Thursday, December 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Crowd swells as Test match progresses
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, December 5
“Yaar Sachin, tu out kyon ho gaya, mushkil nal tan VIP block da pass le ke andar ayayan” (Dear Sachin, why did you lose your wicket, I had managed to get a VIP block pass with difficulty in order to get in), uttered Jang Singh of Dera Bassi, who reached the venue in the post-lunch session. Earlier, as the day progressed the volume of spectators increased, especially in the general stands and terrace block. Two out of the four VIP blocks were near to their full capacity.

Punjab Governor Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) watches the match with Harbhajan Singh and Ritender Sodhi in SAS Nagar on Wednesday.
Punjab Governor Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) watches the match with Harbhajan Singh and Ritender Sodhi in SAS Nagar on Wednesday. — Tribune photograph

Schoolchildren today chose to skip their tuitions in order to watch their heros Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid bat. The batsmen kept them glued to their seats and made the atmosphere lively.

* In the afternoon this reporter saw a boy in a wheelchair being taken to the VIP blocks by his brother. He said despite being handicapped, his brother Charanpreet Guleria wanted to watch the match. In the absence of any elevator in these blocks his brother struggled to take him to the right spot. But both managed to find their way and watched the match till 4.30 pm.

* Most popular cricketer on the field after Sachin has been Harbhajan Singh. When India came to bowl, eight-year-old Gurchandandeep of St Stephen's School-45 along with his parents was heard shouting, “Oh Ganguly, Bhajji nu ball de, pher dekh tamasha” (Hey Ganguly, try Harbhajan, then see how his magic works).

* The checking of ticket-cum-pass was more stringent in the Terrace block and Press box than anywhere else, as officials found many people without these.

* When England came to bat, spectators displayed various banners with slogans having interesting messages.

* The Governor of Punjab, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), and a keen sports lover, sat in the pavilion gallery for most of the time during the day and keenly watched today's match. He also interacted with various players, including Harbhajan Singh and Reetinder Sodhi.

* Wireless messages to various officials concerned, who manned various blocks, kept a check on unauthorised persons from entering their allotted areas.

* A stall selling eatables did a brisk business and the rates varied in various blocks. An old lady was seen protesting against the price of a soft drink that was sold at a higher price to the one sold in the other block. Even a packet of chips costing Rs 15 at the stall was sold at Rs 20 by the vendors.


A date with their heroes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Cricket fans were bowled over today evening when Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid made appearance in Sector 17 here.

Rahul Dravid being welcomed in a showroom in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Wednesday.
Rahul Dravid being welcomed in a showroom in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. — Photo Parvesh Chauhan

Fans flocked to get a glimpse of Sachin in the Adidas showroom and at the same time, Rahul Dravid visited the Reebok showroom to launch new Miramar Viz II DMX 6 shoes.

Sachin’s fans who were though disappointed as he could not make a century as per their expectations, were thrilled to meet him. “Whatever he might have scored, we love him for the way he plays . I am feeling on the top of the world to see him here”, said 15-year-old Saravpreet. Deepak, an ardent fan of Rahul Dravid, said, “After seeing him on the television today and then meeting him in reality is like a dream come true for me.”

Jostling to get photographed with the star cricketers and their autographs, the overjoyed people, kept cheering the stars even after they left.


Works of art or heaps of garbage?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
It is very difficult to conceive of art being denigrated right under the nose of those meant to promote and preserve it. But just as many distasteful things happen simply because no one checks or prevents them, this one is happening too. Not all seems is well with the system of art preservation on the campus of the Government College of Art, Sector 10. Many aspects of the college campus suggest otherwise. In fact, had it not been for the big name of the college, an objective viewer to the back side of its campus would mistake it for a dumping ground.

The backyard of the college presents an extremely disheartening picture. The entire route upto the canteen in the backside is dotted with broken pieces of art. A host of sculptural works are scattered all along the said route, presenting a sorry picture. The fragmented works are lying all around in the company of dry leaves and twigs.

This dump features many sculptures which suggest a bright history. One of the students of the college said, “These works were lying inside the campus for quite some time but now they have been shifted out. There is utter lack of maintenance on the part of authorities.” Apart from broken sculptural forms there many moulds of plaster of paris can also be spotted in the heap. On the first look, the heap speaks of an utter wastage of effort put in by students of the college.

As Chandigarh Tribune surveyed the campus, it found that many other sculptural forms which were once placed in college corridors lie discarded outside. One of these promising sculptures (portrait of a Sikh) by a former student of the college, Manjit Singh, is also lying discarded in an odd corner on the college campus. The work lies close to the dug up ground, with mud and webs all over it. This work by Manjit was earlier seen in the college corridor.

Another third year student of sculpture added, “This dump has been existing for long. Most of these sculptures were earlier seen in the corridor of the college’s Sculpture Department. Even in the department most works meet the same fate. It does not really matter whether the sculpture has been dumped inside or outside. The fact of the matter is that once created in the classroom, these works are treated as nothing more than waste.”

Coming from a student of art college, this quote meant a lot. It suggested a serious lack of maintenance of art works on the part of college authorities. Strangely, though there seems to be enough space inside the college to place the created works, they are dumped outside. Students feel that even if there is paucity of space in the college, the authorities can tie up with government departments and get the works placed in the government offices of the city,.

Meanwhile, the Principal of the college, Mr Brahm Praksh, when contacted, did not seem aware of the dump in the backyard. He said, “The works were meant to be cleared. They were earlier kept in our lawns.” He will soon get the heap cleared, he added. Clearance is welcome, but what about preservation?


City goes ‘dry’ from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Lovers of liquor will have to hold on to their tastes for a period of three days starting from Thursday as the city will go ‘dry’ for the ensuing municipal elections.

Dry days mean no liquor will be available at the vends. Already all the main clubs in the city like the Chandigarh Club, Golf Club, Press Club and the Golf Range among other places have put up notices for their members saying no liquor will be served.

The ban will also be for all pubs serving beer and restaurants where liquor or beer is served. Even wedding functions and parties to be held in hotels have to be ‘dry’. Official sources said the ban will be enforced strictly as anyone can woo voters with liquor under the garb of hosting a private party.

Already hotels owned by CITCO are telling customers that no drinks will be allowed in parties till a permit is obtained. Sources said some relaxation may be allowed after the polling is over at 5 p.m on Saturday. But this is just likely and nothing is official about it. In the past also liquor vends have opened after the polling is over. Excise teams also tend to relax and the general atmosphere of festivity prevails.

Since the MC elections are on a Saturday, several weekly functions in clubs like tambola are bound to have low attendance. A regular club goer told The Tribune that his group of friends will sit in car and consume drinks while heading for the club for food. In any case outside several of the fast food joints in the city drinks are usually consumed in cars during such weather conditions, he added.

Enforcing the ban under Section 54 of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, has notified that there will be three dry days (from 4 p.m. on December 6 to 4 p.m. on December 8). Another dry day will be on December 11 when the counting of ballots will take place.


House of Giani’s son-in-law burgled
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 5
Thieves reportedly broke into the house of former President of India late Giani Zail Singh's son-in-law, Mr Surinder Singh Virdi, in Sector 16 and took away items worth Rs 30,000 this afternoon.

According to information available, the thieves broke into the house some time between 10.30 am and 1 pm when the house was unoccupied. The thieves entered the house from the rear and decamped with a camera, a pair of gold ear-rings and two gold rings.

A case under Sections 380 and 454 of the IPC has been registered.


A fabric freak

PLAYING with fabrics is what ticks with Ruchika Lamba, a textile designer in the offing. A final year student of the Textile Designing course from the National Institute of Fashion Designing, Ruchika aspires to be a successful designer.

“Textile designing gives me plenty of scope to experiment with fabrics and motifs,” she says. Ruchika, who completed her graduation from MCM College, Sector 36 , and kept doing short courses in fashion designing and other related courses on and off during her graduation days, simply fell in love with weaving.

“I would like to work as a freelance designer as soon as I complete my course from NIFD,” says Ruchika. And since there is no much scope for textile designers in the region, Ruchika would not mind to migrate to places that abound in cotton textile industry.

How does she like to spend her free times? “Sketching and, of course, watching movies,” says this easy going youngster. “I am trying to absorb everything that NIFD has to offer in my field and polish my figure sketching skill as I am not much good with lines and squares,” she adds.


BJP manifesto promises facilities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The BJP today withdrew its five-year-old promise of “a municipal corporation without any tax” that resulted in the local body being deprived of funds to cater to the infrastructural needs of a city which is under pressure of population influx.

In the party manifesto released here today by the local unit president, Mr Yashpal Mahajan, the party has this time made no promise of a tax-free corporation saying “the burden of taxes will be kept to the minimum”.

Refusing to accept the last term’s promise as a mistake, a former BJP MP, Mr Satyapal Jain, explained, “The promise this time was made after experiences of the past”.

The party national secretary, Mr O.P. Kohli, who primarily came to clear doubts about confusion in the BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) alliance, said, “The party will take an appropriate action at an appropriate time against those from the party who are creating confusion.”

On asking why there was no presence from Akalis in the today’s conference, Mr Kohli said manifestos were released separately by the two parties and even in Punjab the two did so during the last elections.

Answering repeated questions on the confusion in the alliance and why the SAD and the BJP were not taking any action against alliance detractors, he said, “The BJP cannot ask the Akalis to act as it was their matter but the BJP will certainly bring the house in order”.

Accepting mistakes of the past (failure to control groupism in the party), he said this elections would settle the matter.

Mr Kohli also said that the corporations were expected to generate their own resources.

He clarified that the party circulars had been addressing Mr Mahajan as the president of the unit despite an announcement early that he was only the convener of the ad hoc committee. Mr Kohli explained it away that the two were one and the same things.

The list of the BJP’s focus in the next corporation will be to complete those works which have already started, projects that have been approved will be started, giving a clean administration to the city, improvement in the power and water supply, to undertake repair of roads and to beautify parks.

Sanitation, to make the city most attractive in the region, to promote tourism, to improve public transport, concrete roads and public lavatories in jhuggis and labour colonies and providing them with water, electricity and communication means, to provide space for rehri and phariwalas and issue identity cards to footpath workers are the other areas of the BJP’s concern in the manifesto.

Providing all facilities in villages, proper development of Mandi Transport Area and industrial areas, improving drainage system, improvement in the condition of link roads to Panchkula and Mohali and sorting out traffic problems there, to green the city and protect environment, get an apartment act enacted and hasten the process of changes in bylaws are the other promises the party has made.

The party has said that every village and colony and each ward should have a community centre and their management should be with the participation of the people, the demands of MC employees should be accepted and youth will be given preference in the affairs of the MC.


Dhawan favours fiscal autonomy for MCC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM) led by former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan here today released a ‘’list of commitments’’ denouncing manifestoes of the parties and promises made in them which are kept unfulfilled.

Releasing the list, Mr Dhawan said the Manch would make Chandigarh and one of the most beautiful cities of the world — green, pollution-free and with all good class amenities.

He has advocated financial autonomy of the Municipal Corporation and designing the tax structure in such a way as to minimise the burden of taxes on the people.

He said the people of the city were paying through their noses income tax, sales tax and road tax as the corporation should get its due from the Administration.

Mr Dhawan rejected house and property taxes as the lease amount in the city was the highest in the region. Expressing the hope that his group would get an absolute majority, he said it would be unfortunate if the BJP tried to get a backdoor entry through nominations as information was coming. The nominated people should not exercise their votes to be neutral.

He promised not to let the corporation House become the one which was witnessed during the BJP dominance and there would not be any discrimination on the ground of political affiliations.

Lok Adalats for the disputes on water and electricity and minimum rates would be changed to a system where charges would be on the basis of actual consumption were part of the list.

The Manch would try to provide all amenities to the poor and the oppressed and senior citizens would be involved in the management and development of the city.

All facilities to the senior citizens would be provided. The city would be made a hub of national and international activities. The CVM will try to organise inter-sector sports and all sports. Collection of garbage will be a priority and all places will have community centres and those centres where facilities are lacking will be provided. The housing by-laws will be shaped as per the needs of the people.

Mr Dhawan rejected rumours that he was joining the BJP, saying the Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, and a lot of present ministers are his old ministerial colleagues and personal friends.


EC issues directions before poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Vehicles going out of the city or entering it from December 6 evening will be subjected to intensive checking as per a direction of the Election Commission.

The measure is being taken to prevent smuggling of arms, liquor and ‘’bad elements’’ who could disturb the December 8 municipal polls, an EC spokesman said.

The EC is also considering to give directions to the police to immediately arrest those who are even ‘’suspected’’ of resorting to bogus voting.

The EC staff is again likely to be briefed about techniques of cross checking details of electors and about how to put indelible ink exactly on the root of the nail.

The EC is also going to remind the staff that every nail should be rubbed with a cloth before marking the ink and a voter should be asked to keep the finger in front of the poll staff at least for five seconds to minimise chances of bogus voting. The steps are being taken in the wake of information that polling agents of political parties may not be very well versed with all voters and political parties may engage paid workers to do the job.

The Election Commission has got complaints against the rebel BJP candidate, Mr Suresh Verma, for using the BJP flag to create confusion against the official Shiromani Akali Dal nominee Swarn Singh Dhiman.

The EC has also taken note of a Panthak Morcha candidate using the BJP banner and flag.

The Commission is waiting for the police report about two candidates suspected to have had criminal past. The police without naming the candidates has informed that one of the candidates is still under the guidlines of the Commission. The official police report is still awaited by the Commission.

The EC has also taken notice of certain Muslim organisations seeking votes to the Congress and the Janata Dal (United) in the name of religion, which is punishable under the Indian Penal Code.

The Commission might send observers on Friday to places where organisations of particular communities might try to seek votes in the name of religion.


‘I’m here to serve my people’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
“I am not a politician nor will I become one in my life time. I am in the fray for the Municipal Corporation elections to serve the people of my ward”, announced Mrs Neeru Amar Manchanda, who is contesting from Ward 2 comprising Sectors 12, 14 and 15.

Mrs Manchanda, who is contesting as a nominee of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, said she would resign within one year from the councillorship if she failed to honour the wishes of her electorate. She announced that she would provide shelter for the attendents of PGI patients, booths for those who sold old books in Sector 15 and ensure uninterrupted water and electricity to the residents.

She also promised to get Kumhar colony shifted from near the university to a suitable place.

Mrs Manchanda said she would oppose levying of house tax and other such taxes by the Municipal Corporation, get neighbourhood watch scheme introduced, find out a solution to problems faced by senior citizens and women, prevent haphazard demolitions and consequent inconvenience and fight the menace of stray cattle and other animals.

In her manifesto she said she would ensure regular maintenance of green areas and work on the development of untouched green areas.

Popularly known as “zinia aunty”, Mrs Neeru Manchanda, said she feared that bogus votes would be cast in the forthcoming elections. She urged the Election Commission to ask voters to carry their identity documents like driving licence, electricity bill, telephone bill or ration card before being allowed to exercise the right to vote.


‘Bansal did not utilise funds’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Chief Minister of Uttaranchal Bhagat Singh Kushyari today appealed to the people of Chandigarh to vote for the BJP in the forthcoming Municipal Corporation elections.

Addressing a gathering here, Mr Kushyari said the people of Uttaranchal had been voting for the BJP since 1991. He spoke in favour of BJP nominee Bal Krishan Kapoor, contesting from ward no 1.

Mr Kushyari said the Congress did not have any leader. The rank and file of the party looks towards Ms Sonia Gandhi who does not even understand Hindi.

Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP, said Mr Pawan Bansal, MP of Chandigarh, could not utilise the funds released by the Centre under the head “MP’s fund”. He claimed that Rs 80 lakh out of the Rs 2 crore that Mr Bansal got were refunded because the fund could not be utilised.

Mr Jain claimed that 45 tubewells were drilled in the city during the BJP rule and gas connections had become available on demand.


Hooda campaigns in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) President, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, today campaigned for the party candidates in Mani Majra, Sector 29 and Ram Darbar.

Mr Hooda, who addressed public meetings in Mani Majra and Sector 29 and had a mass contact in Ram Darbar, said the confidence of the BJP was clear from the fact that it had not fielded its main leaders in the contest.

Mr Hooda said whenever he read newspapers, he found out nothing positive but only infighting among BJP leaders.

He expressed the confidence that the people would punish those who did not care for them and instead kept busy in fighting amongst themselves.

Mr Hooda met Haryana Government employees at 30 Bays Building and other places to solicit their vote and support for the Congress candidates.


A godman with a mission
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 5
“All India Movement for Seva” — an organisation that aims to provide drinking water, healthcare education, besides nutrition to children in the region, was officially launched at a programme held at the PGI auditorium here. The Advisor to the Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, was the chief guest on the occasion.

The organisation, under the coordinator of the Swami Dayanand Saraswati, has been formed by the Acharya Sabha, and consists of the heads of Hindu “mutts”. Though the organisation started its operations in the city today, a balwari, set up it, is already functional.

Other aims of the body include providing water for irrigation to at least 20 villages in all states of the country and for helping the village attain self-sufficiency. The Chandigarh operations will cover Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the city. The organisation was launched in New Delhi last year.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the Swami said their aim was to involve “people in the mainstream”, besides government agencies, to help the needy residing in remote, out-of-reach areas”. they also planned informing women about healthcare, besides creating awareness about environment and hygiene. “Providing vocational training to the needy is also on our agenda.”

Regarding the work undertaken by their organisation, he said, “forty two dry villages in Tamil Naidu and Kerala were provided irrigation water. This is not all. We are responsible for the setting up of schools and balwaris at different places all over the country”.

During a discourse held late in the evening at the PGI, the Swami said the problem with of the religious was that they “glorified the end” — the heaven after death — without paying any heed to the means. He added that as per the Hindu point of view, life was to be “realised and recognised here and now”.

Another discourse by Swami Dayananda Saraswati will be delivered on December 6 at the PGI auditorium.


Website that offers memorabilia of stars
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
A website — — offering memorabilia of 250 Indian and international stars and celebrities on auction and a stock of 1,600 items was launched today.

Part of the proceeds of every auction on the site benefits a charity, with the site benefiting a total of 61 charities. The site is auctioning exclusive celebrity-related opportunities like a chance to act in a scene of a Mahesh Bhatt production, appear in a Sukhbir music video, have a tabla lesson from Zakir Hussain, spend a weekend in Srinagar with Omar Abdullah, receive a personalised greeting card from Daler Mehndi, spend a day on the sets with Rahul Dev or be an assistant to Rocky S.

The other offers include being in a Hindi film song sequence choreographed by Farah Khan, getting VJ training lessons from Sophiya haque, going on a date with celina Jaitley or Dino Morea, getting groomed for the Miss India contest by Gul panag or a chance to model in the fashion shows of Suneet Verma, J.J. Valaya, Raghavendra Rathore, Rina Dhaka or Ashish Soni.

The site also has a large collection of physical memorabilia on auction, including a mouse pad autographed by Bill Gates, a sandalwood elephant autographed by Bill Clinton, a bat autographed by the famous 1986 Australian Cricket team, the Sri Lanka team shirt that Muttiah Muralitharan wore when he got his world record one day bowling figures.

Miss Universe outfits of Madhu Sapre, CDs signed by the Indian Hockey team, an autographed photograph of madonna, an autographed photograph of the Beatle Ringo Starr, a silver and pearls evening gown of Maharani Gayatri Devi, autographed gift baskets of Shahnaz Husain products, handwritten manuscripts of the shankaracharya of Puri and a signed copy of the autobiographies of Margaret Thatcher and Benazir Bhutto are also on sale.

The inaugural auction on the site is a handkerchief used by the great saint, Swami Chinmayananda. The entire proceeds of that auction will be donated to the All India Chinmaya Yuva Kendra, the youth wing of the Chinmaya Mission.

The founders of — Jujhar Singh and Ramona Sood — were previously in the television media. It has taken them a year and a half to build the site. According to the site’s founders, 54 celebrities have signed exclusivity agreements with the site, whereby the site becomes the official memorabilia site of these celebrities.


PUDA demolishes unauthorised structures
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur-Garibdas (Kharar), December 5
The Enforcement Wing of the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) today demolished unauthorised structures allegedly raised after November 3, the cut-off date fixed by the Punjab Government to regularise constructions at about a dozen places in the periphery of Chandigarh. Residents of the affected area alleged that the PUDA team used a “selective” method in the demolition and it left a large number of other structures raised after the deadline untouched.

Within less than 24 hours of Chandigarh Tribune carried a report about unauthorised constructions going on in the periphery of Chandigarh, the enforcement staff of PUDA reached Mullanpur-Garibdas village at about 11 am and demolished at least six unauthorised structures on the Chandigarh-Kurali road. The structures were reportedly raised after November 3.

Mr D.D. Puri, whose cattleshed was also demolished in the drive, said that the shed was at least 250 feet from the road. “There are many other newly raised structures on the road near the village’s busstop, which the PUDA officials ignored in their drive”, he alleged. The villagers allege that there are many other structures raised after the cut-off date on the road which the PUDA officials left untouched.

The PUDA staff lead by Mr Ranjeet Kumar, SDE (Regulatory), later carried out the demolition drive in Ferozpur-Bangra, Majra, Majri, Sialbamajri, Bothgarh, Bharongia, Rasulpur, Dodimajra, Sanimajra, Paintpur, Salamatpur and Kartarpur villages.

As per police sources, the demolition drive went peacefully. According to sources in PUDA the demolition drive is likely to be continued in the coming days.


Illegal structures removed
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, December 5
In the ongoing anti-encroachment drive, the PUDA authorities removed illegal structures in Sector 48 here today.

According to officials, the PUDA team surveyed 228 structures in parts of the sector falling in SAS Nagar out of which 43 were removed.

The drive in the town had started in the last week of October.


Dressing dream homes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Something which started as a dream project of Sangeeta and Yuvraj Narain about 10 years ago is today spreading warmth in many households across five big cities in the country. Bandhini Home Store, Sector 9 is not just about commerce and profits. The store has fast picked up from what it earlier was — a house of specialised textiles for those who have taste for grace. Talking to The Tribune about how the project was conceptualised, Delhi-based Sangeeta Narain said, “Bandhini is a reflection of our common interests and inclinations. While I was into textile designing for long, my husband Yuvraj was running over 100 handlooms. This was even before we got married. After marriage, we decided to go into furnishings. That was when Bandhni happened.”

The range available locally is immense both in terms of style and cost.

The fresh collection finds base in different theme dressings. Ms Vineeta Sondhi, manager, of the Store, said, “We believe in contemporary designs. That is why we have a delectable blend of traditional and modern motifs in our entire line of home dressings.”

There are many theme dressings to choose from — the Jehangir collection exudes warmth and majesty typical of the Mughals; the young and vibrant “New York apartment look” caters to the young at heart; the fine “Paisley” theme, adds a royal touch to the ambience with its intricately-done up pastel fabrics; the “fire and flame” theme injects wildness with all its hues of fire; the “Tahiti” theme draws on the bold and carefree moods of the Caribbean and Hawaiian islands; and the “Egyptian” theme recreates the grandeur of Egypt.


Cable operators to launch stir
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, December 5
The newly formed Punjab Cable TV Network Association today announced that it would start an agitation by mid-December to protest against the enhancement of fees by TV channels.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Sanjit Singh Gill, president of the association, said a rally would be staged in Chandigarh and various channels would be boycotted by the operators. Their agitation would include the “blackout” of all advertisements appearing on the channels.

He said cable operators were not in favour of burdening the customers, but if TV channels hiked their fee they had no option but to ask the customers to pay more.

Earlier, almost all TV channels were free of cost, but later they started charging fees. Now channels like Star Plus, Zee and Star Sports had decided to enhance their fees from January 1 next year. Star Plus was increasing the charges from Rs 30 per connection per month to Rs 42, Sports Channel from Rs 16 to Rs 24 and Zee from Rs 25 to Rs 38 per connection per month. Sony and Discovery channels also proposed to hike their charges from April 1.

He said if the TV channels went ahead with their unjustified fee hike, the customers of the cable operators might have to pay between Rs 200 to Rs 300 per month. Cable TV was considered to be the common man’s source of entertainment but with such a hike many might not be able to afford a connection in the future.

Mr Gill said in many foreign countries TV channels which ran advertisements did not charge any fees.

He said a large number of cable operators had been working for almost 12 years and had developed the service into an industry. In fact, between 40,000 and 50,000 persons had got employment with operators in the state. However, the government had failed to provide any incentive or aid to the operators who were instead required to pay entertainment tax. Insurance companies also refused to insure their property outside the cable control room.


A chain of stores is her aim
Tribune News Service

Till about four years ago, Kusum Vahi was content with a nine-to-five job in a marketing company. Then one day it dawned on her that she must do something on her own. With this realisation came the courage to give up the security of the job and plunge into the adventurous world of entrepreneurship. With a capital of just Rs 300 came up her unit, Deus Vult, to market pieces of decoration such as candle stands, lamp shades etc.

Soon her small venture became popular and business began to look up. Her husband joined her and today he is a great help in the marketing operation.

Now she has her own skilled workers who turn out products according to her order and design. She is now planning to have a chain of Deus Vult stores in different cities. Her clients at present include a number of gift shops including Archie’s.

“Doing one’s own business gives one the satisfaction that a job cannot give. Apart from giving expression to one’s creativity, the freedom to follow one’s own plans, makes the task interesting”, she says.

She explains that the unique designs and the affordable price of her products make them popular. Producing items according to the customer’s demands is the secret of her success. Moreover, after-sale service and regular follow-up with the retailers give her business an edge over others.

In addition to marketing, selection of designs is an important aspect of her business. This is taken care of by a professional. She herself visits the manufacturing units once a week. “My working hours are flexible, and that helps me manage my family without any difficulty”, she asserts. Her present expansion plan includes marketing her products in Madhya Pradesh. “The ultimate aim is to start a Deus Vult chain of stores, and I hope it will materialise soon”, she says with confidence.


Going the Big B way

FROM modeling to showbiz, this Marathi lass has come a long way. The latest rage, however, is her prime time talent show on the Star television, where she chats with the hottest of Bollywood stars and helps lift the spirit of participating children. ‘Kya Masti Kya Dhuum’ is running quite successfully and is keeping a good number on the small screen chart buster.

SonaliIn fact, just like the Big B shot into instant fame with KBC, Sonali is also following suit. She appears to be quite happy with her new-found role as a talent searcher. But that does not really mean that the Hamma Hamma girl has taken her mind off films. Films are there and more of them are with Govinda. In fact Sonali remembers very fondly the work schedule she shared with Govinda during ‘Jis Desh mein Ganga Rehta Hai’. Now she is also appearing in Telegu films and is acting with Chiranjeevi in ‘Mruguraaj’. As for marriage, the pretty dame has no plans.

Ask her what she is busy with and she replies: “There is a lot to read about”. Sonali is a great fan of Enid Blyton and Richard Bach's Bridge Across Forever is one of her favourite novels. The other being Jeffrey Archer's Kane and Abel.


Tribune journalist bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Sadhu Singh Virdi, eldest brother of Mr Harbans Singh Virdi, Chief Sub Editor of The Tribune, died of a heart attack early this morning here.

Mr S.S. Virdi (62) had retired as architect with the Chandigarh Administration four years ago. Mr Virdi, who leaves behind his wife and three sons, was cremated in the evening.


Injured by bullet from friend’s revolver
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 5
An “accidentally” fired bullet from a “friends” .32-bore revolver and injured Amardeep Singh last evening here. According to information available, the victim was sitting in a Maruti Esteem car along with his two friends, Akashdeep Bhandari and Surjinder Singh, in Sector 37 and the bullet was fired from the licensed revolver of Akashdeep.

Amardeep Singh reportedly received injuries on his cheek and was admitted to the PGI for treatment. The police has reportedly recovered a bottle of whisky from the car and the trio were said to be in a drunken state when the accident took place.

Akashdeep Bhandari, owner of a gun house, was arrested under Sections 188 and 337 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

Arrested: Two SAS Nagar-based youths, Deep Singh and Anil Kumar, were reportedly caught red-handed while stealing clothes, an alarm clock and a battery from a Panjab University hostel last evening. The police arrested the two on a complaint by Mr Parmeshwar Singh of Hostel No. 5.

Theft: Col J.S Sandhu (retd), a resident of Sector 37, reported to the police that three gent suits, shawls, toys and other household goods were stolen from his residence after breaking the lock. The theft took place a couple of days ago.

The police has registered a complaint under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC.

Held: Vijay Kumar, a resident of Sector 20, was arrested under the Excise Act last night. The police claimed to have recovered 35 pouches of liquor from his possession.

Gambling: The police arrested Ahmad Ali, a resident of Janata Colony, and Umesh Kumar, a resident of Sector 26, for gambling last evening. The police also recovered Rs 4,200 from their possession.

Thief arrested: The local police arrested Amjad Ali from near the Inter-State Bus Terminus in Sector 17 when he was trying to escape after stealing a suitcase of Mr Jagtar Singh, a resident of Hallo Majra village, this evening.

Amjad Ali was booked under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC.


Watchman steals Rs 3,000
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 5
Ram Singh, a watchman in a house is alleged to have stolen Rs 3,000 from the shirt of a police guard posted at the residence of the ADGP (Vigilance). According to the police, the complainant, constable Balram had reportedly hung his shirt in the security tent outside the house of the ADGP.

The money was reportedly stolen by Ram Singh when the complainant was away. A case under Section 379 of IPC has been registered.

The accused was later arrested and a sum of Rs 1,500 has been recovered.

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