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Archive for August, 2009

Chandigarh is the most greenest city in the whole Asia Aug 29

With 35.7 per cent forest cover, the UT tops the list of the greenest cities in Asia followed by Delhi which has 20 per cent forest cover.

The increased density is born out by the fact that yellow pockets of the forest cover (with 40 per cent density) have since turned green (60 per cent density) and green pockets have turned black (with 80 per cent density).

According to the State Forest Report, 2007, the forest cover in Chandigarh has increased to 35.7 per cent of its total geographical area as compared to 29.3 per cent in 2003 and only 21 per cent in 1991. The cover has exceeded the 33 per cent target set by the National Forest Policy.

The report puts the total green cover area in the country at 23.5 per cent. The UT Forest Department has set a target of planting 69,581 trees and 48,406 shrubs on both government and private land in 2009-10.

“Out of its 114-square-km area, the UT has about 41 sq km under the forest cover and an additional nine sq km under tree cover. The country has 20.3 per cent area under forest cover and 3 per cent under tree cover. There is incremental growth not only in the area under forests but also in their quality which is measured by density”, said Ishwar Singh, conservator of forests, Chandigarh.

In 2008-09, against the target of 2,64,130 saplings, 1.5 lakh stem

cuttings of arundo-donex and ipomea plants and 6 lakh of patch-sowing, the department planted 2,44,216 saplings, 1.5 lakh stem cuttings and 6 lakh patch-sowing.

The department has formed 117 eco-clubs in government and private schools and 29 environmental societies in higher institutions of Chandigarh to spread awareness about the importance of environment and eco-friendly activities.

Chandigarh Sparkles with Bollywood Stars Aug 29

The cast and crew of the upcoming Bollywood movie, “Kisaan”, today landed in Big Cinemas, Zirakpur, for a special premiere organised for farmers. Many of these farmers have worked in the movie with the Khan brothers.

“Kisaan”, which is a joint effort by UTV Spotboy and Sohail Khan, hits cinema halls all over the county today.

Khan brothers Sohail Khan and Arbaaz Khan along with Jackie Shroff, actress Diya Mirza and film’s music director Dabbu Malik reached the city to commence the special premiere. As many as 150 to 200 kisans from Ropar and Mullapur region were invited at the premiere.

In the movie, Sohail and Arbaaz Khan play the role of hardcore farmers; so much so, they can even be seen in dhotis in the film. Jackie Shroff plays the role of Sohail’s and Arbaaz’s father.

“Kisaan”, which deals with successive generations of the farmers and their conflicts, has been shot in Chandigarh for more than 40 days. Interestingly, Sohail Khan has contributed to the film’s screenplay as well.

The movie promises absolute treat for music lovers as well, as one would get to hear the all time patriotic song from Manoj Kumar’s Upkaar, “Mere desh ki dharti”, with new mixed beats and different packaging in the movie.

Even though the actors were in the Mall for a few minutes, hundreds of fans flocked the Mall to catch a glimpse of the actors.

Pink-Coloured ‘Tuk-tuk’ Service Inaugurated in Chandigarh Aug 11

Tuk-tuk Service in Chandigarh

Tuk-tuk Service in Chandigarh

The much-awaited pink-coloured day and night LPG driven Tuk-tuk service (autos) was launched by UT Administrator SF Rodrigues on the State Transport Authority office in Sector 18.

Apart from this, cheques were also given for ordinary LPG-driven autos too. A customer can call a Tuk-tuk at his doorsteps by dialing 4242424.

This vehicle can be hired on the road too. A Tuk-tuk will charge Rs 10 for first km and Rs 8 for subsequent km and the concept will be implemented in phased manner.

While distributing cheques to the loanees for ordinary autos, Rodrigues said it was part of the multi-dimensional empowerment programme for the below poverty line persons, Scheduled Castes, physically challenged, women and members of the minority communities.

He said the process of the Mass Rapid Transport System in the tricity was on the fast track and Sector 17 ISBT location would be its nodal point.

Appreciating the contribution of the Delhi Finance Corporation (DFC) in giving loans on easy term, the administration has launched a partnership initiative programme and asked the LPG Auto Operator Union to be active partners in this endeavour.

Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, UT, in his welcome address, said as already agreed, there would be no diesel/petrol autorickshaw after August 31.

Vandana Disodia, Secretary, State Transport Authority, said the DFC would extend financial assistance to 500 LPG auto operators in Chandigarh on easy terms.

Old is Gold in Chandigarh Aug 07

“Holiday Inn”, one of the oldest hotel chains in the world, established in 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee, at Burail village sounds strange. But it’s true. The location of this hotel is equally strange. It is on the upper floors of shops, which include a country liquor shop.

In absence of any policy on the naming of guesthouses, owners of such establishments are using misleading names to attract customers. For instance, a hotel “Swagat”, which is also a popular South Indian chain of restaurants, also exists in Burail too.

It’s not only the fancy names that are a cause for concern, but also the use of brands by these guesthouses and hotels in Chandigarh. Another international brand “Comfort Inn” too finds its namesake in Sector 17.

As per rules, the guesthouses cannot brand themselves as hotels, but in absence of any checks, every second such establishment in the city is named as such.

It can be gauged from the fact that the ambience of Himachal is being encashed through naming a guesthouse as “Hotel Himachal View”, running from an SCO in Manimajra, or “Hotel Himachal Palace” in Burail. And not the least, “Sunview” from Sector 35 Hotel “Jain Sunview”, actually an SCO in Sector 35. Ironically, there are over 18 such guesthouses in Burail or around 14 in Sector 22 market, five in Sector 17, six in Sector 35, six in Manimajra.

A Tribune team attempted to take note of these guesthouses and found over 55 such guesthouses which are being run either from SCOs or SCFs, without paying the mandatory composition fee or getting their plans approved from the competent authority to run as hotels.

Ironically, these “hotel managements” have webbed a strong nexus with taxi drivers, auto drivers and rickshaw pullars, who get commission for luring the tourists to these places and tourists, too, are easily taken for a ride with swanky brand names.

On the first floor of many of these structures are tyre-repair shops, liquor vends and chemist shops. Their room tariffs, too, depend upon the customer’s ability, anything between Rs 700 and 2,500. Some also happily agree to provide shelter on hourly basis. Rs 800 for three hours was their average rate.

Further investigations revealed that operators of these so-called hotels hardly make any verification or maintain any “check-in” and “check-out” register. The “C” form which carries information about the foreigners, staying in the town, has no significance for them. By law, every hotel, which accommodates any foreign guest, has to deposit this mandatory form with the area police station. Sources in the administration said a survey showed that more than 200 guesthouses and hotels have come up in Kajheri and Attawa too.