Sunday, December 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Daring burglars strike again
Tribune News Service


The police here has had a rather dismal record when it comes to catching thieves. The police is still on the lookout for those responsible for:
  • Burglary of Rs 2 lakh in SCF 90, Phase VII, in 2000;
  • Snatching of Rs 1.5 lakh from a woman in Phase V in 2001;
  • Snatching of Rs 1 lakh from a trader of Phase VII in 2001;
  • Snatching of Rs 18 lakh from two employees of the PSEB in Phase 3B-2 in 2002;
  • Attempt to cheat a Phase VII jeweller of Rs 50,000 in 2002; and
  • A burglary of Rs 1 lakh in SCF 36, Phase 3B2 in 2002.

SAS Nagar, December 21
Continuing with the seemingly endless spate of daring burglaries, burglars struck at five showrooms in the Phase VII market here early this morning and succeeded in breaking into one of these shops and decamped with all the cash in the shop.

The incident is the second of its kind in five days in the township. Barely three days ago, the SP here had in a meeting with shopkeepers of the township assured them of adequate security arrangements.

The shop, Sant Shoes, is housed in a double- storeyed showroom. According to the shop’s owner, Mr Jasbir Singh Sumal, not a single lock was broken by the thieves, but when he opened the locks in the morning, he found that the shop’s front door glass was broken and Rs 5,500 were missing.

Although it is still not clear how the thieves got into the shop, the police believes that a thief gained entry into the shop from under the locked shutter, while others held the shutter aloft with an iron rod. The shutter of the shop was locked on the sides, but enough space could be created for a frail person to pass through. The glass door might have broken when the rod was being used to lift the shutter.

This theory of the police gains strength from the fact that the burglars had apparently tried their hands at the shutters of four other shops in the market trying to open these using the same technique. The shutters of all these shops have been dented and there are tell-tale signs on the floor where rods were inserted from under the shutters. ‘‘But these were either centrally locked or the shutters were of a thicker sheet and could not be lifted enough to create space between the floor and the shutter,’’said Mr Baldev Singh Sumal, whose shop, Sumal Silks, was also targeted by the thieves. Other shops where the thieves had tried to break into were also cloth shops, Selection Plus, Milan Editions and Infashions.

Shopkeepers are feeling insecure due to the fact that the burglary, according to sources, seems to have taken place despite the presence of two watchmen, and regular police patrolling. Two taxi drivers were sleeping barely 20 feet from the shop.

The two watchmen on duty, Ranjit and Sarbjit, both residents of Landran, said they did not see or hear anyone all through the night and had checked the locks of all 18 shops they are doing duty for. The two taxi drivers could not be contacted as they had already left for duty. But according to the owner of the taxi stand, Mr Bahadur Singh, the drivers did not report anything untoward when they left in the morning.

The police seems to have no answers to the questions being raised by the shopkeepers of the market. The beat officers claims that they remained on duty and patrolled the area throughout night. The SHO of the Phase VIII police station had also taken around of the area after midnight followed by a police gypsy. The police is yet to register a case.

According to the SP here, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, today’s burglary seems to be the handiwork of the same gang that had struck at Sital Stores some days ago.



A bad year for UT Police
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service


  • A 100 per cent rise in the cases of murder; six cases remain unsolved
  • The police fails to display its investigative and detection skills.
  • The city registers a phenomenal rise in suicide cases.
  • At least five cops arrested by the CBI while accepting bribe 

Chandigarh, December 21
Policing in the city came under sharp focus with an unprecedented rise in the crime rate since the inception of this urban conglomerate. This year saw the highest ever cases of murder being registered, with a 100 per cent rise as compared to the previous year.

It was also not a good year for the uniformed force as at least five cops were booked under cases of corruption registered by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI).

Controversy took the centre stage when the top brass of the city police filed some cases of departmental enquires. The infamous rape case of a girl from Shimla, allegedly involving a Haryana bureaucrat, also saw the names of some police officials figuring in it. The police claimed that it was frame-up case against a businessman, Mr M.K. Jain.

The posting of the new Senior Superintendent of Police saw a lot of political lobbying in the corridors of power. Though the change of guard in the top brass took place this month, the investigative and detection skills of the force were at its lowest ebb. The sense of security among residents, especially senior citizens, was at an all- time low when repeated incidents of heinous crimes, including murders, burglaries and snatching, saw an upward trend.

Of the 30 murder cases registered so far, six cases of blind murder remained unsolved. The brutal murder of Subash Chawla, a trader of the Sector 26 Grain market, and the gruesome murder of 66-year-old resident of Sector 47, Sheila Khanna, raised doubts about the investigative skills of the force.

To instill a sense of security among senior citizens, the previous SSP, Mr Parag Jain, started a special campaign wherein Station House Officers visited the houses of all senior citizens in their respective areas. The Neighbourhood Watch Scheme was also extended to other residential and commercial areas. An experiment of patrol on bicycles was started by the previous Inspector General of Police, Mr B.S. Bassi.

The white collar crime, handled by the Economic Offence Wing, saw a 23 per cent rise. The dangerous trend of organised burglaries in the southern sectors of the city kept the police on its toes. A stepped-up policing did ward off burglars towards the neighbouring SAS Nagar. Not denying that an increase in the crime rate was primarily due to influx of migratory population, police officials admit that rot had set in the rank and file of the once disciplined force.

With roughly 800 cops on roads and rest posted at the headquarters and other soft postings, the policing was bound to suffer, admitted a senior police official.

In all, it was bad year for the Chandigarh police.



2-day police remand for IT Commissioner, banker
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recovered Rs 2 lakh in cash and jewellery worth Rs 1.75 lakh from the lockers of an officer in a Jalandhar branch of the Punjab National Bank (PNB), Mr Deepak Chug.

The bank official had been arrested by the CBI in connection with a case of corruption registered against an Income Tax Commissioner (Appeals-2),Ludhiana,(1), Mr ML Dhunsa. Mr Chug is a brother-in-law of Mr Dhunsa. The Income Tax Commissioner, along with the bank official, were today remanded in two-day’s police custody by a CBI Special Judicial, Magistrate, Patiala.

The Income Tax Commissioner was arrested from the IT office in Balmiki Nagar, Ludhiana, while accepting a bribe of Rs 2.5 lakh from a businessman, Paramjit Singh. on Wednesday last. The bribe was to dispose of an appeal in favour of a party.

Sources in the CBI said a party from Moga was made to offer the bribe to the Commissioner through the highly-connected businessman, Paramjit Singh. The CBI sleuths had earlier recovered fixed deposit (FDs) worth Rs 30 lakh from the house of Mr Chug. Searches had also been carried out at the house of the Commissioner and certain documents relating to assets disproportionate to his income had reportedly been recovered. However, nothing could be found from the lockers of the Commissioner.



Notice outside NK Jain’s house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
In the infamous rape case of a girl from Shimla, the Chandigarh Police today pasted a notice outside the house of a former Home Secretary of Chandigarh, Mr NK Jain, in Sector 7 here today. Through the notice the bureaucrat has been directed to appear before the court till January 30 and join in police investigations. A team led by two ASIs, Mr Shadi Lal and Mr Jaspal, went to the house of the Haryana bureaucrat and pasted the notice at 4.30 pm. On an application by the police, the court of Mr KK Goyal, UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class), had initiated proceedings to declare the bureaucrat as a proclaimed offender.



Houses for slum dwellers: Admn raises false hopes
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
The lopsided appeasement policy towards illegal slum dwellers of the Chandigarh Administration was unimplemented again today as a team of the Estate Office organised a ‘‘rehabilitation camp’’ in Sector 25 where slum dwellers, squatting illegally on prime land worth crores of rupees were given another chance to prove that they were eligible for free houses.

Sources said several people filed claims in the camp and almost all were not eligible. But the effort by the Administration raised false hopes for these slum dwellers. A slum dweller and his wife, who had gone to file their claim, told this reporter ‘‘aab namm to likha deya hai. Ghar bhi mill jayega.’’ (we have registered our names, now we will get a house also).

It all started when a section of slum dwellers in Sector 25 were allotted plots under the controversial rehabilitation scheme and hutments of those, who were ineligible were demolished. According to the policy, “Slum dwellers who are listed as voters on the list as on December 8, 1996, are to be rehabilitation. All other hutments will go.” When the Administration demolished these illegal hutments, a hue and cry was raised by political leaders and some of them even tried to prevent the bulldozers from clearing the area.

For long, city intellectuals have been suggesting that the scheme to rehabilitate slums should be done away with as it has only ended up adding more slums in the city making it dirty and prone to crime. The police has also had tough time verifying the antecedents of the people living in slums.

Last year, the National Commission of Minorities has rapped the Chandigarh Administration for its slum policy saying encouragement of slums has altered population ratio which can cause problems later. It had also said that the original claimant of the disputed UT is Punjab so the state’s consent on decisions with far reaching consequences should be taken. The commission had also expressed surprise that the Administration went on providing rehabilitation colonies to slum dwellers who have occupied government lands.

Examples of Kajheri and Hallomajra were cited where migrant slum dwellers have a majority in panchyat and have ousted Punjabi’s. The National Commission for Minorities had then also asked the Chandigarh Administration to review the whole process of first encouraging slum colonies in the city and then rehabilitating them as this had totally disturbed the population ratio Chandigarh.

Such changes can result in political problems in the future, said the Commission, in the letter sent to the Chandigarh Administration. The population of migrants is estimated to be close to three lakh out of the UT’s nine lakh population .

Though the commission had accepted the fact that scheme to rehabliatate slum dwellers was approved by the Government of India in all cities , however, the Chandigarh Administration should give priority to residents of villages of Chandigarh because they suffered in order to provide space for the new city.



Experts dwell on conflict resolution
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Conflict resolution in the context of changing geo-political contours of the world map has become an integral part of desire for economic co-operation across nations.

What are the comparative approaches to conflict resolution? These can be bilateral, meditation, arbitration, track-2 diplomacy etc. To discuss these academics, politicians and diplomats have gathered at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here.

Among the participants are C.M. Shafi Sami, a former Foreign Secretary of the Bangladesh and High Commission in India, Mohammed Ayoob, a distinguished Professor of International Relations, Michigan State University and anthropologist, Michael Gilsenan, Chairperson, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, New York University.

Experts in their respective fields of study, they displayed one common denominator for conflict resolution—positive attitude, be it Kashmir or Israel-Palestine. They said any crises would blow over, if handled with patience, perseverance and in secrecy. Sami added, “Any approach to conflict resolution, any where, must also be kept away from the camera”.

For conflict resolution there has to be a dialogue, mutual trust, faith and change of mind-set. Effort should be to arrive at a win-win situation and solution must be equitable and just. These conflicts also impede regional cooperation, simply because any two member countries are in conflict.

This situation has developed in the case of India and Pakistan because each perceives it as a “symbol of balance of power”, as Ayuoob put it. He said Kashmir problem had two dimensions, one was “of” Kashmir (India-Pakistan conflict) and the second was “in” Kashmir. The two must be differentiated and reference made to old “pacts” between Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Abdullah in 1975. Even now after the elections, “political intolerance” continued to interfere in Kashmir politics.

Michael primarily concentrates on the Middle-East conflicts. He has not “explored“ the Kashmir problem but feels that it is a bilateral issue, which is known internationally but is not internationalised as such.

The much-hyped emerging Russia-China-India axis did not elicit much comment from the three experts, except that all are stakeholders as much in the USA as America is in them for “strategical and tactical reasons”. But to India China poses a security threat.



‘Tackle stray cattle menace’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 21
The residents of Ward No. 21 (Sector 11 H.No. 1-697, 935-1206 , 1206F-1443F) and Ward No. 22 (Sector 11 H.No. 698- 934 , village Chotta Haripur, Sector 12 H. No. 427- 867) hope that their representative in the municipal council will ensure better civic amenities in their wards. They think that the main issue for these elections will be maintenance of roads, stray cattle menace and better streetlight maintenance, especially within the sector.

As many as 7142 voters (3848 and 3294 in Ward No. 21 and 22, respectively) will exercise their franchise to elect their representative to the municipal council. While Ward No. 21 is a general ward, the other is reserved for woman candidate and politicking to field candidates has begun in earnest.

Residents of Sector 12 say that the roads are in a pitiable condition. The site for the dispensary has been earmarked, but there is no effort to develop this. The problem of squatters relieving themselves along the Singh Nullah, which passes through Sector 12, is also a cause of concern here. They also complain that Congress grass is another malice.

In Ward No. 21, the residents feel that other than improving the condition of roads, the Congress grass had to be removed regularly from the road sides. They also complained of low water pressure, which caused problem in multi-storey houses here.



Admn seeks politicians’ help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
The Chandigarh Administration here yesterday sought the cooperation of political leaders in mobilising people for the two-phased Pulse Polio campaign scheduled for January 5, 6 and 7 and February 9, 10 and 11.

The Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, held a meeting with members of the Administrator’s Advisory Council and the Municipal Corporation. Ms Nanda, taking into account the network of cadres of all parties, asked them to join hands with the government in ensuring that every household was reached to bring children up to the age of five years for administering drops.

The Adviser suggested that this effort towards creating a network of health officers, MC and political cadres would help to deal with any emergency in future.

Ms Nanda reportedly asked politicians to spread their cadres to the city for encouraging people to get their children administered drops.

Dr C.P. Bansal, Director, Health Services, said out of 1,337 polio cases reported last year, 1,092 were from Uttar Pradesh. He said the city recorded only one case.

Mayor Lalit Joshi said it should be ensured that not even a single case was reported in future. The Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr M.P. Singh, who has been made chairman of the campaign, has called a joint meeting of UT health workers and councillors on December 24 to ensure a house-to-house reach.



Rehri wallahs meet Adviser
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
A deputation of rehri and phari wallahs led by former Local MP, Mr Satya Pal Jain, met the Adviser to the UT Administrator and demanded that the booths should be allotted to them at the old price of Rs 1.50 lakh which was fixed by the Administration for the rehri and phari wallahs of Sector 46 market.

A memorandum to this effect was also handed over to the Adviser. The rehri and phari wallahs were reacting to reports that booths will now be allotted for prices touching Rs 8.50 lakh.

Under the rehabilitation scheme, booths were allotted in 1993 in Sectors 15 and 22 at the fixed price of Rs 44,000 per booth, in the first phase. And in the second phase, the Administration had rehabiliated rehri market of Sector 20-C and 20-D at the rate of Rs 88,000 per booth in 1996. While continuing the above scheme, the Administration rehabiliated rehri market of Sector 46 at the price of Rs 1.50 lakh per booth.

The deputation further stated that rehri and phari wallahs were hurt when they came to know that the Administration would now allot the booths at the increased price of about Rs 8.50 lakh which is not at all possible for the small and poor rehri phari wallahs to purchase the booths keeping in view their meagre income.



Women falls to death
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, December 21
Hailing from Saral village in Karnal, Harbans Kaur, a 78-year-old ‘karsewika’, died after she fell from the first floor staircase of Nada Sahib Gurdwara located on the Panchkula-Nariangarh road this morning.

According to sources, the old woman slipped while she was carrying an iron pan full of sand up the stairs to the first floor where some construction work was being carried on. She was rushed to the Sector 6 General Hospital where the doctors declared her brought dead.



Problems that Chandigarhians face

I was surprised to read in The Tribune that 10 shops were burgled at night. Who is responsible for this? It is the administration of Chandigarh. The City is out of control of the administration because of its population, about 10 lakh. There is absolutely no check on the influx of migrants from other states.

Chandigarh should remain as a Union Territory. Punjab and Haryana should shift their capitals to their states — Haryana at Karnal and Punjab at Phillaur, i.e Ranjitgarh. Himachal Pradesh had shifted the capital to Shimla long back. In this way, the population of Chandigarh will not only come down but also help the authorities provide the basic infrastructural facilities to the people.

The Union Government should release funds for these states to set up their secretariats and people there will make more beautiful kothis than those in Chandigarh because they have plenty of money. The jobless will get employment. The responsibility of checking the crime rate should be entrusted to ex-servicemen. A cess of Rs 5 per citizen could be collected towards the security fund.

As regards the ongoing dispute between landlords and tenants, the Chandigarh Administration should fix the rent of Rs 500 per room because it is the land of Punjab. In Punjab, Rs 1500 is not charged for a room as in Chandigarh. The landlords should give due receipt. Those who have not paid for the plot (I mean the lease system) should deposit 50 per cent of the rent to the government.

Dr H.S. Bharti, Chandigarh

Road accidents

This refers to the report on road accidents causing serious injuries to two girl students of Chandigarh’s Punjab Engineering College caused by rash and negligent driving by the daughter of a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Both the victims were wearing helmets and even then the injuries are serious as per PGI reports. The car which hit the scooter had jumped red light which itself is a violation of traffic rules and hence a crime.

Causing grievous injuries to road users by rash driving is a serious crime. But in my opinion, deliberately not taking any action against the known culprit is a crime which is more serious, and hence unpardonable. Accidents can be condoned. But deliberate inaction on the part of the police is not an accident, it is an incident committed in cold blood, and hence invites stern and exemplary punishment.

If the police fails in its duty, the Punjab and Haryana High Court should take suo motu notice of this particular case and issue notice to the administration and ensure that appropriate punishment is meted out to the culprits and relief to the victims.

T. Bhattacharya, Panchkula

Cosmetic surgery

This has reference to Ms Pratibha Chauhan’s report on cosmetic surgery in 4th century (Chandigarh Tribune, November 24, 2002). It might be of interest to note that plastic surgery is known to have been practised successfully in ancient India as well before 1000 A.D. Surgical instruments made of steel were used even at that time to perform operations. The procedure must surely have been excruciating, for alcohol alone was used to dull the senses during it. Just as in case of the Sri Lankan societies where such procedures were routinely practised, the need for such surgical skills arose because at that time it was a common practice to chop off the nose as punishment for adultery in India as well. Other convicts, who too met with similar fate, as also lepers, provided surgeons with ample opportunity to hone their skills. Surgeons used the tissue cut from either the forehead or the cheek, and remodelled the nose with it. Reeds were placed in the nostrils of the patient to allow him/her to be able to breathe during the operation.

It is interesting to compare this to the fact that plastic/cosmetic surgery became popular in the West only around the time of World War.

Vivek Khanna, Panchkula



3 held for beating up woman
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, December 21
The police has arrested three persons, Manu Bajwa, Narinder Singh and Sukhwinder Singh, for allegedly beating up a woman of Sector 6 and threatening of dire consequences.

Police said the trio have been arrested on the complaint of Ms Darshan Kaur. Cases have been registered against them at the Sector 5 police station.

Poppy husk seized
A resident of Alipur village, Banta Ram, has been arrested by the police while carrying 300 gm of poppy husk. The accused was arrested near Alipur round last evening.

A case under the NDPS Act has been registered against him at the Chandi Mandir police station.

One booked
In a hit and run case, the police has booked an unidentified driver of a Gypsy (HR-49-5268) on the complaint of Ms Shama Rani, a resident of Sector 29, Chandigarh, today.

In her complaint to the police, Ms Rani has alleged that the Gypsy driver rammed his vehicle into a Motorcycle (CH-03E-6349) leaving three persons injured. A case has been registered at the Sector 5 police station in this regard.


Burglars broke into a car garage and took away items worth Rs 35,000 in Industrial Area last night. According to information, the burglars broke into the garage after breaking the tin sheds and took away three car stereos, two rubbing machines and some other related accessories. A case of theft has been registered at the Industrial Area Police station on a complaint lodged by the owner of the garage, Mr Pardeep Kumar.

Vehicles stolen
Two vehicles were stolen from different places in the city in the last 48 hours. According to information, Tara Parashad, a resident of Khuda Lahora, said Mohan Lal stole his motorcycle near Burail. In another case, Amit Gupta, a resident of Sector 10, said his Yamaha motorcycle was stolen from in front of Sector 35 Spice Office.


Two women hurt in mishap
Two women sitting at the rear seat in a car were seriously injured when a truck hit the car from behind at a traffic-light point in Industrial Area here today.

The car, a Fiat Uno with four people inside it, was standing at a red-light point in Phase VI Industrial Area here when a truck coming from behind hit it. The driver of the truck had apparently lost control of the vehicle.

Mr Devinder Singh, who was driving the car, was coming with his family from Ropar when the incident took place. A child was also in the car, but the driver and the child escaped injuries.

The injured, Ms Harinder Kaur and Ms Avtar Kaur, have been admitted to a private nursing home. The driver of the truck managed to run away.



Hair-cut case: special team constituted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
In connection with the alleged incident of the cutting of hair of a 15-year-old boy of Sector 19, the police has constituted a special team, headed by the Superintendent of Police (City), to investigate the matter.

A case has already been registered at the Sector 19 police station. According to the information available, the case has been transferred to the CIA wing. The police has already made computer generated portraits of the three suspects on the basis of a description given by the victim, Randhir Singh. Sources said the police was not ruling out the possibility of an old enmity with the family of the victim. A raiding party had been sent to Amritsar to nab one of the suspects in the case.



Chinese Santa arrives in the region
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, December 21
Santa has arrived in Chandigarh and other boom towns of the region, including Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar, all the way from China especially for Christmas in his traditional attire and a flowing white beard, plus a golden vest. Dancing and singing “jingle bells” and other carols, he has brought along with him Christmas trees and decorations.

If you still haven’t seen him, go to the card and gift houses in the shopping arcades. You will find him standing upright on a sparkling glass table under dazzling synthetic daylight. All that is required to make him sing and shake with an electric candle in his hand is a little pat. His Indian counterparts are also there on the shelves, but they are not “all that attractive”. This is not all. They are in a habit of standing still.

Chinese Santa’s company is not very expensive either. You can take him home by pulling out just Rs 1200 from your pocket. This is not all. You can also carry home Christmas trees and other decorations imported from China via Mumbai.

“Gone are the days when Chinese pens were all that the residents used to ask for,” says Ms Raman, owner of a card and gift shop in Sector 11 here. “Or else they would get a taste of China through noodles. Then came Chinese toys, including helicopters and aeroplanes, besides cell phones and dolls. They were good and inexpensive, no doubt about it. That’s why they became so popular in the country”.

But why has the demand for Christmas items increased all of a sudden? “Well, the concept of Christmas is not entirely alien to Indian students studying in convent schools,” explains Ms Krishna Sahoonja, also involved in the card and gift business. “This, however, is not the only reason behind their popularity. Youngsters today need an opportunity to celebrate, be it Indian or an alien festival. That’s why, kids today organise parties not only on Divali, but also on St Valentine’s Day and Friendship Day, besides Halloween. In fact, Christmas today is almost as big an occasion as Divali; Valentine’s Day is even bigger than it”.

Agreeing with her, Jalandhar-based businessman Rajeev Verma, asserts: “In today’s world of ostentation where show off is considered a positive value, parents encourage their little ones to celebrate foreign festivals. By doing so, they not only allow them to be a part of the elite crowd, but also show how modern they are in their approach”.

Still, why buy Chinese stiff when Indian is available? “Made in India trees are also available, but the finish is not so good,” explains Jalandhar-based gift shop owner Sajjan Singh. “In fact, they look kind of funny. Instead of creating the effect of snow on the leaves with the help of cotton like the Chinese do, Indians simply paint the tips white. Moreover, variety is lacking. As far as Chinese things are concerned, you have trees that look real with alluring red ribbons, colourful blinking lights, bright twinkling stars in silver and gold, besides bells with chains attached and small gift boxes. The price is almost the same”. Not a bad bargain, it seems.



Bajaj aims to capture ungeared-scooter market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Bajaj Autos Limited, which has so far dominated the entry-level geared-scooter market in the country and enjoys second position in motor cycle market, is set to capture the ungeared-vehicle market in the coming years. The market for ungeared scooters is growing even at a higher rate than motor cycles. The company will launch Saffire ZI, a 100 cc ungeared scooter, in the price range of Honda Activa by January. The company is also planning to launch two bikes next year, one in the entry level and other in executive segment, says Mr R.M. Prajapati, regional sales manager, Bajaj Autos Limited.

Mr Prajapati (43), who looks after marketing and sales promotion in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh, says, “The company is focusing on this region due to its vast potential and high purchasing power of the masses. Since the company enjoys high brand loyalty of regional customers, it is fully geared up to bank upon its vast network of dealers and infrastructure in the region. The region has emerged as number two at the national level. The share of the company in the two-wheeler market in the region is 52 per cent, against 28 per cent at the national level.”

Hailing from Sabarkantha district in Gujarat, Mr Prajapati has done diploma in automobiles from Bhavnagar district and a post-graduate diploma in production technology. He began his career with Bajaj Autos as a training service engineer in 1982 and served the company at various places, including Africa. After a stint in Delhi, he came to Chandigarh in 1998.

Referring to the increase in competition, he asserts, “After facing initial setback, the company has accepted the challenge and has introduced new models keeping in view the needs of young generation, especially women. The vehicles are placed at competitive price which are tough, sturdy and suitable for Indian roads.” Against other players in the market, he says, Bajaj has captured the ‘imagination of Indian customer’ who wants tough, fuel efficient with minimum repair vehicles.

Regarding the success of company in the region, he says, the annual sales in the region are in the range of Rs 500 crore and increasing at a steady pace. Sales in the city market are expected to grow by 10 per cent, in Punjab by 20 per cent and in the Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir markets by around 40 per cent. What is the secret of success of the company, when asked, he says: “Our focus is on making efforts to provide better product to our customers’ satisfaction, besides better after-sales services and supply of spare parts at lower rates than our competitors.”

Mr Prajapati says Bajaj’s Boxer AR, priced at Rs 31,990 ex-showroom price here, has proved a major success in the rural market. Similarly, the sales of Spirit, have registered a growth of over 100 per cent in the past one year. The company is determined to provide best after-sales service by providing in-service training to its technicians, market team and by upgrading its workshops.


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