C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Moderate polling in city Villagers lead the show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Moderate polling was reported in the city today.
According to official tentative figures available here tonight, 51 per cent of the 5.26 lakh electorate exercised their right to vote. Labour colonies and villages reported comparatively heavier polling, recording a poll percentage of 52. In the city, the poll percentage was 47. In the last elections held in 1999, the poll percentage was 48.

Mr Arun Kumar, Returning Officer, said the final figures would be available by tomorrow.

The polling pace varied from locality to locality, but roughly speaking it opened on a dull note allover the city at 7 am. However, It picked up as the day progressed before tapering off towards noon due to scorching heat. It picked up again in the afternoon and long queues were seen at several polling booths in the city, nearby villages and labour colonies.

At a booth in Sector 11, there was no one to cast vote when it opened at 7 am. Only 15 votes were cast in the first hour. By 12 noon, only 287 votes had been cast at that booth.

At a neighbouring booth in the same Sector, 35 votes were cast in the first hour and another 30 in the next hour. Heaviest polling in the first half of the day was recorded between 11 am and 12 noon. Eighty-four votes were cast during that hour.

The polling picked up slowly in the villages of the city. By 10.20 am, only 180 of the total 1,491 voters had exercised their right to vote at a polling booth in Government School, Dadu Majra. At another booth in the same centre only 136 persons, out of about, 1,200, cast their votes during that period. At a booth at Government Model Primary School, Dhanas, 246 out of 1,457 voters had cast their vote by 10.50 am.

At Government Primary School, Sarangpur, only 215 out of the total 1,088 voters had exercised their franchise by 11.15 am. At a booth at Khuda Lahora, only 31, out of the total 832 voters cast the vote in the first hour. The number went up to 216 by 11 am.

At a polling booth in Sector 7, 474 out of 1,500 total voters had cast their votes by 12.30 pm. Only 573 out of the total 1,458 voters had cast their vote at a polling station in Sector 9 by 4.15 pm. At a polling booth in Sector 10, 349 out of 961 registered voters exercised their franchise by 4.30 pm.

There are 17 candidates in the electoral arena, but the main contest is confined to Mr Pawan Bansal (Congress), Mr Satya Pal Jain (BJP) and Mr Harmohan Dhawan (INLD). The counting of votes will take place on May 13.



Only 37 pc cast vote in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 10
In a poor response to the most important democratic process in the country, only 37 per cent of the total voters in Mohali cast their vote today for electing their representative to the Lok Sabha. The voter turnout in Mohali was not low just in terms of the Kharar segment, but was the lowest in the Ropar Lok Sabha constituency. A majority of the 69 polling stations in the township witnessed a thin turnout, with many polling stations registering less than 350 voters.

A large number of voters complained that they had voter I-cards, but their names were missing from voter lists. Such voters returned from polling stations without voting. The election observer for Ropar, Mr B.B. Mohanty, started the day with a tour of the polling stations in Mohali. After visiting the polling booth at the SDM’s office in Phase I, he went to see the polling process at Gian Jyoti Public School, Phase II, and then the Phase 3BI Government Senior Secondary School. He was also apprised of the fact that many persons were returning from the booths without casting their vote in the absence of their names in the lists.

Although voting remained low throughout the day in the township, voting in villages picked up in the evening and at places, over 70 per cent votes were cast. A total of 103 polling stations had been established in villages. Over 200 voters of Lakhnour village were in for a surprise when they found their names missing from the voter lists. Many of these villagers had cast their vote during the earlier elections. Vote numbers 49 to 248 were missing in the voter list at polling station 71. In its place, 200 names of voters of polling station 89 had been printed.

‘‘Although we are still to recheck the total number of votes cast, a total of 1.49 lakh votes have been cast in the Kharar segment out of the total 2.17 lakh voters,’’said Mr M.L. Sharma, SDM, Mohali.

The day of polling in Kharar began with an election employee collapsing at a polling station in Khizrabad village. He was identified as Jagdish Lal, Junior Engineer with the SYL. Jagdish Lal was rushed to a hospital in Ropar, where he was detected to have fainted following an epilepsy fit. Jagdish Lal was discharged after a few hours and wanted to come back to his duty as presiding officer.

Out of the total electorate of 13,39,553 in Ropar, the largest number of voters belonged to the Kharar Assembly constituency. This constituency had the largest component of urban voters, most of these concentrated in Mohali. Out of the approximate number of 2.1 lakh voters in Kharar, more than 1.2 lakh are urbanites.

Our Correspondent adds: Most of the booths did not have voters till about 7.30 am and the flow of voters even after that was very less. Till midday only about 20 per cent votes had been polled.

Not much rush was witnessed at various booths in the town. Small queues could be seen only at some points. Some voters complained that they could not cast their votes because their names did not figure in the voters’ list even though they had the voter identity cards.

Mr Dalip Singh Juneja, a polling agent of the SAD present at a booth in Gian Jyoti Public School in Phase II, told The Tribune that the name of his daughter-in-law, Ms Gaganpreet Kaur, was not there in the voters list even though she had a voter I-card. He said the flaw was brought to the notice of the staff put on duty for making votes, but nothing happened.

Polling proceeded at a very slow pace, especially in the morning. At booth number 160 only 151 votes had been polled till 10.30 am out of a total number of 1378 votes. A booth number 161 only 141 out of a total 1461 votes had been cast till 10.30 am. The staff on poll duty said only 1 per cent votes per hour were being cast in the morning hours.

Only 30 voters had cast their votes at booth number 133 till 9 am. However, by midday the figure touched 225. There were 1249 votes listed at this booth. only 250 votes had been polled at booth number 172 at 12.20 pm out of a total of 1499 votes.

However, the staff put on poll duty which had come from Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib complained that the administration had failed to make proper arrangements for their stay. While some of them said they had to sleep on bare floor, others could manage durries from gurdwaras. As they were new to the place they had to spend lot of time hunting for food. Proper furniture had also not been provided in some cases.



Village boycotts polling
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 10
Irked over the lack of development in the area, residents of Thathar village in the Morni area of the Kalka Assembly segment of the Ambala parliamentary constituency boycotted polling today.

Members of the polling party, which reached the Booth No. 220 of the village, were at their wits’ end when none of the 281 voters turned up for voting. Even as the efforts to persuade villagers to vote failed, the polling staff contacted the district officials for further orders.

The villagers had been demanding developmental works in the area. Their main demand is the construction of a link road to the village.

Mr Bhoop Singh Bishnoi, an HCS officer posted in the power department, and Mr Mahinder Singh, Naib Tehsildar, Morni, were asked to visit the village. However, they also failed to persuade the villagers. No repolling was likely to be held in the village, source added.



Protest against Admn over missing names in voters list
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Thousands of city residents today found that they had been left out of the voters list despite having valid voter identity cards. Some alleged that they had never changed their address for decades but were baffled to find their names deleted from the lists.

A major protest was held at the road dividing Sectors 44 and 45, where hundreds of residents gathered and raised slogans against the Chandigarh Administration. They claimed to have voted in the last parliamentary elections in September 1999 while residing at the same addresses. The agitated residents showed TNS their ID cards issued by the Election Commission of India.

In case, someone changes his residence within Chandigarh, a form needs to be filled and submitted to the Election Department.

At almost all polling stations, people could be seen arguing with presiding officers as to how they were left out of the list.

It may be recollected that The Tribune had yesterday raised the issue how the number of voters in Chandigarh have decreased despite the fact that the population has been growing at about 4 per cent each year. Since 1999, the population has grown by 20 per cent. This does not include the first-time voters, who are eligible at the age of 18. The Census of 2001 says due to the migration of people from nearby towns, Chandigarh has the highest growth of population.

On the Panjab University campus, several senior professors and their families found their names deleted from the list. Prof N.K. Ohja questioned the wisdom of the revision of electoral rolls if names have to be deleted. Meanwhile, Mr Pawan Bansal, the Congress candidate, regretted that those who had their voter identity cards for years could not cast their vote because of their name not existing in the voter lists. He said he would immediately take up the matter with the authorities.

Meanwhile, instructions were not clear about proxy votes, which have been allowed for defence personnel for the first time. Major Harbaksh Singh (retd) of Sector 33 was turned back from the polling station when he went to cast the proxy vote of his son, who serves in the Army. He said, “The presiding officer told me that he had not received any instructions from the higher authorities about proxy votes.” Major Singh was told to come back around 1 p.m by the time the officials on the spot sought a clarification from the Returning Officer in this regard.



They couldn’t vote
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Thousands of city residents could not cast their votes as their names did not appear in the voter list. Some of those left out from the democratic process despite having not shifted their residence are:

Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala (a former Mayor) and his family in Mani Majra.

Mr M.M. Oberoi, a retired IAS officer.

Mr Amardeep Sharma and Anupama Sharma of Sector 21.

Mr Waryam Singh Dhotian, a former DPR (UT) and resident of Sector 44.

Mr Harmanjit Singh, an industrialist.

Dr R.P. Bajpai, Director of the CSIO.

Prof N.K. Ojha, a resident of the PU campus.

Prof K.K. Sharma, a resident of the PU campus.

Ms Sonu Singh and her family, residents of Industrial Area Phase I.

Mr Devinder Singh Nirban, an advocate.

Giani Tirlochan Singh, a former head granthi of Badheri gurudwara.

Mr Mahinder Singh, a farmer of Badheri.

Mr Dinesh Kumar, an office-bearer of the UT Employees Union.

Ms Samuel Benjamin of Sector 29.

Mr Rajeev Gupta of Sector 27 alleged that his vote was cast by someone else.

Note: Any resident of Chandigarh who could not vote as his name was not in the voter list can give it in writing to The Tribune or fax it at 0172-2655076. 



Clashes, cane charge mar polling
SAD workers hurt, booked 
Our Correspondent

Though 65 per cent polling was recorded at Dera Bassi today, over 300 voters of Dandrala village, near Dera Bassi, were surprised to find the voters list missing.

The villagers, mentioned as a be-chirag-amuza (not having land) in revenue records were restrained from casting votes.

Mr Desh Raj, sarpanch of the village, claimed that the villagers had polled during the Assembly elections.

Mr Sanjeev Garg, Deputy Magistrate, said a representation in this regard had been sent to the Deputy Commissioner, Patiala. 

Dera Bassi, May 10
Violence marred the Lok Sabha elections in over 12 polling stations in Banur segment of Patiala parliamentary constituency here today. More than 12 workers of the Congress and the SAD were injured in incidents of violence at many villages, including Bartana, Chhat, Neembuan, besides Dera Bassi township during polling.

The police has booked seven leaders of the SAD youth wing, including a district general secretary and a block president, in a case of attempt to murder at the Dera Bassi police station. Polling was disrupted here because of violent protests by the SAD supporters.

Supporters of both parties also indulged in scuffles at Bartana, Chhat, Sundran, Kuranwala villages and Dera Bassi, following which the police and BSF jawans had to intervene.

Polling at Chhat, Lohgarh and Dera Bassi polling stations was held amid tension while incidents of violence were also reported from other villages in the Banur segment of the Patiala parliamentary constituency.

The police had to resort to a mild cane charge on SAD supporters when they protested against the alleged highhandedness of the Congress workers in Dera Bassi.

The problem started when Jugal Kishore, SAD worker, was restrained from exercising his franchise by Mr Nirmal Singh, a Congress polling agent, at booth No. 65. The problem aggravated and supporters of both parties exchanged blows.

The issue gathered momentum after Mr R.R. Bhardwaj, Deputy Chairman of the state planing board, along with Mr Amritpal Singh, president of the Dera Bassi Municipal Council, and some Congress supporters entered booth Nos. 64 and 65.

Following this, the SAD supporters and a local leader raised slogans outside the polling station and blocked the busy Kalka-Ambala highway for over 15 minutes.

Following this the police resorted to a mild cane charge.

The police booked seven SAD workers, including Mr Harvinder Singh, general secretary of the district Youth Akali Dal, Mr Jaspreet Singh, president of the city Youth Akali Dal, under various sections of the IPC.

In another incident the Congress and SAD supporters clashed over bogus voting at Chhat village. A Congress supporter was injured in it.

According to information, two SAD supporters, including a sarpanch of Adda Jhugian village, Mr Harvansh Singh, were chased by a group of Congress supporters when they came to cast vote. They threw stones on the chasers following which Mr Gurcharan Singh, a former sarpanch of Chhat village, who is a Congress supporter, sustained injuries.

The car of the SAD workers was later impounded by the police. 



1 held, 2 booked for misbehaving with polling staff 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
A drunken voter along with another one, who had an altercation with the polling staff over his name missing from the voters list, was today arrested for allegedly misbehaving. Twentyseven vehicles were impounded for allegedly ferrying voters in violation of the Representation of the People’s Act (RPI).

Jai Singh, who was questioned by the polling staff about his identity while entering booth No. 380 at Government High School at Ram Darbar, got embroiled in an altercation with them. Presiding officer of the booth M.K. Singla informed the police, which booked them under Sections 131 and 132 of the RPI.

In another incident a Sector 19-B resident, Mr M.K. Mukherjee, got engaged in a heated argument at booth No. 92, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 19, when he was not allowed to cast vote despite possessing a voter-identity card. The polling staff told him that his name was not in the list and so he was not eligible to vote.

The presiding officer, Mr Sukhdev Singh, called the police, which arrested Mukherjee after booking him under Section 131 of the RPI. Both of them were later released on bail.

The police also impounded 27 vehicles and booked one which had fled after the police signalled it to stop.

The Sector 31 police station impounded four vehicles, Sector 36 one, Sector 39 police 12 vehicles and Sector 34 nine. One vehicle was booked for fleeing after the police signalled it to stop it. The Mani Majra police station also impounded a Toyota Qualis for ferrying voters at Gwala Colony.



7 EVMs replaced due to minor snags
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
There were complaints of more than a dozen electronic voting machines (EVMs) causing trouble during polling in different parts of the city today. The polling work was suspended for more 30 minutes at various places due to this. The machines were replaced with new ones. At many places voters sought extension in the polling time.

Mr Arun Kumar, Returning Officer, however, said that there was no need for any extension of time, as the replacements were made immediately and at no place was the quantum of work so voluminous that it could not be completed between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Official sources said voters who had been issued the slips by 5 p.m. and were still in queue to cast their ballot were allowed the right to exercise their franchise. Darua was the last polling station to close the polling work around 5. 30 p.m.

A TNS team found that EVMs had developed technical snags at the polling booths in Sectors 15, 25, 26, 40, 45, 48, Bapu Dham Colony and Darua, besides certain other places.

However, the Deputy Commissioner said there was nothing to worry on this count. Certain machines had caused problems in the early hours and they had been duly attended to.

He confirmed that seven EVMs had to be replaced. One EVM in Sector 40 developed problem because a woman instead of pressing the poll button, thumped it.

An official on duty said, “she thought she had to stamp the symbol as she used to do in the earlier elections”.



Where polling continued till 7 pm
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The Indira Colony polling station saw an almost unending queue in the evening, resulting in the polling ending at 7 p.m.
Police sources said voters in the queue had entered the polling enclosure, which forced the polling staff to allow them to cast their vote. According to the rules, if a voter enters the polling enclosure, he will be allowed to vote.

People ran to join the queue and political parties circulated voters’ slips while they were standing.

Meanwhile, tight vigil was kept on the election scene with the deployment of four companies of the CRPF and 2,500 personnel of the Chandigarh Police. Borders were sealed at 18 points and 20 each pickets of the Chandigarh Police and the CRPF were put up at strategic locations of the city to prevent violence and violation of the Model Code of Conduct.



Traffic curbs irk motorists
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 10
Traffic restrictions imposed for the smooth conduct of the Lok Sabha poll proved to be a nightmare for hundreds of motorists entering and passing through the township today.

With the local police going overboard in “regulating” the traffic, the motorists were at the receiving end.Chaos reigned supreme with Haryana Police personnel putting their worst foot forward and allegedly harassing the motorists.

Perhaps the worst-affected was the traffic on the Chandigarh-Kalka highway as the police personnel stopped the motorists on the pretext of checking documents near the Mansa Devi T-Point. Traffic jam-like situations were the order of the day with the police diverting the traffic on the alternative routes leaving people fuming in the scorching heat.

“Instead of regulating the traffic, the police was causing traffic jams on the highway putting the motorists to a lot of inconvenience,” Mr Gurdial Singh, a resident of Chandigarh on his way to Shimla, who was stranded on the highway for about 10 minutes, alleged.

While highway travellers and those going to cast their vote were allowed to go, those entering Panchkula from Mansa Devi Complex and Chandigarh were repeatedly stopped and directed to take alternative routes. The residents intending to go to Sectors 6,7,8,2 and 4 were at their wits end as to which route to follow.

The situation at the entrance of Sector 7 was no different. No vehicles were allowed beyond this point towards the major sectors of the township. While the vehicles of the political parties ferrying voters to the polling booths had a field day, private vehicles were not allowed to ply within the township, a government official, residing in Sector 17, complained.

With the police restricting the vehicular movement, the motorists and two-wheeler drivers resorted to short-cuts to reach their destinations. And in the process, they endangered their lives and the lives of other road users.

Terming the ban on the movement of vehicles as “illogical”, residents alleged that such restrictions were not imposed in the neighbouring Chandigarh and Mohali. Apart from inconveniencing the general public, no purpose seemed to have been served by the ban as a visit to different parts of the city revealed.

It may be recalled that the District Magistrate, Ms Satwanti Ahlawat, had banned the movement of vehicles from 7 am to 5 pm today fearing apprehension of breach of peace.It was argued that the movement of vehicles posed a threat to the law and order and peace and tranquility in the district.



Election sidelights

* Mr Harish Yadav, a resident of Dadu Majra Colony, was all decked up in his wedding suit by 10.30 am. When questioned about his vote he said, “I will definitely cast my vote after the ceremony. It is my duty”. Mr Satish Kumar, a resident of Maloya Colony also dressed up in bridegroom attire said, “I am playing a bigger gamble in my life. At the moment marriage is my bigger family duty. I will cast my vote next time”.

* In front of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 19, certain Sikhs stood outside the entry point asking people to vote for Mr Harmohan Dhawan, the Indian National Lok Dal candidate. The police had to intervene to clear the place.

* In a perfect picture of rare bonhomie on the eve of election at a polling booth in Sector 27, Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress polling agents on job outside the polling station could be seen sharing a cup of tea in the afternoon. A similar scene could be seen at a polling office in Kaimbwala.

* Mr Kala Ram and Mrs Pushpa Rani, both residents of Ram Durbar, went to different political camps in the morning to cast votes. However, by 11 am both returned home as their names did not figure on the voters’ list.

* Ms Ravleen Luthra who cast her vote in Sector 37 had a complaint with the marking ink put on her finger-tip after she cast her ballot. Talking to The Tribune minutes after she cast her vote, she said the ink mark had come off when she washed her hands. TNS




Voting day became synonymous with a holiday for city residents who, after casting their votes, spent the entire day just having a good time. Through with their duty of casting vote early in the morning before the queues began forming, some of them chose to drive uphill, away from the scorching summer sun, while others descended at the newly opened multiplex in large numbers.

The parking lot outside the multiplex was overflowing with vehicles. Along the roadside, in the adjoining market, there seemed to be a sea of cars.

Inside the multiplex, all movies witnessed house full shows and the entire three-storey complex seemed to have been taken over by the public. The young, the old, the middle-aged didn’t mind waiting in queues to get a burger or waiting endlessly for a seat in the food court.

SC order on school fee

The Supreme Court order on exorbitant fee in Delhi schools has been welcomed by parents in the city. Worried that education has become an industry and that various educational societies are in this field only for making money, these parents are hoping the directions will be extended to some of the recently-opened city schools.

While there are ‘expensive schools catering to the elite of society’ in the city, there are others which have added a social welfare dimension to imparting of education by running classes for the under-privileged.

In some schools like Sacred Heart and Bhavan Vidyalaya, separate sections are run for children from slums, while others are discharging their duty towards society by running night schools, bearing all costs.

Rural-urban divide

The rural-urban divide in the voting pattern of the Kalka segment in the Ambala parliamentary constituency was visible on Monday with the rural voters coming out in large numbers to vote.

Even as a majority of urbanites enjoyed the holiday and preferred to stay indoors to escape the scorching heat, rural voters queued up in front of polling stations to cast their votes.

This showed that despite criticism of the democratic process by the middle and upper-middle classes, democracy was alive and kicking. Perhaps here lies a lesson or two for the urban voters to shun indifference and participate in the democratic process.

Stars and poll

The ‘pollskrieg’ 2004 also got the city its share of stars. Never mind that Bollywood biggies like Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff, Rahul Khanna and Akshay Khanna chose to shine in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana. The city was more than happy to get star-turned-politician Sunil Dutt, Bollywood baddie Mukesh Rishi and Pardes girl Mahima Chaudhary.

The star tantrums and ‘nakhras’ also followed these stars. Little had Mr Harmohan Dhawan, INLD candidate, expected that his ‘friend’ Mahima Chaudhary would dump him in the midst of campaigning, when the star had reportedly agreed to campaign for him for one complete day. Mahima campaigned in an open Jeep, with her dragonfly sunglasses intact and under the shade of an umbrella, for barely an hour, when, in her starry way, she began telling the candidate and his party men that the scorching heat was getting the better of her and it was pack-up time for her. After addressing mediapersons for 10 minutes, she zoomed off leaving the candidate high and dry.

Villain campaigner

Political leaders seemed to have realised their incapability to pull crowds. A situation that has led to actors joining the political bandwagon.

The Lok Sabha election in the city had a feel of the situation with Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal getting support of the stocky villain Mukesh Rishi, who stayed in the city for several days to campaign for him.

Rishi did ‘padyatras’ for the Congress candidate and reminded voters about his college days in the city.

He, however, feels campaigning puts additional burden on the campaigners who have to ensure that the promises made during the electioneering are kept. For Rishi, who hails from Jammu and studied in City Beautiful, it was another change of role from villain to character artist to political campaigner.

Ice-cream parlour

Verka is getting urbane chic. The leading milk processing company in Punjab has opened its first-ever ice-cream parlour at Fiesta Food Court in Sector 35. Done up in ice-cream colours of strawberry, vanilla, pistachio and black currant, the parlour will serve 30 flavours of ice-cream.

The parlour also offers an array of 50 mocktails to choose from. The eatery offers Verka pizzas, burgers and grilled sandwiches on its menu, apart from the existing Verka products like lassi, mango raseela, elaichi milk, yogurt and ‘kheer’. In an attempt to provide wholesome fun, Fiesta has opened a discotheque in its basement. It boasts of the largest dancing floor, which can accommodate about 100 couples.

Solar reflectors

Concerned at the increasing rate of fatal accidents at the transport chowk traffic-light point after the sunset, the Chandigarh Traffic police has installed solar-energised reflectors. The blinking reflectors, which are visible from a distance, caution motorists about the traffic-light point.

There are plans to install such blinkers at other accident-prone traffic junctions also.

3-day weekend

It was a three-day weekend, thanks to a holiday announced on account of the Lok Sabha elections.

Several residents headed for the hills. Motels, resorts and hotels were heavily booked.

The Administration had ordered the closure of all shops, commercial establishments and educational institutions. Even the clubs, which are generally bustling with activity on Saturday nights, wore a dull look as serving of liquor had been banned.

Just days ahead of the polling, the city had seen a flurry of activity. Thankfully, due to strict enforcement there were no ugly plastic posters and buntings hung across electricity poles.

— Sentinel



Crowds are out again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Pollskrieg-2004 kept city residents busy casting their vote today. If the crowds swelled at polling booths till the early evening, leaving the city roads deserted, people suddenly came out in the evening to have a feel of the holiday.

By the evening, the Sukhna Lake and the multiplex in Mani Majra were burgeoning at their seams as people kept on pouring in. The two places were the hot favourites.

The lake was swarmed by people from the city’s peripheral towns, not just to beat the summer heat, but also to take a whiff of fresh air from the poll heat.

No liquor was allowed to be sold at vends, clubs and pubs from 5 pm on Saturday to 5 pm on Monday, which had changed the lifestyle of persons used to wining and dining on weekends.

The evening saw crowds gathering at clubs, discussing exit polls and the outcome of elections.

Socialising regained lost ground at the ‘eat street’ in Sector 35.

For a change, cafes and coffee lounges were more of a family scene than cosy twosomes or groups of friends. 



He dares to stare death
Tribune News Service

Ram Prasad AzadChandigarh, May 10
He stares death in the face every night as he douses himself in petrol, sets himself on fire and jumps 60 feet down into a ‘well of fire’. Ram Prasad Azad, a stuntman from Delhi, dares anyone to imitate his stunts.

This 45-year-old man, originally from a village in Nepal, is currently showing his daring stunts at the Summer Carnival in Kala Gram. His fire jump, which he performs at 9.30 pm each night till May 24, is surely to make even brave hearts feel weak in the knees.

A six feet deep well, eight feet in diameter, is filled with water. After oil is sprinkled on the water and it is set on fire, Ram Prasad climbs 60 feet up on a ‘machan’ in army fatigues, sets himself on fire and jumps down into the well. He performed his first stunt show on Sunday and had the crowds holding their breath.

A salesman-cum-photographer, he has learnt the stunt from his gurus Tirath Ram Azad and Shankar Lal after settling down in Delhi. “I have been performing the fire jump for 26 years. The first time I did the fire jump was in Jammu. All fear of death or accident vanished when I received the admiration of the people. Now, each time I perform, I get a feeling of winning over death. It is perhaps this feeling that is keeping me going,” says Azad.

Though not a very paying occupation, Azad says he does the daring act more for admiration than money.” It is not a very paying occupation. If the audience so pleases, they come and give me money. I have not fixed a price for this obsession of mine,” he says. Does he have a special attire to save himself while he jumps in the well, we ask? “No, I wear army fatigues because these are made of thick cotton and do not catch fire easily. I just take the name of God before the performance, and He takes care of the rest,” says the braveheart.



Market Pulse
Lifebuoy has new shape
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Lifebuoy has been relaunched with a new curved shape, changing its 109-year-old brick shape, to offer an easy grip and modern look.
The new curved shape is the second major change in Lifebuoy’s history, after the relaunch of 2002. In 2002, after 107 years of its existence as a carbolic soap, Lifebuoy was relaunched as a milled toilet soap offering better germ protection.

The formulation of Lifebuoy has been further improved. Lab tests have demonstrated that it was 100 per cent better at germ protection than other ordinary soaps.

Symphony h!Cool: Symphony has introduced a new model of air cooler ‘h! Cool’ in the market. The new Symphony hiCool can cool rooms of up to 250 sq ft (25sqm). The unique feature of h!Cool includes 37 ft air throw, air throw at the body level, humidity control, mosquito net with dust filter, ice chamber and cellulose paper pads.

Symphony h!Cool is available at an attractive introductory price of just Rs 4990.

GSM mobile phones: Korean mobile phone brand Pantech has officially launched the first series of GSM mobile phones in India namely G300 and G500. First Mobile India has been appointed the national distributor of Pantech mobile phones in the country.

The G300 is a GSM 900 and 1800 MHz dual band mobile phone with seven colour crystal illumination and 40 Yamaha polyphonic ring tones. It is read, compact and bedazzles everyone with crystal diamonds on the cover. The G300 comes with a 260k colour screen and is targeted towards the cosmopolitan woman. besides MMS, EMS, SMS this GPRS class 10 and WAP-enabled phone can also be synchronised with your personal computer at just Rs 13,995.

The G500 is the first phone in India with a nine multi-shot digital camera with 4x zoom, a dual 260 k LCD screen, a flip image (90°-180°) and a 310 k pixel camera with built in flash. With 64 Yamaha polyphonic ring tones, MMS, EMS, SMS< class 10 GPRS, the G500 is also WAP-enabled. it also has the largest picture ID display in the market, which can be displayed on both the coloured screens and can be saved as a wallpaper too.

Karel DS 200: Intellicon Limited, a frontline player in the Indian EPABX and key telephone market, has bagged the DGS&D Rate Contract to supply Karel DS200 a new generation Digital ISDN EPABX system, to all Central and state government organisations. Karel DS200 supports wide ranging high-end applications such as video conferencing, call accounting, voice mailing and auto attendant, hospitality solutions and CRM solutions.

The product, with capacity up to 1344 ports, is available in all major cities in the country through Intellicon’s branch offices and authorised re-sellers.

Intellicon represents Karel - a European company which is a leading player in voice communication market in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.


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