Tuesday, December 4, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



UT’s power demand may rise drastically
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Last month the power share of Chandigarh was reduced. The city used to get 4 per cent of the total unallocated power available with the Central Government under its projects. This has been brought down to 2 per cent. And this inflow of power into the UT is only during day time hours. Already engineers are struggling to meet the peak demand between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. At the moment the peak supply is about 136 MW during evening hours while the demand is about 20 MW more that the existing allocation. So far the staggered weekly off day of the industry helping meet the demand.

Chandigarh, December 3
Power-hungry Chandigarh will require more and more power in the next three years. This surge in demand for power will be difficult to meet. Therefore, the shortfall is projected to go up, leading to longer power cuts.

The demand is projected to rise from the maximum of 190 MW this year to 254 MW by 2004. On the other hand, the shortfall will be 47 MW. up from the existing 19 MW. The existing shortfall is met through rotational power cuts imposed during peak summer and winter months. If the shortfall is increased, this will require longer power cuts, said sources.

Well-placed sources said if the shortfall is to be met, three thermal plants planned by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in Bihar have to come up on schedule, that is within the Tenth Plan which starts April 2002. Chandigarh gets its power from various sources. The first is the allocated power and the other is adhoc allocation. In the last year the surplus of the eastern grid was diverted to Chandigarh. Also, the share of UT from the Centre’s unallocated power was hiked after hectic lobbying by the Chandigarh Administration.

The surge in demand for power cannot be controlled, opined engineers. More and more electronic gadgets are being introduced and easy availability of finance has helped people buy more goods. In one year the peak demand has gone up from 176 MW to 190 MW. It is expected to go upto 210 MW next year.

On meeting the demand, sources say Chandigarh Administration is hoping that going by past examples Chandigarh gets at least 1 per cent power allocation of Central projects. If projects of the NTPC, the National Hydro Power Corporation and the Nuclear Power Corporation go as per schedule, the future demand of Chandigarh can be met.

Chandigarh has already signed power purchase agreements for assured allocation of about 18 MW of power. These will be available only after 2003. On the other hand, an increased rate of power led to UT backing out of signing a purchase agreement with two of NTPC’s projects.


Disabled kids get special passes for Mohali Test
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The tears which happiness begets are priceless and more so when they flow from eyes of people accustomed to sadness. Tagore Theatre witnessed many such tears today, venue as it was to the concluding function of the Disability Week celebrations organised by UT Social Welfare Department.

It would be an understatement to term today’s function as a plain, formal government function marked by a string of cultural performances. The show was significant in its own right — not just on account that the kids handling the show were infirm physically or mentally but also on account that they overcame their impediments well enough to generate applause. The performances were quite vibrant and the kids were brimming with hope.

Another cause of happiness for the children is that they will be able to watch the India-England cricket match at PCA Stadium , SAS Nagar. About 50 special passes have been arranged for them: December 4 has been reserved for children of the Institute for the Blind; December 5 for kids of Bhawan Vidyalaya and Vatika Deaf and Dumb School; December 6 for GIMRC and St Soldier’s School and December 7 again for children of GIMRC.

Back to the function — Adviser to UT Administrator Ms Neeru Nanda was overwhelmed as she gave away prizes to the deserving kids who have brought name to their respective institutions. Ms Nanda described the cultural show presented by the disabled children as novel and highly enjoyable. “I don’t have words to tell you how good I felt being here,” said Ms Nanda, adding, “your show is even better than that organised by other government school kids.” The statement attracted huge applause, as was expected.

Ms Nanda said that the Administration was willing to allot land to disabled children so that they could open juice counters, tea and coffee stalls at prime locations in the city. “We have some such kids running juice bars at the lake chef. We are sure anyone working like this can easily earn Rs 2000 per month.” The Administration has decided to allot one booth to a disabled person in Sector 34 market. Not just that, talks are also on with some private houses which have been convinced to employ at least one disabled person each in their respective firms. Said Ms Nanda, “The organisations working for the disabled should prepare a profile of children and send it to the Social Welfare Department so that we can start working on this project.” The Administration has also written to all educational institutions asking them to consider disabled persons in case of allotting of canteen contracts.

Prior to the prize distribution ceremony, the disabled children presented many cultural items. These included song by the children of Institute for the Blind, harmonium presentation by Sunita Dogra, solo song by Tejaswanai of Sadhna Society for Mentally Retarded children, folk dance by kids of Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children, Sector 32, group song by students of YTTS, Dandiya by children of Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan.

Needless to say, the children enjoyed every bit of attention the gathering showered on them. For once, people were patient with what they saw. Among the prize winners were Master Bhupinder who won the third prize in all India painting contest, Gurpreet who won a bronze medal in international hockey held at Alaska. The overall yoga trophy (in the North Zone yoga contest) was bagged by GIMRC, Sector 32, so was the overall cultural trophy.

In the North Zone Cricket Tournament, the best bowler award went to Gurpreet, best batsman was Prabhjot, man of the series was Shekhar from Navjyoti, Delhi, runners up trophy went to GIMRC, and the overall trophy was given to Navjyoti, Delhi. The vote of thanks was proposed by Director, Social Welfare, Madhavi Kataria. Also present was Secretary, Social Welfare, Mr G.K. Marwah.


Rs 40 lakh for expansion of Saket
Tribune News Service

Deputy Commissioner Jyoti Arora interacts with disabled children at Saket Hospital, after they were donated wheel chairs on the World Disabled Day at Panchkula on Monday.
Deputy Commissioner Jyoti Arora interacts with disabled children at Saket Hospital, after they were donated wheel chairs on the World Disabled Day at Panchkula on Monday.
— A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, December 3
A sum of Rs 40 lakh would be spent for the expansion of building and for purchase of latest equipment at Saket Institute, Sector 1, Panchkula.

This was stated by Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jyoti Arora, while presiding over the International Disabled Day held here today. She said apart from this, proposals worth Rs 13.5 lakh has been sent to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for projects of community based rehabilitation for the rural areas of the district and legal literacy, including legal counselling, so that all facilities could be provided to the handicapped at their doorsteps.

She called upon the handicapped children to use their abilities to overcoming the limitations caused by physical disability. She promised videogames to each handicapped student by the District Red Cross Society. Five tricycles were also given to children from the District Red Cross Society.

Dr Jhalani, Director of Saket Institute, gave a briefing about the activities of the institute. He said the daily OPD facility at the institute from January 1, 2001, had resulted in providing more services to the patients and that 40 per cent more people had been benefitted.

Various competitions like carrom, darts, crutch race, wheelchair race, tricycle, toffee race, relay race etc. were also held. 


Children ‘walk to freedom’ for disabled mates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
More than 2,000 children participated in the first ever ‘walk for freedom’ organised by the Youth Technical Training Society (YTTS) in collaboration with the Chandigarh Administration here today.

As the regional partner of the National Council for the Promotion and Employment of Disabled People (NCPEDP), the YTTS had organised this walk for creating awareness about the special needs of the disabled people here today.

The walk was flagged off by the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, from the Sector 9 Matka Chowk. At least 1,000 children belonging to the slums, participated in the walk along with 150 disabled children and children from other schools. The participants walked to the Sector 17 Parade Ground from the chowk.

The disabled children, who participated in the walk, are being educated and taken care of at the ‘‘Pustak’’ schools being run by the YTTS in the city. A memorandum was also presented to Ms Nanda advocating the issue of barrier-free accessibility for disabled persons in all public buildings of the city.

The NCPEDP in collaboration with its regional partners is organising such walks all over the country in all the state capitals to create awareness among the general public about the various disabilities and how people living with learn to lead a normal life.


Sec 17 parking bid fetches Rs 1 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Decks were cleared today for paid parkings in Sectors 17 and 8 with the Municipal Corporation granting their contract on an amount of Rs 1.25 crore.

Contract for five paid parking zones in Sector 17 were awarded to Jagtar and Rakesh Singla Company, whose bids were higher than his competitor, Inderpal and Company. The reserve price for Sector-17 was Rs 1,000, 5700.

However, the Sector-8 bids could only fetch Rs 9 lakh from contractors against a reserved price of Rs 13 lakh. The contract for Sector 8 was given to a combined bidder on an offer of Rs 9 lakh as separate bids for two lots in Sector 8 were only able to get Rs 6.76 lakh. There was no bidder for the Sector-9 parking lot.

The paid parking is likely to be started from December 15, sources indicated. The contract was given for a period of one year. The contractors will have to deposit 25 per cent of the bid amount immediately and the rest of the amount will be payable in eight installments.

The contract was given after two unsuccessful attempts with contractors withdrawing on November 28 against a provision of free parking upto 10 minutes and conditions of payment, among others.


Water woes irk Mullanpur residents
Nishikant Dwivedi

Mullanpur-Garibdas (Kharar), December 3
Residents of the area are complaining that they are being refused individual water connections by the Public Health Department (PHD) officials. Nearly 25,000 residents are facing a water shortage for the past six months. The water pressure in the taps is so low that the tap yields only a ‘trickle of water’, forcing villagers to wait for extended periods of time to take their turn.

Mr Himat Singh, a resident, alleged, ‘‘The officials told me that we do not consider files of Mullanpur,’’. Similarly, residents Charanjit Singh, Amarjeet Singh, Daya Singh and Jaswant Singh, alleged that they had been frequenting the PHD office in SAS Nagar for the past two months but in vain.

On the other hand, PHD officials refuted such allegations. According to an official of the department, there was a gap in the demand and supply of the water in the area and this was the reason new private connections were not being released. However, he assured that an overhead 2 lakh liter water tank and a 20 horse-power tubewell would come up under a Rs 64-lakh Central Government project. The amount had reportedly reached the Punjab Government and was likely to sanctioned to the PHD ‘soon’. ‘‘Once the tubewell and the 35-meter water tank comes up, every household can get individual connection,’’ assured the official. According to him the two would also solve the low water pressure problem in the area.

Mr S. R Aggarwal, Executive Engineer concerned, said, ‘‘The project is likely to be completed by March next year and we would be providing on-the-spot private connections to the villagers, ’’.

The Public Health Department has already started replacing the 27-year-old water pipelines in the five villages under the project. But laying of the pipe lines has created a nuisance for the residents of the village as several main and internal streets of the village have not been repaired after laying of the pipelines. Many people have allegedly sustained injuries because of the dug-up streets. ‘‘Walking in the streets at night has become very risky,’’ complained Mr Ranjeet Singh, a resident of the village.

‘‘The villagers themselves have tried to repair the streets but the work is temporary and needs a proper relaying of streets,’’ said Mr Babur Ram, a resident of the village. However, an PHD official said that there was a procedure to lay pipelines and relaying of the streets would start in a soon once the testing of the pipe lines was done. According to him this could take a fortnight’s time.

The PHD officials claimed that the problems of the villagers would be solved by March next year. But if Ms Charanjeet Kaur, a senior resident of the village was to be believed, the villagers had to take great pains for collecting water even for mere existence. ‘‘I have deposited the tariff for three months but the water pressure is so low that it we cannot store enough water’’, said Ms Charanjeet, while pointing towards the virtually trickling community tap opposite her house. 


Yogesh has his soul in theatre

He has played some of the finest characters on stage. But his best performance has been that of the protagonist in Vijay Tendulkar’s ‘Sakharam Binder’. Only two weeks back, Yogesh Arora had the critics raving about his character in the play directed by Umesh Kant. But this role is surely not the end of the road for him.

Yogesh, now a music teacher with a school in Panchkula, picked up serious theatre when he was studying arts in Sector 10 DAV College. His earliest productions have been with Sanjeev Rattan, now the chief assistant director of Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who has also acted in many of Vidhu’s films like Mission Kashmir and Kareeb. Yogesh had an offer of being cast in Mission Kashmir but he chose to do some productions before taking the final plunge.

He has no formal degree in theatre, but at 27 years of age he already has 20 productions behind him. Some of his famous plays are ‘Balde Tibbe’ (by Balwant Gargi), ‘Gadhe ki Baraat’ (by Hari Bhai Srivastava), and Media.

Yogesh believes in theatre as a medium of cultural cohesion. “Theatre can help cement the society. I experienced this when we did over 100 presentations of a street play titled ‘Shaheed ki Vapsi’ on the theme of Kargil war. Every person was empathising with the cause as we enacted it.” He only wishes for a more mature audience.


A clarification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Mr Harish Kapoor, a Congress nominee, is contesting the Municipal Corporation elections from ward No 17, comprising Sectors 47 and 31.

It was erroneously stated in a news item yesterday that he had died after a heart attack. The mistake is regretted.

Mr Kapoor has been serving the Congress party in different positions for the past 30 years. He launched an agitation against the Chandigarh Housing Board for getting alterations regularised in housing board houses in the city.


Police intensifies vigil in wake of MC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
With just three days to go for the deployment of police for the forthcoming Municipal Corporation elections, the Chandigarh Police today reviewed all security arrangements and the law and order situation in the city.

A meeting was held by the SSP, Mr Parag Jain, with all the sub-divisional police officers (SDPOs) and station house officers (SHOs) of police stations, besides other functionaries directly involved with the security arrangements.

As many as 12 trouble-prone spots have been identified in the city,. These include all labour colonies and slums such as Colony no.4 and 5, Bapu Dham Colony, slums in Sector 25, Dhanas Milk Colony and Khajeri.

The police has also finalised its deployment plans, though these are being kept confidential. Sources say that the exact force for deployment will be conveyed to the Election Commission two days before the scheduled polling date.

Over 3,500 police personnel will be on duty on December 7 and 8. While each polling booth will be manned by a head constable, a constable and a home guard volunteer, police personnel will keep a vigil on security around the city and deployment will be as per the law and order situation assessed at various places. All police personnel on election duty will have to report at their place of deployment by 12 noon on December 7.

The CID branch of the local police has also been specifically asked to develop intelligence on the activities of anti-social elements and to maintain surveillance on trouble- prone spots.

The SSP today received feedback on the election process and the law and order situation from the SHOs and SDPOs and also discussed various administrative problems. He also reiterated the code of conduct to be followed during the election process and directed sub-ordinates to lay special stress on checking the sale of liquor on dry days as well as distribution of material gifts among the public.

Meanwhile, 500 additional personnel have been made available to the local police by Punjab and Haryana. Six companies of varying strength have been provided by the Punjab Police, while two companies have been sent by the Haryana Police.


EC issues directions to candidates
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 3
Taking a serious view of mudslinging and “other corrupt practices”, the State Election Commission has issued instructions to the political parties and the candidates contesting the MCC elections against casting aspersions on one another.

The State Election Commission has directed that the parties and the candidates shall refrain from criticising the personal life of a candidate “not connected with his public activities”. The commission has added that candidates shall also avoid criticism of other candidates, or their workers without verifying the allegations. The criticism of contesting candidate shall be confined to their policies and programme, besides their past record and work.

Directing the candidates and the parties to scrupulously avoid indulgence in ‘’corrupt practices’’ and other offences under the election laws, the commission has added that the voters should neither be bribed, nor intimidated.

Measures should also be taken to avoid impersonation of voters, canvassing within 80 metres of the polling stations, “holding of public meetings during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the close of the poll”, besides bringing voters to and taking them back from the polling stations”, the commission has further instructed.

For ensuring that liquor is not used for buying votes, the commission has added: “No candidate, his agent, supporter or his worker, besides political party workers, shall hold meetings during the course of election in which liquor would be served”.

The candidates, commission has added, shall not print or publish any election pamphlet, poster, circular or placard not carrying the names and addresses of the printer and the publisher.

Regarding the efforts on part of some candidates to woo voters on caste lines, the commission has further instructed that no party or candidate shall indulge in, or commit, any activity which was “prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony, or which might aggravate existing differences, or create mutual hatred, or cause tension, between different castes and communities, or disturb public tranquility”.

It has concluded that the candidates shall not appeal to the voters to exercise, or not to exercise, their franchise, on the grounds of caste, race, community or religion. The candidates shall also refrain from using national symbols for the furtherance of a candidate’s prospects.

The instructions are significant as the inflow of liquor in some of the slums and colonies spread all over the city during the elections for wooing voters is an open secret. This is not all. Some of the candidates, according to the sources, are also known for levelling personal allegations against their rivals, dragging their personal lives into the open for winning the elections. Some others are also known to seek the support of the voters in the name of religion.


BSP ‘dodges’ EC guidelines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The BSP today added colour to an insipid campaign of the December 8 MC elections subdued due to restrictions imposed by the Election Commission of Chandigarh and Delhi on loudspeakers. With most of candidates and their supporters resorting to door-to-door campaign, the new or smaller parties are finding it difficult to reach out to the people. The BSP could not even hold corner meetings in all wards apparently due to lack of resources.

But the party activists were not to be deterred: they proved improvisation is the name of the game as the situation demanded. With such meagre resources, a candidate is left with only an option of loudspeakers on vehicles which the Election Commission has banned. The BSP has finally found a way — meeting on a fixed place on a vehicle.

One of the BSP activists and a former senior police officer, Mr Manmohan Singh Garewal, addressed a corner meeting perched atop a tractor in Sector-33A, on when a loudspeaker was filed. What if there was no public, the message was heard loud and clear. As soon as the loudspeaker blared, the police reached the spot to enforce the EC’s guidelines.

But the BSP activist sent the police back showing a permission to hold corner meetings issued by the Deputy Commissioner’s office, the only authority to allow such meetings.

The BSP leader accompanied by only a driver and a mike operator with no gathering, in a crisp speech said that the Congress had ruled the country for around 47 years and the result was before the people to see.


Parties intensify campaign
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The BJP and the Congress today exhorted their regional and national leaders to intensify their campaign for the December 8 Municipal Corporation poll.

The Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, addressed meetings of party nominees in Sector 15, Dhanas, Sector 40-C. The Congress observer and secretary, Mr Mul Chand Meena, joined ‘padyatrs’ in Sector 17. The campaign of the party was suspended due to the death of Mr Bir Singh Sekhawat, a party activist.

The Nationalist Congress Party President, Mr Gurbachan Singh, candidate for ward no 10, continued his door to door canvassing . Party candidates from ward nos 9,11, 12 and 7 also carried out their campaign.

Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president of the Chandigarh unit of the BJP, canvassed for his party nominee in wards nos 2, 5, 8, 12, 14 15, and 17. Eleven Nationalist Congress Party nominees decided to campaign jointly considering the restrictions imposed by the Election Commission.


Tipnis goes on solo sortie
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis today made a record of sorts when, at the age of 62, he made a solo sortie in a MiG-21 fighter aircraft during his visit to the Chandigarh Air Force Station.

The type of aircraft he flew were almost as old as his service career, having been inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the mid sixties.

Earlier, addressing personnel of No.12 Wing and No.3 Base Repair Depot, the Air chief said that the IAF was poised to turn into a super-fighting force in the near future. With a great reservoir of talent among the personnel, the IAF could achieve the goal by hard work and high intellectual capability, he added.

Describing Chandigarh as a unique air force station, Air Chief Marshal Tipnis, who is on a farewell visit here, said that it was an operational base as well as a base providing air maintenance facilities to Ladakh sector. With 40 years of operational experience to its credit, this base had the distinction of operating aircraft of the early 60’s vintage to the AN-32 as well as the world’s largest chopper, the Mi-26, he added.

The Air chief also had an informal interaction with officers, airmen and civilian employees over tea and shared experiences. He also went around various establishments at 12 Wing and 3 BRD and reviewed construction work there.

Meanwhile, the president, Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA), Mrs Molina Tipnis took stock of various welfare activities being undertaken by the local AFWWA units. She also addressed women of the station.

The Air Chief Marshal left for New Delhi later in the evening.


Multi-purpose booth owners violate norms
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 3
The original allotees of multi-purpose booths in various sectors have reportedly been misusing these by violating the terms and conditions mentioned in their allotment letters.

These booths were originally allotted to various Residents Welfare Associations by the Haryana Urban Development Authority, for providing space to skilled unemployed labour for operating from here and providing utility services to area residents. However, most of these allotees have been blatantly misusing these by running PCO and STD, photostat and lamination businesses or a blue print shop.

Not only this, sources inform, a few of the original allotees have reportedly also rented out these multi- purpose booths by reportedly taking advance goodwill in lakhs and a monthly rent .This has reportedly happened in case of multi-purpose booths allotted to a private party in Sectors 6 and 10.

In another case of allotment in Sector 15, the allotee availed the benefit by submitting a false claim of being handicapped. This allotment is already under dispute and litigation is underway.

It is learnt that in 1985, the Residents Welfare Associations had approached HUDA officials with the proposal of establishing Multi-purpose booths. The proposal was subsequently accepted by HUDA and the first multi-purpose booth was allotted to a private party in Sector 7.

Soon, the Residents Welfare Association of Sector 17 sought a multi-purpose booth for their area in 1990 and soon Sectors 6, 8, , 9, 10, 11, 15 and 16, too, had a multi-purpose booth each. Other than the booths in Sectors 7, 10 and 16 which were allotted to private party, those in the remaining sectors were allotted to Residents Welfare Associations.

It is observed that none of these multi-purpose booths, alloted by the respective Residents Welfare Associations, are being used for providing utility services , like those of carpenter, mason, electrician, plumber etc. In fact, most of them are running business ventures.

Meanwhile, the Estate Officer, Ms Geeta Bharti, told TNS that strict action would be taken against those found violating the terms and conditions of the allotment. She said a meeting would be convened soon to discuss the issue.

Mr S.K. Nayyar, president of the Citizen’s Welfare Association, when contacted said HUDA should immediately resume these booths from the allotees for carrying on ‘anti- resident’ activities. Instead, HUDA should constitute a committee, which could include representation from residents for realloting these booths after fixing uniform rates.”


Flowers do the talking at wedding venue
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Flowers do the talking inside the wedding venue. The rising sense of aesthetics among the city residents has come to the benefit of the local flower market. Strange it may sound but there are very few florist houses catering exclusively to weddings in the city. Pioneers in the field are the Jains of Trendz Exclusive, the official florists for Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO). Managed by N.K. Jain, Rosy Jain and Sahil Jain, Trendz has done the flower arrangements for some of the best celebrity marriages in Chandigarh, including the May, 2001, wedding of the daughter of Mr Ashok Tandon, OSD, to the Prime Minister of India. The colour theme in this wedding centered around maroon and cream.

Talking about the trend of thematic flower arrangements these days, Sahil Jain, who does flower arrangements for all weddings in Mountview, Shivalik View, Park View and Lake Club, said: “The theme for flower arrangements in weddings follow the colour which the bride is wearing. Yellow and gold are raving. So marigolds remain favourites. They are being supplemented by a host of exotic flowers like cymbadiums, anthuriums, lilies, and orchids.”

He talked of the latest craze — the Italian flower gate (which has flowers arranged in layers), Bengali backdrop at the couple’s stage (has orchids and anthuriums hanging from precious fabric in the backdrop), Kajuraho Ganesha panels (decorated with flowers for the passage), golden pillars sporting vessels with floating candles and flowers and the Rajasthani deepmalas. In February this year Sahil did flower arrangements for the wedding of an NRI’s daughter. The all-foreign visitation was highly impressed with the use of traditional artifacts in flower arrangements. The theme was golden yellow and flowers used were in shades of pink.

Sahil added: “There is great inclination towards ethnic stuff. Flower rangolis are in demand. The use of fabric is increasing. People want more of tissue and brocade for decoration of the passage and food stations. Even the vedis now see more of fabric use.” The range begins from Rs 5,000 and stretches upto lakhs. The small-time florists in the city don’t have a clientele of their own. They seek business from tent houses, which further depend upon the resort owners.

With ostentation ruling the scene in all wedding aspects, jewellery and costume also cannot help being highly-elaborate. The age of minimalism, which was well-suited for the white gold look has now given way to the vibrant look of yellow. The yellow gold, crafted in various finishes and textures and embellished with coloured stones and diamonds, is being bought for wedding purpose. City-based jewellery designer Harjote Sodhi informed that rhodium with its silver look was also being picked up. Kundans remains in the hot seat, she added.

Bride’s costume is no more a headache, at least for those who can afford to stop by at Ritu Kumar’s Sector 9 outlet. Informed Ms Arvinder Swani, the manager, “People are coming to us for a lot of heavy stuff. Lot of NRIs are dropping by. The latest apparel for the bride is the Kashida — a saree with a short jacket embroidered heavily with pure golden threads. The range is immense, anything from Rs 10,000 onwards. Ritu’s jamavar collection to match the saree is also a rage. One such jamavar costs about Rs 35,000.”

City grooms are still traditional in the mindset. So they are looking beyond the western labels like Givo and Black Berry when it comes to choosing the wedding costume. The best choice in this section falls upon ethnic costumes designed by Delhi’s Gopal Sons’ (Paparazze) and study by Janak. Here in the city, both are stocked by Jainsons in Sector 17. The latest collection for grooms comprises fine silken gadhchola (stole) complimented by a safa (headgear) in the same bandhni pattern. The range of both stole and the headgear is between Rs 2500 and Rs 4000. Punjabi jutis are also being stocked here. They cost Rs 900 to Rs 1300.

Back to the main attire for grooms — exquisite hand-embroidered shervanis, achkans, Jodhpuris , kurta pyjamas are the hot favourites. Deepak Jain of Jainsons, informed that Austrian Swaroski pattern is in great demand. “About 75 percent people come looking for Swaroski which gels with the ethnic look. We are stocking Indo-Western outfits for the would-be grooms. Also we have a complete range of pure traditional stuff which we get from Jaipur. The safas and gadhcholas can be dyed into any colour, as demanded. They follow similar patterns to secure the rhythm of the apparel.”

While the wary-of experimentation brides are still sticking to maroon and gold which are sizzling this season, the grooms are also not going in for black, which is a big rage in Delhi. They are sticking to beige, greys, rust and camel colour, informed Deepak Jain.

Even while trends continue to be made and broken at weddings every season, one thing which remains constant is the brazen display of financial strength. With conspicuous consumption surfacing in a big way, the social matrix is in for a change ...and a negative one at that. Sociologist Dr Rajesh Gill reasoned: “This is not a healthy trend. Those who have the paying capacity are raising social expectation. In the bargain the lower income group is suffering. As lavish marriages become the order of the day in this city, they will become institutionalized. One wedding will set the yardstick for another, thus playing with the social balance. The only way out lies with those who are setting these standards. They can reverse this trend which is leading to more dowry cases.”

Talking on these lines, socialite Reshma Singh said: “The matter is of girl’s honour, which now seems to depend on how much economics is at play during the wedding. The entire show is actually meant to ensure girl’s smooth entry into the new household. As for the wedding ceremony, it is all about big financial statements. While the bride and the groom sit silently on a bedecked stage, the guests remain busy sizing each other up. It is a virtual game of comparison.” She added that the city brides are far from innovative. “Unlike the Maharashtrian brides who go in for greens and blues, the Punjabi bride likes to settle for maroon or gold. The costume, the finery and the make up hardly enhance the bride’s personality.” About the decor, Reshma Singh said that the city was going in for more theme based weddings, but it still had a long way to go before it could match Jaipur where virtual mini fortresses are created inside the venue and the entire decor has something royal about it.

All said and done ....the marriage has come a long way in this city than just being the symbolic coming together of Shiv and Shakti. With money gaining precedence, the mantras, heavy with cosmic symbolism emphasizing duty and procreation, take a back seat. And while the popular Sanskrit quote on roles of man and wife — I am the saman, you are the rik (I am heaven, you are earth) — goes down the fire of vedi, the priest’s attention is invariably drawn to the orchids dotting the satin silk strings hanging from the mandap. The days of mud pandals and marigolds are long lost........


Social worker honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
At a function organised at Berhampur Zimidari village, near Kurali, the panchayat honoured those who brought glory to the village in various fields. Function was organised to celebrate the upgradation of the village school.

Ms Satwant Kaur Sandhu, Printing and Stationery Minister, Punjab, presided over the function. Among those honoured were Mr Prem Singh Bhutte, a social worker, who had been recently been given state award by the Punjab Government for his outstanding work in leprosy. Mr Bhutte, who belonged to the village, was invited as a special guest at the function. The sarpanch, Mr Gurdial Singh Bala, speaking on the occasion said that Mr Prem Singh’s work in leprosy had brought a great honour to the village.

A number of retired teachers of the village were also honoured on the occasion. Among others who were present at the function were Mr Ashwani Sharma and Mr Harpreet Singh Basant, youth activists of the village, and Mr Daljit Singh, SDM. On the call given by the sarpanch, those present at the function contributed Rs 22,500 as donation for the construction of roof on rooms of the school.


Parcel suspected to be laced with anthrax
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 3
A parcel suspected to be laced with anthrax which was received at the Phase VIII post office, located in the premises of the Punjab School Education Board created panic among employees of the post office. A parcel weighing over 2.5 kg with a white-coloured powder coming out was noticed by the sorting staff at the post office. The powder was emitting a foul smell making the postal employees believe that it was anthrax.

The employee handling the mail reportedly complained of uneasiness. Mr SL Anand, Postmaster of the post office, said the unregistered parcel from an American body building company was addressed to Simran C/o Upkar Singh Dhillon, House No. 1024, Phase VII. Enquires reveal that no persons by the name of Simran was living at the above said address. The postal employees feared that if the parcel was found to be laced with anthrax, it would mean that several other letters which came in contact with the said parcel during transportation could have traces of anthrax.

The parcel was handed over to the police authorities. The SHO, Central Police Station, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, said the parcel had been sent to the Microbiology Laboratory at the PGI, Chandigarh. 


UT powermen to hold dharna today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The UT powermen will hold a dharna tomorrow from 12 to 2 p.m. outside the Electricity Operation Division No 2 against the move of the Chandigarh Administration to privatise power distribution in the city.

A press note issued by the UT Powermen Union general secretary, Mr Bhagmal Rana, said in preparation of the strike to be held on December 18 the employees also held gate meetings before various electricity offices.

Mr Rana added that the notice for the December 18 strike was submitted to the Administration earlier.


Stolen vehicle recovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The police has recovered a Kinetic Safari moped (CH-01-S-2780) within hours of being stolen. The moped was reported stolen from the Cooperative Bank Complex, Sector 34, by Sunita Rani, a resident of Sector 29. Later, a police naka apprehended the accused, Suresh Kumar, from Sector 32 and recovered the stolen vehicle from him.

Liquor seized
A resident of Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, Ramji, was arrested by the police from another colony in the same sector and 35 pouches of whisky were seized from his possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered against him.

A Sector 42 resident, Rajesh Kumar, was injured and admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital after his car (CH-01-0061) was hit by another car (CHK 9361) at the Sector 15-16 lights point. The driver of the second car fled from the spot, leaving his vehicle behind. The police has impounded both the vehicles and registered a case. In another incident, Mohali resident Gian Chand was injured and admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital after his cycle was knocked down by a Maruti car near the Sector 23-24 lights point. The police has registered a case.

A Sector 15 resident, Seema, has reported that her Luna moped (CH-01-P-6578) has been stolen from her residence. The police has registered a case.


Two cases of rash and negligent driving have been registered in different parts of the district during the past 24 hours.

A scooterist, Sudesh Kumar and his wife sustained injuries when their scooter (CH-01N-5055) was hit by a speeding Fiat car (CH-01N- 3137) near Sector 9-5 crossing. The car driver fled away from the spot.

In another case, Babu Ram was injured when he was almost run over by a truck (HR-45-2962) at the bus stand in Chandi Mandir. The accused driver fled away from the spot. In both the cases, FIR’s under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC have been registered.

One arrested
Harikrishan was arrested from village Abheypur in a case of theft reported in Industrial Area, Phase I, on November 27. The stolen goods have also been recovered from him.

Two cases of burglary
A television set and a CD player was reportedly stolen from the house of Ajit Singh in Abheypur village. He was out of station at the time of the incident and it was only when he came back after two days on November 25, that he saw that this house had been broken into.

In another such incident, unknown miscreants broke into the house of Mr Ansul Gupta and decamped with cash and other valuables. He had left the keys of his house with his landlords, before he left his house. The latter, in turn, had to go to Delhi and left the keys with a neighbour. 


Weapon hidden in Mumbai : accused
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 2
The murder case of an NRI, Joginder Singh, in Sector 23 here has taken a new turn, with one of the accused disclosing before the police that the weapon used in the crime has been hidden in Mumbai.

Sources said that the co-accused, Sanjay, had also disclosed that after the crime, he along with the main accused went to Mumbai and hid the pistol there. Sources also said that the police was also suspecting that the main accused in the case, Ashish Arora, is also in Mumbai. They also suspect that he is also involved in some case in Mumbai. They added that the main accused had been staying in Mumbai for long time before the murder.

The co-accused, Sanjay, was produced before the UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class) on December 1 and the magistrate remanded him to police custody till December 6. The accused, Sanjay, had surrendered before the UT Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C.L. Mohal, on November 27 and was in police custody.

The public prosecutor argued in the court that the main accused in the case has not been arrested yet, therefore the co-accused was sent to police remand for further investigation. The defense counsel argued that the accused was already in police custody and there was no need of police remand.

It was alleged that the main accused, Ashu, along with his friend had gone to the house of the deceased in the evening and wanted to speak to Joginder Singh . But the family members did not allow him to interact with Joginder, and Ashu had left the house, only to return after sometime to kill his brother-in-law. The victim was an American citizen and had returned to the city three months ago and got married on September 2.

Joginder Singh was allegedly shot point blank by Ashu, who had force-entered the victim’s house at about 10.45 pm. The accused had committed the crime using a country-made pistol. The accused was said to be involved in more than 10 cases in Chandigarh and Panchkula.

It was also alleged that the accused, Ashu, reached the house along with ‘‘some people’’ on a motor cycle and a van and escaped after committing the crime. The bullet reportedly pierced through Joginder Singh’s body and he fell on the ground. He was taken to the PGI in a PCR gypsy, where he was declared brought dead. A case under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC and Sections 25, 27 and 54 of the Arms Act has been registered against Ashish Arora.


Convict escapes from PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
A convict, Ramesh Kumar, who had been admitted to the PGI, escaped from his ward last evening after a Haryana Police constable guarding him was reportedly absent from his place of duty. The Chandigarh Police has registered a case on the basis of a complaint lodged by a PGI doctor in this regard.

While the exact details of the convict are not known, the police say that he had been admitted to the PGI on May 30 after being brought here from a jail in Ambala. He belongs to Jagadhari in Haryana.

Police officials, when contacted, said they were investigating into the matter. Ward attendants and the staff at the PGI were being questioned and further details about the convict were being sought from the Haryana Police.


Conference on brick industry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, in collaboration with Tata Energy Research Institute, will organise a two-day conference on ‘Emerging trends in brick industry’ here from December 7. Nearly 300 delegates, mainly brick-kiln owners, government officers, NGOs, researchers besides representation from neighbouring countries, are expected to participate.

According to Mr S.K. Jain, a senior engineer with the Council, the conference will focus on sharing experience on various energy-efficient technologies, which are prevalent in European countries as well as in Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. It will address various issues faced by kiln fraternity in developing countries and emphasis will be on the latest scientific research and development in brick manufacturing technologies.

An exhibition will also be organised on the occasion.


Ethnic wear store for men
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
After Delhi’s Karol Bagh, India’s first exclusive ethnic wear store for men, “Ëthnic India” plans to open an exclusive showroom in Chandigarh shortly.

R.S. Apparels have a long innings in branded ethnic men’s wear with their brand of quality kurtas and coordinates selling in all major stores across North India. Aggressive brand building is replaced with true value-for-money products ranging from Rs 200 to 30,000.

Shubh Vivah Offer: A leading suiting company in men’s fashion has unveiled “Shubh Vivah Offer-2001” for its customers. More than five top retail outlets of the company in Chandigarh and elsewhere in the region are decorated with colours of the festive mood. There are a whole lot of surprise gifts for the bride and the families too. This special edition range can be accessed at select outlets in the range of Rs 2,495 to Rs 13,995.

Winter collection: Pioneers in men’s wear and ‘khakhis’ — Blackberrys, has unveiled its winter collection for evenings and special occasions. The jackets are available in the price range of Rs 3,500 to Rs 5,000 and suits for Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,500.

Tracking system: E Track Systems has been appointed as the authorised franchisee by by VI e Trans, a logistics support systems providing company, to provide technical and user-friendly e-logistic infrastructure for transport tracking services.

Announcing this at a press conference here today, Mr S.K. Acharya, Managing Director and CEO, VI e Trans, said the unique tracking system which had proved successful in Delhi and Mumbai (where it was launched earlier this year), would solve the problem of lack of reliability and timely information being faced by the transport industry today. 

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