Saturday, March 18, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Tonnes of coal dumped at railway station
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 17 — In the past 30 days the railway authorities in the region have laid their hands on a major racket in over-loading of wagons carrying coal from the North East. This is being allegedly done to avoid the freight charges that are calculated on the basis of the carrying capacity of a wagon. Atleast four cases have been detected where over-loading was running into hundreds of tonnes per rake .

The latest case has been detected in Chandigarh where 3,600 tonnes of coal has been off-loaded at the railway station. No one is coming forward to stake claim as the penalty for overloading is close to Rs 80 lakh.

The trick is to overload the wagons over and above their carrying capacity, which may vary between 57 and 59 tonnes. Each of the wagon is overloaded by several tonnes above the limit, thus resulting in of saving of freight charges for the suppliers. A rake of 40 wagons with authorised load — between 57 tonnes and 59 tonnes — costs around Rs 30 lakh to transport from the North East to this region, informs a source in the railways.

Explaining how the system works, the source gave an example saying “If the rake is loaded by say something like 3500 tonnes of coal — almost 1300 tonnes over the authorised load — and it goes undetected, it means a clear saving of Rs 16 lakh for the coal traders .”

In the past one month the railway authorities at Delhi have realised penalty overloading (POL) in the range of Rs 70 lakh from an overloaded rake destined for Panipat. The commercial branch of the Delhi Division got a test weight done and asked the traders to cough up the charges. A similar case was nailed in Amritsar, a source added. Last week, staff of the Ambala Railway Division imposed a penalty of Rs 24 lakh on an over loaded rake at Mandi Gobindgarh.

In Chandigarh Rs 78 lakh of penalty has been imposed. The rake booked for coal traders in and around Chandigarh was onloaded and one of the traders has taken delivery, a source said, while other traders have moved an application in the Punjab and Haryana High Court contesting the POL charges. Their claim is that the railways do not have a weigh bridge that can weigh more than 100 tonnes, while the authorities at Tuglakabad weighing station had mentioned that some of the wagons were carrying about 120 tonnes.

Interestingly, in this case the traders have not come to take delivery of their coal as the penalty is very stiff. The coal was unloaded and is lying at the Chandigarh railway station. Now the Railways have issued an advertisement naming the traders by going through their addresses mentioned on the railway receipts booked from Rangiya in Assam. In the advertisement it is mentioned that the coal will be sold.

Interestingly, as per the rules, officials have asked the three thermal plants and the two National Fertiliser units in Punjab if they needed the coal.

Meanwhile, Coal India has informed the Railways that the coal is valued at close to Rs 1. 25 crore in the market presently, sources said, while adding that an auction of the coal is almost certain. Back


Premium liquor, beer to cost more in city
Number of vends increased
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 17 — Premium liquor — that presently sells between Rs 300 and Rs 500 per bottle — and beer will cost more in the city, under the new excise policy formulated for the next financial year commencing from April 1. The number of liquor vends has been increased from 54 to 59 in the city, while there will be no limit on the number of pubs.

The excise duty on beer has been hiked from Rs 2.50 per bottle of light beer to Rs 3 per bottle. In case of strong beer the hike in duty has been from Rs 3 to Rs 5 per bottle. The excise duty on Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) has been reduced from Rs 24 per proof litre to Rs 17 per proof litre, but the retail price is not expected to go down much in case of the high-range whisky.

This has added another channel of liquor supply from the distiller to the retailer. A new licence in the form of L-1B/ L-1C/ L-1D has been introduced, and this will be compulsory for distillers and bottlers. The cost of setting up such an establishment will also be passed on to the consumer, said an old hand in liquor trade, while explaining how the reduced excise duty on IMFL will not bring about a reduction in prices. This will, however, help in reducing the monopoly of the wholesalers, who had cornered all the popular brands but were reluctant in supplying the same to the retailers.

It will be mandatory for L-1B and other similar licence-holders to supply all brands of liquor to CITCO.

Besides this, the minimum sale price of premium liquor has been fixed much higher than the prices prevailing in neighbouring Haryana, where the minimum price of Rs 80 is much lower than in Chandigarh. The minimum price is Rs 170 and Rs 250, respectively, for premium and deluxe brands. This will also result in price cutting in neighbouring Panchkula thus making it attractive for the buyer.

It is expected that the price of economy or medium brands of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) that sells upto Rs 200 per bottle in Chandigarh will not be affected much. The rates of draught beer sold in various pubs has been fixed at Rs 15 per mug of 325 ML for light beer, and Rs 25 for strong beer.

Even the minimum price of country liquor, Rs 65, Rs 33 and Rs 17, for a quart, pint and nip, respectively, in Chandigarh are higher than those in Haryana at Rs 45, Rs 24 and Rs 15 for same quantities of country liquor. The Administration also approved that the sale of country liquor in pouches shall continue. The auction will be on March 24 and the pattern will be same as in the past by clubbing the vends in groups.

The basic quota has been enhanced from 18.5 lakh proof litre to 21 lakh proof litre.

Licence-holders can lift IMFL economy brands in lieu of 15 % of the basic quota.

One can possess 12 bottles of IMFL, including brandy and imported liquor. 24 bottles of beer and 12 bottles of wine.

The possession limit has been reduced in case of country liquor from 6 bottles to 2 bottles.

The serving of liquor in functions will cost Rs 3000 in case of unlicensed bars and Rs 1000 in case of licensed bars.

The sale of miniature bottles of liquor will continue.

The sale of imported foreign liquor and wines will continue in reputed provision stores of the city. Back


Children stockpiling Holi ‘arsenal’
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, March 17 — With the examinations other than the boards over, and the festival of colours a couple of days away, children and youngsters are busy building their ``arsenal’’ for the big day of Holi.

The markets are a riot of colours, selling “gulal” in vibrant hues and ‘pichkaris’ in all shapes and sizes. These are very meticulously displayed in shops and in the open to attract the “little customers” who are all over the market place, tugging at their mothers’ sleeves for anything that catches their fancy.

Packeted “safe” colours are aplenty though the customers have the choice of buying these from vendors with rehris full and all of them are doing brisk business. With no dearth of customers, pichkari business has also picked up and it is ``guns’’ all the way for the kids who are on a shopping binge in an attempt to pocket the best.

Wet colours and water balloons are doing much better than the dry colour this season and most children are “high” on these.

Meanwhile, the doctors at the local General Hospital will be on emergency duty as also those in Kalka and Raipur Rani will be available on Holi. The Civil Surgeon, Dr HC Nagpal, says, “Past experience has shown that no major trouble actually arises with people also having become more cautious. Colour in the eye is the most common complaint and washing the eyes solves most of the trouble. Again, the doctors will be available to attend to the problem of local irritation which develops.”

The police is also geared up to meet any eventuality that arises and will be on the lookout for hooligans and anti-social elements. Youngsters zipping around on two and four wheelers with no silencers and acting rowdy are bound to get ``special treatment’’ from personnel on the job in the mobile police control rooms. The Superintendent of Police, Mr Sudhir Chowdhary, said that patrolling will be intensified in sensitive areas on Holi to ensure that the festival goes off smoothly. Back

Holi round the corner; air abuzz with excitement
From A Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, March 17 — With the festival of colours just two days away, stalls selling a variety of gulal have sprung up in the town. Equally eyecatching were pichkaris shaped like cellphones, cars and guns.

The local markets were abuzz with activity as youngsters could be seen picking up the festival colours of their choice. Colourful water balloons and toys were an added attraction for the customers. Pichkaris, shaped like of guns, with the price ranging between Rs 50 and Rs 175 were favourite items. Ordinary festival colours were being sold at the rate of Rs10 to Rs 20 for each 250 gm. Few shopkeepers were offering special offers on the eve of Holi.

The pucca colours were selling between Rs 5 and Rs 50 for each 250 gm. A spray colour was available at Rs 60 a bottle. Reminding people to be cautious, doctors here said that children should not play messy Holi by using cheap and low quality colours. Dr R.K.Cheema said: “Before playing Holi any kind of oil or moisturiser should be applied on the skin to avoid skin rashes and other side-effects. Children should be restricted from playing with wet colours which may result in a cold.”

Meanwhile, the police has made special arrangements to keep trouble-makers at bay. Special nakas would be set up at different points.Back


Chandigarh is not a city for the disabled
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 17 — Chandigarh, an experiment in Urban Planning and Development, has been least friendly, if not hostile, to people with physical disabilities.

A modern and planned city, it does not provide the physically handicapped any facility which can facilitate their movement or accessibility not only to big buildings housing government offices or the seat of administration, but also to public places like gardens and parks, what to talk of other places.

The announcements and promises made from time to time notwithstanding, the physically handicapped people, especially those with deformities and high degree of physical disabilities, feel that they are a discriminated lot.

For them, the government buildings, gardens, parks and other such places are “out of bounds” for they lack ramps and special entry gates. None of the gardens or Parks have any provision to facilitate accessibility of people on wheelchair .

The reason being advanced by both planners and engineers has been that if they provide for special entrances, the movement of stray cattle into gardens and parks cannot be checked or controlled.

Take for example, the Sector 9 Delux building. Except for the lifts, there is no other way for handicapped people or those on wheelchairs to reach the upper storeys. Not only that, the UT delux Building has a unique design of half floors which remain inaccessible even with the lifts.

On the other hand the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat building has a ramp which facilitates movement of physically handicapped people on wheelchairs or those carrying crutches.

No other government building — the Delux Building, the Estate Office, the Town Hall Building and the Police Headquarters — has the ramp facility.

Though the problem has been posed before planners, architects, designers and engineers for the past few years, no new garden or building has been designed in a way to facilitate people with deformities or the physically handicapped. Recently, the Administration inaugurated the Bulbous Garden in Sector 23 which again denies the physically handicapped from entering the garden alongwith normal human beings.

To discuss “Provision of special services and care for the needs of the handicapped in design concept” and other related issues, the Chandigarh College of Architecture, a premier institution, is organising a one-day national conference on design for disabled and elderly here on March 22.

According to Mr IJS Bakshi, Principal, College of Architecture and Chief Coordinator of the Conference, other themes of the conference are : “Planning for Equal Opportunities;” “Barrier-Free Built Environment,” “ Issues and Challenges for Educational Awareness, Development of Educational Technology in Technical Institutes Imparting Architectural Studies;” and “ Attitudinal Changes — Breaking the psyche — social barriers”.

In the brochure for the conference, the organisers have posed the question as to how many architects can really claim to be thinking of human needs of a group of people when asked to design for the disabled? It is estimated that there are about 16 million physically handicapped person in the country and hardly 5 % of them have the facility to receive education.

One of the major hurdles faced by the disabled is the unfriendly environment and facilities not conducive to their education, training and working. The integration of the handicapped into the community should have profound implication for design. The physical environment should be designed to cater for a wide variety of individuals. The handicapped of all kinds should be included within that variety and enabled to derive benefit and pleasure from it.

To the imaginative designer awareness of the handicapped amongst us could open up exciting new challenges leading to a conducive environment for one and all. Increased sensitivity must be introduced to cater to the needs of the disturbed, a skilful simplicity to accommodate the limited ability of the mentally retarded, a new richness in an attempt to enhance the world of those who experience darkness or silence.

To discuss various issues related to these problems and also to explore design solutions for creating a convenient and friendly environment for education, training approach to individual and community buildings, provision of special services and care of handicapped in physical fabrics of community, this conference will go a long way in suggesting solutions, the brochure said.Back


PUDA allows transfer of property
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, March 17 — In a major decision, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has allowed transfer of the property in its urban estates irrespective of whether construction had been raised on the plots. Earlier, the transfer was allowed in case of vacant plots.

The beneficiaries will, however, have to pay certain amount of transfer fee. The transfers are permitted only till the execution of the conveyance deed. The decision has been conveyed by the Chief Administrator of the PUDA, Mr KBS Sidhu, to the Additional Chief Administrators and Estates Officers of SAS Nagar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Bathinda, Ferozepore, Amritsar and Patiala.

Under the revised transfer policy of residential and commercial property, it has been clarified that there was no restriction on plot transfers. In case of constructed plot or construction being raised on a plot , the beneficiaries will have to pay transfer fee at a rate of 2.5 per cent of the allotment price and an additional fee of Rs 10 per square feet on the total constructed area. The stage of completion of the house will be judged on the basis of the occupancy certificate.

In case of building under construction but the occupancy certificate had not been issued, the allottee would have to pay extension fee as prescribed in the policy.Back


He matches Corbusier in stature

It must have been a rude shock for Mr M.N. Sharma, the first Indian Chief Architect in erstwhile Punjab and Chandigarh, who was associated with Le Corbusier and other architects, to see Chandigarh, after his assignments abroad, in a utter state of neglect. To a man so immaculate in appearance, articulate in expression and dedicated to the cause of creating conducive environment for the common man, lack of proper direction and control for the growth of Chandigarh during the past 20 years must be revolting. Those who had the opportunity to work with him observed not only his untiring efforts to create new forms with basic building materials but also to encourage his associates to produce works of quality never witnessed before in spite of paucity of resources and restraints of time. Mr Sharma, fondly termed Chandigarh as the City Beautiful in one of his articles and hoped it would remain so.

Born in 1923 in Sialkot, now in Pakistan, Mr Sharma was educated in Lahore and Bombay before proceeding to UK in 1946 for higher education and training in architecture, during which period he travelled extensively to study historical buildings and works of European masters. It was at the suggestion of Mr V.K.Krishna Menon, the First High Commissioner for India in London, that Mr Sharma gave up the idea of going on an assignment to the USA and returned to his native Punjab for participation in the building of its new capital city. He first worked with the US team of Albert Mayer and Mathew Nowicki in 1950, and later was associated with the second team of foreign architects headed by Le Corbusier.

In 1965 he took over as the Chief Architect after to departure of P.Jeanneret and accidental death of Le Corbusier to shoulder the responsibility for not only the works of the State but to carry on most successfully the unrealised works of Le Corbusier like The Open-Hand, Tower of Shadows, Geomatric Hill and extension to the High Court building in the Capitol complex. He also undertook the revitalisation of Sector 17 City Centre by designing three fountain-sculptures, decorative lighting, landscaping and overhead bridge with small shops underneath.

There was a sudden upsurge in the growth of city when Dr M.S. Randhawa took over as the first Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh after the reorganisation of the State in 1966.

Mr Sharma and his team to match the enthusiasm of Dr Randhawa in producing designs which become the landmark and worthy of world - attention. These include the museums in the cultural belt of the Leisure Valley, Asia’s largest informal Rose Garden, Shanti Kunj, Golf Course, new City Centre in Sector 34, Bhargava Auditorium, Circular cafetaria, Kairon Block and Nurses hostel tower in the PGI hospital complex.

Le Corbusier had put Chandigarh on the world map and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, devoted his life-time supporting his ideals and assisting Le Carbusier in the realisation of his great works in Chandigarh. The sudden departure of these great architects in 1965 became the cause of great concern to the architectural world. It was at this very critical juncture when Mr Sharma was assigned the responsibility to carry on with the master’s work and lead the team of young Indian architects to go beyond the accepted norms of architecture and set another benchmark of excellence for generations of architects to strive further with technological advancements and changing socio-economic conditions.

In recognition of his works Mr Sharma was invited to the USA by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1969 to interact with top ranking architects like Philip Johnson, Dr Gropius, Mr I.M. Pei, Mr Dean Cert, Mr Louis Kahn, Mr Paul Rudolphe, Mr Kenzo Tange (in Japan), among others, and lectured at the top universities in the USA.

Mr Sharma has not lost the zeal for life and his passion for the orderly growth of Chandigarh and maintaining the individual character of our cities contiunes.

— S.N. Kohli, Architect Back


Regional Institute of English to be computerised
By Sonoo Singh

“LANGUAGES can never be locked up. They have to reach out to people. And so the main emphasis of the institute would now be on the teacher-training task-oriented learning”, says Ms Brinder Aulakh Anand, the recently appointed Director of the Regional Institute of English (RIE), Sector 32.

The institute, which was established in 1963 under a scheme of the Government of India for qualitative improvement of English, today not only trains teachers and teacher-trainers in this language but also provides extension, guidance and consultancy services, produces teaching and testing material, conducts research work, organises proficiency courses in English for foreign scholars and even edits and prescribes text books on request. It offers various courses of study, including short courses for college lecturers in English and for teachers of Kendriya Vadyalayas, bridge courses for foreign scholars, refresher courses for lecturers in English in the College of Education, and district-level courses for the teachers of English working in schols of Chandigarh and Punjab.

Ms Anand, who took the directorship of the RIE on December 24, 1999, states that the institute has an even wider scope than this, but now the focus would be on “making teachers alive and more animated. Teaching a language cannot be and should not be considered a pursuit alone”. Her love and fondness for languages is understandable, since she has not only been a student and a teacher of English, but has also studied French and Spanish. In 1986 she took leave to go to Paris, where she did her M.Phil in ‘Rural Metaphor in Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s Poetry’ in French.

Someone who concedes to the fact that she has the capability of being discerningly expressive and even passionate at times it does not come as much of a surprise to hear that to take time off from work, Ms Anand practices pranik healing, tarot card-readings, numerology and Reiki. On the issue of institute, Ms Brinder Anand stated that the raising the budget for the RIE, Chandigarh, would remain the key issue on her priority list, after which there are plans to computerise it and also start a department of correspondence for students preferring to opt for distance education.

While re-thinking on the already existing courses, she said that the course for the likes of engineers, nurses, doctors and telephone operators etc would be developed under the English for Specific Purposes (ESP). The institute also plans to bring out a regular issue on ‘The Oral and Listening Skills’ by the end of next month. Another agenda on the new director’s list would be to develop RIE as a media centre by enhancing its role as a centre for Computer Assisted Language Learning (CAL).

And as a kick-start to all these ambitious projects a two-day event promoting the value of books and book-reading habits was held at the institute in February, in which students from various schools participated in competitions ranging from fancy dress contests to nursery rhymes contest — all centring around the theme of books. Back


Unhygienic conditions in Panchkula’s Sector 12
From Our Correspondent

PANCHKULA, March 17 —Despite perpetual representations made by residents and sector welfare associations to ensure clean and hygienic surroundings in the area, especially near the Railla village in Sector 12, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has turned a deaf ear to their problems.

The growing insanitation around the village coupled with a state of helplessness, has compounded the distress of the residents over the years. The problems have been highlighted in these columns several times, following which HUDA initiated some remedial steps. However, all steps remained limited to just site inspections and false promises by the authorities concerned.

The village area has been extended to about more than twice its permissible limit over the years. Villagers have encroached upon vacant plots and open spaces close to the village and made permanent structures of concrete on it. There are reportedly over a hundred heads to cattle in the village, which remain scattered in open spaces in front of residential houses and the adjoining green belts.

Residents lament that the villagers have pitted unauthorised water taps on the peripheries of the village which are being misused everyday for washing cattle. Pools of stagnant

water, temporary and permanent ditches in front of bonafide houses of residents, which have been declared unfit and unsafe by the district health authorities, are the consequences.

Open spaces and vacant plots near the village have been made permanent pockets for dumping heaps of dung, filling the air with a foul smell. Residents say that any attempt to stop the illegal practices of the villagers is resisted vehemently by them.

The General Secretary of the Welfare Association, Sector 12, Ms Vidya Maini, said here today that unauthorised cow sheds, fodder stores etc, close to the village have failed to gather the attention of HUDA. Residents are sore about the unchecked rise of the migrant labour in the village.

They allege that unauthorised rooms have been specially made for rental purposes and are mostly inhabited by the migrant labour, antecedents of whom reportedly is unchecked by the local police.

Unauthorised commercial activities from departmental stores to steel fabrications etc, have added to the misery of the residents. Mr Rakesh Bawa of the sector, informed that the vacant plots close to the village are being misused for growing seasonal crops.

‘’Parking of trucks and tractor- trollies in open spaces is

a growing nuisance. Pressure horns blown especially during nights , not only cause noise pollution in the area but also contribute to hamper peace of mind of the residents,’’ he added.

Marshy conditions around the village has turned internal roads into stretches of slush. Sources reveal that the construction work to wall the village undertaken last year with an aim to check its unauthorised extension, has been left midway. Sources add that the authorities and the contractor entrusted with the assignment could not complete the work as they had not specified the boundary demarcation of the village by HUDA. Back


DC’s wife injured in accident
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 17 — The wife of the Chandigarh Deputy Commissioner was injured after a car crashed into her vehicle at the Sector 17 / 9 light point last night.

According to police sources, the DC and his wife, Mrs Surekha, were returning from dinner at the residence of the Finance Secretary in a car, CHOIJ 0009, when a car, HR 03 P 9189, driven by Rajesh Verma, a resident of Sector 2, Panchkula crashed into her. She received serious injuries and was rushed to the PGI. Her condition is stated to be stable presently.

A case has been registered.Back


2 held for stealing wheels of cars
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 17 — The police has arrested two youths of the city on the charge of stealing wheels of cars from the city and Panchkula. Six wheels of cars were recovered from them, while a car fixed with a red light used for the crime was impounded.

Navtaj Singh (21), alias Buddy and Hardeep Singh Bedi (23), both residents of Sector 18, were arrested by the beat staff after they returned home at about 4.30 a.m. today. They had reportedly consumed liquor and left home at about 1.30 a.m. last night and had stolen the wheels in three hours. Navtaj was presently staying at the house of the latter as the parents of the latter were out of station

While the father of Navtaj is a retired Captain and runs a retail tyre outlet, the father of Hardeep is a retired Colonel and is operating an immigration agency, engaged in sending students abroad for higher studies. Interestingly, Hardeep returned from Brisbane after completing his degree in Travel and Tourism Management, while the former is a student of BA (correspondence) course from PU.

Police sources said the two were spotted by the staff in a white car with a red light on top of the roof. Sensing that something was amiss, the cops rang the doorbell and questioned them about their movement. Though initially they denied that anything was wrong, they later broke down during the interrogation and confessed to committing the crime.

The wheels were recovered from the boot of the car and the car was taken into custody. While one wheel was stolen from Sectors 34 and 35 each, two wheels were stolen from Sector 8 of Panchkula. More recoveries are expected

A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered at the Sector 19 police station.

Sources said they had done it to maintain their lavish lifestyle and were reportedly habitual drinkers and used to frequent discos and pubs.Back


Case against Sector 15 resident
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 17 — The police has registered a case against the wife of a Sector 15 resident who was found hanging from a tree in the jungle area falling in the area of the North police station. A case under Section 364 \ 302 \ 120 - B, IPC, has been registered and the investigations have been entrusted to the Crime Branch.

Sources said Mr Sant Ram, the father of the deceased Jodh Raj, alleged that the his son was married to Sector 15 resident Seema in February 1999. His son reportedly went missing since May 22 and subsequently his body was recovered from the jungle.

The complainant alleged that Jodh Raj had been murdered and his body hanged to make it look like a suicide.

Kidnapping charge: Mr Abdul Latif, a resident of Mauli Jagran, lodged a complaint that his minor daughter has been kidnapped by Abad, Irshad and Pawan, residents of the same locality. A case under Section 363 \ 366, IPC, has been registered at the West police station.

Drinking at public place: The police has arrested Kulbir Singh and Girdhari Lal, residents of Ropar and Kangra on the charge of drinking at a public place. A case under Section 61 / 1 / 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.Back


Cop names two for poll violence
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, March 17 — The police has registered a case in yesterday's poll violence at Abheypur on the complaint of Constable Om Prakash who was beaten up by agitated supporters of a candidate contesting against the post of sarpanch.

In his complaint, the police personnel alleged that while the voting was on, he heard confused voices from inside the polling booth and went to investigate. A handful of persons tried to barge into the polling station and he resisted their attempt. For this, he was, later, beaten up by the same group.

In his complaint, he has named Gurmeet Singh and Baljeet Singh, residents of Abheypur, as the accused and has said that he can identify the rest. A case has been registered under Sections 147, 149, 332 and 353 of the IPC in the Sector 19 police station.Back


City investors becoming wiser
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 17 — The people of the city are becoming investment savvy and less emphasis is being laid on investing in two of their favourite things in the past — land and gold.

People also began buying vehicles which became a major investment proposition and status symbol. Persons who had land, jewellery and car, belonged to the elite class of the society. The trends in investment have changed and continue to do so with the changing life styles, attitudes and avenues.

A mere suggestion of investing in blue-chip companies or in paper money (shares) evoked a hesitant response from most persons. Today, any person who does not do so is termed a heretic, far removed from the ground realities.

Today, more emphasis is on liquid assets, which have more value and utility. The initial stress on gold or land was because there were no credible alternatives. Today, one can create assets (shares, debentures, mutual funds and fixed deposits) which can not only be liquidated immediately, but also have become sources of earning interest, profit and dividend. It has provided the investor, a regular inflow of income and returns. The return is directly proportional to the risk that an investor takes.

Chandigarh is ranked seventh in terms of the turnover in the BSE out of 203 cities which include Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Bangalore.

"Chandigarh is ranked ninth in terms of turnover in the NSE out of 305 cities, after Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Jaipur, Pune and Vadodra," said Mr Lalit Batra, an officer of the IDBI. He was answering a question on how interested were the people of the city and its periphery in investing in the primary markets.

Unlike the old days, when the investment decisions were mostly the domain of the elders, nowadays, young earning members and even college students chip in with ideas and their analysis of the market.

People, while investing their money, follow certain predictable trends.

Young unmarried individuals (age group 18 to 25) have the ability to take high risks, expect higher returns and hence, speculate. Attitude is to get rich soon.

The working class (age group 26 to 60) have responsibilities and hence, invest more on long-term stocks, besides indulging in speculating at times. The motive is to earn a regular though small income. They are more likely to invest in mutual funds.

The retired class (age group 60 and above) look for a regular income and opt for safer investments, besides being partial towards mutual funds.

There is also a separate category of investors who have just entered the primary-market playground. They are the new-generation housewives. This group is enthusiastic and aware of the market trends. These women are also willing to indulge in a bit of financial jugglery to save out of the family budget.

How does the future look? Mr G.S. Chawla, Director of the Master Trust Limited, said the future was bright and progressive. Since the 1991 boom, players in the primary markets — authorities like SEBI, brokers, sub-brokers, investors and bankers — have learnt the lesson the hard way in the wake of stock-market crashes.

While everyone was learning, investments were made without in-depth analysis, capital got stuck and all primary-market players burnt their fingers. This made the primary-market sink. Now, the merchant-banker community is careful while introducing new issues, SEBI is reducing policy bottlenecks to protect the investor's interest and investors are more aware and analytical. The future would see more aware investors, vigilant authorities and transparent trading techniques said Mr Chawla.

Initially, stock markets lacked transparency, their was a long transaction-settlement time and transactions were location-specific. This meant that investors of nearby areas had to visit big cities or authorised brokers which operated in big cities only, to invest.

Now, markets and the trading facilities are more transparent. Customers and brokers have more secure relationships and SEBI guidelines are easy to comprehend and free from confusion.

The on-line connectivity has enabled easy and quick settlements of transactions. Depository services have increased the investor's faith and have made things more convinient for him.

In future, with the introduction of lease-line trading, consolidation of the business, makes it a good bet for small investors. The investor community will be more aware, conscious, organised and enthusiastic in future.Back


Shopkeepers meet DSP
From a Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, March 17 — The Shopkeepers Welfare Association held a meeting with the DSP, Mr Vijay Pal Singh at a dharamshala yesterday.

Various problems faced by the people of the area and shopkeepers in particular were put forward by Mr Jaspal Singh, President of the association.

The DSP assured the members of the association that appropriate measures would be taken to solve the problems.Back

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |