C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Tribune Exclusive
PCA brazenly flouts rules
No sanction for building 30 rooms
Chitleen K Sethi and Maneesh Chhibber

Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 3
Cocking a snook at the law, the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) has started massive construction activity at the PCA Stadium here without taking the mandatory approval.

We’ll inquire, says DC

The PCA Stadium now falls under the jurisdiction of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) headed by the SAS Nagar Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh. Mr Tejveer Singh said he would look into the matter tomorrow and ascertain if any violation of rules had taken place.

The PCA is constructing about 30 rooms as part of the stadium’s north pavilion, plans of which have not been approved by any competent authority. Sources say the PCA did not even submit the revised building plans to either the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority or the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA).

Even as construction activity has been going on for at least two months right under the PUDA’s nose, the authorities concerned have decided to look the other way.

This is not the first time that the PCA has flouted rules. It had constructed the stadium in violation of building byelaws and allegedly encroached upon over 2 acres of prime land around it for which it has been recognised as a violator of the zoning plans laid down by the PUDA.

Over the years, the 13-acre stadium complex had been inching its way onto PUDA land behind the club premises, encroaching upon residential land. The area is now enclosed by the stadium’s boundary wall.

A public park meant for residents of the area has nets and is called the PCA ground C. This was allegedly done by the Mohali Cricket Association headed by an office-bearer of the PCA.

It is learnt that the PCA had submitted a plan for extending its present structure a year ago. It was rejected on the grounds that the stadium should first abide by the zoning plan of the PUDA before undertaking any fresh construction.

Notwithstanding these orders, the PCA has now gone ahead and undertaken fresh construction. While Mr I.S. Bindra, PCA president, could not be contacted, the PCA secretary, Mr M.P. Pandove, said, “I think we had applied for permission but am not sure if it has been granted.” However, the SDO (Buildings), PUDA, Mr Tara Singh, and other senior officers categorically stated that no permission had been sought.

Sources added that one of the many reasons that no action had been initiated against the association was the active involvement of senior bureaucrats in its activities. Also political bigwigs are invitees to all international matches held at the stadium that ensures that the association’s goodwill remained intact.

The PCA has managed to get away with paying peanuts to the Punjab Government for the sprawling piece of land where it has its stadium. The entire profit, including that from the sale of tickets, is pocketed by it.

The PCA has on two occasions not even paid the Punjab Police its due for providing security during international matches. This despite the fact that the DIG, Ludhiana, and the then SSP, Ropar, Mr S.P. Singh, had demanded payment of charges for providing security.



PU Elections
Canvassing in top gear, tie-ups galore
NSUI fields woman candidate for the post of president
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The National Students Union of India (NSUI) has, for the first time in the history of the Panjab University, fielded a women candidate for the post of the president of the Panjab University Campus Students Council.

The NSUI president, Nitin Goyal, said Abhilasha of the Department of English would stand for the post of the president and the rest of the panel would be announced shortly.

Strengthening their position considerably in response to the solid SOPU-NSOI tie-up, the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) today joined hands with the Haryana Students Association (HAS) and the Himachal Pradesh Students Union (HPSU).

PUSU president Rupinderjit Singh Mann said Neha Rao of the HSA would be fielded from the post of the vice-president.

He added that the HPSU had unconditionally joined hands with the PUSU since the candidate for the post of the joint-secretary Mr Varinder Singh Negi was from Himachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, members of the All India Students Federation (AISF) have tied up with the Students Federation of India and announced a joint panel for the forthcoming elections.

Mr Bhuvan Ajad of the SFI is the presidential candidate, Harmeet Kaur of the SFI will stand for the post of the vice-president.

SFI’s Sandeep Negi would be the candidate for the post of the general secretary while AISF’s Ravinder Kamboj would contest for the post of the joint secretary, stated Sharandeep Singh, convener of the AISF.

The SOPU-INSO candidate for post of the president, Dalvir Singh (Goldy), vice-presidential candidate Divya Gill, secretarial candidate Sahil Goyal and candidate for the post of the joint-secretary Sukhjeet Singh canvassed in different hostels, student centre and library today.

Vice-presidential candidate Divya Gill in her press statement said students were fed up with the opportunistic policies of the other parties and wanted change, which could only be provided by the SOPU-INSO panel.

She said all girls were annoyed with the performance of the previous students’ council, which had failed on all fronts and brought a bad name to the university.



Wooing students with chicken
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Coming down heavily on the alleged violation of the model code of conduct by canvassing student leaders, the Panjab University authorities today suspended contractor who had served non-vegetarian dishes to students during dinner in boys hostel number 7 on the instance of a particular party. Party members thought it would help “woo” voters in case they were served chicken during dinner in the mess.

The police too seem to be in an unforgiving mood this time. They booked students for violating the provisions of the Defacement Act on the campus.

Despite strict orders of the Dean, Students Welfare, students are putting up posters around the campus.

The police and the university authorities are also raiding hostels in the night to catch outsiders helping the candidates.

Alleging that their contenders were taking the voters for film shows in Fun Republic and also for trips to Kasauli, Mr Dalvir Singh Goldy, SOPU president, added that more such plans were being made by their contenders.

PUSU members alleged that 30 students of chemical engineering department, who were residing in hostel number 3, had been taken for a “holiday” by their contenders and would be brought back only a day before the election day.



Security beefed up in university
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The police has beefed up security on the Panjab University campus for the coming students’ elections.

Sources in the Sector 11 police station said around 150 police personnel are being deployed on the campus during the day time and around 100 policemen during nights. Two Inspectors are supervising the men-in-khaki in order to tackle any untoward incidents.

The sources said special checks are being conducted on the campus and outsiders were not allowed to stay in the hostels. The entry was restricted in the university and those having I-cards were allowed.

Besides this, the police has deployed the vajra van and water cannon to face any eventuality. These remained in the university from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.



Sector 15 victim was strangled, says police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Sarla Rani Anand, who was found murdered in her Sector 15 house yesterday, was strangled, the police said while quoting the post-mortem report here today.

The Sector 11, police said the post-mortem report revealed that the victim was done to death by strangulation. Though injuries were found on her private parts, however, it is yet to be ascertained whether the victim was raped also.

The police said the experts from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) had taken samples from the spot and would submit their reports after a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, the UT SSP, has constituted a special investigation team comprising six members under the supervision of DSP S.S. Randhawa to probe the matter. The sources added that the police was recording the statements of the relatives and neighbours. The police was still unclear about the motive behind the murder and believe that the killers had created a scene to mislead them.

About the possibility of robbery or the victim’s property being a motive behind the killing, a police officer said it was yet to establish whether some articles or documents pertaining to property were missing. The absence of a sign of forced entry was indicating towards the role of some insider in the killing, a member of the team said.

Mr Krishan Kumar Anand, younger brother-in-law of the victim, said, “I had visited her in June. However, when I asked her to come to my place, she declined and I went back after buying her some items.” When asked about whether she ever expressed apprehension about her life, Mr Anand said she once told me that she was afraid of certain brokers who were eyeing her property.

The police has handed over the body to her relatives later in the evening.


Former Punwire workers hope for better future
Ruchika M. Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
For almost 16 years now, Arun Pal Sharma, a former Senior Technical Assistant at Punwire, has been doing odd jobs to make both ends meet. From working as a production assistant with a Punjabi channel to now acting as an event coordinator, it has been a long struggle for him. But with the Sun Group now taking over the communication equipment major and the revival of the industry on the cards, he hopes for better future prospects.

Arun Pal's sentiments are expressed by 650 other employees of the company, who are now eagerly waiting for the Sun Group to get the company started. "Hundreds of families were pushed into poverty after the company was locked out on July 28, 2000. Though most of the employees started their own business, life was never the same for them. With the revival of the company, we hope that at least those like Mr Shahid Ahmed, President of the Employees Union, who made allout efforts for the revival of Punwire, are given first preference for being accommodated by the new management," he said.

Though the exact details of how many employees will be ultimately accommodated by the Sun Group are not yet known, the Punjab Wireless Limited Employees Union President, Mr Ahmed hopes that at least 500 employees will be accommodated. "When the company was locked out in 2000, there were a total of 1251 employees. Over the years, almost 200 retired and 31 employees died, including suicides by some employees, who were frustrated over losing their jobs. Some of the young employees got regular employment elsewhere, while many of them are now doing their own business. But 650 odd employees are still waiting for the revival and want to get back to work," said Mr Ahmed.

After the selling off of some properties belonging to the company, all the employees will get a benefit of Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4 lakh each, including those who have died. Mr Ahmed says while properties worth Rs 43 crore have already been sold off, after the sale of three more properties, they will get another Rs 20 crore. This money will be distributed in the ratio of 60 : 40, with employees getting the larger share. The employees will also get their Provident Fund, which was not released to them earlier.

Take the case of 35-year-old Balbir Singh. A senior operator in Punwire, he was forced to start a small cycle repair and sale shop at Balongi village near Mohali, after the company closed down.

"The revival of the company means that people like me, who were pushed to extreme poverty after losing their jobs, can hope for a better future. It is all because of the unity among Punwire employees and efforts made by Mr B.S. Baidwan, former President of Mohali Industries Association," he said.

Mr Ahmed, who is himself working as a property dealer, in order to sustain his family, said he could have taken up a job elsewhere. "But I wanted to fight it out and a regular job would not have allowed me the liberty to fight for the other employees. So I started my own work as a property consultant, so that I could devote my whole attention to the employees movement," he said.



Bollywood stars to own houses in Zirakpur area
I love Punjab: Amisha Patel
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Come 2008 and Bollywood stars would literally descend on Chandigarh's periphery. If claims of the Hanumant Builders, promoters of a housing project, are any indication, a host of film stars starting from Ajay Devgan to Amisha Patel are set to own the state-of-the-art apartments in Zirakpur in the vicinity of Panchkula's 20 at the Shivalik foothills.

In fact, Amisha Patel is in the city to launch the housing project and announce her intention to own an apartment in the project.

With that end in mind, Amisha today visited the project site and evinced keen interest in project.

Accompanied by Krishan Kumar, actor and Chairman and Managing Director of the T-Series, Kumar Mangat, producer of "Omkara" and Sanjay Sharma, president of the housing society, Amisha seemed quite excited at the prospects of having an apartment in the project.

A visibly excited Amisha told reporters late last night that she was thrilled over the forethought of finding a home in Shivalik hills, especially in an ever-expanding tricity with a great future potential.

"The wait for a home here is going to be only longer for me. The serene climes and mystic appeal of the Shivalik foothills have always excited me", said Amisha.

At the project site this morning, Amisha was more forthcoming and informal.

I love Punjab and its people and that is why I have decided to have a home in Punjab, informed the "Gadr girl".

Asked how she will spend her time at home here given her tight shooting schedule, Amisha said she would stay here whenever she was in the region for shooting.

The prospect of staying at my home seems more exciting than checking into a hotel, she quipped.

The project is planned keeping in mind the requirements of tinsel town people and we will be completing the construction of the township in two years," said Sanjay Sharma.



Man asked to vacate house over wrong affidavit
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The calm in the life of Mr Jagdish Singh Negi was shattered in November 1999 when he received a phone call from the Chandigarh Housing Board asking him to vacate the house he was staying in Sector 55. He had purchased it three years back on a general power of attorney (GPA) and the ordeal continues till date.

The original allottee had filed a wrong affidavit, saying that he did not have any other house. A tussle with his wife led to her complaining that he had property in Panchkula. The CHB cancelled his allocation and also asked Mr Negi to vacate the same.

Mr Negi gave a representation to the CHB, which rejected his plea saying that “Mr Anil Kumar Mehndiratta had sought the allotment fraudulently by concealing the facts in his affidavit. The allotment is void and he could not have transferred it”.

A senior official in the CHB confirmed the development and said there were scores of similar cases which had been disposed of on the same ground. In this case the GPA was not shown to the CHB in time to accept the change in ownership, which had led to the situation.

The CHB on enquiry had found that the original allottee had two plots in Panchkula and another one in Gurgaon. The CHB order on the plea by Mr Negi reads that “since he (Mr Mehndiratta) had made false declaration in his affidavit in April 1996, stating that he, his wife or dependent unmarried children have not transferred the property, the allotment of the dwelling unit was cancelled in 1998”.

Mr Negi bought the house in September 1996 “going by the fact that majority of the flats are purchased on a GPA”. Accordingly, the formalities regarding the documents of agreement to sell, GPA, affidavits, indemnity bonds and the will were completed. Mr Negi paid Rs 3,65,000 and since then he has been paying all installments regularly for 44 months.

Narrating his woeful story, Mr Negi said, “in November 1999 my father received a telephone call that the house had been cancelled by the CHB and I was now required to vacate it.

The case went to the court and in 2002 set aside the eviction order and sent back the case to the CHB for passing appropriate orders. The chairman dismissed the plea.

Mr Negi has pleaded that since the CHB had now allowed the GPA, so his case should be considered. “I have paid all instalments. My case has been seen by three chairmen of the CHB and I have been assured that a policy decision will soon be taken. The CHB is not making any monetary loss in transferring the property in my name.”

The representation has been sent to the UT Administrator and Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, local Member of Parliament. “I am working in a bank and my wife is employed with the Punjab Mandi Board. We have invested all our life savings and hope we are heard.”



Sale of substandard helmets on the rise
G. S. Paul

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Blame it on lack of awareness among the public or lackadaisical attitude of the Chandigarh traffic police, the sale of substandard (non-ISI mark) helmets in the city is on the rise.

The police record has revealed that around 135 fatal accidents were registered in 2005 and the number increased to approximately 322 from January 2006 till date. A substantial number of people involved in the accidents were killed because of head injuries where the riders were either not wearing safety helmets or wearing the one which was not of ISI specifications.

The Tribune team found at least 10 cases in a span of just 20 minutes on the main roads in the city where the drivers of two wheelers, and those riding pillion were not wearing any safety helmet.

Only 10 per cent of the riders of two wheelers were wearing quality headgears.

An ISI-mark helmet costs anywhere between Rs850 and Rs1000 whereas the ordinary one comes for around Rs 250 of Rs350.

A helmet-seller in Sector 28 said: “A majority of the two-wheeler riders ask for an ordinary helmet even if we explain them about the safety standards of an ISI- mark helmet. The cost factor could have been one of the reasons because the ISI-mark helmet costs more than double the amount of an ordinary one”.

The non-ISI-mark helmets are sold openly on the roadsides and that too under the nose of the police. “We stock only ordinary ones, as there’s more profit margins in selling ordinary helmets compared to the branded ones. Moreover, they are not much in demand”, said a roadside helmet-seller.

Earlier, the Chandigarh police carried out a sustained drive to ensure better compliance to the provision of law on wearing of protective headgear by drivers and persons riding pillion on two wheelers. The two-wheeler drivers were educated to wear the ISI-mark helmets and to properly fasten the chin straps.

When SSP, Chandigarh Traffic Police, Dinesh Bhatt was apprised of the matter, he said, “It is surely a matter of great concern in the interest of general public. Though, the District Magistrate has already banned the sale of non-ISI-mark helmets, still they are being sold in the open.

But, I must say that we can jointly carry out a drive with the local Municipal Corporation. The MC should first discourage vendors selling non-ISI-mark helmets to sit on the roadside. We are ready to provide them police help. The persons driving a two-wheeler with non-specified helmet are also being challaned”.

On being asked, a policeman said, “No, we are not conducting any such drive at present to keep a check on the use of these unauthorised helmets by the two-wheeler riders. It is a wearisome exercise, but in the interest of safety of two-wheeler riders we are ready to educate people on the safety benefits of ISI-mark helmets, if ordered by the authorities to do so”.

The Centre is contemplating making it mandatory for two-wheeler manufacturers to offer at least one ISI-mark protective headgear along with new vehicle.



Merger of MC, villages opposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The Chandigarh Administration has received nine objections regarding the merger of five more villages with the Municipal Corporation. Villagers are objecting against the projected loss of their agricultural land, in case the villages are merged with the MC.

Mr Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary and secretary of the Local Government, has forwarded a list of objections to Mr P.S. Aujla, Commissioner of the MC, and sought his reply within three days. The MC has been asked to carefully examine its legal aspects.

Objections were filed by sarpanches of Maloya and Dadu Majra, the local unit of the BJP, residents of Hallo Majra, Daria and Kajheri, Mr Tejinder Singh, a former sarpanch of Hallo Majra, Mr Karam Singh, a resident of Mohali, and Mr Fateh Singh Bagdi, a resident of Maloya village.

The Administration had recently announced the merger of all UT villages in the MC in a phased manner. In the first phase Maloya, Daria, Hallo Majra and Kajheri have been named. The Administration wants the merger for the uniform facilities in the entire UT. It is also felt that the local government rule in the villages was virtually non-existent and for more than a year, the Zila Parishad has no chairman.

Residents of Hallo Majra in a written representation to the Administration, have objected on the grounds that “the Directive Principles in the Constitution of India provide for grassroot participation which is possible only through the panchayati raj institution. By including the Hallo Majra in the Municipal Corporation, the panchayati raj institution will be abolished.”

It has been argued that gram panchayats, under the Panchayati Raj Act, are empowered to carry on the development of village. Even the Municipal Corporation will rely on the funds released by the Administration for the development of the village. There is no function which can only be done by the corporation and not by the gram panchayat.

The villagers have argued that elected members of the gram panchayat are accessible to the public. On the other hand, there is only one councillor for the whole ward and it is impossible to be available at all time for the public.

Cleanliness of the village is more effective under the gram panchayat. Under the MC, there will be a lot of hindrances in the working of these small-scale industries and there will also be taxes on the small scale industry, it has been argued.

They seek an assurance on the no fresh taxes on the villagers; no impact on dairy farming; old-age/window pension scheme will continue; and that water, electricity and telephone tariffs will remain same.



64 pledge their eyes
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, September 3
Awareness about eye donation is comparatively low in the region. However, Dera Bassi subdivision seems to have taken a lead in the field of eye donation.

In a unique gesture, at least 64 persons pledged their eyes on September 1 on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the Banur MLA and former Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, at a function organised by the local Rotary Club.

Want to donate eyes?

Anyone wanting to donate eyes can contact the Eye Donors Club of the Rotary Club at Dera Bassi. For details contact the club president at 9814527303.

The donors took an oath to fulfil the promises made in a application form for eye donation. “It is part of Rotary Club’s social commitment and we want to make it a mass movement,” said Mr Bhupinder Saini, president of the Rotary Club, who also pledged his eyes.

He said the club wanted to create an awareness about eye donation in the region. The target for September was at least 100, he said.

The Governor of 3090 district, Dr B.M. Dheer, said Rotary was playing a proactive role in motivating the public to come forward to donate eyes.

Mr Narinder Sharma, president of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, said he wanted the other person to see the world after his death. “Making a visually-impaired person see the world with your eyes after your death is the greatest gift you can give to society”, he added.



Over 200 anglers given licences
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Avid anglers and fish vendors, today made a beeline to the Sukhna Lake to seek angling licence. It being a weekend, a number of enthusiasts today thronged the lake.

An official of the Fisheries Department disclosed that over 200 licences were given today. The Chandigarh Administration had lifted the ban on angling at the lake from last Friday.

The licence seekers demanded that a post should be set up near the angling area. All along the 3 km specified stretch along the water body, a number of anglers could be seen patiently waiting for their catch.

Most appeared to be fish vendors or daily-wage earners who were catching fish with a “makeshift” device made from a plastic thread, a few anglers had the fishing rod.

In the evening, it was usual seen at the Bapu Dham Colony. Most of the fish vendors could be seen selling their stock in the illegal fish markets at cheap rates. The anglers feel that the activity should be regulated through some registered anglers association and the timings should be extended from 7 am to 7 pm instead of 9 am to 5 pm.

An official of the Fisheries Department disclosed that for one-day licence, Rs 25 was being charged. For ten days, the fee was Rs 200 and the fee for one month permission was Rs 500. Fishing was banned in a 300 metres stretch from the cafeteria side and 100 metres from the regulator end.

As per the permission, only two fish, each not below six inches could be caught.



Admn asked to mark areas for taxi stands
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 3
The Panchkula Joint Welfare Association Forum today urged the district administration to earmark areas for taxi stands functioning from Mansa Devi Complex, Sectors 10, 14 and 16.

Maintaining that proper arrangements like providing room, telephone, water and electricity have not been made so far for their proper functioning nearly 20 more taxi stands are presently functioning unauthorisedly, putting residents to inconvenience.

Shopkeepers are experiencing great difficulty since considerable space is always occupied by unauthorised taxi owners, leaving very little space for customers to park vehicles.

The members said the HUDA would also be able to earn a considerable amount by leasing out the same. They maintained that unlike Panchkula, Chandigarh Administration had earmarked specific sites for taxi stands and were leasing out the same on a monthly basis. They are thus earning a considerable amount on this account, they added.

There are about 250 authorised taxis about 400 unauthorised one being run in Panchkula. Moreover, the present system of getting permits is most complicated and difficult and needs to be simplified, according to the forum.



Riot victims given compensation
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 3
The Mohali SDM, Mr Sandeep Hans, today distributed cheques worth Rs 32 lakh to 16 families of the 1984 riot victims living in the township. These families had applied for the grant before May 15.

The SDM pointed out that all those who applied for the grant and did not receive it till date could collect the same from his office on September 5.

Each affected family is being given Rs 2 lakh as compensation for the losses they suffered during the riots.



Goods worth Rs 8 lakh gutted
Tribune News Service

A view of the Wood Craft Factory after it was gutted in Mohali on Sunday.
A view of the Wood Craft Factory after it was gutted in Mohali on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

Mohali, September 3
Goods worth Rs 8 lakh were gutted in a fire that broke out in a wood-work factory here late last night. The fire started at the Wood Craft Factory in the industrial area here at 12.30 last night and quickly spread gutting finished products and raw material lying in the premises.

Two fire tenders were called in to control the fire. The owner, Mr Rashpal Singh, said the fire had caused widespread damage before it could be controlled adding that the cause of the fire was still not known.



Mahima’s charm captivates fans
Geetanjali Gayatri
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, September 3
With a 100-watt smile lighting up her face, Mahima Chaudhary bedazzled everybody as she stepped out of her car to inaugurate ‘Chhabra 555’ in Sector 9 here today. In complete awe of her beauty, a crowd of friends, family and clients, present on the inaugural, went berserk in an attempt to have a glimpse of the star, shoot her with mobiles and digital cameras and grab an autograph.

They were virtually falling all over her but she didn’t cringe. She just smiled back at the frenzied fans who elbowed and jostled to get in front, be up, close and almost personal with Mahima.

Looking stunning in her pale blue saree embellished with pearls and sequins, Mahima went around the store, a franchise of Chhabra’s in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk and specialists in sarees, suits and lehangas, surrounded by admirers.

Speaking about her forthcoming ventures, Mahima said, “I am just back from a shoot in America for Asif Murtaza’s film on expatriates. With a Spanish title, it translates into “I’m crazy about you”.

Though romance forms the backdrop of the movie, it is reflective of the love for one’s own country, how everybody struggles to find the American dream and ends up creating a world, their own world, in a foreign land.”

“Kudiyon ka Zamana” opposite Ashmit Patel is another release on the cards. With most of her movies shot in New York, Mahima quips, “New York is a favoured destination because the place has a lot of character. Everything in the city is brimming over with liveliness and there is practically no need for a set to shoot.”

Funny films particularly excite Mahima who is thrilled about “Sandwich”, a comedy to the core opposite Govinda.

And, while comedies tickle her funny bone, her love life, too is looking up. Beaming ear-to-ear as the conversation drifts to the love of her life, Mahima replies, “I am dating is all I can say at this point in time. For me, love means involvement and commitment, in the same order. I am in the process of being involved. Commitment only comes later in any relationship.”

Back from a vacation in Europe, Mahima recommends frequent breaks to unwind, relax and enjoy. “People just keep earning all their lives in the hope that they will go on a world tour one day. That day never comes. We spend our lives going everywhere only for a purpose not because we want to. So, a vacation should be a purpose for everybody,” she strongly recommends.

She continues to be pestered for more autographs between the conversation, the organisers are restless to have her attention for a draw to choose two lucky customers from among the first customers at the store. Her smile is intact — no signs of irritation at being pushed around, no hang ups about being a star.

Speaking about the store, owner Jagdeep Chhabra says, “After Ludhiana, this is our second outlet this side of Delhi. We plan to spread out all over India. The region has tremendous buying potential and all our customers who were forced to come to Delhi, have our designer clothes available closer home. We have exclusive designs made by our designer Heena Malhotra and her team.”



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