C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Lakhowal warns of Raj Bhavan gherao
Land owners get BKU support
Tribune News Service

We are not opposed to development. The IT companies can be given land elsewhere. If the administration is to give them land in the area, it should offer market rates to the affected persons.

Chandigarh, April 26
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has threatened to gherao the Punjab Raj Bhavan if the Chandigarh Administration does not watch the interests of the farmers of Kishangarh village whose land was being acquired for the IT park here.

Extending his support to the agitating land owners, Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, chairman of the BKU, today categorically said the UT administration would not be allowed to acquire land forcibly. “ I have come on the request of the land owners,” he said.

The BKU chief, who is chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board, told mediapersons at the Press Club that the union believed in agitations and not giving memoranda. “We are not opposed to development. The IT companies can be given land elsewhere. If the administration is to give them land in the area, it should offer market rates to the affected persons.”

Instead of being sympathetic to farmers, the top brass in the administration had been using ‘wrong words’ against the land owners. He reminded the administration of the pervious dharnas by the BKU in 1984 and 1990.

Amar Singh Chahal, president of the Lawyers for Human Rights International, said the custodians of law were themselves violating it. The archaic Land Acquisition Act had spelled doom for the farmers.

“ The land deals executed by bureaucrats smells of hissa-pati. The administration will not be allowed to trample on the interests of the farmers,” he warned.

He advocated setting up of a land resource regulatory authority which should be headed by a sitting High Court judge. The regulatory authority should comprise of financial experts, environmentalist, urban planners and representatives of the land owners.

Brig KS Kahlon (Retd), vice-president of the Mani Majra Farmers Welfare and Environment Protection Association, said the farmers would be forced to resort to ‘strong measures’ if their voice went unheard.



Motorists, mind your speed
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu /TNS

Chandigarh, April 26
The Chandigarh Traffic Police is ready to catch you on camera. In a unique initiative modelled on the metros, it has decided to install close-circuit TVs (CCTV) at four busy intersections in the city.

UT superintendent of police (Traffic) A.S. Ahlawat said that in the first phase, the CCTVs would be installed at transport lights point, railway station lights point, Aroma traffic lights point and press lights point.

The cameras would capture motorists for offences such as jumping the lights, using mobile phones while driving, not wearing seat belts, crossing the stop line and zebra crossings and not following the rights lanes at the intersections.

The SP said a police officer in the control room would pass on the information regarding the offender to the policemen in the field to enable him to nab him at the next point. The move would also help eliminate the possibility of offenders evading the law in connivance with cops as the recording would be used as evidence of the offence.

The project would cost Rs 31 lakh. The CCTVs would be installed within the next two months. In all, five CCTVs, including one with a zoom lens, would be installed at every intersection. All cameras would be attached to a computer located in the control room and the information transferred through the optical fibre cables.

The rotating zoom camera would record the registration number of the vehicle. The computer at the control room would be equipped with software in which addresses and other details of the vehicles registered in Chandigarh would be fed. The officer on duty would only be required to feed the registration number of the offending vehicle and the complete charge sheet would be printed out by the computer. The police would also get details from the registration authorities of adjoining cities, including Mohali and Panchkula.

Meanwhile, the police had also purchased two speed video- recording radar cameras to catch speedsters. The cameras could cost Rs 10 lakh. The SP said the camera would display the speed of the vehicle with video recording. The police has also inducted six motorcycles in its fleet equipped with the public address system to warn motorists of violations committed by them.



One month after marriage, woman kills herself
Tribune News Service

She was married to Manish Sharma on March 10. The intercaste love marriage had the approval of both families. After the marriage, Manish went back to Australia and settled there.

Panchkula, April 26
A newly married woman allegedly committed suicide at the residence of her in-laws in Sector 2 here today. The woman, identified as 23-year-old Vaishali, hailing from Shimla, was found hanging with a dupatta from the shower in her bathroom.

Police sources said Vaishali’s mother-in-law, Veena Sharma, knocked at the door of her room this morning when she didn’t come out even by 10:30 am. Getting no response, she called up the girl’s parents John Gregory and Rosaline in Shimla and told them that the girl had bolted the door from inside. The parents, in turn, informed the police.

The police broke the door of the girl’s room and found her hanging in the bathroom. A suicide note was also found in her room. It says nobody should be held responsible for her death. She has also mentioned that all her jewellery should be handed over to her mother. A post-mortem examination of the body was conducted later in the day.

Family sources said Vaishali got married to Manish Sharma on March 10. The intercaste love marriage had the approval of both families. After the marriage, Manish went back to Australia and settled there. The girl’s parents said she could have taken the extreme step because she was lonely after Manish left for Australia.

Inquest proceedings have been initiated in the case.



ITC starts wheat procurement in Punjab, Haryana
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
There is a good news for farmers holding back on their wheat stocks in wait for better prices than the ones offered by the government procurement agencies. ITC- the agri retail major-today started procurement of wheat from Punjab and Haryana mandis.

After the corporates gave a cold shoulder to Punjab and Haryana in favour of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the ITC is the only company to have entered the mandis for procurement. The company today reportedly started procurement in the mandis of Rajpura and Ambala. Official sources in the two states informed TNS that the ITC had been procuring wheat from Hisar mandi for the past four days.

It is learnt that of the 700 tonnes of wheat that arrived in the Rajpura mandi today, over 300 tonnes was procured for the ITC through a commission agent. As against a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 850 per quintal, the company purchased the wheat at Rs 875 per quintal. In Hisar, the company is purchasing the wheat at the rate of 885 per quintal. The company is expected to step up its procurement in the coming days, hoping that more and more farmers will come out with their wheat stocks.

This year, the share of private traders and corporates in wheat procurement has been dismal as compared to last year. “The wheat arrivals in the two states have also been slow on account of late maturation and holding back of stocks by farmers. Khanna which is the largest grain market in Asia has received just 4. 29 lakh metric tonnes of wheat so far this year, as compared to 7. 84 lakh metric tonnes till date last year,” said Raj Sood, a leading commission agent in Khanna. In Punjab, as against an 11.4 per cent share of private traders in wheat procurement till date last year, this year the private traders have managed to procure only 8.9 per cent of the wheat. Similarly in Haryana, the share of private traders and corporates this year is just 9.87 per cent as compared to 20.77 per cent last year.

High taxes and freight charges on wheat has kept agri-corporates from making a foray in the wheat procurement process in Punjab and Haryana. The high cost of wheat from the two states had forced companies like Adani, Cargill, Glencore and the Australian Wheat Board to procure wheat from the mandis of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Punjab charges the highest taxes in North India (11. 5 per cent) on each quintal of wheat procured from its mandis while Haryana charges 10. 5 per cent as taxes. These taxes (market fee, rural development fund, VAT, cess on VAT and arhtiya commission) works out to be Rs 145 per quintal in Punjab and Rs 135 per quintal in Haryana. Also, the freight charges from the two states to South India (for example Bangalore) works out to be Rs 160 per quintal.

This means that the price a company will have to pay on each quintal of wheat procured from these states, including the MSP of Rs 850, is Rs 1145 - Rs 1155 per quintal. With the other states like Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh charging 7.5 per cent as tax and Madhya Pradesh charging 4 per cent taxes, corporates preferred these markets for buying wheat . Even the freight charges from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to South India (the main market for selling of wheat procured by the companies) is less than the charges from Punjab and Haryana.




A Tribune Debate

The business of traffickers recruiting people, especially women and girls, attracted by the prospect of a well-paid job abroad, has become alarming. Recently, a large number of people, misled by travel agents, were deported from Dubai. What should be done to deal with this growing problem? Are our laws strong enough to tackle this menace? Readers are invited to send their views, in not more than 300 words, to:


A Tribune Debate, c/o The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh 160 030
or email at news@tribuneindia.com by May 10, 2007



House passes 10 projects on roads
Multi-level parking gets MC stamp
Tribune News Service

4 members for advisory panel

The municipal house today elected four of its members to the home minister’s advisory committee. They are Dr Amrit Bolaria, who bagged 34 votes, Jatinder Bhatia (22), Kamlesh (22) and Anu Chatrath (16). The home secretary had requested the house to elect four members for the purpose. — TNS

Chandigarh, April 26
After having faced several hurdles, the multi-level parking project in Sector 17 finally got the nod of the municipal house today.

The approval came after UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues issued directions to the municipal corporation in this regard.

Under the agreed plan, the project is to be completed in two years.

The finance and contract committee (F&CC) of the corporation had recommended the construction of the multi-level parking on build-operate-transfer basis.

The committee had also finalised parking charges for the same. The project, which was mulled around two years ago, had failed to kick off as it continued to be delayed due to several reasons.

After much deliberation, the house deferred the proposal to impose paid parking in the motor market of Mani Majra. It was suggested to upgrade the infrastructure there.

The proposal drew strong objections from various councillors who contended that paid parking would affect business of a large number of mechanics operating in the market.

The house decided to seek a review of the recruitment rules for firemen by the fire committee of the house. The decision came after Brig K.S. Chandpuri said many councillors could not go through fresh rules and they needed time to take a final decision.

The estimate for providing canal water inlets to boosters in Sector 42 was referred to the sub-committee without much discussion.

The draft on dog bylaws was also postponed by the house, which recommended its review. The house collectively empowered the mayor to decide on ex-India leave of councillor Kuldip Singh. Besides, the house passed 10 projects of widening and re-carpeting of roads in the city.

These include V-6 roads in Sectors 22 C, 38 C, 43 B, 19 C, V-5 road in Sector 38 and the main road in Dadu Majra.

Construction of new roads in pocket No. 9 of Mani Majra, Ram Darbar and Karsan colony were also passed by the house.



Conversion policy
Admn dragging its feet, say cinema owners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Owners of different city cinemas, who have opted for conversion of their sites into multiplexes, today alleged that the administration had been sitting on their plans for the past several months, thereby blocking investment worth crores of rupees in the city.

Alleging step-motherly treatment, the cinema owners, under the banner of the Chandigarh Cinema Exhibitors Association, said while the administration was offering sops to applicants under the conversion policy by industrial plots, it was discriminating against them by way of not extending the commercial area.

Citing the revised scheme, “The setting up of a multiplex theatre and conversion of existing cinemas in to multiplex theatres scheme, 2007”, they lamented that the administration was literally forcing them to give up their project as there was no economic viability. The members stated that officials lacked professional approach in handling such policies and never cleared the grey areas before such policies were introduced.

“We bought the plot out of auction. Those who were allotted plots were being allowed conversion at much lower rates than us. There should be no restriction,” said Ashok Kumar of KC Theatre.

Lamenting that architectural controls were being brought in for them, whereas the same were being relaxed in other cases, Sham Sunder of Piccadily cinema said they were not allowed to increase the height of their building whereas the height of another building in the vicinity was more.

They further said there was no justification to treating their application under the new policy, as they had applied months before the previous policy ended on March 31, 2007.

Reacting to the statement of the cinema owners, an official of the administration said due to certain technical lacunae, which cropped up during the submitting of building plans under the 2006 policy, the pervious policy of 2000 had been revived.

In the new policy, it has been made clear that cinema site of special architectural character must retain that special character.

The same policy applies to existing cinema site and new multiplex theatre that apply for conversion under the multiplexes.

A request of cinema owners for increase in the covered area for commercial activity was under consideration.

A meeting in this regard was held at UT secretariat.



ISBT leaves a lot to be desired
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
It seems that the Chandigarh administration has a penchant of making tall claims about the modernisation of the Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT), Sector 17, ever so often.

But in reality, the picture is the opposite. What to talk of providing advance facilities equivalent to developed countries, the place, which is being used by thousands of commuters including local and outsiders daily, is still crying for basic amenities.

The ISBT disappoints its users on providing hygienic conditions around drinking water as well as eatables, clean toilets and proper and airy sitting arrangements.

People are forced to quench their thirst under unhealthy conditions. The two places for drinking water at the local and main bus stand are just adjacent to toilets and are thus full of stink. Broken outlet pipes cause water logging all around the area. In the absence of any cleaning drive, algae can be seen accumulating on the walls.

People are forced to use stinking toilets. Due to the foul smell, it is difficult to pass in front of the toilets. Piles of garbage, spit marks and other waste material lying all around are the other blemishes.

Filthy entry gates (from Sector 17 and the underground subway) present an appalling picture of the bus stand. Besides these, the TNS team found on its visit to the place that no pedestal fan, installed on the pillars, was functioning.

In the absence of any check by the authorities, ‘dhaba’ owners have been fleecing commuters. Most of these are charging higher rates on eatables, soft drinks, mineral water bottles and other stuff. A cold drink bottle is being sold at the rate of Rs 12 (Rs 2 higher than its normal rate), Bisleri water bottle Rs 15 instead of Rs 10 by a ‘dhaba’ at local bus stand, just opposite the subway gate.

“We know that they are charging higher rates. We have to board our bus so we cant argue with them. It is the duty of the authorities to check these illegal activities regularly,” said Nishant Kumar, a commuter from Panipat.



Four more houses in ‘HC pool’
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

The UT administration had submitted an affidavit before the high court on April 17 and also placed a copy of the Administrator’s decision regarding the allotment of five houses to the ‘High Court pool’. The administration had averred that since these houses were constructed on UT land, the administration had the right to take them from one pool and place them under another. Incidentally, the Administrator had ordered that the houses be placed under the ‘High Court pool’ on April 12.

Chandigarh, April 26
While there is a hue and cry over the Sector 2 houses being allotted to the Punjab Deputy Speaker and a high court judge, the UT administration has allotted four more houses to the ‘High Court pool’. These include those allotted to the CBI and the chairman of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission. Top sources in the administration say apart from the controversial Sector 2 house, four more houses were given to the pool. One such house had been originally allotted from the Punjab Chief Minister’s quota to a commissioner in the income tax department.

The house, located in Sector 3, is being vacated by the commissioner on April 30 owing to her transfer, informed the sources. The sources added that the administration, in a lookout for VIP accommodation for high court judges, zeroed in on two houses at the rear of the Rose Garden in Sector 16 here. One of the houses was allotted to the CBI, handling the Jammu sex scandal case then.

The other house, allotted to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) chairman, had also been placed under the ‘High Court pool’.

Incidentally, the CBI as well as the PSHRC have agreed to vacate the houses on the request of the administration.



Police panel meeting
All eyes on cops’ promotion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The departmental promotion committee (DPC) of the Chandigarh police, which will meet tomorrow, may have on its agenda the ticklish issue of promoting inspectors more than the vacant posts of deputy superintendent of police (DSP).

While three DSPs have retired since January 1, no one has been promoted against the available posts.

A strong lobby has been advocating the creation of an additional post of DSP for the Chandigarh municipal corporation to accommodate a “blue-eyed” inspector, who otherwise will have to wait for his promotion till the end of the year.

Another issue that may come up for discussion is if one of the three vacant posts is to be given to a Schedule Caste candidate under the prevalent roster point system.

Inspectors Ashwani Kumar, B.S. Chadha, Jagbir Singh, Prem Kumar Chuhan and Satbir Singh are in the race for promotion to posts vacated by Prem Singh Malik, Inderjit Singh and Vijay Pal Singh.

Though the meeting of the DPC was fixed earlier, it had to be postponed as issues pertaining to earmarking a post for Schedule Caste candidate as well as creation of an ex-cadre post for corporation cropped up.

Even mayor Harjinder Kaur and other elected councillors had reportedly opposed the creation of a DSP’s post in the corporation, maintaining that without proper police staff, burdening of the civic body with a senior post would do no good to it.

They quote the failed experiments of the Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Corporation (CITCO) as well as Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), where the DSPs had to be withdrawn after their short stints there, in support of their contention.



Vends: Draw of lots held
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 26
The draw of lots for 110 liquor shops in the SAS Nagar district was held at the office of the excise and taxation department in Phase II here today.

As many as 1,912 applications were received for the 110 shops out of which 47 were located in urban areas while 63 in rural areas. The draw was held in the presence of the deputy commissioner H.I.S Garewal.

Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner Gurtej Singh said that the licence fee for the coming 11 months was fixed at Rs 42.5 crore against the income of Rs 40.95 crore earned during the past 12 months.

He said that members of the bar association and Mohali Industries Association were involved in the draw of lots which was carried out in a transparent manner.

He said that liquor shops in towns were not area specific and could be set up anywhere as long as the provisions of the excise policy were not violated. However in villages, areas had to be earmarked for the setting up of liquor shops.



Sector 33 parched
Tribune News Service

At first I was told that the matter had been resolved. Later, the officials concerned started giving me wrong telephone numbers.

Chandigarh, April 26
Residents of Sector 33 have been forced to stay without water as the supply to the houses here has remained disrupted since yesterday afternoon.

Many alleged that in spite of having complained to the municipal authorities, no steps had been initiated to restore the water supply.

M.S. Dhillon, one of the residents, said he had called up the waterworks of Sector 32 repeatedly but to no anvil.

He said every time he called the authorities he was provided with incorrect information. “At first I was told that the matter had been resolved. Later, th e officials concerned started giving me wrong telephone numbers,” lamented Dhillon.

Xen, PH, Division III, V.S. Daggar said he received the complaint this afternoon after which he deputed a team to resolve the matter.

He said there could be some minor problem, which would be solved soon.



BJP leader Sudama Ram dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Senior vice-president of the employees’ cell of the BJP, Chandigarh, Sudama Ram died this morning. He was 68.

Sudama Ram is survived by his widow and three sons.

His eldest son lit the pyre in the presence of members of the Garhwal Sabha.

Hundreds of party workers paid tributes to the leader and attended his cremation.

Senior party leaders, including former MP Satya Pal Jain, city party president Yash Pal Mahajan, vice-president Purshotam Mahajan, and employees’ cell president Jagdish Lal Bajaj, were among those present.

Sudama Ram remained a trade union leader for several years and worked as president of the Garhwal Sabha.

A two-minute silence was observed to mourn his death.



Tatkal services sought
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 26
The Mohali Property Consultants Association have demanded that tatkal services should be introduced through the single window system of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) so that residents could get their work done in the minimum possible time.

The demand was made when a deputation of the association met the estate officer of GMADA here today.

Shalinder Anand, president of the association, said that objections to various cases of residents should be made on the same day. A fee should be fixed for providing tatkal services so that the government can earn some revenue.



ESI amnesty scheme extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
With the nod to withdrawal of 442 criminal cases filed against the employers and employees in the Punjab region, the ESI Corporation has decided to extend the date of amnesty scheme till May 31. This is the second extension in scheme after it was commenced on August 1 last year.

The corporation made provision under amnesty scheme for withdrawal of criminal cases filed against the employers and employees under Sections 85 and 84 of the ESI Act, subject to fulfilling of certain conditions.



Identification drive launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The SP (railway), Ambala cantonment, has launched a three-day drive to identify 2,757 persons, who lost their lives on railway track across Haryana in the past six years.

Sources in the general railway police said the drive would start on April 27. The photographs and other articles belonging to the deceased would be put on display during the drive.



Journalists meet chief secy
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 26
Members of the Mohali Journalists Joint Action Committee today met Punjab chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh. They have demanded action against deputy commissioner H.I.S Garewal for providing wrong information to the media regarding an election petition filed by the former president of the civic body.

The members gave a memorandum to the chief secretary for forwarding it to the Punjab chief minister.




Check age of buyers

In a country which has Ram Rajya as its ideal and Mahatma Gandhi as 'Father of the Nation', it is shocking to see liquor shops at every 50 metres. Cigarette- sellers are seen under every few trees.

While the MC takes away the wares of helmet-sellers and cycle repair shops at the roadside, it appears that it doesn't take action on these cigarette-sellers.

It is vital that cigarettes, alcohol etc be sold only in designated areas. Also, officials should be assigned to check the age of the buyers.

There should be a complete ban on the sale of intoxicants near educational institutions.

S. Ram, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



Girl missing since a month; cops clueless
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Had it not been for the Nithari killings, Vinod Kumar, father of a 12-year-old girl, missing from Sector 35, would not have been so panicky.

Radhika has been missing for over a month and the local police is yet to make headway in the case. The case is not a priority for them, but for Vinod, it’s a question of life of death. His daughter was last seen with Sachin, a relative, who was visiting the family from Uttar Pradesh. They had gone out of the house on March 26 to make a purchase. They had not returned since.

When Vinod visited Sachin’s workplace, he found the latter had not been to work for a month. Vinod is sure that his daughter has been sold off for forced domestic or sexual labour. He says: “Sachin had been turned out of his house in village Khan Tara in Uttar Pradesh. He was into all the wrong things - drugs and women. I helped him resettle in Chandigarh and this is what I got in return.”

Vinod has shared all possible details about Sachin with the Sector 36 police, which raided Sachin’s native village in UP.

But that didn’t help. Clues about the missing girl can only be traced to the thriving human trafficking net which relies heavily on agents from UP, Bihar and Jharkhand. Vinod thinks Sachin is an agent who had been prying on his daughter for about a month before he vanished with her.

But the police has its own explanation. “The girl had failed in her test and was afraid to face the family. Sachin might have taken advantage of this situation. We tried to track them down at railway stations and bus stands, but have not found any clues,” said sub inspector Partap Singh.

The girl was last seen with Sachin, a relative, who was visiting the family from Uttar Pradesh. They had gone out of the house on March 26 to make a purchase and had not returned since.



Rickshaw ride cost him dear
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
A rickshaw-puller along with two or three unidentified persons allegedly robbed a Karnal resident of four mobile phones and Rs 3,700 after assaulting him with bricks and stones. The victim, 20-year-old Charandeep Singh, was reportedly administered 32 stitches on his head.

Sources in the Sector 17 police station said the incident took place at 2 am on Wednesday. He was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital from where he was later discharged. A case of robbery under Section 394 of the Indian Penal Code was registered later.

Charandeep Singh, who deals in mobile phones, told the police that he got down at the Sector 17 ISBT on Tuesday night. He was expecting his friend, a Panjab University student, to fetch him from the bus stand. But when he failed to turn up, he hired a rickshaw. The rickshaw-puller stopped near Hotel Shivalikview to urinate.

All of a sudden, he felt a blow on his head. He was pounced upon by the rickshaw-puller and at least three more persons, who hit him on his head with bricks and stones. They took away his mobile phones, Rs 3,700 in cash and a bag containing clothes.

In charge of the Sector 22 police post sub-inspector Charanjit Singh said the mobile phones were put on surveillance and efforts were on to trace the culprits.



Five vehicles stolen in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
A truck and two motor cycles were among five vehicles stolen from various parts of the city.

Harjinder Singh of Pathankot district reported to the police alleging that his truck (PB 06 1498) was stolen from the transport area, Sector 26.

Similarly, Rahul Anand of Sector 44 D lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Bajaj Pulsar motor cycle (CH 03 N 1232) was stolen from DAV College, Sector 10, on Wednesday.

In another case, Gurmeet Singh of Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, filed a complaint with the police alleging that his Bajaj Pulsar motor cycle (CH 03 U 0754) was stolen from his residence.

Joginder Kumar of Sector 41 reported to the police alleging that his Bajaj Chetak scooter was stolen from Sector 41 during Monday night. In another incident, Roshan Lal of Sector 37 lodged a complaint alleging that his Kinetic Honda scooter was stolen from Sector 22 on Sunday.

Five separate cases of thefts have been registered in various police stations.


Dinesh Malhotra of Sector 51 reported to the police alleging that Rs 35,000 and a mobile phone were stolen from his car (CH 03 L 4303) after breaking its window this morning.

The car was parked in Sector 44 and a case of theft has been registered in the police station, Sector 39.

Also, Dolly Malik of Sector 11 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that two silver bowls, two silver flower pots and a silver hand fan were stolen from her residence yesterday morning. A case has been registered.

One held

A car driver was arrested in an inebriated condition for allegedly ramming his vehicle into a motor cycle and injuring its rider.

The police said that a motorcyclist, Navdeep Singh of Sector 49-A, suffered injuries after being hit by a Maruti car on the road dividing Sectors 37 and 41 on Tuesday.

The car driver, Ashok Kumar of Sector 41-B, was found to be in an inebriated condition. The victim was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, here.

The police has arrested Ashok Kumar on the allegations of causing injuries due to rash and negligent driving and also booked him under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act.


Mukesh Kumar of Dhanas filed a complaint with the police alleging that two unidentified persons riding a motorcycle snatched his bag containing a mobile phone and Rs 1,000 near Viswas Marbles Company in Dhanas in the wee hours yesterday. A case under Sections 356 and 379 of the IPC has been registered.



Alphonso mangoes a craze
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Those with a penchant for Alphonso mangoes need not wait to get their fruits from Mumbai. Sensing a growing market for this exotic mango variety from Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, traders in the city are now stocking this fruit.

Though priced at an astronomical Rs 109 - Rs 130 per kg, this variety has caught many a fruit lovers’ fancy. Available in the market for almost two weeks now, the sale of Alphonso mangoes have picked up drastically, even as these are more expensive as compared to last year. Fruit traders in the city said poor mango production, due to unseasonal rainfall last year in the alphonso growing belt in the Konkan area of Maharashtra, has led to the high prices this year.

Alphonso is considered the king of mangoes and is loved for its aroma and sweet taste. It is grown free of chemical fertilisers and no artificial ripening of the fruit is carried out, says Raju Bhagat, a fruit trader, in the Sector 26 sabzi mandi. The wholesale price of this variety in the city varies from Rs 350 (medium size) to Rs 400 (large size) per box (each box contains 12 pieces and weighs approximately three kilograms).

Till a few years ago, it was impossible to get this variety in the city. Lovers of this fruit would look forward to visits to Mumbai or rely on relatives to send them this fruit in the summers. But the improvement in logistics has now made it possible for the Alphonsos to be first brought to Delhi, and from there on to the city.

Fruit traders said as word about the availability of Alphonsos spreads in the city, so does the demand. Bhagat informed TNS that the daily sale of Alphonso in the city varies from 50 - 60 boxes (150 kg - 180 kg), while 70 - 80 boxes are brought to the city daily. In fact, in most weddings and parties, people want to exhibit and serve exotic fruit, and Alphonso mangoes are a favourite at weddings.

Traders said as safeda and sandoori varieties now gain full steam in the mandi, the common man preferred these varieties because of their lower cost. While sandoori is available for Rs 45 - 50 a kg, safeda variety, too, is available at the same cost.

Considering the popularity of this variety, even agri-retail stores like Choupal and Subhiksha are now stocking this variety. Incidentally, the Alphonsos available at Choupal are cheaper than the ones available in the mandi. Today, the price of Alphonsos (medium in Choupal was Rs 109 per kg, as compared to Rs 115 per kg in the mandi).



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