C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park 
SC ruling comes as a blow to admn
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The Supreme Court’s order regarding the quashing the acquisition of 272 acres for the proposed Phase III of Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) has come as a major blow to the UT Administration. UT officials maintained that the order would put brakes on the expansion of the IT sector in the city.

Officials said it was a major blow as the Administration had pinned hopes of attracting investments worth more than Rs 2,500 crore, software export of Rs 2,500 crore and employment of over 35,000 IT professionals from the IT Park, Phase III.

UT Finance Secretary VK Singh said they were hopeful that the decision would come in their favour, but it was not so. He said they respect the Supreme Court’s order.

The Supreme Court order will also delays the completion of the UT master plan-2031. The Administration had recently prepared the draft of the plan. It had already sought number of extensions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court to complete the master plan.

UT officials said that after the court’s order, they would now review the master plan.

Excerpts from SC order

The Division Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice GS Singhvi and Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya observed: “The land acquisition process had been conducted in a casual and mechanical manner giving a go by to the legal provisions meant for protecting the interests of farmers, small landholders, agriculture, environment and ecology.”

“We hold that the Adviser to the Administrator was not competent to accord approval to the initiation of the acquisition proceedings or take decision on the reports submitted by the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) under section 5-A (2) of the 1894 act.”

“A careful analysis of the LAO’s report leaves no doubt that the officer concerned had not at all applied his mind to the objections of the landowners and merely created a façade of doing so.”

“No evidence was given to the court to show that the LAO had summoned the revenue records and conducted spot inspection, the Bench said this leads to an interface that in both the reports, the LAO had made a misleading and false statement.”

“That apart, the reports do not contain any iota of consideration of the objections filed by the landowners. Mere reproduction of the substance of the objections cannot be equated with objective consideration thereof in the light of the submissions made by the objectors during the course of hearing. Thus the violation of the mandate of section 5A (2) is writ large on the face of the reports prepared by the LAO.”

“They (the Special Secretary Finance and the Adviser to the Administrator) could not muster courage of expressing and independent opinion on the issue of compliance of Section 5A and need of the land for the specific public purpose.”

“It seems that the officers were overawed by the view expressed by the Administrator and instinct of self-preservation prompted them not to go against the wishes of the Administrator who wanted that additional land be acquired in the name of expansion of IT park despite the fact that a substantial portion of the land acquired for Phase II had been allotted to a private developer.”

Petitioner’s contentions

They argued that the UT Administration had acquired farmers' land for public purpose, but was utilising the same for favouring real estate companies

The petitioners had challenged the acquisition of land by the Administration for public purpose, namely for the provision of city level-infrastructure, regulated urban development of the area between Chandigarh and Mani Majra, and planned development and expansion of the Chandigarh Technology Park in Mani Majra which is popularly known as Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park

The petitioners had alleged that the project was being set up without clearance from the Ministry of Forest and Environment even though it was close to the ecologically sensitive lake. As per the petitioners, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had dismissed their pleas without considering the relevant material

The petitioners had also alleged that about 10 per cent of the area was meant for constructing residences for IT professionals, but not a single flat had been allotted to them so far

The MHA had ordered retired IAS officer Arun Ramanathan to conduct an inquiry into issues related to land allotment for Phase III of the IT Park. Arun Ramanathan’s observations:

The land earmarked for acquisition is under substantial green cover.

The land taken in possession for Phase I and II together had an area larger than the concept layout plan suggested by the Joines Lang Lasalle (JLL), which carried out the feasibility study for the IT Park report.

The Administration has the latitude to acquire and allot land without an overall advance plan or design being in place for the usage of the peripheral area concerned.

Acquisition of land for Phases I and II was in legal battle.

Utilisation of land for Phases I and II was short of expectations.

In a communication to the Adviser to the UT Administrator, the Ministry of home Affairs (MHA) had started: “The report of the inquiry officer has been considered in the Union Home Ministry and it has been decided that in view of the observations made by the inquiry officer, the acquisition of the land for the IT Park, Phase-III, should be put on hold. The Chandigarh Administration must develop a plan of the periphery, get it approved by the competent authority and approach the Ministry of Environment and Forests to carry out environment impact assessment before going in for further acquisition in accordance with the development plan in the future.”

MHA’s audit report

While the UT Administration was defending the acquisition of 272 acre under Phase III, the MHA, in its special audit report, had termed it completely unjustified. The MHA insisted that since a huge chunk of the plot is lying vacant in Phases I and II, more acquisition is uncalled for.

CCA’s audit report

“The acquisition of land should reflect the actual need for taking up the process and not just acquiring land for the sake of acquiring. The audit has noticed that the UT had started the procedure for allotting land to certain companies even before receiving a request for it,” stated the audit report prepared by Chief Controller of Accounts (CCA).

“The keenness of the UT authorities to acquire land from farmers and allocate it to businesses without going through the prescribed procedures had put a question mark on their intentions. In the park, there is no uniformity of rates, procedures or policy in allotting land to various beneficiaries. The administration, while handling government assets, needs to exercise some care in disposing it. The safeguard of assets was one of its responsibilities and UT has miserably failed in this,” the audit report said.


Brief History

It was during the tenure of former UT Administrator Gen SF Rodrigues (retd) that the Administration started acquiring land for IT Park, Phase III. The notifications to acquire 272 acres were issued in June 2006, August 2006 and Feb 2007. Thereafter, the media reported anomalies in the land acquisition and the MHA ordered a special audit on various projects of the administration. The audit raised objections to the land acquired for the third phase of IT Park and submitted the report to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The landowners moved the court. But in March 2011, the HC rejected their petitions. They then moved the Supreme Court, which on Thursday quashed the land acquisition for the IT Park expansion. The award of ~18.75 lakh per acre announced by the administration was criticised by the landowners. The Mani Majra Farmers’ Welfare and Environment Protection Society had termed it against the spirit of the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007


272 acres was to be acquired

Keeping in view the huge demand pouring in from various IT companies from across the globe, 272 acres was to be acquired for the development of Phase III of the IT Park. The acquisition of land, which was to be completed by 2007, had been mired in legal complications. Besides setting up infrastructure for IT/ITES/BPO companies, including low density and low-rise buildings, the administration was planning to set up housing and hostel facilities along with other infrastructure.



Rahul Gandhi leaves students displeased
Returns without answering queries
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Panjab University (PU) left students disappointed as he returned without taking any questions from them during his 20-minute stay on the campus.

Over 40 students had given questions to the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) out of which around 25 were short-listed and forwarded to the team accompanying Rahul Gandhi.

Disappointed over not getting the reply of his question, Ravi Shankar a MSc student of the PU, said he expected that there would be a healthy discussion between the students and Rahul Gandhi. However, the leader left without answering his question. “I had asked him whether Rahul likes the Gandhigiri of Anna Hazare or Arvind Kejriwal’s style of entering into politics to fight corruption,” he said.

Subhay Kumar Prasad, a student from the geology department, who was also disappointed after Rahul Gandhi left the venue without answering any question, said it was wastage of time sitting for hours for nothing. His question was why the Gandhi family flies abroad for medical treatment. Are the Indian hospitals incompetent?

Parul, a student of MA in Hindi department, wanted to ask Rahul Gandhi that what was the secret behind his mother’s improving Hindi.

The students, other then those who had asked the questions, were left waiting to listen to the replies of the Congress general secretary.

Mehar Verma, a research scholar at the PU, said he waited for around two hours to listen to Rahul Gandhi and his answers to the questions asked by the students. “It was surprising the leader didn’t even apologise for not answering the queries.” 







Varsity issues given a miss in Rahul’s address
National politics, NSUI take centre stage at student convention
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Policemen stop protesting ABVP activists from moving towards the convention venue at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Thursday.
Policemen stop protesting ABVP activists from moving towards the convention venue at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Thursday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, October 11
Although the event organised by the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) on the occasion of Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the university campus today was called a student convention, the function turned out to be a political rally with Rahul discussing national politics and speaking about the National Student’s Union of India (NSUI) on the occasion. He even failed to mention the name of Panjab University during his 10-minute address to the students.

Contrary to the claims made by the university authorities that they would not allow the campus to turn into a political arena, Rahul’s address revolved around politics, with the Congress general secretary urging the youth attending the function to join the NSUI, student wing of the Congress party. Rahul, in his address, elaborated the functioning of the NSUI and its policy of promoting young leaders through an election process.

Moreover, despite PU’s claims that no leader from the mainstream politics would be part of the event, three senior leaders from Punjab attended the function. Even the entry to the venue was made on the basis of passes issued by the NSUI, despite the university’s earlier decision of allowing the entry only to those carrying identity cards issued by the university.

Manish Singh, a PU student, said that he attended the function thinking that it would be an interactive session where the present scenario of higher education would be discussed; however, it turned out to be a political rally.

Rahul Gandhi, in his address, failed to discuss any issue pertaining to the university and did not make any announcement that the students were expecting.

ABVP leader Dinesh Chauhan said the university authorities had earlier claimed that the event would be an interactive session; instead, it turned out to be a political speech.

“He (Rahul Gandhi) just spoke about the FDI issue and the opposition party. He did not even speak about education in his speech,” Chauhan said.

Sandeep Gupta, a student who attended the function, said that there was no need for the PU students to take part in this event, as it looked more like a political rally. 



  • Buses carrying youths from various parts of Punjab reached the city. They were dropped off near the PGI
  • Students dressed in black were not allowed to enter the venue, fearing protest. Later, however, on requests made by student leaders, they were allowed to attend the function
  • Punjabi singer Sherry Mann of “Yaar Anmule” fame performed at the venue before Rahul’s arrival
  • SOPU leaders Brinder Dhillon and Harpreet Singh Multani, former PUCSC presidents Amit Bhatia and Pushpinder Sharma, and existing president Satinder Singh joined the Congress party on the occasion
  • The ABVP and SFI members staged a protest outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office. As soon as Rahul Gandhi arrived, they tried to move towards the venue but were stopped by the police
  • Farmers from Punjab also staged a protest at Sector 14-15 traffic lights for around an hour, leading to a traffic jam







Cong gen secy big hit among girls
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Among the crowd of around 4,000 youths who gathered to get a glimpse of Rahul Gandhi at Panjab University, the most excited seemed around 1,000 girls sitting in an enclosure on the left side of the stage, who greeted the Congress general secretary by chanting his name. Dressed in a white kurta and a blue pair of jeans, Rahul, too, walked to the enclosure and waved to his female fans before climbing onto the stage. This led to further excitement in the enclosure.

"I had seen him only on the television; so when I came to know that he would be visiting the campus, I rushed here and was fortunate enough to see him," said Manpreet Kaur, a PU student, calling it a “dream come true”.

Girls also arrived from various city colleges to get a glimpse of the Gandhi scion.

Radhika, a college student, said that Rahul was more handsome than he usually looked on the television. “He is cute and has an attractive personality,” she said.

The girls were also seen recording Rahul’s speech on their mobile phones and clicking his photographs.

Calling the girls a change agent, Rahul, motivated them to come forward and join politics. “After 10 to 15 years, I wish to see a female Chief Minister in Punjab,” he said.

After ending his address, Rahul once again went to the enclosure to shake hands with some girls.





NSUI seeks help for students’ council’s representation in Senate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) leaders urged Rahul Gandhi to help them in getting representation for the students’ council in the Panjab University Senate. They also raised the demand for conducting elections in all the PU-affiliated colleges in the state of Punjab.

Gobind Khatra, president of NSUI, Punjab, in his welcome speech during the function held on Rahul’s visit, said: “Although a student council president is elected at PU, he has no right to raise issues concerning students in the Senate,” Khatra said.

The university students have been demanding Senate representation since 2009.

The PUCSC president had also recently met Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who is also the Chancellor of PU, to urge him in this regard.

Khatra also stated that Panjab University had around 180 affiliated colleges in Punjab; however, student council elections were not held there.

The representation submitted to Rahul Gandhi also included the demand for granting central university status to PU. The students had raised the same demand during Rahul’s visit in 2009 too, following which he had called them to Delhi to discuss the issue.






Gandhi scion pays visit to Gandhi Bhawan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Rahul Gandhi, before arriving at the venue, had a brief meeting with Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof Arun Grover and other PU officials, including the Dean Student Welfare, at Gandhi Bhawan here today. Rahul also visited the museum and moved around the building to see its architecture.

The VC presented some books, including a book on the history of the university, and a painting of Gandhi Bhawan to the Congress general secretary.

Sources said that Rahul, after accepting the books, also had a discussion on education with the VC. Officials also had a cup to tea with Rahul before he left for the venue, just opposite the building.



Student stabbed in chest at Panchkula
6 others, including cops hurt in clash
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 11
A student of Government College, Sector 1, Panchkula, sustained stab injuries in his chest while three other students of the same college and three policemen were also injured following a clash between the two groups of students here today.

The police has arrested two students - Kuldeep Singh and Harpreet Singh - both residents of Panchkula and students of B.Com (final) in this connection.

Police sources said that B.Com student Javed was stabbed by another group, led by Harpeet and Kuldeep along with three outsiders, during the clash. After sustaining injuries, Javed and his friend Shubham, also a B.Com student, entered the Economic Offence Wing building, located nearby for shelter but the other group followed him there and started hurling stones through the windows of the building. When some police personnel tried to intervene, the students also attacked them and left three policemen injured.

Javed and Subham have been admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 6.

A case under Sections 307, 323, 324, 148,149 of the IPC has been registered against Harpreet and Kuldeep and other unidentified attackers at the Sector 5 police station on the complaint of Javed.


Revive Chief Commissioner’s post, urge councillors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Dodging the game of “political football” over the ownership of Chandigarh by different political parties in the region, the local Congress leadersd demanded reverting back to the old pattern of having a Chief Commissioner to the Administrator of Chandigarh.

A delegation of 27 members under the leadership of Chandigarh Congress president BB Behl along with Municipal Corporation Mayor Raj Bala Malik today met Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and raised the issue with him.

In the memorandum submitted by the delegation, the party leaders pointed out that since Chandigarh was no more a ‘Disturbed Area’ so the post of UT Chief Commissioner should be revived. While interacting with the delegation, Rahul Gandhi enquired whether they had taken up the matter with the Union Home Ministry or not. After discussing the issues, Rahul Gandhi stated that he would discuss all the pointes with Local Member of Parliament for further action.

BB Behl said that Rahul assured the delegation that he would take up the matter with the Home Ministry for its speedy implementation. Former councillor HS Lucky briefed Rahul on the issues related to the city.

The system of the Chief Commissioner prevailed till mid-80s when the Punjab Disturbed Areas Act and the Chandigarh Disturbed Areas Act was passed in 1984 and Punjab was put under the Governor’s rule and the Punjab Governor was also made the UT Administrator.

In 1984 the then Governor of Punjab Arjun Singh was given the charge of Administrator of the UT to have better coordination during the days of militancy in Punjab. Between 1966 and 1984 Chandigarh used to have the post of Chief Commissioner as its head who was appointed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Before 1966, Punjab had full control of Chandigarh. Since 1984, the Chief Commissioner has been designated as the Adviser to the Administrator.

In 2009, it was reported that the Union Home Ministry had decided to restore the post of the Chief Commissioner and get the requisite changes on the ground by the time the former Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Gen SF Rodrigues’ (retired) ended his term in mid-November. But no decision was taken even after his completion of term as the Governor by the Union Home Ministry.

Seeking more autonomy for the UT, the delegation also demanded an independent political setup in the form of post of mayor-in-council for the city. Besides this, the party leaders also raised the issue of issuing certificates to the scheduled caste.

Post was operational till mid-80s

The system of the Chief Commissioner prevailed till mid-80s when the Punjab Disturbed Areas Act and the Chandigarh Disturbed Areas Act was passed in 1984 and Punjab was put under the Governor’s rule and the Punjab Governor was also made the UT Administrator



5 fresh cases of dengue in city
Number of patients reaches 118; majority of cases from Mauli Jagran, Hallo Majra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
With another five cases of dengue confirmed in the city today, the total number of residents contracting the disease this year has reached 118. While only three cases were reported in August this year, more than 180 cases, have been reported at city hospitals from the region.

Last year, 73 cases of dengue were reported in the city. Officials in the UT health department said, most of the patients were found to have contracted mild dengue and no deaths had been reported so far. The virus mostly affected children and the elderly due to weak immunity in both age groups, said the officials. “The dengue virus is attributed as “day-biter” and often breeds in artificial setting of water which may include water stored in vessels, buckets, excess water in flower pots,” said an expert at PGIMER.

A majority of residents contracting the disease were from Mauli Jagran, Hallo Majra, Maloya Colony and other periphery areas.

Following a survey conducted across these colonies, the officials found that a majority of households had open water tanks near their homes.

Dengue is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito-- Aedes egypti. When the mosquito bites a person infected with the virus, the mosquito spreads it to others but itself can survive the virus. Symptoms includes high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding.

The mosquito can breed in 10-15ml of water too. Doctors advise use of repellent creams and mosquito coils indoors. 



26-year-old man hangs himself at Sector 56
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Following a quarrel with his wife, a 26-year-old man reportedly committed suicide by hanging from the hook of a ceiling fan at his residence in Sector 56 on Wednesday night.

According to information, Ishtiak, a fruit seller, father of three children from the marriage, had a fight with his wife last night and she went to Sector 56 police post to report the matter. They were sent back after counselling and a compromise was reached between he couple.

Later on the fruit seller went to the other room to sleep. The matter came to light when he did not open the door despite repeated attempts by the family members in the morning.

Police stated that his father along with the help of neighbours broke open the door and found him hanging from the ceiling fan in the room. "We have started the investigation and a case has been registered,” a police official said.



PGI doctor resigns
Alleges mental harassment by guide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
A postgraduate student pursuing his MD at PGIMER's department of pharmacology has offered his resignation, alleging "mental harassment" by his guide, a senior doctor, in the department. Dr Pankaj Maheshwari tendered his resignation at the office of Dean Amod Gupta accusing his guide of "torturing him".

Officials confirmed that the resignation letter had been moved by Dr Pankaj, but no inquiry had been marked to look into the allegations.

When contacted, Dr Amod Gupta said, "We do not take cognizance of resignations offered by the doctors. It is completely a doctor's discretion to leave the institution for his or her own reasons. We are supposed to only look into the formalities required for relieving the doctor."

"Resignations are a part of any organisations and a large number of doctors have left the PGI in the last couple of years for their own reasons.

Besides, marking an inquiry in such a case will not be appropriate. We cannot question the credibility of our doctors on grounds of a resignation letter," Gupta added.

More than 25 doctors have resigned from the PGI in the last six years. 



Sanskrit play staged at Tagore Theatre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
Abhinay Theatre staged a Sanskrit play, Narad Mohiniyam, at Tagore Theatre today evening.
Based on Mathura Dutt Panday's composition, the play depicted a mythological episode from the Puranas where Muni Narad, the official reporter of the gods and demons, was punished by Lord Vishnu for his arrogance.

Narad, in turn, curses Vishnu that leads to the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Lord Rama. Surender Sani directed the play.



Breast cancer patients at PGI double in 3 yrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The number of patients availing treatment for breast cancer at the PGIMER has doubled in the last three years, with the number reaching 1000 this year.
Going by the figures available at the Department of General Surgery at PGI, while nearly 450 women have been diagnosed with breast cancer, an equal number of women visited for post-operative treatment during the past year.

According experts at the tertiary care institute, increased longevity among women can be attributed as one of the key causes for the increase in the number of breast cancer cases. “Breast cancer has been affecting women aged above 45 in India. Longevity is another factor which contributed to the rise,” said Dr Gurpreet Singh, professor, Department of General Surgery.

The experts also noted that more than 50 per cent of the patients are being diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease owing to the lack of awareness. “Early detection of breast cancer can not only enhance the chances of survival but also ensure that the patient becomes immune to the disease for the next 10 years,” added Dr Gurpreet Singh.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Chandigarh Breast Cancer Trust, in collaboration with the PGIMER, is going to organise a two-day free breast cancer check-up camp on October 13 and 14 at Moti Ram Arya School, Sector 27, from 10 am to 5 pm. The visitors will be offered free breast cancer screening (mammography) and breast health check up.



MC organises sanitation campaign in villages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
A sanitation drive was organised by the sanitation and pest control wing of Municipal Corporation today in village Badheri and Buterla.
Area councillor Malkiat Singh flagged off the campaign. An impressive rally was held by the safai karamcharies with placards for the general awareness of public.

Twenty additional safaikaramcharies in small groups were deployed in addition to the regular sanitation workers under close supervision of the senior inspectorate staff for getting the public places cleaned. Dumper placers, tractor trolleys and cycle rickshaw carts were deployed for lifting the roadside waste, garbage containers and horticulture waste.

The area was sprayed by the pest control wing of the corporation.



No water supply in evening at Mani Majra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
There will be no evening water supply tomorrow to the Samadhi Gate, Darshani Bagh, Motor Market, Gobind Pura and Old Abadi, Manimajra. This cut has been ordered to plug a leakage in pipeline for distribution. Officials said that it would take about 20 hours to replace the pipeline.

The residents of Manimajra are requested to bear with the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh.



Notice against GMSSS-46 principal, teacher soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11
The UT Education Department will soon issue a show-cause notice to the principal and a teacher of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46, for allegedly taking up the migration case of a Class XI student despite the fact that admission process for Class XI had already been concluded in the government schools of Chandigarh.

The issue came to light after a complaint with the department. According to the inquiry conducted by the department, the school had taken up the issue without referring to the rules.

After the completion of three rounds of counselling for the admission to Class XI, which ended in August, no migration or transfer of any student was allowed.

A department official said: “The case is a serious breach of the rules. We are inquiring into the matter and will take appropriate action.”



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