Thursday, July 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Upward revision of water tariff on the cards
Chandigarh residents to pay Rs 11 crore per annum
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The Municipal Corporation proposes an upward revision of water tariff in the city. The water tariff was last revised in June, 2000. The revenue earned from the existing water tariff is outstripped by expenditure. The direct expenditure and revenue figures reveal a shortfall (deficit) of Rs 16.4 crore in 2000-01 and Rs 17 crore in 2001-02.

The proposed water tariff revision, if implemented, would mean Chandigarhians coughing up Rs 11 crore, per annum, as additional revenue that will accrue to the corporation.

The Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, confirms that there is a proposal to hike water tariff. He points out there has been no upward revision of water tariff since June, 2000, whereas, power tariff has been revised both by the Administration as well as the Punjab State Electricity Board, which supplies power to the pumping station for argumentation water supply scheme (Phase 1, 2 and 3) located at Kajauli.

Also, there has been 40 per cent increase in pay scales and wages of operational staff, including wages of workers (work-charge and daily) deployed on metering and collection charges, rise in cost of repairs of pumping machinery, distribution system and cost of material and labour. Thus due to increase in the cost of production, distribution, operation and maintenance, hike in tariff has to be there, he added.

Though it may not be possible to increase the tariff to a level where operation and maintenance expenditure can match revenue, it is proposed to revise the tariff in a ‘’proportionate manner’’ for all categories of consumers. In fact, the corporation is under obligation to hike water tariff to meet operational and maintenance costs under Clause-II of the technical comments, as per Argumentation Water Supply Scheme Phase 4, cleared by the Centre.

Though Mr M.P. Singh did not divulge details of the proposed upward revision, TNS investigations, however, revealed that the following revision in water tariff is proposed (KL: Kilo litres):

The corporation has proposed Rs 100 per month, as minimum charges to check pilferage of water, if the meter is found defective.

The proposals, however, contain substantive relief for private agencies engaged in installation of tubewells, as notified in the water supply bylaws under Rule 45. These rates were found to be ‘’excessive’’, hence, these have been slashed.

The following are the proposed rates, per month. The existing rates are given in the bracket—50 mm bore, Rs 4,900 (existing rate Rs 9,000); 65 mm, Rs 6,200 (Rs 15,000); 80 mm, Rs 7,500 (Rs 22,000); 100 mm, Rs 9,800 (Rs 26,000); 125 mm, Rs 12,400 (Rs 40,000), 150 mm, Rs 14,700 (Rs 45,000); and above 150 mm, Rs 20,000 (Rs 50,000).

The corporation has also proposed a fine of Rs 500, if any one is found misusing drinking water. The fine will be included in the regular water bill.

Incidentally the Municipal Corporation is a member of the newly formed Change Management Forum—an information support for sustainable urban water and sanitation professionals. The Public Health Superintending Engineer, Mr Swaran Singh Kanwal, is one of the contact partners of the new organisation that has 25 municipalities, corporations and metro boards, as members, countrywide.

This Forum is a partnership initiative between the Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, the Department of International Development, the UK, the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, the Water Engineering Development Centre, the UK and IHE-Delft, Netherlands.

In the inaugural issue of the Forum newsletter, Change Management Times, in the chapter on finances, comparative water tariffs of 12 key cities shows that rates in Chandigarh are pretty low, as compared to say Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai.



Admission to distance education courses
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service


  • Admissions forms for courses in Correspondence Studies available from July 20 onwards
  • Last date for normal admissions is September 30
  • Vice Chancellor can allow a late admission till December 16 with late fee of Rs 5000
  • Department of Correspondence Studies awaits clearance from NCTE for commencing courses in B Ed and M Ed from the forthcoming academic session

Chandigarh, July 10
While admissions for regular classes at Panjab University and affiliated colleges are underway, the university has fixed September 30 as the last date of admission to the Correspondence Studies courses for the forthcoming academic session (2002-2003).

Students can apply for admissions with a late fee of Rs 150 till October 25. The Chairman can permit admissions till November on payment of a late fee of Rs 1,000. The Vice-Chancellor can allow late admissions till December 16 on payment of a late fee of Rs 5,000. In a special case, the Vice-Chancellor can allow admissions even later with a late fee of Rs 10,000.

Students will have to collect lessons from the department. Admission forms of the department will be available from July 20 onwards, sources said.

The department, however, has not been able to make a formal statement about the commencement of the much-publicised Bachelor of Education and Master of Education programmes from the forthcoming academic session. Sources, however, reveal that a team of the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) is likely to visit the campus from July 10 to July 12 and the campus was likely to get affiliation.

It has been pointed out that only students who come from areas under Panjab University (Hoshiarpur, Ferozepore, Ludhiana and Chandigarh) will be able to take up these courses. A teacher pointed out that this was against the very basic principles of distance education and the university needed to look into the matter.

It will be compulsory for the students to attend the personal contact programmes, both for B Ed and M Ed classes. As many as 500 students can be admitted to the B Ed course and about 150 will be admitted to the M Ed course. Candidates need to have a teaching experience of at least two years. A candidate pointed out that “having a teaching experience was not a favourable proposition to a large section of students. Since teachers in government schools are already B Ed, it means that the scheme was largely beneficial to candidates who are employed in the private sector.”



illegal construction
MC slaps Rs 12 lakh fine on engineering college
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, July 10
The local municipal council has slapped a penalty of Rs 12,15,100 on the Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology for constructing buildings without official approval on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway near here.

The penalty has been slapped on the college authorities under Section 195 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911, for constructing college and other building without getting the plans of the building approved by the municipal council authorities.

Sources in the civic body disclosed that the college authorities were issued notice on November 1998 warning them that the construction was in violation of the Sections 195 and 195- A of the Act. After a delay of over two years the college management had submitted the maps of the building which they had already constructed.

The maps and other documents along with an affidavit in which the college authorities had agreed for paying the penalty (composition fee) were sent to the Senior Town Planner in Ludhiana, sources revealed.

According to Mr Jagjit Singh Sahi, Executive Officer of the Dera Bassi Municipal Council, the college building was among the six categories of buildings for which approval from the Senior Town Planner at Ludhiana was necessary.

A team from Ludhiana visited the college premises and a survey was conducted. The team found that construction had already been completed in over 33,000 sq ft area by the college authorities without seeking approval from the civic body, he disclosed. 



Sprinklers sans water fail to settle stone dust
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Burj Kotian, July 10
Water scarcity in the district has had an unprecedented fall out. Water-starved sprinklers have led to unhealthy increase in the level of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) here.

It is learnt that most of the stone crushers in the district, including those in the crusher zone here, are unable to use water sprinklers in order to settle down the dust. With monsoons still playing hide and seek and depleting ground water table , there is little availability of water for sprinkling on the stone dust.

Though the Haryana State Pollution Control Board has specified that stone crushers should use water sprinklers for the entire time that the stone crusher is in operation, none of the crushers here is following these guidelines. Mr Chander Bali, who owns a blacksmith shop here, told TNS that as a result the pollution level had increased tremendously . “The terrace and outside walls of almost all houses here have a thick layer of dust . The commuters passing through the village, too, cannot escape the pollutants, “he says.

Officials in the Haryana State Pollution Control Board, however, maintain that they have been keeping a regular check on the crushers. “In fact, we have issued notices to at least three crushers in the district for violating the norms issued for pollution control. Two crushers were also closed down a few weeks ago, when they failed to abide by the rules,” informed Mr Sumeet Amrohi, Assistant Environment Engineer, Panchkula.

It may be noted that as many as 44 stone crushers are operating in the district. While 28 of these are located in the crusher zone carved out in this village, as many as 15 are located on the Panchkula-Surajpur road. A visit to various stone crushers in the district revealed that most of them were flouting the guidelines issued by the pollution control board.

None of the stone crusher owners had planted trees around their respective premises, against the norms issued by the board. The crusher owners maintain that they have regularly been planting saplings but these are eaten by stray animals .

Similarly, none of the crushers have installed a wind-breaking wall — be it GI sheets or concrete structures to ensure that dust and other pollutants do not fly off on the main roads and inhabitated areas. The owner of one such unit, on condition of anonymity, said if the water sprinklers were functional, there was little need to have wind-breaking walls or trees. “But with water scarcity in the area, most crushers have been unable to use sprinklers since the onset of summers. However, the situation is likely to improve with the onset of monsoons, he said.



Top commercial area lacks basic facilities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
Unkempt roads, no streetlights, little space to park vehicles and complete chaos. Welcome to famous “hotel-line” of Sector 35 where the Chandigarh Administration’s dream of promoting tourism lies shattered.

Sixteen hotels and eight restaurants besides leading coffee shops dot the area, making it one of the busiest places in the city. Not to miss several branches of leading banks, ATM counters, various department stores, offices and showrooms of top Indian and multi-national companies (MNCs).

Owners and managers of various establishments have cried themselves hoarse demanding facilities but to no avail. And this despite contributing a few crores to the Chandigarh Administration’s kitty by way of taxes. Collectively the 80 odd showrooms in the “hotel line” deposit a few crores by way of sales tax and excise duty for running bars, pubs and selling liquor.

No one listens to us, as we are not VIPs, said a hotelier, fed up with the daily problem of parking, congestion and total lack of order that make a visitor to the place feel uncomfortable. These are not the conditions to promote tourism or invite people, he added. Even after the Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), dropped in to have coffee in one of the famous joints a couple of months ago, nothing happened as he came in the night, apparently unable to see the big potholes.

A banker in Sector 35-B suggests: Officials of the Administration can take a better view if they come in their personal car to the area. The first challenge is to find a way through the bad roads and then find some space for parking. The worst times are during the closing time of banks, weekend nights on Friday and Saturday and the lunch hours. On the weekend things get out of hand if one of the hotels is hosting some get-together.

Sample this: As a vehicle enters the first block from the road dividing Sectors 43 and 44, an eight-foot-wide crater, which passes off as a road, greets it checking the shock absorbers.

On the right side is long stretch of road , on which the engineering department forgot to put a covering of tar. A year ago, the road was widened and it is still in the same kutcha shape. At night the only lights aiding the driver are the headlights of his own vehicle or the lights from the glow signs put by the hotels, restaurants, pubs and banks. There is absolutely no concept of streetlight here. Despite being the top commercial area of the city, the benefits of a well-managed parking system with sentries and guards is still to reach here. It’s luck which matters if one has to get parking space here.

A visitor who has to stay for night in any of the hotels parks his vehicle “at his own risk ”. This puts him off as he wants a safe parking place, says another hotelier.

The roads on the rear side of the hotels can be utilised for parking or passage if the Administration builds small passageway on the available lands. Why not post traffic policemen as we are paying several crores by way of taxes, added Mr Ashok Bansal, general secretary of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Chandigarh .

Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, who owns a building in the area, says the lane at the back of the showroom should be used for parking and sooner the paid parking is implemented here the better.



PAN application must for new assessees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
New assessees may file their returns without a Permanent Account Number (PAN) but the existing assesses will be informed about the status of their PAN application at the spot while filing their returns.

For new assessees the application for PAN was mandatory.

The filing of returns began here today for residents of Industrial Area Phases I and II, Mani Majra and 1 to 25 sectors at the Engineering Institute of India, Sector 19, Madhya Marg.

Those from Mohali and Sector 26 upwards could file the returns in Bassi Building and those from Ropar and Nangal could also file them in Batra Building apart from their hometowns under the Commissioner of Income Tax-II.

The department has made preparation for those persons who had not received their PAN cards but had been informed about the number but those existing assessees, who had failed to get PAN would be penalised, Mr Ashwini Luthura told the Chandigarh Tribune.

The Commissioner Income Tax-I (CIT-I) had already received 14,000 to 15000 returns already and another 45,000 were yet to be filed.

The CIT-II under Ms Manju Lakhanpal had already received almost half of the 60,000 assessees’ returns.

For Chandigarh the Bassi Building is practically the only place to file returns for those residing in Mohali and Sector 26 upwards.

The people, however, seemed to be confused as a large number of them came to the Engineering Institute to file their returns but were told they were in the CIT-II.

Ms Lakhanpal told the Chandigarh Tribune that in order to end the confusion, she was going to issue public notice through Press to inform the people about the location where they could file their returns.

Though the department has started accepting the Saral form in place of almost a book-sized other form, which was later withdrawn, for now by the Finance Ministry, forms were available at the Engineering Institute for voluntary assessees.

The confusion about the city falling in the list of those places where even employers could accept returns was cleared today with an officer coming back from training to deal with those employers having more than 50 tax payers to facilitate them accept returns.

Sources in the department said it would approach the employers to avail of the facility but tax payers were still free to file their returns at Income Tax offices.

The employers will have to accept returns, prepare a list with an undertaking from the assessee that he would file the return with the employer.



Stone of sewage treatment plant laid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), here today laid the foundation stone of a Rs 4.5-crore sewage treatment plant in Raipur Kalan with a capacity to treat 5 mgd affluents.

Lieut-Gen Jacob said the Municipal Corporation should try to explore possibilities of using energy from the gases to be released by the plant and supplying the treated water to farmers. The plant will save 1.5 lakh population of Mani Majra from pollution.

He said that the Administration had chalked out plans to get a grant of Rs 40-crore from the Central Government for improving power supply in phase II and phase III of the city. A similar scheme was being planned for the augmentation of potable water supply.

The Ministry of Surface Transport had already approved two fly-overs on the Chandigarh-Shimla highway, he said.

The plant whose capacity could be increased to treat sewage of another one lakh of population will be commissioned in 18 months.

Based on upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (USAB) technology, the plant consumes only 10 per cent energy in comparison to traditional plants.

It uses gravitation and requires only 75 per cent of the land needed for an activated sludge technology based plant (AST).

Jacob indicated a sympathetic approach towards the Municipal Corporation’s requirement of funds.

He gave the assurance after the Mayor, Ms Lalit Joshi, used the occasion to demand more grants for the corporation, which had been facing fund shortage to meet the developmental requirements of the city.

Ms Joshi’s demand came a day after the Municipal Corporation’s Resource Generation Committee was told that the corporation had been facing an accumulated impact of Rs 10 crore less funding than the responsibilities transferred, failure to transfer responsibilities which could have got the corporation money and denial of share in Administration’s tax collection.

The Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh, said the Municipal Corporation and Chandigarh were engaged in cleaning the city and a solid waste management plant would soon come up to save the environment of the city.

The Home Secretary, Mr R.S. Gujaral, the Finance Secretary, Mr Karan A. Singh, the Senior Deputy Mayor, Mr Surinder Singh, the Chief Engineer Municipal Corporation, Mr V. K. Bharadwaj, were among officials and councillors present on the occasion.



Ram Darbar residents rue poor water supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
Women and children of Ram Darbar here today staged a sit-in strike in front of Mayor Lalit Joshi’s office, protesting against insufficient supply of drinking water for the past eight months.

Led by the BJP Scheduled Caste, Backward Class Morcha, Mr Bhagwan Dass Sangam, the protestors raised slogans against the Mayor.

They alleged that the water supply had been very low during the past eight months and since this month they were not even getting water on the ground floor.

A delegation of protestors met the Mayor, who assured them that the supply will be improved.

Congress councillor Ms Kamlesh’s husband also confirmed that the water supply was in a shambles due to the failure of two of the six tubewells, adding that an epidemic might break in the area as poor people were directly collecting water from pits dug up to collect the supply.

Mr Sangam threatened to take the matter to the Scheduled Caste Commission, as most of the affected form this group of castes.

The protestors demanded to provide them supply from the lines going to other sectors but the corporation refused as it could lower the supply in other sectors.

The protestors also shouted slogans at the Congress leader in the House, Mr Subhash Chawla, who went to the Chief Engineer, Mr V.K. Bharadwaj, to know the status.

Mr Chawla quoted Mr Bharadwaj to say the line seemed to have some leak and for checking that and theft of water the supply had to be stopped and it would be fully restored in ten days.

The Mayor said the corporation had been sending tankers for the past couple of days.

Mr Chawla said a new tubewell had also been activated for the area.

The Congress councillor from the area, Ms Kamlesh, said the manner in which the protest was organised by the Opposition party was to be condemned but the problem was genuine.

The Congress councillor said she had met the officials and the Mayor and they had assured to improve the situation.



Police Lines — a graveyard of unclaimed vehicles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The Chandigarh Police is finding it hard to dispose of unclaimed vehicles decaying at Traffic Police Lines in Sector 29 here.

The number of two-wheelers alone stands at around 300. The parking of the vehicles, including the autorickshaws and four-wheelers, is posing problems. The condition of the vehicles has deteriorated due to vagaries of weather. A sizeable area within the complex of the traffic lines has been occupied by the unclaimed vehicles.

Sources in the traffic police said the officials were reluctant to dispose of the vehicles due to lengthy procedure and legal hurdles involved in the auction of vehicles. Efforts made by the police department to dispose of the vehicles met with little success as few people came forward to accept the vehicles.

An official of the traffic police said a local court had directed the Chandigarh police to inform owners of all impounded vehicles and insert an advertisement in leading newspapers. Only then the process of auctioning the vehicles could begin. When the cops went to inform the owners they found the addresses in many cases to be incorrect. “If a vehicle is sold and then a claimant surfaces, it can lead to a serious problem”, said an official on the condition of anonymity.

The sources said another major hindrance in the disposal of the vehicles was that the money earned from the auctioning of the vehicles would be passed over to the Chandigarh Administration, but the expenses for inserting public notice in newspapers would have to be borne by the traffic police.



Power failure hits BSNL cash collection
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
One may not believe that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, the telecom giant which is going to launch mobile services in the region soon, has not made adequate arrangements even to collect cash bills from telephone subscribers at the Sector 34 exchange and other offices in the city. In case of power breakdown, which is too frequent these days, the BSNL has no sufficient back -up facility to run the computer network.

A visit to the Sector 34 exchange office, today revealed that people were standing in queue for over three hours. However, the computer network had not started at all till 12 pm due to power failure. The BSNL employees at the cash counter were asking the subscribers not to wait there because of system breakdown. It was only at about 12.15 pm that Mr V.K. Kakkar, a retired deputy secretary of Punjab Government, succeeded in depositing the bill. Within seconds, the system brokedown again.

Mr Kakkar lamented, “The service of BSNL is hopeless. First I had to collect the bill dated June 18 myself yesterday. Now I am forced to stand in the queue for three long hours, without any light or fan, just to deposit my bills. Can’t the BSNL arrange a generator set to run the system smoothly or accept bills manually.”

Ms Jyoti, a resident of Sector 29, claimed that she had been standing in the queue since 8.45 am, but the employees had not made any arrangements to collect bills. Ms Indu Bala Kochhar, AO, could be seen pleading with the subscribers to deposit bills through electronic clearing or at other offices. However, the customers told her that computers were not properly working at Sector 17 and Sector 37 offices too.

Interestingly, the recently renovated building of the BSNL at Sector 34 accommodates head office of Punjab Circle, training division, customer care centre and other offices. It is centrally air-conditioned and in case of power failure the temperature rises severely. The building maintenance officials disclosed that though the total load of total exchange had increased by more than 500 KVA, but the UT Electricity department had not released the extra load despite depositing necessary charges.

One of the officials said, “We have a generator only of 270 KVA capacity and it cannot sustain the load of building, which includes dozens of air conditioners and exchange itself. So we have to switch off the engine. Higher officials are not ready to take any action despite repeated reminders.”

No official was ready to make comments on this issue as Mr R.C.Vaish, Principal GMT, was reportedly on leave and Mr Deena Dayalan, GM (Finance), has been transferred.



Computer chip with bluetooth technology developed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
Local lad Jatinder Grewal claims to have made his very own chip, which incorporates the latest bluetooth technology. The chip can be installed in a number of things. To demonstrate the flexibility and power of this chip he claims to have developed two bluetooth gadgets, which can “wirelessly communicate”.

First is a wireless PC game pad for playing games. It can also be used to control different windows softwares, like Winamp, Media Player, TV Tuners etc. It can also transmit signals, that means it can also send messages to other bluetooth devices, like the bluetooth pager.

The bluetooth pager looks like an ordinary pager but is more flexible in terms of communicating with other devices. The device can communicate with almost any type of device, which has bluetooth technology at home or office. The device communicates with other devices with the help of infra-red signals. It can communicate with other devices automatically. For example, if a person wearing this bluetooth pager enters a room, other bluetooth devices in the room can switch lights on, make its PC to check e-mails automatically and can also send a message to the bluetooth pager about any problems, let’s say a UPS battery down, power failure or any other message, automatically, explains Grewal.

Bluetooth is a standard developed by a group of electronics manufacturers that allows any sort of electronics — from computers and cell phones to keyboards and headphones — to make its own connections, without wires, cables or any direct action from a user. Bluetooth is intended to be a standard that works at two levels.

The companies belonging to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, and there are more than 1,000 of them, want to let Bluetooth’s radio communications take the place of wires for connecting peripherals, telephones and computers.

Bluetooth is intended to get around the problems that come with both infra-red and cable synchronising systems. Hardware vendors which include Siemens, Intel, Toshiba, motorola and Ericsson have developed a specification for a very small radio module to be built into computer, telephone and entertainment equipment. From the user’s point of view, there are three important features to Bluetooth.

It’s wireless when you travel, you don’t have to worry about keeping track of a briefcase full of cables to attach all of your components, and you can design your office without wondering where all the wires will go.



Tension over running school on temple premises
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 10
Tension prevailed at Dadumajra village for several hours here today over running of a school on a temple premises. The persons running the school, however, maintained that they had legal permission to run the school in the temple while the opposite party consisting of market associations and others wanted the school to be shut.

After the intervention of the police and the SDM (South), the two parties agreed to leave the matter of the school to a new committee which will be elected within the next two months. Till then, the school in the temple will remain closed.

Mr Vijay Singh of the village, had shifted his school to the temple on July 3 and it was being run in a verandah of the temple. He had reportedly started the school after making a down payment of Rs 10,000 to the contractor of the temple, Mr Kalyan Singh and the latter had given permission to him for running the school.

On the other hand, another section of the villagers wanted that no ‘‘commercial’’ activities should be allowed from within the temple premises and wanted the school to be closed.

Tension started at around 10 am when a group of villagers consisting mainly of shopkeepers reached the temple. They reportedly started making preparations for a langar. Mr Vijay Singh, who was reportedly teaching his pupils objected to this. At this point angry members of the two parties reportedly hurled bricks (though no injury was reported) at each other and levelled allegations on each other.

The SDM (South), Mr S.S Kanula, Deputy Superintendent of Police (South), Mr S.C Sagar and SHO of Sector 39 Police Station, Mr K.I.P Singh, reached on the spot.

It was later agreed between the two parties that the an ad hoc committee will be set up by Sunday, which will decide the course of a full fledged temple committee. The school has been closed for the time being and the new committee will decide whether the school should be allowed to run in the temple premises or not.

Meanwhile, Dr Vinod Kumar Chadha, a resident of the village, offered two rooms in his house to Mr Vijay Singh to run the school, which the latter rejected.



An example in inhospitality
Harvinder Khetal

Tribune News Service

News of a new bar opening in a restaurant should come as a pleasant one for Bacchus lovers and they would be expected to throng the joint with great expectations of getting some good premium brands as also cocktails.

But sadly, that has not been the case with the K.C. Mezbaan’s new venture if a visit to the place by this correspondent on Tuesday is any indication. Compounding the disappointment was the absence of the proprietor or a responsible manager with whom one could lodge a complaint.

Repeated queries solicited a cheeky response from an official who put on proprietary airs. ‘‘ I(?) am providing certain brands that no other hotel in Chandigarh does’’, he brags.

But a perusal of the menu card reveals no such brands. Questioning puts the man on the defensive and he resorts to running down of competitor hotels and rival restaurants. Certainly a digression from the ethical demands of the profession.

He claims to have brands not listed in the menu on house. But pray, how is the guest to know that?

All this comes as a rude shock as readers will recall, I had earlier recommended Mezbaan for Kashmiri delights and the sweet delicacy, phirni, apart from waxing eloquent about the interiors done up in Mughal style with a sprinkling of Rajasthani artwork.

A query on cocktails (completely missing from the menu card) elicits a confident, ‘‘I (?) will be only one in the city to offer 52 varieties of cocktails’’. And what are these? Obviously hiding his ignorance, he thinks he has hit a sixer as he avers, ‘‘Oh! I’ll keep that as a surprise for the guests’’.

Insisting on speaking in atrocious English, he adds, ‘‘My(?) barman is coming from Delhis (sic). He will make cocktails’’.

By now, his feathers are totally ruffled and he does the unthinkable, a death knell for a professional in the hospitality department — he puts on a threatening stance and resorts to namedropping, leaving one with no choice but to leave in disgust. Hope you, dear readers, have better luck.



Install statue of first Defence Minister’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The World Sikh Intellectual Council urged the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, here today to get a statue of first Defence Minister Baldev Singh, installed at the Army headquarters and to released a postal stamp to commemorate his centenary.

At a meeting of the council under the chairmanship of Mr. Baldev Singh Balluna, the council said the first Defence Minister of the country was among the three persons from India to go to England to accept declaration of the Independence.

Baldev Singh had led the country against the Kabaili attacks orchestrated by Pakistan during the Partition in Kashmir, the council said.



Wadhwa’s office gheraoed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 10
Irate residents of Madrasi Colony in Sector 23 today gheraoed the office of the Chief Administrator of HUDA, Mr N.C. Wadhwa, in protest against the demolition drive in the colony a few days ago. Nearly 150 residents, who are employees of HUDA, demanded that they should be provided plots for constructing new houses. Mr Wadhwa who generally sits at Awas Bhavan in Chandigarh, visited his Sector 6 office here on a weekly visit.

Mr Wadhwa placed two leaders of these protesters namely Gurbachan and Raju under suspension.



Goods worth Rs 70,000 stolen
Tribune Reporters

SAS Nagar, July 10
Goods worth Rs 70,000 were stolen from a spare parts shop, Harjit Motors, in Industrial Area here late last night. The thieves broke into the shop through the ceiling and took away a large number of spare parts from the shop, besides some cash.

The owner of the shop, Mr Harjit Singh, informed the police of the incident this morning. The police started investigations into the robbery and was yet to register a case.

Sources said the robbers also tried to break into a neighbouring spare parts shop, Sharma Motors, but failed.

Dowry case
On a complaint filed by Ms Iqbal Preet Kaur, a resident of Phase X, the Mohali police registered a case against her husband Gurpreet Singh, sister-in-law Malwinder Kaur and father-in-law Manmohan Singh under Sections 498-A and 406 of the IPC. Ms Iqbal Preet Kaur alleged in her complaint that her in-laws and husband were asking for dowry and were maltreating her.

Car stolen
Mr Amanpreet Singh, a resident of Phase VII, reported that his Maruti 800 (DAC 1441) was stolen from in front of Hanuman Mandir, Phase 3B2. The police registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC.


Man killed
One person Satinder Singh, was killed when he was hit by an unidentified vehicle on the Kharar SAS Nagar road last night. The Kharar police registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A and started investigations.


Poppy husk seized
A special team constituted by the ADGP, Government Railway Police, during its raids at Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana railway stations, seized 296 kg of poppy husk. A total of 400 kg of charas was seized from the Ludhiana railway station in June. It was also disclosed that 200 g of ganja, three country-made pistols, 14 live cartridges and 532 bottles of liquor were seized at the Patiala railway station in June.


Theft cases
Mr M.R. Batta, a resident of Sector 21, has reported that clothes, including sarees and other household items were stolen from his residence yesterday. A resident of Mani Majra, Mr Puneet Batra, complained that an almirah, a ladder, brass products and other items were stolen from his garage on July 7. Mobile phone of Mr Ravjit Singh, a resident of Sector 47, was stolen from his car, which was parked in Sector 10, at about 8.30 pm yesterday.

Mr Beerpal Chauhan of Burail has reported that a resident of Darwa village, has stolen a camera, a wrist watch, a jacket and Rs 6,000 from his residence yesterday.

Meanwhile, the police has arrested Surinder Kumar, a resident of Seeonk village in Kharar sub division, on charge of stealing a cycle. A case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC has been registered.

The police has arrested Ashok Kumar, a resident of Dadumajra village, seized 40 pouches of liquor from his possession yesterday.

Accused escapes
An accused in a cycle theft case, Surinder Singh, escaped from police custody while he was being taken to the district courts, here today. He was to be produced before the magistrate on completion of his police remand. Earlier, a case against the accused was registered at the Sector 39 police station on July 8.



Foul play suspected in man’s death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 10
Phool Chand (20), a resident of Mauli Jagran, had died allegedly of excessive beating by his employer on July 4. However, the police allegedly did not take prompt action even after a complaint was lodged at the police post of the area. The body of the victim was taken to his native place in Faizabad district, Uttar Pradesh, where a case of murder under Section 302 of the IPC was registered after performing a post-mortem on the body. Three days after the complaint, the local police sent one of its officials to the victim’s native place Rudholi village to look into the matter.

As per information available, Phool Chand, a painter in a Sector 28 shop, was allegedly beaten up by his employer in Mauli Jagran on the night of July 4. Phool Chand was taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula by Sandeep Kumar and Arun Yadav, both residents of Mauli Jagran. The hospital referred him to the PGI, Chandigarh, where Phool Chand succumbed to his injuries the same night. ‘‘Arun told PGI doctors that Phool Chand had fallen from stairs and was injured’’, said Sandeep. The same night Sandeep had reported at the Mauli Jagraon police post that Phool Chand had been beaten up .

The next day the body was taken to Rudholi village in Ambedkar Nagar, UP, by the accused (employer of Phool Chand) and his relatives. Mr Vinay Kumar, uncle of the victim, also accompanied the body to the village.

In the meantime, friends of the victim reportedly informed the victim’s family about the July 4 incident. A case of murder was registered in the Malipur police station.

On July 8, a police official of the Chandigarh Police went to the Malipur police station to look into the matter.

Till the time of filling the report no arrest had been made. No senior police official was available for comment.



2 girls held for immoral trafficking
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
In its campaign against flesh trade in the city, the UT police today arrested two more girls for immoral trafficking from Sector 41, this evening.

The police laid a trap by sending a decoy customer who paid signed notes totaling to Rs 1,000 to the girls. In the third such case exposed by the police in the past one week, the two girls, aged 20 and 21 years and hailing from Sikkim, were arrested by the police along with two pimps, both women, residing in Mohali.



Local brands of goods have not given up hope
Tribune News Service

Local brands v/s branded air-conditioners

  • The local brands using branded compressors and selling at Rs 15,000 to Rs 16,500 against Rs 21,000 plus rate of branded ones.
  • Branded air-conditioners consume less electricity, say customers.
  • Local manufacturers share declined from 75 to 25 per cent during past few years.
  • Local brands selling directly to consumers at wafer-thin margins.
  • After sales service better in case of local brands at lower price, claim customers

Chandigarh, July 10
When the domestic and international brands in all durable goods market have replaced the local manufactures through attractive finance schemes and advertising campaigns, some of the local companies, manufacturing assembled air-conditioners are still trying to give a hard competition to the emerging leaders.

One of local manufacturers, Mr Sandeep Mongia, says, ‘‘Small-scale manufacturers used to have about 75 per cent share in the region’s market a few years ago, however, that share has come down to just 25 per cent, resulting in the death of a number of units in Mohali, Ludhiana and other towns. However, some of us have survived by taking wafer-thin margins, ensuring uncompromised quality and by offering par excellence after-sales service to customers.’’

He admits that the market has witnessed an exponential growth over the years, implying increase in sale of total number of air-conditioners by the local units as well. The insiders in the market say that in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, about 18,000 to 20,000 air-conditioners have sold during the current season. The emerging southern sectors, 0 per cent finance scheme and freebees have contributed to this development.

The local manufacturers claim that the local manufacturers are also using branded compressors to assemble air-conditioners including that of Kirloskar, Tecumseh and Carrier. Despite cut in prices, by Samsung, LG and Bluestar and other brands, there is still a difference of about Rs 5,000 to 7,000 between the branded and non-branded air-conditioners.

Mr Krishan Arora, a marketing executive at a leading Samsung showroom, says,‘‘ Despite recessionary trends in the whole industry, the demand for air-conditioners has substantially increased as compared to the previous year. Different models of Samsung are being sold in the range of Rs 22,000 to Rs 23,000.’’ However, the customers point out that the LG has emerged market leader by cutting price and offering better quality. They claim that the branded ACs consume less electricity as compared to local brands though the after sales service is better in case of local brands.

Mr Mongia, however, claims that the local brands are still surviving by catering to the niche market. He says,‘‘ Our air-conditioners are available at a price of Rs 15,000 to Rs 16,500. We know that it would be difficult to survive in the coming years, but we are determined to give a tough time with our limited energy.’


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