C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Youth’s body fished out
Villagers block road, allege delay in search
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The body of Ravinder Kumar, alias Sanju, of Bhaskar Colony in Sector 25 here, who was drowned in the new artificial lake near Dhanas village on Sunday, was fished out after 24 hours by the UT administration this afternoon, even as irate residents and the family of the deceased resorted to sloganeering and a blockade, protesting against the delay in the search operation.

They alleged that the administration had at one point of time denied providing divers and boats needed for the search. The councillor of the area, Sheela Devi, alleged that she had informed the deputy commissioner (DC) about the incident at 3 pm on Sunday, but no one contacted her.

She said she again spoke to him today about the inadequate arrangements. Motorist and passers-by were put to inconvenience as the protesters blocked the road leading to Dhanas in the morning and the rotary separating Sector 38 and 25 in the afternoon.

Hundreds of curious onlookers thronged the lake throughout the day to watch the search operation. In the afternoon, a motor boat was pressed into service, and the body located.

The protesters alleged that the authorities concerned left the family members at the lake last evening, asking them to stay there during the night. The following morning when the searchers did not turn up till 9 am, the irate villagers resorted to a roadblock. The police reached there after some time. The boats reached there after 11: 40 am.

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IG’s brother arrested, released
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 26
Rakesh Kumar Sharma, brother of Punjab Police IG S.K. Sharma, was arrested and later released on bail by the local police here this evening.

Rakesh Sharma was arrested following a complaint of a Panchkula resident, Paramjit Kaur Dhillon, alleging that he was trying to put pressure on her into registering a land deed.

Sharma was arrested from the Phase 1 tehsil office, where he had come to get the registration of the land done. He was brought to the Phase 1 police station. According to SSP SAS Nagar, R.S. Khatra, the complainant had alleged that Sharma had finalised a deal of over Rs 2 crore for a piece of land in Kharar. He had reportedly already paid Rs 1 crore through a cheque to Dhillon, following which he insisted on getting the registry of the sale done.

According to the SSP, the complainant alleged that she wanted to be paid the full amount first and get the registry done later. But Sharma tried to ‘pressurise’ her into the deal.

The Mohali police first slapped Sections 341, 506 and 420 of the IPC on Sharma, but later realised that since the registry had not been done, Section 420 was removed. Following this, Sharma was released on bail.

Chandigarh: The department of income tax recorded the statement of RK Sharma, brother of a senior Punjab police official for alleged tax evasion.

According to sources, the sleuths of the department recorded the statement of Sharma in connection with the purchase of property in Mohali district. Sources said the documents of Sharma relating to payment of taxes would be scrutinised by the department to match these with his income.

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Kamboj’s son, student held for car thefts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
With the arrest of two more accomplices of Surinder Singh Kamboj, arrested on the allegation of flesh trade last week, the police today claimed to have recovered three stolen cars and a scooter. One of the accused is Kamboj’s son.

In charge of the operation cell of the Chandigarh Police inspector Vijay Kumar said Jagdeep Kamboj, alias Goldy, son of Surinder Kamboj, and a final-year student of the department of laws of Panjab University, Sanjeev Chhabra, of Jalalabad had been arrested following disclosures by Kamboj during sustained interrogation.

Kamboj was on police remand while the other three accused arrested with him in the flesh trade racket were sent to judicial custody.

Inspector Vijay told TNS that a stolen Hyundai Accent (PB-18-J-7283), a seal of the Registration and Licensing Authority, Batala, and a fake registration certificate of the vehicle were recovered from Jagdeep.

A Maruti Alto car (PJI-8), a fake registration certificate and a seal of the SDM of Malout were recovered from Chhabra.

A stolen Tata Indica Car (PB-65-B-0132), a scooter, a fake registration certificate and a seal of the SDM of Mohali were seized from Surinder Kamboj.

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PGI turns back on ex-Ranji player
Arun Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh, March 26
A 66-year-old disabled former Ranji player had to return without treatment at the PGI emergency on account of resource crunch. This, despite the fact that he had a free card issued by the PGI.

The hapless Devi Chand Worrel, who played as a member of the Southern Punjab team in Ranji trophy matches between 1955 and 1965, is now living in penury.

The PGI standing financial committee decided to double the card fee for emergency and OPD services last week on the pretext of meeting the expenses of poor patients and providing them more facilities.

“I fell while trying to sit in a rickshaw and my wife took me to the PGI where after preliminary checkup, the doctor asked me to deposit Rs 300 at the counter ”, said Worrel.

“I showed the doctor my old papers with “free” patient facility but when nobody listened to me, I had

to return without treatment,” said a visibly upset Worrel.

Worrel, a diabetic, underwent surgery last year when his left foot was amputated due to gangrene. He was admitted to the PGI in December 2005 and treated for cardiac problems before he was discharged on February 8 last year.

Since then, he is confined to a wheelchair. He is jobless as his hands have been deformed due to diabetes. Worrel was trained under the legendary Lala Amarnath as a fast bowler. He devoted his life to cricket and coached school and college teams under the Chandigarh Sports Council.

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Out, yet not down
3 diehard fans fly to Jamaica
Amrita Dhaliwal & Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
Even after the ouster of team India from the Cricket World Cup, diehard cricket fans from the city intend to keep their date with the Caribbean. Three cricket enthusiasts from the city have decided not to cancel their tickets and will be flying out. They claim to be the only ones from the city going to watch the World Cup.

“Like every Indian fan, we were disappointed to see our team out of the contest. Earlier, we decided to cancel our programme but we changed our mind. We have packed our bags to cheer Bangladesh instead,” said Gaurav Kumar, who runs an Internet marketing company.

“After all, we love the game. And the World Cup matches will provide us a chance to see the stars in action,” said Harinder Singh Sidhu, who runs an adventure sports outfit.

While Harinder and Gaurav are friends, Sharad is Gaurav’s brother. “We had a fourth friend, but after India’s defeat, he refused to go with us,” said the trio.

They have decided to cut short their trip by 10 days. “It is a very expensive trip. Each one of us has bought six tickets costing a hundred dollar each,” said Sharad.

“Our plan to go had materialised in June last year. We bought the tickets in August last. We have already booked with various beach resorts,” said the cricket lovers.

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Woman kills 2 daughters, commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The bodies of 26-year-old woman and her two minor daughters were found hanging at their Mauli Complex residence here this evening. The police said it appeared that the woman first hanged the girls and then killed herself.

Though no suicide note was found, some domestic dispute is being cited as the reason behind the tragedy. The woman, Sheela, year-old Ruhani and three-year-old Phurkani, were found hanging from the hook of a ceiling fan.

The incident came to light at 6 pm when Ram Nivas reached home from work and found the main door locked from inside. His repeated knocks got no response. He climbed the wall of his neighbour and landed in the courtyard of his house.

He was shocked to see the bodies of his wife and daughters hanging. Ram Nivas is a small-time contractor.

SHO of the Mani Majra police station inspector Bishi Ram said Ram Nivas told the police that he had had an argument with his wife as he wanted her to go back to their native village in Gonda district. His wife did not want to go there and there was tension between them over the issue. The SHO ruled out foul play.

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DRDO develops holographic sights for rifles
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a holographic sight for rifles and carbines. This is stated to be the first application of
holography on small arms in India.

Introduction of holographic sights would improve the marksmanship of a soldier to a great extent as it cuts down on the time required to take aim and does away with the need to line up the weapons sights with a target to ensure a hit. A small red circle on a screen tells the shooter exactly what his weapon is aimed at.

Based upon technical specifications and qualitative requirements issued by Army Headquarters, the sight was developed by the Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE), a DRDO laboratory at Dehradun. Its prototypes have been integrated with the INSAS rifle and were demonstrated to the Army recently, according to a new DRDO in-house bulletin.

The holographic sight has the advantage of shooting with both eyes open, along with faster target acquisition and improved accuracy. The devise is very useful for soldiers in close quarter battles and counter-insurgency, where speed and accuracy are critical.

The battery-powered device is about six inches long and about four inches high. A shooter looks through a small “transparent” window on the upper part of the devise to aim. The window is actually a transmission hologram showing a virtual image of the area in front of him. The image is generated by a laser. A small red circle is superimposed upon the image acts as an aim point. Even if the window in partly damaged during operations, the holographic image remains intact in the unbroken part and the shooter can still engage the target.

The indigenous holographic sight project also involved the development of several associated technologies like recording and reconstruction of reticle-hologram, fabrication of holographic lens laser diodes and temperature compensation.

The prototypes are technologically at par with imported products in terms of its functions and features like brightness control, auto-shut down, low-battery indicator, etc, the bulletin claimed.

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IOC to lay LPG pipeline from Panipat to Jalandhar
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) will lay a 275 km pipeline for the supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from its Panipat Refinery to Jalandhar. The execution of the project will begin from next month and the project is expected to be complete by September, 2008.

Top officials in IOC informed TNS here today that the permission for execution of the work had already been taken from the Ministry of Petroleum. “All tenders for allotting civil works have been executed and we have now sought the Right of Way permission from the Punjab Government to begin work for laying the pipeline,” said a senior official in the company.

The pipeline will be 275 km. long with a 10 inch diameter and a discharge capacity of 243 kilolitres per hour. Officials said that the pipeline would be laid from Panipat to Jalandhar via Lehragagga, Nabha and Khanna. Officials said a pipeline already existed between Panipat and Lehragagga-Kandla Bathinda pipeline (KBPL) and between Khanna and Jalandhar (part of Mathura-Jalandhar Petro Line (MJPL). So the fresh pipeline will have to be laid between Lehragagga and Jalandhar. It is estimated that the cost of the project will be Rs 186 crore.

“The laying of this pipeline will help the company deal with the problem of unloading and loading of tankers and save transportation costs. This will also help us to deal with the problem of losses suffered as a result of road accidents involving tankers,” said H S Bedi, general manager, Indian Oil Corporation (Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir).

He also informed TNS that the IOC was planning to increase its total capacity of LPG at its bottling plants in Punjab. The company has a total bottling capacity of 411 TMTA (thousand metric ton per annum) in Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir. The present consumption is about 408 TMTA, so we have to increase the capacity.

The two bottling plants at Nabha and Jalandhar (with a capacity of 211 TMTA) cater to Punjab and Chandigarh while bottling plants of 22 TMTA capacity each at Una and Baddi and at Jammu cater to Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. IOC now plans to increase the capacity of its Jalandhar plant from 144 TMTA to 188 TMTA. With the increase in capacity, we will be filling 1.32 crore cylinders annually as against 1.02 crore cylinders at present.

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Water rationing in Mohali begins from April 1
Night supply on alternate days
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 26
With the summer fast approaching, the water supply and sanitation wing of the department of public health has decided to go for rationing of water supply from April 1.

In most parts of the town residents will be given water supply to fill their overhead tanks on alternate days. Areas linked with the water works in Phase VI have been divided into two zones and water at full pressure will be supplied on every alternate night to fill the overhead tanks.

Zone I will cover Phases I, VI, III B 2 and industrial phases I to V while phases II, III A, III B 1 , IV , V and VII will be covered under Zone II. From April 1 these areas would be supplied water at full pressure from midnight to 5 am on every alternate night.

However, Phases IX to XI and Sectors 70, 71 and parts of Sector 48 which get their water supply from the water works in Sector 57 are not covered under the zoning plan and will continue to get water supply as usual.

The rationing of water supply usually starts on March 15. However, it is being introduced form April 1 in view of a delayed summer.

Though an acute water shortage is not witnessed in Mohali, certain areas like Phases III A, III B 2 , VII and IX get less water compared to other areas. There is only one tubewell in Phase III A and the water discharge (carrying sand particles) from the tubewell has come down. There are three tubewells in Phase IX, but all of these are not giving adequate discharge. Similarly, there is only one tubewell in Phase III B 2, which was sunk in 2000. This, too, is not giving satisfactory discharge.

Officials of the department have been requesting the municipal council to get more tubewells sunk in the areas, which face water shortage.

Executive engineer Partap Singh said here today that there were 29,000 water connections in Mohali. If eight persons were supplied water from one connection (only one connection is given to each dwelling unit despite several floors) approximately 2.35 lakh people were covered. He said according to the rules each person had to be given 80 gallons of water per day. As such the total requirement of water in Mohali was 20 million gallons a day, which rose to 22 million gallons a day during peak summer.

Mohali was getting 10 mgd of water from Kajauli water works and about 5 mgd from 46 the local tubewells. As the town was short of at least 5 mgd, rationing of water supply had to be done during summers.

Areas like Phase III B 1, III B 2 and VII would also be supplied water from the water works in Sector 57 to meet the shortage.

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Park Committees
Councillors accused of Municipal Act violation
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 26
Convener of the Panchkula Joint Welfare Associations Forum, Hemant Kinger, said here today that very little funds were being used to develop the parks by park development committees.

He said the committees had been empowered to carry out financial withdrawals for development of parks. “Also, the Haryana Municipal Act categorically lays down that no councillor shall directly or indirectly have any interest in a contract. So, according to this, all councillors are liable for disqualification,” Kinger claimed.

He had found that either the councillor or spouse, or both, in some cases, were running the park development committees, he added.

“Since the Municipal Act stands violated, the councillors, whose names figure on the list of beneficiaries, should be suspended. Though the committees were approved by the House, these are in complete violation of the Act.”

“In a strange case, the president of the committee is dead but the funds are being withdrawn by another member. Then, there are husband-wife teams running the show in some wards. Certain committees have no members of the sector concerned,” he claimed.

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Ashtami: Serpentine queues at Mansa Devi
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 26
Devotees flocked to the Mata Mansa Devi shrine on the occasion of Ashtami, the eighth Navratra, here today. Long queues extending up to the railway track, which divides Sectors 4 and 5, were witnessed as the organisers had a tough time containing the crowds.

While the queues only grew longer outside, the premises of the shrine was also bursting at its seams with devotees. Though a wish box was installed at the premises for devotees to put in their slips, the organisers had a tough time keeping the public at bay from the tree where threads are tied for the fulfilment of wishes.

Gold ornaments, silver utensils besides other utility items were donated at the shrine during the last eight days besides the cash that was offered there.

Though the Navratras meant brisk business for temporary stalls and shops that line up at the shrine entry point, these come as a nightmare for the shopping complex in Sector 5. With the entire area being turned into a parking space, businessmen rue that the Navratras have come to mean no business for them.

"We have approached the administration to allocate parking space for the mela elsewhere but they can't seem to find any other place," a businessman said.

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More cabs for city soon

Chandigarh, March 26
The Chandigarh administration has decided to introduce more cabs on the city roads. Operators willing to maintain a fleet of at least 50 air conditioned cars will be allowed to start the services in the city.

Sources say only new vehicles will be allowed to run on road as radio cabs. The vehicles will be phased out within five years.

The vehicles should be linked through a modern communication system with a control room maintained by the operators. The colour scheme and fare structure will be specified by the administration.

The administration had earlier decided to introduce a limited number of cabs to prevent overcrowding on the city roads.

A senior official said: “Keeping in mind the increased flow of tourists to the city, the administration has decided to allow a regulated growth in the number of cabs”.

Tourists have been identified as the biggest potential users of the special cab service.

“Tourists largely depend on auto-rickshaws for local travel. A majority of these do not use the fare meters resulting in overcharging,” the official said.

Officials feel that strict measures need to be initiated against taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers who do not make use of meters for charging fare.

A move by the administration on an earlier occasion was opposed by cab drivers. This time, the administration is contemplating strict action against defaulters to ensure clean and better services in the city. TNS

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LPG cylinders
Drive to check black marketing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
In order to curb black marketing of LPG cylinders, the Indian Oil Corporation has launched a special campaign by way of which check will be kept on undelivered cylinders, lest these should find their way in the black market.

Gurmeet Singh, chief LPG manager, IOC, told the TNS that they had made it mandatory for delivery men of all LPG agencies to paste a sticker on the locks of houses found locked.

This had been done after the company found out that delivery men had been claiming that the house of the customer they visited was found locked on repeated visits.

The cylinders were then sold in the black market.

Gurmeet Singh said they had already got four lakh stickers printed, which would be given to gas agencies in the tricity.

The delivery men will be required to fill the date and time of the visit on the sticker and the name and telephone number of the gas agency, so that the customer can contact them on return.

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Defence body honours mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The annual general body meeting of the Chandigarh Defence Colony Welfare Association was held here under its president Air Marshal Randhir Singh (retd).

General secretary Major D.S. Sandhu (retd) presented the annual activity report.

Finance secretary M.S. Aulakh read out the accounts of the association for the last year.

Municipal corporation mayor Harjinder Kaur was honoured at the meeting.

Besides, seven members above the age of 75 years were also honoured.

A cultural programme was presented by artistes of the North Zone Cultural Centre.

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Fauji Beat
Frontline soldiering ruled out for women

BASED on the study carried out under the auspices of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has ruled out the induction of women officers in the combat units. An earlier study conducted by the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), had said that women were fit enough to go into combat.

The study carried out by AFMS was right in saying that women were fit for combat. Admittedly, they are not only doing as well as men but are performing even better than men in certain spheres. Notwithstanding this, the MoD has counted them out for combat role. Why?

Despite their derring-do, it is their gender that puts women at a great disadvantage in battle. Among the US troops in the Gulf war, 8 per cent were women. They not only contributed their share to the victory of the allied forces but also figured in the list of casualties and POWs. After the horrifying sexual assault of two women, who became POWs, by the Iraqis, the American Army did not take the risk of putting women in frontline soldiering.

Don’t suspect ECHS members

On becoming a member of the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), you are issued with an ECHS Health card. The card is a proof of your membership and is meant to be used as such at all the 227 polyclinics across the country. But before its use, it has to be activated by giving your thumb impression biometric at the parent polyclinic. This smart card can be accessed at all the polyclinics.

Despite the rules being very clear, the Managing Director of the ECHS Central Organisation, had given orders about two months ago that authentication of a member would be done on computer during each of his visit to a polyclinic. This means that every time you go to a polyclinic, you have to give your thumb impression for the verification of your identity on computer.

A large number of members are highly critical about these orders. As it is, the patients have to wait for a long time at the polyclinics. This system adds further delay to their waiting period, especially when the computer does not accept the thumb impression, the system is down or there is no electricity. “Isn’t our photo on the smart card a proof of our identity? Why are we being treated as suspects?” Most of them say.

A born flyer

That he attended the IAF’s Presidential Fleet review at Chandigarh the other day, at the age of 89, should surprise no one. For, Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, despite his age, attends most of the functions, especially of the Air Force. He was the chief guest and the reviewing officer at the Combined Graduation Parade at the Air Force Academy, Dundigil, last year.

Hailing from Lyallpur (now Faisalabad in Pakistan), he can be rightly called a born flyer and the architect of the IAF. During his college days in the mid-1930s at Lahore, he had pictures of planes on the walls of his hostel room, read everything on flying and spent his weekends at the Lahore Flying Club. — Pritam Bhullar

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Five held for trespass
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The local police today claimed to have recovered stolen articles worth about Rs 2 lakh in connection with a case in which a tenant accused his landlord on Sunday of forcibly removing him from the place. It was alleged that the landlord had taken away articles worth over Rs 3 lakh from the plot.

The police said all accused - landlord Parveen Narang of Bathinda, Lalit Kumar of Bathinda, Balwinder Singh of Khuda Ali Sher, Satish Kumar of Kansal village and Iqbal Virk of Sirsa - were produced before a local court today. The court sent Narang and Lalit to police remand while the other three were sent to judicial custody.

The police has registered a case of rioting, criminal intimidation, trespassing and theft on a complaint lodged by Joginder Kumar of Sector 21, Panchkula.

1 hurt in mishap

A scooterist, Surinder Kaur of Sector 36, was seriously injured in an accident with a car near Sector 22 on Sunday. She was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, here. A case of causing injuries due to rash and negligent driving has been registered.

Assault

Mehtab Singh of Phase X, Mohali, reported to the police alleging that Punit, Vikas and Prince, residents of Burail village, had assaulted and threatened him near Government Model Senior Secondary School, Burail, on March 23. A case has been registered.

Bike stolen

Ramnik Singh of Sector 69, Mohali, lodged a complaint alleging that his motorcycle was stolen from Sector 34 on March 21. A case of theft has been registered.

Theft

Chander Pal of Phase I, Ram Darbar, filed a complaint alleging that the electricity meter at his residence was stolen during the intervening night of March 22 and 23. A case of theft has been registered.

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‘Punjab to generate 1,000 MW power’

Chandigarh, March 26
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has said that an additional 1,000 MW power will be generated in the state during the next six months and the state would be power surplus in the next six months.

He was speaking at a session organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) organised here on Saturday.

The chief minister said after assuming power, his government had released a sum of Rs 105 crore as capital investment subsidy, while the previous government had released only Rs 50 crore.

He said three development boards - one each for large, medium and small industry and traders - would be set up.

These boards would have industry and trade representatives, he added. TNS

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Gold loses glitter these Navratras
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The nine-day Navratras have failed to bring cheer to jewellers in the city.

Though the sale of gold and jewellery picks up substantially during the festive period, soaring prices and increasing investments in realty and mutual funds this year have taken the glitter off the metal.

Jewellers in the city say the festival has been bringing good business to them, for this is considered to be an auspicious period for the purchase of gold and jewellery.

The sale of jewellery usually goes up by 20 to 35 per cent during the nine days, as people also use the opportunity to make purchases for marriages.

However, with gold no longer being regarded as a profitable investment these days, just 10 per cent growth has been seen in the sale of jewellery so far.

To see city jewellery shops teeming with buyers during the Navratras is now a thing of the past.

Kailash Chand Talwar of Talwar Jewellery House, Sector 22, says: “The sale has been down these Navratras because purchasing power of people has gone down due to high inflation. Also, with no marriage season ahead soon, sales have been slow”.

Rohit Jain and Neeraj Jain of JJ Diamonds said the sales picked up only on the sixth day of the Navratras i.e. March 24, when it almost tripled.

“But the overall increase in sales is less than 10 per cent. People now invest in mutual funds and real estate, which offer better returns than gold. Figures available from the World Gold Council also show that the sales across India this financial year have gone down by 30 per cent (700 tons of gold as compared to 1,000 tons last year),” they say.

Even residents do not want to buy jewellery during Navratras because of the changing fashion trends in jewellery.

Richa Bhatia, shopping for diamond jewellery, says people no longer want to stock up jewellery during the Navratras, as the fashion keeps changing.

Jewellers rue that though the overheads have gone up substantially in the past one year, the rising price of gold has warded off customers.

“Though the amount of sales has remained the same because of the price, the quantity of sales has gone down sharply,” says Rohit Jain.

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