Monday, March 13, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Excise policy for Chandigarh after March 14
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 12 — The announcement of dates for holding of auction of retail vends of both country liquor and Indian Made Foreign Liquor on March 24 notwithstanding, the new excise policy of Chandigarh for the year 2000-2001, expected to be “softer” than that of Punjab and Haryana, is likely to be announced after March 14.

The major incentive for vendors here would be lower sales tax. Compared to 20 per cent sales tax on country liquor, foreign liquor, Indian Made Foreign Liquor and beer, both in Punjab and Haryana, it is 12 per cent in Chandigarh.

Though the Union Government has suggested a uniform floor rate of 20 per cent sales tax on liquor, the Administration has put the liquor in its uppermost slab of 12 per cent sales tax as the Punjab sales tax, as extended to Chandigarh, does not provide for levying of Sales Tax beyond 12 per cent.

Apart from lower rate of sales tax, the Administration plans to modify its new policy so as to make it more attractive. The auctions in Punjab will end on March 23, while those in Haryana will end on March 19.

The vendors who are unsuccessful or partially successful in their bids, both in Punjab and Haryana, head for Chandigarh where auctions are normally held after completion of the process in Punjab and Haryana.

Sources in the Chandigarh Administration maintain that after the first round of auctions are held in Punjab on March 14, the Administration would give finishing touches to its policy and announce it shortly.

Though the Punjab Government continued to protest over lower duty on both country liquor and Indian Made Foreign Liquor in Chandigarh leading to continuous “smuggling” of liquor, the Administration is unlikely to reverse this trend.

Last year, the Administration auctioned its vends for Rs 54 crore.

To ensure some increase in its revenue from licence money by auctioning of vends, some cosmetic changes may be made to attract the vendors from outside. Last year, the Administration also introduced a new scheme of allowing reputed stores to sell foreign liquors and wines.

Similarly, the new policy may also continue to encourage lighter liquors, including beer and wine.Other area which may attract attention of bidders is duty on IMFL, licencing fee of L-1 and other licences and duty on country liquor.Back


Chat, learn, visit cyber cafes
By Akanksha Sharma

CHANDIGARH, March 12 — What’s in a trend? Any guess? Yes, the cyber cafes. Being in trend and on competitive ground, the cyber cafes of the city are using “marketing gimmicks”, which in turn indicates that the cyber cafe business has entered the center-stage. Cyber cafes nowadays are the place to be it, to be with, and attracts one and all, from young to old, from friends to foes, girls and boys, men and women.

The number of cyber cafes functioning in and around Chandigarh is increasing day by day. Indeed, it has become a competitive battlefield for cyber cafes. To survive the competition different marketing gimmicks like offering cokes, coffees, a few more minutes, a few free hours, membership facilities, hi-quality printouts and scanning facilities are used by the owners of the cyber cafe.

Well, the cyber cafe world has not only moulded peoples’ mind and information levels, but has also helped the potential bride and groom to find their life partners. Interestingly, in university as a matter of fact, the booking time is 2- 3 days for a student to surf the net and the reason being that they charge only Rs 25 per hour .

There has been a growing number of cyber cafes and individuals who own the net connections. According to Mr Prithipal Singh, Principal General Manager, DOT here, around 3000 Internet connections have been given till now and on an average around 8-10 connections are given every day.

Another question that comes to the mind of a curious person is how would these cyber cafes survive the falling prices of Net connections and computers? Does the cyber cafe businessmen have any bargaining power? Well, yes, according to a Mr S.S. Grewal, Managing Director, Net VisionCyberc@fe. They have nothing to fear because his was the first cyber cafe in Chandigarh and they charge only Rs 35 per hour, and even those who have the Net connection at home cannot afford connection from three ISPs (Internet Service Providers). According to Mr Anuj of Login Cyber cafe, Sector 8, there has been an ever increasing number of IT-savvy people and they offer free guidance and conducive environment to surf the Net, which is important to satisfy the new customers.

Even people who have net connection at their homes regularly visit the cyber cafes, and why not? It costs them less to sit on the Net at the cyber cafe where they pay just Rs 25-35 per hour, which actually at home would cost them minimum Rs 60 per hour.

Mr Gupta regularly visits the cyber cafe to learn more about the internet and also to chat with his son who is working in the USA. According to him, “visiting a cyber cafe is pocket friendly as I get to chat with my son regularly and spend just Rs 55 per hour.”

Lieutenant Himesh, who was on leave home, loves spending his evenings at the cafe and normally visits the cafe to check his e mail and chat with his friends.

Ms Seema, wants to apply for Mass Communication Course. Hence, she regularly visits the cyber cafe to collect more and more information from the web sites of different universities and colleges. According to her, this is the most easy way to gather authentic information.

Mr Rajesh, a computer engineer, visits a cyber cafe to apply for jobs abroad and also sits for hours chatting with his friends.

Mr Pradeep, who is working, makes sure that he visits a cyber cafe at least thrice a week and he goes there to check his e mail and have fun.

So get chatting, go learning, get in touch and have fun. Be with the trend and don’t get left out. The new millennium is the century of and for information freaks and the cyber cafes are the information joints. Back


Crowds, music at Spring Fest
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, March 12 — The Town Park in Sector 5 here was a confluence of streams of people on the concluding day of the Spring Fest today.

The crowd picked up gradually during the day and by afternoon, excitement gripped the air, with troupes of artistes dotting the garden and performing by turns. The part was throbbing to the beat of drums and the notes of been.

Local artistes gave spirited performances. Today’s celebrations included girls performing gidda. Punjabi artistes added to the melody. The Federation of Migrant Groups from Pakistan presented jhang, stick dance, and chhej dance of Bahawalpur. The performance of gatka by nihangs had the visitors spellbound.

Students and children had a nice time at the hasya ras sammelan, held at Yavnika, open air theatre. The veer ras sammelan was applauded by the audience. A baby show was also organised at the venue. School students presented dances.

Seven schools participated in the cultural programme staged before the prize distribution function. Gidda, ‘Haryanvi’ and western dances set the ball rolling for the function. The curtain came down on the two-day celebrations with the chief guest, Mr Vishnu Bhagwan, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Haryana, giving away prizes to winners of the contests held during the festival. Trees and plants were important in protecting the environment, he said. Speaking at the function, Mr N.C. Wadhwa, Chief Administrator, Town and Country Planning, emphasised the need to conserve the environment. Officials of the Administration were also present.

The results of contests held today are as follows: healthy baby show: six months to one-and-a-half years: boys: Saksham Kackria (1), Nishchay Anand (2); girls: Kirti Thakur (1), Nirkirat Kaur (2); one-and-a half to three years: boys: Sajjal Nagpal (1), Umang Dhawan (2); girls: Ayushi (1), Spandana Sachdeva (2); three to four years: boys: Sanchit Chawala (1), Gursimar Singh (2); girls: Sukriti Sachdeva (1), Shreya Pahuja and Megha Gupta (2); hasya ras sammelan: DC Model School (1), Satluj Public School and Vaibhav Vasishist (2); veer ras sammelan: DC Model School (1), Haryana Model School (2), Hansraj Public School (2).Back

Sweet kids, sour show
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, March 12 — A mega baby show-2000 which saw nearly 350 entries was organised in Sector 8 here today in collaboration with a local kids' store. Four local models, Naina Rana, Kritika, Sonia Aggarwal and Candy Brar, sashayed down the ramp holding babies of all age groups in the show, which lasted for over three hours.

The contest was held in three categories for children up to the age group of one year, between one to two years and between two to three years. In addition, a free check-up camp was organised at the venue in which the children were examined by child specialists and dieticians.

However, parents of many children returned quite dissatisfied with the arrangements at the venue. Though the show began with the models on the ramp, harried mothers soon took charge and brought their babies on to the ramp themselves. Also, harassed parents holding yelping babies tried to calm their nerves in the absence of any directions from the organisers. In the process, many missed their turn to come on stage or show their children to the panel of experts.

Also, the parents alleged that after charging a fee and promising joy rides and refreshments, the organisers made no arrangements for the same. At the stalls, they were being asked to pay for entertainment and refreshments. Many termed the whole affair a "mismanaged show".

The results of the show are as follows: best baby of the region: Veronica; (up to 1 year): Shashwat (1), Safal (2), Chinu (3); (1 to 2 years): Dona (1), Achint (2), Aadya (3); (2 to 3 years): Ayush (1), Harnoor (2), Shivanshu (3). Back


Several illegal structures along highway
From Bipin Bhardwaj

CHANDIGARH, March 12 — A large number of unauthorised structures have come up along the Chandigarh-Ambala highway over the past five years in violation of the National Highway rules and the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) Act.

The buildings’ which had been raised before the coming into force of the PUDA Act, were regularised by amending the Act during the Chief Ministership of Mr H.S. Brar, sources said.

The structures that came up after the Act was amended were declared unauthorised. Still a number of buildings were built, without any fear of the law.

The owners have constructed boundary walls up to the berms, leaving hardly a space of 5 metres between the wall and the road. Some religious places have also come up.

According to the National Highway rules, there should be no construction within 30 metres from the sides of the road. But these limits have been reduced to 5 metres in Class-A municipal limits and 10 metres in Class-B municipalities in Punjab. A limit of 100 metres has been fixed for bypasses on the highways.

The construction activity has gathered momentum in the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat area along the highway since the creation of the civic body. A number of unauthorised constructions have been regularised.

According to official sources, the number of unauthoried constructions in Dera Bassi municipal limits decreased to 76 from 118 after the amendments made in 1995-96. In Lalru this number went down to 10 from 26.

Sources reveal that all the unauthorised constructions along the highway in Lalru lie within 30 metres of the main road, in violation of the National Highway rules.

Sources said that the authorities have put on work a team to check the construction activity along the Chandigarh-Ambala highway. ‘‘The department prepares a report on the violations and serves the offenders with notices,’’ sources disclosed.

‘‘The highway authorities have taken action against 76 unauthorised constructions in Dera Bassi and more than 10 in Lalru. The National Highway authorities have registered cases against the violators under the Public Premises Act and the PUDA Act,’’ said Mr K.S. Bhinder, Deputy Executive Officer of the Punjab Public Works Department (Building and Roads).

Mr Bhinder said that the main building should be 30 metres away from the highway. The department had taken affidavits from those who had constructed boundary walls on PWD land, saying that the department had the right to demolish the walls at any time, said Mr Bhinder.Back


Hailstorm lashes city
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 12 — A hailstorm, accompanied by lightning and thunder, lashed the city and its surrounding areas this evening.

Though the sky remained overcast throughout the day and some parts of the city had intermittent drizzle, the weather completely packed up late in the evening. Accompanied by strong winds, the hailstorm not only brought down the temperature considerably but also sent people scurrying indoors. In some areas, power supply and telecommunication services were also affected.

For half an hour, vehicular traffic was slowed down because of reduced visibility, rain and hailstorm. The local Meteorological Office maintained that this freak weather was because of a disturbance which had built over the region for the past 24 to 48 hours.Back


CTCC flays hike in petrol price
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 12 — The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee while criticising the recent hike in petrol prices has alleged that business and interests of residents of Chandigarh were suffering because the officials on deputation in Chandigarh were trying to please their bosses of their respective states of Punjab and Haryana.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Mr Kulbushan Gupta, Acting President of the CTCC, condemned the hike in petrol price in Chandigarh as being untimely and uncalled for. The Chandigarh Administration had failed to implement uniformity in the tax system, affecting the traders. Those in the paint business are hit as in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana, the first point tax is 8 per cent and 10 per cent whereas in Chandigarh, the Administration has fixed it at 13 per cent, he added.

Expressing concern over the increased crime rate in the city, Mr Gupta demanded, that the police should ask the migrants who want to settle in Chandigarh to bring police verification certificates from their native place to the affect that they have no criminal background or no criminal case is pending against them.

The CTCC also demanded that the Administration convene a meeting of the Local Advisory Council. The party also asked for a re-constitution of the Building Byelaws Committee constituted by the Administration as no professional, senior leader of political parties, sector-level welfare societies and traders had been given any representation. Till the committee gives its report, all proceedings regarding the notices served on the residents be stayed and no further action or decision be taken till the amendments in the byelaws, he added. Back


Now the girls make the first move

AS the 21st century dawns, the meaning of love has changed in this world of liberal ideas and gender equality. Girl chasing is out and boy chasing is in, at least in Chandigarh, where more and more guys are waiting for girls to make the first move. College romances are still on the top but with a difference, for it is the girl who is chasing the boy she want to be seen with.

“I have been involved with three boys at the same time. Although it is difficult to keep up with the equation, but it is a great fun. With two of them, it started just as being tele-friends, but today we all are best friends,” says Kiran, a student of Central Crafts Institute, Chandigarh.

And it is the phone that holds the key to most of these romances. Ashish, a student of S.D. College, for instance, was approached by his former girl friend’s friend on the phone.” It all started with crank calls from her. She used some fake name but I revealed her identity and now we talk quite frequently and I have a healthy relationship with her,” says Ashish. He further says that he has been approached several times on the phone. He smiles: May be I am too accessible. Well, that’s pretty normal because the phone works both ways.”

However, he is not complaining. In fact, like many other young Chandigarh guys, he has no hand-ups about being approached by a girl. Jagdish Singh Chatha a student of law in Panjab University, says: Love is not the property of boys. So there should be no gender bias when it comes to expressing love. Today the girls are doing only what the guys did yesterday. So, I feel the boys should just relax and wait for their ‘Miss right’ to approach them.”

Another student of final year management in the university says: “I was also interested in a girl during my school days. She did the running around and we had a six month affair. What I feel is that both the boy and girl should be faithful to each other. Who takes the initiative does not matter at all. It is very normal if a girl makes the first move because she too is attracted to opposite sex.”

Take, Munish, an employee of a bank. He got a call from out of the blue one day during his college days. “It all started one winter evening with one innocent phone call from Anju and since then we have come a long way. I know her better now. I find her voice more friendly, caring and loving. In the beginning it was simple chit-chat for her, and for me it was a relief from loneliness. Both of us did not want to give up this new found pleasure and luckily for us the magic worked. We spent two years talking on the phone trying to know more about each other. And one day she asked me out and we met. That day I decided she was the girl wanted to marry. Then she did not mean so much to me, but today we are married and she means the world to me. I really thank her for calling up as I was not the kind of person who would have made the first move,” says Munish.

With such success stories, it is little wonder that there are any number of men waiting for the right girl to make the first number of men waiting for the right girl to make the first move. A student of architecture, Riyaz Ahmed, admires girls who believe in taking the initiative. He says: “I was approached by a girl and we are close to each other. So what’s wrong if she approaching me first? She is an extrovert and I didn’t find anything wrong in her approached me. Frankly speaking, it’s great fun if the girl also do a bit of running around.”

The list of such men is endless. Sanjeev Khanna, a student of English literature, is another one who was approached by a girl but things didn’t work out the way he wanted them to because he “was infatuated with a girl. We had a very serious relationship. But in the meantime I had to leave the city for two years as my father was transferred. She left me and started going around with someone else.”

What caused this change to occur? Basically, it happened because girls have grown in confidence. Manisha, a student of a Local Education college feels “It is not really important who makes the first move. The way I approach him should not hurt anybody’s feelings, that’s all.”

Nandita, recently married thinks along the same lines. “How can girls clamp up and dump their feeling just for the sake of society? Just like males, females also want to be with someone. Who are we to brand anyone fast or hep? These things should matter only to the two people concerned,” she says.

Girls in the big cities are now exposed to a lot more and they feel that down the line they will get the man of their dreams. Girls now look for better options. Well, that’s the way love has planned to step-in the 21st century. Society has changed. The girl are more confident and choosy about their partners and there is nothing wrong with the attitude

—Kulwinder SandhuBack


Anti-encroachment cell doing well
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 12 — The new anti-encroachment cell in the Estate Office building is receiving a good number of complaints against encroachments, much more than what was initially expected by the authorities.

Each day, the cell handles 15 to 20 telephone calls from residents, informing about the upcoming or old encroachments in sectors, villages and the labour colonies. It keeps the Enforcement Staff busy.

The cell which was set up without much fanfare or publicity in local newspapers, has, nevertheless, attracted the attention of the city residents. "Compalainants can contact the cell on a particular telephone number in the office hours. They can give information on various kinds of encroachments dealt by the Municipal Corporation or the Enforcement Wing of the Chandigarh Administration," says Mr Ashish Kundra, Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM), South, and the head of the cell.

The call is attended by an employee of the Estate Office. A list is prepared, the nature and location of the encroachment is noted down and passed onto to a Superintendent-level official. This official then prepares a detailed list on a computer and marks out which type of encroachment is dealt by which wing of the government. The report is then passed onto the department concerned for further action.

The entire process was computerised and enabled easy recall of all complaints made, Mr Kundra said. He also said response from the public was every good.

Some of the complaints relate to hedges grown outside houses. Others are of additional construction in sectors, besides construction in the rehabilitation colonies. Shops, big showrooms and even roadside vendors are being pointed out by residents.Back


Phones go dead
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 12 — Over 40,000 telephone subscribers in the city were put to a lot of inconvenience as the lines snapped.

According to the information available, the '6' series telephones virtually went "dead" with the residents not able to connect to the numbers of this series in the city, Panchkula and SAS Nagar.

The 9612-series pagers and mobile phone services were also disrupted, causing further inconvenience to residents. The Tribune office was flooded with calls by resident who wanted to know what had happened.

According to sources, the services were disrupted after the snapping of the link between the exchanges in Sector 17 and Sector 34.Back


Body found from lake
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 12 — The body of a Sector 18 resident, Baldev Singh, was fished out of the Sukhna Lake by the police today.

According to police sources, he reportedly committed suicide by jumping into the lake. Depression is said to be the cause of suicide.

However, family sources, in a late night phone call to The Tribune office, alleged that it was a case of murder.Back


Police rounds up 21 men
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 12 — The police has arrested 12 persons from different parts of the city on the charge of moving around under suspicious circumstances. Five persons have been arrested on the charges of creating nuisance under the influence of liquor.

The police has also arrested four persons, including Jagan, Kundan Lal and Ram Singh on the charges of not informing the police about their stay as the migrant labourers in Bapu Dham Colony.

Cases has been registered.

Smack seized: The police has arrested Shashi Kant Jha, a resident of Darharwa in the Sitamarhi district of Bihar from Sector 19 and has seized 700 gm of smack from his possession.

According to the police, a case has been registered.

Pickpocket held: A resident of Mauli Jagran Complex, Shaukat, has been arrested on the charge of stealing Rs 150 from the pocket of Mr Sukhdev Singh, a resident of Zirakpur, from a CTU bus stop near the PGI.

A case has been registered.

Cash stolen: Mr Harjit Singh, a resident of Modern Housing Complex in Mani Majra, has alleged that someone has stolen Rs 25,000 from the dicky of his scooter from the Sector 18 market.

The police has registered a case.

Driver arrested: A truck driver, Bhupinder Singh, has been arrested for rash driving.

The police said the truck (PBR-193) driven by him damaged two rickshaws and two electricity poles on the road dividing Sectors 38 and 40.

A case has been registered.

Rs 90,000 stolen: A contractor in Sector 20, Mr Kirpal Singh, reported to the local police that car-borne youths took away Rs 90,000 from his parked car. According to information available, the complainant withdrew Rs 1 lakh from the local branch of Vijaya Bank, out of which he paid Rs 10,000.

The complainant is a contractor at a construction going on in Sector 20. He parked his car about 200 metres from the site. Meanwhile, a few car-borne youth approached the car, took out the money and fled. The police has registered a case under Section 380 of the IPC. Further investigations are on. Back


Y2K bug costs banks crores
From A Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, March 12 — The Y2K issue is probably the biggest technology challenge faced by the financial industry. Every automated system, including equipment with computer chips embedded inside, was potentially at risk and had been analysed and renovated or replaced.

The cost incurred by banks to become Y2K compliant ranged from Rs 70 lakh to Rs 4.5 crore each. Indeed, incurring such a heavy cost was a must and in public interest. There had been initially some panic among the customers as they withdrew money, many of them were not even clear about what hard copy was. The fears in the minds of customers were that they would lose money and may not get interest on their deposits. The banks feared telecommunication failure and manual work overload for calculating interest components in case the systems crashed.

The measures taken by the banks to fight the Y2K bug were back-ups of databases, customer accounts and the hard copies of the saving accounts, current accounts and fixed deposits etc. There were lesser number of transactions between 15 December 15, 1999, and January 15, 2000. Banks had business contingency plans wherein they had three-fold liquid money or cash in hand. IndusInd Bank had to maintain a crore of rupees in cash to meet up the withdrawal requirements of the panicky customers. Canara Bank here had its hardware, software and the operating system upgraded to be Y2K compliant.

According to the RBI's Department of Information Technology, a few crucial dates in year 2000 on which the banks have to be vigilant, because of either being the interest application dates or the financial closing dates are January 1, February 29, March 1, March 31, April 1, June 30, September 30 and December 31.Back


Interest rates cut
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 12 — The LIC Housing Finance Limited has slashed the interest rates on its housing loans.

According to a press note, the company declared the reduction in the three slabs of interest rates from 13.5%,14.5% and15% to 13.25%. from Rs 25,001 onwards up to Rs 50 lakh, there would be one interest rate of 13.25% now for a period up to 15 years.

The Area Manager, Ms Manjeet Kaur Sawhney, said the loans were available for the construction, purchase,extension and renovation of houses and flats besides the purchase of plots and for consumer durables. A special scheme for medical professionals for the construction and renovation of clinics, diagnostic centres and the nursing home has also been introduced.

She claimed that the Chandigarh area office had surpassed the budgeted target for the year 1999-2000 on February 29.Back

Computerised revenue documents
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, March 12 — The process of issuing documents relating to the sale or purchase of property, power of attorney, general power of attorney, sale deeds and other revenue related documents at the local Sub-division office will be computerised from April 1.

In the second phase, the revenue records in the sub-division would be computerised. Disclosing this, the Sub-divisional Magistrate, Mr O. P. Popli, said the computers would be made operational by March 20. The Commissioner, Patiala, on Friday visited the office of the SDM to view the computerisation process.

Mr Popli said that the a staff of five persons were being given training to work on the computers. In the final stage, the Motor Vehicle section would be computerised.Back


'Town to be IT centre'
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, March 12 — The Public Relations Department Minister of Punjab, Mr Natha Singh Dalam, said here yesterday that the town was poised to become a nerve centre of information-technology facilities. He was speaking at a programme organised by the local Press Club. He said all public-service departments would be computerised.

He said all offices of the Public Relations Department at the subdivisional level would be equipped with fax, telephone and vehicles. Free bus passes to all field journalists would also be provided, he said. Appointment of an Asssitant Public Relations Officer (APRO) at SAS Nagar was also announced by the minister.Back


New garment brand in city
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 12 — The Indian readymade garment industry is worth Rs 6,000 crore a year while the share of the two main players is only about Rs 600 crore, says Mr Sriram Srinivasan, Managing Director of Indus-league Clothing, a Bangalore-based company.

The company launched by Mr Srinivasan and seven other professionals from the garment industry, last year, hopes for a turnover of Rs 22 crore by March 31 after seven months of its entering the market.

"We hope to touch a turnover of Rs 300 crore within four years,"he adds. The company today launched its products in Punjab and Chandigarh.

"We have drawn up a mix of exclusive franchise stores as well as top menswear outlets to offer our brands," adds Mr Srinivasan.

Clasic, Khakis, Blues and the great outdoors are the four sub-brands of Indigo Nation, one of the two brands launched in Punjab and Chandigarh market yesterday. The designs offered are contemporary, with high performance fabrics, added Mr Naqvi.Back

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