Sunday, September 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mixed response to Jan Shatabdi timings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
It rolled down the tracks to Chandigarh from New Delhi on Friday after months of waiting. Though Jan Shatabdi — common man’s fast train — has been welcomed by a large number of people, some persons belonging to the business and service class are objecting to its timings.

The train starts from Chandigarh at 9.15 am and reaches New Delhi at 1.30 pm. “Too late,” some residents complain. Businessman Vivek Kapoor says, “What is the big fun of reaching New Delhi railway station so late in the afternoon. By the time you reach where you want to in Delhi even after travelling in a taxi after getting down on the station, it would be time for the offices to close down”.

Agreeing with him, Randhir Kapoor, working with a multinational organisation, says: “The train should start early in the morning so that the business, and the executive class is able to reach their destinations latest by 11 a.m. Not later than that”.

Jan Shatabdi, trader Deepak Malhotra insists, should leave Chandigarh railway station latest by 7 am so that commuters are able to reach Delhi by 11.30 am so that the entire day is not wasted.

There are, however, a large number of retired persons, and grand parents, besides housewives, who are welcoming the timing. “At last, the authorities have taken a decision in favour of the retired class,” says Nand Kishore, a retired government employee. “For the first time, perhaps, we will be able to catch the train comfortably”.

His neighbour Ashok Aggarwal says, “Now I will not have to rush through my daily chores in an attempt to reach the railway station on time”. “My two sons are serving in New Delhi and at least once or twice a month I go to the Capital for staying with them for a couple of days. For catching the morning Shatabdi, I had to wake up at four in the morning. Now I can get up comfortably and catch the train without rushing”.

Radha Kathuria, a housewife, is happy. “A few days back I had to reach Delhi for attending a wedding party scheduled to be held in a five-star hotel in the morning, but I missed Shatabdi as I could not make it to the railway station on time as I had to cook food for the entire family. Now, at least this problem is not going to be there”.

But what do the authorities have to say about the timing? Officially they say that the timings were fixed after taking into consideration a number of factors, including the convenience of the commuters of all age groups and gap between trains running to Delhi. Unofficially they admit that the timings were carefully fixed to ensure that comparatively low fares of Jan Shatabdi do not affect the popularity of the Shatabdi.

The train starts from Chandigarh at 9.15 am and reaches New Delhi at 1.30 pm. It passes through Ambala at 10.15 am. On the return journey from New Delhi, the passengers wanting to go to Chandigarh will have to board the Jan Shatabdi at 2.15 pm. The train will reach Sabzi Mandi at 2.27 pm, Panipat at 3.30 pm, Kurukshetra at 4.22 pm, Ambala Cantonment railway station at 5.15 pm and Chandigarh at 6.15 pm.



MC all set to impose professional tax
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 7
The Municipal Council is all set to impose professional tax here. This will help increase the annual income of the civic body by Rs 15 lakh and the total annual income will be over Rs 9 crore.

Notices are now being issued to over 1800 assesses within the Municipal limits of the township in this regard. It is learnt that already 1200 persons\ institutions have been issued notices during the past fortnight. Officials confirm that as much as Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 tax money is being deposited in the MC office daily.

This tax was imposed in the state from May 2000 onwards as per a notification issued by the state government. The Municipal Committees, corporations and councils in the state were authorised to collect this tax on trades, professions and employments such as hotels, private hospitals, petrol pumps, kerosene depots, colleges , schools, financial institutions, builders and associated professions, jewellers, manufacturing units, dairy owners, private education centres etc. The slabs for different trades and professions were fixed in three slabs — Rs 2500, Rs 1500 and Rs 1000.

Officials in the Local Bodies Department inform that the tax was imposed to strengthen local bodies in the state following the withdrawal of octroi in 1999. The withdrawal of octroi had led to annual losses of Rs 55 crore to the state government. By imposing this tax, the state government has been able to recover Rs 5 crore annually. Since the civic body in Panchkula was constituted only a year-and-a-half ago, the residents were exempted from paying this tax.

Meanwhile, various traders’ organisations and political parties have decried the imposition of the profession tax. Even as resentment over the imposition of house tax and fire tax is yet to die down, the new tax is expected to create yet another furore. The Congress has strongly objected to the tax by saying that though it has been more than a year since the MC was constituted here, it has collected various taxes, but no development works have been carried out.

The MC officials, on the other hand, express their helplessness in the wake of delay in the transfer of staff from the Haryana Urban Development Authority . Though orginally it was decided to sanction over 549 personnel to the MC, Panchkula, sources reveal that the Finance Department has given clearance for only 100 personnel, including Class IV employees and those from the Public Works Department .

They say that roads in various villages within its limits — Abheypur, Railley, Fatehpur, Kundi, Bhainsa Tibba etc. — are being constructed. They hope that they will be able to privatise sanitation and street-lighting in all areas within its jurisdiction. A light inspector has already been transferred to the MC to begin work.

Name of profession, trade, employment Tax per annum
 * Starred hotels, private hospitals and nursing homes having more than five beds, petrol pumps, wholesome kerosene depots, privately managed colleges Rs 2500 
 * English medium private schools having more than 100 students, financial institutions, property dealers, builders and contractors, jewellery showrooms, dairy units, manufacturing units having more than 10 employees, cinemas, furniture showrooms  
 * Restaurants, clinics and medical labs, nursing homes with less than five beds, computer training centres, typing colleges, coaching centres, company showrooms, distributors of all types, health clubs, swimming pools, amusement parks Rs 1500
 * Workshops, service stations, ice factories, flour mills, unstarred hotels, tent houses, cable operators, medical stores, electronic goods shops, printing press, video parlour, general stores Rs 1000



US ‘designs’ threat to India: ex-Navy chief
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
India led by the USA is following the path of ‘economic terrorism which disintegrated Yugoslavia and Soviet Union’ and Andhra Pradesh and Orissa have even agreed to lose their sovereignty under a British financing arm.

Former Navy Chief Vishnu Bhagwat said today quoting Lugano Report, Dayton Accord, declassified documents of the USA.

Mr Bhagwat was giving his keynote address on the Haksar series of seminar-cum discussion on national security at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Research.

The session was chaired by the former External Affairs Minister and the Congress Working Committee member, Mr Natwar Singh.

Mr Bhagwat quoted from the IMF-World Bank prescribed policies in the Dayton Accord allegedly leading to impoverishment of Yugoslavian people and fuelling ethnic rivalries resulting in the break up of Yugoslavia.

Russia under Gorbachev and Mr Yeltsin faced a similar situation following crass privatisation and globalisation, he said.

The former Navy chief said business interests represented by the Trans-National Companies of the USA along with intelligence designs of the superpower posed a biggest threat to India.

He claimed that a British finance arm, DFID, was even writing ACRs of civil servants in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa with funds being transferred bypassing the Central Government. Two other Congress-ruled states Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh were also negotiating a same deal.

Mr Bhagwat said the call of a VHP leader to extend the Gujarat experiment to other places and the RSS call for trifurcation were threats to national security as seen in Yugoslavia.

He said defence self-reliance, was being compromised

Mr Natwar Singh lamented the capitulation of the Indian Government before US leaders with the former external affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, allegedly at the beck and call of Mr Stobe Talbott.

He said the present government had become blind in its pursuit of winning over the USA and it was compromising even the national security and foreign policy.

Mr Bhagwat feared that ‘’corrupt’’ elements in the government and in the system would be bought over by foreign interests and the process had already set in.

The former Navy Chief said the USA had to be viewed cautiously as its influence had reached Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and in sections of the people in India.

He said the extent of privatisation had reached a point where the 40-km-stretch of Sheonath river in Chhatisgarh had been privatised.

Mr Bhagwat alleged that disinvestment of public sector units was being done at the advice of corrupt consultants resulting in deals being struck below the value.

Mr Bhagwat alleged that the Americans were after him due to his opposition to the signing of the CTBT which Mr Jaswant Singh was advocating.

The former Navy chief chided the NDA government for singularly focussing on cross-border terrorism and placing half of its armed forces on the border.


Rain brings down temperature
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
It was a wet and pleasant day for Chandigarh and the surrounding areas as intermittent rain lashed the area throughout the day today, bringing down day the temperature to 26°C, 7 degrees below the normal average for this time of the year.

Interestingly, since the start of this month it has rained 15 cm. The total rain so far has been 68.3 cm. This is just 7.2 cm less than the projections of this year. The Met Department says this gap can even be covered.

The rain which started around 9.30 a.m. continued through out the day, forcing people to remain indoors. The Met Office said rain would continue tomorrow also. By 8.30 p.m., it had rained 5 cm.

Mr Surinder Pal Singh of the local Met Office said the rain had been caused due to an upper air cyclonic circulation over south-east Haryana and the adjoining Uttar Pradesh in confluence with a cyclonic circulation over Rajasthan. The conditions would continue tomorrow also, but might weaken by late afternoon.

By evening, the skies had cleared up partially and hundreds of city residents thronged places of tourist interest like the Sukhna Lake, the Rose Garden etc. Residents were out on drives and some even headed to the hills, tomorrow being a holiday.

In private offices, employees were delayed. Several daily passengers who come to work in the city from the surrounding towns were delayed as buses were running slow due to wet roads.

In several playway schools, the attendance dropped as toddlers remained at home. In city colleges, canteens were crowded with students. In the PU, the Students Centre, a beehive of activity, did not witness the usual hustle and bustle.

Local businessmen reported low sales. Power engineers felt relaxed as the demand for power dropped. The delay in the onset of the monsoon had stretched the distribution system to the maximum.

PANCHKULA: Normal life was disrupted following showers throughout the day on Saturday. Power failure was reported at two places. The power supply to Sector 19 and Industrial Area Phase I was disrupted for some time, but was immediately restored. Normal life was affected as most people remained indoors because of the rains. Low-lying areas in Sector 15 and 19 remained flooded with knee-deep water.

Water level in Ghaggar had also swelled by several thousand cusecs as the rains continued throughout the day. Sources reveal that water level in the evening was around 60,000 cusecs.



Unclaimed vehicles to be auctioned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Chandigarh police has started disposing of unclaimed vehicles “decaying” at Police Lines in Sector 29 here. At least 340 vehicles are there, that had been impounded under the Motor Vehicles Act till December 31, 2001.

The process has been initiated on the directive of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Public information on the unclaimed vehicles is being given in newspapers, but, the police has been finding it hard to dispose of these.

The storage of the vehicles had become a big problem for authorities. The condition of the vehicles has deteriorated due to the vagaries of weather. “A sizeable area within Traffic Police Lines has been taken over by the unclaimed vehicles,” said a traffic police official.

Sources in the traffic police said, in the past, officials had been reluctant to dispose of the vehicles, due to a lengthy procedure and legal hurdles in organising auctions. The Chandigarh police would inform owners of all impounded vehicles and insert advertisements in leading newspapers; only then, the process of auctioning could begin. “When the police tried to inform the owners, it found the addresses, in many cases, to be incorrect. If a vehicle is sold, and then, a claimant surfaces, it would lead to 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 would go to the Chandigarh Administration. However, the advertising expenditure would have to be borne by the traffic police.



BJP’s charge on showroom sale
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The local unit of the BJP has alleged that the Municipal Corporation sold off a showroom in Sector 9 at a rate lower than was being offered a few months ago.

The BJP pointed out that the corporation on August 28 auctioned shop-cum-office 178-79 in Sector 9 for Rs 1.34 crore. Interestingly, a bid for Rs 1.85 crore for the same site was rejected in an auction in January this year. By accepting this the MC officials had caused a loss of Rs 50 lakh to the civic body. The party had decided to submit a detail memorandum to the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) on Monday demanding a probe.

The BJP councillor, Mr Rajesh Gupta, sought an inquiry into the auction of commercial site. Mr Gupta, an observer in the January 23 auction, said the bid had been put at Rs. 1.85 crore, but was rejected by the then officer-in-charge.

Mr Gupta, in a letter written to the Municipal Commissioner, Mr. M. P. Singh, yesterday, said, he, as an observer, asked the officer in-charge why the bid of Rs 1.85 crore was rejected against a reserve price of Rs. 1.65 crore. It was explained that the site should have been auctioned above Rs. 2 crore.

The reduction in the price came after the Finance and Contract Committee reduced the prices for the February auction by 20 per cent after the Municipal Corporation informed members that the price reduction was required for selling certain sites whose auction failed in the previous auctions.

The committee had also increased the reserve price by 50 per cent of the Janata Kumhar Colony shops in the wake of good response in the January auction.



‘Govinda’ flop in rain; losses mount
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, September 7
A much popular and early-maturing variety of paddy — Govinda has not withstood the vagaries of weather in several parts of the region. Continuous downpour and high-velocity winds have flattened the paddy at many places, dashing to ground hopes for a bumper crop.

The cost of production has gone up this year, since the farmers have had to use diesel-sum water pumps to meet their irrigation requirements. Besides, fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides, too, have become dear in a drought-like situation in the state.

The weather affected the crop over hundreds of acres when it was ready for harvesting.

Though the variety was not recommended by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) of Ludhiana, farmers had adopted it in the hope of a quick harvest.

Govinda yields two crops in a single Kharif session in mid April and October). Each cycle needs about 60 days to mature, giving a good yield at the end even in adverse weather conditions, as claimed.

A visit to Dera Bassi, Lalru, Banur and Rajpura showed how Govinda fields had been flattened.

Shattered farmers have resorted to other methods to save their crop from further damage.

Reports of flattening of paddy by the storm were also received from Patiala, Kharar, Ropar, Ramgarh, Naraingarh, Raipur Rani, Pinjore, Kalka, Baddi and Nalagarh, besides Ludhiana and Moga.

Mr Kaka Singh, a farmer of Stabgarh village near Banur, who had sown the early variety over 35 acres, the storm had ruined him. Earlier, the drought had affected farmers; now, the delayed rains had destroyed the crops.

Mr Rajbir Singh, a Lalru-based farmer, said the Thursday-night storm had flattened the crops. The grain had started turning black due to a continuous rain for the past two days.

Farmers had faced a similar problem four years ago and suffered big losses. The produce had to be sold at prices much lower than costs.



No security for retired Army officers 

A retired Colonel and his wife were reportedly thrashed by some villagers in Sector 12 of Panchkula recently. A delegation of senior retired Army officers met the deputy commissioner and the Superintendent of Police and requested them to take appropriate action against the guilty. But then, nothing happened after the meeting.

The incident brings to the fore a few points. First, we are a nation of hero-worshippers who have a very short memory. Armed forces are the only ray of hope in the corrupt and mismanaged nation of more than a billion people. Is it not a national disgrace that no one had bothered to find the facts of the case and report them in an objective manner so that the guilty could be brought to book? If someone visited the spot of the incident, he/she would have known the correct picture.

The house in which the retired Colonel lives in Sector 12 is across the road where an unauthorised ‘village’ is flourishing with the patronage of politicians. The officer had merely objected to cattle dung at the gate of his house when 10-12 men and women from the village took him and his wife to the interior of the village and mercilessly beat them up.

After having spent 30-40 years in the service of the nation, all that an Army officer gets is this kind of treatment and the feeling that he and his family are not safe in the country for which he was ready to lay down his life.

It is well-known that retired officers and jawans are not given any regard and respect by politicians, bureaucrats, or the judiciary. In this great nation, only the rich and the powerful get recognised. Unfortunately, retired soldiers are neither rich nor powerful.

Secondly, no ex-servicemen’s organisation Sainik Welfare Department of the government or NGOs have come forward to get the hapless officer justice in a system which is denied to the most deserving. The Sainik Welfare Departments of Punjab and Haryana are usually headed by retired officers of Brigadier rank. Since they are subservient to their governments as these are political appointments doled out as favours, their silence on the incident is understandable, but why can’t the others react to the shabby treatment meted out to the retired Colonel and his wife?

Thirdly, the Army has been spending crores of rupees on advertisements to attract the youth. Who would like to join a service where young men and women don’t get any power and authority like those in the IAS, IPS and other allied services or money as in the corporate world? Had the Army spent the same amount in restoring the dignity and honour of ex-servicemen, who are obviously more visible to the civilians than their serving counterparts, it would have achieved its objectives long back.

Let the retired defence offices unite. This is a wake-up call. If they want their voice to be heard in a system where only vote bank matters, they have no other option.

Col D.S. Cheema (retd), Panchkula

Business as usual

After reading the report in The Tribune (July 2), the litigants were happy and convinced that their long-time pending court cases will be settled early. But in the district court at Chandigarh, there is no effect of the amendment to the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) — No. 46 of 1999 and No 22 of 2002. This is surprising because we were given to understand that the Union Government has already implemented the necessary amendments to the CPC from July 1, 2002. Even though the amendment prevents advocates from seeking adjournments, it is business as usual in this court. The advocates are able to seek adjournments very easily and without paying any cost. As a result, litigants feel cheated as earlier.

The District Sessions Judge and the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court are requested to take effective measures to ensure that the latest amendment to the CPC is implemented in the Chandigarh court in letter and spirit so that people get speedy justice in the true sense of the term.

It would also be better if a complaint box is provided in the court premises to help litigants file their complaints and get them redressed expeditiously.

Som Raj Puri, Chandigarh

No park in Sector 29-D

Unfortunately, the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh are not taking any interest in developing the parks and playgrounds in Sector 29-D. These have become symbols of neglect and nobody seems to be bothered about them.

There is a large open space adjoining the Pir Baba Dargah in Sector 29-D. This was earmarked for developing a green belt. Last year, some measures were taken in this direction. One reason that influenced the authorities to develop this area as a green belt was the fact that this Sector was direly in need of a lung space for the residents. This Sector does not have a good park. As a result, people are forced to visit parks in other sectors. In the interests of the residents in Sector 29-D, the authorities should develop this large area as a park. Wild grass will have to be removed, fresh lawn laid out and some benches can be provided. If the area is developed as a full-fledged park with proper maintenance, rickshaw pullers, labourers and others can be prevented from misusing this space for their toilet needs.

The residents of this Sector have no place to do jogging and other exercises. It will be a joggers’ delight if this area is developed into a park. I appeal to the authorities to keep in view the interests of the residents and act accordingly.

Rohit Pardasani, Chandigarh



Monkey bites 4 school children
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, September 7
Four students of two private schools, located on the Zirakpur-Bhabhat road, fell prey to a monkey here this morning.

The four — Mamta, Deepika, Gaurav and Manoj — were on their way to the schools when the animal pounced upon them. The simian bit the students one after another and disappeared, leaving them injured.

Some passersby and local residents rushed to their rescue after the children raised an alarm. The victims were later vaccinated against rabies. The school authorities reported the incident to the police but no action had been taken so far, informed Mr Rakesh Kumar, father of a victim.



Learn to live with injustice’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
“The nation on the threshold of invisible slavery” was the theme of deliberations at a joint meeting of the Servants of the People Society and the Azadi Bachao Andolan at the Lajpat Rai Bhavan here today.

Prof V.P.Srivastava, professor of mathematics at Delhi University, gave the keynote address.

Doing some plainspeaking, he urged the gathering to “ learn to live with injustice”. He presented an account of “ how the new economic policy was all wrong”.

He said the “freedom won by the previous generation had frittered away in the current times. The country was left back with “a huge burden of debt which was increasing rapidly”.



Environment drive
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 7
Launching the “Save environment campaign at Dev Samaj College for Women in Sector 45, the Advisor to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, today planted a maulshri sapling followed by Principal V. Bhargava and other faculty members. According to a press note, a skit, “congress grass”, highlighting the sanitation problem in the city was also presented by the students, along with other cultural items.



One killed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
A 37 year-old scooterist of Sector 20 died on the spot when the scooter he was driving skidded near the roundabout of Sector 19 and 26 early today.

The victim, Rajan Arora, who was returning home from his shop in Sector 11 of Panchkula, was declared brought dead at the PGI here.

According to information available here, the victim who was not wearing a helmet apparently skidded due to silt on the road.



BSP units
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
Two units of the Chandigarh Bahujan Samaj Party were announced by Mr Narinder Kashyap, in charge of the Haryana Pradesh BSP and Chandigarh state unit, during a meeting at Ambedkar Bhavan yesterday. The decision was taken in order to create a stronghold in the Chandigarh unit of the party by Ms Mayawati, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.



Rape case: woman at large
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur-Garibdas, September 7
Kusum Sharma, a resident of the village, who allegedly made her husband rape a 13-year old girl, is still at large. Her husband has been arrested and remanded in judicial custody. The couple has been booked on charges of rape, criminal intimidation and furthering a crime with common intent.

Last month, Kusum Sharma, a resident of Mullanpur-Garibdas village, allegedly made her husband Sanjeev Kumar, rape the 13-year-old girl following a brawl over water. The matter was reported to the police on September 2 after the victim’s brother came to know about it. Police sources said the medical examination of the girl confirmed rape but since it had been done after several days of the alleged incident, certain vital clues could not be taken into consideration”.

In his statement to police, Sanjeev claimed that he was impotent and could not commit rape. However, his medical examination had belied his claim, added the sources.

Meanwhile, a section of the villagers are of the opinion that Sanjeev is being falsely implicated in the rape case. “The allegations that Sanjeev has committed a rape does not sound tenable”, said a villager on condition of anonymity.



Theft in Sector 12 house
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 7
Cash and goods worth thousands of rupees were stolen from the Sector 12 house of Mr R. Khanna on Saturday. The incident took place while all members of the family were away to work. While cash worth Rs 12,000 was stolen, the family was yet to assess the loss of valuables. The miscreant(s) were reportedly in the house for a few hours as they leisurely had tea, cold drinks and snacks there. The police has registered a case.

Woman assaulted: Ms Shikha has accused her husband Sanjay Kumar, father-in-law Gurdit Lal, mother-in-law, Naresh, and sister-in-law, Meenakshi, of assaulting her and harassing her for getting insufficient dowry at the time of marriage. A case under Sections 498-A, 206, 323, 324 and 325 of the IPC has been registered.

One arrested: The police has arrested Jyoti Parkash on charges of speculating near Gurukul School, Sector 1. A case under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the IPC has been registered.

Illicit liquor seized: The police arrested Khem Chand from near Chandi Mandir and recovered six bottles of illicit liquor from him.

Baljit Singh, manager of the Sector 17 ISBT branch, in a complaint said Atul Sharma, a resident of Phase 11, SAS Nagar, took loan from the bank posing as a government employee. A case of cheating has been registered at the Sector 17 police station.

Vehicle theft: Two vehicles were stolen from two different parts in the city in the past 48 hours. According to information, Kajal Sharma, a resident of Sector 38, in a complaint, said her Maruti car was stolen from a parking lot of Sector 22. In another case, Mr K.K. Khurana, a resident of Sector 42, said his scooter had been stolen from the parking lot outside the Parade Ground.

Theft: Ms Varinder Kaur, a resident of Sector 8, has complained that her bag containing Rs 200, an ATM card and PAN card were stolen from in front of an SCO in Sector 22. In another case, Rajinder Kumar, a resident of Sector 33, complained that a TV, a pair of watches, one pair of gold earring, a bedsheet and Rs 3,000 were stolen from his house on Friday afternoon.



Cases against Airtel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
The Chandigarh Police today registered at least four cases against private celluar operator, Airtel, for violating the West Bengal Prevention of Defacement of Property Act as extended to Chandigarh. According to information available, the company had put up banners about the live concert of ghazal singer, Jagjit Singh, at two different places.

An official said cases had been registered at the Sector 11 police station. The cases have been registered as part of a drive against defacement of public property.



New Ford car hits the road
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 7
“The Ikon models of Ford India Limited, catering to the growing C segment, has captured a 24 per cent market share in the country. The company was planning to export 80 per cent of its production, about 30,000 cars, the previous year,” said Mr Sumeet Yadav, General Manager Sales of the company, here today.

He was in the city to launch a new model, Ikon 1.6 EXi, latest variant in the Ikon portfolio. He said: “The new model is powered by the 1.6 litre Rocam petrol engine, delivering 91 HP at 5,500 rpm and a peak torque of 130 Nm at 2,500 rpm. Priced at Rs 5,97,000, Ford Ikon 1.6 EXi will be a smart choice for consumers in the corporate segment who have smaller cars and want to switch over to the next segment. Its other features include sporty steering wheel, power steering, power windows, central locking, tachometer, electric boot release and sparkling headlamps.”

The other models of the company include Modeo petrol version (Rs 15.8 lakh), Mondeo diesel version (Rs 16.8 lakh) in the D segment and 1.3 CLXI Man (Rs 5.10 lakh), 1.3 Pas (Rs 5.38 lakh), 1.3 EXi (Rs 5.62 lakh) and 1.6 EXi (Rs 6.37 lakh in the C segment.

Mr Yadav said the Mondeo model had helped the company achieve an market share 18 per cent in the D segment, where Honda City and Mercedes were its main competitors. The company had invested Rs 1,700 crore in its state-of-the-art plant in Maraimalai Nagar near Chennai and planned to introduce new models in the upper segments.

The company has also planned to expand its dealer network from 68 dealers to over 80 in the country. In the current financial year, it is targeting a sale of 50,000 units.


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