C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CAT gives benefits to retired UT staff
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
In a major relief to scores of employees of Chandigarh Administration, who retired between November 1966, and November 1985, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has granted post retirement benefits as per the liberalised Punjab Pension Rules and medical facilities.

The employees who retired on or after April 1991, are already getting post retirement benefits. Those who retired before 1986 were governed under the Punjab Pay Rules for the purposes of pay and allowances and under Central Service conditions in other matters.

Taking up the matter, the tribunal comprising Mr L.M. Mehta and Mr Jasbir S. Dhaliwal, member, administrative, and member, judicial, respectively, directed the Union Government and Chandigarh Administration to release the entitlements within a period of four months.

The applicants, who retired from different departments, had stated that they were not being given the benefits under notification dated January 13, 1992, with all consequential benefits. They pleaded that though the Punjab Civil Services Rules had been made applicable to all other employees who retired on or after April, 1991, the same had not been extended to those who retired prior to 1985. The pension benefits to which the persons would be entitled are old age pension and travel concession and all medical facilities (including fixed medical allowance) as admissible to their counterparts in Punjab.

The discrepancy arose as the Chandigarh Administration created three category of the UT pensioners: those who retired between 1966 and 1985(governed by Punjab Pay Rules but with Central Service conditions); those who retired between 1986 and 1991 (governed under the Central Service conditions and Central Pay Scales) and those who retired after 1991(governed under Punjab Service conditions and Punjab Pay Rules).



Rs 66 crore released to upgrade Mohali infrastructure
Plan to develop town, nearby areas as IT, bio-tech hub
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today approved the release of first instalment of Rs 66 crore for boosting infrastructure and connectivity in Mohali and the surrounding areas for IT and bio-tech sector. In all, the Chief Minister had promised to spend Rs 200 crore to modernise the infrastructure and to provide other facilities at Mohali.

The Chief Minister today presided a high-level meeting to develop Mohali as a hub of soft industry in this region. Out of Rs 66 crore, Rs 2.50 crore had been earmarked for the shifting and rehabilitation of slum dwellers who are living on the roadsides. And a sum of Rs 12.50 crore has been released for external peripheral services, Rs 18.50 crore for the internal services and Rs 32.24 crore for augmentation of city level infrastructure, including the strengthening and widening of two approach roads, canal water supply and sewerage treatment facilities.

The Chief Minister has set up a committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, to prepare a plan for spending the balance Rs134 crore and to suggest ways and means to provide modern infrastructure facilities at Mohali to make it as a abode of multi-national giants, executives, technocrats, entrepreneurs and experts of incidental activities. Other members of the committee will be the Principal Secretary, Finance, the Principal Secretary, Industries, the Principal Secretary Local Bodies and Secretary, Housing and Urban Development. The committee has been asked to give its report in four weeks.

Informed sources said of the 1250 acres of the land to be acquired in Mohali, 500 acres would be earmarked for the soft industry such as IT units.

It was also decided to improve the connectivity of Mohali with Chandigarh by taking up the issue with UT Administration. Widening of all connecting roads between Mohali and Chandigarh is the need of the hour.

Capt Amarinder Singh directed the newly constituted committee to also work out the modalities to ensure quality un-interrupted power supply in the region to promote more investment in the IT sector. Capt Amarinder Singh also emphasised the need to upgrade and improve the Airport at Chandigarh. It was decided to take up this with the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation.



Women pray, fast for husbands
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 20
Thursday was the day of husbands as their wives fasted for more than 14 hours praying for the long life of their life partners.

Women thronged the markets to get mehndi designs on their hands. Several clubs also organised special programmes for women members on the occasion.

Chandigarh Club organised a “Karva Chauth” special Bumper tambola on the club premises. More than 70 women attired in different outfits graced the occasion. The tattoo mehndi designs in silver and dazzling gold also served as an added attraction for the members. Mr Mukesh Bassi, president of the club, said the executive committee also extended heartiest greetings to the women members of the club.

The Bharat Vikas Parishad (Modern Housing Complex), also organised a function to mark the festival today. Women performed puja by exchanging ‘thalis’ and telling the story of the fast. A quiz on facts related to the fast was also held on the occasion.

l It was around 8 pm, when the moon was sighted which brought cheers amongst the women fraternity. They broke their fast by offering ‘ark’ to Moon.

l In Chandigarh and nearby areas, most of the schools remained closed. However, in offices, it was a restricted holiday and most of the women preferred to stay at home.

l Last night many women thronged the temples in the city due to a rumour that everyone who had to go fast today would have to offer something like half coconut mixed with sugar to Goddess Parvati one day before “Karva Chauth”.

l Many newly married women who were advised not to go in for fast due to an adverse planetary position preferred to keep a low profile by visiting temples and also by wearing non red/ maroon-coloured clothes.



Two ‘parallel’ shopping festivals in Sector 17
Season fails to unite shopkeepers
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
With the ongoing festival season failing to unite the shopkeepers of the City Centre, Sector 17, two “parallel” shopping festivals are being organised by them.

While a section of shopkeepers, under the banner of the Business Promotion Council (BPC), started “Shop N Win”, another section came out with another shopping festival a few days back under the auspices of the Trade Promotion Council (TPC).

The business rivalry between the two sections notwithstanding the two separate shopping festivals are set to prove a boon for the shoppers, who would have twice the chance of winning prizes. Both shopping festivals are offering a host of mega prizes costing over Rs 1 crore, including luxury cars and expensive consumer durables.

During the past many years, the shopkeepers had been holding a joint shopping festival under the banner of the BPC. However, a section of shopkeepers was reportedly not happy with the functioning of the BPC, which culminated in the organising of a separate shopping festival, a shopkeeper alleged.

The section which started the second festival was of the view that the BPC was being dominated by big stores and company showrooms with the result that the ordinary shopkeeper was feeling “isolated”. It was with a view to bridge the gap between the medium and small shopkeepers that the TPC came into being, sources added.

This is not the first major market in the city to hold separate festivals as the Sector 22-D market is already having two festivals. Other major markets have organised their own shopping festivals.

The reported “disunity” among the shopkeepers must be seen in the wake of the ensuing elections to the coveted post of the president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal(CBM), the apex body of the city traders, slated to be held in December/January.



MC to issue coupons for putting up Divali stalls
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has decided to issue prepaid coupons to people desirous of setting up temporary stalls on Divali. These coupons will be issued at the Municipal Corporation office and sub office, Mani Majra, from October 24 to 29.

A spokesman of Municipal Corporation said here today that for Mani Majra and Mauli Jagran, the coupons will be issued at sub office, Mani Majra. The timing to issue coupons shall be from 10 am to 4 pm on these days. The coupons shall be issued on first come first serve basis. Terms and conditions for setting up such a stall would be printed on the coupon.

Anyone desirous of setting up a stall can get a coupon issued. No coupons will be issued after October 29 and money will have to be paid in advance. Anyone found to have set up a stall without having a coupon, would be charged double the rate applicable. For the convenience of public, eight stalls shall be set up at the corporation office and one at Notified Area Committee, Mani Majra, to issue these coupons.



Hawara case: Gurdeep to be produced in court today
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 20
Gurdeep Singh, wanted by the police in connection with the Jagtar Singh Hawara case, has been brought here today by the local police on transit remand from the court of the judicial Magistrate at Kurukshetra.

Gurdeep Singh was arrested by the Kurukshetra police on October 17 from Surja village under Babain police station.

Mr Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu, DSP, said that Gurdeep Singh would be produced in a local court tomorrow. The DSP said that he was wanted in connection with a case registered at Kharar. He said Swaran Singh and others were arrested from Desumajra village in June and they had a large quantity of RDX in their possession at that time.

He said that Swaran Singh had revealed during the interrogation that RDX was supplied to them by Gurdeep Singh.

He said that Gurdeep Singh was also wanted in connection with the Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala case. Three cases against him were also registered at Mohali.



Suicide bid by BSNL employee at Sukhna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
A BSNL employee tried to end his life late last night by jumping into Sukhna Lake. He was saved by the policemen on duty. The employee, Hardial Singh, was reportedly “under great stress and tension” due to which he tried to take the extreme step.

According to sources 52-year-old Hardial Singh was, subsequently, booked by the police under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. Father of two daughters and a son, Hardial Singh, reportedly told the police during preliminary investigations that his wife had passed away one-and-a-half years ago.

Giving details of the attempt, the sources said Hardial Singh reached the lake at about 9.45 pm and after taking a stroll jumped into the lake. Acting promptly, the cops patrolling on the lake, jumped after him and pulled him out.



Passing Thru

What brings you to the city?

Meenakshi Kohli
Meenakshi Kohli, 
Manager, Communications, CRY, Delhi

I am in the city to conduct the 5Cs i.e. CRY Cadence Corporate Cricket Challenge. It is a cricket tournament for a cause to create awareness and to mobilise corporate fraternity for the cause of child rights in India. It is scheduled to be held at Tau Devi Lal Complex, Sector 3, Panchkula, on October 23.

Who all are eligible for participation in the tournament?

The only eligibility condition for the participation is that one should be employed with the corporate sector and should not be a professional player. However, there is no age bar.

How do you generate the funds through such tournaments?

We have fixed a participation fee which runs into thousands since we are dealing with the corporate sector. We have 32 teams in Delhi, 24 in Bangalore and eight in Chandigarh. In addition, we have sponsors who bear all expenses like ground fee, catering and boarding. Whatever funds are generated through this are used to help the under-privileged children and for their education and healthy living.

— G.S. Paul



Another pollution blast on the cards
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The level of noise and air pollution in the city air on the occasion of Divali, the much awaited festival annually, speaks volumes about the inability of the educational and social institutions in motivating people to abstain from the loud noise and the dangerous gas fumes in the air.

Highest air pollution in the city during the previous Divali was recorded at 610 micrograms per cubic metre of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) against the prescribed norm of 200. The highest noise was recorded at more than 112 DBA against the prescribed limit of 45 during the night. In 2003 the highest recording for the SPM was 738 and the highest recorded figure for the noise was 100.

The figures for the previous two years are unanimous in pointing out that the areas with the highest concentration of noise and air pollution were Manimajra and Sector 22. The city’s average pollution level was 570 against the prescribed norm of 200 in 2004 and it was 588 in 2003.

Right from the day of the Dasehra, 20 days before Divali, newspapers and public talks are flooded with messages asking for no crackers on Divali. Crackers on display in various shops all over the city and huge stocks inside their storage godowns are a clear indication that this year is going to be no less noisy.

Despite differences between those celebrating the festival and those opposed to the concept of celebration, the day continues to attract massive public participation, particularly the young.

Maitri, a class IV student, said: “My papa said we should not buy big crackers and I forced him to compromise. We keep on waiting for this day throughout the year.”

Aditya Khanna, a student of BA II, said: “The atmosphere at my home changes at least a week before the festival. My father and his friends have long sessions of talks and game of cards. My mother is busy with her friends and very specially in her shopping. I too get plenty of time to spend with my friends”.

Dr Jitender Sharma, a teacher, said: “I am surprised at the ideas that people have about celebration. Can’t they save the money they burn on crackers to help some deserving people? Contribution towards the relief fund of Kashmir will be a very noble idea this year. The government can start with banning dangerous crackers and try to make the event as symbolic as possible”.

Mr Gaurav Singh, a businessman, said: “I am not sure how the festivity can be controlled with massive public participation and attachment with history. The minimum that can be done is to ensure that dangerous crackers are not allowed to be sold because the ‘ festival bombs’ are getting funnier and stronger each passing year. Parental care is of utmost importance”.

Government hospitals are already at work to prepare for the night duty. A special team is expected on emergency duty on the night because there are a number of burn cases on the occasion. 



Women’s programme chief for gender sensitisation
Workshop for educators held
Payal Pruthi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Few things have changed since the formation of the Joint Women’s Programme (JWP) in 1977. About 28 years later, tiding over rebellion and critical mindsets, the movement is not just gaining strength through the fairer sex but also men who are now equal partners in the creation of a new society. Faced with new challenges every day, its Director, Dr Jyotsna Chatterjee, now looks forward to the youth participation.

In Chandigarh, for a two-day workshop for educators to promote human values through holistic education, Dr Chatterjee is hopeful of improving the socio-economic conditions of the women which she accepts will take time before the cocooned mindsets are transformed and attitudinal changes are promoted.

Expressing great concern over domestic violence in India, Dr Chatterjee said that one way to address this reality was to begin gender sensitisation at an early age and also by promoting gender equity. She added that the negative impact of the use of violence should also be stressed in an organised form in schools.

Currently campaigning for the Abolition of Child Marriage Act, Dr Chatterjee said reforms in the personal laws of communities and promotion of an Indian family law was one of the goals of the JWP. In addition to this JWP was also striving for the formation of a national commission on child sexual abuse and child rights, which would be able to take legal action within the commission.

Dr Chatterjee stressed on the need for a school curriculum that caters to social concerns so that young people may be involved in a working partnership with others. The workshop, according to Dr Chatterjee, will address many issues pertaining to the younger generation and will answer questions like treating them as individuals with a mind and a voice and their own hopes and aspirations among many others.



Rally against female foeticide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
A 10-day NSS camp at Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 45, concluded with a rally against female foeticide, here today. The Principal, Mr Shamlal Sharma, flagged off the rally.

Students carrying placards and raising slogans against foeticide went through Sector 45 to create awareness on the issue. The District Education Officer, Mr R.S. Goraya, also spoke on the occasion. He also gave away prizes to students.

The best NSS volunteer award in the boys and girls category went to Jatinder and Sushma, respectively. Gurpreet was first in the slogan-writing contest while Jai Prakash was placed second.



Admin’s dual policy irks booth owners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Hundreds of booth owners in the city are a harassed lot as the Chandigarh Administration seems to be having two sets of rules for the construction of extra floor on booths in the city.

While the booths constructed by the Administration to rehabilitate the shopkeepers affected due to fires in the rehri markets have two storeys, the other booth owners are awaiting amendments in the building bylaws.

Pleading “professional necessity” for having an extra floor, the booth owners claimed that the construction of the extra floors on the booths had already been allowed in Sectors 11, 18, 19, 22, 27 and 46 markets constructed by the Administration. The building bylaws needed a complete overhaul keeping in view the requirements of the liberalised economy, they added.

Like in the case of Nehru Shastri Furniture Market, Sector 34, certain activities like polishing of the finished wooden articles, display in the sunshine, and loading and unloading are “professional needs”, which could only be met through the extra space, claims Mr Seva Singh Rayat, chairman of the Nehru Shastri Furniture Market Union.

The furniture shops were registered under the Small Scale Industries Act and manufacturing was a very much a part of the industrial activity. Mr Hazara Singh Bambra, president of the union, alleged that their long-standing demand for the construction of an extra floor on the booths seemed to have been forgotten by the Administration.

Meanwhile, Mr J.P.S. Kalra, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) spokesman, termed the shopkeepers’ demand for the construction of an extra floor as “genuine” keeping in view the liberalised economy.

Coming down heavily on the “red-tapism” in the Chandigarh Administration in coming out with a comprehensive policy on the need-based changes in the building bylaws, Mr Kalra alleged that the Administration seemed to be living in the past.

The requirements of different trades had changed and more space was a professional necessity, Mr Kalra added.



Gurdwara panel poll process from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Programme for election to the management committees of the gurdwaras, under Section 87(1) (b) of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, falling in the area of Chandigarh has been finalised by the Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections.

As per the programme, the election process will commence from tomorrow. Nomination papers can be filed by the prospective candidates in respect of Election of Local Management Committee of Gurdwara Manji Sahib, Manimajra, with Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, Additional Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer on any working day from October 21 to November 7.

The poll, if necessary, will be held on December 11 and the results will be declared by December 15. The model code of conduct will be in operation from October 21 onwards.



Striving for dignity of disabled
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Physical infirmity has never deterred Gurgaon’s Praveen Bahl from striving for a normal life. Paralysed decades ago, he could have resigned to fate or simply sulked over the way destiny had treated him.

But he chose to uphold his dignity and turn a new leaf. And it displays his triumphant spirit. After years, Bahl had a chance to mock back at fate which had taken his limbs away. As he sat on the dais of GVK Taj proudly holding the coveted Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award for his social acts of courage, he knew the world held him in awe - an awe which only perseverance can inspire.

Humble in his achievement, Bahl lamented India’s attitude towards its physically challenged and hoped that it changed fast. “Our cities are unfriendly to the disabled; our structures challenge them all the time reminding them of their infirmity every time they encounter a new situation. Although there are laws to ensure a dignified living for the challenged, they are of little use. It will take long before they actually start making a difference. Till then, we will strive.”

The founder of the first cricket team for the physically challenged in Haryana, Bahl has mastered the art of cricket by modifying the game as well as his wheel chair. The best part of his pursuit is that he inspires hopeless people with unlimited hope. Also a member of the committee for equal rights for the disabled, Bahl is enough well travelled to compare the position of the handicapped in various countries. And India cuts a sorry figure here.

He says: “All we want is normal treatment. No matter how hard we fight our disability we will not succeed until we are allowed to forget that we have one. People cast strange glances on us as if we belong to another world. This attitude must change for India to become a better nation with a clear conscience.”

For his part, Bahl has been helping many disabled live a normal life by imparting them the motor skills he has picked up in life. But more than that, he loves to inspire them with a never say die spirit and that makes all the difference. Says the winner: “Award or no award, the strivings will continue.”

Bahl’s partner in the cause is Mukesh Kumar from Chandigarh, who received the Godfrey Phillips gold medal for social courage from the Punjab region. Young and energetic, Mukesh has put the disability behind him by espousing better causes in life. Representing the Cheshire Homes movement, he works against many a social evil including dowry, child marriages and unemployment.

Ask him if the disability is a frustration and he resounds Bahl motto, “Very often, frustrations result from causes other than the infirmity. It is the system that hurts us by being insensitive to our situation.” The system might take years to change but Bahl and Mukesh Kumar can’t afford to wait on any count whatsoever.



Local designs system to check rail accidents
Tribune News Service

Mr G.B. Sandhir shows a model designed to check rail accidents at an unmanned level crossing.
Mr G.B. Sandhir shows a model designed to check rail accidents at an unmanned level crossing. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, October 20
A 91-year-old resident of Sector 20 has designed a system, which will enable the Railways to check accidents at an unmanned level crossing. A few moments before a train has to pass at the level crossing, the system alerts the road users by switching on a red light and blowing a siren.

The inventor, Mr GB Sandhir, says the system can also work in remote areas where there is no power supply. The system gets power for a few seconds from the coming locomotive.

Explaining the concept, he says two poles will have to be erected, one near the level crossing and other a few metres before the crossing. Both poles will be connected by a wire, which comes in contact with an approaching engine, thereby activating the light 
and siren.

He laments that despite his repeated letters to the previous Railway Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, and the present minister, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Railways has shown no interest. He even offered to show the functional model without charging any money.



HUDA begins lifting water from Ghaggar
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 20
The water woes of Panchkula are finally over as Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) began lifting five lakh gallons of water from the Ghaggar since yesterday.

The water, after being lifted from the river, is being brought to two tanks in Sector 1 through a one and half kilometer long pipeline. The water is being lifted by using a motor from a percolation well made in the river. The well is five meters deep and has a diameter of five meters.

The idea saw shape because of the efforts of HUDA engineers, who had been toying with the idea of lifting water from the river. The water demands of Panchkula (about 54 MGD) are met through the 130 odd underground tubewells. However, this has led to a decline in the water table and thus alternate sources of water were being examined by HUDA for the past couple of years.

It may be noted that HUDA had earlier been lifting water from the Ghaggar for watering the greens of Panchkula Golf Club. But this water was muddy and could not be used for water supply. A private consultant was hired, who then came up with the idea of making a percolation well for lifting clean water.) are met through the 130 odd underground tubewells. However, this has led to a decline in the water table and thus alternate sources of water were being examined by HUDA for the past couple of years.

It may be noted that HUDA had earlier been lifting water from the Ghaggar for watering the greens of Panchkula Golf Club. But this water was muddy and could not be used for water supply. A private consultant was hired, who then came up with the idea of making a percolation well for lifting clean water.



Employees hold rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
On a call of the Coordination Committee of Government and MC Employees and Workers, a rally was organised by UT employees here today.

Addressing the rally, Mr Raghunath Singh, general secretary of the Centre for Indian Trade Unions, Punjab and Chandigarh, demanded that the employees transferred by the Chandigarh Administration to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh should be treated on deputation.

Mr Rakesh Kumar, convener of the coordination committee, alleged that the Chandigarh Administration had failed to implement even the accepted demands of the employees.

Mr Bal Krishan, president of the Federation of UT Employees and Workers, and Mr Amrik Singh, co-convener of the coordination committee, also spoke.



More women approaching police
Complaints against spouse
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 20
Women seem to be more fed up with their husbands than husbands with their wives. And complaints from women against their husbands are more from the town than from the surrounding villages.

This is what the data available with the Women’s Helpline of the police here indicates. The complaints of women against their husbands range from illicit relations and heavy drinking to harassment at the behest of their in-laws and failure to shoulder responsibility of the family.

On the other hand, the husbands’ complaints against their wives to the helpline include unnecessary suspicion, failure to do household chores, discussion of personal matters between husband and wife with her parents and adopting of offensive behaviour on their instigation.

According to the figures available with the Women’s Helpline, 72 women had lodged complaints with the police against their husbands while only 21 husbands had complained against their wives during 2004. During the current year, 127 women made complaints against their husbands whereas only 38 men approached the police for help against their wives. It is learnt that from the town a large number of complaints were received from Phase IX and XI and some of these complaints belonged to riot-affected families.

The Women Helpline, which was set up on June 12, last year, was playing a crucial role in helping families from breaking up. As many as 177 cases were received last year out of which 95 were settled amicably and 24 cases were referred to the court for a divorce. Police cases were registered in connection with five complaints.

During the ongoing year, 374 complaints were received by the helpline out of which 142 cases were settled amicably. As many as 42 cases were sent to the court for divorce and police cases were registered in connection with only nine complaints.

Inspector Amrit Singh, Incharge, Women’s Helpline, said the Ropar SSP was taking keen interest in the activities of the helpline. An all-women police station was being set up under the guidance of the SSP in view of the rising number of cases relating to women in the town. The construction of the new building for all-women police station had begun. 



Brigadier lodges complaint against brother
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Acting on the complaint of a city-based serving brigadier, the Chandigarh Police has registered a case of trespassing and other offences against his brother — a retired brigadier.

In his complaint to the police, the serving brigadier said his brother, along with others, entered into his house after break opening the locks. Taking up his complaint, the police has registered a case under Sections 380, 454 and 120-B of the IPC. A senior police officer said further investigations in the matter were on.



CII fair opens amid fanfare
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Karva Chauth spirit pervaded the ambience of CII Chandigarh fair, which got underway at the Sector 17 Parade Ground today. Synchronised with the festive season, the fair drew large crowds, including the young and old couples, who indulged and took home some good bargains.

Spread over six halls, the four-day mega fair was inaugurated by the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, General S.F. Rodrigues (retd) interacted with a few exhibitors as he went around the stalls displaying a wide array of products and services at different pavilions. He was escorted around the fair by CII Chandigarh Council Chairman, Mr Krishan Goyal.

The debutant in this year’s fair is, the International Arcade 2005, featuring the Thai Pavilion, bringing to Chandigarh around 25 companies from Thailand displaying a distinct collection of consumer products ranging from flowers and glassware to handicrafts and jewellery items. Besides this, the Consumer Fair and Decor -25 attracted a large number of people from the city and surrounding areas keen to pick up alliances and accessories in the festive season at special prices.

A fast moving trend among the younger housewives seemed to be the smart kitchen and companies like Planet kitchen appliances, Faber, Kaff are catering to this clientele in a big way with their latest range of products - be it the chimneys, cookware or the cooking ranges.

People were particularly fascinated by the products displayed at Uma Exim Pvt Ltd, which designs and manufactures antique replicas. Drawing room piece like the buggi, gramophone, ladder chair, old wooden clocks were eye catching. An array of paintings, wall prints and pictures adorn the galleries for home decor, besides elegant furniture from various companies.

Another noticeable trend was the large presence of health care systems which caters to today’s need for healthy minds and bodies . Jaspal at the Majestic Auto Ltd stall, said the sale of folding joggers and Allegro (exercise cycles) had gone up as people were ready to spend money to look good. However, there are very few stalls in the “Persona” segment this year. Hindustan Lever Ltd’s Aviance has exhibited a wide range of skin products.

Financial institutions like Punjab National Bank (PNB) , IDBI, HDFC briefed customers on housing or retail lending loans at low interest rates.

Major corporates like Sony, LG, Samsung, ONida and IFB hogged the limelight in the mega brands pavillion. The last hall showcases consumer durables like computers, mobiles, state-of-the-art Plasma televisions and LCD projectors. Besides, large multinational companies small manufacturers of niche products are also sharing space at the sprawling fair, with many exhibitors offering special promotion schemes, incentives and discounts.

On show are vintage and classic cars, which also drew the attention of one and all.

The fair would be on from 10 am to 8 pm till October 23. All proceeds collected from the ticket sale would go towards CII earthquake relief initiative in Jammu and Kashmir.


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