C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ranbaxy forgets its victims a year after the inferno
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 13
One year since the Ranbaxy blast and fire took place on June 11, 2003, claiming six lives, the company’s management seems to have forgotten its victims and their family members. The management organised an akhand path on the occasion of the first anniversary of the accident but none of the family members of those who died or were injured were invited to the ceremony.

Six employees working at the pharmaceutical giants unit here had died in a series of blasts followed by a major fire on the factory premises on the night of June 11 last year. While Maninder Singh Bawa (28), a supervisor at the factory where the first blast took place, and Ranjit Singh Rana (35), a technician from Rasnaheri village (Kharar), were found dead at the site the next morning, four others died over the next 15 days at a hospital. These included Surinder Kumar, Sri Bhagwan and Rajinder Singh.

‘‘We had organised a path at our home to remember Maninder and we came to know that there had been a prayer ceremony at Ranbaxy also. However, none of us were called or informed”, said Rozy, wife of Maninder Singh Bawa. Rozy works is a government employee and has a seven-year-old daughter.

The Ranbaxy management, however, claims that most of the families of the victims knew about the path. “Mr J.S. Bawa, Maninder’s father, did come here,” said Mr S.K. Behal, Senior Manager, Ranbaxy.

“I went there only by chance. I wanted to visit that place to be close to my son’s memory. It is then that I found that Ranbaxy had organised a path,’’ said Mr Bawa.

Mr Behal said all victims had been paid Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia relief and their children were being looked after. “We had got FDs made in the name of the victim’s children and the interest on that goes to the families for their education.

‘‘There is no amount that is being given for the children’s education,’’ claims Mr Bawa.

Ranbaxy had also promised that the widows of the victims would be given jobs at Ranbaxy, ‘‘Rajinder’s wife was working with us but she left and could not continue with the job due to some family circumstances. Ranjit’s wife was also offered a job but they wanted to try for a government job. Maninder’s wife already had a job,’’ Mr Behal said. However, Mr Bawa counters the claim. “I asked for a job but was refused. I retired in 1997 and was dependent on my son.’’ he said.

Another 30 persons were injured, 10 of them seriously, in the three blasts that had resulted in a major fire in Ranbaxy’s plant in Industrial Area Phase I. Thousands of Mohali residents had run away from their homes that night fearing a Bhopal gas tragedy-like catastrophe as a cloud of thick smoke engulfed the areas surrounding the plant and nearby areas. More than 200 persons were inside the factory when the blasts took place, most of whom, according to the police, were evacuated during the fire-fighting operations.

Inquiries followed, including a PIL in the Punjab Human Rights Commission, but a year hence, no one really knows what led to the blasts and the subsequent fire. The management termed it as an accident and claimed to have stepped up its safety measures. The Module 1B of the unit where the blast had occurred was closed down and its set of operations were shifted to Ranbaxy’s other plants.


Cong set to take over MC, claim councillors
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
Riding high on its success at the hustings during the elections, the local unit of the Congress claims to be ready to gain control over the municipal council (MC) here. The Congress now has a strength of 10 councillors in the 31-member House, besides the two votes of the local MLA and MP. A councillor, owing allegiance to the INLD, has switched sides to the Congress and had hosted a thanks-giving public meeting by Congress MLA, Chander Mohan on June 6.

The party also claims to have the support of three BJP councillors and says that they would support the Congress in case a no-confidence motion was to be passed. However, the BJP councillors maintain that they have not entered into a truck with the Congress on the issue of upstaging the INLD president.

Mr C.B. Goel, BJP councillor says, “Our decision to side with the Congress on this issue has not been decided. Our decision to oppose or support the INLD will be issue based and in consonance with the party high command’s orders.”

On the other hand, the Congress leaders maintain that they are receiving feelers from other INLD councillors and by the time the next meeting of the House is called, they would be able to turn the tables on the INLD. However, the MC president and INLD councillor, Ms Seema Chaudhary, insists that there is no threat to her position. “I have the support of 17 councillors and the Congress only has 13 votes in its favour,” she adds.

Meanwhile, the Congress councillors today held a meeting to discuss the party’s position in the MC. They decided to meet the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam P. Kasni tomorrow, and urge her to call a meeting of the House soon. “We will also update the Deputy Commissioner of the poor quality of works being carried out by the MC,” Congress councillor R.K. Kakkar says.

Of the 61,000 votes polled in the city during the parliamentary elections, 1,900 votes were polled in favour of the INLD. 


City among the top in blood donation
World Blood Donors Day today
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

The world blood donor’s day is being observed on June 14 for the first time with the initiative by the WHO, league of Red cross societies, FIODS and international society of blood Transfusion. The day is also the birth anniversary of Karl Landsteiner, who discovered the blood group system in 1900. Blood transfusion workers and various city hospitals would organise blood donations camps to mark the occasion.

Chandigarh, June 13
Its the World Blood Donors Day today when the medical experts appeal to the citizenry of not only coming forward to donate the blood themselves but also to enroll others as young volunteers for healthy blood donation.

The reason to make the available blood safest for the transfusion, the voluntarily donated blood is considered the safest and free of all diseases that could transmit through the professional or replacement blood

Meanwhile, with an annual requirement of around 45,000 units of blood, Chandigarh finds itself among the top rug of the Indian cities which have performed better in blood donations. In 2002, total blood collection were 47,563 units which slightly rose to 47,790 units last year.

Upto May this year, 18,748 units of blood have been collected in the city, out of which 11,064 units have come through the voluntary donors and 7684 units have come through the replacements donations.

“Chandigarh is among the better Indian cities along with certain pockets of Maharashtra and West Bengal where the donated quantity meets the requirements. Moreover, the positive trend here of increasing proportion of voluntary donations indicates the increase in the collection of the safest blood,’’ says Dr Neelam Marwaha, head of department of transfusion medicine, PGI, referring to the voluntary donations touching all-time high of 60 per cent this year of the total donations. However, the experts feel that both awareness and campaigns would be required to not only add more to the total tally of donations, but also to make improvement in the 60 per cent figure of voluntary donors. “A lot of work needs to be done to make people realise the importance of the donations made at several camps that are organised from time to time.

Though the contributions from the professional donors have seen a decline in the city, yet efforts are needed to reach at the level of 90 per cent voluntary requirements of the total collections, the figure which is already reached by several advanced countries,’’ says another senior doctor of transfusion medicine. 


Motivator of blood donors for 40 years
Aditi Tandon
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, June 13
For the past 40 years, Mrs Kanta Saroop Krishen has been spearheading the movement of voluntary blood donation in the region. As founder and honorary secretary of the UT Blood Bank Society (BBS) formed in 1964, she has been striving hard to bridge the gap between the demand of blood and its supply.

Taking "motivation" as the fundamental factor in the campaign for collection of safe blood, Mrs Krishen has come a long way. The BBS which started with 150 donors per month now has 3000 donors a month. The numbers are rising, though not so much in proportion with the expectations. There are many roadblocks on the way, including lack of financial support from the government, as also lack of encouragement to motivating bodies like the BBS, which enjoys no special place in the area of blood transfusion.

This, however, does not keep Mrs Krishen from striving harder. Busy planning for the World Blood Donation Day that falls tomorrow, she spares time to list her challenges. She also confirms the completion of the first round-the-clock blood centre in Sector 37, which will supplement blood supply of the region, and help the poor.

Even now many patients who need transfusion don't have access to safe blood.

Out of 81 million units of blood donated annually worldwide, only 39 per cent are collected in the developing world. Donations per 1000 is 16 times greater in high income countries than in low-income ones. Redressing this imbalance is the prime objective of the new blood centre, to open in Sector 37.

Mrs Krishen says, "The idea originated when NRI Sudhir Bhagwan donated Rs 50 lakh for a memorial in the name of his father. I could not think of a better proposition than setting up a parallel blood centre to fill gaps in supply and promote component therapy. We need to make components of donated blood so that many people can be saved simultaneously. Our project is nearly complete. The Rotary Club, Chandigarh, has paid for equipment, worth Rs 2 crore. The land came free. Now the licence is awaited."

Called "Chiraag", this center will meet help those who cannot afford to pay Rs 350 per blood bag available at the PGI. Mrs Krishen says, "We are building a corpus to meet this need. But more money is needed." Even as the new blood centre comes up, voluntary effort by housewives at the BBS continues. This society has fine tradition of achievement. Thanks to its efforts, the Apex Court directed that all blood must come from voluntary donors to ensure safety.

The National Blood Policy was also adopted after BBS representatives met former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. This society is also behind the establishment of the Indian Society of Blood Transfusion and Immunohaematology, which Ms Krishen served as founder secretary-general for 23 years.

Even today her focus remains on collection of safe blood and motivation, for which the BBS organises youth demonstration camps and distributes educational literature to institutions. The World Blood Donor Day is a great occasion to honour the commitment of voluntary donors, who are supporting the safe blood movement. As Mrs Krishen says, "We have invited our donors to a film show at Piccadily in Sector 34. We have also distributed book marks bearing logos of the "Day" to book sellers all over. The farther our message goes, the better it will be for the health of our nation."


Over 300 lawyers face Bar Council probe
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Every year the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana receives between 350-400 complaints against lawyers, some of them of very serious nature. Currently, over 300 advocates of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh are facing probe by the Bar Council for alleged irregularities and professional misconduct Consider this: a complainant has alleged, through a sworn affidavit, that his lawyer took money from the opposite side and deliberately lost his case in court.

Another complaint says that a lawyer got blank papers signed from the complainant, when he was his client, and later misused the blank papers to get the complainant's property illegally transferred in his name.

According to sources in the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, professional misconduct by advocates is a major complaint by clients.

In one case, the advocate used to appear in the court after taking a huge sum as he was close to the opposing side also. Finally, the client engaged another lawyer without getting any money back from the erring lawyer.

"Yes, there are a large number of complaints regarding professional misconduct by lawyers. But, we look into them and, of need be, punish the errant lawyers," said a Bar Council officer.

Sources say that in many cases complainants shy away from further proceedings in the matter due to lengthy procedure. It takes at least one year for the complaint to be decided by the Bar Council.

"Once a complaint is filed, we ask the complainant to file an affidavit and provide supporting documents to buttress his claim. Then we issue a notice to the lawyer and give him the opportunity to counter the charge. Then, if the elected members of the Bar Council agree that the complaint is valid, the matter is sent to the sub-committee for further proceedings. All this takes time," stated a Bar Council officer.

But, a complainant asserted that interference by various quarters decides the fate of a complaint. "After all, the members of the Bar Council have to seek re-election after every term," the complainant observed. 


Gurdas Maan on a poetic trail
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Gurdas Maan revels in his sensitivity as an artiste. More than a singer he is now a poet, who holds timid thoughts close to his heart until, by some measure of divine will, they become public. And so the singer says, “I never sit and conceive the lyrics of my songs. I have never done that. The words are there, so are the thoughts. It is when the two decide to meet that my song is born. I can’t really say whether I consciously wrote “Heer”.”

Spontaneous spells of creation are the finest, they say. The same seems to hold good for Maan’s latest music album “Heer”, which is a declared hit. Overwhelmed by its success, Gurdas Maan visited Punjab on Sunday, to offer what he received from here. That is precisely why he did not address questions at the professional level. An interface with him turned out to be more of a nostalgic return to moorings than a formal gathering. In no mood to give predictable answers to predictable questions, Maan laced his thoughts with poetic charm.

“We are not here to question and answer. We are here in our capacity as friends. I am happy with the response to “Heer”, and I want to share my joy with you,” said Maan, who did his talking in verse. Most importantly, he shared notes on his dejection over the way some of his past music videos were handled.

He was primarily referring to “Teri mast mast nazaron mein kho jaaon”, a song which lost much of its Sufiana appeal because of the crude portrayal which music video directors planned for it. Regretting the consequent dissonance, Maan said, “After that bitter experience, I have been particular about the way my songs will be picturised. “Heer” has been done aesthetically.”

Maan’s earlier album featuring the song, “Mud mud yaad satave pind diyaan galiyaan di” also evoked a rural feel. He said, “We shot beyond Fazilka, close to the border. The village practically had no electricity.” Maan’s wife Manjit, who sat by his side today, did not forget to mention the blisters on her feet, a reward of shooting on smouldering sands of a true Punjab village.

Maan looked composed as he said, “Poetry is the foremost ingredient of a song. And it always comes in spells. Every song of “Heer” came to be when I was the least prepared to welcome it. But that’s how it was. The influence of Waris Shah was natural because I had already devoured “Heer” when I was 14 years old.”

Humble about his achievements, Maan consciously deflected all questions about his films. He brought the discussion back to music and poetry, saying that “I aspire to sing Shiv Kumar Batalvi but I feel inadequate when it comes to his poetry. He has written of virgin pain, and I don’t think I am skilled enough to sing pain. I have a long way to go before I can sing Shiv. So I am happy singing myself.”

About “Heer”, Gurdas had loads of sensitive remarks to make. “Heer is no longer vested with Waris Shah or Ranjha. She is a universal symbol of women’s oppression. I have used “Heer” as a metaphor, to voice the reality of our times. A Woman is still trammeled in our society. She is still searching for her identity. In my album, I have explored the ways in which I can soothe her, despite everything.” 


Hanging between life and death, he needs help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Hanging between life and death after renal failure, 18-year-old Kundan Kumar is struggling for survival at the PGI even as his family is short of money for his treatment. Hailing from Ranchi, Kundan, son of a vegetable seller has both of his kidneys damaged and his only hope is a kidney transplant operation, which requires an expenditure to the tune of Rs 1. 5 lakh.

Kundan has already had eight dialysis so far, and is scheduled to undergo a transplantation surgery at the Nephrology Department (PGI) tomorrow. Doctors say that the cost of operation, medications and other post-operative care would easily cross Rs 1 lakh, and they have recommended maximum financial assistance for the patient.

With an annual income of Rs 12,000, Kundan’s family, which is staying at the PGI sarai for his treatment, has already run out of its savings.

Those keen may contribute money through the PGI’s Public Relations Office at Chandigarh. The telephone number is : 2747585; extension -6003


Customer alleges petrol theft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
A person employed with Shiva Filling Station in Sector 44 here allegedly stole one bottle of petrol of a customer today while his colleague was filling the petrol tank of the vehicle of a customer at the petrol station. Mr Varinder Sharma of Panchkula, the customer, complained to the SDM (South), Ms Madhvi Kataria, who sent a team of inspectors of the Food and Civil Supplies Department to inquire the allegation.

Mr Sharma, in his complaint, alleged that he asked a salesman at the petrol station to fill petrol in the tank of his vehicle. The salesman started filling petrol, but suddenly the customer heard some noise. He came out of the car to see another person filling petrol in a bottle while the meter reading was showing petrol being filled in the car. Mr Varinder Sharma pointed out to the salesmen that it was theft of petrol. He reported the matter to the manager of the petrol station and asked them to connect him to the owner, but they did not do so.

Mr Sharma alleged that the phone numbers for complaints were incorrect. He contacted Mr Rajiv Sharma of Indian Oil Company to lodge his complaint, but Mr Sharma told him that he would be available in Chandigarh on Monday.

Mr Sharma complained to Ms Kataria, who sent a team of inspectors to the petrol station. Ms Kataria said the complaint would be forwarded to Indian Oil Corporation tomorrow.

She said the inspectors told her that the salesmen admitted their mistake, but refused to sign the statement. This would come on record, she said.


Housefly found inside a liquor bottle
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 13
Houseflies now seem to have a new home. Mr Maninder Pal Singh, a local resident spotted a fly in a bottle of whisky of a premium brand that he purchased from a liquor shop in Sector 22 here on Friday night.

The lucky purchaser, who got a free ‘gift’with the bottle sealed with a plastic cork, was surprised to see a housefly floating in the bottle when he started serving drinks to his guests late last night.

Mr Maninder Pal expressed concern over the utter negligence in packing a branded product by a reputed firm. He alleged that the company had cheated him by selling him a contaminated drink.

He also alleged that company officials, instead of giving him a satisfactory reply, tried to hush up the matter.

Mr Vinay Gupta, Assistant Regional Sales Manager (Liquor) of the company, made it clear that the bottle was tampered with by either the salesman at the liquor shop or by the consumer.

He said such bottles, sealed with plastic corks at the neck, did not have any space left for insects to enter. He, however, admitted the whole seal could be removed without breaking it. 


Seeking to realise God through inner perfection
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
Sahaj Marg (a natural path) is a system of practical training in spirituality of the Sri Ram Chandra Mission. It is, in essence, the well-known Raja Yoga (yoga of mind), remodelled and simplified to suit the needs of the modern-day life, says Mr P Rajagopalachari, master of the mission.

At present on a visit to the region to spread the message of spirituality to the masses, Mr Rajagopalachari says that the goal of the mission is to achieve inner perfection and thereby realisation of God. He says God is infinite, yet simple, and the way to reach out to him should also be simple.

By proper regulation of the mind through meditation, under the practical guidance and support of a spiritual master, one can evolve to the highest spiritual, mental and physical levels through use of pranahuti (yogic transmission). This transmission of divine energy for the transformation of the self can be felt by anyone who practises the system even for a brief period.

As a child, Mr Rajagopalachari was brought up amidst the rich cultural heritage of the East, although he has also been educated extensively in the Western tradition. He says the mission encourages people to lead a simple life without giving up wordly concerns. One is asked to accept the problems and difficulties of daily life as divine blessings , as such an environment is considered ideal for spiritual development.

While the Guru will be conducting a satsang in Chandigarh tomorrow at Rajasthan Bhavan, Sector 33 , he will also be travelling to Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Moga and Bhinder Kalan over the next two weeks to spread his message of spirituality. 


Anti-terrorist front holds self-defence training camps
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 13
The All-India Anti-Terrorists Front (AIATF) has been holding free self-defence training camps in parks of Sectors 20 and 36 of Chandigarh. The camps are held from 6 am to 7.30 am. The front is going to start more camps in other parts of the city also.

The aim of the camp is to teach self-defence techniques to people, especially women and youngsters . Self-defence training enhances confidence, mind power, physical fitness and the capacity to handle unsafe situations. The president of the AIATF, Mr Rajesh Sharma, said the camps were getting a good response from all sections of society. He was also working on organising a separate training camp for women soon.

“Cases of snatching, robbery and eve-teasing are increasing resulting in spreading panic among the residents. A study reveals that most of the criminals, involved in these crimes, are drug addicts. These incidents may be averted, if tackled with confidence and tactics. All one needs is confidence and technique,” he said.

The expert trainers at the camp include Raj Kumar, Meenu Sharma, Mohit Verma and Monica Thakur who along with the in charge of the camp, Mr Mansa Ram Maurya, are imparting training at the camps. These camps will be followed by a state-level tournament, said Mr Sharma.


Procession to mark Guru Arjan Dev’s martyrdom day
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 13
A kirtan procession will be held tomorrow from Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Sector 7-C here to mark the martyrdom day of the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev ji.

The procession will start from Sector 7 and pass through Sectors 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22. It will conclude at the Sector 23-D Gurdwara at 8 p.m.


Inter-state gang of tricksters busted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The Crime Branch here today busted an inter-state gang of tricksters who purchased 40 metric tonnes of iron bars from a rolling mill of Dera Bassi by paying Rs 9.5 lakh through a fake bank draft.

A team of the Crime Branch arrested Harinder Prasad from Maloya and recovered 64 bundles of iron bars purchased from mill. Two of Prasad’s accomplices gave the police a slip. The material recovered was a part of the 40 metric tonnes of iron rods delivered on June 5.

The police said the trickster (who identified himself as R. K. Sood) purchased 40 metric tonnes of cold-twisted deformed (CTD) bars from P. R. S. Rolling Mills in Dera Bassi on June 5 and got the delivery after some time.

The owner of the mill presented the draft bearing number 908999 issued by the Bank of Punjab, Sector 35, here on June 7 and found out that the draft was fake. The matter was reported to the Dera Bassi police, which registered a case in this connection.

The Crime Branch has launched a manhunt to arrest the culprits and recover the remaining material obtained fraudulently from the rolling mill.

Prasad was asked by the police to produce the proof of ownership which he could not produce. The director of the rolling mill, Mr Ashish Singla, was called to identify the material supplied from his firm before the police took possession of the iron rods lying concealed under a tarpaulin on the outskirts of Maloya village.


Nepalese found dead
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
A 50- year-old Nepalese, Sher Bahadur, was found dead in a park near the Dhakauli barrier in Sector 19 this morning. The police says that the victim used to make chapatis and sell them to truck drivers at the barrier. He will spend the night at a park near the barrier, and it is believed that he died while in sleep. The police has initiated inquest proceedings.

Assaulted: A 60-year-old man, Bhagat Ram, was allegedly assaulted by his wife and sons at his Upper Mohalla residence in Kalka late last night. Seriously injured, he was rushed to the Civil Hospital, Kalka, from where he was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The police says that the immediate provocation for the attack was the victim’s decision to disinherit the wife, Santosh, and the sons, Ravi, Naresh and Virender, from his property. Bhagat Ram had reportedly given an advertisement in a newspaper, regarding the same.

The victim is stated to be in a stable condition and all accused have been booked on charges of assault.

Arrested: The Kalka police has arrested Anant Ram of Tipra village, on the charges of molesting a woman of the same village. The accused had allegedly forced his entry into the victim’s house last evening and tried to molest her.


Bid to steal car, thief nabbed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 13
A bid to steal a car from outside the district court complex was foiled by some advocates when they pounced upon the auto thief and handed over him to the police. The incident occurred yesterday when Mr Yogesh Kumar, an advocate, noticed a youth inside his parked car.

He raised the alarm, following which some advocates standing nearby assembled at the scene and nabbed the thief after chasing the vehicle for a long distance. He was later identified as Vivek Sharma from Himachal Pradesh. A case has been registered.


Mr Ajay Kumar, a resident of Sector 38 West, was admitted to the PGI after being hit by a truck on Thursday night. The victim was riding a scooter while the truck knocked him down near Sector 38 round about.

Driver of the truck reportedly sped away from the scene after the accident. A case of negligent driving causing injury has been registered against the truck driver at Sector 39 police station.

Booked for gambling

In two cases of gambling, the police has arrested Jatinder Singh of Dadumajra Colony and Hira Lal, a resident Colony No 4, while they were playing satta at public places. A sum of Rs 385 has also been seized from their possession.

Jatinder Singh was arrested by the police from near his residence and Rs 330 was seized from this possession.

Hira Lal was caught red-handed while playing satta near GILCO factory in Colony No 4. A sum of Rs 55 was recovered from him.

Cases under the Excise Act have been registered against Jatinder Singh and Hira Lal.

Four arrested

Four persons were arrested by the Chandigarh police from various places and 14 bottles and 59 bottles of quarters of country-made liquor were recovered from their possession.

A press note issued by the Chandigarh police said Sanjay, a resident of Maloya colony, was arrested from Sector 38 while carrying 12 bottles. Ravi, a resident of Sector 38, was arrested from his house.

He used to sell liquor at his house on a retail basis. The police also seized two bottles and seven bottles of quarters from the house.

Similarly, Satrughan Singh of Maloya Colony and Badal of Sector 29-B were arrested from Dadumajra and from Sector 29 Mango Garden, respectively.

The police also recovered 48 and four bottles of quarters of country-made liquor from the possession, respectively. Cases under the Excise Act have been registered against them.

Liquor seized

Continuing its drive against liquor smuggling, the Chandigarh Police today arrested a resident of Sardha village in Kaithal district of Haryana and seized 44 cases of liquor from him.

Maan Singh was arrested at Zirakpur barrier on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway while he was carrying liquor in a Tata Sumo (HR-11A-0788). The police has impounded the vehicle and a case under the Excise Act has been registered.


Body identified
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
The Government Railway Police (GRP) has identified the person, whose maggot-infested body was found hanging from a tree near Chandimandir on June 11.

The person has been identified as Lakhmi Chand, a 45-year-old labourer, working in Mani Majra. 


Petro firms suffered Rs 1 cr loss during stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
State -owned petroleum companies —Indane, HP, and Bharat Gas have suffered losses to the tune of over Rs 1 crore, with supplies getting affected during the three-day LPG strike in the city and the day-long strike in Mohali and Panchkula.

Figures show that Indian Oil, which supplies about 15 trucks of LPG (one truck contains 300 cylinders) to Chandigarh every day and 10 trucks to Mohali and Panchkula suffered losses to the tune of Rs 45 lakh during this period. According to the chief area manager of Indane, Mr R.K. Tikkoo, the company alone would have suffered losses worth Rs 1 crore had the strike not been called off yesterday. The other two companies suffered similar losses.

However, the sales of these cylinders picked up following the calling off of the strike. The companies recorded an instant increase of 10 or 20 per cent in their sales. The stocks lying in the godowns of these companies had been exhausted, it was learnt.

Of the 4.45 lakh LPG users in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, four per cent are commercial users. The businesses of hotels and restaurants was the worst-hit due to the non-availability of LPG cylinders. They had to depend on burners. Zirakpur, where the supply of LPG cylinders remained normal, distributors sold gas cylinders on the black market. A cylinder priced at Rs 250 was sold for Rs 300 or Rs 320 to domestic consumers and for Rs 800 to commercial buyers.

Officials of the three companies claimed that they supplied 14,100 cylinders per day to meet the LPG supply of their respective consumers. Of these, 600 cylinders were used for commercial purposes. On an average, LPG worth Rs 40 lakh is consumed per day in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

With the supply of cylinders getting heavily affected, the going was good for tent owners, who rented out diesel-run burners to commercial users at exorbitant rates. With the strike having been called off, domestic and commercial users, and petroleum companies heaved a sigh of relief.


Sale of gems picks up
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Jewellers in the city are having a field day as sales of gems and precious stones have picked up significantly with more and more people wishing to have a happy and prosperous future going in for them.

Those associated with jewellery business in the city claim that the sale of gems have registered a 40 per cent increase during the past two three years. Such is the trend that some of the leading jewellers have even opened separate outlets for selling gems and precious stones.

While the consumers must buy the gems and stones recommended by their astrologers, they do so oblivious of the quality of the same. The jewellers dealing in these stones are the ones who are cashing upon their sentiments in a big way.

Different prices for the same gem or stone in the market spell out the extent and scope of cheating that goes on. The general tendency among jewellers in this trade is to run down the stone purchased from other jewellers saying that either it is fake or will not have the desired effect as it was not of good quality.

Mr Ram Parkash of Sethi jewellers while giving the prices of some of the main stones, says Manka is available for anything between Rs 75 to Rs 750 per carat, Pukhraj for Rs 750 to Rs 4,500, Neelam and Panna also for Rs 750 to Rs 4,500. The rate for diamond is Rs 1,000 per carat, while Gomed and Moti are available for Rs 60-70 per carat while Monga is selling for Rs 100 to Rs 150 per carat. The price of these gems and precious stones were largely dependent on their quality and purity. The more pure it is, the better will be its effect and the higher the cost, he added.

Mr Anil Talwar of Talwar jewellers, Sector 22, who have opened a separate outlet for gems, says, “The demand for diamond jewellery has shot up during the past two years. Among the stones the demand is more for Pukhraj, Neelam, Manak, Moonga and Moti.” They have put up a special machine (carrotometer) to check the quality of these stones.

Highlighting another trend, he says while people in urban areas insist on quality and purity, people in the rural areas go in for the cheap ones.


Market Pulse
Toothpaste relaunched

Chandigarh, June 13
Close-up toothpaste has been relaunched with a three-n-one benefit. The new Close-up Active Gel now has the Vitamin Fluoride System, which offers triple benefits of fresher breath and stronger and whiter teeth. The packaging of the new gel has been completely changed.

Watches collection

Maxima has introduced its latest “Summer Collection” of watches. The collection comprises of formal as well as casual in addition to the current collection of over 1200 watches.

Power brushing

Oral-B has launched the Oral B CrossAction Power that removes more plaque than an ordinary manual toothbrush. This product is expected to enable more consumers to upgrade to power brushing. TNS

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