Wednesday, October 18, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Mend ways or face action
Administration tells marriage palaces
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 17 — The district administration has decided to come down heavily on the city marriage palace owners who have been directed to strictly comply with the rules and regulations and the directions issued with regard to control over noise pollution, failing which stern action would be taken against them.

Presiding over a meeting of the representatives of marriage palaces and district officials here today, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K.Sandhu, said in no uncertain terms that the nuisance of high-pitch orchestra and sound systems running till late hours during the functions had to be strictly checked as it was causing avoidable inconvenience and harassment to the residents.

The marriage palace owners were told that people residing around these places were persistently complaining that orchestras and sound systems were played at high-pitch during marriages and other functions till late hours, causing a lot of disturbance. After detailed discussions, it was decided that the orchestras and sound systems would play till 11 p.m. and that too at a reasonably low pitch.

Mr Sandhu asked the marriage palace owners to get their agreement forms reprinted to incorporate the condition of obtaining prior permission for use of sound system from the Subdivisional Magistrate and to apprise the organisers of the functions with the time limit fixed for orchestras and sound systems. It was further emphasised upon the marriage palace owners that strict compliance of the directions was in their own interest because they, along with the host of the function, would be jointly held responsible in the case of violation and would be liable for action under Punjab Loudspeakers Act, 1956, which provided for imprisonment up to six months or a fine of Rs 1,000 or both, besides the equipment being confiscated.

The Deputy Commissioner further made it clear that these directions would also be applicable to public places in the city, other than marriage palaces, where parties and functions were organised and in no case the residents living in localities adjoining such places would be made to suffer on account of noise pollution. He sought the cooperation of the marriage palace owners for strict implementation of the directions to check the nuisance of noise pollution in the larger interests of the city population in general and the students and older people in particular. The administration was bound to ensure that the students, preparing for their examinations or the sick and older people, who wanted to have a sound sleep, should not be disturbed and harassed.

Instructions were also issued to the marriage palace owners to deploy sufficient number of their employees to regulate the parking of the vehicles, as the haphazard parking, particularly on the road side, frequently led to traffic jams on the main roads.


Sweets’ sales up, quality down
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 17 — Sweets have a special significance in Divali season. Sweet makers do a lot of business at this time of the year. However, they are increasingly introducing new products like cold drinks and snacks in their shops. Now, most of them also offer fast-food services.

Sweet making is no more a small business. It has developed into a medium scale industry. Investment of crores of rupees is required to begin a new enterprise. A sweet shop has been opened in the Ghumar Mandi area by an entrepreneur of Amritsar. He has spent about Rs 1 crore on interior decoration, purchasing land and godowns. The daily sale of such sellers is estimated to be thousands of rupees.

“People have stopped buying traditional sweets like ladoo, jalebi or burfi. Rather, they now buy new low-sugar sweets like Bikaneri burfi, patissa and sole papri,” says Mr Ranjeet Sharma, owner of a popular sweet shop in the city.

Nowadays, people avoid eating sweets even in marriage parties and the other social functions. They want branded sweets. Sources say that popular sweet makers earn huge profits, but there is no quality control or standardisation of the products. Few sweet makers file tax returns.

Mr T.R. Kundra, a Development Officer in National Insurance Company said, “Even on Sundays, the sale of snacks and sweets in the city touch lakhs of rupees. Shops of sweet makers do not seem to be covered by any act.” Some years ago, owners used to close these shops at a fixed time, but the practice is not followed anymore. The local administration is letting them openly flout all rules,” he said.

Workers in these shops are forced to work in inhuman and unhygienic conditions. A sweetshop worker of Kochar Market said, “We have to come to work by 5 am and continue till midnight. I am paid only Rs 1,200 per month and get stale and inadequate food to eat. Is there no rule to save us from our owners?” He said, “Leave holidays, sometimes we even have to go back to our homes without our due wages. Whenever we ask for a holiday, owners beat us and threaten to end our services.”

Sweet makers deny all these allegations. Mr Rakesh Gupta, owner of a sweetshop, said, “We have strict quality control on all inputs like milk and dal. That is why we have been in the business for so many years. There may be a general slump in the market, but it has not affected our business.”

Though there are a number of sweet makers who use about 40 quintals of milk per day and much more during the festival season, there is no effort to check the quality of milk. Sources say that the quality of raw material used in these days is questionable.

People like Mr Amarnath, a pesticide dealer, does not purchase sweets anymore. He says, “Most of the sweetshop owners are only concerned about profits and least bothered about hygiene. Sweets are expensive and a health hazard.” Ms Rohini, owner of a health centre, said, “People should avoid excessive intake of sweets and ensure that what they eat is of a good quality.


Number of dengue cases reaches 65
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 17 — After 12 more patients were admitted to various hospitals here today, the number of persons suffering from dengue in the city has risen to 65. The Civil Surgeon, Dr Rajinder Kaur, said most of these patients were so far only “suspected cases of dengue” and being kept under observation.

She said there had been 20 confirmed cases of dengue in the city, while 45 others were suspected cases of the fever. She said, out of the 12 patients admitted to various hospitals today, only two were from the Ludhiana district, while the rest were from the other parts of the state.

“So far, there have been reports of only two deaths due to dengue fever. However, only one of these could be confirmed after the serology test. The victim was of Jammu and Kashmir,” she said. “All the patients in hospitals were stable and responding to the treatment. The number of patients has declined,” the Civil Surgeon said.

Dr Rajinder Kaur said the health authorities were monitoring the situation with utmost caution. She said all private hospitals in the city had been asked to inform the office of the Civil Surgeon as soon as these received a patient of dengue fever.


CMC controversy takes new turn
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 17 — The controversy regarding the naming of the private out patients department(OPD) in the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMC) after Taradevi, the mother of a local businessman, took a new turn today with most of the people who were reportedly opposing the move dissociating themselves at the last minute.

Capt Ajit Masih of the Salvation Army, who was reportedly chairman of the committee constituted for opposing the move, while dissociating himself from any such committee claimed that his name was being misused by certian vested interests.

In a written statement circulated here, Capt Masih said, “this is to reiterate that the pamphlets distributed on behalf of the supposed action committee in which my name was projected as chairman, were misleading as no such committee was formed”. He alleged, “It is the handwork of anti-CMC, anti-community and anti-Christian elements”.

Opposing the demand of the said committee, he said, “as leaders of the Christian community, it is our duty to spread brotherhood rather than hatred, which would be against Christian principles... I appeal to all Christians to abstain from such rumours and work for the uplift of Christian Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana, so that it may, serve the mankind more effectively”.


BJP President to visit Punjab on Oct 19
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 17 — The national President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Mr Bangaru Lakshman, will visit to Punjab on October 19. This was stated by the district President of the party, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, while presiding over a party meeting here today.

According to Mr Sethi, the BJP President, on his maiden visit to the state, would address a public meeting at Gurdaspur to focus on the achievements of the NDA government headed by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee on the completion of its one-year rule and to apprise the party workers of the future policies and programmes of the party.

He claimed that party activists in large number would leave for Gurdaspur early in the morning on October 19 to participate in the rally. The front organisations of the BJP, including the Yuva Morcha, the Mahila Morcha and the Backward Classes Morcha were actively involved in mobilising workers for the party rally.


CPF accounts of PAU employees updated
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 17 — Contributory provident fund (CPF) accounts of about 7,000 employees of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, have been updated.

In a press statement issued here today, the Comptroller of the university, Mr S.K. Bhatia, informed that the CPF accounts of all the employees had been updated and detailed account statements for the year ended on March, 2000, had been sent to the employees through their respective drawing and disbursing officers.

Mr Bhatia the clarified that in case of any discrepancy, his office was willing to rectify the mistake.


BKU contests govt version on suicides
From Our Correspondent

SAHNEWAL, Oct 17 — The National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Mr Rajewal, while condemning the attitude of the government, told reporters that he was surprised to note the version of the administration regarding the deaths of farmers. According to the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, four of the five farmers had died of heart attack and though the farmers belonged to different villages, they were all under treatment at the same hospital at Doraha.

Mr Rajewal said that the people expected justice from the government and not lame excuses. He said that everybody knew about the problems that the farmers had faced during the past one month. He said that people avoided telling the truth to the police for the fear of harassment.

Mr Rajewal demanded that the government machinery should not make the farmers’ suicide a prestige issue. 



Graduating from driving schools

PROPOS of the article on “Graduating from Driving Schools”, I would like to draw your correspondent’s attention towards sub section 4 of section 9 of the Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which runs as under :

Where the application is for a licence to drive a transport vehicle, no such authorisation shall be granted to any applicant unless he possesses such minimum qualification as may be prescribed by the Central Government and a driving certificate issued by a school or establishment referred to in section 12.

The above section clearly allows an applicant to get a learner’s licence and not a temporary licence as mentioned in your article, motor cycle and motor car without attaching a training certificate issued by a motor driving training school. The requirement is essential for the issue of a licence to drive a transport vehicle only.

Similarly, there is nothing like a permanent driving licence as per the above said Act. A licence is issued for a period of twenty years or up to the age of 50 years. A licence to drive a transport vehicle is issued or renewed for a period of three years only as per the provisions of the Act and rules framed thereunder. Hence there is no question of getting permanent driving licence.

Any person can get a Learner’s Licence for any class of vehicle without producing any motor driving training certificate. The application for a licence to drive a transport vehicle requires a certificate of training from a recognised school or establishment.
Aditya Road Safety Society,

Harassment by PSEB officials

Some days ago, two persons claiming to be the PSEB officials came to my residence and told me that the electricity meter of my house is tempered with and I may be fined for that. They made this allegation without verifying the facts. For the past six months, these two persons have been visiting my house and making different statements about meter and consumption of power.

I have not been able to understand what wrong I have committed. I am an honest power consumer and have never looked at the meter except to see that the PSEB bills are as per reading of the meter. When I am paying bills as per consumption there should not be any harassment or unjustified allegation of theft of power.

Moreover, meter is the property of PSEB and I have no control over it. If at all the meter has developed some fault it may be due to some mishandling, knowingly or unknowingly by the PSEB officials, how could I be held responsible?
T.R. Goyal
Management Consultant
Aggar Nagar-II




The cultural scene in Ludhiana, where culture was synonymous with agriculture till not very long ago, is slowly but surely undergoing a change, thanks largely to the efforts of the Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam, a voluntary organisation floated at the initiative certain eminent citizens with the avowed objective of promoting artistic expressions through dance, drama, music and other performing arts as also creating awareness about our culture.

The LSS has been organising high-quality cultural programmes at Ludhiana. So far eminent artists such as santoor maestro Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma and his son, Rahul Sharma, famous vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, renowned percussionists Taufiz Quareshi and Shivamani, Sarod Maestro Ustad Biswajeet Roy Chowdhry, creative dance group of the late Ananda Shankar and his wife, Tanusree Shankar, and reigning queen of Indian classical music Shuba Mudgal have performed here to appreciative audience.

“Ram Lila” by Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, “Khamosh Adalt Zaari Hai”, a play by Theatre Action Group and “Folk” daces of Rajasthan and Punjab” by the North Zone Cultural Council found favour with the audience. The last programme, “Ghasiram Kotwal” presented by the National School of Drama Repertory Company was greatly appreciated for both its content and presentation.

Now the LSS will present a unique dance drama titled “Ram” by the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra on October 29. According to Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, President of the LSS, his outfit brought to the audience of Ludhiana presentation of “Ram Lila” by the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra last year in a form as presened by kendra for the past 50 years. However, culture is a dynamic thing. This year, the SBKK has reoganised the story and the concept of conquest of good over evil has been given more contemporary interpretation. The new formate of presentation as covered in news has been greatly appreciated and is totally state-of-the-art presentation keeping in pace with the advent of the electronic media. However, sanctity of the Ramayana is intact and more contemporary to younger generation. This presentation has tried to add a new dimension to the character of Ram through the popular verb : “to err is human and to forgive divine”.

Other progrmmes on the anvil are “Tash Ke Patte” by famous film actor Kader Khan. This is a unique play and the LSS has been able to persuade Mr Kader Khan to include Ludhiana in its itinerary. However, the biggest event will be the presentation of “Maa Retire Hoti Hai” featuring Jaya Bachchan. This play directed by Ramesh Talwar has been staged with all over world and is widely acclaimed as world class presentation.

According to Mr Munjal,efforts will also be made to bring to Ludhiana other film stars who also active in the stage. These include Shabana Azmi, Paresh Rawal, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Nana Patekar.

Popularising yoga

Every morning, Rose Garden looks like a traditional gurukul for two hours. Residents can be seen learning yoga and pranayam. The classes are organised free of cost by the local chapter of the Bharatiya Yog Sansthan.

About 150 persons in the age group of six to 70 are being trained daily in two sessions of one hour each. The sessions begin at 5.15 am. Mr Tulsi Dass Jaitwani, President of the sansthan, said more and more persons were joining the training sessions. A separate session is held exclusively for women every afternoon.

Mr Vijay Chopra, President of the Indian Newspaper Society and Chairman of the Hind Samachar group of newspapers, was the chief guest at one of the yoga sessions in Rose Garden not long ago. He appreciated the efforts of the sansthan in promoting yoga and pranayam. He said the ancient Indian system of yoga and pranayam had worldwide acceptability. Narrating an instance about his experience in Israel, Mr Chopra said that one Israeli national told him that he regularly practised yoga at 5 am. However, he regretted that the traditional Indian teachings were accepted only after they came “via the West”. “Unfortunately unless an ‘a’ is not added to everything it is not welcome. Yog has become yoga, Ram has become Rama and Krishen has become Krishna,” he pointed out.

Former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University Patiala, Dr S.S. Johl, highlighted various aspects of Indian culture. He pointed out the propogation of yoga will definitely help in curing so many social, mental and physical ills in the society. Emphasising the need for popularising yog and pranyam education among youth, he said, it would help in curing so many physical, mental and social ills in the society.

Mr Krishen Lal Gupta of the Bhartiya Yog Sansthan said that regular sammelans are being organised to popularise yoga nationally and internationally in collaboration with the Rotary International. Mr Gupta said that the Bharatiya Yog Sansthan was running 150 classes daily in 34 cities and towns of Punjab. In Ludhiana alone yoga classes are run at 55 centres. He said the Bhartiya Yog Sansthan had no political affiliations and was purely an organisation to promote Indian culture.

Churian and Karva Chauth

“Mere hathon mein nau nau churian hain, thoda thehro sajan majboorian hain”.

Punjabis are known to be full of life and verve. They hardly miss an opportunity to express it with gusto. And festival is the best occasion do so. Women in Ludhiana are no exception to the rule. This was best reflected on Karva Chauth, the festival of women when they fast for the long life of their husbands. So far, it has been an event involving them exclusively. Now “ faithful” husbands, too, have started fasting, to give company to their better halves.

Every woman tries to get the best possible make-up, matching the mythical solah shinghar to look her best for the occasion. Mehndi and churian are always the main attraction (see photo at the top of the page). However, this year it was a bit different. Women appeared to have broken all records while applying mehndi on their hands. Bazars, streets, lanes and bylanes were flooded with women waiting in the queues for their turn to get mehndi applied. Thousands of mehndi cones were sold on the festival.

For a change, the leading beauty clinics in the city served a variation in mehndi this time. There was shaded mehndi, zardozi mehndi, arabic mehndi and colourful tattoos. The rates of mehndi varied from Rs 50 to Rs 850 per hand, depending on the work done on a hand. The women were dressed like brides. So many ladies clubs in the city organised karva chauth fetes, melas and karva queen contests.


Seen written on the back of a truck on GT Road: “Buri nazar wale, tera muh kala, mein tera jeeja, tu mera sala”.
— Sentinel


Inspired by woman-centred serials
By Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Oct 17 — A doctor who fell in love with a fellow student in medical college, married him against the wishes of her parents. After their marriage she discovered the philandering habits of her husband. Now she could not turn to her parents for advice, and was unable to decide what to do. Then she saw in TV serials that ordinary housewives were rebelling against their wayward husbands. She got courage and told herself. “You are a qualified doctor. You can be self reliant and don’t have to stand all this.” She filed a case for divorce.

Mrs Bal is a housewife and her story is somewhat different. Her husband was having an affair with another woman. After seeing some episodes of the serial “saans”, he changed his ways. He realised that the extra-marital relation could make a mess of his life. “I think serials of this kind are helping women like me get the husbands back,” she says happily.

Television today has become a mirror of women’s power. A number of serials on different channels are woman-centred.

Women are the protagonists of these popular serials. Their concerns propel the story. Sexuality, divorce, abortion, pre-marital affairs, which in the films fell to the lot of marginal characters, are now associated with the heroine as well.

Yet the concerns focus on domesticity. And again it is the man who calls the shots. The main question always is how to win the man be it the son, the husband or lover. Issues such as poverty, illiteracy, caste, the generation gap, all of which have a profound effect on a woman’s life , are hardly touched.

Still most of the women this reporter talked to found that these serials revolving around women, were simply wonderful.

Even if ‘the man’ remains the major concern, women like these serials, no matter if these are not well directed and the production is shoddy. Mrs Rimpy Gulati, a young woman, says, “ I can identify myself with the daughter-in-law in “Tu-Tu Main Main” as I have a similar love-hate relationship with my mother-in-law. All my friends love watching this serial.”

Maybe, the serial makers will next tackle issues like illiteracy, prostitution, dowry and female infanticide which are pertinent to women’s uplift in society. 


PAU employee awaits retirement benefits
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 17 — Dr Bhag Singh Sohi,who retired from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) as entomologist on September 30, 1998, has alleged that despite the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the university authorities have not yet made the payment of all his retirement dues.

It may be recalled that a Division Bench of the High Court comprising Mr Justice V.M. Jain and Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi had directed the PAU to pay retiral benefits, including gratuity and provident fund, along with penal interest at 18 per cent per annum with effect from October 1, 1998, till the date of payment within three months.

In a representation dated October 11, addressed to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sohi has complained that the university credited Rs 1.19 lakh in respect of the delayed pension and gratuity only against his claim of over Rs 2.09 lakh. He has, however, alleged that the remaining interest amounting to Rs 3.59 lakh has not been paid to him till date despite the court orders to make the payment in three months. Dr Sohi has threatened to file a contempt petition in the High Court.

When this correspondent contacted Mr S.K. Bhatia,Comptroller of the university, he refuted Dr Sohi’s claim vehemently. He said that the university had sought the opinion of its legal adviser who had categorically said that Dr Sohi was not entitled to any more dues.

Mr Bhatia maintained that Dr sohi had been paid 14 per cent interest on his provident fund savings from September 30, 1998 to September 30, 1999 as per the rules of the university. Mr Bhatia added that the court’s order of penal interest at 18 per cent for the delayed period on the remaining dues was being implemented. He said that Dr Sohi was being sent another cheque for Rs 1.44 lakh shortly.


‘Pest control should be biological’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 17 — The Indian Society for the Advancement of Insect Science (INSAIS) organised a lecture by Dr S.P. Singh, Project Director of the Directorate of Biological Control in Bangalore, in the Punjab Agricultural University, here today. Dr G.S. Kalkat, Vice-Chancellor of the university, also attended the function.

Dr Darshan Singh, President of the society and Professor and Head of the Department of Entomology in the PAU, praised Dr S.P. Singh for his work in the field of bological control of pests. Dr Darshan Singh also presented a certificate of INSAIS fellowship to Dr S.P. Singh on behalf of the executives of the society. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr G.S. Kalkat, also presented him a memento.

Dr S.P. Singh delivered a lecture on the Role of Biocontrol of Pests in the Current Millennium. He said, till now, pest control in India had been largely chemointensive. He said this had created more problems rather than solving some. He said the current millennium would be an era of biocontrol of pests.

He said the use of bioagents like egg parasitois and trichogramma chilonis had shown excellent results in experiments to control sugarcane borers, rice-leaf folder and bollworms of cotton. In South India, an exotic predator, cryptolemus montrouzieri, has proved effective in controlling mealy bug, a serm pest of citrus, coffee and grapes. He stressed the need for networking of taxonomist, identification of strains of microbial bioagents like Bt and NPV and their mass production and development of a database for an expert computer system to increase the effectiveness of natural system. “To increase the effectiveness of natural enemies, we should search for potent strains and proper methods of their use,” he said.

The VC, Dr G.S. Kalkat, appreciated the work done by Dr S.P. Singh, centres in various agricultural universities and the ICARs. He said universities had made a good progress in biosuppression of the insect pests of rice and sugarcane.Back



City goes the party way
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, October 17 — Though the city is still miles from acquiring a true cosmopolitan character, it is certainly on the way to the Western party culture hitherto confined to only Goa and cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai.

If anybody had talked of a whole-night party in the town , say about four years ago, he would have been easily voted the craziest man of the town. But try it now if you please and you may see for yourself that there are many takers for the idea.Not only that,there is every possibility that you are voted as the cutest of all guys in the town.

Suddenly, within a span of about four years, we have nearly a 100 odd DJs in the town, all of them doing reasonably good business-wise. However, the mainstay of these disc jockeys is not the night-long parties organised by the real party animals but weddings which necessitate three or four functions such as the betrothal, reception , ladies sangeet etc. Other occasions they look forward to are birthday bashes, cocktail parties thrown in by the trendy and the affluent, anniversaries , so on and so forth. The latest addition to the list of party occasions in the city are the “days” such as Friendship and Valentine”s. Going by the trend, the list is likely to get bigger.

What does it take to make a party? A group of party animals and just two sound terminals with a disc jockey of course who can carry the dancers with him all the way or get carried away by the dancers” delight and ecstasy. Meanwhile, there are people like (Bhanu Ahuja) who can make the town’s party lovers dance to their tunes, — literally speaking.

Music in these parties varies from Punjabi pop to western trance and techno depending on the composition and mood of the crowd. Eighty per cent of the party-goers prefer Punjabi Bhangra rap to the much faster tempo of techno beats. There are guys and girls who can be safely called “junkies” of the town and who are ever ready to jump at a party invitation and grab it.

The “Night of the Bat” was the first of its kind that was organised in the city at a hotel recently. For the first time in the city, 600 couples assembled to dance together until the wee hours.


AISSF supports Bibi Jagir Kaur
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 17 — Bibi Jagir Kaur has been ditched by her followers in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) after the CBI has registered an FIR in the Harpreet Kaur case. However, the SGPC President has found an ally in the All-India Sikh Students Federation (Badal) headed by Mr Tejinder Singh Sandhu. Mr Sandhu has alleged that Bibi is being falsely implicated in the case by “anti-panth forces”.

At a meeting of the AISSF held here today, Mr Sandhu said the conspiracy to implicate Bibi in this case was aimed at destabilising the SAD-BJP government in Punjab.

Activists of the AISSF have urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to oppose this “attempt to defame Bibi Jagir Kaur”. Mr Sandhu said the AISSF supported the SGPC President and wanted her to continue her normal functioning.

The activists also discussed matters related to the reorganisation of the body. The AISSF President said senior functionaries had submitted their lists of nominees. He said the names of the candidates would be announced in the next few days.

Prominent among those who took part in the deliberations were Mr Harvinder Singh Narang, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Binder, Mr Kulwant Singh Ranike, Mr Tejinder Singh Bhoopi, Mr Iqbal Singh Rathor, Mr Kuldip Singh Gujjarwal, Mr Bhupinder Singh Bains, Mr Charan Singh Virk, Mr Parampreet Singh Sandhu, Mr Harpreet Singh Gulati, Mr Charanpreet Singh Jyoti, Mr Jasbir Singh Khalsa, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Inderjit Singh Jamalpur, Mr Harjinder Singh Raja, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Manjit Singh Raja, Mr Devinder Singh Sodhi and Mr Gurpreet Singh Randhawa.


Talwandi hails package for farmers
From Our Corespondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 17 — Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Senior Vice-President of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Chairman of the Disciplinary Action Committee of the party, has hailed the special package of Rs 350 crore announced by the Union Government for Punjab farmers by way of compensation for distress sales and further relaxation in the specifications of foodgrain.

Appreciating the untiring efforts made by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to protect the interests of paddy growers, he described the package as a “historic decision” which could be expected only from a pro-farmer and pro-people government. He said not only the farmers, who were forced to sell their paddy at a lesser price than the minimum support price, would be adequately compensated under the package but the MSP of Rs.540 per quintal would be assured, with the allowance of discoloured grain going up from the earlier 3 per cent to 8 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Acting President of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, Thekedar Surjan Singh, has claimed that the Central Government was made to announce relief package for paddy growers in Punjab in the face of fierce agitation, including a “rail roko” agitation launched by a joint front of opposition parties and the farmers’ organisation.


'Release salaries of panchayat staff'
From Our Correspondent

SAMRALA, Oct 17 — Mr Hari Singh Tohra, President, Punjab State Karamchari Dal, requested Mr Parkash Singh Badal to order the release of the salaries of the panchayat secretaries and samiti employees. He said that the salaries of the employees had not been paid for the past seven months.

He also requested the Chief Minister to accept the remaining demands of the employees like releasing 3 per cent DA instalment and regularising the services of workers who had completed 89 days of service.

The meeting was also addressed by Mr Pritam Singh and Mr Bhag Singh, President and Vice-President, respectively, of the Khanna unit, Mr Darshan Kumar Jalaf, President, Ludhiana unit, and Mr Ranjit Singh, President, Doraha unit of the Punjab PWD Employees Union.


A shopping treat on roadside
From A Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 17 — Ferozepore Road that leads to Wagah Border is buzzing with activity these days. Not the entire road of course, but the stretch that starts from Milk Plant onwards till the octroi post.

Since the festivals of navrataras, Dasehra, Divali, Karvachauth, Bhaiya Dooj come in quick succession, the markets which were dormant have suddenly come alive.

Opposite the milk plant, stays a family that has come from Rajasthan. The family sells beautiful coloured pottery. Things that would be very costly in showrooms, are available at reasonable prices here.

There is a huge collection of small and big flower pots, wall plates, masks, vases, handicrafts made by artisans from Siliguri. These are made of terracota and some are beautifully enamelled. Further down the road, cane baskets of different shapes and sizes catch one’s eyes. Picnic baskets and flower baskets are there too with reasonable prices.

One can also see a huge collection of Khurja pottery. The variety is mind-boggling. There are ornamental vases and pot holders in bright colours. There are small pots holders as well as big ones.

What is most amazing are the chandeliers hanging from trees. These present the most beautiful and appealing sight. The variety is amazing.

Jeewan Ram, who is the creator of the beautiful wall hangings and chandeliers, is a master craftsman. He has set up shops all over India. He gets his glass pieces from Ferozabad and some from China. He can build a chandelier — big or small — according to your taste and choice. The small bracket lights are for Rs 150. He very proudly says. “I can make a chandelier as big as you want. In a day, I can make two to three chandeliers. I am happy that my sale is good.” Same chandeliers would probably be very highly priced in a showroom of lights.

The shoppers’ quest is not over. Wheels, images of Gods and Goddesses in plaster of Paris are displayed in groups to catch travellers’ eyes. Some are coloured with “Japani” colours from Delhi to give a nice rust orange colour, whereas others are enamelled in hues of dark brown. Padam Ram says, “This year our sale has not been good so far, but we do hope it will pick up, or else we will move further. We come from Jodhpur, stay here for six to seven months and then go back. We just make enough money to live.”

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