Monday, October 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Capital a lucrative turf for kidnappers
Ravi Bhatia & Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 28
Is Delhi fast becoming a lucrative hunting ground for gangsters specialising in kidnapping for ransom? Going by the official figures of the Delhi Police, on an average a kidnapping for ransom is reported every third day, a trend which could send a chill down the spine of every citizen. The malaise has also spread to the adjoining cities in the National Capital Region, that is Faridabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Ghaziabad.

Till date, the police have registered 132 cases this year compared to 96 during the same period last year. The disturbing trend that has emerged on analysing these figures is that in most of the cases organised criminal gangs from the adjoining states were involved. Only in a few cases, relatives or acquaintances, who wanted to make a fast buck, perpetrated the crime.

According to the police analyses, the victims, contrary to the general perception, belonged to the middle class or, in some cases, even the lower middle class. Only a few cases involving the affluent business class were reported.

A senior police officer said that criminals involved in kidnapping for ransom were active in the border districts and Central Delhi.

They are known to have their bases in Western UP and Haryana, where they normally return after striking, making it difficult for the police to follow the leads. “It is precisely for this reason that an attempt is being made to ensure greater cooperation between the police forces of the neighbouring states and the Delhi Police”, the senior police officer said.

The North-West district, which shares its border with Haryana, tops the list of kidnapping-for-extortion cases. Next follows Central Delhi, which is considered the most sensitive district in the Capital. A total of 27 extortion cases were reported in the North-West district this year as against only 10 last year; in Central Delhi 21 cases were reported this year as against 8 cases last year. The area-wise breakup of kidnapping-cum-extortion cases this year was: East – 17, South – 15, West – 11, North-East – 11, New Delhi – 7, South-West – 6, Indira Gandhi International Airport – 1, and Delhi Railway Police – 7.

Senior police officers said that the disturbing trend of kidnapping for ransom was first noticed several years ago when some gangs from western Uttar Pradesh – which had some peripheral links with underworld dons like Dawood Ibrahim, Chota Shakeel and Abu Salem – descended on the Capital for easy prey. After a spate of such incidents, the Delhi Police was forced to form a special task force, the Anti Kidnapping Cell, within the ambit of the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police.

At the same time, a number of lesser-known gangs also jumped into the fray and made the Capital, which has a surfeit of affluent families, their hunting ground. It was easy money for them as most of the families paid up willingly to ensure the safety of their loved ones. This gave further impetus to the crime.

The Delhi Police was forced to issue special guidelines to the potential victims of such crimes at that time, which included not flaunting their affluence, changing routes periodically to the office or the school and maintaining a close liaison with the local police station through private security guards. They also recommended that the women and children of such families should not venture out alone, specially to isolated destinations. Carrying of cell phones to be used in cases of emergency was also recommended. These guidelines are still in force though few care to adhere to them as it restricts their life style, an officer of the Anti Kidnapping Cell said.

However, despite all these precautions kidnapping for ransom continues to be the most popular crime in the Capital.

Recently, the son of a businessman in Maujpur area of North-East district was kidnapped by a neighbour and taken to Etah. He demanded Rs 5 lakh ransom for the safe release of the victim. However, the suspect was arrested following a raid, with the help of the UP Police in Etah. The son of a businessman was kidnapped from St Giri school in Sarita Vihar area by a gangster active in Noida and Ghaziabad. A painter who worked in the house of the victim was involved in the crime along with gangsters.


Watch out for the hustlers of the night
J T Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 28
Next time you hear a mysterious hiss or a hush-hush ‘ssshh..ssshh’ from behind a bush or at a traffic intersection, there is no need to get startled. Chances are that it is an invitation from the ‘real queens’ of Delhi – the `eunuchs’ – for a momentary ‘indulgence’.

At dusk, Capital’s every major intersection becomes a pick-up point for the creatures of the night. Be it the traffic intersection near Tilak Marg railway bridge, at the AIIMS, Dhaula Kuan, Connaught Place, Lajpat Nagar, Ashram Chowk, New Delhi Railway Station, Maharani Bagh, Sarai Kale Khan or Lady Harding Medical College – all important landmarks of New Delhi – one may get to hear the nocturnal call for a date.

Some of them offer their ‘services’ for even a paltry sum of Rs 50. And their customers are mostly labourers, vendors and unemployed youth from neighboring states.

This is a recurring sight under the Tilak Bridge near ITO, a stone’s throw from the Delhi Police Headquarters, where at least a few policemen are deployed in the evenings. The cops watch the eunuchs openly soliciting customers and escorting them into bushes on either sides of the bridge.

Some of them operate in posh areas and demand higher rates, depending on the customer. Of course, for people who are willing to pay more, even ‘Home service’ is available on special request.

The hush-hush calls are hurled at every passer-by at selected vantage points “Come with Rs 50, and that is enough to have fun with me – don’t worry about the rest, we only give the best,” proclaimed a eunuch, when this correspondent pretended to be a prospective customer.

These eunuchs, who are mostly residents of jhuggi clusters in the Capital, fan out in the evening, in search of clients. On a busy day, an aggressive eunuch gets to meet eight to 10 customers and about three to four on a lean day. Daily they earn up to Rs 500; this is in addition to whatever sums they extort at weddings and birth ceremonies.

One can also find a few loitering in trains, harassing the passengers But, beware! Eunuchs always move around with bouncers, who make sure that no harm is inflicted by a customer. Often they enter into a brawl with the customers, when things get out of hand. On occasions, customers have been beaten up and robbed by the eunuchs and their guards.

However, office-bearers of the representative body of the eunuchs in the Capital debunk such allegations and dub it as an attempt by the public to tarnish their image.

Others attribute the hustling on the streets to the waning of the traditional trade – these days they are seldom showered with gifts and money on auspicious occasions.


Thanks to Bill and Putin, Delhi’s hotels bounced back last fiscal
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 28
Economic slowdown and job cuts, besides the war on terrorism, are the talk of the time in boardrooms, chat rooms and TV talk rooms. Blue chip bosses aren’t coming here to sign new contracts anymore. Foreign tourists aren’t coming either.

If they aren’t coming, the hotel industry which depends largely on them is going to have a hard time keeping their necks above water, right? But that is for the future. Hotels in Delhi in fact have had a ball of a time in 2000-2001, according to a survey.

Delhi’s quality hotels actually bounced back in 2000-01 from the decline in its occupancy rates in the last three years. The hotels in the Capital had 8.9 per cent more occupancy this fiscal compared to the 1.3 per cent decline in occupancy rate in 1998-99 and 1999-2000, the 2001 edition of the `City Survey’ said.

The survey by the leading hospitality industry consultants, PKF, showed that after a period of decline, the hotel industry in the Capital had bounced back with a bang.

During the survey period, several leading world leaders visited the country including the then US President Bill Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin. With them came an entourage of top officials, special agents, reporters and their high tech equipment.

The rooms, cuisine, the restaurant and the tables in which they ate became the much sought after spots.

“Delhi’s recovery bring cheer to the hotel industry, as the market had seen a long period of decline over the last three years. If this trend continues, we should continue to see an increase in the number of rooms occupied, which may, however, come with pressure on average room rates resulting from increased supply in the city,” said Uttam Dave, CEO of PKF.

The survey found that the average room rates, although not showing an increase, decreased only by just 1.9 per cent, a marked improvement from the decline in the previous year of 12.2 per cent.

Delhi’s quality hotels had an average occupancy rate of 67.4 per cent at an average room rate of Rs 5,080. Thus revenue per available room had increased by five per cent and the total room revenue of all Delhi’s quality hotels increased by 6.8 per cent.

Among the market segments, almost all showed an increase, with the most impressive being seen in the MICE segment [meeting, incentives, conferences and exhibitions] at 16 per cent. This was followed closely by the rack and corporate segment, which increased at 14-15 per cent.

The tour group segment too has shown 9.6 per cent growth. The air crew segment actually showed a decline at 6.2 per cent, perhaps due to better connectivity and turn-around domestic flights.

“The Grant Hyatt, Welcome Hotel Marriott, Metropolitan Nikko and ITC One have become mostly operational this year. Now all eyes are on the proposed ITDC disinvestment programme, which could potentially add to Delhi eight new hotels with up to 1,100 rooms in one swoop over the next, say, three to five years,” Dave added.


Abductors of 13-yr-old arrested
Parmindar Singh
Tribune News Service

Ghaziabad, October 28
The three alleged abductors of the 13-year-old son of a correspondent of a foreign magazine have been nabbed by he police.

The boy was abducted on October 9 and a ransom of Rs 10 lakh was demanded. Surprisingly, one of the abductors turned out to be a friend of the boy.

Praveeen, son of Kishan Singh Negi, a resident of Brij Vihar Colony which falls under the Link road police station, did not return home on October 9 from his Sanctuary School in Chander Nagar, where he is a 5th class student. Negi, a representative of Financial Times, London, immediately filed a missing person report in the Link road police station.

According to City S P Ahok Raghav, Negi was informed on the phone on October 11 that his son had been kidnapped; also, Rs 10 lakh was demanded for latter’s safe return. Negi's phone was subsequently tapped by the police and it was learnt that calls were being made from a neighbour's house.

Commanding Officer, Border, Ajay Sachdev revealed that the kidnappers were making calls from the residence of a Delhi Telcom employee, Panchan Singh. A kidnapping case was accordingly registered on October 18 and special teams put on the job by the police.

The abducted boy Praveen suddenly surfaced in his house on October 25. It was subsequently learnt that Rajeev Saxena, a youth of Brij Vihar, had taken Praveen along with him to Etawah.

According to the police, the prime suspect had developed a casual friendship with the boy at his classmate’s residence. In Etawah, the kidnappers developed cold feet and freed the boy.


Hockey kept out of festivities
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, October 28
The Delhi Olympic Association will celebrate the Delhi Olympic Week in grand style, as the Delhi contingent for the National Games, to be held in
Punjab next month, will be selected on the basis of their performance in it.

More than 5,000 sportspersons will vie for honours in 23 disciplines from October 30 to November 3 at the Delhi University grounds to prove their worth in order to be included in the National Games contingent. However, hockey will be conspicuous by its absence, despite Delhi boasting of three brand new astro turfs--two at the National Stadium and one at the Shivaji Stadium.

Delhi Olympic Association president Raj Chopra said the exclusion of hockey from the Olympic Week was due to the dormant state of the Delhi Hockey Association (DHA).

“If someone from the DHA meets us, we have no problem in including hockey in the Olympic Week," Raj Chopra informed.


Impasse at Escorts persists
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, October 28
The stand-off between the Escorts group management and the Escorts Employees Union continues with both sides seem to be holding their ground. While the union has threatened to go on an indefinite strike from November 1, the management hopes that the union would not take any decision in haste.

Although several rounds of talks have taken place between the management and the union, the agreement could not be reached with the latter sticking to its demand.

The union is reported to be demanding the reinstatement of all the workers removed in the recent past and the total implementation of the agreement reached with it in 1998.

However, the management is not ready to take back some of the workers, which it thinks, had been the main trouble-makers from time to time.

Even the office of the Deputy Labour Commissioner here has failed to resolve the issue, despite several attempts.

The labour officials, it is learnt, have threatened to take the matter to the labour court as the issue is becoming a problem of law and order.

It is stated that if the workers of all the Escorts plants go on strike than, it would not only affect the employment of over 10,000 regular employees, but could lead to the closure of several ancillary units providing employment to about 40,000 workers at present.


Pooja Batra springs a surprise
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 28
Sunday afternoon frolickers at Appu Ghar were in for a pleasant surprise when film actress Pooja Batra made a brief appearance. Attired in a snazzy outfit, Batra mingled with the crowd, obliged autograph seekers and also posed with kids before shutterbugs.

Batra’s visit was part of a promo exercise undertaken by soft drink behemoth Coca Cola, which has recently engaged the services of the actress to market their products as a brand ambassador.

Batra was received by senior officials of Appu Ghar. Later, she visited seven other outlets in the Capital, including Nathu Sweets and Ansal Plaza, as part of the promo.

Coca Cola and its biggest competitor, Pepsi, are locked in a severe marketing war, which has already entered courtrooms amidst allegations of trademark infringement and legality of comparative advertising.

Pooja Batra made her debut in the blockbuster Virasat, but has been choosy in selecting her assignments, which explains why viewers do not see her on the screen as often as they would like.


Restoring a dug-up road takes an eternity
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 28
In the last three years, residents of several housing societies on the Mother Dairy Road in the prestigious Indraprastha Extension area of East Delhi have come to realise what official apathy means. A 2,000-metre stretch of road in front of the Saraswati Kunj society, which caved in one night three years ago, continues to be in the same condition despite repeated attempts of residents to have it restored to its original, workable condition.

The stretch of road has now become a bane of residents as it forces motorists from either direction to converge on the narrow single lane on the other side, causing considerable traffic bottlenecks and risk to life and property of the residents.

The residents complain that since the road witnesses some of the heaviest traffic in the trans-Yamuna area because of the over 100 housing societies located there, the stretch has given rise to innumerable accidents, at least three of them fatal, during the last couple of years.

For parents, it is a nightmare everyday since morning when they venture out to see off their children at the bus stops. As the stretch is closed, all the heavy and other vehicles are forced to take a turn to access the other side of the road where children wait for their buses. Sometimes, the vehicles barely miss the children.

Since the buses are forced to stop at the middle of the road, the traffic coming up from the rear and also from the opposite direction comes to a virtual halt leading to acrimony and cacophony of blaring horns shattering the peace and tranquility of the residents.

Mr Sanjay Chugh, a resident of one of the societies who comes to drop his six-year-old son, Manas, to the stop every morning has run out of epithets against the civic authorities for their neglect and total unconcern. “What can we do? No one seems to listen to us,” he exclaims in desperation. This is also the refrain of others. Many of the parents are now seriously thinking of launching a sit-in to force the authorities into some action on the matter.

Official agencies admit that there is a problem but no one wants to go on record or to be quoted for some inexplicable reason. They blame it all on the all-encompassing multiplicity of authority which is supposed to explain why things do not move.

According to them, the trouble started three years ago when the almost 2,000-metre stretch of road caved in. The culprit was a sewer pipe which started leaking. The water gushing out of it had eroded the earth below the road.

The contract for repairing the pipe was promptly given, the road closed down, dug up and then abandoned as the contractor reportedly found himself unable to handle the job. After several months, another contractor was found to take up the work and then the Municipal Corporation of Delhi decided to move in.

Some more months elapsed. The sewer pipes were finally laid but a controversy erupted among various agencies as to which agency would now fill the pit dug on the stretch.

After some months, things were again sorted out and the pit was filled. However, much to the chagrin of the residents, there was another leak, this time it was the main water line. There was a huge water fountain erupting from the stretch. The authorities were duly informed. The area inspectors and senior officials visited the spot and ordered that it should be repaired expeditiously.

For almost six months, the fountain kept on erupting at regular intervals. Orders were given to replace the entire section of the pipe. It took another three months for replacing the pipe after digging up the stretch again. That was in August.

The road remains closed even now. Which agency will now take the responsibility of filling the stretch yet again and repairing the road? The question is likely to haunt the residents for some more time unless someone at the top takes interest and gets things moving.


Packaged Ganesha, diyas as Diwali comes calling
Tribune News Service

If festival of lights is round the corner, can Ganesha be far behind? Archies has introduced in the market idols of Ganesha in various postures and colours like `dancing Ganesha’, `sitting Ganesha’, ‘Ganesha in a box’, `big ear Ganesha’, ‘crawling Ganesha’, `reclining Ganesha’ and `Ganesha with book’. They are available in different sizes and vibrant colours like purple, red, gold, copper and grey. Some of the idols have a metal finish, which adds luster to them.

A variety of diyas beautifully adorned with gold, silver, colourful threads and traditional molis is available in various designs like `gold diyas on plate’, `sarangi diyas’ and `matka diyas’. The traditional `hatri’ and `chokri’ used during the Diwali puja are intricately designed using beautiful beads and kauris, colourful silk threads and traditional moli. The evening `puja thalis’ with the traditional motifs of diya and nariyal are also available. These products could be purchased online.

Designer candles

From clothes to even eggs, everything is turning designer these days. It’s now the turn of candles to become designer and trendy.

The Candle Company, for the festive season, has launched flickering candlelight, which can clam and soothe even the most frazzled nerves after a long hard day. These candles come in various fragrances, colours and shapes to fight every mood.

The designer candles from the company have non-drip and slow burning qualities. They are hand-crafted using premium waxes and fragrances. They are scented with pure essential oils.

Crystal figurines

Swarovski’s three new silver crystal figurines captivate the beholder at fight sight. The exquisite crystal designs, the `Ibex’, `Young Gorilla’ and `Lion’ are the latest addition to the Swarovski’s silver crystal range.

Ibex is the undisputed king of the Alps. The silver crystal, Ibex, with its long-twisted horns, is the latest addition to the endangered species theme. It stands on a rock of matt crystal and, just like his natural counterpart, surveys the mountain scenery around.

Ibex greets the mountain trekker from its vantage point on the dizzy heights of mountain tops. Its horns, which can grow to a length of one metre, is its unmistakable trademark.

Toast to mothers

With the triumph of good over evil and the Dasehra coming to an end, it is time to get back to the school early in the morning. Inalsa Appliances has launched a sandwich toaster for the benefit of working mothers to save some precious minutes in the morning.

Available in three different colours, it has a 700-watt heaters, teflon-coated cook plates, heater and supply indicators, bigger and contoured cook plates and an in-built safety fuse.

Plastic paint

Shrayans Coating has launched a new plastic paint for exteriors with the brand name, Progressive Josh. The paint available at the cost of a cement paint is durable, washable and economical. There is no need of wetting the wall after using the paint. Since its water base is its speciality, the paint has a life span of five years.

Available in 28 colours, the paint can be used in place of oil. Apart from this, it can also be used for base coat, water base, cement primer, acrylic emulsion and oil bond inside the room.

Safe geysers

The Anupam Group of Industries has launched a new range of geysers in the market, which are available from one litre to 50 litre capacity. Coming with an ISI mark, these geysers are available in plane as well as in different designs and colours and can attract anyone.

They have thermostat, cut out, safety valve, PRV and NRD for safety and security. The inner tank of the geysers is made of copper. They are also available in ceramic and can withstand hard water.

Green minibus

Mahindra and Mahindra has launched its CNG minibus, Hari Bharri, for Delhi market keeping in view the environment. The minibus is equipped with a brand new CNG engine and it offers greater fuel economy, has provision for 2x65 CC CNG cylinders and complies with Indian emission norms.

Hi-roof with central gangway giving adequate headroom, hydraulic brakes, Euro-II compliant engine, ergonomically designed seats and low step height to give easy entry into the bus are the other features of the bus.

Trendy dockers

The global khaki brand leader, Dockers, has unveiled its new range of trousers. Named Nice Pants, the trousers are designed to appeal to the urbane man of immaculate taste. The accent is on contemporary sophistication, enough to give a pleasurable, nice experience.

Trousers in `tencel’, the new generation fabric, provide wrinkle-free comfort and unique colours, as the natural cellulose fibre absorbs each shade better. For comfort wearing allowing stretch without losing the smart, dapper look, the stretch trousers come in two basic international styles – the slim fit and the flat front design. Dockers Corduroys are available in both flat and pleated front designs and has cotton twill trousers and premium micro-sanded 100 per cent cotton wrinkle-free trousers. Its Dress Pants gives a more formal look


Effigies of Osama, Musharraf burnt
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 28
Accusing Pakistan of blackmailing the United States for having provided logistical support to the strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan, National Akali Dal activists burned effigies of Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf and Saudi exile Osama bin Laden at the Jantar Mantar today. They were protesting against, what they called was, a campaign of terror unleashed by Islamic fundamentalists.

Demanding that the government raise the issue of cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir with the American political leadership, the president of the National Akali Dal, Mr Paramjit Singh ‘Pamma’, said that this was the opportune moment to flush out the terrorists and herald an era of peace in the trouble-torn state.

Raising slogans, the protestors also burned an effigy of Khalistani leader Jagjit Singh Chauhan who, they alleged, was being supported by elements in the Pakistani establishment to foment tension here. Gen Pervez Musharraf, Mr Paramjit said, had been providing Mr Chauhan with arms and monetary support since his tenure as Army chief.


Water, power shortage angers people in Jhajjar
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, October 28
Peeved at the failure of the authorities to cater to the basic needs of water and electricity, coupled with the controversial new house tax policy and replacement of electricity meters, people’s resentment against the authorities appears to have deepened. Their anger has led to a string of rallies, bandhs and meetings organised by the main opposition parties – the Congress and the HVP - throughout the district.

Another issue of contention is the alleged interference of the state government in the internal affairs of the Arya Partinidhi Sabha that has a large following in the district.

The Sabha, in its meeting held here last week, gave a call to organise demonstration in every district headquarters on November 1 to protest against the ‘interference’ of the government.

Ms Amita Yadav, Mahila State Congress chief, said, “People are in an agitated mood over the installation of new electricity meters. They are already suffering because of water and power scarcity in the region.”

The meetings were organised in Maternhala, Mohanbari, Bhurawas, Chhara, Kharar and Badsa villages. Meanwhile, a general body meeting of the Sabha, chaired by Swami Omanand, was held in its gurukul at Jhajjar on October 17. According to informed sources, the Sabha decided to hold demonstrations at all the district headquarters on November 1.


Mobike safari for religious harmony
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 28
A motorbike expedition to spread the message of religious harmony, love and universal brotherhood was flagged off over the weekend from the Rajghat. The expedition will travel across Delhi and Haryana before terminating at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Religious leaders of all faiths were present at the flagging-off ceremony. Christened as “Quami Ekta Yatra”, the motorbike expedition was flagged off by Nityananda Saraswati Ji, Khwaja Afzal Nizami, Father A Suresh and Sardar Satnam Singh along with socio-economic activists on Saturday morning.

The team comprises a group of young enthusiasts who would ride on seven motorbikes and on the way, meet with prominent personalities, socio-religious organisations besides schoolchildren, to spread the message of religious harmony and love. The expedition is jointly organised by the Foundation for Religious Harmony and Universal Peace, Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Gandhi Hindustani Sahitya Sabha and Panjabi Chetna Manch.


Boy’s body found in canal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 28
The body of a boy of around three years was retrieved from the Hindon canal in the vicinity of Kali Temple near New Ashok Nagar on Saturday. According to police officials, the body was spotted by passers-by who alerted the police.

Preliminary reports suggested that the body had gone missing three or four days back. No injury marks were present on the person of the deceased

Man killed

Hoshiar Singh (45), a resident of JJ cluster, Khayala village was reported missing since yesterday morning by the members of his family.

Later in the evening, he was found dead with multiple injuries on his body. Police said that they were still searching for the murderers and a case of murder has been registered in the Vikas Puri police station.

Found dead

Bharat (45), a resident of Wazirpur JJ cluster was found dead on Sunday morning in mysterious circumstances in his jhuggi. He died in the morning because of head injuries. Someone had hit him with an iron rod while he was asleep. A case of murder has been registered.

Killed by friend

Rakesh had gone out with his three friends Raju, Pinto and Dalip and decided to have liquor our in Trilokpuri area of East Delhi. After having it, Pinto and Rakesh started fighting over a petty issue which later turned out to be serious.

Rakesh alias Mottu (24) intervened to sort out the matter. Both Pinto and Dalip stopped fighting. But after an hour, Pinto returned to Rakesh and hit him with a heavy object on his head. Rakesh died on the spot. Police have arrested Pinto and has registered a case of murder.

Van stolen

Three unidentified youths robbed a Maruti van of Arun Kumar at a knife point. Arun Kumar was coming back to his house in Vikas Puri on the Outer Ring Road late last evening. A case of robbery has been registered in Vikas Puri police station and the inquiry is on.

4 criminals held

Ghaziabad; The Garh police have arrested four criminals who came to loot a petrol pump in Garh Mukteshwar. One of the criminals, however, escaped in the darkness.

Simbhawli police station incharge was on night patrol when he noticed some suspicious-looking person near a petrol pump on the national highway. When challenged, they ran towards field and started firing on the police, but SI Udhyan Kumar Singh surrounded them and arrested Mukesh, Raju and Arun


Corporate honchos think up ways to lift morale
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 28
With the economy moving towards recession and corporate morale plunging into depression, it is only natural that industry majors would want to pause for a while, ponder over the scope of competition and ask themselves the question: what will make businesses overcome the challenges posed by the global downturn?

They did exactly that earlier this week when corporate bigwigs and human resource (HR) professionals turned out to share their recipe for success.

The occasion was a round-table HR meet hosted by the Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad, to deliberate on the cultural interventions for creating a winning organisation. The intention, as the participants were to repeat so often during the course of the proceedings, was to understand the importance of appropriate culture to derive business performance.

Dwelling on the need for defining the basics and importance of understanding the key deliverables, the vice-president (HR) of Pepsi, Mr Ashok Narain, felt that people failed not only because of the inability to understand and manage cultural transition but also because of lack of common business objective and shared understanding.

The general consensus was that it was the organisational culture that drives change and excellence rather than conventional themes. Mr Thomas Chandy, a senior manager of Coca Cola, noted that the present-day changes due to globalisation, competition for profitability and mass customisation had led to organisational erosion and, thus, organisational culture today had become a source of competitive advantage since it cannot be imitated. Sharing similar sentiments was Gillette’s regional HR director (India and South Asia), Mr Arun Sehgal, who reasoned on how channeling the energies of people to meet goals and fostering collaboration and innovation can lead organisations to success. Mr Brij Chandiramani, executive director (HR) of Xerox Modicorp, and Mr P Dwarakanath, HR director of GSK, emphasised on total commitment and involvement of top leadership for managing change. Winners don’t do different things; they do things differently, don’t they?

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