Friday, May 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


11 city candidates make it to civil services
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 25 — At least 11 city aspirants have done the city proud by making it to the prestigious civil services, the results of which were declared by the Union Public Service Commission in New Delhi today.

However, a lone aspirant, Manmeet Kaur is likely to join the IAS as she is placed at position 29 in the all-India merit list. The rest of the aspirants will get the Class "A" and" B" services since a majority of them are placed after the 100th position in the merit list.

Perhaps topping the local list is Manmeet Kaur, a Sector 35 resident married in New Delhi. The achievement of this MBA degree holder is creditable as she had started preparing for the exam only after her marriage in 1998. A lot of persuasion from her in-laws had gone into her success, according to her father, Mr Daljit Singh Grewal.

A product of Vivek High School and the local MCM DAV College, Manmeet, who made in in her first attempt, had sociology and psychology as her optional subjects.

And for Ekroop Caur (108), it has been her second attempt. Though satisfied, she was of the opinion that there was nothing like the IAS. She attributes her success to putting in 10 to 12 hours daily for one year and constant encouragement from her family, particularly her lawyer-father, Mr Jang Bahadur Singh.

A former student of the chemical engineering of Panjab University, Satish Sethi, who is reportedly placed at 125, had psychology and the geography as the main subjects and cleared the exam in the second attempt.

A Panchkula resident, Chetan PS Rao (138) has made it in the first attempt. A postgraduate in economics he already has his sister and brother-in-law in the civil services.

Dr Anu Aggarwal, placed at 157, had made it in the third attempt. Hard work, lots of luck and the grace of God are the ingredients of success for Anu, who had medicine science and anthropolgy as optional subjects.

Another first-timer Dr Nipun Vinayak (169), who owes his success to his mother Promilla and brother Sachin, said that quality of work was more important than quantity. "The exam is a long process and only students, who can work patiently achieve success in the end," he said, adding that he will try again to improve his ranking.

But for Dinesh Arora, this time exam the had not been so good. Placed at 234, his rank has gone down from the previous attempt. Daughter of Mr Hardial Singh, a former IAS officer, Sukhjeet Kaur is placed at 240 and is expected to get one of the Class "A" services.

And for Gurkirat Singh, placed at 248, it was his second attempt. This time he was more selective and the risk paid off. An electronics engineer, he had maths and physics as main subject and he wants to improve his rank next time.

Another electronics engineer, Rahul Dhawan is placed at 382. For him it was the last attempt and his formula for success was faith in God and self-study for exam and coaching for the interview. And for mechanical engineer Rajan Datt, placed at 386, it is a secure career.

Meanwhile, jubilation was writ large on face of Prof Anil Kumar, Director of IAS Study Circle, Sector 21, as three of his current and two of his former students have entered the prestigious service.


9 months later, Kargil jawan’s body found
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 25 — Missing in action. Presumed dead. Five terse words which become a routine affair during a war, but keep a family banking on hope and prayers. Nine months after Havildar Netram of 3 Rajput, along with several others, went missing in the Haneef Sub-Sector in Batalik during Operation Vijay, the hopes of his family in Rajasthan that he might come back one day were finally dashed to the ground.

Snow melting in the upper regions of the Zanskar Range revealed his mortal remains this week. A flag meeting between the Indian and Pakistan officers had been organised on the Line of Control in the Haneef Sector on May 23 and the body was handed over yesterday. It was airlifted here from Thoise today.

Soldiers accompanying Havildar Netram’s body said that a six-member patrol had been ambushed on August 29 last year. While the bodies of two soldiers were recovered later, the fate of the other four soldiers had remained unknown. Injuries on his body revealed that he had been hit in the chest by a machine gun burst.

Though Havildar Netram’s body is the only one to be recovered so far, sources say that seven more bodies have been recovered along the Line of Control in the Kargil Sector. While three are said to be those of Indian soldiers from other regiments, the identity of the others has so far not been established and the possibility of them being from the other side is not ruled out.

Hailing from Medha Ki Dhani village in Karauli district of Rajasthan, he is survived by his wife, Mrs Mohar Kanwar and two sons, 13-year-old Bhag Singh and 8-year-old Rajbir. His mortal remains were accorded full military honours at the N-Area here before being sent to his native place.

A ceremonial guard reversed arms as a mark of respect to the fallen soldiers as buglers sounded the Last Post, followed by the Rouse. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Western Army Commander and GOC 14 Corps.


Zila Parishad poll interrupted
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, May 25—The INLD-supported candidate, Mrs Shimla Devi, was declared elected to the post of chairperson of the zila parishad amidst protests by four members of the 10-member body who abstained from voting during the meeting convened for the purpose at the district secretariat, here today.

The controversial election had to be interrupted mid-way, before the vice-chairman could be elected, owing to directions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. However, though the orders were meant for stalling the election process as a whole, the election to the post of Chairman had already been held when the message came in from the Additional Advocate-General of Haryana, according to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr MP Bansal.

While the election was held by raising of hands despite repeated appeals to hold it by secret ballot by four members who later abstained from casting their vote after their appeal was turned down, the police was on its toes outside the venue, trying to control the supporters.

Tension reached a peak when a lawyer from Mrs Upinder Kaur’s side stated that a stay had been granted in the election and the other camp panicked. Immediately, cell phones were out and the supporters began making frantic efforts to find out the latest position, only to declare that no such order had been passed.

A verbal duel between Mrs Upinder Kaur’s husband and an INLD-supporter followed when the police stepped in to separate the two. However, agitated supporters of both sides slowly inched their way to the secretariat and the police forced them behind. Later, the area was cordoned off and the ASP, Mr Amitabh Dhillon, stayed on the spot till the crowd was dispersed and normalcy returned.

The section of the crowd supporting Mrs Upinder Kaur shouted slogans against the government when she came out of the building, claiming that officials had acted unjustly. However, they were quickly pushed behind the cordon while Mr Virendra Singh, a member, said that the whole affair was a farce and undemocratic since, in spite of repeated pleas to hold election by secret ballot, it was held by raising of hands. “Anybody in the right frame of mind will not cast his vote in our favour after pretending to be on their side without secret ballot, especially since one of our members had been illegally detained by the police,’’ he said.

To this, Mr Bansal explained that while some were demanding raising of hands for election, a few members wanted it by secret ballot. “There is no hard and fast rule about the procedure of holding elections and we chose to hold the elections this way,’’ he said.

Mrs Upinder Kaur contended that the stay order had come while the discussion of procedure of voting was still on. Following the information which was conveyed to them, everything was wrapped up quickly. “We walked out of the meeting after that ,’’ he said.

Later, the result was formally announced and Mrs Shimla Devi declared Chairman of the zila parishad. Bursting of crackers and slogans in her favour were raised by her supporters marked the win after which she, along with her husband, Mr Ravinder Batod, drove off with the INLD General Secretary, Mr Pradeep Chaudhary, who monitored the election closely outside the venue.

The election to the post of Vice-President will be held after intimation from the court.

Work at the secretariat remained suspended as visitors were turned away from the venue of the meeting by police personnel on account of elections. Everybody was asked to come back after noon.


IA may acquire new aircraft
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 25 — To augment its capacity, Indian Airlines may opt for 100-odd seater and 150-seater aircraft. Though both the major players of aviation industry — Boeing and Airbus — have already made their presentations to the national domestic carrier. No formal or final decision has been taken by the management of the airline. A green signal from the government, which may come after the process of disinvestment is completed and suitable alliance partner found, would set the ball rolling for further acquisition of aircraft to replace the ageing fleet.

These are some of the points made during an informal interaction Mr V.P. Arora, Regional Director, Indian Airlines, had with this correspondent here last evening.

After a couple of years of no growth in domestic aviation industry in general and Indian Airlines in particular, last six months have been exceedingly good as the industry has witnessed more than 6 per cent growth.

Last year, Indian Airlines posted a net profit of Rs 79 crore which was far better than net profit of previous two years which stood at Rs 47 crore and Rs 13 crore, respectively.

Mr Arora said that the airline would be soon taking on lease four more aircraft. These would include both Boeing and Airbus.

“Indian Airlines has been operating to 74 destinations , including 16 foreign points. During the past some years, it suffered heavily after the Union Government came out with its open skies policy and allowed Air Taxi Operators (ATOs) in the country to take on lease same type of aircraft which Indian Airlines had been operating. The result was that the airline lost about 200 trained commanders and as many as 100 qualified engineers to ATOs. But for the past three years, the airline has been able to put behind its setbacks and return to profit making.

“Now the disinvestment process has started and the government wants it to be completed by March 31 next year. Though we have on our own nearly decided to augment our fleet by opting for mid-capacity aircraft of 100-odd seats and up to 150 seats, a formal final decision is yet to be taken up. In fact the process of augmentation of fleet has been slowed down by the disinvestment exercise,” he said.

Mr Arora was here for the signing of an agreement between Cargo Services of Indian Airlines and Planet Express. The agreement was signed last evening by Mr Arun Goel, Director, Cargo Services, Indian Airlines, and Managing Director of Alliance Air; and Mr Mukesh Kad of Planet Express. The airline hopes to raise its cargo capacity from 55 tonnes to 300 tonnes because of this new agreement which will take the revenue from Rs 11 lakh to more than Rs 70 lakh per annum.

Initially, the service will provide industrial houses and others door-to-door service for taking of cargo to any of the four major cities of the country — Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai and Bangalore. The cargo booked during the previous day would be assured space on flights of IA next morning and would be shipped to Delhi both by air and road.

“There is a tremendous potential for growth of cargo services,” said Mr Rajinder Kumar, Station Manager of Indian Airlines here.

Mr Anil Goel said that the agreement signed today would offer the industrial and business houses a brand new product which would ensure quality and timely delivery of cargo, initially in domestic sector and than internationally, the problem of not extending international facility was lack of customs clearance at Chandigarh, he said. The airline and its alliance partner would consider booking perishable cargo also.

Mr Mukesh Kad said that his company with an annual turnover of Rs 100 crore had a market share of 6 to 7 per cent in cargo movement. The new service would be available in the entire Punjab market, he added.

Mrs Anita Khurana, General Manager, Cargo, Indian airlines, said that the new service would open up revenue generation in an unutilised sector as most of the airline aircraft had sufficient space for airlifting cargo.

Mr Arora said that there is a tremendous change in the outlook of a domestic traveller who travels light and without much of baggage. As such, of the total revenue generation, only 6 to 7 per cent comes from cargo. The airline had recently signed a similar agreement with Gati. The facility of cargo delivery on international bookings may also be extended to the Chandigarh and Punjab region provided customs clearance facility was made available here, he said.


Four High Court Judges sworn in
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 25 — Following their elevation to the Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court here, Mr Romesh Chander Kathuria, Mr Kishan Chand Gupta, Mr Nirmal Singh and Mr Kamaljit Singh Garewal were today administered oath by the Chief Justice, Mr. Arun B. Saharya.

During an impressive ceremony attended by sitting and retired judges of the high court, besides Adviser to the UT Administrator Vineeta Rai, the judges swore to “bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established”.

The Judges also swore to “uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India” and to “duly and faithfully and to the best of ability, knowledge and judgement, perform the duties of the office without fear or favour, affection and illwill”.

Prior to his elevation, Mr Justice Kathuria was working as Gurgaon District and Sessions Judge. He had also served as Deputy Registrar (Rules), Joint Registrar and Registrar (Judicial) in the high court.

Mr Justice Garewal was selected in the Punjab Superior Judicial Service in May 1986. He had served as the Additional District and Sessions Judge at Amritsar, Ferozepore and Ropar, besides serving as Registrar of the Central Administrative Tribunal and Presiding Officer of the State Transport Appellate Tribunal (Punjab). He was appointed as the District and Sessions Judge in June 1996.

With their elevation, the strength of the high court Judges has increased to 30. The sanctioned strength, however, is 40.


British Council Library is well-stocked and modern 
By Ambika Kumar

CHANDIGARH, May 25 — Classics, fiction, magazines and video tapes. They are all there for professionals and post-graduates. Part of the British libraries in India, the Sector 8 British library offers you a wide range of reference and information services.

The stock and services represent the best of British publications in various subjects, including science, engineering, information technology, management, law, architecture, medicine, social sciences, public administration and English language.

The library has individual as well as institutional membership. To become an individual member, the fee is Rs 300 every year.

Members can borrow two books and the same number of magazines for three weeks. Every year, they can spend seven hours in the cyber centre and avail themselves of the in-house video viewing facility free of cost.

The institutions are, meanwhile, entitled to borrow up to 10 books along with five back issues of periodicals for three weeks. They can also borrow two video cassettes for a week. The institutions can spend 20 hours in the cyber centre also.

In case you are interested in studying in United Kingdom -- then this is the place. Comprehensive information on all aspects of studying in Britain and detailed information on UK examinations conducted in India are provided here. A wide range of business information on trade with the UK is also available. This includes directories, handbooks, CD ROMs, and Internet resources.

The Cyber Centre at the library has five terminals with state-of-the-art technology. One could access the Net, e-mail, chat online or even create a home page. Photocopying facilities are available in the library. Just in case the books and videos you wish to borrow are out on loan, you can reserve them. But the members are responsible for the safety of the items loaned to them. Any damage or loss will have to be compensated for.

"The main idea of the library is to build up an electronic library so that the public is benefited. It is a one-stop shop on any kind of information on the UK. We are sure to do well here as we already have about 1,000 members. We plan to restrict the membership to 2,000", said Mr Anthony Jose, Delhi Library in charge. The library is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"I visit this place quite often as the books are excellent and its interesting to upgrade my knowledge. The ambience is good and Chandigarh required such a place since a long time," asserted Mr A.S Luthra, a frequent visitor to the library.

A second year student, Bul Bul Jaitha feels that the quality of the books is good. "This is the only library in the city having additional facilities like surfing, photocopying, making it very convenient for us. The people here are quite serious", said the young girl.

Serious yes, but noisy also. "People do not adhere to the library etiquette. All the time, someone or the other is mumbling. It spoils my concentration," complains Mr. Deepak Bansal, a visitor. "Wish the rules are made tougher." 


K.J. Singh is Raksha Dal Secretary-General
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 25 —The Rashtriya Raksha Dal, a political outfit of ex-servicemen and recognised by the Election Commission, has elected Lieut-Gen K.J. Singh (retd) as Senior Secretary-General of the Punjab unit of the party at a meeting of the district conveners of the party. Col Harsharan Singh, President of the party, presided over the meeting which was attended among others by Air Marshal GS Punia, Lieut-Gen K.S. Gill, Lieut-Col B.S. Randhawa and Lieut-Col AP Singh Dhillon.

Col Harsharan Singh emphasised on the need to accord due priority to enrolment of new members since the harvesting season was almost over.

It was also decided at the meeting to activate the student, Dalit and handicapped cells of the party.

Prof S.G. Reddy, Chairman, SGR Technical and Educational Society, Bangalore, also attended the meeting and showed a keen interest in the policies and programmes of the dal. He was appointed Senior Vice-President of the party and assigned the task of organising the party activities in the southern parts of the country.

The party assailed the price structure and lack of development activities in the state which had a bumper wheat crop this time. Complimenting the farmers for their gallant effort, it cautioned the government against its indifferent attitude towards the farming community.

The dal also decided to contest the ensuing municipal elections in SAS Nagar and other parts of the state. The party has decided to go to the polls with a promise of clean governance and development of the state.

The dal has also launched its website, www.geocities/rashtriya-raksha-dal.


Rail section awaits opening by VIP
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 25 — The recently electrified Chandigarh-Kalka railway line section cannot be made operational as there is no VIP available for its formal inauguration. This is the second project linked to Chandigarh that is being delayed for want of a VIP. The second entry to the Chandigarh railway station from the Panchkula side is also not operational as it is yet to be inaugurated? This is all due to non-availability of any VIP.

The electrification of the railway line up to Kalka was a long-standing demand as two diesel locomotives have to be used to haul a train for the run upto Kalka. The gradient between Chandigarh and Kalka is ‘’steep’’, according to railway officials. The electrification work on the line was completed last fortnight and even test runs have been carried out. After electrification only one locomotive will be required and it will save time on account of engine attachment and de-attachments. Besides, it will reduce pollution in the eco-fragile zone. However, the facility cannot be opened as it is learnt that railway officials want no less than the Union Railway Minister Ms Mamta Banerjee to come for the inauguration.

Apart from this, the railway headquarters have been informed about the completion of the electrification work so that allocation of electric locomotives can be made for the Delhi-Chandigarh-Kalka section. Already the Shatabadi Express that arrives in Chandigarh in the morning and returns to Delhi in the afternoon is an electric loco. Sources said the requisition for locos and information about the completion of the electrification work has been sent to the Railways headquarters. All local railway authorities evaded questions as to when these two facilities will become operational. As far as the second entry is concerned, almost all facilities like an approach road, a proper parking place , a terminal building, are ready.

But will the Union Minister, or her deputies, oblige by opening a second entry point at station like Chandigarh that is not even on the main line or for opening of the electrification of the Chandigarh-Kalka section?


MC members deny Badal’s claim
From Our Correspondent

KHARAR, May 25 — Seven out of the total 15 elected members of the local municipal committee have reportedly contradicted the claim made by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister Punjab, and others that majority of the members of the municipal committee, Kharar, had joined hands with the SAD headed by Mr Badal in Chappar Chirri village on May 22 when Mr Ranbir Singh Kala and five other members announced their support for the SAD who were earlier supporters of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal.

While addressing a press conference here last evening these members, who claimed the support of three other members, claimed that a majority of the members were against the president and he has shifted his loyalty just to save his chair.

It may be mentioned here that Mr Badal at that time presented siropas to these members, led by Mr Ranbir Singh Kala, and also announced a grant of Rs 25 lakh for the Kharar municipal committee.

Mr Charanjit Singh, Mr Natrajan Kaushal, Mr Swarn Singh, Mrs Baljinder Kaur, Mrs Sher Kaur, Mrs Gurmeet Kalra and Mr Rajesh Gupta were present in the press conference and they claimed the support of Mr Kuldeep Singh and two others.

They alleged that the residents of the town were facing acute shortage of drinking water and the committee was not taking any action about this. They alleged that the committee had failed to provide basic amenities in the town.

Meanwhile, Mr Ranbir Singh Kala, president of the municipal committee, Kharar, and five other members have in a press note issued here justified their action of joining the SAD and leaving the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal and have written that this step has been taken in the interest of the local residents.


A harassed man
From A Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, May 2 — Premchand Narayan, a resident of Gulbarga district of Karnataka is a harassed man. For the past over one month he has been shuttling from one department of the PGI to another department as his operation had become difficult due to the absence of a regular attendant.

But that is only the part of the problem. With no help coming from any quarter except from a good Samaritan and Chandigarh Police constable posted at the PGI Post, Mr Rakesh Raseela, the financial difficulties have only worsened his plight.

Premchand, an employee of a steel firm based at Jalandhar, came to Chandigarh on April 19 following a paralytic stroke. Earlier he was examined at various Jalandhar hospitals after he developed high blood pressure. But he could not be cured and ultimately he was referred to the PGI.

Even at the premier institute his problems did not come to an end. He was reportedly shifted from one department to another. Mr Raseela first took him to the Department of Medicine only to be told that they should report to the Department of Neurology.

And from the Department of Physiotherapy he moved to the Department of Orthopaedics. Here he could not be operated in the absence of his family member ,who could stay with him all the time during the course of his treatment.

The 67-year-old patient, who was admitted to the “Rein Basera”, by Mr Raseela, is faced with another problem. He may not be allowed to stay in the “Rein Basera” as he is finding it difficult even to pay the nominal fee for staying there.


Residents voice grievances
From Our Correspondent

SAS NAGAR, May 25 — A khulla darbar was organised here yesterday for residents of Sector 70 which was presided over by the Minister of State for Housing, Mr Ranjit Singh Ballian.

Various welfare bodies of the residential area spoke about grievances of residents, including the increase in the prices of flats by PUDA, the poor state of parks and roads, besides the lack of any community centre or playground. They also demanded a pucca road on the periphery of Mataur village and diversion of sullage from that village to PUDA's main sewerage system.

The minister asked representatives of the residents to attend a meeting at Punjab Bhavan on May 27, in which, their problems would be looked into. Senior PUDA officials would be among those attending the meeting.


A girl behind Ranjit case
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 25 — The interrogation of those arrested in the Ranjit Bajaj case has established that it was indeed a "fight" for the affection of a teenager from Sector 16 that is the root of the entire episode.

The case has its bearing on the Ranjit-Bajaj Sunny Garg fight which led the former to kidnap, assault and illegally confine the latter at his residence in the same sector on May 16.

Meanwhile, the police arrested Makhan Singh, Swarn Singh and Bobby, who were wanted for assaulting Ranjit, here today. Their fifth accomplice, Sector 6 Panchkula resident Rajesh Godara, is still at large.

Police sources said trouble started some time back when Ranjit came in contact with the girl who is said to be a plus two student in a local college and the two were reportedly going steady for quite some time. She is also said to have accompanied him to London for about a month and returned some time back.

It seems she had a benefactor in Bagga, who could not tolerate her association with Ranjit. He is reported to have warned him to stop meeting her or face the consequences. Since he preferred to ignore him, Bagga one day brought the steady girlfriend, a resident of Sector 2, to Ranjit's house when he and the girl in question were together.

This was resented by Ranjit who is stated to have threatened to fix him for spoiling his relationship with his girlfriend. On the other hand, he reportedly kept meeting the girl in question. Things soured further when Ranjit called up Bagga one day and threatened to teach him a lesson by forcing him to leave the city in disgrace and is said to have asked for a duel in true filmi style to settle the matter once and for all. Both parties came face to face near the Sector 11

market, following which Bagga and his friends attacked Ranjit with sharp-edged weapons. The girl, who witnessed the fight, is said to have kept on screaming in the car but did not come out. Sources said Ranjit reportedly brought her along to make her realise that nobody could stand up to him in the city and talk about it.

Interrogation by the police of the friends-turned-foes of Ranjit revealed that he enjoyed a lavish lifestyle while in London and frequented the hot spots. During one of the outings, he reportedly lost a substantial amount of money and allegedly ran a debt of more than 1,000 pounds.

He reportedly borrowed the money from a Indian loan shark and being unable to pay his debt, was faced with the prospect of physical harm. He left the country in a hurry but the creditor is said to have sent some one to collect the debt from his father some time back, the sources pointed out. Further investigations are under way.Back


Body of beggar found near temple
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 25 — The police has found the body of a man from near a temple in Mani Majra here today.

According to the police sources, the man who seemed to be in his early 30s, was dressed in tatters and a begging bowl was also found from near the body. The police has sent the body to the Sector 16 morgue, while further investigations are on.

Eve-teasers held: Three persons have been arrested on the charges of eve-teasing in various parts of the city. While Panna La and Suresh Kumar were arrested from Mani Majra, Gobind Kumar was caught from near Fragrance Garden in Sector 36. Cases under Section 294 of the IPC have been registered.

Briefcase stolen: Ms Gayatry Kant, a resident of Delhi, reported that she was staying at a hotel in Sector 22 and some one had stolen her briefcase containing some valuables from her room. A case under Section 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Scooter theft: Mr Avtar Singh, a resident of Sector 40, reported that someone had stolen his scooter, CH-01-A-2415, from the Sector 22 market. A case has been registered under Section 379 of the IPC.

Boozers arrested: The police has arrested two persons, Rachh Ram and Sarwan Kumar, residents of Madhya Pradesh, on the charges of consuming liquor at a public place.


Crisis plagues poultry units
By Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

BARWALA: After going through the worst-ever recession in the poultry industry, most farm-owners have reduced the number of chicks by nearly 15 per cent while others are contemplating bringing down the fowl number by 25 per cent to tide over the trying times.

Members of the poultry association in Barwala are holding regular meetings to work out ways of meeting the crisis plaguing the industry and some have even shut shop after having borne heavy losses last year.

Ruing the low prices of poultry products, Mr Sudesh Kumar says: “We have reduced the chicks by 20 per cent and have 50,000 birds against our capacity of 60,000. This number is likely to go down further since most chicks are dying owing to poor feed. It has never been so bad and we are banking on a miracle to save our business.’’

Another farm owner, Mr K. S. Singla says: ``We have put in 10 to 15 per cent less chicks this year keeping in view the lean period. Moreover, the trade network has been considerably reduced. Now, either the things will improve or we will sink with the industry’’.

``Everybody has been forced to reduce the number of chicks being added to the farms by 25 per cent this year. Also, production has outdone consumption by a huge margin which is the root-cause of all our troubles. By reducing the number of chicks we are making a significant cut in the supplies which will lead to an increase in prices and put us in a better position. Besides, we are holding regular meetings with the National egg Co-ordination Committee and among ourselves,’’ Mr Jagdish Singal, a poultry farm owner, explains.

There are a number of farms lying locked with owners having either sold these or having suspended all operations till prices in the market rise. ``I suffered a major jolt in the poultry business and sold it around three months back when I could not bear the losses anymore,’’ says one while another contends that the slump in the market forced him to hand over the keys to a keen buyer which was especially welcome since business was at its lowest ebb.

Terming the policies as destructive, most poultry farm owners are hoping against hope that the NECC will relent and take steps to boost the sagging industry before it perishes.``We have decided amongst ourselves that not adding to the present birds in our farms is the only solution. I myself have come down from a farm capacity of 44,000 to 35,000 and still find the going very tough,’’ Mr S Kumar claims.

At a meeting with members of the NECC last evening, the farm owners highlighted that they were being given step-motherly treatment by the committee in spite of the fact that consumption in the north and south of the country is the same. ``Any export, introduction and production of egg powder and subsidy to farmers is given only in the south. We are invariably cold-shouldered by the body which is concentrating only in the south,’’ Mr Jagdish Singhal, says.

Hatchery business has been down in the dumps since the last few years and the prices touched rock bottom this year in spite of the fact that owners contend that a rise of 10 paise every year is essential to keep them in business. While egg prices were Rs 127 in 1997, these went down further to Rs 117 in 1998 and were again up to Rs 124 in 1999 for 100. However, from a ``winter high’’ of 1.74, these came crashing down to 85 paise per egg. At present the prevailing price is Re 1.03 each.


Models or mere showpieces?

Female models hold the reins of advertising campaigns these days. Whatever be the product, it is glamourised with the presence of beautiful girls to boost its sales. The female charm has been playing a significant role in City Beautiful to promote various products. The range of such products is simply astonishing, varying from cars and home appliances to hotels and furniture shops. The latest to join this bandwagon is TVS-Sport, recently launched in Chandigarh by Mr M.R. Sreedhar, General Manager (Sales) of TVS-Suzuki Limited. The bike blended well with curvaceous beauties who modelled to liven up the launch. The event manager, Jeet Brar, and officials of the company gave due credit to the models, but, do the girls in this profession always command respect or are they considered persons of easy virtue? "It all depends on your own self,” says Kritika, a leading model of this region. “Yes, exploitation is there in this profession, but, it is in every sphere. One should not participate in each and every show. As film artistes should be choosy about the film and the role to be played by them, similarly, a model should be selective in choosing organisers and the kind of the show,” she adds.

However, the facts point out in the other direction. The glamoursmitten girls of Chandigarh try to grab any kind of fashion show that comes their way. Show organisers, cashing in on their craze to enter the glittering world of fashion and cinema, usually exploit the aspiring models. While raw hands participate for free, the experienced ones are paid Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 per show, depending on the popularity they enjoy. It is the show organiser who earns the real money.

A hotel owner contacts an event manager to promote his hotel and pays him handsomely. Now, in the name of the fashion show, the organiser makes models walk (or should I call it catwalk) in between the rows of tables, while the guests wine and dine and at the same time, fulfill their desire of seeing lovely scantily-clad girls. Well should we call this a fashion show or a camouflaged version of a show in some night-club of the West? Similarly, at the inauguration of a furniture showroom, the models are asked to walk around in the shop and sit on sofa-sets etc., apart from mingling with prospective customers and guests of the shopkeeper, again, in the name of a fashion show. A ramp is created in a posh hotel, on which models catwalk, carrying home appliances and showing these to the audience. Wow, what a fashion show! After participating in such shows, the aspiring models proudly announce that they participated in such and such fashion show. When will the girls of this region understand what a real fashion show is and how they are made to act like meagerly-paid “showpieces” to promote products?

However, the fact remains that all advertisers depend on pretty face and curvaceous figure to promote their products. This holds true even in the case of men’s exclusive products like shaving blades. The days when girls were considered ‘weaker sex’ are thing of the past. Now glamour is indispensable, especially in the advertising field.

— Thakur ParamjitBack


Dealer hauled up for not supplying LPG
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 25 — Taking up an appeal case filed by a city resident against a Burail-based gas service agency, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has held the dealer of the agency guilty of not supplying cylinders to the consumer who was duly entitled to the same. Setting aside the earlier order of district forum which had dismissed the complaint of Mr Jagjr Singh Jatt against Sukh Gas Agency, the commission Bench consisting its President, Mr J.B. Garg, and members Dr P.K. Vasudeva and Mrs Devinderjit Dhatt directed the agency to compensate the appellant to the tune of Rs 1,000 for the deficiency caused.

The case revolved round the fact that Mr Jatt is running Charitable Ayurvedic Dawakhana at his house for the poor and the needy. He stated that he is registered with the respondent gas company for the supply of refills and that his demand was ignored in January, 1998, March, 1998, and April, 1998. He stated that he demanded four cylinders during this period, but his request was declined. The complainant added that he then approached the Indian Oil Corporation, but to no avail.

Earlier, the complaint of Mr Jatt had been declined by the forum after the respondent gave an assurance that he would supply 10 cylinders immediately on advance booking. But no compensation for the deficiency caused was paid to the complainant. On the contrary, his complaint was set aside.

In the appeal, however, the commission came to the conclusion that though the appellant was given an assurance, he should have been surely compensated for the deficiency caused by the respondent. Considering all the points, the Bench ordered that Rs 1,000 be paid immediately to the complainant.

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