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Rule of law seems to have broken down in state: SC

Orders demolition of illegal constructions in Kant Enclave of Faridabad

New Delhi :
Indicting the Haryana Government and its officials for illegal constructions in Aravali Hills in violation of statutory provisions, environmental norms and its own orders, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said, “The rule of law seems to have broken down in Haryana…”

A Bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta, which ordered demolition of illegal constructions in Kant Enclave of Faridabad, said it was painful to see such a mockery of the law and total lack of concern for the environment and ecology of Aravalli Hills.

“The extent of violation of the notification dated August 18, 1992, (under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900) is quite frightening and one can only imagine the phenomenal environmental and ecological damage caused to the area by the applicants.

“This could not have happened without the knowledge of the State of Haryana and its officers who permitted blatant disregard of the rule of law despite affidavits of the Chief Secretary of the State of Haryana. The rule of law seems to have broken down in Haryana and become the rule of men only to favour the applicants,” the Bench said.

“There is no doubt that irreversible damage has been caused to the environment and ecology of Aravalli Hills. The damage was caused or allowed to be caused, despite a statutory notification issued under the provisions of the PLP Act.

“The brazenness of the applicants in flouting the law is quite apparent. But what is more unfortunate is the support given to the applicants by the Town and Country Planning Department, despite the reservations of the Forest Department. The Town and Country Planning Department in apparent collusion with R Kant & Co effectively led a very large number of people up the garden path. Fortunately, only of them have made some personal constructions — but it is not clear whether their constructions are pre or post August 18, 1992,” the court noted.

“R Kant & Co and the Town and Country Planning Department were aware that Kant Enclave is a forest or forest land or treated as a forest or forest land, and therefore any construction made on the land or utilisation of the land for non-forest purposes, without the prior approval of the Central Government, would be illegal and violative of the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980,” it said.

“Nevertheless, it is necessary to compensate them in view of the role played by the Town and Country Planning Department. To compensate them for the land, we direct that R Kant & Co to give them a full refund of their investment in the land along with an interest at 18 per cent per annum from the date of the investment,” the top court said, ordering the developer and the state government to compensate the investors.

Conveyance deed executed
284 residential plots 
3 commercial plots 
Refund to plot holders: Full amount + 18% interest

33 houses constructed 
1 film studio constructed |
Construction cost quantified at Rs 50 lakhs
(construction after 18th August 1992)

Rs 5 cr Aravalli rehabilitation fund 
To be paid by the builder by October 31
Compliance of remaining order by December 31 

Is SC saying right?

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Lives at risk in 60 unsafe Jhajjar govt schools

Incidents of roof collapse have been reported from three schools in July and August

Jhajjar :
Buildings of 60 government schools in the district were declared unsafe around three months ago. Neither were the schools provided new buildings nor were these unsafe structures demolished.

Incidents of roof collapse had been reported from three schools during this period. Sources said 14 rooms of the Government Senior Secondary School in Kheri Khummar village were declared unsafe over four years ago, but no further action taken in this respect.

“Thirteen rooms were locked after being declared unsafe in 2013. An unsafe room is being used by a Class IV employee at his own risk. These rooms pose a threat to students playing around. Teachers use the way adjacent to the rooms,” said a teacher on the condition of anonymity.

He said the school had 102 students and required at least 20 rooms, but classes were being conducted in a mere four rooms.

Sources said 18 schools each in Jhajjar and Beri, 11 in Bahadurgarh, seven in Matanhel and six in Salhavaas block of the district had been declared as unsafe.

Portions of the roofs of schools in Beri, Aachej Pahadipur and Main Bazaar in Bahadurgarh had collapsed in July and August. The incidents had occurred after school timings.

District Elementary Education Officer Surender Chauhan said the PWD Executive Engineer (XEN) had declared the school building unsafe after conducting an inspection.

“The XEN does not generally take quick action on the request of physical inspection, resulting in delay in demolition of unsafe buildings. Auction for demolition was organised twice, but none took the contract due to high base price,” said Chauhan. He said no building in the district had been demolished this session.

He stated that classes were not being conducted in any unsafe building and alternative arrangements had been made in nearby schools, dharamshalas or community centres.

XEN Virender Malik said only those requests for physical inspection of buildings remained pending which were directly sent by the school heads.

He said the District Education Officer (DEO) was the competent authority to make such a request. “We try to conduct inspection of the building within 15 days of getting a request from the DEO,” he added.

Does Government rebuilt these schools?

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A new low in state politics

Chandigarh :
The monsoon session of the Assembly will be remembered for new lows in the state’s politics when two members — Leader of the Opposition Abhay Chautala and Congress MLA Karan Singh Dalal — took off their shoes, hurling at each other.

 The session will also be remembered for a goodwill gesture by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar towards a departed member Hari Chand Midha, the INLD MLA from Jind who died on August 27, by considering questions listed by him as demands and accepting them.

Barring the Budget sessions, which are normally of 10 to 12 sittings, the other sessions — the monsoon session and the winter session — seldom last for more than three or four sittings.

The short duration of the sessions leave the impression that these are held more to meet the legal requirement of having gap of less than six months between two sessions.

In Assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal Gujjar’s words, the number of sitting of the House should be 35 in a year.

Gujjar told that before he took over, the number of sittings used to be 13 to 14 in a year, but he has been able to increase it to 23. The Budget session should have 15 sittings, but it was also not being followed in the past. 

He said he had increased the number of sittings in Budget sessions to 13 or 14 now. Not only this, most of the Bills in the Assembly are passed without any debate whatsoever.

However, the manner in which two senior members of the House charged at each other with shoes in their hands after hurling abuses forcing the Speaker to summon marshals on Tuesday was unprecedented.

The monsoon session will also be remembered for a gesture of goodwill exhibited by Khattar when he considered all questions submitted by late MLA Hari Chand Midha to the Assembly secretariat for Question Hours as his demands for his Jind Assembly constituency and accepted them all.

Though the Opposition termed Khattar’s gesture as a ploy to woo Jind voters, as the Assembly segment is likely to see a bypoll in the near future, Khattar said fulfilling the demands of Midha’s area would be the real tribute to him.

Other highlights of the session was government’s announcement to reduce the power tariff on monthly consumption of up to 200 units from Rs 4.50 per unit to Rs 2.50 per unit and for those with monthly electricity consumption up to 50 units to Rs 2 per unit.

The manner in which two senior members of the House charged at each other with shoes in their hands forcing the Speaker to summon marshals was unprecedented
The monsoon session will also be remembered for a gesture of goodwill exhibited by the CM when he considered all questions submitted by late MLA Hari Chand Midha to the Assembly Secretariat 

The short duration of the sessions leave the impression that these are held just to meet the legal requirement of having gap of less than six months between two sessions 

Has the dignity of the House fallen by this move of both the leaders?

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Chit fund firm’s fortunes rose from Rs1 lakh to Rs120 cr in 3 years

Hisar :
The Future Maker Life Care Private Limited was incorporated on February 26, 2015, with a total paid up capital of just Rs 1 lakh and authorised capital of Rs 50 lakh. After three and a half years, it was able to deposit Goods and Services Tax (GST) of Rs 27 crore.

Hisar Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner Sameer Yadav said they were flagged by the head office in July after which the firm was issued system-generated notice for tax default.

“The firm deposited Rs 10 crore initially. When we scanned the records and found more default, it deposited another Rs 17 crore to the State Excise and Taxation Department,” he informed, saying that the firm then wrote to the department they were related to, the Central Excise and Taxation Department.

Experts maintained that on a rate of 18 per cent tax levied in the GST, the firm has a turnover of around Rs 150 crore. “This is a huge growth for the firm which started at Rs 1 lakh paid up capital,” said a chartered accountant.

The firm has mentioned two persons as directors — Bansi Lal and Radhey Shyam — and a key management personnel, Bansi Lal.

Significantly, about an year ago, the duo incorporated another firm — FMLC Global Marketing Private Limited — with a paid up capital of Rs 1 lakh and authorised capital of Rs 10 lakh on August 22, 2017.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar, when contacted by The Tribune, said they had seized four bank accounts of the firm, having around Rs 220 crore. “We have wrote to the Central Excise and Taxation Department to coordinate with the police and also institute an investigation into the financial fraud committed by the Hisar-based firm”, he said, adding that it has turned out to be a Rs 1,200-crore fraud in Telangana.

Is this an open loot?

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Fuel hike: Cong MLAs ride horse-cart to Assembly

Chandigarh :
Supporting the Bharat Bandh call given by the Congress, party legislators from Haryana made their way to the Haryana Vidhan Sabha to attend the ongoing monsoon session on a horse-cart.

This was their way of protesting against the fuel hike and the Bharatiya Janta Party-led NDA’s inability to rein in rising prices and the falling value of the rupee.

Carrying placards and raising slogans, the MLAs, including Congress Legislature Party leader Kiran Choudhry and former Speaker Kuldeep Sharma, maintained that the BJP at the Centre and also in the state had failed on all fronts. Being unable to control spiralling prices is just one of its many failures, they claimed.

MLA Shakuntala Khatak, holding the reins of the horse as she and other leaders marched alongside, said that fuel prices had gone beyond the reach of the common man.

She said the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre and the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government in Haryana were together taking India back in time.

“These carts are what we have come down to since re-fuelling is burning holes in the public’s pockets,” she said.

They were stopped by the Chandigarh Police on the way and were forced to walk in a procession to the Assembly. There, Congress MLA, just before the question hour began, raised the issue of the Chandigarh Police “ill-treating” the MLAs.

Are people happy with the increase in oil prices?

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