Friday, January 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Land allotment policy on pvt schools to change
Residential area schools to shift
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Situation report

  • Schools running in Chandigarh will get preference in land allotment.
  • Schools in residential areas may get one year extension till April, 2004.
  • Administration has okayed the proposal and will be submitted to the High Court for its nod.
  • Under present policy people from outside can also apply.

Chandigarh, January 9
The policy for allotment of land to primary schools in Chandigarh is all set to change. Also, the last date for closing schools in residential areas may be extended by one year. A formal nod is awaited from the Punjab and Haryana High Court before the policy is changed to give schools which are operating out of residential areas in Chandigarh priority over other institutions from outside Chandigarh.

Following a judgement of the High Court on December 7, 2001, the deadline to shift the schools from residential areas expires on April 30 this year. A high level meeting of officials of the Chandigarh Administration has approved of the scheme which aims to give priority to people who are running schools in residential areas for the past several years. Also, it was suggested to allow schools in residential areas to run for one more year. The outgoing Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, is learnt to have cleared the proposal.

As of today the Administration has already inserted advertisements in various newspapers inviting applications from educational institutions keen on setting up primary schools in Chandigarh. If the High Court agrees to the proposal of the Administration the advertisement needs to be withdrawn and issued afresh, besides amending the notification of the original policy. At present anyone can apply for land under the policy and if the body is found eligible then the land is allotted. Well-placed sources told The Tribune that the thinking of the Administration on the issue is clear. In case all schools are closed down on April 30, 2003, then hundreds of children, especially from the lower middle class, would be affected. Also, during the high level meeting it was brought out if it was justified to levy such heavy misuse charges from people running schools in residential areas. It was also brought out that it will take about 1 to 2 years for the adjacent government schools to build up their infrastructure of classrooms and teachers to cater to even half of those students who would be thrown out of the education system if all schools in residential areas are closed in one go.

It may be recollected that the High Court had directed for shifting of private schools from residential areas. A high-powered committee headed by the Adviser was formed to examine the feasibility , viability and justification of continued running of recognised private schools who fulfill all the norms.

All the schools when out together cater to about 1 lakh children. Schools in the residential areas cater to much lower income group children and practically 90 per cent are primary or middle schools and fall in the neighbourhood of the children. In the past the schools have raised a hue and cry about their continuation claiming that they were providing quality education at the doorstep. This was needed in the primary segment, the schools have claimed.



Chill fails to dampen devotees’ spirits
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 9
Melodious shabads filled the air as devotees celebrated the 337th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh with religious fervour in the city today. The cold foggy weather, with temperature hovering around 9.6 °C was no damper as residents pushed aside their quilts even before the clock struck 3.30 am and rushed out of their houses for going to gurdwaras.

No wonder, even before the sunrise, roads leading to the gurdwaras were full of honking vehicles. The venue of prime celebrations were gurdwaras in Sectors 8, 19, 20, 40, 34, 11, 21, and 39. The traffic on narrow roads leading to these gurdwaras moved at the snail’s pace due to the heavy rush.

Later in the afternoon, the devotees sat on the cold floor to partake of langar. They waited patiently in long queues for sevaks to distribute ‘parsadas’.

In the evenings, the gurdwaras were a sight to behold. Magnificent was the only word to describe the gurdwaras illuminated by colourful lights.



Cold claims one in Ambala
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, January 9
One person has died due to the cold in Ambala City on Thursday. The deceased who seemed to be a beggar has not be identified so far. According to information, the body was found in a compartment of the Ambala-Ludhiana passenger train on Thursday. The railway authorities has sent the body to the local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem.

Intense cold and fog threw normal life out of gear in Chandigarh today, with most train, bus and air services and even defence flights getting either delayed or cancelled.

Though the day temperature that plummeted to 8.4°C yesterday, a 20-year low, started picking up today when the sun showed up for some time and took it to 9.6°C, comfort remained elusive, as it was still 10°C below normal. The first winter predicted by an Indian satellite, Metsat, proved to be severe, but there has been no death in Chandigarh, so far this year.

A large number of persons from drought-hit Rajasthan have arrived here as beggars, who are, now, out in the cold. The cold has forced authorities in Panchkula to close schools till January 13, putting pressure on authorities in SAS Nagar and Chandigarh to follow suit. In Panchkula, two public schools — the Sector 11 Chaman Lal DAV School and Jainendra Public School of Old Panchkula — have also announced closure till January 13.

The cold has forced the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh to suspend recarpeting of roads; the MC is, now, waiting for the sun to reappear. The corporation is finding it difficult to dispose of a huge amount of water it has been left with, as the consumption has fallen drastically due to the cold wave.

The Meteorological Department says that there is going to be no respite from the cold for at least two more days. The minimum temperature recorded here was 5.4°C, 2°C below normal. The nearest coldest place was Ludhiana, where mercury dipped to 3.9°C, followed by Ambala at 4°C and Patiala at 5°C. Defence sources said only necessary defence flights could take off after 11 am today, not all.

The Jodhpur-Kalka Express, that was to arrive here at 5.20 am, reached here at 9.30 am. Kalka Mail arrived at 5.25 am instead of 3.25 am, Jan Shatabdi at 9.50 am instead of 9.15 am, Himalayan Queen at 10.30 am instead of 10.20 am, the Shatabadi at 11.25 am instead of 11.20 a.m, the Sadbhawna at 2.30 pm instead of 11.30 am and Pashchim Express at 4.30 pm instead of 3.05 pm.

While schedules of long-distance trains were affected, the trains that started off early from respective stations could make-up somewhat for the lost time, according to sources in the Railways. Consumption patterns have changed, with the sales of woollens, dry fruits, liquor and hot-food items picking up. Sales of heat-convectors, too, have picked up.



7-year-old girl kidnapped, strangulated
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
A seven-year-old girl was last night kidnapped deceitfully and strangulated to death allegedly by a former neighbour estranged with her parents on a minor drunken brawl on the day of Divali last year in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony here.

The accused Mangal was caught from the Kumbra village, near SAS Nagar, late last night after he unknowingly confessed to the murder to an uncle of the child, Subedar. Subedar did not take note of the incident initially, unmindful of the kidnapping and subsequent murder of his own niece.

A villager Saleem, a neighbour of the accused, locked Mangal in the murderer’s house after he came to know about the crime through other villagers. He later handed over the accused to the police, which has recovered the body. The police said a medical examination did not prove that the girl was raped. Mangal was today remanded to two days of police custody by a local court.

Mother of the deceased Reshma(29) could not see through the deceit when Mangal asked her to help her take one of her children home. Reshma, who was carrying two of her daughters on a bicycle home, agreed to Mangal’s proposal of carrying Beetan on his bicycle to their home.

With tears in her eyes Reshma narrated the tragic tale to The Tribune and said that when she was going back home on her bicycle with her two daughters — Beetan (7) and Komal (4) — from the road dividing sector 49/50, where her husband Ram Jeewan (30) was engaged in cycle repair work, Mangal (murderer), already known to their family, interrupted them and offered to take Beetan with him as he was also going home. Earlier, Mangal used to live near them in SBS Colony (a slum area), but recently shifted to Kumbra village. Reshma did not know that Mangal had shifted to another place.

Beetan accompanied Mangal on his bicycle but soon Reshma lost track of them. When she and her younger daughter reached home, to their surprise, Beetan did not arrive. She waited for a few minutes and then went to her husband to narrate the incident. Since they were under the impression that Mangal was still living near them, they went back to the SBS colony and started searching for their daughter. But somebody informed them that Mangal had shifted to Kumbra village.

They immediately went to Kumbra village, where Ram Jeewan’s cousin Pramod was living. They spotted Mangal sitting with his friends. But before they could nab him, he ran away.

Meanwhile, Mangal confessed in front of Subedar that he had murdered a girl. But Subedar did not know that Mangal was talking about Beetan.

SHO D.R. Sharma launched an operation in the night after preliminary investigations, to recover the body but failed to identify the location where the culprit threw away the body. Later, early in the morning today, again a search party was sent to the location as told by the culprit. Finally, the body of Beetan was recovered from the bushes in Sector-47B.

An FIR u/s 302 and 364 of the IPC was registered against Mangal on charges of murder and kidnapping in the police station of Sector-34. A medical examination of the body revealed that she was strangulated to death. However, there were no signs of rape. Preliminary investigations also revealed that Mangal was drunk when he committed the crime.

Mr Subash Chander Sagar, DSP (south), when contacted, told TNS that the exact cause of murder was yet to be determined but as per the preliminary investigations, Mangal and Reshma quarrelled on a minor issue on the day of Divali, last year, when he used to live in their neighbourhood.



From home ministry to kitchen cabinet
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 9
The advocates of women’s liberation have something to cheer about in this town caught in the election frenzy. For a change, men are promoting their wives, especially the ones in the fray, thanks to the State Election Commission that declared certain wards reserved for women.

“Politician” husbands are, now, realising their aspirations through their wives. The otherwise “happy at home” wives are, now, happy with this swapping, that has let them be the centre of attention. Most wives have been forced to join the contest, as the wards are reserved for women.

Gone are the days of remaining confined to home and hearth. Now, donning politician’s robes, these wives, with women of the neighbourhood in tow, go door to door, seeking votes. Meanwhile, the husbands are managing households, planning election campaigns and organising media coverage. It is, however, another story that these candidates have as little knowledge of their wards as they have of the outside world.

Out of 31 wards of the MC, 11 are reserved for women; and, out of 199 candidates in the fray, 76 are women. Most women are in the contest because the areas of influence of their husbands have been declared women’s wards.

Questions like what experience do these women have of public or social life are fielded by their “smart” husbands, who, then, recount family achievements and their political statuses. From the wives, you only receive parroted replies like “repair of roads”, “beautification of wards” and “sanitation”. Some are even able to tell the number of voters in their wards.

While releasing their manifestoes, most of such candidates are unable to even read these out to public. Recently, one such candidate, wife of a former office-bearer of the Panchkula Congress Committee, was candid enough to admit that, had her ward not been declared reserved for women, she would not have joined politics. She humbly requested reporters not to ask her questions.

In a large number of other wards reserved for women, most candidates are even unable to do their own canvassing. They are, generally, accompanied by “intelligent and social” women of the neighbourhood, who convey “their” message to voters.

Among the wives, there are some who are here by choice. They have been active in local politics and social bodies. Wards 4 and 13, that are general wards, have two women each in the fray.



Vigorous canvassing by candidates in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 9
With days numbered for the first-ever elections to the Municipal Council here, candidates are going all out to woo the voters. Other than distributing pamphlets to voters, car rallies and processions of candidates are being organised.

A procession was today taken out by Mr Naresh Rawal, an Independent candidate from Ward No. 12. Along with his supporters, Mr Rawal covered Sector 15, EWS Colony, Sector 10 and HUDA Colony. He also released his election manifesto and promised rationalisation of various taxes, better water and power supply, sanitation, street-lighting, replacing the PVC water pipeline in the ward with CC pipes etc.

Mr Roshan Lal Singla, a BJP candidate from Ward No. 25, too released his election manifesto, in which he promised abolition of fire tax, rationalisation of house tax for senior citizens, sanitation, better roads and maintenance of parks. Mr Sham Lal Bansal, a senior BJP leader, who was present on the occasion said the party candidates were doing well and hoped that the party would do well in the elections.

An independent candidate from Ward No. 22, Ms Lily Bawa, also released her election manifesto. Being from the Defence background, she enjoys the support of a large number of ex-servicemen residing in Sector 12. Ms Bawa assured them of better development of the ward, better maintenance of parks, clean potable water and better drainage on the roads.

Mrs Darshan Gupta, a candidate from Ward No. 5, who has been active in various social and religious organisations, continued with her campaign in Sector 8. She visited a number of houses today and sought the support of the residents. She promised better sanitation and civic amenities, street-lighting, provision of a 24-hour complaint cell and better management of storm water system.

In Ward No. 13, Mr Gian Chand Goel, an Independent candidate, continued with his campaign. He said he had contributed a lot towards the development of the sector and had been instrumental in getting a government school, declaration of Zirakpur as a bus stop for those boarding Haryana Roadways bus from Zirakpur to Ambala and amending the frame control-sheet of 10 marla plots .

He promised to strive for creation of infrastructure for technical education and direct transport service from Delhi and other district headquarters in Haryana to Panchkula.

Ms Om Wati, a candidate from Ward No. 22, too, released her election manifesto. She said she had completed two rounds of door-to-door campaign and had got a positive response. She promised rehabilitation of jhuggi dwellers, removal of encroachments for beautification of the town, better street-lighting, roads and sanitation.

Mr Joginder Singh Shangari, a retired Under Secretary, social worker and former vice-president of District Congress Committee, who is contesting from Ward No. 25, today visited over 100 houses along with his supporters. He assured that he would fight for rationalisation of taxes imposed by the MC, beatify the nullah passing through Sector 4, set up a polyclinic and library for senior citizens.

Mr Randhir Malik, an INLD-sponsored candidate, too, promised residents to work for rationalisation of various taxes imposed by the Municipal Council, development of his ward in terms of sanitation, street-lighting, water supply and power supply.

In Ward No. 21, Mr Sadhu Ram Jain, too, released his election manifesto and promised to work for reduction of stamp duty to make it on a par with Chandigarh, improving the condition of parks, finding permanent solution to stray cattle menace and Congress grass.

Meanwhile, Manoj Pal and Mr V.K. Sood in Ward No. 4, Mr Parveen Garg and Mr B.K. Nayyar in Ward No. 6, Wg Cdr H.L. Ratta and Lt Col Surjit Singh in Ward No. 27, Mrs Neelam Gupta in Ward No. 2 and Mr B.B. Kochchar in Ward No. 3, also continued with their campaign.



CSIO asked to supply 11 more units for LCA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) has approached the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation here to supply eleven additional units of the head-up display (HUD) for installation on the light combat aircraft (LCA).

According to sources, these units will be installed in the LCA’s production version (PV) units which are in the process of being fabricated. Deliveries to ADA are scheduled to start from this year and as per the agreement, the 11 units are to be supplied over a two-year period. CSIO will be paid about Rs 7 crore for fabricating these units.

The time frame put forward by the ADA for the supply of HUDs also gives an insight into the LCA’s PV fabrication schedule. The first aircraft of the series is scheduled to fly later this year. Two prototypes of the LCA, referred to as TD -I and TD-II (TD stands for technology demonstrator) are already undergoing test flights.

CSIO has already supplied five units of the HUD to the ADA. A sixth unit is being shipped to Bangalore this month. While the TD-I used an imported HUD, the TD-II used the HUD supplied by CSIO. As per available information, it has crossed 35 test flights so far.

Two out of the five units sent to ADA are airworthy. Of the remaining three, two are prototypes while the third is meant for testing and evaluations. Sources said that the sixth unit being supplied could be used to replace the imported unit on TD - I.

The HUD is an electro-optical unit which superimposes vital flight parameters like airspeed, altitude, rate of turn, compass direction and the aircraft’s armament status on the pilot’s image of the outside world. Installed above the cockpit’s instrument panel, it does away with the need for the pilot to repeatedly peer inside the cockpit to get information about the flight configuration, thereby enabling him to fly the aircraft with his “head up”.

The task to design and fabricate a HUD had been given to the CSIO by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) as a “technology development challenge”. The HUDs were initially supplied to the ADA through the ADE. The latest agreement for 11 units is directly between the CSIO and ADA.



Traffic police distributes literature
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
In the ongoing campaign to create awareness among the public on road safety measures, the Chandigarh Traffic Police today distributed literature on traffic rules and regulations. The main purpose of today’s drive was to educate the outsiders visiting the city.

According to the details available, four inspectors were deployed on the border check-posts on roads leading to Chandigarh from Panchkula, Zirakpur, Kharar-Mohali and Mullanpur-PGI. Besides distributing literature to the four-wheel drivers, they also briefed them to obey traffic rules to avoid accidents in the city.

The officials of the traffic police also briefed them about the speed limit on city roads. Charts depicting speed limit were also provided to them. Special attention was paid to heavy vehicles as they have been found to be a major cause of accidents in the city.

The drivers were also advised not to overspeed their vehicles or drive after consuming liquor.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Chandigarh Police said a big scooter rally would be organised tomorrow by students and women at Children Traffic Park, Sector 23, to generate awareness among the public on traffic rules.



Senior citizens’ meeting 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
A general body meeting of members of the Senior Citizen's Welfare Association, Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, was held today under the chairmanship of Justice B.S. Nehra(retd). In his address, Justice Nehra appreciated the efforts of the organisation in achieving its goal.

Mr Amrit Dhinra read the salient features of the draft constitution, prepared by the ad hoc committee, highlighting aims and objectives of the association. The draft constitution was unanimously adopted and approved by the general body house.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr C.D. Khanna urged the members to help each other. Mr S.L. Kaushal recited a poem. Mr S.D. Tewari also spoke on the occasion. The following were elected office-bearers on the occasion: president—Mr Amrit Dhingra; vice-president—Mr K.L. Aggarwal; general secretary—Mr P.N. Kapahi; joint secretary—Mr D.P. Wadhwa; organising secretary—Mr C.L. Wadhwa; finance secretary—Mr S.L. Kaushal; and auditor—Mr P.C. Gupta. Col(retd) J.P. Bangia, Mr Jagdish Mitter, Mr A.L. Gautam, Mr S.K. Vasisht and Mr Inderjit Kalra were elected the executive members.

Mr P.N. Kapahi proposed the vote of thanks. 



CPGI Secretaries Welfare Assn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Mr Swarnjit Saini and Mr Ram Parkash Sharma have been elected President and Secretary, respectively, of the PGI Secretaries Welfare Association (a representative body of the Private Secretaries and Principal Private Secretaries).

The following are the other office-bearers elected: Vice-President — Mr Ramesh Chand Sharma; Finance Secretaries — Mr Jarnail Singh; Joint Secretary — Mr Behari Lal; Organising Secretary — Mr Vinod Kumar Sarin; Auditor — Mr Keshav Kumar Sharma; Adviser — Mr Man Singh Thakur.



Truck hits rickshaw, one killed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 9
Jaherulla, father-in-law of a rickshaw-puller, died after the rehri he was riding was hit by a truck near Sectors 32, 33, 45 and 46 roundabout here yesterday. The truck driver was arrested and later released on bail.

As per information, the rickshaw was being pulled by Majid, a resident of Burail, and the truck (HR37A 0061) hit the rickshaw. Jaherulla was rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where he was declared brought dead.

The truck driver, Ranjit Singh, a resident of Ambala City, has been booked under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC.

Case registered: Mr Devinder Dayal Mehta of Plot No 5, Industrial Area, Phase I, has reported that his servant decamped with cash. According to information, Ashwani Khatri was sent to collect money from various customers but he did not return after collecting the money. A case under Section 406 of the IPC has been registered.

Theft case: An electronic typewriter, a VCD and some other items were stolen from the residence of Mr Lakhwinder Singh in Modern Housing Complex here yesterday. A case has been registered.

Robbers strike two shops:
Robbers struck at two shops in the Officers Colony market, last night. They managed to gain entry into one of the shops, R C Karyana Store, and decamped with a compact disc player, a mobile phone, perfume bottles and Rs 3,000.

Mr Vijay Kumar, owner of the shop, said the robbers first tried to break the lock and when they were unsuccessful in doing so, they cut the shutter of the shop. The robbers also tried to break the lock of another shop in the market, but failed to do so.

Shopkeepers said it was strange that the robbers were not caught despite the fact that they must have taken some time to cut the shutter. The shopkeepers have demanded police patrolling at night in the market.

A body was found hanging from a ceiling fan in a room of a hotel in the cantonment area on Thursday. According to the police, the deceased has been identified as Sabeh, a resident of Delhi. He had come to stay in this hotel on Wednesday. The hotel staff forcibly opened the door and found the body hanging. The matter was reported to the police.

In-laws booked:
A case of dowry has been registered against the husband, father-in-law and brother-in-law of Amritpreet Kaur, all residents of Jauli village, here today.

All three have been booked under Sections 498-A, 304, 201 and 34 of the IPC on a complaint lodged by Amritpreet Kaur.

Amritpreet Kaur had alleged that her father-in-law Harbans Singh, husband Gurbhaj Singh and brother-in-law Kuldeep Singh had been harassing her for bringing inadequate dowry.

She alleged that they had sent her to her parental house and kept her two-and-a-half-month-old daughter. The girl had later died allegedly due to the negligence of her in-laws.



Jacob announces IT policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Governor of Punjab and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Lt Gen J.F.R. Jacob, (retd.), today announced a policy for promoting IT- enabled services here. The policy was announced in New Delhi by the Administrator at an exclusive presentation organised for the local IT Department by NASSCOM (National Association of Software Companies) which was attended by 60 Chief Executives of IT and Telecom companies.

The President of Nasscom, Mr Kiran Karnik, its ITES chief Mr Arun Seth, the new Adviser to the Administrator, Mr Virendra Singh, the Secretary IT, Mr Karan A. Singh, were present on the occasion. DIT and Mr Anurag Munshi of Jones Lang LaSalle made presentations on the Chandigarh Technology Park and the new ITES policy. The new policy announced is as under:

Chandigarh’s vision for ITES is to accelerate the economic growth of the city by leveraging the potential for IT and ITES and creating a competitive knowledge base for sustaining the growth of the industry.

The main objectives of the policy are (i) to make Chandigarh a major center for IT-enabled services, by attracting a substantially large share of the ITES industry in India, (ii) to develop the infrastructure vital to the sustenance of the sector in the city, (iii) to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Chandigarh in the knowledge industry for creating sustainable growth in the local economy, to enrich the skill of the city youths to provide them with high level employment and to enable high quality delivery of ITES.

IT-enabled services have been defined as customer interaction services (including call centers), back office operations/revenue accounting/data entry/data conversion (including finance and accounting/HR services, payroll and insurance claim processing, business process outsourcing, transcription/ translation service, geographic information systems (GIS) content development/animation/engineering and design. Other services, including remote education, data search, market research and network consultancy and management, Web development and hosting services

The major initiatives to be taken by the administration relate to the following areas, which have a vital impact on the ITES sector, namely education, infrastructure and policy incentives.

In education, administration’s role will be to ensure a ready availability of trained manpower, ensure training of the city youths in the use of computers and in spoken English right from the primary school level.

It envisages that at least 30 per cent of kids graduating from school would have adequate soft-skills to support the ITES industry as manpower by 2006. The policy says that ITES training companies would be eligible for similar facilities as those applicable for the ITES companies.



City software export touches Rs 125 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The software export figures in the city is expected to touch Rs 125 crore this year.
This was disclosed today by the Governor of Punjab and Administrator of the city, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd). Speaking during a presentation on “Chandigarh — Technology Destination” in Delhi today, the governor invited the leading figures of IT and IT-enabled services industry to visit Chandigarh and see for themselves the quality of infrastructure that was being set up for the industry.

“Chandigarh is the hub of North India. It is the best-planned city in the country with a quality of life, which is of a very high order. A recent survey has placed Chandigarh as No. 1 in respect of Human Development Index and per-capita income. The power and telecom infrastructure is far superior to most Indian cities. It is now a wired city with an optical fibre network. The availability of bandwidth is as per the requirement of the IT industry. Human resources in Chandigarh are amongst the best. The work force available in the city is highly qualified and skilled.

Punjab Engineering College is being upgraded to the level of a deemed university. Another Engineering College has been set up with courses in computer science and electronics engineering”, he observed.

The Chandigarh administration had also set up a state of the art centre of excellence at Punjab Engineering College in collaboration with Microsoft to impart high-end training to the youth of the city.



Wedding show opens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The four-day wedding show ‘Vivah — 2003’ opened in the city today. The stalls in the exhibition load you with choices to make the wedding an experience of a lifetime. The entrance is marked with designer labels from the likes of Neelam Saxena, Ragini Singhania, Sonu Gandhi, Nandita Marwaha, Ashish Panday and Amarjyot Singh, who indulge in the best of fabrics to deck up the dresses of bride and grooms. The range of jewellery is immense, with renowned jewellers from New Delhi, Ludhiana and Hyderabad display gems that lure the consumer every now and then. The latest rage in the world of jewellery — platinum — was not to be seen much, although gold, diamond and imitation jewellery are being sold in plenty.

As talked about by the organisers of the show, the idea of show is to offer a complete wedding solution to the prospective brides and grooms. Professionals from every aspect which makes the wedding industry a Rs 1,000-crore industry in India are there at the venue to help you make up your mind in so far as the finances and arrangements are concerned.

The broad categories at the show are designers, jewellery, giftware and trousseau packing, home furnishings, wedding coordinators and theme designers, sarees and shawls, and wedding accessories.



Coke to launch own tea, coffee
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Coca Cola India Ltd, the world leader in the soft drink market, is set to launch tea and coffee under the brand name of Georgia in the region. These would be available, in addition to focusing on Kinley mineral water and soda water. The company is making efforts to even out its sales volumes due to seasonal market of soft drinks in India, as the total sale of soft drinks substantially dips during the cold season, says Mr Assem Mathur, Regional Marketing Manager, Coca Cola India.

Mr Mathur (30) is heading the aggressive marketing team of the company, based here, and has successfully pushed out its competitor — Pepsi— from the Northern India market, which includes Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Chandigarh. He confidently claims that Coke enjoys over 70 per share in the branded soft drink market of Northern India. With the changing life style and increasing incomes, the demand for soft drinks and fast food is growing at an exponential rate.

Elaborating his point, he says, the demand for soft drinks still dips to around 25 per cent during winter season of the May-June peak season, but it is rising every year. Since a section of the youth has started enjoying coke, Limca and Fanta even in the chilly weather. The per capita soft drink consumption in Punjab has already reached 24 bottles per year, against just 5 bottles in the national market. There is tremendous scope of increase in sales volume, as the soft drinks consumption in matured markets like the US is over 300 bottles per person annually.

Hailing from Delhi, Mr Mathur did his MBA from the IIM, Kolkata and worked with Marico for about two years. After this, he joined Coke and is working with the marketing division of the company for the past five years. Regarding the city market, he observes that with the liberalisation of economy, the urban population along with their rural counterparts is shifting from unhygienic drinks like lemon water, sugarcane juice and local brands of soft drinks towards international brands. The city market is maturing like any other metro in the country.

Coca Cola, which is over 100-year-old and enjoys the patronage of public throughout the world, has tried to tap this growing demand. He agrees that the advertising campaigns, sponsoring of the World Cup and other events helped the company to affiliate with the energetic youth populace. As a responsible corporate citizen, the company is also promoting rural sports, blood donation camps and other socially desirable activities.

Regarding the campaigns of swadeshi lobby and the anti-soft drink groups, he points that the company has helped the national and regional economy to create new job opportunities. He says,‘‘ There is no fact in the claims of so-called medical experts that the consumption of Coca Cola adversely affects the health. If that was true, it would have been banned in the USA and the European markets years ago. The food safety acts are much stringent in these markets as compared to India.’’



New insurance scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Om Kotak Mahindra (OMKM) has launched two retirement plans. The Kotak Retirement Income Plan and the Kotak Capital Multiplier Plan are aimed at helping the Indian consumer start planning for retirement early in life.

“Working people, especially those in the unorganised sector, have to rely on their personal savings in a scenario of declining interest rates, job insecurity, increased life expectancy and rising medical expenses,” said Mr Shivaji Dam, Managing Director of the company, in a talk with mediapersons, here today.

“Through these plans, we offer them protection for future and the freedom to maintain or plan their lifestyle after retirement, in the same way as they did while they were earning”, he said.


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