C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC yet to collect Rs 13 cr
Audit report raps civic body’s tax branch for not maintaining records
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The annual audit report of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation rapped the tax branch of the civic body for its failure to maintain records of the property tax collections.

The MC is yet to collect Rs 13 crore as commercial property tax from the defaulters.

The audit report said the vouchers were missing, registers were without entries and cashbooks were without signatures of officials. Besides, the list of defaulters was not shown to the audit wing.

The audit report reads: “During the course of post audit of receipts of property tax, a number of deficiencies have been pointed out. The assessment list containing the particulars regarding names and addresses of owners/occupiers of the buildings/land along with the value and area of each unit of property duly confirmed by the competent authority empowered to deal with the matter has not been prepared. The controlling officer did not sign receipt entries in the cashbook. Reconciliation of cashbook with the bank has not been done.”

“The demand and collection register in respect of property tax as required was not maintained from where it could be ascertained at a glance the position of demand and recovery of property tax. Some vouchers of the receipt of tax collected for the year 2011-2012 are also missing. The list of defaulters has also not been shown to the audit wing,” the report reads.

The MC is levying property tax on the basis of the survey conducted by Punjab Engineering College in 2004. The MC has not conducted any survey in the past nine years. This has led to loss of revenue. The data available with the tax branch of the MC reveals that 2,000 persons have not paid the tax.

MC to attach properties
The MC has decided to attach the properties of persons who have not paid property tax. MC Commissioner Vivek Partap Singh said that MC had served notices on defaulters whose arrears were over Rs 1 lakh.

Discrepancies in accounts wing
The accounts wing of the civic body used pencil instead of ink pens while maintaining daily records. The audit report observed that these figures could be erased anytime. Besides, daily cash entries have not been maintained in the books. Significantly, many signatures in the cash registers do not mention dates.



Chlorine gas leak lands 22 in hospital
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
Twenty-two persons, including four fire-fighters, were rushed to the GMSH-16 today after they fell unconscious due to chlorine gas leak.

A truck of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation was transporting an already leaking chlorine gas cylinder to the Sector 39 water plant. The situation went out of control when the truck reached on the road separating Sectors 24 and 15.

The driver of the truck stationed the vehicle near Hotel Parkview in Sector 24 and the police and fire-fighters were called.

Two fire tenders were rushed to the spot. The traffic on the road separating Sectors 15 and 24 was also diverted.

The fire-fighters fell unconscious when they were dumping the cylinder in a water-filled pit. All fire-fighters were from the Sector 11 fire station.

Passers-by and two policemen complained of breathlessness and irritation in the eyes before fell unconscious. They were rushed to the hospital. They were discharged later in the day.

The SHO of the Sector 11 police station, Gurmukh Singh, said: “We have recorded the statements the MC employees.”

MC Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta said: “We will order an inquiry into the incident.”

Past incident
Two firemen and 13 IRB constables sustained injuries and complained of breathlessness while controlling the leakage of chlorine gas at a tubewell in IRB Complex, Sarangpur, on September 14. They were rushed to the GMSH-16.

Stuck in elevator
Three persons were stuck in an elevator at the District Courts Complex in Sector 43 on Saturday morning. The police and the fire department were informed. The elevator started functioning after 15 minutes.



Open auction: 0001 goes for Rs 7.01 lakh
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Taranjeet Singh after the auction.
Taranjeet Singh after the auction.

Chandigarh, October 19
NRI Taranjeet Singh’s entry set the pace for the first open auction of the vanity numbers by the Registration and Licensing Authority today.

The vanity number 0001 of the CH01 AV series fetched the RLA Rs 7.01 lakh. Before Taranjeet Singh’s entry, the highest bid for the vanity number was Rs 3.60 lakh after which RLA Kashish Mittal announced to cancel the bidding, which was opposed by the bidders.

For the first time, the RLA did not call any pre-bidding application for the auction of numbers and held open auction for 100 numbers out of which 82 numbers of the CH01AV series were auctioned today.

The RLA earned Rs 2 lakh each from the auction of 0002 and 0003 numbers of the series.

The RLA officials said that before the open auction, documents and the draft for the reserve amount had to be verified by the staff. 

Police personnel oversee the auction.
Police personnel oversee the auction. Tribune photo: S Chandan

New proposal
The RLA is planning to draft a new proposal to auction vanity numbers. A senior official revealed that they were chalking out a proposal to get better response during auctions.

Luck by chance
“I participated in the auction for 0001 by chance. I was here to bid for other numbers,” said Taranjeet Singh. One of the bidders helped Taranjeet convert the US dollars into the Indian currency as he was short of Rs 10,000. Taranjeet said he might put the number on his BMW or Audi.

Tough time for cops
The policemen deployed at the auction had a tough time. When the auction started, RLA officials said only those bidding for a particular number would be allowed to sit in the front row. The bidders objected to it and the police had to intervene.



Man held for stalking wife

Chandigarh, October 19
Spying on his wife proved costly to a Mohali resident. The Chandigarh Police arrested Dr Gyaneshwar Maini for installing a global positioning system (GPS) and a microphone on his wife’s car without her knowledge.

He used to track his wife’s location and listen to the conversation going on in the car. The couple, both doctors, had estranged relationship. The accused runs a clinic in Sector 55 and the complainant works at a private hospital in Mohali. They are living separately for the past couple of months.

Following the complaint, the police check the vehicle and found a black box installed under the steering wheel. “The box had a GPS and a mike. The device used to start functioning as soon as the engine was turned on. The accused used to receive an SMS on his cellphone and after typing a 10-digit code, the cellphone used to get connected to the GPS. The accused used to listen to the conversations inside the car,” said a police official.

The police came to know that the complainant’s husband had installed the gadget on the car after contacting the company that had fixed the GPS. The accused has been booked under Section 354 (D) of IPC (stalking).

The accused might be booked under sections of the IT Act. The couple got married six-years ago and have a five-year old son. — TNS


Food poisoning: Health officer gives nod to legal action against restaurant
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 19
The district health officer (DHO), Mohali, has allowed the food safety officer to initiate legal action against the management of Barbeque Nation, Phase V, which offered food that was “unfit for human consumption”.

The Mohali DHO, Dr Gursharan Singh, said the step was taken after getting the report of food samples collected from the restaurant.

“Artificial colours and a strand of hair were found in the samples. The required sanction to launch a court case against the management was given to the FSO, Rajdeep Kaur,” he said.

The Mohali police has also registered a case against the owner and staff of the restaurant on the charges of causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others (Section 337 of the IPC), professional misconduct (Section 338) and sale of noxious food and drink (Sections 272 and 273) at the Phase I police station.

The case was registered on the complaint of a customer, Abhishek Tandon, who was celebrating his birthday at the restaurant on September 26. In all, around 22 persons, including three women and five children, were taken ill while having the dinner.



Admn invites objections to food security Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The UT Food and Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department has invited objections from the public to the National Food Security Act. These objections are to be submitted by the first week of next month.

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate (East), Danish Ashraf, said the department was identifying the eligible beneficiaries to whom the essential commodities are to be delivered. He said during the first phase, which ends in December this year, the eligible families would get the benefit as per the norms of the Act. The second phase would commence in January 2014, he said.

Ashraf said UT Administrator Shivraj Patil had convened regular meetings on the implementation of the Act. The department would speed up its implementation in the city, he said.

The prescribed forms and affidavit for the beneficiaries would be available at the e-sampark centres, food and supply office and fair price shops, after getting the clearance from the legal cell, said the SDM.

He said any person claiming benefits by giving false declaration would face legal action and all the released benefits would be taken back in the form of cash with interest as per the timeline fixed by the department.



Inflation hits Karwa Chauth
Applying henna on hands to cost Rs 1,150 this season
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 19
Decking up for Karwa Chauth will burn a hole in your pockets this season. For applying henna that cost Rs 600 as the highest last season, you will have to shell out Rs 1,150 this time.

From Arabian to Marwadi, from Jaipuri to Rajasthani, henna artists have it all. The festival of Karwa Chauth would be celebrated on Tuesday.

“For newly weds, both hands would cost around Rs 2,200. While for the normal ones, we would be charging Rs 1,150 till elbow,” said Guddu, a henna artist at Sector 7, Panchkula.

He further added, “For those who want to apply henna till wrist like in a customary way and very less designs are involved, the range is between Rs 300 to 550.”

Raju Tiwari, another henna artist at Sector 15, said, “Everything has become expensive. We will be sitting here the entire day and as we receive huge crowd, we have to deploy additional men.”

Bheem Singh, another artist at Sector 7, said, “It is just this time of the year when we earn. Life has become so expensive that we have no other option but to charge this much as it involves skilled labour.”

He further added, “It depends on the customer. If a woman will go in for fewer designs, the rates will go down. But 1,150 is the normal cost which we are charging for the best design which we have come out with.”

The markets remain opened till 12.30 midnight in Panchkula. There are women who are going in for advance bookings as well to avail some discounts.

“As the henna artists are charging much high, we are availing discounts by booking in advance for all women in our family,” said Harmanjot Singh, a resident of Sector 4, Panchkula.



Northern Railways fined Rs 10,000 for harassing senior citizen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The UT District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum today slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 to Northern Railways which would be paid as compensation for the harassment and agony caused to a complainant, who is a senior citizen and a resident of Panchkula. The court further ordered to pay Rs 5,000 as litigation expenses to the complainant.

The order is complied with by the railways, within 45 days from the date of receipt of its certified copy, failing which the amount the railway has to bear interest of 18 per cent per annum from the date of this order till actual payment besides payment of litigation costs.

The complainant had booked a railway ticket for Jan Shatabdi Express (train No 12058) for travel to New Delhi on June 25 by paying Rs 240. He was issued confirmed seat No 53 in compartment No C-4 for the journey from the Chandigarh Railway Station.

According to the complainant, due to circumstances, he could not undertake the journey and, therefore, he approached the railways at 12 noon, on June 25, for cancellation of the ticket and refund of the amount. As advised, the complainant surrendered the ticket to the chief ticket inspector and forwarded the receipt along with application under registered post. After about six months, on December 11, the complainant received a pay order of Rs 120 from railway.

When the complainant went to the bank for its presentation, he was told that an amount of Rs 250 would be deducted as collection charges. The complainant returned the pay order to railway registered and requested for proper refund.

However, no action was taken till the filing of the complaint. Alleging that the aforesaid acts of the opposite parties amount to deficiency in service, the complainant had filed the present complaint.

Insurance firm penalised

The UT Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum has also penalised Reliance General Insurance Company Ltd of Rs 25,000 as compensation for causing mental agony and harassment to the complainant Kuldeep Singh who was denied accident claims for his truck, which was insured, by the insurance company. The driver of the truck while furnishing the documents for the insurance claim inadvertently gave the copy of the license which was valid for the LMV only, however, later on being pointed out about the license not valid for driving the HMV, the driver furnished the HMV which the insurance company rejected the claim. The complaint approached the forum that directed the insurance company to pay Rs 95,743 to the complaint as the insurance claim for the damaged truck and Rs 7,000 as the litigation charges.



Special weekly train to Jaipur from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
To clear the heavy rush due to Chatt Pooja and Diwali, the Northern Railways is going to start a special weekly train to ferry passengers between Nangal Dam and Jaipur. On its way, the train will halt at various stations, including Chandigarh.

Starting on October 21, the train number 04552 will depart from Nangal Dam at 11:45 pm. It will reach Jaipur the next day at 3.00 pm.

On its return journey from Jaipur, the train number 04551 will depart on Tuesday at 4:15 pm and will reach Nangal Dam on Wednesday at 10:20 am.

The train will halt at Anandpur Sahib, Kirtpur Sahib, Roop Nagar, Chandigarh, Ambala Cantt, Rajpura, Patiala, Dhuri, Jakhal, Jind, Rohtak, Rewari, Alwar, Dausa and Gandhinagar (Jaipur).

The train will comprise 11 coaches: one two-tier AC, one three-tier AC, three sleepers and six unreserved coaches.

In all, the train will make six trips before ceasing to operate on November 25.



Crime against women in focus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
A daylong conference on woman empowerment at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, discussed at length various aspects of crime against woman.

The gathering also delved into ways to improve the overall social and criminology system in order to protect the dignity and rights of women.

Several stakeholders including police authorities, media professionals and forensic experts were invited to talk on the recent constitutional amendments related to women and children.

Inspector Harjeet Kaur said at least one crime against women was being reported in the country every 17 seconds, a rape incident every three minutes and a dowry death every 77 minutes.

She said the law had become tougher with the recent constitutional amendments broadening the definition of crime against women and children. She shared certain practical problems being faced by the police during the investigation of such crimes.

Sunita Verma, a forensic expert, talked about the advancement in technology and precautions needed in the preservation of vital evidence.

There was also a discussion on the contribution of media in reporting the cases of crime against women.



Nurse injured as ambulance catches fire in Panchkula

Panchkula, October 19
A ambulance of the Alchemist Hospital, Sector 21, caught fire near the Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Sector 5, Panchkula, in which a nurse suffered minor burn injuries, while the driver and an attendant escaped without any injuries.

Meanwhile, fire tenders reached the spot to douse the fire.

An official of the Alchemist Hospital said it was a staff van, not an ambulance.

The nurse was rushed to a hospital, where her condition is said to be stable.



International conference from Oct 23
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
An international conference, Advances in Water Resources: Development and Management (AWRDM - 2013), will be organised by Panjab University at centre of advance study in geology from October 23 to 26.

More than 12 participants from seven different countries such as the USA, Africa and Europe will be participating in the conference. As many as 150 research papers, consisting original contributions, will be presented for oral and poster presentations on the occasion.

The themes for the conference are ground water risk and disaster management, aquifer characterisation, climate change and water resources, surface water resources, water resources and society, and water resources-Indian context.

The conference will provide a common platform to scientists, researchers, engineers and industry people to exchange their ideas, identify new problems, investigate concerned issues, explore new approaches to solve the issues and initiate possible collaborative research.



150 units of blood collected

Chandigarh: A blood donation camp was organised by Sacred Heart School, Sector 26, Chandigarh, on Saturday. As many as 150 units of blood were collected. A 188-time blood donor, Charanjit Singh, was the special invitee on the occasion. Dr RR Sharma and Dr Dhawan from the blood transfusion medicine department, PGI, supervised the camp.

World Food Day

Panchkula: On the occasion of World Food Day, Jainendra Public School, Sector 1, Panchkula, celebrated nutrition week. Students brought tiffin packed with healthy food. Various competitions were also organised such as salad making, fruit chaat and mini meals. The main motive of the competitions was to highlight the significance of the nutritive value.

Mehandi-making contest

Mohali: An inter-house Mehandi competition was organised at Century Public School, Naya Gaon, to celebrate the occasion of Karva Chauth. Girls from Classes VI to X participated in the competition.

Students bring laurels in athletics meet

Students of Saupin’s School, Sector 70, Mohali, won medals and trophies at the Punjab Zonal Inter-School Athletics’ Meet held recently. Kunal Vishwa bagged first prize in 800m (Under-17) category for boys, while Utkarsh Juneja and Guneetinder Singh secured first position in 600m (Under-14) event and 100m (Under-14) category for boys respectively. Khushi Sharma won first prize and Nandita Sharma won third prize in long-jump. In high-jump, Nitish Laroia, Mandeep Kaur and Ishika Chopra secured first, second and third position respectively. They have been further selected to represent city for the District Athletic Meet.

3D printing workshop

A workshop on 3D-printing was organised at Gurukul World School, Mohali, for students of Classes VI to X. As per the instructions given on the 3D printing, students designed a toy car. The workshop served as a platform to promote learning and to identify theoretical concepts, with the help of the 3D printing. — TNS



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