C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Day 1: Drive selective
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh July 15
Smoking at public places, particularly markets, inhabited by migrant labourers continued, despite the ban which came into effect in the Union Territory today. However places of tourist interest like the Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden and Sector 17 plaza, remained clear of smokers.

According to the police, at least 29 challans were issued. Raids continued till late in the night.

The Chandigarh administration, with the implementation of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Act 2003, has declared the city smoke-free and constituted a cell under the chairmanship of home-cum-health secretary.

On the first day of the ban today, vendors as well as customers could be seen smoking in the open among crowds at the vegetable market in Sector 26.Two persons, claiming to be government employees, smoking while seated on their scooter near a cigarette vendor threw away the cigarettes when asked by the Tribune team whether they knew about the ban. “We did not know about such a ban in the city,” they said, leaving the spot in a hurry.

A migrant labourer, Shiv Kumar, from Saharsa, Bihar, said he knew about the ban but expressed his inability to resist the “temptation.”

Similarly, rickshaw-puller Nafis Ahmad standing in front of shops in Sector 22, said policemen had asked them not to smoke in the market during rush hours. “What else can a poor man can enjoy except smoking after hard work throughout the day on roads,” he added, with a sigh.“During the last five days, my sales have dipped by 25 per cent,” rued cigarette-seller Amit, also of Sector 22.

No one was seen smoking at the Sukhna and the Rock Garden, even as thousands thronged the spots, it being a holiday.

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SMOKE-FREE, FINALLY
Tribune News Service

STOP ME IF YOU CAN: A rickshaw-puller violates the ban on smoking in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Sunday.
STOP ME IF YOU CAN:A rickshaw-puller violates the ban on smoking in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Sunday.—Tribune photo byParvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, July 15
With the implementation of provisions of the Central Tobacco Control Act in all parts of the city, the Union Territory of Chandigarh has become first smoke-free city in the country.

To make the implementation of Act a success the administration, in addition to launching a special drive to challan defaulters in public places, has constituted a Chandigarh Tobacco Control Cell (CTCC) under the chairmanship of Home-cum-Health Secretary to act as a focal point for all tobacco-related activities and complaints relating to violation of the provisions of the Act.

Smoking in public places has been banned. Restaurants, hotels, colleges, schools, government offices and markets are some of the places where smoking is not permitted unless special provision has been made in places like restaurants and hotels.

Smoking is permitted outside in such areas, near road berms, but the smoker will be responsible for the proper disposal of the cigarette butts.

Sale of tobacco near schools and colleges has also been banned.

Sub-Inspectors of Police and Municipal Corporation officials have been empowered to fine defaulters on the spot.

An awareness campaign about the smoke-free status of the city had been started earlier, which would continue. Signboards regarding the campaign have been affixed at various places all over the city. 

A study, published recently in The Lancet medical journal, says about half the tuberculosis deaths among men in India are due to smoking.
  • In rural areas, about 12 percent of smokers died prematurely of TB, compared to 3 percent of nonsmokers. In urban areas. the figures are 8 percent for smokers and 2 percent for nonsmokers.
  • Researchers calculate that almost 200,000 people a year throughout India die from TB because they smoked; half of the smokers killed by TB are in their early 50s or younger.
  • Among men aged 35-69 in India, smoking causes about half of TB deaths and about a quarter of all deaths.

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Vardhman officer drugged in bus, dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
Omit Ghosh, chief manager of Baddi-based wing of Vardhman Textiles, died after being drugged in a bus on the Delhi-Chandigarh route on Friday night. He was in his fifties.

The bus driver and conductor found him lying unconscious in the bus and reported the matter to the police. He was admitted to the Sector 16 Government Multi Speciality Hospital, where he died on Saturday.

In charge of the Sector 17 ISBT police post sub-inspector Pargat Singh said a police team visited five showrooms in Ambala, where the victim’s credit card was used, in an attempt to get clues about the robbers. The police has also quizzed the driver and the conductors of the Haryana roadways bus.

This is the fourth incident of the kind on this route. The police said no document was found on the person of the deceased which could help in establishing his identity. The security officer of the textile unit, Narinder Kohli, came to the police station inquiring about Ghosh. The police gave him description of an unidentified man who had died due to poisoning. The officer then identified the victim as Ghosh.

Ghosh hailed from Lucknow and is survived by his wife and daughter. He lived alone in Baddi.

Kohli told the police that Ghosh was coming from Mumbai. He rang up his wife informing her that he would reach Chandigarh on Saturday. His wife tried to contact him on the phone but failed. She then called up his office, following which the office began searching for him.

SHO of the Sector 17 police station inspector Kulwant Singh Pannu said Ghosh was given some poisonous substance. A case has been registered.

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PUDA abandons pet project
Chitleen K. Sethi/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
After five years of flip-flop, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has shelved the architectural design conceptualised by renowned urban planner Dr B.V. Doshi for the development of the Sector 62 City Centre here.

The city centre will now be designed by Jurong International, a Singapore-based company, which has been invited by the government to prepare the master plan of the township.

The much-flaunted plan of Mohali’s City Centre was designed by Ahmedabad-based Vastu Shilp, headed by Doshi, and cost PUDA over Rs 50 lakh.

However, caught in an endless red tape, the plan was never implemented and now five years later, the stack of documents and detailed maps is gathering dust in an almirah with the huge amount of public money gone down the drain.

Sources said the design had been shelved as Jurong International had offered to create a design which would be a blue print for all city centers in the state. The work on the Vastu Shilp plan began in 1999 when Doshi visited Mohali for the first round of talks with PUDA. After several presentations and meetings, the plan was approved in 2002.

In 2003, PUDA shortlisted nine top construction companies, including Land T, for infrastructure development of the centre at a cost of Rs 113 crore. It was decided that global tenders be floated for the same. However, in 2005 it was decided that PUDA would itself take up the work and go about it in a phased manner. But till date nothing has been done.

Considered a unique design in consonance with the lofty ideals of Le Corbusier, the city centre remained on the PUDA website as its biggest achievement. The plan designed by Doshi was based on the grid plan consisting of a plaza, parks and linear greens. 

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Mob Rage
Police urges peace, but...
Another woman points finger at SI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
The Chandigarh Police registered a case of rioting, damaging public property and criminal intimidation against unidentified miscreants who indulged in hooliganism at the PGI, the cremation ground and outside the police station in Mani Majra on Saturday. No arrest has been made.

Violence, stone-pelting and subsequent use of force by the police to disperse the mob marred the cremation of 21-year-old Anil Kumar of Indira Colony, who reportedly jumped to death in police custody at the police station on July 11.

In order to maintain tranquillity, the local police today organised a peace meeting with residents and representatives of Mani Majra. It was addressed by officiating Senior superintendent of police Dinesh Bhatt and others.

Terming the Saturday incidents as unfortunate, SSP Bhatt told the gathering that certain miscreants with vested interests had created a law and order problem yesterday. He urged the gathering to cooperate with the police.

In the meantime, the victim’s sister, Geeta, also reached there along with family members, demanding action against the erring police officers. The SSP met her separately and assured her that justice would be done.

At the meeting, Shushma Bharti , whose son was found dead under mysterious circumstances on May 6 last year, demanded that the death of her son too be properly investigated. She alleged that then too it was SI Narinder Singh who had hushed up the case. He had misled them about the circumstances leading to her son’s death. The SSP assured her of fair investigation.

Some representatives flayed the police for the use of force on children and women, who were dragged by their hair. Rameshwar Giri pointed out that if the police did indeed notice criminals and history sheeters among the mourners, why had it allowed them to escape.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Labour Welfare Association burnt an effigy of the Chandigarh Police this evening, protesting against the custodial death of Anil Kumar. The association demanded registration of a case of murder against SI Narinder Singh. 

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In Basta
9 months gone, no sketch of molester
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
It’s been over nine months since a five-year-old girl was sexually abused in Sector 41. The local police is still struggling to identify the culprit.

The little girl was molested a few yards from a religious congregation on the night of September 25.

The police washed its hands of the case as “untraced” on June 23 this year. During the nine months’ of investigation, the police failed to prepare a sketch of the culprit. The police in its case file mentioned that the girl was too young to be able to give a description of the culprit. She had failed to identify the place of the crime. Lack of cooperation on the part of the public was cited as another reason for the case going untraced.

The incident came to light late in the night, when her mother went looking for her. To her horror, she saw her daughter being escorted by some unknown children as she cried bitterly in pain. She took her home and found the girl bleeding profusely. She narrated the incident to her mother and was rushed to hospital in semi-conscious condition.

The only child of her parents, the girl was reportedly whisked away by a miscreant in a red shirt and sporting spectacles. He left her crying in pain after molesting her. The police registered a case of attempt to rape under Sections 376 and 511 of the IPC.

SHO of the Sector 39 police station inspector Gulshan Kumar said he studied the case file and felt that lack of support from public coupled with the inability of the victim to describe the culprit had hindered investigations.

Investigating officer of the case sub-inspector Baljit Singh, who was posted at the Sector 39 police station then, said the police contacted its sources in the vicinity to gather information, but in vain. Several persons were rounded up on suspicion, who were thoroughly quizzed, but no headway in the case could be made.

Since the victim’s mother ran a PCO from her residence, the police also scrutinised those frequently visiting their house, but to no results.

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Cosmopolitan Chandigarh
Bengali share their bond
Part of city, yet apart
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
It is one big extended family for the Bengalis’ living in the city. One of the most widespread communities, Bengali community has been able to preserve their rich heritage and traditions.

The members of the community, a majority of who have made a mark in different walks of life, celebrate their festivals and fairs with enthusiasm with the Bangla Bhavan in Sector 35, emerging as the cultural hub of the community. Interestingly, the community had maintained a fine balance between being part of the mainstream and keeping their identity intact.

It was in 1961 that about 15 Bengali families first organised Saraswati Puja at a house in Sector 15 under the aegis of the Bengali Association. However, with the formation of the Bengali Cultural Association in 1972, the canvass of its activities was broadened.

Durga Puja, the main festival, was celebrated at different venues, including Indira Bhavan, Tagore Theatre and Panchayat Bhavan till many years. With the allotment of land for Banga Bhavan in 1988, the community got a formal place for its activities.

“Every month the community members, including 300 life members, meet on Purnima (full moon night) where Satyanarain Katha is recited and community kitchen is organised. However, the Amavasya is celebrated at the Kalibari Temple in Sector 31, which has emerged as the community’s religious hub over the years,” said Dr S.R. De, president of the Bengali Cultural Association. During Durga Puja, which is the main festival of the community, the merriment is in the air a month before the d-day and continues till the next month.

The celebrations, including the birth anniversaries of Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji S.C. Bose and Vivekanand give a platform to the children to showcase their talent during the cultural events organised on these occasions. As a part of their social commitment, the ladies wing of the association visit old age homes, and orphanages besides awarding the meritorious children of the community. The members of community also take part in the sports activities organised by the community, which includes annual badminton, carom, contact bridge, chess and special ludo for ladies.

To keep the cultural traditions of the community alive the members of the community speak in their own language and even impart the lessons to their second and third generations.

The community even boast of their own newsletter. The community is at present facing he problem of paucity of funds to complete the work at Banga Bhawan.

Some of the prominent members of the community are (Late) Dr V S Sarkar, D.M. Sen, Dr S.K. Pyne, (Late) K Banerjee, (Late) Deboo Mishra, Commander R N Dasgupta, Dr S.K. Mitra and B Sarkar besides many others.

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Farewell function organised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
The Punjab and Chandigarh unit of India-China Friendship Association organised a farewell function, in honour of Young Linha and his wife, Cultural Councilor of Peoples’ Republic of China, New Delhi, at ICSSR complex in Panjab University, here, today. The function was presided over by Capt. Kanwaljeet Singh, cabinet minister for Cooperation, Punjab the ICFA members mainly academicians and teachers from educational institutes, attended the function.

Speaking on the occasion, Capt. Kanwaljeet said India and China are sharing cultural and social set up apart from the large common boundaries. So, it is essential that two Asian giants should develop a path of friendship and cooperation especially if they want to dominate political and economic scene of the world.

He appreciated the efforts made by the two neighbours to sort out their differences across the table and also advised to adopt a proper strategy for exploring the limited natural resources.

He further cautioned if the menace of terrorism is not tackled jointly, it will be a big set back for the development.

Recollecting his old association, Linha, termed India as his second motherland. He mentioned about his special association with ICFA and in particular with Major Jiwan Tewari. He appreciated the efforts of Major Jiwan Tewari in forging the India-China friendship to which he has also been associated since his childhood. He announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh to ICFA (Punjab and Chandigarh) on this occasion.

Dr Sat Pal Kalsi compeered the proceedings and Professor Gurtek Singh Gill proposed the vote of thanks.

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Airtel appoints executive director
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
Bharti Airtel announced the appointment of Syed Safawi as executive director, northern hub today. Syed Safawi will succeed Sanjay Nandrajog, who has taken over as the executive director, International Operations and Managed Services, for Bharti Airtel.

Syed has spent over 11 years with Coca Cola International, working across India and Asia. 

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Girl electrocuted

Chandigarh, July 15
An eight-year-old girl was electrocuted while mopping floor at her Mauli Jagran residence this morning when the piece of wet cloth came in contact with a desert cooler.

The police said the victim, Rani, was cleaning the floor as her mother was unwell. The incident took place at around 10 am. Her mother, Madhu, was lying on a bed and saw the girl collapsing. She rushed for her help and seeing the listless body of her daughter, she raised the alarm. Soon people gathered there and her husband, Sant Ram, a labourer, was called. They rushed the victim to Sector 16 Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, where she was declared “brought dead”.

The police said they received a message from the hospital at around 11 am about the death. The post-mortem would be conducted tomorrow. Meanwhile, inquest proceedings has been initiated. — TNS

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Rickshaw-puller dies in hit and run case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
In a hit-and-run road accident, a rickshaw-puller lost his life while his passenger was seriously injured after being hit by a vehicle on road dividing Sectors 27 and 28 on Saturday night. The rickshaw-puller was found to be under the influence of liquor.

The police said the seriously injured victims were rushed to Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, where doctors declared the rickshaw-puller brought dead. He was yet to be identified. The other injured persons has been identified as Sunil Kumar of Pehowa. Both victims were in their mid-thirties.

Sunil Kumar’s condition was stated to be critical as he was still unconscious today.

The police had informed his family about the incident. Sunil Kumar boarded the rickshaw for Sector 17 ISBT.

Quoting witnesses, the police said the rickshaw-puller was also reckless. He was going in the middle of the road. The police found a quarter of liquor from his pocket also.

Meanwhile, a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving has been registered against the driver of the vehicle.

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Rs 2 lakh for Press Club
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 15
Punjab cooperative minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh presided over the installation ceremony of the District Press Club, SAS Nagar, here today.

Speaking on the occasion, Captain Kanwaljit Singh said a strong press was very essential in a democracy.

He also announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the club and said he would meet Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to talk about allotting land for the club.

MLA Morinda Ujaga Singh Badali, Jasjit Singh Bunny, Rajbir Singh Padiala, Khushwant Rai Gigga, Ranbir Singh Kala, Amritpal Singh, N.K. Sharma, Harbhag Singh Desumajra, B.S. Baidwan, Gurmeet Singh, D.P. Singh Baidwan and Harmanpreet Singh Prince were present on the occasion.

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Power cuts make life miserable in Baltana
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 15
The power situation in the Baltana area turned from bad to worse in the past couple of days. There was no electricity in the area for as long as 12 hours yesterday. The residents were left with no choice but keep sweating, as the inverters installed by them got exhausted, too.

The problem was compounded by the fact that there was nobody to answer to the queries. The electricity complaint centre in the area, which runs sans a telephone, wore a deserted look, as nobody was present to listen to the complaints.

The residents blame official apathy for the tottering power situation in the area.

“Poor infrastructure and lack of maintenance are the main cause of the problem. The PSEB authorities have completed neglected the area, as it failed to depute adequate staff here. In addition to this, frequent transfers at higher levels have made the things worse. No official likes to work here due to excessive work load,” alleges P.T.F. Dhaliwal, resident of the Kalgidhar enclave.

He says lack of electricity poles and transformers leads to frequent faults. “As many as 12 electricity poles and a transformer have been approved for Kalgidhar Enclave, but everything remained on papers. Officer-bearers of the residents’ association have made several representations to the higher authorities in this regard, but in vain”.

Apart from frequent power cuts, the residents have to deal with the problem of voltage fluctuations.

Dev Raj, a resident of Govind Vihar in the area, says, “While low voltage forces the residents to sit in dim lights, high voltage leads to burning of electrical equipments. Mobile chargers, microwave ovens and television sets are at higher risk if run on high voltage, he says, adding that there is a need to revamp the whole power infrastructure in the area.

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Tips for safe driving
Turning off a major road

In this picture car A wants to make a right turn, while the left indicator of car B is on. Safety rules require that car A should wait for car B to reach point marked Z before it commences the turn.

‘Remember mirrors — signal — manoeuvre’

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Letters
Rise in land grabbing cases

Unauthorised land grabbing cases are on the rise in city. Here is another such case. A few residents of the Housing Board Colony have illegally erected two huge iron gates across house no. 139 to 127 and 114 to 115 blocking main roads causing a lot of inconvenience to general public.

It is a violation of Haryana Municipal Committee Act, 1973 (Immovable encroachments Bye-laws, 1978.

About 100 residents lodged complaints to D.C. and executive officer M.C. Ambala Sadar. After appearing in Khula Darbar on April 2, 2007 presided by D.C. Ambala a notice dated April 10, 2007 was served to the law-breakers. After inspecting the site of these illegal structures by the present E.O., along with his JE and two staff members a fresh notice dated, May 8, 2007 was issued giving one week's time to law-breakers to demolish it themselves or legal action would be taken.

Ultimately E.O. Ambala Sadar, took a judicious step by issuing orders to his municipal engineer to demolish these structures on June 15, 2007.

But he could not execute his own orders because of pressure exerted by some influential people.

It is most disappointing and shameful when influential people create hindrances in removing illegally structures due to which unauthorised encroachments and land grabbing cases are on the rise.

S.C. Anand, Ambala Cantt

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Gang of chain snatchers busted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 15
The district police claimed to have solved 40 incidents of chain snatching in the tricity with the arrest of a four-member gang, here today.

Though no gold chains were recovered from the gang, the police found three motorcycles, two television sets and four mobiles on them.

Addressing a press conference, superintendent of police Balbir Singh said the four members were nabbed from a house in Bartana by a team, led by CIA staff inspector Surjit Kumar. Two members of the gang - Suraj of Kanpur and Mehfooz of Saharanpur - are still absconding.

Gang leader Nadeem, who is from Saharanpur, said they would search the city in search of women going to the market, temple or for a walk. “Two teams comprising two snatchers each would leave on motorcycles, strike at two different locations at the same time and then flee in different directions. The idea was to distract the police,” Nadeem said, replying to a query on the gang’s modus operandi.

The other gang members, Sadan-e-Alam of Bijnaur, Vicy of Bulandshahar and Raja of Hoshiarpur admitted to stealing 18 mobiles in the last few months.

Nadeem, released from the Burail Jail in April this year after the Chandigarh Police arrested him, said the entire booty from the snatchings was sent to their native villages in Uttar Pradesh, where it was sold to local goldsmiths. The police also recovered 15 SIM cards from Nadeem, issued on fake identities.

During the interrogation, Nadeem told the police that stolen motorcycles were used to carry out the snatchings and a new number plate would be put on the vehicle before every operation. He added that twice they got fake gold chains during their “exercise”. 

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Women thieves in cosmetic shop
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 15
High drama was witnessed in the market of Baltana village, near here, when some women were allegedly caught stealing cosmetics this evening.

According to eyewitnesses, the women posing as customers, entered into a shop selling cosmetics and stole some articles. Before the women could flee, the shop owner came to know about the theft and raised an alarm. Soon people gathered there and nabbed the women.

Some newsmen reached there and began covering the incident. At this, some persons, said to be acquaintances of the women, arrived and manhandled the cameramen covering the incident. The police then arrived.

On seeing the police, the acquaintances of the women ran away from the spot and some of them went to the terrace of a building and locked themselves in. The police reached there and managed to nab one of the men and two women.

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‘Spirited’ cop booked for indiscipline
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
A tipsy constable Ranjit Singh created a scene in Sector 39 Gazetted Officers’ Colony here this afternoon.

He was caught by security guards of Punjab police officials. He grappled with them. A police team from the Sector 39 police station reached there and took him to the police station, said a police officer.

At the police station too he remained in “high spirits” and slapped his colleagues urging him to “calm down.” He was then produced before SHO Gulshan Kumar. Once before his superior, the constable came to his senses and pleaded for mercy. He was sent for a medical examination.

The SHO said the constable was booked under Sections of 34-5-61 of the Police Act. 

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Marginal increase in fruit, vegetable prices
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
With the prices of the commonly used cereals, fruits and vegetables registering a marginal increase, your monthly household bill may also registere an increase. In fact, the onset of monsoon has burnt holes in the pockets of the common man as the prices of these commodities are on the rise credited to the supplies are affected in this season.

A random survey of the market today showed that rajmah was quoted at Rs 48 per kg and black grams at Rs 38 per kg. As far as pulses were concerned, masur dal was selling at Rs 38 per kg and black dal at Rs 44 per kg. Similarly, the commonly used edible oil was available at Rs 55 per kg. The prices of groceries have witnesses a increase, as the supplies, particulary of the edible oil, have been less during the past few days, Anil Gupta, a retailer of Sector 22, said.

Among fruits, the price of the king of fruits - mango - ranged from Rs 20 to 35 per kg.The good quality peach at selling at Rs 40-50 per kg. While the pomegranates were priced between Rs 50 to 60 per kg. A kg of papaya was available at Rs 20-25.

The potatoes and onions could be bought for Rs 10 and Rs 15 per kg, respectively. While lady finger was quoted at Rs 20 to Rs 30 for a kg, bitter gourd (karela) was selling at Rs 20 per kg, higlighted the vendors.

The bottle gourd (ghia) was at selling at Rs 25 per kg and the squash gourd (tinda) was selling in the price ranging from Rs 20 to Rs 25 per kg.

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