C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bansal has big plans for city
Railway Minister promises better rail connectivity, facelift for city station 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Union Railway Minister and Member of Parliament from Chandigarh Pawan Kumar Bansal today promised to develop Chandigarh as an important hub for rail connectivity with important cities in the country and said the Chandigarh railway station would get a makeover.

The minister got a rousing welcome at the airport from Congress workers on his maiden visit to the city after being allocated the Railways portfolio. Bansal assured that work on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link would be speeded up and a train link between Chandigarh and Delhi via Yamunanagar would be set up. Besides, work on laying a double track between Chandigarh and Ambala would also be speeded up.

“As an MP, I have been pushing for fast trains between Chandigarh and Delhi,” he said, adding that general hygiene and passenger-oriented services at the Chandigarh railway station would be upgraded. Refusing to give a time frame in which the facilities would be provided at the station, he said, “There is already an improvement on platform No. 2. I will see to it that things are put in place at the station at the earliest,” he said.

The Chandigarh station is among five stations selected for being developed as world-class stations. “I will look into the demand for trains to Haridwar, Thiruvananthapuram and other places of the country. I will also look into the demand for a rail link to Baddi,” he said.

The minister said he would consider the demand for starting another Shatabdi Express between Chandigarh and Delhi.

“Though my priority will be the overall development of all regions in the country, I will look into the pending projects concerning Chandigarh. I have earlier also taken up issues regarding Chandigarh,” he said. 

Minister's priorities

  • Early completion of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link
  • Speedy work on the Chandigarh-Dapar-Ambala dual rail line
  • Starting of a superfast train between Chandigarh and Delhi
  • Rail link between Chandigarh and Baddi
  • Direct train between Chandigarh and Bengaluru
  • Another Shatabdi Express between Chandigarh and Delhi
  • Upgrade of the Chandigarh railway station 


Pawan Bansal said he would push for the early completion of ongoing projects concerning rail connectivity of Chandigarh with other important cities. However, for new projects, the financial health of the Railways needed to be improved. Better services would come at a cost

The minister said due to populist policies, the passenger fare was never increased and only the freight of goods trains was increased. The subsidy had pushed the Railways in the red 

Rousing welcome

To welcome the Union Railway Minister, a large number of Congress workers, armed with marigold garlands and bedecked vehicles, had gathered at the arrival terminal of the airport. Soon after the Bansal's convoy reached his Sector 28 house, a large number of well-wishers thronged his house to congratulate him. Crackers were burst and sweets distributed to welcome the minister on his maiden visit to the city after taking over as the Railway Minister.



Another robbery in Panchkula
Gold ornaments looted from 2 women at gunpoint in Sector 4 
Tribune News Service

Chanchal and Renu Rana, who were robbed at gunpoint in Sector 4, Panchkula, on Thursday.
Chanchal and Renu Rana, who were robbed at gunpoint in Sector 4, Panchkula, on Thursday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Panchkula, November 1
In a daring daylight robbery for the second consecutive day, two women were robbed of their gold ornaments worth Rs 1.5 lakh at gunpoint here this morning.

Yesterday, an amount of Rs 13.17 lakh was robbed from two employees of a security agency at gunpoint from a spot less than a km away from the DGP’s office.

The women, Renu Rana and Chanchal, were robbed by two motorcycle-borne youngsters in Sector 4 at 7.30 am while they were on their way back after dropping their children at a school bus stop.

The duo was robbed of a gold chain and a pair of earrings, weighing around 40 gm.

They said both miscreants had covered their faces and were wearing helmets. “They brandished a gun and asked us to hand over our jewellery to them. Everything happened in a jiffy. We were shocked and we handed over the jewellery to both of them by removing it ourselves,” the women alleged.

The robbers snatched Chanchal's gold chain (30 gm) and a pair of earrings of Renu.

The police has registered a case at the Sector 4 police station in this regard. 



Fiza's sisters stake claim to her cellphones too 
Tribune News Service

FizaMohali, November 1
Besides staking claim to her assets worth crores of rupees, Anuradha Bali, aka Fiza's three sisters even want her petty possessions like four outdated cellphones as her class I legal heirs. Fiza's immovable and movable property is worth Rs 5 crore.

In the list attached by Fiza’s three sisters, Anjali Ramsoondur, Monika Sharma and Aditi Arya, in their joint petition filed in a Mohali court to claim her entire assets, there is mention of several petty things like her mobile phones, a life book, a web cam and an old Santro car.

The expensive assets include a three-storeyed HIG flat in Sector 48-C, a Honda CRV car and diamond sets.

In the succession case pertainng to Fiza’s property filed by her three sisters, the local court has set December 10 as the date for filing objections, if any.

Mohali Additional Civil Judge Varun Nagpal has directed that a notice in this regard be published in leading newspaper(s) on December 10, while fixing the next date of hearing on the same day.

A permanent injunction has been filed during the pendency of the case as to restrain the defendants not to change/sell/dispose of the property in question.

In the petition, Anjali has legally given the general power of attorney to her sister Monika Sharma under Section 375 of the Indian Succession Act.

The sisters, in their petition, have staked claim to Fiza’s HIG house (No. 216,

Sector 48-C), which she (Fiza) had received through a gift deed on January 28, 2011, two cars (a Honda CRV, bearing registration No. CH03P-0500 and a Santro, bearing registeration No. CH03 H 1460), gold jewellery items (weighing 1.429 kg), silver items (weighing 800 gm), 11 items of diamond jewellery, Rs 2 crore (recovered from her house and her two lockers), Rs 28.50 lakh lying deposited in her 16 bank accounts and seven electronic items: a web cam, a laptop, a Fujitsu life book and four mobile phones.

On the sisters' chances of getting Fiza’s moveable and immovable property, a legal expert said the three sisters were class 1 legal heirs, but under the legal procedure, the court would first seek objections from the public. “Then the court can also probe the source of income,” the legal expert said. 

What Fiza's sisters want

  • Fiza’s HIG house in Sector 48-C
  • A Honda CRV and a Santro
  • Gold items (weighing 1.429 kg)
  • Silver items (weighing 800 gm)
  • Diamonds
  • Rs 2 crore (recovered from her house and two lockers)
  • Bank deposits worth ~28.50 lakh
  • A web cam
  • A laptop
  • Fujitsu life book
  • Four mobile phones



Henna artists make the most of Karva Chauth
Charge between Rs 500 and Rs 1,500 per hand; women feel the pinch 
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Already burdened by price rise, city residents were in for another shock on the eve of this Karva Chauth, with the cost of henna application ranging between Rs 500 and Rs 1,500 per hand.

While this has altered the budgets of many households, henna artists were seen making the most of Karva Chauth.

Anupreet Kaur, a 43-year-old resident of Sector 22 who will be celebrating her 18th Karva Chauth this year, said, “We have seen the time when the cost of henna application on a full arm used to be Rs 10. Two years ago, it touched Rs 50, but now the rates have shot up suddenly. It becomes difficult for us to shell out so much for a service which does not involve a big input cost.”

Manjula Chopra, who got married recently and lives in Sector 35, said, “Since the rates across all markets are the same, with the half-arm design not costing below Rs 500, we have no option but to pay this amount.”

The cost of henna application varies according to designs.

Among the varieties of henna designs being offered in city markets, it is the colourful Arabic design which seems to have caught the attention of a majority of the women.

This latest design, which hit city markets this year only, has also generated a lot of income for artists as it costs over Rs 1,500 per hand.

The other varieties of designs available for henna application include the Marwari style, Rajasthani mehndi and the Chintu style (blend of all designs). The cost of these designs ranges between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 per hand. 


Former Punjab DGP vacates house
Did not give up official accommodation despite resigning in Sep 2011
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The enforcement wing of the UT Estate Office has taken over the possession of the government house in Sector 16 where a former Punjab DGP, PS Gill, had been putting up ever since he resigned in September 2011.

As the time of the two-month eviction notice, issued by the court of SDM ended today, a team of the enforcement wing reached the house to get it vacated. “When we reached the house, the staff of the former DGP was seen seen packing the household goods. They handed over the keys to us,” said an official of the estate office.

The former Punjab DGP has remained in controversy for not vacating the house and getting it renovated a couple of months before resigning from his post to contest the assembly elections from Moga.

The former DGP had spent around Rs 1.06 crore on renovating the Sector-16 accommodation. Of this, a little more than Rs 81 lakh was paid by the Punjab Police Housing Corporation for renovation.

The former DGP did not give up this official accommodation even after relinquishing the charge, and despite the levy of a penal rent of Rs 55,000 per month on him. Since the accommodation is official, the officer was required to leave the premises immediately after he resigned.

Against the initial proposal of the house being allotted to the present DGP, Sumedh Singh Saini, the house will be allotted to Punjab Congress leader Sunil Jhakkar. 



Dengue: MC to put up hoardings
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
It took two deaths and 272 confirmed cases of dengue for the UT malaria department to wake up from its slumber and decide to make residents aware about preventive measures by putting up hoardings at prominent places in the city.

These hoardings will be put up in the city from Saturday. Following a communication sent by the Assistant Director, Malaria, the municipal corporation finalised the matter to be printed on these hoardings two days ago.

Following a review meeting chaired by UT Adviser KK Sharma on October 17, the Assistant Director, Malaria, had approached the corporation to install hoardings at important places for the information of the general public. Sources said last week the design of the hoardings was approved by the Administration.

Sources in the health department of the corporation said every year after instructions from the UT malaria department such hoardings were put up at prominent places by the authorities. Officials said since the malaria department was not under the preview of the corporation, no such decision was taken by the corporation on its own without a communication from the department.

However, the nodal officer for the National Anti-Malaria Programme, Dr Naresh Sharma, said a fortnight ago, a communication had been sent to the corporation and now it was the civic body's responsibility to execute the decision.

Meanwhile, the tall claims of the malaria department about its preparedness to deal with the situation in the city have been exposed as there is no check on breeding of mosquitoes in 36 fountains located in the green belts of the city. The UT malaria department and the corporation have been passing the buck to each other in this regard. 



Torch parade marks raising day celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Around 200 policemen performed at the Mashal Parade of the Chandigarh Police at the Police Lines in Sector 26 here this evening.

The policemen, 120 male and 72 female officers, displayed synchronised movements holding fire-lit torches in their hands. The 800-strong audience, including families of police officials, also applauded the acrobatics performance of the IRB personnel.

Band performance, display of malkham, tent pegging, display of tattoo show, horse riding and yoga events were also organised. The programme concluded with a display of fireworks that lit up the sky.

It was a part of the Raising Day Parade celebrations organised by the Chandigarh Police. This practice used to be a routine two decades back. It was revived last year.

Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj Patil was the chief guest on the occasion. He awarded President Police Medal to RS Ghumman, IPS, SSP/Operations and Training for his distinguished services. Inspector Gurdarshan Kaur received the President Police Medal for meritorious service.

While addressing the audience, he said the police force has onerous and important responsibility of maintaining law and order and protecting the life, liberty and property of our people.

He said that the Chandigarh Police has the capacity and capability of serving the public, but still it requires continuous upgradation of their professional skills.

Patil said the UT Administration was committed to extend all possible help to modernize the police force.

He said in order to provide houses to all the police constables, a police colony with 1,600 houses would be set up in Dhanas, for which 60-acre land had been earmarked.



Students make a quick buck this Karva Chauth
Open henna stalls across city markets, outdo professionals
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Young henna artists apply mehndi on the hands of women on the eve of Karva Chauth at Sector 22 in Chandigarh on Thursday.
Young henna artists apply mehndi on the hands of women on the eve of Karva Chauth at Sector 22 in Chandigarh on Thursday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, November 1
Driven by their passion and art of applying henna, a number of school and college students have come up with their henna stalls in city markets this Karva Chauth.

Interestingly, these young girls have outdone the professional henna artists, both in terms of their income at the stalls and attracting clients with the perfection in their designs. These students could be seen applying henna in the markets of Sector 22, 46, 38, 15, 19 and 35 for charges equivalent to those of professionals.

Davinder Kaur, a student of MSc (IT) at Punjab Technical University (PTU), who has set up a henna stall at Sector 22, said, “I had an inclination towards designing mehendi since childhood. With a little bit of practice, I could refine my skill. I have been setting up this stall for the last two Karva Chauth. During the four-day period before the festival, I manage to earn more than Rs 15,000.”

While some claimed to have opened the stalls as a hobby, a few aimed to utilise their skills in order to reduce the financial burden on their families.

Anita Yadav, a student of a government school in Dhanas, who managed to find many clients for henna application at Sector 15, this season, said, “One of my friends at school told me about the heavy demand of mehendi in the city during Karva Chauth last year.”

“As the rates were nearly similar in all the markets, I easily found clients who were willing to pay more than Rs 500 per hand, even this year. I would now be able to contribute to my family’s income,” Anita said. Her father works as a washerman in Dhanas..



Night Food Street to be back soon
Civic body auctions four kiosks for Rs 25,000 monthly rent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
City’s first Night Food Street will again get functional by November 15 as the Municipal Corporation allotted all the four kiosks here today. The authorities conducted a draw of lots for the kiosks and all were leased out at a monthly rent of Rs 25,000 each.

For the four kiosks, which include Punjabi, South Indian, Bakery and Milk products, the corporation received 87 applications. For Punjabi stall, 65 applications were received, for the South Indian 20 applicants came forward, and for the bakery as well as the Verka Booth, one application each was received.

MC Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach said strict instructions were issued to the allottees to follow the fixed timings or else notices will be served to them. He said that no non-vegetarian item would be served in the food street as decided by the finance and contract committee.

Records of the corporation revealed that last year there were eight booths which were allotted on a three-year lease for a rent of Rs 25,000 per month, with a five per cent annual hike. But later on, all the shopkeepers surrendered their kiosks as they complained of not having ample space to run their eating joints. The authorities, therefore, merged the eight kiosks into just four kiosks.

Last year the the auction had fetched Rs 6.83 lakh. But later, three of the allottees did not turn up and two of the kiosk owners did not pay their monthly rent for more than three months due to which the MC suffered losses. In 2010, the MC had leased out all the eight kiosks. There were no takers for one of these kiosks.



Poor response to GMADA auction
Only three out of 57 sites could be sold on the first day
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 1
What had been advertised as a “grand auction” by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) turned out to be a flop on the first day as only three sites out of a total of 57 could be disposed of here today.

A saving grace was three one-kanal corner plots in Sector 68, which attracted bidders. These were purchased by property dealers. No response was received for sites reserved for a high school and nursing homes.

Out of the 57 sites, which came under the hammer, 31 fell in the residential areas in different parts of the town. One site of 6.95 acre in Sector 70 was reserved for a high school while two sites in Sectors 61 and 67 were earmarked for nursing homes.

In Sector 68, the highest bid of Rs 4. 61 crore was received for a plot, measuring 507.50 sq yard, against the reserve price of Rs 4.52 crore. The other two plots, having the same measurements and reserve price were sold for Rs 4,57,50,000 each.

A senior official of GMADA said a better response was expected for the sites falling in the residential areas. He said the auction could not be a success as demand-and-supply position was not good and the market had been weak for some time.

When asked about the high reserve price fixed for plots, he said, the price was based on some formula and it was difficult for officials to go against that.

Chairman of the Mohali Property Consultants Association, Shalinder Anand, said GMADA’s auction had “totally flopped”. He said, “there was very little cash flow in the market at present. The timing of the auction was also not right as people were in festive mood rather than thinking about serious investments”. The auction of commercial sites will be held tomorrow.



Rs 700-crore auditorium to come up in Mohali 
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 1
For the first time in Punjab, a huge auditorium-cum-convention hall is to be built in Mohali at a cost of about Rs 700 crore. A private consultancy firm was hired last week by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) to work out the feasibility and infrastructural aspects of the high-end project which will come up on a 7-acre land in Sector 62.

Sources in GMADA said the project, in which the state government is showing keen interest, will include a spacious exhibition hall-cum-convention centre with a seating capacity of 3,000. It will meet a much-felt need in the state for a hi-tech facility for the holding international conferences and state-level conventions, including those of a political nature.

The land will be provided by the GMADA, which will be undertaken in the public-private partnership mode.

A team of GMADA had gone to Hyderabad a few weeks ago to study similar projects in the city.

The Mohali project, now with the consultancy firm, Feedback Ventures, for determining its feasibility, was allotted to it by the PIDB after tenders were invited for the assignment. Three months’ time has been given to the firm to submit its report.

The proposed complex in Sector 62 will be ideally located with a big nature park on one side and a five-star hotel on the other. Sources said the facilities in the proposed hall will include specially designed chairs based on German technology which could be folded to create more open space whenever the need arose. Food courts had also been proposed to make the project financially viable.

Earlier, GMADA had planned to construct an ultramodern theatre having a capacity of 1,200 and a parking area for 500 to 600 vehicles at the same location and a site measuring 3.5 acres had been identified in this regard.

The sources said the earlier plan failed to materialise.

The present project would also meet the needs of theatre artistes and enthusiasts. Stage artistes have been starved of proper facilities to show their talent in Mohali. They had to depend on the Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh to stage plays. 



Eight Mohali villages to get 24 hour water supply
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 1
Eight villages of Mohali district are all set to get round the clock water supply soon. The selected villages are Singhpura, Joula Kalan, Bhajouli, Khizrabad, Gharun, Fatehgarh, Dau Majra and Batta.

In a high-profile meeting, N K Dhir, the District Programme Director-cum-Superintending Engineer, Department of Water Supply and Sanitation Circle, Chandigarh,gave a presentation in this regard.

Dhir, who is also a state coordinator for the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, said a solid free sewerage system would be laid on pilot basis in 100 villages of 22 districts in the state.

" In other districts of the state, only five villages were selected for the project but it was only in Mohali district where eight villages were selected," he added.

"As many as 3000 villages in the state are to be made nirmal gram till March 2013 by constructing IHHL in the villages," said Dhir.



Every villager in Mohali to get 70 litre of water daily

Mohali, October 1
Mohali will be the first district in the state where each person in villages will be provided with 70 litres of water daily under the Nirmal Bharat campaign by March end next year.

This was stated by NK Dhir, state coordinator, Nirmal Bharat, at a workshop on “Sanitation, water supply and sewerage” in villages held here today. He said the work of setting up waterworks in every village would be completed by the end of the financial year.

He further said Mohali was the first district in which 11 villages were getting 24hour water supply. There were 609 Aganwadi centres in the district where there was no provision of drinking water and toilets. These would be provided by March 31. He said as many as 1 lakh toilets were made in villages of Punjab under the Nirmal Bharat campaign at a cost of Rs 124 crore. — OC



Intelligence Corps celebrates 70th anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The 70th Intelligence Corps Day was celebrated today at Chandimandir Military Station with traditional verve and spirit. It was on this day in 1942 that the then Governor General-in-Council sanctioned the formation of the Intelligence Corps (India).

A special “Sainik Sammelan” was organised on the occasion, in which Brig Raj Kumar, head of the Intelligence Branch at Headquarters Western Command, addressed officers and all ranks of the Intelligence Corps based in Chandimandir.

The Intelligence Corps is an effective part of the National Intelligence Grid along with sister intelligence agencies. With the complex intelligence challenges emerging in modern warfare and on internal security issues, the Intelligence Corps has evolved over the years, both in human and technical intelligence fields as a potent force multiplier.

These unsung heroes, who operate behind the scenes, have provided real time and close intelligence support to the Indian Army during war as well as peace.



Children’s theatre fest begins in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The first ever children's theatre festival Parwaaza commenced at St Kabir School here today.

Being organised by Wings Theatre Academy, the festival started with the play Charlie's Dream. Performed by children in the age group of 5 to 9 years, the play highlighted how power and greed could lead to discontent.

The play presented the story of Charlie, who visits another world where he is challenged by witches and giants. He, however, emerges victorious.

The dialogue delivery, lighting and music added a dream-like quality, authenticating the theme of the play.

Samay Jain played the role of Charlie. He was supported by Stuti Gulati as the princess, Karamjot Singh as Jonathan, Akshat Sharma as King Hibsung and Anandita Kapoor as the queen. The second play, Harun da aur Baadshah, will be staged on November 3. 



Abandoned infant found in Sector 23
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 1
A four-day old baby boy, who was abandoned by someone, was found in Sector 23 here today.

The baby was found in bushes alongside a road. His cries were heard by Dalip, a resident of Sector 23, who informed the police and took him to the Civil Hospital, Sector 6, for check-up. The doctors declared the baby fit and fine. Meanwhile, the police reached at the hospital and initiated investigations.



253 operated upon in camp

Mohali, November 1
As many as 253 cataract operations were performed using Phako with Intraocular Lens Implantation Technique at the four-day free eye-operation camp, which concluded at Gurudwara Ratwara Sahib recently.

The camp was organised by The Project Ophthalcare Society, Mohali. — TNS



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