Friday, November 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Traders’ bandh near-total in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
A near-total bandh by city traders to protest against the recent amendment to the East Punjab Rent Restriction Act, 1949, paralysed business activity in the city today. Several people could be seen rushing to adjoining SAS Nagar or Panchkula, respectively, to fetch emergency items like essential medicines.


 * Near-total bandh was peaceful.
 * Shimla-Kalka highway blocked for more than an hour.
 * 42 protesting traders detained in lock-up. Released later.
 * Essential items like medicines were also not available. People rushed to Panchkula or SAS Nagar.
 * Very few shops run by the property owners were open.
 * Banks, too, reported fewer transactions.

Barring an incident when agitated traders blocked the Shimla highway for more than an hour, the bandh was largely peaceful. The bandh call given by the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal was successful as well as peaceful as only a few shops or outlets owned by companies had opened their outlets as the employees could not have gone on strike.

The bandh was total and a convoy of vehicles carrying leaders of the mandal went around various markets around the city and appealed to the traders to remain peaceful. Mr Diwakar Sahoonja, chairman of the Rent Act Committee, while addressing a rally comprising traders who are owners of their properties, said all propaganda by the Property Owners Association had proved to be wrong and that the traders were united in their fight against high-handedness of the bureaucracy and the unjust rent Act notification.

In Sector 22-B the Traders Welfare Association observed bandh and all establishments were closed. There was a complete unity among traders in keeping their shops closed. Traders had gathered in the morning in almost all city markets and held rallies while raising slogans against the Administration.

In Sector 17 agitating traders of the sector blocked the road dividing Sectors 16 and 17 by making a human chain and burning an effigy. Mr Jagdish Arora, president, of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, thanked the traders and hoped that the meeting of the mandal with the UT Administrator, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) on Friday would bring some positive result. Further course of action shall be decided only after the outcome of the meeting with the General, Mr Arora said.

In the city very few shops, which were company outlets, were open as the employees on their own could not have closed the establishments. A few of the landlords also preferred to open shops. However, the bandh on the whole was a huge success. Even rehri markets remained closed. This was surprising as all booths in rehri markets have been allotted on heavily subsidised rates by the Chandigarh Administration to people who are supposed to be owners of rehris (handcarts). 


Admn-owned shops also remain shut
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Some kind of action may be forthcoming for tenants of prime shops in Sector 17-E which are owned by the Chandigarh Administration. A secret report had been sought on why these 14 shops were closed in support of the bandh announced by city traders, sources told Chandigarh Tribune.

The reasoning was that the shops were not covered under the rent Act but under a special provision of rent fixation which was reviewed after five years. Besides this they had no reason to contest the decision of the Administration on amending the rent Act. Action would be taken if the shops were closed , said a source while explaining that.

The traders probably closed their shops after the end of the carnival in Sector 17 for a day’s rest but they could have opened for today and closed tomorrow. The rent of these shops was at present around Rs 28,000 and some of the top stores of the region are operating from these shops. These shops were constructed in the early sixties. There had been no eviction ever.


Bandh unethical, claims owners’ forum
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Property Owners Forum in a statement issued in the evening criticised the bandh calling it unethical and unjustified. This was sponsored by a handful of tenants-traders lobby and it was half-hearted bandh as shutters were not downed completely, alleged the forum.

After a month long shopping festival, without a break, to commemorate 50th year of city, the traders of Sector 17, being tired, needed a break but with some excuse. Hence the bandh was a bit voluntarily for them, forum further alleged. In other sectors a considerable number of traders operating from their own premises and those supporting the cause braved to open their establishments facing a threat of violence by the agitators. Pamphlets threatening the shopkeepers against any untoward incidents for defying the call were widely distributed in the sector markets.

Leaders of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal wanted that the Administration should defer the action for the time being for their (the leaders) face saving. The leaders of the mandal had divided the city in two sections; one of tenants and the other of owners and the traders operating from their owned premises. The agitation had put a big question mark on the working of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal on the issue that weather it represented the tenants only or the later, the forum alleged.

In its meeting today the forum decided to broaden its base and field of activities and appealed to all sector welfare bodies, Chandigarh Housing Board Welfare bodies, industrial/shop owners associations to join hands. It may be recalled that a number welfare bodies had already extended support to the forum. 


Kiran cinema manager dead
Succumbs to bullet injury at PGI
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
The manager of Kiran and Jagat Cinemas, Harjinder Singh, who was shot at last night, died at the PGI at around 3.30 am today. Till the time of going to press the police was clueless about the identity of the assailants and the motive behind the killing.

As a mark of respect to Harjinder Singh, the two cinemas were closed for the day. Simranjit Singh, a class XII student and son of the deceased, said that his father had no enemies and the entire family was shocked.

The post-mortem will be performed tomorrow. Harjinder Singh was shifted from the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where he was taken after being shot at, to the PGI at around midnight.

Harjinder Singh had reportedly told the police at the GMCH that he was shot at by two clean-shaven youths from a point-blank range. One of the assailant was wearing green colour jacket and the other a black coat. They had called him, when he was about to open the entrance gate of his house. The moment Harjinder Singh turned towards them, one of them shot at him and the two fled.

Meanwhile, a pal of gloom has descended at the Sector 21 residence of Harjinder Singh. His daughter, Ms Loveleen Kaur, who is pursuing her MBA in Mumbai, reached home this evening.

He is survived by his wife, a son, a daughter and mother.

The police has registered a case of murder. It reportedly quizzed some employees of the Jagat cinema today. Harjinder Singh was looking after the affairs of the two cinema halls. He had recently appointed a person, who had been attacked by some person after the appointment. However, the police was not informed about the attack. A senior police official said that they were looking into all possible angles in this murder. Till this evening the police was not able to trace any eye witness.


Campaigning reaches crescendo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
It was a day of hectic campaigning for the contestants in the fray for the Punjab and Haryana Bar Council elections and their supporters on the last day, before the poll. They campaigned throughout the day in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, UT district court and Panchkula court and Kharar.

The advocates were seen campaigning outside the courts since early morning. They distributed pamphlets, visited each chamber and organised meeting with advocates.

Some of the contestants had also displayed banners outside the court. As part of the last minute campaign in the evening, the contestants personally visited the houses of prominent advocates.

In the first phase of the elections scheduled to be held on November 22 as many as 5300 advocates, who have been enrolled with the Bar Council from Chandigarh will cast their votes to elect 25 members out of 117 in the fray. More than 18, 000 advocates will cast votes in second phase of elections scheduled to be held in the districts and tehsils of Punjab and Haryana on November 23.

The polling will begin in the morning at 10 a.m and will continue till 5 p.m at eight polling booths in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Eight polling booths have been set-up in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and 24 employees of the Punjab Government will look after the elections process.

Many of the contestants today raised the issues of better welfare schemes for the advocates, law bhawan in every district and tehsils, stipend for young advocates, better relationship between Bench and Bar.

Some of the prominent advocates contesting elections include Council Chairman Anmol Rattan Singh Sidhu, Honorary Secretary C.M. Munjal, G.K. Chathrath, N.K. Nanda, Navkiran Singh, Bhim Sen Sehgal, B.S. Billing, H.S. Gill, Daya Chaudhary, Paramjit Singh Goraya, Balwan Singh Suhag and Kiran Bala Jain, Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, Ms Daya Chaudhary and Mr Jai Vir Yadav. 


Arrangements for Bar Council elections
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
In order to conduct fair and free elections of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, scheduled to be held on November 22 and 23, the Bar Council has made arrangements for video filming the polling, throughout the day.

Giving details of the preparations, the Returning Officer of the Bar Council, Mr Nirmal Singh Dhillon, said to avoid bogus voting special arrangements had been made.

Mr Dhillon said only those advocates would be allowed to cast their votes’ who have identity cards or enrollment certificates issued by the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, or by the Bar Association concerned or by any other competent authority showing the name of an advocate with enrollment number, as per the order of High Court certification of identity issued by any elected office-bearer of concerned Bar association. In case the president of the Bar association is contesting election, than a certificate issued by any other elected office-bearer of the Bar association will do.

He said in case of any dispute, polling officer would verify the identity with the help of identity card issued by the Bar Council, driving license, passport, identity card issued by the Election Commission, ration card and any other such authenticated document.


Employee decamps with dollars, rupees
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
An employee of Chaudhary Medicos, a chemist shop in Sector 15, has allegedly decamped with $ 4,200 and Rs 60,000.

The theft allegedly took place yesterday morning, but was reported to the police today. The employee has been missing since last morning. Mr Sudarshan Kumar, proprietor of the shop who also deals in foreign currency, reportedly told the police that around 10 am yesterday he had gone to a barber shop and at that time the money was lying on the counter in a diary. But when he returned, he found the money missing.

Mr Kumar alleged that the money had been stolen by his employee, Pawan Kumar Verma. Pawan, a native of Garwhal, Uttaranchal, was working with him for the past two years and was well versed in the business of both foreign exchange and medicines. At the time of theft, another employee, Mast Ram ,was also present in the shop, but he was reportedly busy attending to customers. 


Fogging operations in Sec 25, Mauli Jagran
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
In view of the death of eight suspected Japanese encephalitis patients admitted to PGI from parts of Haryana, Punjab and Western Uttar Pradesh, during the last fortnight, the UT Health authorities today undertook fogging operations in some of the piggeries in Sector 25 and Mauli Jagran.

Even as PGI authorities refused to divulge details of the deaths, on the pretext that they could not confirm about the disease till the virology report is received, senior doctors at the Advanced Paediatric Centre (APC), confirmed that the deaths had been due to Japanese encephalitis.

" Ever since suspected cases of Japanese encephalitis started trickling in on November 7, Guddu, Harjeet, Manjeet, Priya, Puja, Anmol, Parvesh and Dolly , all below the age of five have died at the APC", said sources at PGI. He added that though the report from the virology department was yet to confirm the cause of the death but doctors were taking them to be cases of Japanese encephalitis only.

Sources in health department , however, said barring two-year-old Vishal from Janta Colony, Sector 25, no suspected encephalitis patient admitted to PGI was from UT. They added that five-year-old Dolly, from Mauli Jagran, who had died on November 18 was suspected to be suffering from meningitis." As a precautionary measure we undertook fogging at some of the piggeries in Janta Colony and carried out a house-to-house survey today," he disclosed.

He further said even Dolly's family, had landed up in the city from Bihar on November 17 and as such there was no problem in the city. The health authorities will undertake fogging in the vicinity of Dolly's house in Mauli Jagran, tomorrow.

Doctors treating the patients, mostly children below the age of 10, said three of the patients from Deoband and Saharanpur in western Uttar Pradesh could not be saved as their condition was already critical when they were brought to PGI. " Apart from this a patient from Manak village in Panchkula district and Mauli Jagran had also died after showing symptoms of Japanese encephalitis," they disclosed.

Doctors at PGI, said it was quite normal to get a few encephalitis cases every year around this time but it was only when they got five cases on November 8 and three cases on November 13 that they decided to alert the local health authorities also. They said there had been a decline in the number of fresh cases of suspected Japanese encephalitis coming to the PGI.


Maintenance Command C-in-C visits 3 BRD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Headquarters Maintenance Command, IAF, Air Marshal D.C.Nigam, arrived on a 3-day visit to the No 3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) here today.

He was accompanied by his wife, Ms Kanak Nigam, who is also the president of the Air Force Wives Welfare Association (Regional).

On his arrival at the airfield, Air Marshal Nigam was received by Air Cmde S.B.Prasher, Air Officer Commanding, and other senior officers of the 3 BRD. Ms Kanak Nigam was received by Mrs Santosh Prasher, president, AFWWA (Local).

Air Commodore Prasher gave a detailed presentation to Air Marshal Nigam, on various activities of the Depot. The AOC-in-C had an interaction with service personnel and civilian employees of the Depot at a ‘barakhana’.

During his visit, besides inspecting various sections, projects and sites of the 3 BRD, Air Marshal Nigam will also review a ceremonial parade tomorrow.


Hiked water-supply charges in draft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Chandigarh Administration notified the draft water bylaws here today, hiking the water-supply tariffs on the basis of an August 23 resolution of the Municipal Corporation.

The notification gives 10 days before the draft is implemented. The proposed bylaws include imposing a Rs 500 penalty on each person found misusing water. The Secretary Local Self Government, Mr Karan Avtar Singh, issued a notification in this regard here today. The previous hike had come in June 2000.

The Finance and Contracts Committee of the MC, on August 20, had approved these rates, that were, later, passed by the House. The committee had reduced the tariffs from an earlier proposal.


Society merges with BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Desh Sevak Society here today merged with the BJP along with its members and office-bearers.

Society president Vinod Kumar, chairperson Santosh Rana, vice-chairperson Ponam Rana, general secretary Gobind Ram, vice-presidents Tapan Singh Dhillon, Rattan Hooda and Rajneesh, secretaries Rajinder Singh and Rakesh Kumar were important among those who supported the merger.

The BJP local unit president Yashpal Mahajan welcomed the step of the society and hoped it would strengthen the party.


Courses begin
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
As part of its fortnight-long events to pay tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai, the Servants of the People’s Society, in collaboration with the Nehru Yuva Kendra of Chandigarh, began its 10-day art-and-craft courses in the Sector 15 Lajpat Rai Bhavan here today.

About 150 girls of rural areas in and around Chandigarh are attending the courses. The participants can choose from 12 courses. The courses are in soft-toy-making, flower arrangement, painting, beauty culture and other disciplines. A team of eight master craftspersons is conducting the courses.

The society will award certificates to the participants at the conclusion of the courses on November 30. An exhibition of the works of the participants will also be held that day.


One crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
Arjun, a domestic help at the Sector 39 residence of Mr Ranjit Singh, died allegedly after a Tata -407 truck overturned and fell on him near the turn of Sectors 55 and 56 here yesterday.

As per police sources, Arjun was walking along the road when the accident took place. He was seriously injured and taken to the PGI where he died. The truck driver fled. A case of causing death by negligence and rash driving under Sections 304-A and 279 of the IPC has been registered against the truck driver.

ARRESTED: The police claims to have arrested Ashok Thakur, a resident of Ram Darbar from Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran, with 3.4 kg of ganja yesterday. He has been booked under Section 21 of the NDPS Act.

BEATEN UP: Mr Gopal Dass, a resident of Sector 37, reported to the police that he was beaten up and threatened by Sham Sunder, Darshan and Dalip, all residents of Sector 38 yesterday. A case under Sections 342, 323, 506 and 34, IPC, has been registered.

GAMBLING: The police has arrested Dilbag Singh, a resident of Naya Gaon, and Ekke Ram of Dadu Majra allegedly for gambling at a public place yesterday. The police also seized Rs 5,900 from their possession. The two have been booked under Sections 13\3\67 of the Gambling Act. 


Father, son held for forgery
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 21
The police here has arrested a father-and-son team on the charges of forgery and cheating in connection with a commercial property dispute. The two accused, Sanjay Bagga and Sushil Bagga, run a audio-video cassette and CD and DVD shop in Phase 3B2.

Based on a complaint by Mr Harbhajan Singh, the police here had registered a case some months back and the two were arrested the day before for having allegedly forged documents of the ownership of booth No. 35, Phase 3B2.

The two are residing in Section 42, Chandigarh, and are said to have been allegedly involved in a dispute there too. The two were presented before the Kharar court today and have been remanded in judicial custody till December 4.


City roads decide trends in regional car market
Manoj Kumar

The major international car manufacturers are competing with each other to capture the Chandigarh market, which has turned up as a major trendsetter in the region. However, Maruti, which has over 55 per cent share in the city market, is making all efforts to keep its leadership tag here, says Mr H.R. Brar, Regional Manager, Maruti Udyog Ltd.

He says though the UT market was primarily an urban market, its trends were followed by the buyers in the far-flung areas of the region. Along with Maruti 800 and Zen, the company was selling other models in good numbers.

Mr Brar (29) is the youngest regional manager, recently appointed by the management to push sales in this prestigious region, only second to the Delhi region. Hailing from Moga district, Punjab, he has done graduation in engineering from the Thapar Institute of Engineering, Patiala. He says,‘‘ I worked for a year in the sales division of Punjab Communication Limited, SAS Nagar, and was selected as management trainee by the company next year.’’

Despite working for about four years in the city, he had so far served in Delhi. He has recently been promoted as Regional Manager. He claims that in the Chandigarh region, which comprises Punjab, Haryana, J&K, HP, parts of Haryana and Chandigarh itself, Maruti's share was over 60 per cent, against 55 per cent in the national market.

He admitted that over the past few years, the share of Maruti had declined in the market, but it was leading in the entry level market, and total sales. By selling over 3.5 lakh cars annually, the company's total sales were about one-and-a-half times more than the total sales of 12 manufacturers put together. At present, the company was manufacturing 9 variants, including Maruti-800 costing less than Rs 2 lakh, Zen, Esteem, WagonR and newly launched model — Esteem Diesel, he said.

Referring to the new model, he claims that this region has a special preference for diesel version along with Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. He says,‘‘ We would focus on sales, since in this region we were already selling about 25-30 per cent of the total Zen Diesel sales in the country. It would compete with upper end models like Ikon (diesel). The regional office would also strengthen the after sales service besides bridging the gaps between the customers expectation and actual delivery.’’

Mr Brar loves driving and has participated in Himalayan car rallies. He admits that though he used to participate in the major games during his college time, but now finds little time for such activities. Commenting on the performance of the company, he feels, the JD Survey has adjudged the Maruti as number one in customer satisfaction for three consecutive years. It was a rare honour for a market leader, he adds.

In reply to a question,‘‘What will be your strategy to strengthen the base of the company in the region?’’he says,‘‘The company has already decided to get rid of non-performing dealers. Since the sales of Maruti 800 have already picked up after the price cut announced by the company, the next step would be on boosting the sale of WagonR and other models.

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