2016 – Ups & downs , Panchkula
Panchkula: Panchkula declared as open defecation free (ODF)
Panchkula was declared as open defecation free (ODF) by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on September 17. On the occasion, the CM said that all the districts would be declared ODF by December 2017.
Also Panchkula rural was successfully made open defecation free this year with Additional Deputy Commissioner Hema Sharma heading the four-month-long drive for making the area free from open defecation. Following many workshops and awareness drives in villages, all the 128 panchayats were declared open defecation free.
Medical College, NIFT and Ayurveda College projects given nod
The authorities have cleared one of the major projects, Medical College, that will soon be coming up in Panchkula. Earlier, the Chief Minister had announced to give the land earmarked for the Medical College for civilians to the Army during a civil-military liaison conference in May this year, but now the plan has been changed.
The authorities have clarified that the Medical College, to come up in Mansa Devi Complex (MDC), will be for civilians. The Chief Minister has already written to the Army in this regard. The Medical College has been a long-pending demand of Panchkula residents and the college would come up along with a 500-bed hospital.
Union Minister for Textiles Smriti Irani laid the foundation stone of Rs 100-crore National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT). Six regular degree courses would be offered at the NIFT.
After the project of a Sanskrit College was given a nod by the government, now Panchkula will soon be getting an Ayurveda College too which is all set to come up on the premises of the Mansa Devi Temple. Soon after the necessary approval the Ministry of AYUSH (Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) will initiate with the project.
Ambala out of Panchkula police commissionerate
As expected the proposal to separate the Police Commissionerate from the previous Ambala-Panchkula was given the nod by the Haryana Cabinet on October 18. Ambala has now reverted to the old system of policing with the Haryana Government taking out the district from the Panchkula-Ambala Commissionerate. The government was mulling to take Ambala district out of the Ambala-Panchkula Police Commissionerate and revert it to old police set-up headed by an SP. The Panchkula-Ambala Commissionerate came into being on August 9, 2011, during the Congress regime under CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Tussle between MC officials and Mayor
The perennial tussle between Mayor Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia and MC Commissioner Lalit Siwach affected the civic body functioning and hit the development work in the city to a large extent.
The Mayor and the MC Commissioner have been at loggerheads and have been writing letters against each other to the higher authorities.
A high-voltage drama was witnessed during the 15th meeting of the Municipal Corporation, Panchkula, as Lalit Siwach, along with other officers, walked out of the meeting following aggressive conversations between councillors and officers.
Relief for Panchkula Mayor
The Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed Ambala Divisional Commissioner Ankur Gupta’s notice of suspension to Panchkula Mayor Upinder Kaur Ahluwalia, who is from the Congress. The suspension notice was issued as she had been writing letters to MC Commissioner Lalit Siwach who further complained it to Ankur Gupta.
Civil Judge in jail
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravneet Garg for his wife Geetanjali’s death. The FIR was registered for murder but later the CBI pressed dowry death charges against him and his parents. The judge was later suspended and is still in jail. The case is unique as the CBI had implied that it was suicide despite the fact that six bullets were fired.
Finally Panchkula Consumer Court shifted
After 20-long years, the District Consumers Forum has been shifted to a safer place. The forum was being run from the 160-year-old Nahan Kothi in Sector 12-A. Since its inception in 1997, the court had been running from this building and since 2006, a new venue was being searched for it. Now, it will be run from Showroom 208 in Sector 14.
HMT Pinjore unit close down
On October 27, the Union Cabinet approved closure of the loss-making Tractor Division of HMT at Pinjore, while sanctioning Rs 718.72 crore for payment of outstanding salaries and other dues at the public-sector entity, giving a jolt to 1,100 employees. The HMT Tractor Division was established in Pinjore, Haryana, in 1971.
Shalimar Mall owner arrested
A local court sent Shalimar Mall owner R.K. Aggarwal and his wife Kamlesh Rani to judicial custody in November 2016 in the Rs 70-crore mall fraud case. They were arrested by the Panchkula Police on November 2. More than 100 complainants had alleged that they were promised shops in Shalimar Mall in Sector 5, Panchkula, but were never handed over the possession nor was the money returned.
JBT teachers’ protest
Teachers have been sitting on a protest since May 15, demanding joining letters from the Haryana Education Department. Ever since the teachers were selected through the Teachers Eligibility Test in August 2013, they have not been given joining letters owing to a pending inquiry. Following the indefinite sit-in protest by the Junior Basic Training teachers from across Haryana, they faced the khaki wrath as cane charge and water cannons were used on them on July 10 as they protested at the Housing Board barrier.