C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Celebrate don’t pollute
Vishal Gulati/TNS

CHANDIGARH: Think before you burst powerful crackers. These may be injurious not only to you but also to the environment.

City Beautiful, despite having unspoiled flower-rich green patches dotted with woods, is losing its sheen. Its air pollution level is increasing every year due to rise in population, increase in vehicular traffic, industrial growth, etc.

However, environmentalists are worried with Diwali just a few days away. They say every year during the festive season, especially on Diwali, the air pollution level witnesses an increase. Despite the hectic campaigning by the administration and the eco-clubs, the eco-message, "Diwali is a festival of lights, not of crackers", is yet to find a place in the minds of the common man, they add.

Festivals are significant contributors to water and air pollution and have become a cause of concern.

During the Durga and Chhat pujas, a number of rituals are performed on the banks of Sukhna Lake, causing threat to aquatic species.

"Most of the aquatic fauna died due to pollution caused by puja material immersed in the water body," says M.S. Johal of the Department of Zoology, Panjab University.

Quoting a report, "State of Environment Chandigarh - 2004", prepared by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, the environmentalists point out that Chandigarh is already among 14 cities where the suspended particulate matter (SPM) in residential areas is high throughout the year.

The report says there is an increase in vehicular number by about 42 times between 1971 and 2001. There is one registered vehicle for every 1.7 person in the city.

The Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC), which is operating five National Ambient Air Monitoring Programme stations, has recorded the maximum SPM value (227 microgram per litre), observed in the Sector 39 area in 2006. The permissible annual average limit is 140 microgram per litre in residential areas.

Every year the CPCC is monitoring the impact of crackers on the air pollution on Diwali at seven centres. The centres record air pollution level on the eve of Diwali and on the day of festival. Studies show that air pollution levels increased by six to 10 times every year on the Diwali night.

Last year, the highest SPM level (424 microgram per litre) was recorded at the Manimajra station on Diwali. However, on the eve of the festival it was 258 microgram per litre. The Kajheri station had recorded 417 microgram per litre, whereas the university and the Sector 22 station recorded 300 and 278 microgram per litre, respectively. However, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide levels are within permissible limits in the city.

So spare a thought for the environment and spread awareness about the dangers of pollution.

Impact of Air Pollution

  • Microscopic particles in the air can be inhaled and they get lodged in the lungs and the respiratory tract. This causes respiratory diseases
  • Suspended particulate matter can cause asthma and respiratory diseases
  • Sulphur dioxide can damage lungs
  • Nitrogen oxide can cause skin problems and eye irritation
  • Carbon dioxide can increase breathing rate

Complaint Centres

The administration has designated the following officials to hear complaints against violations of noise pollution on Diwali

SDM (South) 2750698

SDM (East) 9815334418

SDM (Central) 9876017613

DSP (South) 9872595641

DSP (East) 9417300004

DSP (Central) 9876900407

Member Secretary (CPCC) 2656567



Baton overrules courtesy
Saurabh Malik/TNS

Chandigarh Police continues to say "We care for you" in the language of baton.

Instructions on being courteous being issued to the cops by the top brass of the police notwithstanding, politeness is apparently the last thing on their minds. They go around the arcades and other public places in the evenings beating the pavement with batons while "questioning" even the law-abiding residents.

The entire exercise is carried out on the pretext of conducting routine checks. If in the process, the residents feel victimised, helpless and even humiliated; the cops are just not bothered about it. Rather, they dare you to call the top officials and lodge complains.

The worse afflicted is the city's downtown in Sector 17. Walk out of your favourite restaurant or fast food joint after having dinner. Chances are you will bump into baton-yielding constables questioning you about your credentials "in the rudest possible manner".

If you commit the "offence" of asking them to be at least courteous, they stop just short of abuses while telling you its all within their power.

Only recently, two city residents sitting on the bench in front of Oven Fresh in Sector 17 were persecuted by a constable. Revolving his baton, the constable wanted to know why they were reposing on the bench in a language that can hardly be termed respectful and courteous.

"When we respectfully asked him whether it was an offence to sit on the bench, the constable started yelling at us," recalls the victim. "Well, we even reminded him about the instructions on politeness reportedly issued by the UT Inspector-General of Police. But in clear terms he told us that politeness was not for cops and in case of objections senior police functionaries could be contacted".

The victim says the cop was initially "peeping" into the cars parked in the opposite lot and checking the locks recklessly. "When he discovered that I was looking at him, he came over and started screaming as if we were wrongdoers," says the victim.

The matter was immediately brought to the notice of a senior UT police officer. He assured the victims that the constable would be called to his office and asked to be courteous. "We have no idea about the follow-up action. And frankly speaking we are not interested in knowing," says the victim. "All we want is that the cops should not interact with people as if they are interrogating hardcore criminals.."



Rs 14 for a meal? Yes, say HC rules
Swati Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh: A sum of Rs 14 for a meal may have been enough in good ol’ days but in this present consumerism scenario this amount will fetch you peanuts that too in a small packet. But surprisingly this is the diet money still being provided by the courts to a witness.

As per the High Court Rules and Orders that were last amended in 1979, the cost of one meal for a non-gazetted officer is Rs 14.

A witness was surprised to receive a money order of Rs 12 as diet money after a year. He deposed in case titled “State vs Bindu” in the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMIC) Balwinder Kumar, as witness for which he had asked for the diet money from the high court.

According to volume I, chapter five, part C of High Court Rules and Orders, the diet money for a non-gazetted officer, including ministerial employees of the Central and state government is Rs 14 but in this case Re 2 was deducted as expense of the money order.

While an amount of Rs 18 has been furnished to Class I officers that includes armed forces, distinguished personalities, commissioned officers, politicians and corporate bodies.

Commenting on this present cost of the diet money, advocate Pankaj Chandgothia, president of the Consumer Court Bar Association said, “A witness takes out time from his busy schedule to come to the court specially and give his statement so he is paid diet money. The quantum of diet money for a witness ranges between Rs 10 to Rs 18 which is quite a meagre sum for a meal now a days.”

He further added that a witness has to pay parking charges of Rs 5 other than the money spent on the conveyance, petrol etc.

The diet for a meal for a Class III employee is expected to be confined to Rs 10 as per the ruling. The budget for the meal of the witness can be increased if the judge feels the amount is insufficient then he can ask for a higher amount in writing.

Interestingly, a daily wager gets Rs 80 in a day. For getting the statement recorded the witness has to spend a whole day. But he is entitles to a diet money of Rs 10 only.

As per the HC guidelines, “If in any case the highest rate of remuneration as one prescribed appears to be insufficient the court may give in writing up to Rs 50 to Rs 150 as it may think fit.”

Advocate K.S. Lamba, former general secretary said, “These laws were made in time of Britishers. The rules need to be amended as per the expenses of the present economy.”



VIP numbers to be auctioned
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali: Those keen on single digit or two digit numbers for their vehicles in Punjab, will no longer be able to get these at a fixed price. They would now have to compete with other aspirants at an open auction.

This decision is a blow for those who managed to get these numbers at a fixed price by influencing the district transport officers. The numbers will now go to the highest bidder bringing in more revenue to the government.

The government of Punjab has issued a notification, dated October 24, stating that applications would be invited by the registering authority concerned for the allotment of registration numbers (mentioned in the sixth schedule of Rule 42A of the Punjab Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989) after well-publishing the date and time of the auction and also mentioning the cut-off date for receiving the applications. Each aspirant would have to submit an application for the allotment of the registration number along with a demand draft, equal to 50 per cent of the amount of additional/ special registration fee fixed for that number.

The district transport office here, received a letter from the state transport commissioner, Punjab, dated October 31, along with a copy of the notification. The letter stated that a decision was taken by the government that reserve numbers would be allotted by holding an auction after fixing a reserve price.

DTO Balbir Singh said earlier the auction was held only for No. 1, while all other numbers till 100 were allotted after receiving a fee fixed for various numbers. He said according to the latest directions from the government an auction would be held for allotting registration numbers from 2 to 100. He said the reserve price for single-digit numbers would be Rs 10,000 while it would be Rs 3,000 for numbers 10 to 100.

Balbir Singh said some two-digit numbers from the on-going PB 65 F series had not been allotted so far because the government had stayed the allotment of such numbers till further order about two months back. These would now be allotted through an auction and his office would be informing the public about the submission of applications and the date and time of auction.

The government notification said in case there was only one applicant, the number would be allotted as per fees fixed for that number.

The open auction will be held by the registering authority in the presence of applicants, who want to attend the auction. The highest bidder will be allotted the registration number and the next two highest bidders will be kept in the waiting list. In case the successful bidder failed to pay the full bid amount and get the vehicle registered within seven days, the amount deposited with the application will be forfeited and the number will be allotted to the next highest bidder.



The romanticism of daily life
Dharam Pal

‘Socha Na Tha’ fame director Imtiaz Ali is in the news again with his new film ‘Jab We Met”. This romantic love story got good opening all over and has been critically acclaimed by the critics. He spoke to the Tribune about his film ‘Jab We Met’.

Q What made you decide to make ‘Jab We Met’ after Socha Na Tha?

A The script really worked for me. It’s a very contemporary film. I’m very fascinated by the romanticism inherent in our lives and I have tried to depict that in ‘Jab We Met’.

Q Tell us about the film

A ‘Jab We Met’ is a film about two strangers, completely opposite each other in terms of temperament, behavior and how they are thrown towards each other in different situations that take them to various places! It is a beautiful story about life, travel, very young and fresh and a magical journey of two extremely different people who meet while traveling and how their life unfolds.

Q What made you sign Shahid and Kareena Kapoor for the film?

A Well, since the film is about how two strangers meet and fall in love in the due course of travel I felt Shahid-Kareena were perfect to depict the situations. They are very steady and the bond looks evolved. They are well adjusted to each other. You can say mine is probably the first romantic film with Shahid and Kareena together.

Q How did you enter in the film industry?

A I hail from Jamshedpur and while in college in Delhi I became quite involved in theatre. I came to Mumbai and directed quite a few television shows before bagging the offer for my debut film!

Q ‘Jab We Met’ has been shot in many different places in India...how was the experience?

A I love travelling and ‘Jab We Met’ really helped me fulfill my desire to go to places. We visited places all over India such as Nabha, Punjab, Manali, Rajasthan, Mandava, Rohtang Pass, Khandala, Bathinda and so many others! From sub-zero temperature places like Rohtang Pass to extremely hot places like Rajasthan each place was a fabulous experience! The film is an adventure covering some of the most beautiful places in India.

Q A note on the music of the film

A Oh I think Pritam has done a fantastic job with the music of the film. It’s very fresh and songs like ‘Mauja Mauja’, ‘Yeh Ishq Hai’ are topping the charts as well. People really like the album all over India and abroad. It’s very important for the music to co-relate and enhance the film’s situations and I think Pritam has done that.

Q How was it working with Shahid and Kareena?

A As actors they are two completely different people. I never used the same style of explanation for both of them. Shahid likes detailed explanation with all information before itself. Kareena is impulsively and she doesn’t need an extra word at all. It was fabulous to see both working together and unlike reports neither Kareena nor Shahid have any hang-ups at all. In fact Kareena threw no tantrums nothing and was very chilled out.

Q Any memorable experiences while shooting for the film?

A We traveled to exotic far off places that each place had its own memories attached! We shot with Saroj Khan with around 150 dancers from Tibet and Himachal Pradesh, almost got bitten by fierce dogs in Punjab, I stayed at a scary haveli in Rajasthan for 20 days... all fabulous memories.



Chinese goods for common man
Gold, silver, electronic items top corporate gifts
Satinder Pal Singh

Chandigarh: With Diwali just a few days away, the festive spirits are soaring with corporates loosening their purse strings and going shopping for gifts.

Forever in demand, jewellery and designer watches never seem to lose their charm. A hit with various corporates is the latest range of Spanish multi-colour bowls, crystal sets and crystal bar glasses. The price range starts from Rs 699 and can go up to thousands even lakhs.

Sarabjeet Singh, deputy manager in a Sector 9 store, says: “We are getting a good response from customers and companies for various gift items and the sales are likely to pick up as Diwali approaches.”

For gifts, corporates’ first choice is jewellery or foreign watches, carrying a price tag of Rs 5,000 or more. Jewellery, too, has also caught the fancy of the corporate world, with most of them settling for silver pendants, trinkets and rings.

Customers usually pick antique silver items and sleek gold jewellery, whether shopping for weddings or as gift items. A number of women buy sleek silver pendants sets to gift to their near and dear ones.

“Earrings are in good demand as these make perfect Diwali gifts,” says Shruti, who has put up an exhibition of her stuff at a Sector 22 hotel.

Sales of consumer durables and electronic items like DVD players, high-priced dinner sets, microwave, etc. continue to remain popular among buyers.

Kuldeep Kaur, a housewife, says: “Dinner sets have remained the most popular gift as they can fit in various budget-levels.”

Besides these, Chinese products too have flooded markets ahead of festivities. A new range of electric lamps, paintings, idols, electric “jyots” and multicolour “aartis” are available in the market.

These products have already become the first choice for many city residents, particularly those from the middle and lower-middle class.

Mallika, a student of law, feels, “Though Chinese products do not have much durability, competitive pricing scores in their favour and they end up being the common man’s choice.”



Budget worth Rs 2,000 cr

With Diwali round the corner, corporates are expected to give gifts worth Rs 2,000 crores to their business contacts, up from Rs 1,350 crore in last year.

A study by industry body Assocham, projects an increase of 48 per cent in the gift size during the forthcoming festive season given the encouraging first and second quarter results.

“Sectors which would take lead in Diwali gifts distribution include pharmaceutical, IT, BPO, FMCG, real estate, tourism and aviation, retail etc,” said Assocham secretary general D S Rawat.

Pharmaceuticals, real estate, FMCG and civil aviation are likely to distribute gifts worth Rs 160 crore as these sectors have witnessed a double-digit growth.

The most sought after gift items likely to be part of Diwali gifts by most of corporate include silver and gold coins, wrist watches, briefcase, brassware and silver ware, candle stands, suit lengths, handy electronics items like iPods, DVD players, carpet etc.

A rise in the culture of corporate gifting and increase in the cost of gifts can be attributed to tough competition in the market today, according to Assocham.

Inlay work in marble on watches, table tops and vases seem to have emerged as a favourite as also have ‘Divinity’ items ranging from Rs 350 to as high as Rs 20,000. Personalised gifts are also in demand with names of the recipient embossed on everything from expensive pens to diaries and wallets. — UNI



Celebrating the spirit of youth

Chandigarh: The wait and hard work of the past six months finally paid off as PEC Fest 4th Dimension kicked off on Friday. The chief guest, Padmashree Chandra Mohan, Director DSW, the students and other members of the faculty, the convener and the chairman of PEC Fest were all present.

The first event of PEC Fest began was ‘ Think India Think’, a formal discussion conducted by co-convener Ketan Chaudhry followed by an interaction amongst R.S. Bains, chief guest, the faculty and the students where they shared their views on ‘Back to the future’.

Students in huge numbers thronged events such as clay modeling, ras leela (the skit competition), eclectica, the salsa workshops, the GD fish market event and also showed their enthusiasm for all other events spanning the entire day. Passes for the groovz and gliteratti were distributed to students in the afternoon. The robocup event (soccer game between robots) saw a huge audience as well. The go- karting had a huge queue as many tried to test their driving skills on the racetrack.

A large crowd turned out to watch various attractions of the day, including the statistics are rising by the minute as the highlights of the day, ‘groovz’ dance competition and ‘gliteratti’ fashion show. Students from various colleges from the entire Northern region registered on the spot for the various events.

Various on-the-spot fun events like the tongue twister competition also attracted participants in huge numbers. — TNS



Sensitisation campaign on female foeticide

Chandigarh: A two day ‘sensitisation campaign on female foeticide’ concluded in Government Home Science College, Sector 10, Chandigarh on Saturday. It was in joint collaboration by the Department of Women’s Studies (DWS), NCERT with the Directorate of Higher Education, Chandigarh Administration.

SSP Operations Chandigarh Dinesh Bhatt inaugurated the function. The Director, Higher Education, Chandigarh Administration, Raji P. Srivatava, lighted the lamp.

Pre-school girls of Chaitanya Nursery School, under the aegis of the department of child development of the college put up various messages on the issue.

Prof Poonam Aggarwal, head department of women’s studies, NCERT presented figures on skewed ratios of male and female population in the Indian context and shared the ongoing policies of the Government of India.

Dinesh Bhatt talked about the need to empower the girl child and women in general to save the female babies. Srivastava spoke about the ongoing programmes of the Chandigarh Administration on female foeticide She highlighted the need to wake up to the cause. She acknowledged the contribution of the women from all strata. — TNS



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