Saturday, June 17, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT Excise & Taxation Department working to be totally computerised
By Ajay Banerjee 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 16 — The working of the Excise and Taxation Department, a major revenue spinner for the Chandigarh Administration, is to be totally computerised for better collection of taxes.

In the last financial year a total of Rs 150 crore was collected by the local Excise and Taxation Department by way of taxes. A major share was from sales tax, while passenger tax, entertainment tax and excise collections from liquor made up the rest. With so much of money being involved, it was essential to computerise the records, the filing systems and retrieval system for efficiency and bringing about a change in the functioning.

An order for purchase of computers has been placed through the Government of India owned, National Informatics Centre (NIC), according to sources. The software that will bring accounts of all the 19,000 odd sales tax payees and other tax payees on the computer network of department will also be developed by the NIC. The project is expected to be completed in the next couple of months, a senior official confirmed, while adding that a clear deadline for the project has not been set.

Sources said the idea is to develop a software that will enable department officials to know at the touch of a button how much of tax a businessman is paying on sales made by him in the present year. Similarly, the tax deposited by him in the previous years will also be on the computer. This is an effort to curb evasion of sales tax as the records will be available to the officers also, who will be able to assess them from their offices itself. Besides this the number of assesses is rising everyday thus requiring a computerised network.

With so much of money collection being involved computerisation was thought to be must by the Chandigarh Administration, and the department is among the first batch of offices that will be covered under the “e—governance” policy.




Conmen decamp with Rs 20,000
From Bipin Bhardwaj

ZIRAKPUR, June 16 — Four youths “conned” the local police to send a team of cops to accompany them on a “fake raid” conducted on chemist shops in the township to detect sale of banned drugs and cough syrups. The youths later on decamped with Rs 20,000 in cash collected from shopkeepers, while the cops were left high and dry here this evening .

The youths, posed as a joint team of drug inspectors and of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to raid chemist shops to check the drug menace. The local police chowki received a call from the Sohana police station informing about the “joint team”. The cops were taken in and they escorted the four on the “raid.”

Escorted by the cops, two of the conmen entered Mohan Medical Hall in Zirakpur and asked the owner, Mr Mohan Lal, to show them the cashbox as they had to verify number of currency notes. Both of them were in civil dress and introduced themselves as drug inspectors who were on a raid. They picked cash over Rs 12,000 from the cash box and also took two bottles of Phynsedryl and five strips of Lomotil tablets from the rack. Two another unidentified accomplices kept waiting outside.

While taking the money, the duo also threatened him that a case would be registered against him if he failed to give them more money. Mr Mohan Lal says: “They asked me to accompany to Mayur, a restaurant nearby, and demanded an additional sum of Rs 50,000 to settle the case which they were going to register against me.”

As both the parties were in the restaurant, some of the chemists called upon Mr Harish Sethi and Mr L.D Jindal, President and the General Secretary, respectively, of the Ropar Chemists Association, at SAS Nagar. In the meantime, a large number of shopkeepers and chemists gathered. The drug inspectors then asked Mr Mohan Lal and other chemists to accompany them to Zirakpur police post for further course of action. Interestingly, a deal was settled between two parties for a sum of Rs 8,000 at the police post in the absence of the chowki in charge. The amount was pooled by three other chemists of the market at the spot.

As the President and the General Secretary of the Chemists Association reached the spot, they were appraised about the episode. The office bearers then refused to give any money to the drug inspectors. Along with some other chemists, while they were going to the police post, they noticed the fake drug inspectors coming towards them on two scooters (PB-65A-2501 and HR-36B-0018).

Mr Jindal said that as they signaled them to spot they sped away. One scooter fled towards Panchkula while the other towards SAS Nagar. We also chased them to a long distance but in vain, said Mr Jindal.

During the episode, constables Amar Singh and Harpal Singh, were escorting the drug inspectors throughout the episode.



Sector 9 institute students feeling 
insecure despite assurances
By Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June16- The fate of students of Sector 9 Nursery Teachers Training Institute hangs in balance with the Director, Public Instructions, (schools), serving show-cause notices to the management of the school. The students of the fresh batch are in a fix whether to carry on with the course or leave the institute at once. Those having already appeared for the examinations are all the more anxious about their future.

Many students contacted by this correspondent on the condition of anonymity said that they were feeling insecure about their future but the Principal had been assuring them that her institute was recognised. She also had said that the degrees offered by her institute would be considered valid.

It is learnt that there are around 450 students on rolls of the school. They all come from various cities of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The school has been starting two batches in the months of January and June every year, and has been charging Rs 3,650 as admission fee and Rs 400 as tuition fee every month. The students had to take rooms on rent as the school had no hostel facility and they were paying hefty sums as rent as they had to take accommodation near the school. Most of the girls have already spent more than Rs 25,000 each on the course till date.

“We cannot understand what we should do now. We have read in newspapers that the school is not recognised and the degrees offered will not be considered valid for jobs in government schools. We have already put in a year’s time and have spent thousands of rupees. But everything seems to have gone waste.” said a student who was a graduate and was accompanying her husband.

“Some students went to the Principal with their lawyers to get an account of the latest developments. She noted down the roll numbers of those girls and told them to contact her after the results which would be out in a month. This practice left all the girls in fear and now no student is willing to take any action against her.” said a student who did not want her name to be quoted.

Another student who had come all the way from Una in Himachal Pradesh said: “I joined the school in January this year and have passed six months here. I came to this school after going through an advertisement in a leading newspaper. I bought the prospectus and filled the forms. The prospectus, the board outside the school and the marksheets looked so authentic that nobody could make out that the school was not recognised.”

A student whose husband is in a local government department joined the school in July last year. According to her, the principal changed the datesheet so as to finish with the exam much early before these were scheduled originally. She also extended the summer vacations of the students of January batch.

Her husband said that many passouts from this school got the jobs in private schools last year. “I also accompanied my wife to a school for an interview. The management told us to get the NTT course done and job would be easier. We went to another institute in the city where a similar case was already on. The clerical staff there told us to go to Sector 9 school. We came here and took admission. Now they are saying that even this institute is not recognised. Now if things have come to such a pass, we can expect the refund of the fee, but who will give the precious year of my wife back? Moreover, she had studied by taking away time from our children’s share.”

Another student expresses herself like this, “Earlier our seniors had got a job in private schools. But with the reports about the school by the media not even a private school will offer us a job. I came all the way from Himachal Pradesh to get a professional degree and stayed here alone, away from my parents. Can you ever imagine somebody’s efforts going waste like that?”



Snag hits phone connections
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 16 — More than 15,000 telephones connected onto the exchange in Industrial Area phase II remained ‘’dead’’ for more than 2 hours today as a technical snag in the main exchange in Sector 34 led to disruption in services.

This resulted in total lack of communication between these 15,000 phone subscribers spread over Industrial Area, sector 27, 28, 29 and 30, and the rest of the country. The snag that occurred at 4: 30 was corrected only around 6: 30 p.m. People missed important calls. STD/ PCO holders reported a loss while business houses in Industrial Area failed to make calls to their business contacts. Being the last working day of the week in government offices, traders and businessmen preferred to use cell phones for STD calls or rush out of the exchange area to make calls.

According to sources, ‘’cards’’ at the sector 34 exchange had developed some snag that disconnected the link to the Industrial Area exchange. All calls to the Industrial Area are routed through the Sector 34 exchange. During the period of disconnection, subscribers, on lifting the hand set could hear a recorded voice say, “only emergency services are available”. To check the veracity of this announcement this reporter tried to dial the emergency numbers like “100” and “101” only to hear another recorded announcement: “this number does not exist.”

Meanwhile, dialling through pre-paid STD cards in the city has been creating problems for the users in the past one week. Subscribers have been complaining that they cannot get their ten-digit codes registered on the computer to use the pre—paid card. Several city residents have got STD facilities disconnected from their phones and prefer to use pre-paid cards due to secrecy, safety and ease of usage.Back


Put on your dancing shoes
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 16 — Glamour apart, there is a lot about Miss World Yukta Mookhey’s tomorrow’s visit to the city. And even before the news of her arrival is beginning to spread, die hard fans of the beauty queen can be seen making a beeline outside the special counters which have with them entry passes for the mega event to be hosted tomorrow night at Hotel Mount View.

Major attraction of the Four Square Rain Dance scheduled to start at 7.30 p.m. is Yukta herself who, the organisers promised, will join those in the dancing shoes. Also they said that there would be more to look forward to in the show than merely the rain dance. The Expressions team, which is managing the event for the Four Square people, have also roped in some local talent to add spice to the affair.

Disco jockey for the evening will be Vishal from Knock Out, who will mix music for the crowd. There will also be some blend of vocal Punjabi and English by the Delhi-based Vandana Vadehra, who is just stepping into the world of commercial music production with her first album due to release shortly.

Interestingly, the city SSP, Mr Parag Jain, will be the chief guest on the occasion and among other guests will be “esteemed Four Square smokers”, as informed by one of the officials of the company.Back

Of green eyes in search of sunny future
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 16 — Her green eyes brimmed with energy and on her face one could read the excitement of her first album which is due to release shortly. After a long struggle of sorts for a good about six years, Delhi-based Vandana Vadehra is now all set to defeat obscurity as she prepares to face the stage with the reigning Miss World Yukta Mookhey who is coming to town for tomorrow’s rain dance show at hotel Mount View.

“Stage is not a problem. It has never been,” said Vandana who has had a major tryst with music right since the days she was just five years of age. “I remember the days at Loreto Convent, Shillong where we were taught music by Irish and British nuns.

They were very well aware of the nuances of Western classical music and they passed on this knowledge to us very comfortably. I was so drawn towards their kind of music that I used to rehearse all the time. They almost engrained music into me.”

And then the passion continued and flourished, first in school and then at Hansraj College, Delhi where Vandana won various western classical contests and even represented her College in BITS Pilani, Bombay IIT and many other reputed institutions.

Also she formed a music band there. “It was all girls band and we had three boys on the guitar for us. We were into western music in a big way,” she said.

The struggle for identity began afresh after the band broke up and then in 1994 Vandana met music director Jawahar Wattal who has to his credit the creation of Daler Mehndi, the star. “ Said Vandana, “Those were the days Daler’s Bolo tara rara was about to be released. Jawaharji did not make music for me, but he taught me a lot. From him I learnt how a song is composed and also how it is written. I attended many sessions of Daler’s recordings and I picked up a lot from there.”

Later Vandana got into stage performing by associating herself with Nirvana and also by singing with Euphoria and artists like Nitin Bali and Bhuppi. She also performed a number of stage shows. “That was important to gain confidence and also to make oneself known,” said Vandana.

The break came later when she sat down to compose the eight songs which were to be a part of her first album. “There is a blend of Punjabi and Hindi in my album for which I am negotiating with three companies. Tomorrow I have some English and Punjabi numbers to offer.”Back


Sohana police told to vacate building
By Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, June 16 — The Sohana Police is on the lookout for accommodation after being rendered “homeless” following orders by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority ( PUDA) to vacate the premises of the Sohana police station which has come in the way of a parking area of Sector 70 commercial area.

The cops have been asked to vacate the dilapidated private building which had been converted into a police station by the Ropar police in 1997 after it was abandoned by its original owner following acquisition of the land by PUDA. Left with no option the cops are making all efforts to prolong their stay till they find an alternative place.

Sources in the Police Department say that it is not the first time the location of the Sohana police station is being changed. In 1996 when it was functioning from a rented accommodation in Sohana village, a court order of eviction on two different occasions kept the cops busy in shifting from one place to another. “ We have been living the life of nomads as our department least concerned about our welfare”, said a police personnel. “How can we control law and order if we do not have a police station to work and rest”, quipped another cop.

Interestingly the police station with nearly 45 personnel, including the NGO’s, has its jurisdiction over 56 villages.

The sources said the police moved into the existing building which had been abandoned after being acquired by PUDA for development of Sector 70. Now once again the police station premises had come within the market of the sector. A PUDA official said: “ The work in front of commercial sites along the Chandigarh- Fatehgarh road had to be stopped due to the building. We have already served notice upon them to move out”.

The sources said four acres of land had already been purchased by the department few years back at Bhago Majra village but the construction could not be commenced due to paucity of funds. 


Children of a lesser god
By Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 16 — They can be called the children of a lesser God. They are supposed to be immune to social callousness and diseases. But despite this rather well-defined social status they have acquired, the truth is that they too suffer.

Sonu, a ragpicker, developed tetanus when a couple of months back he injured his hand with a rusted blade, while sifting through the garbage in the dump near Dadu Majra village.

Likewise Raslal, who now finds it difficult to run or walk very fast says “I get tired very soon”. This is the result of putting in long hours at the dumping yard where the garbage, to dispose off, is burnt continuously.

These ragpickers have continued to suffer from rather unimaginative welfare plans of the departments concerned and the NGOs. While various schemes continue to be floated to educate them, there is hardly any organisation, which has offered them alternate employment. The fact remains that education or no education, first and foremost, they need to earn.

Mrs Kamala Sharma, Chairperson of the Social Welfare Advisory Board, says that the endeavour of the organisations has always been to educate the ragpickers about the hazards of their job. “We in turn tell them about the benefits of getting technical education,” she says.

However, the fact remains that daily any number of boys and girls continue with their job, unaware, unconcerned. Mrs Sharma agrees that while for girls, training in stitching, tie and die and other such training programmes are there, for the boys there is no such option available.

The fact, therefore, is also that this particular job would remain their profession however much we may claim of socially rehabilitating them. “It is the only profession they know. Despite all the schemes of giving them education, they have to be giving an alternate profession as well,” says one social worker.

Till this happens, ragpickers, children in particular, will continue to be under constant threat of acquiring deadly diseases.

Most of the nursing homes in the city do not have the facility of incinerators. The dumping yard is a virtual store house of infected blood stained bandages, empty bottles of medicines and at times even amputated limbs.

People engaged in this highly risk prone profession have no medical checkup to speak of. Social welfare departments and the NGOs can make any amount of tall claims, but their activities are limited and targeted to so-called poor people, but mainly those belonging to the Scheduled Castes and backward classes. Most of these ragpickers are not even aware that they can get free treatment in the government run public health centres.

A few days back, in a medical camp organised by the Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Government Medical College, it was observed that 80 per cent of the residents of Dadu Majra Colony were suffering from one or the other lung disorders.

They had indicated that the poisonous gases emitted from burning of polythene and other such materials was the cause of this.

These small children spend their entire lives living in such garbage dumping yards.


Is the thin figure on its way out ?

MANY a time parents of lovely girls of City Beautiful complain that their darlings do not eat anything lest they should become fat. The mod girls are very keen to have extremely thin structure and feather-light bodies. Many slimming centres are cashing on this craze of the younger generation. However, there is good news for the parents (and bad for the centres). Attitudes are changing the world over. Now extreme thinness is not considered good. The trend has shifted towards a more natural look.

Known names in international fashion circles have stopped preferring anorexic looks of a model. They now favour a more voluptuous figure. The hype is so great in England that the publishers of Marie Claire magazine have printed two alternative covers — one showing skinny model Pamela Anderson and the other featuring more rounded Sophie Dahl. The cover line “Is this the ideal body shape?” grabs immediate attention and switches on the ‘thought machine’ of readers.

In our region too, the liking and preferences are undergoing a change. “The days of super thin bodies are over”, says Ruhi Barua, a leading model of this region.

“At one time, I used to keep myself very thin. Because of my body figure I got a number of advertisements and fashion shows. But now, the manufacturers like models who are healthy (read slim) and curvaceous.” Don’t worry Ruhi dear; just gobble up high calorie food. It is quite easy to become fat but extremely difficult to reduce yourself & then maintain that status. Isn’t it?

Madhu Sapre, a famous name in Indian modelling world, has been endowed with athletic built, chiselled features and dusky complexion. These were enough to give her that sexy sultry look. But due to preconceived notions in the mind of fashion designers that models should look ‘wafer thin’ she had to suffer during the initial days of her career. Do the designers consider models as ‘hangers’ to display their dresses on the ramp? Don’t they think that the bodies of actual users of their clothes are quite different from those of their anorectic models? They are well aware of the facts, but the fashion world thrives on shock value and the ‘extraordinary’. And while talking of extraordinary figure, one immediately thinks of Gisele Bundchen, the famous Brazilian model, who is extremely thin but has sizeable breasts. An ordinary girl would have to resort to stupendous dieting schedule, combined with breast implants, to achieve such a body shape. And this is not advisable.

Meher Jessia, a leading fashion model, considers a thin frame, tall body and small waist as prerequisites for looking graceful. “I agree with her, but in part only”, says Ruhi Barua, “In India context, a girl with curvaceous contours — heavy breasts, thin waist & heavy hips — is considered epitome of beauty and grace.” For print ads, the type of body required depends on the product to be advertised. But whatever be the product, excessive thin body does not add charm. A good figure, complemented by expressive face enjoys a definite advantage in this area. Change of preferences — from anorexic looks to a more sensible body frame — is taking place. And this is a welcome change for models as well as for general public. — Thakur Paramjit


Guide maps: Calcutta firm sore
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 16 — The Calcutta-based Selvel Media Services Limited has expressed anguish over the developments regarding the contract of sector-guide maps, which had already been given to the firm by the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC).

The General Manager(North), Mr B. Dey Neyogi, in a statement, said the company had done projects with various municipal corporations and committees. In view of the wide publicity given by MCC, the firm had approached the corporation with various projects worth over Rs 15 crore initially. As many as 31 firms had submitted the offers and Selvel was given work for Sector 1 to 19 and from Sector 26 to 28. The two other firms were given two other zones but they never turned up, he claimed.

The agreement had already been executed with the firm in the month of March and they had already placed orders and were going to install the finally-approved maps in the next few days. He expressed surprise why this fact was not being disclosed to the councillors and the Press.

Once the agreement had been executed after proper advertisement, there is no question of inviting the tenders afresh, the statement said, adding that the company had not been given contract for free and it was going install the quality maps which was going to be the property of the corporation after three years.

The statement said if any firm had any grievance, it should approach the court of law but once the agreement was executed there was no question of re-opening the tenders. All the firms were given sufficient time of about eight months and detailed discussions were held in the presence of the representatives of the companies.

Denying that the civic body had favoured the company in any way, he said contract to install maps was a fraction of the total work offered by the company amounting to over Rs 15 crore for the development and maintenance of public utilities.


Heavy rush at RPO
By Ruchi Bhandari and Amandeep Kaur

CHANDIGARH, June 16 — Hundreds of people are being harassed everyday due to the delay in issuance of passports by the Regional Passport Office, Chandigarh, which deals with applications from the city besides parts of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

The number of applicants has increased manifold but the timings to deposit the forms remain the same. This is evident in the queues one could witness at the RPO in Sector 34. Mr Jagdish Singh, from Ludhiana, who had come to submit his application lamented: “It is difficult for a person to reach the city at the official time, between 10.00 to 12.30 p.m. The time should be increased up to 2 p.m enabling a person to deposit the form the very same day.”

It is even worse for people from far off places in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana since it takes at least 4 to 5 hours just to reach Chandigarh even if they start at 5 a.m. and hence find it difficult to deposit the forms the same day. The time should be increased, complains another visitor.

This is only a part of the problem. The queues often stretch out in the open where the people are at the mercy of the vagaries of the weather. Today too scores of people could be seen trying to stay cool in the boiling sun. The authorities have not even constructed a shed for the benefit of the people, alleged another applicant.

The Ministry of External Affairs has spent a large sum for the computerisation of the office in Chandigarh, but the effects are still not enjoyed by the people, since the passports are still handwritten and contain a number of mistakes. To get them rectified, it is the same old routine, lamented another applicant.

Apart from this people have complaints regarding the lack of enquiry counters. “ There is no clarity. It is nowhere mentioned that there are different colour files for different purposes. For clarifying every thing, we have to go to the enquiry counters which are very few in number, “says Anita Bajaj, a local resident.

Mr Manjeet Sahdev, President of the Chandigarh Youth Federation, took the initiative to put forward the various problems faced by people. “Despite making so many requests, no prompt action has been taken yet “, he alleged.


A noble man’s noble cause
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 16 — Mr Vijay Arya operates a PCO and STD from a rented booth in Sector 15. He also works as a part-time insurance agent for L.I.C. and G.I.C., from where he manages to earn about Rs 3,000 every month.

However, this month onwards, he has decided to help five handicapped poor students to pursue their studies every month. Fiftyfour-years-old Arya himself is handicapped and has difficulty walking without an aid.

“I had polio when I was barely two years old. The idea of helping poor deserving students was there at the back of my mind for months now It was my father R.L. Arya who helped me realise it,” he said.

Mr Arya has created a fund which he calls ‘Shiv Treasure’ in which he has been collecting money for quite some time now. “It is with this money that I will help five deserving students every month, each of whom would get Rs !00 each.”

He says that anyone fulfilling the requisite conditions can approach him with a bio-data and certificates proving the extend of disability with in a months time.


‘Raise financial aid for terrorist victims’
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, June 16 — Harpal Singh is a man living for a cause despite himself being disabled in a terrorist attack.

Restricted to a wheel-chair for the past 10 years following a crippling terrorist attack, Harpal is full of ideas to improve the lot of the families of terrorist victims. A well-known person in trade union circles, he wants the Punjab Government to do more for terrorist victims. Before the tragedy struck him he was the Secretary of the Punjab unit of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC).

When the TNS went to meet him at his Phase X residence here, he was remembering the tragic day of June 15, 1990, when he was shot at by two youths. A bullet had pierced his throat through his spine following which he was hospitalised and is still under treatment. He says: “ I am lucky that I had the support of my family and many well wishers. But a few persons are lucky like me”.

“ Putting me into wheel-chair, or on to the bed, helping me to answer nature’s call is all done by wife, Ranjit Kaur and son, Amanpreet Singh”. Stating that the government should increase the amount of pension given to the persons disabled in terrorist attacks from Rs 2500, he says that a disabled man needs to take care of himself along with his family. In some districts of Punjab, the terrorist victims are not getting the pension on time. In some cases there was delay of six to seven months. The government should also bring at par the compensation paid to the families of terrorist victims and those disabled in terrorist attacks”.

He also wants that the Punjab Government should provide jobs to the wards of terrorist victims. There are still 200 such applications pending with the government.

Not giving up hope he has been penning letters to the Chief Minister of Punjab and other senior officials in the state government to bear the expenses of rehabilitation of the disabled persons like him. There was treatment available for the paraplegic but many disabled victims of terrorist attacks could not afford it. He himself is waiting for government aid to help him get treated at a hospital at Cochin. He believes that approval of his case would clear the way for other victims. 


Minor girl dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 16 — A minor girl of the Sector 25 labour colony succumbed to her injuries after being hit and injured by a tempo near the Sector 31 and 47 turn.

According to police sources, Chando was crossing the road when she was allegedly hit and seriously injured by the vehicle (HR 37 5236) late last night. She was rushed to the PGI where she expired later on. A case under Sections 279 and 304 - A, IPC, has been registered. The driver, Amardeep Singh, a resident of SAS Nagar, has been arrested.

Case registered: Meena, a resident of Sector 35, complained that she was being harassed and ill treated for bringing inadequate dowry by her husband, Budh Singh, and sister -in -law, Harbans Kaur. A case under Sections 498 - A, 406 and 120 - B, IPC, has been registered.

Theft case: Bapu Dham colony resident Rajwant Singh lodged a complaint that someone has stolen gold and silver jewellery from his residence. A case under Sections 454 and 380 IPC, has been registered.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested Ram Khilawan, a resident of Kumhar colony, and seized 37 pouches of whisky from his possession. A case under Sections 61, 1 and14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Four held: The police has arrested Jagjeev, Rajesh, Ram Chander and Pataun, all residents of colony number 4, on the charges of gambling at a public place and recovered Rs 800 from their possession. A case under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act has been registered.



One arrested for cheating
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 16 — The police has arrested Rajinder Singh Chadha, a Sector 19 resident, for cheating and defrauding Mr Sanjay Kumar, a resident of Sector 39, by selling a house in Sector 20 which the former did not own.

Sources said the complainant alleged that he responded to an advertisement in a leading local daily for a six and a half marla house. The accused posed as the real owner and showed the forged papers of the house and a power of attorney from the previous owner. The deal was settled at Rs 10 lakh but later it was discovered that the papers were false.

The accused has been arrested and a case under Sections 406 and 420, IPC, registered.Back

Case registered
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, June 16 —A resident of Sector 11, Ashok Goyal, reported than cash worth Rs 40,000 was found missing from his scooter dicky on Wednesday afternoon. In his complaint, he said that out of a sum of Rs 80,000, he deposited Rs 40,000 in a bank in Chandigarh and went to his house in Sector 11 for a few minutes, leaving the cash in the dicky. On returning, he found his dicky lock broken and the cash missing. The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC.Back


Fire Department officials hospitalised
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 16 — Three employees of the Fire Department were hospitalised when a gas cylinder “burst” in a Sector 23 swimming pool.

According to sources, Mr Lakhwinder Singh, Station Fire Officer, Jagtar Singh and Lal Bahadur complained of suffocation when they went there to the swimming pool on getting a fire call.


Latest in fashion — at low prices
By Sunaina Pandit and Avneet Sidhu

CHANDIGARH, June 16 — Many youngsters these days are going in for loads of clothes that are in vogue, different types of footwear and other accessories to match.

Having them all is not possible owing to the limited amount of allowance they get. But the rehri-market of Sector 22 is a blessing for those who want to add more to their wardrobes without spending much.

Tops, peddle-pushers, parallels, skirts, caps, sun-glasses, sling-bags and slip-ons — name it and you will get it, that too at reasonable prices.

Maximum customers are the college-goers and among these hostel girls of local colleges top the list. “Here one can get the latest with lots of variety to choose from”, says Preety, a student.

Though the clothes do not last for a long time, it does not matter to those who prefer quantity to quality.

It is a competitive market and most of the time, it is the customers who dictate the prices. As a result, bargaining becomes an important part of shopping here.

Since the shopkeepers, too, are aware of this fact they initially quote high prices.

Goldy, one of the shopkeepers, boasts of selling the same brand of trousers at different prices to different people.

It is difficult to cheat regular rehri market-goers, as from experience they can judge the quality of the product and its price.

Here the brands do not determine the price it is the quality of the cloth on which the prices are decided.

Many brands (mostly duplicate) — Allen Solly, Espirit, Numero Uno, Lee — are available in all ranges. Trousers range from Rs 250 to Rs 500.

“Here you do not hesitate to leave without buying, whereas in big showrooms it becomes a bit embarrassing”, says Archana, a school teacher.

“Anything that is short is selling this season”, says Gulshan Kumar, displaying his merchandise. Peddle-pushers, tunics, wrinkle-cotton skirts and cotton hipsters are selling like hot cakes.

Peddle-pushers are available in four varieties — denim, hosiery cotton, towel stuff and micro — ranging from Rs 175 to Rs 350.

Sun-glasses are available in this market ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 300 whereas the caps start from Rs 25 onwards.

Hand bags are available both in crude leather and suede with labels like Dolce & Gabrana and DKNY. Footwear is another important thing which catches the shoppers’ attention.

Almost all the stuff sold in this market is brought from different places in Delhi.

The reason youngsters come here for shopping is that nowhere else in Chandigarh do they find so much of variety and latest fashion at economical prices.


Fast food, snuff powder and City Beautiful

MY earlier impression that the dietary habits of the people of Chandigarh and its adjoining areas are healthsome has now been defied after an indepth study and assessment of what they eat and drink in their daily routine. A visit to the markets of Sectors 17, 22, 23, and 35 testifies that Chandigarh has gone the Amritsar way. A large area of Sector 23 market, earmarked for a building to house the post-office in the year 1958, is now in the illegal possession of the halwais, who have turned it into an open air eating centre where fast food is served in the evenings. Besides, the growth of a large number of liquor and panwari shops in the city and the surrounding areas, which include Panchkula, SAS Nagar and Zirakpur, indicate that the people of this belt are addicted to wine, cigarrettes, bidis, pan-masala, gutka, and the zarda which carry statutory warning that their consumption is injurious to health. Immediately after taking liquor the habit of chewing zarda, a mixture of chuna and katha, among the wine-takers of Chandigarh and its nearby villages is quite alarming. It is for this very habit that near every wine shop and ahata in the city one finds a zarda-seller sitting in the corridor.

During the course of a recent survey a landlord of Sector 61 argued in favour of liquor saying that ‘its consumption prevents high blood pressure and heart attack’. Similarly, a former Army personnel of the village of Lakhnaur near Chandigarh holds the belief that “the regular consumption of whisky and rum keeps him mentally alert and physically fit.” A few days back when I cautioned a close friend of mine against the intake of large quantity of tobacco and zarda so that it may not cause lung-cancer, his abrupt reaction was that ‘my father never took any intoxicant and still he died of lung-cancer at the young age of 35. Though his reply silenced me, yet it was not convincing, mainly because the mortality rate is on the rise due to enormous increase in consumption of intoxicants and drugs in the city. Surprisingly, the teenagers have been frequenting the chemists’ shops to buy corex, benadryl, proxyvon and avil for satiating their lust for intoxication. The refusal of the chemists to accede to their demand in the absence of a genuine prescription is indeed a welcome step. A seriously conducted survey would certainly prove that the Chandigarhians are more prone to dreaded diseases and that the sale and consumption of preventive medicines and life-saving drugs in the Union Territory of Chandigarh is far higher than in other areas of the region.

An interesting outcome of my analytical study and survey on the subject, however, relates to the extensive use of snuff powder in the city, especially in the adjacent rural areas. A prosperous transporter of the Chandigarh area said that ‘making snuff out of tobacco is a very simple process. Tobacco leaves are dried in front of a fire until they become brittle and crumble at the slightest touch. After crushing the leaves you get an extraordinary fine powder called snuff, he said. In support of taking the snuff powder he said that there is no denying the fact that like smoking, snuff in injurious to health, but it is absolutely not harmful. It has many plus points. For instance, sneezing, which follows inhalation of snuff, prevents the grains from entering the inner passage. Snuff is a stimulant which helps clear the brain and provides immunity from cold and relief to catarrh. It also helps clear the ‘Eustachian Tube’ and thus helps cure deafness besides preventing undue flowing of tears.

The above attributes of snuff powder prompted me to trace its history. Earlier too, during my studies in a high school at Patti in Amritsar district in the 50s I noticed that the people of the Majha areas had special fascination for the snuff powder. Now, since the people in large numbers in Chandigarh and the surrounding areas are habitual of inhaling this scented powder, it becomes relevant to trace its roots.

History has it that the snuff-talking was fairly wide-spread in certain parts of Central and Southern America before the invasion of the Spaniards. Cortez was possibly the first to discover that snuff-taking was common amongst the Mexicans in the early 16th century. Romano Pane’s tales fired the imagination of the Spaniards who were fascinated by tobacco and introduced tobacco and snuff-powder in Europe. Sir Walter Raleigh is believed to have brought this ‘noxious weed’ to England. Snuff-taking in England started in the late 18th century but it was only in the 19th century that the practice reached its zenith.

Snuff-taking was not an instant success. It met with stiff opposition from the church and other conservative elements. In Russia, the Czar went to the extent of decreeing that those found taking snuff would have their noses amputated. Snuff was normally offered to close, intimate relations and select friends. Offering of snuff to those outside this circle was deemed a great honour. Different qualities of snuff were given diversive, evocative and romantic names like Masulipatam, Rappes, Spanish Bran, Old Paris, Brazil and King’s Martinique. Enamel, wood, horn, ivory or bone all went into the making of snuff boxes. The interior lining of the box was usually in gold and the sides were filled with plaques of enamel, porcelain, lacquer, semi-precious stones or card-board. The lid had a mirror inside and the portrait of a lady outside.

Of the Queens who took snuff, the prominent ones were Catherine de Medici of France, Queen Charlotte, wife of George III of England and Queen Caroline, wife of George IV, also of England. Even Mary, Queen of Scots, also sometimes used snuff. The Good Queen Bess too helped herself to fragrant dust.

Of the Kings, George IV, the first gentlemen of Europe, used different kinds of snuff in the morning, the afternoon, the evening and the night, Napoleon enjoyed snuff, as his arch enemy Horatio Nelson did. Other greats belonging to the snuff fraternity were Dryden, Pope, Burns, Addison, Steele, Goldsmith, Keats and Dr Johnson. Winston Churchill liked snuff due to its “clearing-the-mists-in-the-brain’ quality.

Although a large number of people advance their arguments in favour of liquor, tobacco, and snuff powder, yet there is no denying the fact that from the medical viewpoint, all these intoxicants act as slow poisoning, leading to untimely death. It is heartening to note that in capital city of Delhi and other prominent towns and cities of the country, drug de-addiction centres have been doing their very best in persuading the drug addicts, mainly the teenagers, to abandon the consumption of intoxicants.

These centres have been utilising the services of the qualified doctors and psychiatrists. Such centres are required to be opened in Chandigarh and its adjoining areas so that addiction to drugs could be checked for the healthy growth of the society of the City Beautiful.

— By J. S. Bedi


Bhutta season is on
By Ruchi Bhandari and Amandeep Kaur

CHANDIGARH, June 16 — Zestful and tempting bhuttas are back on the streets. Not only a favourite among tiny tots but elders also get carried away by the aroma of bhuttas being slowly roasted on coals at roadsides.

The whiff of the freshly roasted bhuttas tempts one while strolling or window shopping in Sector 17 or whiling away time at the piazza in sector-22, besides other public places. What could be better than eating a bhutta from the roadside? It is tasty and yummy, especially when rubbed over with lemon and salt. Not only this, it’s cheap and non-fattening too, being rich in proteins and vitamins.

They are on tap with the onset of the monsoon and the season will last till the end of August. “Corn being seasonal, it is difficult for us to eke a living out of it round the year. We have to change our means of earning during winters," comments one of the cob vendors in Sector 17

Popularly known as chhallis, these are available in various sizes and rates. A chhalli smaller in size is priced at Rs 2 and while a bigger one costs Rs 5. “It’s so delicious and cheap that I don’t mind having two at a time. Not only this they are good for health also," chuckles Mrs Kapoor, who cannot resist the temptation of having one when she goes out.

Most of the corn-cobs are procured from Himachal and Punjab and are brought directly to the mandis from where they are purchased by the vendors. They further sell them at various public places. “It’s very difficult to sell them at times since there is no place for us to sit. We are hard hit during the rainy days and these are the days when the demand is at the maximum.”

“This is only a part of the problem. Many officials from the Estate Office come and harass us,” complains a female vendor in sector-22.


PCL union alleges harassment
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, June 16 — The confrontation between the PCL Communication Employees Union and the management of the company following the dismissal of at least four members of the union over the alleged case of assault on an executive of the company today took a new turn with the union levelling charges of harassment of women staff by certain officials of the management.

While talking to mediapersons the leaders of the union alleged that an executive of the company, who was in charge of the assembly line had misbehaved with certain women employees of the company. They claimed that complaints in this regard to the management had failed to yield any result.

The General Secretary of the union, Mr Som Dutt, alleged that those who complained were transferred from one to the other unit. He said to register his protest he would sit on a 72-hour dharna. He alleged that on June 13 seven women employees were made to sign on certain documents.

A spokesman of the company, Col S.S. Sandhu (retd), when contacted totally refuted the allegations of the union. He said the General Secretary of the union, Som Dutt, who was himself member of a Sexual Harassment Committee constituted on the guidelines of the Supreme Court, had never brought any case before it. He claimed that the facts were fabricated after the union leaders were dismissed following the assault on an executive of the company.


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