L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bazaars buzz with Karva Chauth shoppers
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, October 19
Going through the bazaars of the city, one feels that women that rule the roost. Women are thronging the bazaars in colourful clothes, shopping for the Karva Chauth fast on October 20.

Since the women fast for the long life of their husbands, the husbands are generous and let their wives indulge in their whims and fancies. On the roadside, very visible are coloured earthenware pots called ‘karvas’. Women fill up these ‘karvas’ with water and after offering water to moon, drink it.

Mehndiwalas are doing good business. People from Rajasthan and UP have come. Sitting by the roadside for the past many days, they have applying mehndi on many a pretty palm and warming their pockets. These people are affordable and for the middle class, while those with lined pockets go to parlours and get the latest coloured, and mehndi decorated with stones put on their hands.

One can see a large variety in bangles. Bangles with stones, hangings, karas, jadao bangles, bangles arranged in sets, bangles coated with feathery gold are there to be picked up and matched with dress to be worn in exhibition in the Lakshmi Ladies Club offered woman mind-boggling variety of all the things needed for the fast — bangles, bindis-coloured fancy, bindis with stones, long bindis, colourful parandas for long tresses, sindoor, henna application, and fancy suits.

Jewellers are also busy. Newly married girls have to be gifted jewellery and even fond husbands cannot resist their wives’ demands of buying them a piece of jewellery fancied.

Sweetmeat sellers have made both plain and sugar-coated ‘mathis’ as they have to be given to mothers-in-law. Thinly made ‘phenians’ that are an essential part of the fast are lying in small mounds in shops. The cart sellers carrying coconuts are in great demand and are charging fancy prizes. The sellers of all the things associated with the fast are making a fast buck and thanking God for this Hindus fast.

Photographers are offering to take pictures of the couples free of cost. Mr Rajan Sood of Famous Studio says, “We are going to decorate our studios with colourful flowers and takefree photographs of the couples. Not only that, but we have very attractive prizes for the winners of best couple competitions.”

Schools are organising mehndi competitions. New Senior Secondary School arranged a mehndi competition. Ekta of Class XII stood first while Anchaal Gupta of Class X was second. Neha Banga of Class XI was placed at the third position and Sangeeta and Ramandeep Kaur were given consolation prizes.

Shanti Niketan Adarsh Vidyalaya also held a similar competition. Around 80 students participated. In Group A, Heena, Nancy and Harjinder Kaur got the first, second and third prize, respectively and Jeenat was given a consolation prize.

In Group B, the winners were Priya, Megha and Lakhbir.



Tyre theft scandal in Dry Port busted
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
The city police today claimed to have busted a tyre theft scandal in the Dry Port. A Tata Sumo driver and his accomplice have been arrested for allegedly stealing hundreds of tyres with the connivance of some employees of the Customs Department from consginments reaching here from abroad.

Inspector Gurpreet Singh, SHO of Division No 2, told the Ludhiana Tribune that the police was investigating the involvement of three employees of the Customs Department, up to the rank of Inspector in the alleged scandal.

He said the accused had revealed the name of the officials, but their identities would be disclosed only after further investigation.

He revealed that the accused driver, Ashok Kumar, had been transporting tyres officially with a number of officials of the Customs Department for the past over 18 months. The second arrested has been identified as Raju , a resident of EWS Colony here.

A city court has remanded the accused in two days’ police custody. The police sought the demand on the plea that it wanted to know more about the identity of the persons involved in the alleged scam.

He allegedly exploited his closeness with the officials and pilfered two or three tyres from every consignment arriving here regularly. The tyres were allegedly sold at a price of Rs 700 to Rs 900 each.

The two were caught on the Jagraon bridge this morning when they were transporting stolen tryes in a Tata Suma car. The police has recovered 12 stolen tyres from the accused.

The police claimed that under the prevailing system, transportation of tyres from the dry port to local traders was done on a contract basis. The accused, Ashok Kumar, was well known and allegedly connived with some insiders of the department o steal the tyres.

He had become close to the officials who had hired his car on regular basis from commuting between Chandigarh and Ludhiana.



Johar enchants kids with violin
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, October 19
Johar Ali, a charming young violinist gave a brilliant performance on his violin in GRD Academy, here, today. Son of the illustrious, the late Ustad Gohar Ali Khan of Rampur of Patiala gharana, he mesmerised the students with the rendition of raag miya ki todi.

He has been associated with SPIC MACAY (Society for Promotion of Classical Music, Art and Culture Among Youth) and the programme was organised by this society.

After lighting the traditional lamp, Johar Ali played the alaap. He explained to the students that alaap was the introduction to the raag and after it came the ‘bandish’ accompanied by the tabla. On the tabla was Dr Mahindra Prasad Sharma, a seasoned artiste. Accompanying them on the harmonium was Mohammad Nazir.

The children, though not very familiar with the instrument, loved the music produced by four strings and listened spellbound .

Johar Ali’s specialisation in the systematic elaboration of raag , melodies and innovative approach in presenting taan was obvious. He displayed great command over the melody and technique of the Indian classical music.

The students as well as teachers loved the soulful music produced by his violin .He has received the award for best instrumental music artiste from the President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, this year. Johar Ali said, “I played in Adis Ababa, capital of Ethopia. I was a great hit with the audience when I announced that I would play a song that I had heard the day before on a cassette. It was an Ethopian country song.”

Talking to the media, he said, “I started learning violin from my father at the age of eight and gave my first solo performance at the age of 12 years on Pt Nehru’s birthday in Teen Murti Bhavan. Music is in my blood. My grandfather, Ustad Ali Baksh, was the founder of the Patiala gharana. I am excited about my performance in Paris next month under the aegis of Unesco. It would be a blend of Western music — Mozart Symphony with Indian interaction. I have performed practically everywhere in the world.”



Another way of evading toll
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, October 19
Since the implementation of the exorbitant toll on National Highway No. 1 by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) at Doraha, Shambu and Karnal toll barriers on the Panipat-Jalandhar stretch, commuters have been adopting novel ways of evading toll by discovering alternative routes from time to time.

But now, the system of ‘no parchi’ is allegedly being carried out under the very nose of the toll authorities with the consent of the commuters and some booth operators posted at the toll plaza, here.

According to sources, the commuters who are a bit experienced, stop at the booth, unofficially pay Rs 10 or 20 to the toll employee who in turn issues a blank white slip to the commuter, thus making the passage smooth for their entry and exit. The toll officials standing at a distance are fooled in good faith.

The practice is generally carried out during off hours, ie at night or early in the morning.

A commuter, on the condition of anonymity, revealed,”Many a time it has been observed that the concessional yellow card means an unchecked passage for other vehicles too. The pass is issued for a particular vehicle but it becomes handy for a number of such ‘vehicles’ whose owners just show this pass from inside their airconditioned cars.”

At the same time, the toll officials are not entirely ignorant of this illegal practice and some security men or booth operators have been penalised too. Mr V. C. Pandey, newly posted toll manager, said, “All five fingers are not alike. I have received some general complaints in this regard and I have sacked those who were found to be doubtful cases. In this case, commuters are equally guilty.”

The toll scheme was launched in June 3, 2002, at every 80 km from Panipat to Jalandhar at three different places viz Doraha, Shambu and Karnal. For first 96-206 km, vehicles such as car, jeep and van are charged Rs 50, light commercial vehicles Rs 90, trucks and buses Rs 175 and heavy commercial vehicles Rs 375.

Similarly, for 206-272 km, the rates for the above mentioned types are Rs 30, Rs 55, Rs 105 and Rs 225, respectively. For 272 km to 372 km, the rates are Rs 45, Rs 80, Rs 160 and Rs 340, respectively. At Doraha, the rates are being charged for the category covering 272 km to 372 km.

Two-wheelers and three-wheelers along with defence, VIP, police, fire brigade, ambulance, funeral vans, post and telegraph centre and state vehicles have been exempted from paying the toll tax. Monthly passes have been issued to the local residents.

Though the NHAI has repaired broken roads, fixed railings near towns and at other risky points, attached fences near the fields to cut down risk posed by stray animals, the commuters seem to be dissatisfied by such “meagre facilities” against such “hefty rates.”

Mr Pandey, toll manager says, “Our efforts are steady and continuous. ”



Passing Thru

Vandana Munjal
Vandana Munjal, Clarati Jewels

Are diamonds an investment?

Considering the rise in value terms, worldwide, diamonds are among the best investment options available today. I would say buying diamonds now is like buying property due to the appreciation they are showing.

And how about diamonds as jewellery?

That of course is the main reason why people go in for these precious stones. Options have increased and a diverse range of designs is available making them wearable for all sections of people, be it students or office-goers or for party wear.

How important is certification?

If the product one buys is not genuine, it amounts to wasting one's money. Which is why I emphasise that people know in detail about the quality of jewellery they buy. Certification ensures safety and the jewellery or diamonds they purchase must be certified.

— Shveta Pathak



Registration of poll roll begins today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
The district administration has appealed to the people to get their names registered as voters during the intensive revision of electoral rolls which starts tomorrow.
Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma said that during this intensive revision house-to-house, enumeration will be carried out from October 20 to November 21. Enumerators would go to each and every house and meet the head of the household or, in his absence, the senior adult member of that household.

The enumerator will ascertain the names of adult Indian citizens i.e. those 18 years or above on the qualifying date of June 1, 2006 and are ordinarily residing in the house. The official shall enumerate the names of all such persons as are claimed to be adult Indian citizens and are ordinarily residents, by the head/senior adult member of the household, in the enumeration pad provided to him by the Electoral Registration Officer for this purpose.

No person can be enrolled at more than one constituency and not more than once in the same constituency. The furnishing of any information which is false and which he/she knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true, is an electoral offence. The persons furnishing such false information are liable for punishment with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or with both under Section 31 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950.

Mr Verma said during the visit, the enumerator shall enquire from the head of the family/senior member present the details of the Elector Photo Identity Card (EPIC) issued in that constituency or any other constituency of that state or any other state, to any or all of the family members.

In case the card has been issued, he shall record the complete EPIC number together with the prefixes of the cards issued against the name of the family member concerned in the appropriate column. He shall record the number after physically verifying the EPICs in original or photocopies thereof. He shall also collect the EPIC, in original, of dead persons.

Therefore, the Deputy Commissioner appealed to the residents to either keep all EPICs of the household, issued in the constituency or any other constituency of the country, ready for showing to the enumerator or a photocopy of each of the EPICs (both sides) should be shown to the enumerator for writing their complete number in the enumeration card. Mr Verma also appealed to the residents that holding of more than one EPIC by an individual is an offence under the Act.

The DC informed that if any enumerator finds a particular house locked or that no adult member of the house hold is available at the time of his visit, he shall visit that house at least three times on different occasions and during different hours in the morning or evening when he may reasonably expect to find some adult person to be present/available in the house.

When an enumerator reports to the Supervisor that a particular house has been found locked or no adult member of household is available in any house on his repeated visits, the Supervisor will visit that house and verify the fact.

In case the house is found locked or no adult member of the household is available even at the time of the Supervisor’s visit, he shall drop the letter of request in Form-4 on the premises. He shall make another visit to that house after two or three days and collect Form 4, if somebody is present at the time of his subsequent visit. He shall keep a proper account of his visits to such houses.



Residents complain against encroachment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Residents of Shaheed Karnail Singh Nagar, Phase II, have complained that some influential person has usurped 10-14 feet of land earmarked for laying a road, thereby reducing the actual width of the proposed road.

In a complaint to the MC authorities, Major S.S. Aulakh (retd) has claimed that a piece of land on the Gurdwara Road was encroached upon by a resident of the area.

He has demanded action against the encroacher besides immediate demolition of the structure.

“The encroachment has already narrowed down the 66-foot road, which is causing inconvenience to the commuters. If this is not removed in time, people are going to suffer all the more.’’ said Major Aulakh.



Farmers plan advisory council

Ludhiana, October 19
The Punjab State Farmers Commission has decided to set up an advisory council of eight farmers for advising the commission on various issues confronting the farming community in the state.

The advisory council shall have two sets of farmers. One, progressive farmers, who are declared best farmers in different fields of activities such as field crop, dairy, horticulture and other allied activities by the Punjab agricultural university.

The other set of four farmers will be selected from the different geographical areas of the state like Kandi area, central Punjab, south-west Punjab and north-east Punjab.

According to Dr G.S. Kalkat, Chairman of the state farmers commission, the commission at its meeting also approved the objectives of the commission. The main objectives of the commission are to examine and review the status of agriculture and allied sectors in Punjab and that of rural infrastructure, suggest measures of economically viable and ecologically sustainable agriculture development and plan evaluate and suggest medium and long-term strategies for agricultural diversification in view of fast occurring changes at the national and international level resulting from agreement on agriculture under the WTO.

The commission will study the potential of agriculture and allied activities in productivity employing the rural work force.

The commission shall consist of besides Chairman, Financial Commissioner (Development), Punjab, vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences. OC



Bankers send relief for quake victims
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
The Oriental Bank Employees Union (North Zone) and the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation have sent a truckload of blankets to Srinagar for earthquake victims.

Mr Naresh Gaur, secretary, Punjab Bank Employees Federation, said in a press note issued here today that blankets had been despatched to the Principal Secretary to the Jammu and Kashmir Government.

Mr Sudesh Kumar, chairman, Mr Amritlal, secretary, Mr G.K.Joshi, assistant secretary, of the federation, and Mr N.K. Gaur, secretary, All-India Bank Employees Association, were among others present on the occasion.



At the Crossroads
The man behind the Mela

Prof Mohan Singh and Jagdev Singh Jassowal (inset)
Prof Mohan Singh and Jagdev Singh Jassowal (inset).

The show has been going on for the past 27 years. It was started to keep alive the memory of the great Punjabi poet, Prof Mohan Singh. He had settled in Ludhiana at the fag end of his chequered career.

He had done his work, both as a poet and the editor of the Punjabi monthly, Punj Darya, and was on the look out for a sanctuary where he could find some respite from the hectic life he had been leading for long. He joined Punjab Agricultural University as a Professor Emeritus when Dr M.S. Randhawa was its Vice-Chancellor. Under his stewardship, the Department of Punjabi Language, Culture and History was established, where among others, Surjit Patar, engaged himself in the research work.

The man behind the Mela, Jagdev Singh Jassowal, has acquired the status of a legendary figure in his lifetime. He is the founder Chairman of the Professor Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation, Ludhiana. Over the years, the Mela Prof Mohan Singh has been held on October 20, the birthday of the poet. The venue has all along been Ludhiana, mostly Punjabi Bhavan, but this year it has been shifted to Ferozepore. To give the Mela a wider scope, it has been christened the International Punjabi Cultural Mela which is being organised by the Punjabi Sabhiacharak Manch at Guru Nanak College, Ferozepore.

Jagdev Singh Jassowal is not keeping good health these days, a victim of relentless work schedule. Still he is desirous of giving the Mela his personal touch. Indeed, he has a magnetic personality. He is going there with his full team which includes Dr Surjit Patar, patron, pargat Singh Grewal, president of the foundation, Gurbhajan Gill,Ravinder Bhathal and Kulwant Jagraon, general secretaries and Nirmal Jaura, organising secretary.

Prof Mohan Singh was born at Dhamial (Rawalpindi) in 1905 and died in Ludhiana in 1978. He started his career as a teacher and ended it likewise. In 1939 he resigned his post as a lecturer in Persian at Khalsa College, Amritsar, and went to Lahore to start a Punjabi monthly, Punj Darya, and establish a publishing house, Hind Publishers. In Lahore he met Amrita Pritam and the two of them enriched the Punjabi poetic literature to no end. Amrita Pritam's ‘Sunehre’ (Messages) and Mohan Singh's ‘Kasumbra’ and ‘Adhwate’ have now been acclaimed as modern classics. Partition proved to be a setback to the sustained flight of these two remarkable poets.

Like Waris Shah, Prof Mohan Singh is primarily a poet of love. He longs for sensory delight and craves for emotional stimulus. Indeed, the changing conditions of life sometimes leave him bitter and frustrated. He then exclaims:

Chhad de chhad de meri baanh

Main nahin rehna tere garan

(Let go my arm, I can no longer tarry in your village.)

But then again he is in such a frame of mind as seeks personal psychological relief:

I have lost control; Over my senses; My gait has altered; Her memory haunts my mind; I try to shut my lips tight; But a deep sigh escapes through; Tears well up in my eyes; Seeking the warmth of; The beloved's embrace

— N.S. Tasneem



Sikh students protest against Bhasha Manjari
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Activists of the Sikh Students’ Federation today staged a demonstration against the publishers of Bhasha Manjari, a Hindi textbook, for the alleged blasphemous remarks against Guru Gobind Singh in it. They later submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma.

Led by the federation president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Grewal, the activists raised slogans against the author and publisher of the book. They said mere banning of the book by the Haryana Government did not serve any purpose. They demanded that the culprits be brought to the book as they had played with the sentiments of millions of people, in general, and Sikhs, in particular.

Mr Grewal said the issue was not related to any particular community like the Sikhs alone, but the entire nation. He pointed out that the sacrifices made by the Guru is revered by all people. He regretted that some people, with ulterior motives, had played the mischief.

The federation activists said they would be holding demonstrations against the book at other district headquarters in the state as well. They said the demonstrations would continue till the guilty were brought to the book.



Concern over LPG shortage
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 19
The Ludhiana Citizens Council (LCC) has expressed its concern over an acute scarcity of the LPG in the city, particularly when the festival season is at its peak.
In a statement here today, the LCC Chairman, Mr Darshan Arora, and secretary-general, Mr Ashok Juneja, charged the government with deliberately disrupting the distribution network of the LPG in the region with an intention of cutting down the subsidies.

They said the government assurance of improvement in the LPG supply with enhanced import by the oil companies had also remained on paper only.

The fact that city residents were made to wait for anything from a fortnight to a month for a refill cylinder of the LPG spoke volumes of the gross mismanagement of distribution by the oil companies and failure of the government, the LCC functionaries maintained.

Mr Arora and Mr Juneja observed that the traffic management in the city had virtually collapsed and the traffic police was unable to control the prevailing chaos at almost all major commercial centres. As a result of increased rush of shoppers in the markets, prolonged traffic jams all over the city had become a routine affair.



Special counters for service tax returns 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 19
The Central Excise Commissionerate is setting up special facilitation counters for the receipt of half yearly service tax returns (ST-3) on October 24 and 25 at the office of Assistant Commissioner, Central Excise Division, Ludhiana III, in New Prem Nagar here.

According to Mr Sandeep Puri, Joint Commissioner (Service Tax), Central Excise, all service tax assessees were required to file their half yearly returns within 25 days of the closure of the half year. Therefore, the returns for the half year ending September 30 were required to be filed by October 25.

In order to avoid the last minute rush, the department had also made elaborate arrangements to receive the service tax returns on October 22 (Saturday), which otherwise was a holiday, Mr Puri added.



Dawar’s father cremated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
The mortal remains of Charan Dass Dawar, father of Parliamentary Secretary Surinder Dawar, who expired yesterday following a brief illness, were cremated at the Daresi Cremation ground here today.

Hundreds of people from all walks of life participated in the funeral procession, attended the cremation and expressed their sympathies with the bereaved family.

Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma laid a wreath on the body on the behalf of the Chief Minister before the cremation. 



Dhandari Kalan out of bounds for two days
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
The Dhandari Kalan area in the city will remain out of bounds for people on October 21 and 22 for destroying thousands of explosives recovered in scrap reaching at the dry port here from the Middle-East countries.

Additional District Magistrate Ajmer Singh today promulgated order declaring the area out of bounds for the general public.

A team of experts will destroy thousands of explosives stored near the port for the past several months.



Hit by train, richshawpuller killed

Khanna, October 19
The body of a migrant rickshaw puller was found lying near the railway track at the Lalheri road railway crossing this morning.
A railway gangman noticed the body and informed the railway police. The police took the body to the Civil Hospital for post-mortem. Eyewitnesse said the rickshaw puller was hit by a train while crossing the track. OC



Seven booked
Our Correspondent

Khumano, October 19
The Khamano police on Monday arrested seven persons of Panjkoha village, near here, in an incident of firing. According to the FIR, the incident took place because of an old dispute over a piece of land between two families of the village. On the complaint of Ajaib Singh, a case under Sections 336, 506, 148 and 149, IPC, was registered against seven persons, including Sohan Singh Mohan Singh, Devinder Singh, Harkamal Singh, Rajwinder Singh, and Amarjeet Singh of the village.



Man found hanging from tree

Khanna, October 19
A man was found hanging from a tree near Alaur village this morning.
Some residents of the village noticed the body hanging from the tree near a village road. The residents informed panchayat members of the village. The panchayat informed the police and a police party reached the spot. The body was removed and sent to the Civil Hospital, Khanna, for post-mortem.— OC



Biz Clips

The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India on Tuesday launched a whole life unit linked plan, Jeevan Plus. “The plan offers twin benefit of investment and a flexible risk coverage up to the age of 100 years,” said Mr D.K.Bhagat, Senior Divisional Manager, LIC, while addressing a press conference here. He said Jeevan Plus offered units at Rs 10 for a limited period, gave a choice of four investment funds and four free switches in a year from one fund to another. — TNS

Bajaj Allianz: Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance has completed its fourth year in the Indian markets. The company held a dealers’ meet here to celebrate the fourth anniversary. According to Mr Sanjay Sinha, senior branch manager, the company recorded a growth of over 365 per cent in September, 2005. — TNS


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