Thursday, December 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Viability of CTU buses in question
2,340 operate 400 buses; occupancy rate below 30 pc
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
While the high purchase committee of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) is likely to take a decision on December 20 to purchase 50 more buses to replace worn-out buses, transport experts have questioned the viability of the purchase of 52-seater buses. They have urged the Administration to review the operations of the public transport and to introduce the small CNG buses on the pattern of RTV buses in Delhi.

Dr Amarpal Singh, Director, Transport, Chandigarh, agreed that on an average only seven passengers used a 52-seater bus of the CTU at a given tune. The occupancy rate was though 100 per cent during the peak hours, but during the off hours, there were number of routes in the city, where the CTU had to run a bus even for a single passenger, he added. He admitted that occupancy rate of over 200 buses plying on the city and surrounding routes was below 30 per cent.

Regarding the performance of the CTU, he claimed that the public transport was running over 400 buses, including about 200 buses on inter-state routes. The annual losses, which were over Rs 4.75 crore in 1999-00, had been reduced to just Rs 20 lakh by 2001-02. It had been made possible by cutting down on operational costs, and checking the corruption. For instance, the CTU saved about Rs 2 crore in the annual purchase of spare parts, and increase in revenue receipts by Rs 3 crore by revising fares.

However, Prof B.S. Ghuman, Department of Public Administration, Panjab University and author of a Punjab Government-sponsored report ‘Privatisation of Road Transport in Punjab — Scope and Modalities,’ recently submitted to the report to the state government, said, “The public transport in the city is afflicted by high overhead costs, low occupancy ratio and over-staffing. Instead of purchasing new-long route buses, the Administration should contemplate to introduce small buses through cooperative societies of the unemployment youth. It would not only generate employment opportunities, but would also force the CTU to improve its efficiency.”

He pointed out that due to social obligations and traffic congestion problems, the city transport was subsidised world-over. It was very difficult to earn profits by the public transport in a city, but it needed to be made more efficient, punctual and competitive as compared to the use of personal vehicles.

The critics said that over the years, the population of Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar had increased manifold, but the management of the CTU had neither increased the number of routes nor made efforts to provide a viable alternative to personal vehicles.

Dr Amarpal, however, said that due to same cost on manpower, the management had no plans to introduce small buses. He said, the CTU had 2,340 employees and the average earning per km was about Rs 12 against Rs 12.50 per km as operational costs. It was also introducing global positioning system (GPS) to monitor the movement of buses. 


Traders to observe bandh today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
On a call given by the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, traders of the city will observe a bandh tomorrow. The mandal, on the other hand, presented the opinion of the advocate, Mr S.K.S. Bedi, according to which the Chandigarh Administration should have appointed a rent controller while making amendment to the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949 last month.

In fact no one like the local MP or an elected representative of the Municipal Corporation was consulted, Mr Bedi said, while adding that the notification was wrong in the eye of the law and needed immediate abrogation. The mandal president, Mr Jagdish Arora, said the amendment should be applicable to future cases only. The mandal however promised the police that the bandh would be peaceful and no one would be forced to close the shop. A rally would be held in front of the Neelam cinema.

Meanwhile, the Property Owners Welfare Association (POWA) said it had been assured by the city police that its force would be deployed in all city markets. 



Man duped of Rs 3 lakh
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 18
Three impostors have reportedly duped Mr R. Paul, a Sector 37 resident, of Rs 3 lakh by giving him fake jewellery. A case of cheating has been registered.

Mr Paul told the police that about 10 days back a man in his twenties, who identified himself as Ashok, had come to purchase medicines at his shop. Ashok reportedly showed him five to six silver coins, bearing a date of 1892. Later, he told Mr Paul that his brother, who worked as a mason in Kurukshetra, had found gold pendants and pearls while carrying out a digging job.

After six days, Ashok, along with his brother Kishan and sister, reached the Sector 37 residence of Mr Paul with a gold pendant and a pearl. Mr Paul told the police that Ashok asked him to get the two items verified for authenticity and price. Ashok told Mr Paul that he was a resident of Kumhar Colony, Sector 25.

On December 15, Kishan came to Mr Paul’s residence again and told him that the price of the pendant was Rs 1,000 and of pearl Rs 500. Kishan reportedly asked Mr Paul to help him sell the large quantity of pendants and pearl lying with him.

Mr Paul told the police that Kishan asked to sell each pendant and pearl for Rs 500 and Rs 200, respectively. He even offered to take the sale proceeds in instalments.

Yesterday, Kishan reached Mr Paul’s residence with a cache of pendants and pearls, for which Mr Paul reportedly gave him Rs 3 lakh.

The pendants and pearls, however, turned out to be fake. A case under Section 420 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 39 police station.


Cruel mom, motherly cops
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 18
Beat staff of Sector 17 Police Station today rescued a three-year-old-boy, left locked in a Santro car for well over an hour by his shopping enthusiast mother. But they were left as astounded when the mother walked away without a word of thanks to them.

The rescue drama started at about eight in the evening, when the beat staff heard the child knocking frantically at the car’s window. The cops, Mange Ram, Fateh Singh and Dharmender (all constables), did not break open the car. So they took upon another difficult task — that of teaching the child how to open the car’s door. Kartik (the child) did learn but it took him about 20 minutes.

Once the door was open, the cops took out the boy, bought him popcorns, a balloon and biscuits. One of the cop stayed near the car waiting for the child’s parents to return, other cops took the boy to the market. Kartik identified his mother who was roaming in the market along with three other women relatives.

Interestingly, the mother even did not bother to say a word of thanks to the cops. Identity of the parents could not be known. The car was bearing a registration number of Haryana.


Neerja is UT Legal Remembrancer

Chandigarh, December 18
Gurgaon’s Chief Judicial Magistrate Neerja Kulwant Kalson has been posted as UT Legal Remembrancer. She will be here on deputation in place of Mr L.N. Jindal, promoted as Additional District and Sessions Judge. As per an order issued by the Chief Justice and the judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, she has been asked to “relinquish charge at her present station of posting forthwith and take charge of her new assignment as soon as possible”. TNS


Blood shortage
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 18
There is an acute shortage of all negative blood groups, including O, A, B and AB in the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research. Voluntary blood donors and other organisations have been requested to come forward and help the needy patients.


Victim seeks nullification of her earlier statements
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, December 18
The victim in the Shimla-girl rape case today sought intervention of the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, the Adviser to Administrator, the UT Home Secretary, the UT Inspector-General of the Police (IG), the UT Senior Superintendent of the Police (SSP) requesting that she be allowed to get her statement recorded again.

She also requested the authorities concerned to nullify her earlier statements claiming that she had made those statements under threat from the UT police personnel.

She has claimed in her letter that she had never seen N.K. Jain and had never met Narvir and Baldev Kumar, other two accused in the case. She has also claimed that so far as Surinder Sharma was concerned, he was shown to her by the police.

Claiming that she was harassed by the police on the pretext of providing security to her, the victim has alleged, “As the police got an opportunity to keep guard on me for security in view of my request made before the High Court. I was harassed, humiliated and tortured, mentally and physically, by the police to make me to change my stand. I was brought to the District Courts on September 4, but I refused to make statement that would have to exonerated M.K. Jain”.

She has claimed that she was under the influence of drugs when her statements were recorded earlier. “The UT police had given me some sleeping pills, but I was not allowed to sleep. In that situation, the police brought me to the District Courts and got my statements recorded on June 6”, she said. The victim has also stated that she does not stand to her statements recorded on June 6, September 3 and September 13.

The victim has also claimed that she had never accompanied Ram Lal, Surinder Sharma, Narvir Singh and Baldev Kumar in a Scoda car and did not make any statement before the police on September 3, September 13 or any other date, except on August 15, on the basis of which the FIR in question was registered. The victim has requested that she be allowed to make statement under Section 164 of the CrPC to make the things clear and to save innocent persons from harassment.



PM to open Punjabi convention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh will be among the luminaries who will be attending the International Punjabi Convention starting in New Delhi on December 22. The formal inauguration will be done by the Prime Minister, Mr A.B. Vajpayee, on December 23. A total 65 delegates from Chandigarh under the leadership of Mr Jaspal Singh Kandhari and Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, President and General Secretary of International Punjabi Society, Chandigarh Chapter, respectively, are leaving on December 22 to attend this conference.

Delegates from all over the world are attending this conference. The registration of delegates will be made on December 22, between 1 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be seminars, cultural programmes and meetings of the presidents and general secretaries of all the branches at the society’s headquarters spread over for three days from December 22.

On December 23 a seminar will be organised at 11 a.m. On the next day a meeting of presidents and general secretaries of all branches of the society will be held.


Cong supporters jam traffic
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, December 18
Traffic on the busy Kalka-Ambala National Highway was disrupted for over four hours following chaotic scenes because of a function organised by a Congress leader to mark the inaugural ceremony of a banquets, owned by her, along the highway adjacent to the Yadvindra Bridge here this afternoon.

Traffic chaos was created at the highway by the followers of Ms Sheelam Sohi, a member of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and owner of the banquets, who had come here to attend the inaugural ceremony, which started at 10 am and continued till 2.30 pm.

The function was virtually turned into a “show of strength” by Ms Sohi for the ‘benefit’ of Ms Mohsina Kidwai, General Secretary of All India Congress Committee, who inaugurated the banquets today.

Security guards and police escort who were accompanying the VIPs, VVIPs and bureaucrats added to the woes of road users since throwing traffic rules to the winds. Apart from this various trucks that were used to transport the Congress supporters from far-flung areas aggravated the problem.

Motorists and commuters were put to a great hardship since they remain stranded in the jam for hours as the traffic moved at a snail’s pace. They were left no other alternate route to reach their respective destinations.

After inaugurating the banquets, addressing a large gathering Ms Kidwai appealed to party workers to maintain unity and diversity of the country.

She highlighted the contribution of Punjabis in every war fought for the freedom of the country. She also talked about the Punjab youths and their families who had died on international border during the Kargil conflict.

Those who spoke on the occasion included Mr Bhajan Lal, President of Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Hansraj Sharma, a former Finance Minister, Mr H.S. Hanspal, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr B.B. Behl, President of Chandigarh Territorial Congress and some other political leaders. Besides these many sitting Ministers, MLAs and other eminent leaders were also present.

The speakers also remembered late Ravinder Singh Sohi, a former Chairman of the Zila Parishad, Patiala, and husband of Ms Sheelam Sohi.

On behalf of the residents Mr Balbir Singh Bartana, a former MLA from Banur, demanded setting up of a sugar mill in the area, relaxation on construction of houses within a prohibited distance of 900 metre from the defence installations, completion of Dashmesh Canal, reintroduction of shagun scheme and other schemes, which at present have been stopped by the government.


‘Kambakht’ girl for Forest Hill NY bash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Year after year the charm of time only grows, never wanes. As the cycle of days comes round, it is time once again to hit the zenith of celebration with style. For once someone in the city has cared to let off the New Year plans much before the customary time. Where most of the joints, hotels and restaurants are preserving their New Year plans like platinum, Forest Hill Golf and Country Club has announced its deal with a high!

The celebration will not be one of those run of the mill things. As it spins through, it will gain more zing with none less than the famous Shradha Pandit spilling her Kambakht Ishq magic all through the dusk that will run into the night to court the bright morning of the New Year.

Shradha, who did the famous Kambakht Ishq number of the film Pyar Tune Kya Kiya, will enthral the visitors with all her peppy numbers. Present also on the occasion to act as an enthusiastic infill will be Ronica Jacob’s dance troupe, The Planet, which boasts of a highly professional team. Furthermore, Forest Hill people have decided to give a break to the disc jockeys by calling over some of the very famous Delhi radio FM jockeys Priyanka and Monty Singh, who will anchor the starry evening through the night.

And as it is called the “Kambakht night” is not stag party but a fun place where people from all levels can find space for enjoyment. Apart from the normal accompaniments that make any jamboree come alive with spirit, the high point of the show will also be a special dance floor, that will test the visitors for grace, if any. Lip smacking multi-cuisine food along with some mock tails and cocktails will also form a part of the evening.

The New Year jamboree will conclude with pyrotechnic show as fireworks and lasers illuminate the sky, ringing in 2003 with a bang.


Punjabis delight in Punjabi delights
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
It’s no wonder that this eating joint has had to open another branch within a year of its launch. The eatery has had everything going right for it right from the word go. And the reasons are not far to know. First, the name Sher-e-Punjab Dhaba strikes a chord at the Chandigarhians’ heart, pulling them towards it. And then, the good food and prompt service provided at very reasonable rates attracts them to return again and again.

Mr Tajinder Sethi, in partnership with Mr Ajay Jain, set up Sher-e-Punjab in Sector 35 (adjoining Maya Palace) in March, 2002. Soon, they realised that the space fell short of the demand. The 45 covers were too less for the residents hungry for the typical Punjabi fare dished out by the restaurant. Specially during dinner time, when they had to wait to for 30 to 45 minutes to get a seat.

So, when The Browser Library shifted from Sector 35 to Sector 8, the restaurateurs quickly took over the showroom (next to South End) and converted it into a joint simulating a rural highway dhaba on way to your pind, albeit a modern one.

And luckily, despite increased overhead costs, Sher-e-Punjab did not hike the prices of the items. This ensured that the additional 110 seats remain happily occupied by fans of meat, murga and dal, chana, panir and veggies.

Also, it gave the women and youngsters another option to host kitty and birthday parties at affordable rates (an average of Rs 40 to Rs 50 per head). Yes, the eatery is thriving on the concept of making profits through sheer volumes — more number of customers paying competitively slimmer bills is equal to more gains. Sample this: a chicken plate ranges between Rs 65 and Rs 95 while half chicken comes for Rs 85 to Rs 110 and the full is yours for Rs 140 to Rs 180 and enough for a family of four. Dal makhni is for Rs 25 per plate, chana for Rs 30. The costliest delicacy in the veg category is panir tikka butter masala at Rs 55, again sufficing four if complemented with raita (Rs 10 to Rs 20) and another dish. A beneficial byproduct of brisk sales is that the probability of stale or left-over food is considerably reduced.

Their specialty is the refreshingly cold flavoured lassi (Rs 15) that you could substitute for the usual aerated drinks. Also, try the sweet anarkali (panir-khoya balls dipped in cold whipped cream) instead of the normal ice-creams. But, surprisingly the Punjabi specialty saag and makki di roti are missing from the menu.

Mr Tajinder Sethi’s father R. S. Sethi is in charge of the kitchen and store. A veteran in this business who has run a one-man show a couple of decades ago, coupling as chef and manager, he keeps a hawk’s eye on the army of cooks.

He is particularly proud of the deg made of eight metals in which dal makhni and mutton are cooked on the chullah and wood fire simmering the ingredients for 12 hours. Experience has taught him that clean water is essential for the well-being of both the customers and the owners. So, only mineral water reaches the tables, he informs while pointing at the huge containers of the clear drink.

Mrs Jaswinder Kaur and family of Sector 44, are regulars at the restaurant. They prefer this place since it serves sumptuous tikkas that are easy on the pocket. And the waiters smartly turned out in neat green Punjabi dresses along with the Harbhajan Mann, Surjeet Bindarakhiya, Mastana, Surinder Kaur and other Punjabi numbers playing in the background only serve to enhance the ambience reminiscent of their home back in Punjab.

The air-conditioning and colorful furniture stand out as necessities even as some features of a dhaba dominate. The glass fridge displaying cold drinks and dessert katoris, reminds one of the highway. The mud look wall with white figures strive to give a feel of the village. And, the napkins kept in foil covered glasses, the green chillis topped with tooth picks and floating in vinegar-filled tumblers are the desi style. In keeping with the dhaba tradition the joint does not give finger bowls. Clean your hands from the wash basin installed in the hand wash area behind the screen.

But if you would rather have the meals delivered at home, call 660222 or 606222. 



Cop honoured for honesty
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 18
A constable Baljeet Singh posted at the Industrial Area police station, returned a mobile phone, which he had found lying on a road in Sector 8, to its owner, here today.

Baljeet Singh found a Nokia 8250 mobile phone (98146-99852). He immediately took the phone to the DSP (East) Surjit Singh’s office. While the cops were trying to ascertain the name of the phone owner, it rang. The caller was the owner of the phone, Mr Ankush Vatsh, a resident of Sector 27. The phone was later handed over to him. The SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, has awarded a commendation certificate and Rs 250 to Baljeet Singh for his honesty.


Nigam to restore power connections to tubewells
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, December 18
The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has decided to restore electricity connections those tubewells, power connections of which were disconnected on permanent basis.

In a press note, the nigam said willing costumers would be allowed restoration of power connection irrespective of the period for which the power had remained disconnected to their tubewells. Such cases would be classified as “reconnection cases” and would be taken up after the preparation of a list on seniority basis.

The nigam said applicants would have to deposit a sum of Rs 20,000 (refundable) besides a payment of Rs 7,000 per span of the high-tension or low tension line.

The advance consumption deposit (ACD) made by the consumer would form a part of one-time deposit of Rs 20,000. For the purpose, the ACD charges would be calculated at the existing rate of Rs 30 per kw.

In case the applicant has made the deposit of the ACD at a rate less than Rs 30 per kw, the deposit of Rs 20,000 would be considered inclusive of the ACD at a rate of Rs 30 per kw and no additional deposit would be required, a spokesman of the nigam said.


Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Mr Banta Ram (68), father of Mr Pyara Lal, maintenance fitter with the Tribune Trust, died at Madhowal village, near Nurpur Bedian in Ropar, tonight due to a heart attack. He is survived by two sons and a daughter.


Booked for cheating
Tribune Reporters

Panchkula, December 18
In a case of criminal breach of trust and cheating, the police has booked Baljit Singh, a resident of Sector 10, on the complaint of Mr Rambir Singh of Barwala.

According to the complainant, Baljit Singh has cheated him of Rs 1.5 lakh on the pretext of helping him in getting visa for the USA. He took money from him in the month of October, but after taking the money, he neither helped him in getting the visa, nor returned the amount. Instead, he fled from his rented accommodation. A case has been registered.

Booked for creating nuisance

The police has arrested five persons from two different places in the past 12 hours on chage of creating nuisance at public places while under the influence of liquor. Gopal Chand and Pritam Chand, residents of Barotiwala, Nalagarh, were arrested from near Ravidas temple at Pinjore, while Santosh Kumar of Muradabad and Naresh Kumar of Azad Colony, Sector 21, were arrested from Azad Colony.

In another case, Karambir, a resident of Sector 16, was arrested while drinking at a public place at Abheypur village.

Theft cases

CHANDIGARH: During the past 24 hours, the police has registered at least three cases of thefts in different parts of the city.

Ms Manjit Kaur, a resident of Sector 40, has reported that her Maruti Zen car (CH18 0853 T) was stolen from her residence yesterday.

A resident of Sector 23, Mr Harcharan Singh, has reported that someone stole his mobile phone and Rs 1,020 from his residence on the night intervening December 16 and 17.

Computer parts, a CPU, some software, copper pipe and a modem instrument were reportedly stolen from plot No. 3133, Phase II, Ram Darbar, on the night intervening December 16 and 17. The complainant, Mr Inderjit Singh told the police that thieves entered the plot after removing the tin sheds on the rooftop.


Search operation in slum areas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/SAS Nagar, December 18
In the wake of a recent series of burglaries in the city and its outskirts, a joint search operation was carried out by the Chandigarh and SAS Nagar police forces in Palsora, Chandigarh, and jhuggi dwellings in SAS Nagar today.

While 54 persons were rounded up by the police on the basis of suspicion, as many as 60 unauthorised jhuggis were also demolished in Badheri, Chandigarh, and Phase II, SAS Nagar, this morning.

The operation, which started at 6 a.m. with 150 cops drawn from SAS Nagar and Chandigarh searched as many as 2,100 jhuggis in Palsora alone. During the search operation, seven iron rods, two cutters, six colour TV sets were seized by the police.

The police also arrested Ankur Kumar, allegedly with a knife, from Palsora. He has been booked under the Arms Act. All the persons who were detained were later let off after identification. All the four SHOs of southern police stations, Chandigarh, and the DSP (South), Mr S.C. Sagar were part of the search operations.

The police is also on the lookout for a Tata Sumo which, according to the SAS Nagar police, is being used by this gang of armed thieves, operating in the city and SAS Nagar. According to the SP, SAS Nagar, a group of men with weapons has been seen in a Tata Sumo by different people.



Sub-Inspector gets clean chit
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, December 18
After a departmental enquiry, Sub-Inspector Labh Singh, who was sent to the Police Lines as he had sent an untraced report in a gang rape case in which all accused were arrested, was yesterday given a clean chit.

In October, last year, SI Labh Singh was sent to the Police Lines as a punishment by the then UT SSP, Mr Parag Jain, after the SI, who was the investigating officer in the case, sent a request that the case may be sent as untraced.

A departmental enquiry was marked to DSP Jagat Mohan. As per sources, after going through the DSP’s report, the SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, gave a clean chit to the SI. However, Mr Yadav could not be contacted for his comments. The SI is currently posted with the Economic Offence Wing.

It may be mentioned that a 15-year-old resident of Sector 44-B was allegedly gang-raped throughout the night of July 8, 2001, by three students. The accused, in their early twenties, were staying as paying guests in the neighbourhood.

The family of the victim, an illiterate daughter of a migrant labourer, was reluctant to get a case registered. It was also reported that a compromise was reached between the two parties.

After the alleged rape, the minor girl was admitted in Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, in a serious condition, following which the case was reported to the police.

SI Labh Singh and ASI Amanjyot from the Sector 34 police station were sent to the hospital, along with constables Rakesh Kumar, Makhan Singh and Sunita. A case under Sections 363, 366, 376, 342 and 34 of the IPC was registered and these offences were non-compoundable.

The accused were arrested after an FIR was registered.

When the trial of the case began in the court, an application was given for an identification parade to be conducted. The victim had then failed to identify the accused. 


Fight for toe hold kicks off market growth to emerge leader in North India
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service


  • Introduction of paid parking is hitting certain shopkeepers in the market. They say had it been imposed in the entire city, it would not have affected them much.
  • Changes in building by-laws remain inoperative due to tenant-landlord mistrust.
  • Lighting in front Piaza is lacking.
  • Toilet in the block is not properly managed and needs proper cleaning.
  • Beggars are a major problem for eateries, popcorn and softy shops.
  • Verandahs have been encroached by hawkers.
  • Rent decontrol notifications threatens small shopkeepers and the big ones are worried both about their eviction and falling returns.
  • With certain shopkeepers changing tiles in the verandahs, an asymmetry has crept in the market.
  • Beautification of the market has not been taken up since long.

A fight for a toe hold in the shoe business has made the market grow to be known as the best in north India for providing number of varieties.

Except possibly Delhi and Mumbai, nowhere else one would find such a wide variety of shoes. The three major shops Sant Shoes, Regal and Chief Shoes are confident of even challenging major manufacturing cities like Agra and Kanpur.

Vice President of the Sector 17 D Market Association Gurjeet Singh said he had visited most of shoe shops in the country including in Mumbai, Delhi, Kanpur and Agra but the kind of variety these shops in the sector had was nowhere to be seen.

The market which estimates its turn over to be Rs 40 lakh per day, attracts customers from the entire north India, foreigners and Non Resident Indians to these three shoe shops.

However, it has had its share of woes while developing the market, the Chief Shoe proprietor is told to have sold his house to retain the shop on a very high rent. Mr Gurjeet Singh, who shifted to the market in 1976 after completing his engineering, could not break even for 15 years.

And when the market started growing terrorism affected it during the eighties.

The fear of eviction after the rent decontrol notification has now gripped the market, shopkeepers of which are expressing a feeling that the goodwill earned by them here through their continued presence despite all odds had not been taken in account by the notification. A general feeling is that the market grew because of the presence of these shops in the market.

They say with their shops getting popular, the entire elite of the region started visiting the area providing an opportunity for other shopkeepers also to be benefited from visitors.

Sanjay Abbott, General Secretary of the Association, said the rent decontrol notification would destroy the market which started coming up only in 1990s.

The market had been developed along with the C Block and witnessed a simultaneous growth with that block.

Consisting of around 130 shops in front of E-block of Sector 17, market has big names like Hot Millions, Sant Shoes, Gurdev Photo Studio, Trendz Shop, Benetton, Provogue, Weldon optician in its kitty.

The block is a complete market in itself stretching upto the Bridge Market where juice, sweet shops and eateries are well known. The market also has certain reputed book stores.

The three parts of the market have dissimilar looks with the one in front of the Sector 17 Piaza decorated to the taste of the elite while the one towards Gurdev parking still looks undeveloped and ignored.

The Sindhi Sweets, Benetton and Trendz Shop line has very few shops and there are couple of state emporia also in this line apart from a bank.

Except for the shops in front of the Piaza the market fails to attract crowd late in the evening.

Mr Gurjeet Singh remembers, when he took the shop on rent, there was no infrastructure around and the roads now converted into parking lots were not there and dust used to enter shops.

He said Sant Shoes entered the fray last giving its rivals a tough fight as it was a big name from Ludhiana. The Sant Shoe shop spent lavishly to beat its competitors pushing others also to improve.

This fight of shoe business resulted in attractive rate offers and the increasing varieties in these three shops attracting people from the region and developing the market.

The Market Association President, Captain (retd) Mohanbir Singh of Hot Millions, said the decontrol of rent would finish the market and the government need not double fault by tilting the balance in favour of the landlord instead of the tenant. He said the balance in favour of the tenant was also not good. He suggests there should have been some mechanism in which both parties should have been heard to provide both stability to the tenant and rent increase to the landlord.

Captain Singh suggests a body on the pattern of the Telecom Regularity Authority for all parties to be heard before fixing the rent stressing he was not in favour of the old system where certain tenants were exploiting the land lord.

Sanjay Abbot said the market had not seen any changes despite the welcome change in building by-laws and the reduction of the compounding fee. He said the violations would remain the same as long as the relationship of the landlord and the tenant did not improve. Mr Abbott said that the government has even allowed the compounding fee to be deposited by the tenant if the entire process of getting new approvals for the need-based internal changes was done by the landlord.

Office bearers: President Captain Mohanbir Singh, Vice President Gurjeet Singh, General Secretary Sanjay Abbott, Secretary Sanjeev Chaddha and Treasurer Bhimsen Bansal.


Showroom site fetches Rs 4.26 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
In what is a record of sorts, a showroom site in Sector 34 was auctioned for a whopping Rs 4.26 crore. The CHB netted Rs 14.91 crore by auctioning four commercial sites. This is the highest bid ever for a commercial site. The CEO of the CHB, Ms Varsha Joshi, said Sector 34 had become attractive for the buyers as the CHB had carried out added development there.

The highest bid of Rs 4.26 crore was for III bay showroom measuring about 590 sq yrd. Another showroom of the same size was auctioned for Rs 4.16 crore. Two showrooms measuring 389 sq yrd were auctioned for Rs 3.33 crore and Rs 3.16 crore, respectively. The average price on per-square yard basis works out to be Rs 76,149.


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