to design this system for the whole city.

It decided to engage another consultant to study the present system of garbage processing and disposal and suggest improvements in it.



Chandigarh Scan

Road to be shut

The V-4 road at Sector 31 will be closed from March 19 for two months. During this period, the route of traffic will be diverted through V-5 roads in the sector. This is being done for the construction of an RCC tunnel to connect the Japanese Garden.

Cultural show

The Aryans Group of Colleges organised its annual cultural extravaganza ‘Roshan- enlightening the world’ at the Punjab Kala Bhavan, Sector 16, on Friday. Around 500 students presented dances, solo songs, skits and mime. Achievers in academics, sports and co-curricular activities were honoured. MBA student Neetika, BBA student Iram and BEd student Harbir were adjudged best students. Usha R Sharma, Commissioner, Technical Education, Punjab, was the chief guest. Anshu Kataria, chairperson of the group, presided over the function.

Realtors’ body

Madan Lal Garg has been unanimously elected president of the Property Consultants Association Chandigarh. After being elected, Garg said the association had identified certain issues, which would be taken up with the authorities at the appropriate levels.


The annual convocation and prize distribution function was held at the Government Home Science College on Friday. Principal Madhu Nanda read the annual report. A total of 150 degrees were awarded, of which 64 were given to graduates A total of 261 prizes were awarded for academic and co-curricular achievements.

Birdhouses at PU

An environmental awareness programme was organised by the Punjab Eco-Friendly Association on the Panjab University campus on Friday. The event focused on the decreasing ratio of bird species. Birdhouses were placed on the campus. Prof AS Ahluwalia, Dean Student Welfare, inaugurated the programme.

Annual function

The annual prize distribution function of the DAV College at Sector 10 was organised on Friday. Principal AK Nanda read out the annual report. As many as 300 students were awarded the roll of honour, cash prizes, medals and college colours for distinction in academic, sports and co-curricular activities.


The two-day conference on ‘Sustainable development: a paradigm shift from principles to rights’ concluded with the valedictory ceremony at the University Institute of Legal Studies. It was presided over by Justice Rajive Bhalla of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He said, “Environmental issues are the most relevant, need-based and apt for discussion. Such platforms provide avenues of confluence and convergence of intellectuals.” Four technical sessions were organised. Tribune Reporters



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