L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


New Year shock: three burglaries in one night
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
The New Year did not begin on a happy note for three families in Manjit Vihar Colony under Salem Tabri police station as a gang of burglars struck at their houses while the families were away.

The houses, situated close to one another, belong to Mr Harwinder Singh, a hosiery worker, Mr K.M. Gill, a welding contractor, and Mr Dev Kumar, a foreman in a local factory. The burglars whose number is stated to be three or more had midnight revelry at the houses. They dined and celebrated the New Year Eve in the houses.

They left a trail of panic among residents who were feeling insecure following the burglaries in one night only.

The burglars seemed to be migrant labourers, the police said. They could be belonging to the area as they knew that the families were out.

They decamped with cash, jewellery and other valuables worth over Rs 1 lakh. The loss in the house of Mr Dev Kumar is yet to be estimated. His brother-in-law, Mr Pawan Viz, said Mr Dev and his family had gone to Amritsar to attend a bhog ceremony. The exact loss could be known only after his arrival.

Mr Harvinder Singh was celebrating New Year Eve with his family and relatives at their old house in Field Gunj when the burglars attacked his house.

He said he was shocked when he returned this morning. The burglars had broken open all almirahs and suitcases. Clothes were strewn all over and the bed boxes had also been ransacked.

He said the burglars took away several rings, a necklace and other jewellery, besides over Rs 4,000. He claimed to have suffered a loss of over Rs 70,000.

Mr Gill’s house was the third to be looted. He had gone to a church near the CMC for celebrating New Year. He had left yesterday afternoon and had returned today.

He found his house ransacked and raised the alarm. He was the first to notice the burglary and called the police.

The police said a number of suspects had been rounded up. There were several factories in the area and it was suspecting the involvement of some labourers.

It is ironic that the burglaries took place despite heavy police presence on roads. The police was patrolling the city roads all through the night in connection with New Year celebrations.



Tsunami didn’t hit their spirits
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
Proving once again that life goes on at its pace, residents celebrated New Year Eve with gusto.

Though the tsunami disaster affected the celebrations with various clubs and hotels cancelling the celebrations and the residents thinking it should be a low-key affair, Ludhianvis’ never say die spirit was evident on roads as they danced into the new year.

The chilly weather worsened by intermittent rains could not prove to be a spoilsport as the youth continued to shake a leg and burst crackers. The Kips market in Sarabha Nagar and the road in front of Guru Nanak Public School came alive with private DJs playing music at a high pitch and the youngsters letting down their hair.

Intermittent drizzling could not deter their spirit. Many residents celebrated New Year Eve by lighting a camp fire in front of their houses. ‘‘We know so many people have died but we cannot cling to the past. We are celebrating life”, said Hitesh, a youngster.

‘‘There are reports that New Year Eve was celebrated in the Andamans too. We are sending help for the disaster-affected people much beyond our capacity. We know our duty towards society,” said another youth. 



PHRC closes old man’s case
Revenue Department offers hope
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
After being shown the door by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC), Mr Satnam Singh, an 84-year-old man who has been struggling to get the possession of his land, has been given a ray of hope by the state government as he has been asked to appear before the Additional Secretary (Revenue) on Monday.

Fiftyseven years ago, he lost his land in Pakistan following Partition.

The PHRC, in its recent order, had closed the case stating that “the matter involves intricate questions of facts and law. The commission is not a forum for such matters. It is now for the competent authorities of the Revenue Department to consider the matter. Accordingly, the commission closes this case, leaving it to the complainant to seek relief from the quarters concerned.”

Shattered at the decision, Mr Satnam Singh, a resident of Atam Nagar in Ludhiana, said he was hopeful that the PHRC would do something for him. “I have been fighting for my due since I was a young man. Now I am an octogenarian but the land still eludes me. I have lost hope,” he said.

He has been asked by the government to represent his case on January 3 before Mr Harkesh Singh Sidhu, Additional Secretary (Revenue). He was allotted 26 kanals and eight marlas at Machhian Kalan village in the 1970s as compensation for his evacuee property.

The land was allotted to him after the intervention of the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. He had to struggle from 1948 to 1979 to get the record of his land from the Pakistan government which did not oblige him. It was only after Indira Gandhi took up his case that he was provided with the record.

The elderly man, who is an angina patient, has been admitted to hospital twice, and had written to the President, who had referred the case to the Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab, on August 20. The Chief Secretary sent the file to the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, and asked for action.

He said in 1999, the patwari concerned reported that out of the total land of 26 kanals and eight marlas comprising khasra numbers 2//21, 3//24/1, 24/2, 4//17, 2//24, 3//14/7, had been sold to some other party. In 2001the same office reported that only four kanals had been sold. The office later reported to the PHRC that 12 kanals had been sold.

“I still do not know what is the actual position. I want that they should provide me the land which is due to me but of late I have started fearing that I am never going to get justice,” Mr Satnam Singh said.



Fresh controversy dogs road project
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
The much-hyped and delayed elevated road project cannot keep itself out of controversies! This time it is a shopkeeper’s association that has complained to the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO), Local Bodies Department, urging him to order an inquiry into the delay in the project and the repeated extensions being given to the contractor.

In a letter to Mr A.K. Kansal, CVO, members of the Ludhiana Electronic Traders Association and Clock Tower Welfare Association have alleged that the work was going on at a snail’s pace and officials of the Municipal Corporation were doing nothing about it. Mr Ajay Chopra, Mr Mohinder Aggarwal and Mr Subhash Sehgal, office-bearers of the associations, said the project under which the stretch of road from the Jagraon bridge to Chand cinema was to be covered by a 2.5-km flyover, had already exceeded the deadline.

Stating that the pillars on the GT Road had been erected since long, they said the project was far from being completed. It was surprising that contractors of petty works were penalised by the corporation but the corporation was silent about the completion of this project, they said.

They urged the CVO to “look into the reasons due to which the project could not be completed well in time and probe the powers under which the MC gave long extensions for the completion of the project.”

Alleging that the contractor, was being given undue favour by providing unlimited extension period, they said the matter needed to be investigated.

They said that it was not clear why the extension was refused to the contractor previously and “when the contractor stopped work, the extension was allowed under mysterious circumstances.”



Tension grips Jainpur village again
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
Tension gripped Jainpur village on Hambran Road once again today following an attempt of demarcation by a claimant of a farmhouse worth crores amid allegations that the police was allegedly helping a party in the dispute at the behest of an influential politician.

While a party led by Mr Hardev Singh, occupant of the house, claimed that the opposite party was not paying heed to the stay orders by a court, the other said they had the orders of revenue officials to do the same.

While the menfolk occupying the house remained away, another claimant of the land started putting up angle irons to demarcate the land. This forced the women to lock themselves in the house.

Ms Paramjit Kaur, wife of Mr Hardev Singh, alleged that they had spent the night in fear as some persons waited outside. A posse of the police had been posted there since yesterday. The demarcation work was going on till today.

Mr Hardev Singh, showing the stay orders on the land, said he had shown these to the other party, but it was adamant to complete the work today itself.

The dispute revolves around a piece of and measuring 24 kanal land 8 marlas and worth Rs 1 crore, which was allegedly sold twice by the owners of the land over the years. A case regarding the possession is already in the high court. Both claimants — Gurnam Singh and Anuj Sharma — have been fighting over the possession and the house is presently being occupied by Gurnam Singh’s son, Hardev Singh. Gurnam Singh is serving a sentence in an attempt to murder case pertaining to the same controversy.

The family of Gurnam Singh had been alleging that a Parliamentary Secretary was helping Anuj Sharma and his party.

The land originally belonged to Hajara Singh of the same village, who had sold it to Gurnam Singh in 1993 for Rs 15 lakh. After the death of Hajara Singh, when the price of the property increased manifold in the area, his sons allegedly executed a sale deed with Anuj Sharma and got prepared a “fake registry” in his name. While the decree of the land in question is in Gurnam Singh’s name, the other party has the land registered in its name.

Mohinder Singh and Nirmal Singh, sons of the land-seller, agreed with the sale deed executed by his father. However, his other sons, Bhag Singh, Pal Singh and Buta Singh did not agree with it. They sold a portion of the land once again.



Mini bus overturns, 1 killed
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, January 1
A mini bus, carrying devotees from Bhaini Sahib to Fatehgarh Sahib via Ludhiana, overturned due to some technical fault at Heeran village, near Kohara, here today.

One passenger was killed and three others were injured in the mishap. The deceased has been identified as Satnam Singh Mohandi village in Majitha, Amritsar. He breathed his last at the DMC Hospital, Ludhiana. The injured were taken to the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana. Their condition is reported to be stable.

This bus (PB02AK 9702) packed with devotees, was a part of a procession being carried out from Bhaini Sahib to Fatehgarh Sahib on account of tercentenary celebrations. 



Punjabi Culture Study Circle doing yeoman’s service
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 1
The Punjabi Culture Study Circle International (PCSCI) is doing yeoman’s service towards promoting Punjabi literature.

It was set up in October, 2002, with Ms Manu Sharma Sohal and Dr Jagtar Dhiman, as its chief coordinator and coordinator, respectively. It is a non-religious, non-political missionary body striving to work for the promotion of Punjabi and Punjabiat. It welcomes developing linkage with national and International bodies having similar agenda.

Mr Joginder Kalsi, cinematographer and documentary producer of international repute, is its chief patron and Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal is its chief Adviser.

The main aim of the circle is to preserve and promote rich Punjabi culture. Its another aim includes providing forum to young writers to present their views about Punjabi and Punjabiat.

The circle maintains an active liaison with several bodies, including the Academy of Punjab in North America (APNA), Pride of India Radio, Denmark and Canadian TV Programme ‘Vision of Punjab’ etc. It looks for cooperating with such organisations rising above religious, regional and political barriers.

It organises literary activities and also has a website, www.punjabiphulkari.com.

It aims at conducting intensive literary research on works of great Punjabi writers and poets. Its officials met relatives, friends and contemporary writers of poet Shiv Kumar Batalavi to enrich the material already available on him.

The circle also organises inter-school contests and talent-hunt exercises to promote emerging Punjabi artistes.

The circle has also begun a tradition of bringing out multi-lingual literary greeting cards every year. To start with, it dedicated a card to Shiv Kumar Batalavi in 2003. The effort was welcomed. The card for 2004 was dedicated to Baba Sheikh Farid and the card for 2005 has been dedicated to Guru Nanak Dev.

The PCSCI Team comprises Mr Joginder Kalsi (patron); Ms Manu Sharma Sohal (chief coordinator); Dr Jagtar Dhiman (coordinator); Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal (chief adviser); Prof Kulwant Jagraon (adviser); Mr Swaranjit Savi (adviser); Jenab Safir Rammah (adviser); and Mr Iqbal Mahal (adviser).



Peanuts, poor man’s almonds
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 1
Peanuts, the humble nuts, are a hot favourite during winter. Monkey nuts, groundnuts or peanuts, as these are known, can be seen heaped in small mounds along roadsides and stacked in shops. Everyone likes to munch these and most see it as a nice passtime.

People in Punjab generally eat roasted peanuts though these can be fried too but then it adds more calories. In Maharashtra, people boil peanuts in turmeric water and the nuts taste different. These are called “singdanas”. Peanut “chikki” made by melting jaggery and adding peanuts and dried coconut is nourishing.

Peanuts make excellent snacks. Most nuts, including peanuts, are an excellent source of protein. Nuts are high in both protein and fat, dietary fibre, and Vitamin A, B and C, besides calcium and iron. Although anyone using a diet rich in nuts should be wary of total fat content, nuts are virtually cholesterol free. So for the poor persons these not only supply proteins but also work well to keep hunger at bay, partly because of their high protein and fat content.

Even airlines go in for peanuts as snack food when they want to hold passengers over without providing a meal. Peanuts are a valuable source of B vitamins, and provide 20-30 per cent of food value as protein. Almonds provide only 6 gm of protein. But when one compares the cost of peanuts to almonds, peanuts win hands down.

The poor coarsely pound peanuts and mix these with salt, red chilli and a little oil and eat it with chappaties. Peanut chutney provides a change in the diet.

Peanuts are a favourite snack with drinks too. Many people think these are “garam” and that is why the nuts are eaten in winter. “Peanuts are enjoyable during journey as these break the ice among passengers and help start a conversation. But the shells make quite a mess so people should collect these in a bag and throw it away. Please do not litter,” says Mr Ghanshayam, a daily commuter from Ludhiana to Jalandhar.



Let’s recycle greeting cards
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, January 1
People must have received a number of New Year greeting cards. After displaying these for some days, the question arises what shall be done with the stack of greeting cards.

Minaxi, a BA III student, in conversation with Ludhiana Tribune said, “I attach deep sentiments to my friend’s cards and so I am going to keep them.”

Sushant Gupta, his wife Sana, both working with MNC banks, say, “We get a lot of greeting cards and feel it is a sheer waste of money. We feel so many trees are cut down to make these greeting cards. The card companies are commercialising all special occasions to such an extent, that even Karva Chauth has not been spared.

“These cards cost a packet. After we get them we either store them or throw them. Why not recycle them and use the paper again. If the cards are made of recycled paper, they would be more affordable.”

Sucheta, Tinkle, Mohit and Arjun, all teenagers, but highly conscious of the environment-related problems feel strongly that the fancy cards have captured the market. They say, “The words on cards are not your words. We have done away totally with the traditional cards. We use e-mail cards as they reach quickly and have tremendous variety and are accompanied with music. No postage and no ‘criminal’ wastage of papers. In today’s world it is better to send wishes on telephone. Why wonder whether or not your card has reached your loved ones?”

Cards are frequently used to express feelings. One just has to spend money, but no thoughts. The words are carefully written and appeal the buyers. No wonder other companies are taking out a large number of cards for every occasion.

Mr C.L. Verma and his friends, all retired, feel that some NGOs and government agencies should come up to recycle the used cards.

“Moreover, people should be encouraged to use home-made cards,” say some youngsters.



City girl to join IAF as ground duty officer
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, January 1
Cadet under officer Jasdeep Sandhu has been selected as ground duty officer (GDO) by the Air Force Academy, Hyderabad. She recently received an appointment letter in this regard. She would be commissioned as an officer after a one-year rigorous training.

Jasdeep and her parents are now eagerly looking forward towards her training and final placement.

Recalling the strenuous efforts put in to achieve this, Jasdeep said, “Having cleared the Common Entrance Test conducted at the Chandigarh Air Force station in September 2004, I appeared before the service selection board in Dehra Dun in October, where I was among the 10 selected after the interview. My medical was conducted in Delhi on October 26 after which I received the appointment letter.”

Jasdeep always wanted to join the Forces. “The moment I decided to move ahead and prove myself, there was no looking back. My camp at all-India girls trekking expedition in Joginder Nagar, Himachal Pradesh, in May 2002 provided me a breakthrough. After attending three combined annual training camps (CATC), Jasdeep represented Punjab in gliding championship in Bangalore, Karnataka in 2002.

One of the most significant achievement of Jasdeep, as she feels, has been her participation in the para-jumping course in Agra in November last year, where she was the only girl from Punjab. Two other boys, Ajaypal of Batala and Satnam Singh of Patiala, were the ones to be selected from the state. Forty cadets participated from all over India.

“It was here,” Jasdeep feels, “that my being underwent a sea change. The 12-day ground training, 1-km run in 4 minutes, landing and exit technique , para jumps from 1,250 feet, sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups made me an altogether different person.

After this 20-day strenuous training in Agra she was conferred wings by the Air Officer Commandant. Jasdeep recently received the 'C' certificate in NCC with 'A' grade. Apart from her parents, she believes that the motivation and support of Sq Ldr P.P. Singh, CO in NCC, made the entire difference.

Tomorrow Jasdeep will leave for Hyderabad for joining as ground duty officer.



The year saw police in a new role
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 1
Social policing dominated the functioning of the police in the Jagraon area, which claimed to have settled more disputes by arbitration than referring these to court during last year. It launched a crusade against social evils, including drug addiction, illiteracy and the dowry system.

Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, said the Community Policing Resource Centre had adopted more than 70 villages falling under the jurisdiction of the Jagraon police for creating awareness among masses regarding social evils.

The police claimed to have settled 25 disputes involving financial matters. This was done through three financial dispute committees constituted at the sub-divisional level.

The district police received 373 complaints regarding matrimonial issues. An eight-member committee working under a women's cell of the district resolved 125 cases amicably, where the families, on the verge of collapse, were rehabilitated. Separation was arrived at in 83 cases whereas 85 cases were referred to court.

Efforts were made to bridge the gap between the police and the public, which was stated to be a major cause of sense of insecurity among the masses. Educative “nukar nataks” were staged at various villages in association with social organisations.

Students of some schools were taken to police stations at Dehlon and Dakha to apprise them of the functioning of the police.

Besides organising awareness camps at Pohir, Chhapar, Dehlon, Hathur, Sarabha, Dakha and Malsihan Bajan villages, lectures on the importance of yoga were held at the sub-divisional level. Medical camps and immunisation camps were also arranged at some of these places.

The Jagraon police emerged as the first district headquarters to establish a single-window service counter for verification of antecedents of residents, thus expediting the process of passport, arms licence and police verification. Though the Director-General of Police was to inspect the headquarters for finalising the inauguration of the CPRC, it was postponed reportedly due to state mourning of the death of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.



Relief collection centres set up
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
The state government has decided to send relief in kind along with the relief fund as per the requirement of those hit by the tsunami waves in South India. The relief material would be collected at the District Red Cross Society.

This was stated by Deputy Commissioner, Anurag Verma today. He said the governments concerned had sent the requirement through the centre.

The relief could be collected in kind. It could include tents, polythene sheets, blankets, bedsheets, clothes shoes and slippers. Apart from this, essential food items like jaggery, sugar, gram, salt, rice, flour, milk powder, potato, and onion, besides candles, kerosene and diesel could be contributed.

The Deputy Commissioner appealed to industrialists, NGOs, educational institutions and trade and industrial associations to contribute generously.

Special relief collection counters had been set up at the District Red Cross Society, Red Cross Bhavan, Mall Road (Ludhiana) and at the sub-division level in the office of the SDM concerned.

A shawl manufacturing unit, Sood Sons today donated 1,677 shawls. 



Deaths mourned, help pours in
Tribune Reporters

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 1
Condolence meetings were held at various offices in the town and its surrounding areas to mourn the loss of thousands of lives in the tsunami disaster. Meanwhile, the call given by the district administration to donate liberally for the tsunami victims has received a good response.

Condolence meetings were held at the local municipal council office, the market committee office, the office of the Joint Sub-Registrar, the Rotary and Lions Clubs.

According to Dr Indu, SDM, Malerkotla, the employees of the state government had decided to donate one-day salary towards the relief fund on the appeal of Mr Hussan Lal, DC, Sangrur. Dr Indu has donated here one-month salary, while Mr Mukesh Sharma and Mr Harbans Singh (Naib Tehsildars) have donated Rs 5,000 each towards the relief fund.

Mr V.P. Jindal, MC Executive Officer, has sent around Rs 50,000 collected from the staff, for the relief fund. The staff of the Municipal Council, Amargarh, the Municipal Council, Malerkotla, members of the Market Committee, Ahmedgarh, and the Market Committee, Malerkotla, have also sent contributions for the relief fund. The Shryans Group of Industries has donated around Rs 5 lakh. Mr Anil Kumar, executive director of the local unit of Shryans Industries, said the contributions came from the employees and owners of the industrial group. Around 2,000 employees of all units of the group situated in various districts have contributed one-day salary with owners contributing a matching amount.


To facilitate the collection of relief material for the victims of tsunami tragedy, the civil administration has opened a relief centre at the local tehsil office. It will receive material initially for two days.

Mr Gurmit Singh, SDM, said special staff had been deputed for collecting goods from public at the relief centre that worked on Sunday and Monday. Mr Manmohan Kaushak, Executive Magistrate, would ensure that staff attended the donors from 8 am to 8 pm on both days.

Mr Gurmit Singh appealed to the residents of the area to donate liberally for the help of tsunami-hit.

The SDM said more collection centres would be opened in other villages if residents and sarpanches of those villages so desired. The revenue staff of the area concerned would be asked to shift the relief materials to the main centre afterwards. He called upon the social organisations to come forward and join hands with the administration in helping calamity-hit.



Pensioners donate for tsunami victims

Ludhiana, January 1
In response to the Prime Minister’s appeal, the Government Pensioners’ Association has sent Rs 5,100 (Bank Draft No. 132551, dated 29.12.2004, issued by UCO Bank, Civil Lines, Ludhiana) to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund as its humble contribution to provide aid to the people affected by the tsunami tragedy in the southern parts of the country,

The association has appeals to its members, sister organisations, educational institutions and others to come forward to help mitigate the sufferings and rehabilitate thousands of the affected persons. OC



Oppn rejects MC proposals
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 1
Considering the constrained financial state of the local Municipal Council, the opposition group, enjoying majority in the House, rejected some of the proposals placed for consideration in the general house yesterday.

Besides transacting other business, the House mourned the loss of lives in Sunday’s tsunami disaster and decided to contribute one-month salary to the relief fund.

Sources revealed that Mr Ved Parkash Jindal, Executive Officer, Municipal Council had called a meeting of all councillors to consider various items on the agenda. Responding to a call by some of the social and religious organisations of the town the councillors led by Mr Sham Sunder and Mr Jatinder Bhola pursued councillors owing alliance to their group to give consent on the proposal related with the development of the town.

However, these councillors objected to the proposal of purchasing a plot for a local social welfare society and repair and white-washing of the council office at an estimated cost of Rs 4 lakh. It was argued that no other project should be undertaken until basic amenities were provided to all residents.

The leaders of the opposition had further urged the council authorities that work orders for the projects approved in the meeting should be issued only after the works sanctioned earlier were completed.

Besides transacting other business, the House observed two-minute silence to mourn the loss of thousands of lives in the Sunday’s tsunami disaster. On the suggestion of Mr Sham Sunder all councillors offered to send one-month salary towards the relief fund being raised for rehabilitation of the affected families.



Restricted holiday on March 23 flayed
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 1
The All-India Federation of Democrative Youth has criticised the move of the Punjab Government that has declared the shaheedi day of Bhagat Singh on March 23 and the martyrdom day of Shaheed Udham Singh on June 31 as restricted holidays for the year 2005.

Condemning the decision of the government, Mr Jandeep Kaushal, vice-president of the federation, asserted that the decision was against the very idea of national freedom and sacrifice for which these two national heroes stood steadfast and shed their blood. He said the government, by this decision, had openly declared that there was no place for Marxist thinkers in the Capitalist setup.

Similarly, he added, that declaring May Day, on May 1, as a restricted holiday, was highly objectionable. May Day, that is celebrated as Labour Day all over the world, had a great significance for labourers for whom it was a day representing victory and freedom from exploitation. These ‘anti-masses’ decisions should be reverted otherwise a state-wide agitation would be launched by the federation, Mr Kaushal stated in a press note.



SMS congestion on New Year Eve
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
It was short messaging service (SMS) that ruled the roost when it came to sending New Year greetings. So much was the congestion due to the huge SMS traffic that messages were delayed by even as long as 12 to 14 hours.

While Spice subscribers sent as many as one crore messages, Hutch network recorded over four lakh messages (in Punjab circle) that were sent on New Year Eve, in comparison to an average of 75,000 messages that are sent on any routine day. Other companies also recorded a four to fivefold increase. The numbers are still being calculated as people are still sending greetings, say officials.

A majority of city residents, having learnt from previous experiences, decided not to wait till midnight to greet their near and dear ones and began sending messages much before. That, however, did not prevent the congestion. Not only were the messages delayed, but also many people complained of “message failed” reports flashed on their mobiles despite sending an SMS several times.

“Though I started sending messages to my friends from 8 pm only, a few received messages late in the night, while others received them in the morning. In some cases, the messages did not reach the destination at all,” said Ms Manjula Sharma, a subscriber.

Mr Arun Kapoor, Chief Operating officer, Hutch-Punjab circle, attributing the trend to the increasing number of subscribers and the increasing popularity of the SMS, said: “The number of messages sent on New Year Eve exceeded the number that were sent on Divali. This is primarily due to the increase in the number of subscribers of mobile phones and also the increasing popularity of the SMS.”

He said while on an average day subscribers of Hutch send around 75,000 SMS, this number was 2.75 lakh on Divali and crossed four lakh on New Year Eve.

The “ever-existing” network problems, which did invite complaints, were also the basis of innovative messages like: “Before the sun sets on this year, before memories fade and before networks get jammed, wish you a very happy New Year”.

Among other interesting messages, motivated by the present state of affairs, that were circulated were: “May your happiness increase like oil prices and your sorrows decrease like Mallika Sherawat’s clothes.”

For many it was poetic messages like: “Troubles as light as air, love as deep as ocean and friends as solid as diamonds and success as bright as gold; these are the wishes for you on the eve of New Year”, that helped convey greetings.

“Sending greetings through an SMS not only gives one the liberty to be a bit liberal and informal, it also helps one to get in touch with more people than one can, probably, via an email or a greeting card,” Mr Suresh Malhotra, a resident, said.



Service tax on road freight condemned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
Condemning the imposition of service tax on road freight, industry representatives today said this would amount to the service user and not the service provider paying the tax.

Service tax of 10.2 per cent, which will be charged on freight amount after deducting a standard 75 per cent of billing on account of expenses in providing freight services, will have to be borne by the manufacturing sector which is already suffering due to high diesel and petrol costs, said a press note by the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry today.

This liability of service tax on the manufacturing sector will further increase the transaction cost of the business, the chamber said.


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