C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Cinemas take a beating from multiplexes
Aditi Tandon
Triune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
Good old cinema is on the brink of extinction. Blame it on multiplexes or the failure of cinema owners to deliver services and affordable tickets, the poor man’s medium is dying. And with it is dying the joy of cinema - once synonymous with excitement.

Faced by market forces that are projecting multiplexes as a necessity rather than luxury, old cinemas are bowing out of competition. Jagat and KC in Sector 17 have shut shop with plans to open multiplexes. Other cinemas will follow suit, considering the tricity will have about 15 multiplexes in future. While five are expected to open in Chandigarh, two each will open in Mohali and Panchkula. Zirakpur, with a plan of 11, tops the list.

In the midst of maddening change, the prey is the poor man for whom a major avenue of entertainment is closing down. A medium that was so much a part of his world is now slipping out of hand due to pressures of economy.

“Gone are the days,” says G.S. Chani, theatre artiste, who has seen modernity take over tradition in a rather painful way. No wonder he is not a votary of multiplexes, which steal joy out of cinema. “I went to Fun Republic (FR) once. The place seemed to jibe at the poor. I missed the catcalls and the charm that was so palpable once. The place can give you services, but it can’t give you joy. This kind of cinema deepens the chasm between the haves and the have nots. I wish our cinemas were hygienic and well-quipped enough to attract clients,” he said. But not all consumers think like Chani. Dolly Ahluwalia, costume designer for Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Omkara”, said it was important to change with the times. “World-over the trends are changing. It is no more the old game where movies were made at low budgets. Producers are now putting big money into films.

They also need to recover costs and we, as consumers, must share that cost. Further, multiplexes give you the real feel of technology that goes into making of a film. You get good acoustics, good picture quality, good seating and value for money. Imagine watching “Krrish” at Nirman,” she said.

Those in the business say the cost of watching films in multiplexes will slide once more halls come up. Mr J.S. Jolly of Fun Republic - the only running multiplex - says, “Compared to dilapidated halls, which charge Rs 70 for balcony and Rs 40 and Rs 20 for upper and lower stalls, respectively, we are charging Rs 150 for a “gold” ticket on weekends (Friday to Sunday).” The cost of silver and bronze tickets on weekends is Rs 120 and Rs 70, respectively. The corresponding costs on weekdays are Rs 110, Rs 100 and Rs 60 respectively.

As for cinema houses, they remain worn-out as ever. Owners blame it on declining profits, but clients say the UT Administration has not been strict with cinema owners. The last major raid on cinemas was conducted during the tenure of the then DC Arun Kumar. No intensive raids have followed. In the bargain, traditional cinema is taking a beating.



Bonanza for consumers
Power meter rentals down
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
The Chandigarh Administration has decided to revise the monthly electricity meter rentals with effect from February 1, 2007.

The Engineering Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, said the notification to this effect had been issued by the Engineering Department. The meter rentals is charged along with electricity bills every month.

Normally, single-phase electronic or electro-mechanical meters and three-phase electronic meters are installed at consumer residences.

Under the new decision, the rentals for the single-phase electronic meter has been reduced from existing Rs 11 per month to Rs 5 per month. The rentals of the three-phase electronic meter has been reduced from Rs 25 per month to Rs 11 per month.

The decision of reduction in electricity meter rentals has been taken keeping in view the reduced cost of meters or metering equipment with the fast changing technology and the introduction of low-cost electronic meters. The rental for the single-phase static meter will be Rs 5 per month, MCB for the single-phase meter will be Rs 5 per month. Rental for the single-phase electro- mechanical meter and the poly-phase meter without CT will be Rs 11 per month.

However, the rental for the MCB for the poly-phase meter for whole current and CT operated will be Rs 9 per month. The rental for LTCT-operated meter or TPT meter without CTs will be Rs 72 per month. The rental for LTCTs (set of three numbers ) will be Rs 17 per month and the same for HT, TPT metering equipments without CT or PT units will be Rs 88 per month.

Similarly, the rental for 11 KV combined CT or PT unit (10/ 5A to 50/5 A Cap) will be Rs 467 per month. The rental for cubical or chamber for the poly-phase LTCTs will be Rs 18 per month and the same for other LT or HT or EHT poly-phase meter or equipments not covered under the above categories will be 1.6 paise per rupee cost of meter or equipment.



Spl leave in UT on Feb 13
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
In view of the Punjab Assembly elections, the UT Administration today decided to grant a special casual leave for February 13 to all those employees of the Administration who are registered as voters in any constituency of Punjab. This will enable them to exercise their franchise in the elections scheduled to be held on February 13.

As per the orders of the Labour Commissioner, Mr R.K. Rao, the management of shops, commercial establishments, factories and contractors establishments will allow special leave on February 13 to those workers who are working in Chandigarh and are bona fide voters of Punjab subject to necessary identification that they are actually the voters of Punjab.



LPG tanker overturns, tragedy averted
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
The city sat on a live bomb through the day as a tanker containing over nine tonnes of LPG overturned at the Sectors 34, 33, 20 and 30 roundabout. It had not been removed till the filing of the report.

The Administration and the police chose to look the other way waiting for the gas company to remove the tanker. Even the realisation that the tanker was filled with LPG did not dawn upon the authorities till late tonight when a team of the gas company employees reached the city and confirmed that there was LPG in the tanker. Following this the police posted a gypsy and fire brigade there.

Throughout the day, however, no efforts were made to either cordon off the area or post a fire brigade at the site. Even the entire exercise carried out this morning to shift the front part of the tanker from the middle of the road to the road side was carried out by the police without taking any precautions, putting its own employees to high risk. Interestingly, the Sector 34 police personnel insisted on throughout the day that the tanker was empty and there was no risk.

The accident took place last night. Giving details of the accident, cleaner Ramesh said: “We were negotiating the roundabout when suddenly a Maruti car came in front of the tanker. We applied brakes and the tanker toppled and the front part hit a tree.” According to him, the tanker had 17 tonnes of LPG, of which 8 tonnes were offloaded at a gas station in Sector 34 on Thursday and they were on the way to a Baddi to offload the remaining gas when the incident occurred. No expert was called to check whether there was leakage of gas or not after the police found that the tanker had overturned.

Leaving the tanker at the spot for the night no special lighting arrangements had been made to ensure that the tanker was not hit by a vehicle. “The results can be disastrous in case a vehicle rams into a tanker, or if someone opens the safety valves. In case of leakage, the possibility of a fire breaking out cannot be ruled out. If a vehicle collides with the tanker, there are chances of the tanker exploding also,” said a company employee.

“The area should have been cordoned off immediately as there are chances of explosion due to leakage of highly inflammable gas. Besides this, the fire tenders should be called immediately on the spot to avoid any tragedy”, said Mr S.K. Verma, who has been in the tanker-transportation business for over 15 years.



IAF to implement new posting policy
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
For the IAF’s air warriors, there will virtually be no more “hard areas” to serve in. According to a new policy on postings and tenures being introduced, hard areas, which are remote and where living conditions are tough, have been done away with.

The new policy, circulated to Air Force establishments, states that except for Car Nicobar, there will be no hard areas. All stations, except Car Nicobar, will be classified as limited area stations, with tenures of two-four years specified individually for each station and normal stations with tenures of four-five years.

The new policy will come into effect from April 1, 2007. Till then postings and tenures will be governed by the existing policy. Depending upon geographical locations, living conditions and availability of amenities, stations are classified as hard areas, limited areas and normal areas for the purpose of deciding tenures.

Air Force stations like Leh and Thoise were classified as hard areas, while those like Nalia in west Gujarat and Chabua in the North-East were classified as limited areas. Given its deployment and involvement in counter-terrorist operations, the Army, on the other hand, has several classifications of stations.

With the passage of time, the country has made progress and all regions have developed in terms of infrastructure, communications and living conditions. The Air Force has also put in tremendous efforts to improve the working and living conditions of stations situated in remote and far-flung areas, with special attention towards family accommodation and education, a circular received here states. 



Ryan: Parents to meet Home Secy today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
The Parents association of Ryan International School, Sector 49, will meet Home Secretary, Mr Krishan Mohan, tomorrow to help them in registering an FIR against school authorities. The parents had submitted a criminal complaint against the school authorities on February 3, the police has not yet registered any FIR against the school.

The parents had filed a criminal case against the Chairman, St. Xavier’s Education Trust, Ryan International School, Mr A.F. Pinto, his wife Grace Pinto, who is also the Director of Ryan International School, Headmistress of Ryan School- Sector 49 Poonam Sharma and a teacher of the school Shubh Chugh with the Sector 34 police station.

This decision was taken at a meeting held on the Advocates’ society premises, Sector 49 , here, today. Meanwhile, in another decision, a delegation of 4 members will visit the CBSE office in Delhi on Monday. They will request authorities to grant special permission to students of Ryan International School to appear in Class X examinations beginning on March 2.



Art commission: Panel to bank on public opinion
Sub-group to table issue before MC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
The sub-group constituted by the Chandigarh Administration to suggest modalities for setting up the Urban Art Commission for the city will bank on the public opinion to decide its further course of action.

Suspecting political motive behind the move to set up the commission, nominated members of the sub-group unanimously decided to table the issue on the floor of the Municipal Corporation. The exercise will reflect the stand of the political parties on the issue.

Though there was no official confirmation of the decision in today’s meeting of the sub-group chaired by the Adviser to the UT Administrator, sources said views of the Member of Parliament, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, would be sought by the people’s representatives. The opinion of the Panchayati Raj institutions would also be taken.

It was strongly felt that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was forcing the commission on the city residents and it required public debate. The commission would be of little use if the powers were stationed in Delhi and would be against the welfare of the city.

The members were told about the prevailing different laws which could contradict the functioning of the proposed commission. The MHA would have to clarify various issues before the commission was set up. There was a lot of difference between the laws governing Delhi and Chandigarh, it was said.

“The centre had already decided to set up the commission. The exercise to have a referendum was a smart move to borrow time till the end of the Budget Session. There is apprehension among the policy makers that the bill on the commission would be tabled in the Budget session,” said a local Congress leader adding that the public opinion was a lethal weapon to defeat the strategic political move.

The outcome of the issue on the floor of the house would be put before the members of the Administrator’s Advisory Council, a meeting of which has been scheduled for the next week, confirmed a senior official. The minutes of the meeting would be forwarded to the MHA.

To be formed by an Act of Parliament, the commission will have the competence to reject or modify any plans of any local body, including of residential complex, which impinge upon urban aesthetics. Plans of private buildings would also be under the scanner of the commission.

“Though Parliament was supreme in deciding on the issue, consulting the Punjab and Haryana Governments could politically flare up the issue. As the officers of the Chandigarh Administration were under the MHA, it was for the MHA to decide on the issue,” said the sources.

The recommendations of the sub-group would be placed in the next meeting of the Advisory Council. Then the suggestions of the council would be forwarded to the MHA. 



Admn includes public reps in dispute-settlement panels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
The Chandigarh Administration has included public representatives in three separate Dispute Settlement Committees of the Electricity Wing of Engineering Department. The three committees will settle disputes depending upon the amount involved.

To provide an inexpensive and expeditious mechanism to resolve the differences and disputes, a number of committees have been constituted on different levels to settle differences or disputes arising between the Electricity Wing and the consumers.

The disputes involving billed amount above Rs 10 lakh would be settled by the committee headed by Adviser to the Administrator (AA) with Secretary, Engineering, Chief Engineer (CE) and Superintending Engineer (SE), Operation, as the members. An industrialist, Mr Pankaj Khanna, has been nominated as public representative on this committee.

The disputes involving a sum of Rs 5 to Rs 10 lakh would be reviewed by the committee headed by Secretary, Engineering, with CE and SE, Operation, as its members. Mr Naveen Miglani, General Secretary, Chamber of Chandigarh Industries, has been nominated as public representative on this committee.

The committee headed by CE with SE, Operation, and XEN (P&D) or AEE (C) as its members will review the disputes above Rs one to five lakh. This committee will now include Mr M.P.S Chawla, President Chandigarh Industrial Association, as the public representative.

The disputes involving amounts above Rs 10,000 and upto Rs 1 lakh would be resolved by the committee headed by S.E, Operation, XEN (P&D) or AEE(C) and XEN, Operation, concerned as its members. Mr Chander Verma, an entrepreneur, has been nominated as public representative for this Committee. 



Mandal rues hike in parking fee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) at a meeting today opposed the "abnormal" increase in the proposed parking tariff for the multilevel parking in Sector 17.

Terming the decision of the Finance and Contract Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) as "dishonest", the mandal was of the view that the decision needed to be rejected outrightly by the MCC House as this was against the election manifestoes of the BJP-SAD alliance and the Chandigarh Vikas Manch(CVM).

The meeting reminded the elected representatives about their pre-poll promises concerning withdrawal of the paid parking. In fact, the paid parking system had not been functioning successfully on account of its faulty implementation, it was alleged.

The meeting demanded that the MCC House should suggest a convenient method of parking through the market welfare associations as was prevalent before the introduction of the paid parking system.



Burn victim's father to lodge complaint against school
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 9
Even as the issue of child safety in schools continues to simmer, the condition of six-year-old Aman Luthra continues to be critical at the PGI where she was shifted last night. Her father, Mr Parminder Singh, said they would lodge a formal complaint against the school authorities once the child showed some improvement.

“The doctors at the PGI have told us that her condition is not good. There is a lot of swelling on her face and treatment is underway. Doctors from the Ophthalmology Department have not yet begun treatment because she still can't open her eyes due to swelling,” he said.

Speaking about the treatment at the General Hospital, Sector 6, he said the child was not given proper care there. “The doctors there kept telling us that all was well and there were no complications. It was at the PGI that we were told that nothing was right with the child. Hopefully, a thorough check-up would be carried out tomorrow,” he added.

Maintaining that the welfare of the child was the family's prime concern at this point of time, he said he would bring the staff responsible for her condition to the book. “I will lodge a formal complaint with the police after the things settled down,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Principal, Ms Madhavi Srivastva, and other staff members visited the girl in the hospital to enquire about her health. However, she was not available for comment despite repeated attempts.



Property deals are being thrust on this man
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 9
Despite not wanting to sell his property at Kundi village, Sector 20, 83-year-old Keshab Chand Gupta is having property deals forced upon him.

He has made a complaint to the police in this regard.

“I was resting at my house when seven persons came to my house to meet my tenant Ram Phal.

They forcibly tried to take possession of my house, maintaining that Ram Phal had sold it to them,” he said.

On being told that he was the real owner, the party changed tracks and said in that case he should sell them the house.

“I declined the offer and by then, hearing the heated exchanges, our neighbours came out. They told me that the same party had been frequenting the house for the past 10 days and had given the other tenants a deadline of February 10 to vacate the house,” he stated.

They also told Keshab that the party had told the tenants that if the house was not vacated, they would raze it to the ground. “This is the second time that a party has thrust a deal upon me. I have sought police help to resolve the matter,” he claimed.

In January a woman posing as a block development officer had demanded that the house be vacated.

In fact, the tenant in question, Ram Phal, had even managed to get a fake no-objection certificate from the Tehsildar for the sale of property, which was detected in time and rectified.



Bal Shree Award for city lad
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
Sahil Aggarwal, a class IX student of Government Model High School, Sector 28, has been selected for the prestigious National Bal Shree Award in a competition held at the National Bal Bhavan, New Delhi.

The award will be given by the President at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. He will be among the 26 children to be awarded by the President, according to a press note issued here today.

The national-level competition was held after the local-level and zonal-level competitions in July and September, respectively.

Started in 1995 for selecting creative children in streams of art, writing, science and performance, the award is sponsored by the Ministry of Human Resources Development.



RBI directs banks to check fake currency
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
The Reserve Bank of India has issued directions to all banks in the region to ensure that counterfeit currency does not get dispensed through ATMs or across the exchange counters.

According to a release issued by the Assistant Manager, RBI, Chandigarh, Ms Abha Gupta, the RBI has received a few complaints from public that counterfeit notes were received by them during transactions through ATMs.

She said the public could approach regional offices of banks for any information and guidance on counterfeit currency. Public, too, should check the bank notes received by them for their genuineness. 



Lab facilities outsourcing gets nod
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
The UT Health Department has sanctioned the outsourcing of the laboratory facilities at 24 civil dispensaries, community health centres of Sector 22, Manimajra and polyclinic, Sector 45, at highly subsidized rates.

Free lab services will be provided to yellow card holders and 25 per cent discount will be given to poor patients other than those below poverty line in these laboratories, UT Health Secretary Krishna Mohan said.

This facility will be extended to all government medical institutions, dispensaries and polyclinics after successful implementation of the first phase. The rates of 63 investigations have been fixed as per the rates charged in government multi-specialty hospital, Sector 16, and in case the same was not on the said list the rates prevailing with PGI/government-approved agencies of firm will be applicable, which ever is minimum.

Modern terminal market

The State Agricultural Marketing Board, Chandigarh, on Friday convened a pre-qualification conference for modern terminal market in Sector 39.

Participants included the Director-General, National Institute of Ariculture Maketing, Mr Anurag Bhatnagar, Secretary, State Agriculture Marketing Board, Mr R.K. Rao, and Joint Secretary, State Agriculture Marketing Board, Mr Ankur Garg.

Twentyeight private sector players, including L & T, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Indian Bank, ITC, Reliance, NCDEX, Concor, DSCL, Radha Krishna Food Land, Tata Chemicals, participated in the event.

The Agriculture Marketing Board had floated the global tender for the project on January 20. The applications have to be submitted by March 1 and the list of applicants would be announced by March 26. 



Paraplegic centre to get physiotherapy block
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
A new air-conditioned physiotherapy block having state-of-the-art physiotherapy equipment would soon come up at the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC) in Mohali.

Being built at an approximate cost of Rs 23 lakh, the 330 square-metre block would be air-conditioned to provide a comfortable environment to the inmates to carry out physiotherapy exercises in summers as well as in winters, a statement issued here said.

The future plans of PRC include increasing its capacity to 58 beds from the present 30 beds in the first phase of expansion and increasing it to 100 beds in the final phase. At present 36 ex-army personnel, who have been rendered paraplegic (suffering from paralysis of both the lower limbs) or tetraplegic (suffering from paralysis of all four limbs), are undergoing rehabilitation at the centre.

The block's foundation stone was laid by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt. Gen Daljeet Singh, today.

The centre provides facilities like medical treatment, physiotherapy, physical exercise and sports and computer training. Stress is being laid on providing vocational training to the inmates and their families to enable them to earn a decent living.



Welfare society formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
The residents of E.W.S. (LIG) houses of Sector 47-C, Chandigarh, have unanimously formed the Welfare Society:

The following have been elected office-bearers: Chairman — Mr Ravinder Pal Singh; president — Mr Mohan Singh Rakhra; sr vice-president — Mr Vijay Prabhakar; vice-president — Mr Subhash Rana; general secretary — Mr Tarsem Chand Sharma; joint secretary — Mr Banwari Lal Sharma; cashier — Mr Sarwan Kumar Vashist; propaganda secretary — Mr Sham Sunder Sharma; press secretary — Mr Pawan Chandla; organising secretary Mr Sant Ram Bhatia and joint organising secretary — Mr Surinder Singh.



Three-wheeler overturns, 15 injured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
An overloaded three-wheeler, bearing number HR-68-5592, overturned at the Railway Point at 1 pm today. According to police sources, about 14 to15 passengers were in the vehicle when the incident occurred. All passengers were injured and were taken to Government Medical College, Sector 32.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC at the Manimajra police station against the driver of the three-wheeler, Ram Saran, a resident of Manimajra on the complaint filed by Mr Gopal.

Hit and run case

The Chandigarh Police registered a case at the Manimajra police station on the complaint of Sahib Singh against the driver of a truck (PB-07-0463) under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC. In his complaint, Mr Sahib Singh alleged that the truck hit his three-wheeler (PB-12-E-7622) around 10 p m on February 8 at the Railway Light Point injuring him along with four other passengers. After hitting the three-wheeler the truck sped away. All injured were admitted to General Hospital, Sector 16.

Scooter stolen

Mr Shashi Kant Kalia, a resident of Sector 23, complained at the police station, Sector 17, that some one had stolen his scooter (bearing number HR-03-3760), from his residence on February 9. A case has been registered under Section 379 of the IPC.



Man consumes poison, dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9
Anil Kumar, a resident of Sector 40 A, committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at his house this morning.

The deceased had some poisonous substance around 9 am today at his first floor house. After taking it, he came down at his brother’s house on the ground floor where he fell unconscious. He was taken to General Hospital immediately where he was declared brought dead.



Biz Clips

BSNL offers

The Punjab telecom circle of the BSNL has introduced special offers on their excel pre-paid recharge coupons. They are offering full talktime of Rs 4000 on recharge coupons of Rs 3000 with validity of one year; full talktime of Rs 4000 on recharge coupons of RS 4000 with validity of five years; and full talktime of Rs 8000 on recharge coupons of Rs 5000 with validity of two years. — TNS


Cobra beer was launched in the city today. Cobra Indian Beer Private Limited is targeting Chandigarh as a key market and will be making substantial investments in marketing the brand in the region. Since the launch of the Indian-made Cobra beer last year, the company has expanded its presence in Kolkata, New Delhi, Rajasthan, Bangalore, Mumbai, Goa. — TNS



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