L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


City’s migrant lifeline breached
Workers leave for home to celebrate Divali
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 29
The festival of lights would leave the industrial town vacant of almost 30 per cent of its population that comes from other states. Due to the festive season migrants from UP and Bihar have started leaving for their homes, which is likely to result in a steep decline in industrial production. Also affected are households that employ people from these states as house helps, and shopkeepers and traders who have them as workers.

The city’s railway station is witness to these migrants leaving in large numbers. The exodus would continue till Divali and workers would come back 7 to 10 days after the festival. Most of the factories and shops have vacancy boards hanging outside their gates.

Among industries, the maximum affected is hosiery industry, that is also having its peak production time. “Over 80 per cent of workers in hosiery industry are migrants from UP and Bihar. They have already started leaving for their home towns and industrial production would come to a standstill for the next fortnight or so,” said Mr Vinod K. Thapar, president, Knitwear Club.

Each worker goes for a span of week to two weeks. Industrialists, traders and households, who employ them, say they get the return tickets of their workers also booked so as to ensure their return.

“Before they leave, we talk to them personally and tell them the importance that their work holds for them so that they do not hesitate to come back,” said Mr Thapar, adding, “though cases of workers not returning are very less, still we do not want to take any risk.”

In case of households, this risk is higher. “I bought return ticket for my domestic help so that he comes back well and that, on time. After all, we are dependent on them and it is almost impossible to do without them,” said Ajay Chaudhary, an advocate in Sarabha Nagar.

The risk of labourers not returning remains as this time they leave after taking their bonus and due payments, say industrialists. “It is due to such problems only that we have reduced the number of migrant labourers in our industry,” says Mr Varinder Kapur, general secretary, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

He said the cycle industry, due to such problems from migrant workers, was encouraging employing workers from within Punjab. “The proportion of migrant workers in this industry has significantly reduced. To cope up with loss in production that we face, workers rom Punjab, who do not go on long leave during this period, mostly do overtime,” Mr Kapur said.

Not only does production comes down as workers leave, industrialists say that even after they come back, it takes time to get back to the previous tempo of working. “It happens every season and we have no other option that to get prepared for a stagnancy in production,” another industrialist said.



Divali spells doom for owls in Ludhiana
Hapless birds sacrificed to appease Goddess Lakshmi
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 29
Owl — the Greek symbol of wisdom — faces threat in the city due to superstition and black magic every year during the Divali days.
Despite being declared an endangered species, these birds of prey are sacrificed every year by the tantriks in the city, who mint money from industrialists who have fallen on bad days. The tantriks claim that the sacrifice would please Goddess Lakshmi.

The sacrifice of owls became a perennial practice after slump hit the Indian industry. With hosiery manufacturers facing losses due to shrinking winters, more and more such people are falling in the trap of tantriks, who assure them of immediate remedy to their financial problems.

No wonder then that every year an owl is sold for anywhere between Rs 10,000 to Rs 2 lakh and the bird catchers find a new lucrative business in the Kartik month of Indian calendar. As animal rights activists have become very active in the city, the sacrifice ceremony is performed in a clandestine manner. Many owls have been rescued from the tantriks in the past also.

The owl catchers take utmost care to avoid prying eyes. The habit of owls to nest in dark places like tree cavities and old buildings makes catching them a child’s play.

A bird catcher said owls were found in certain old buildings in Purana Bazar, Shiv Puri, Madhopuri, on Ferozepur Road and in many other dilapidated buildings in other parts of the city and all the catchers were found near those buildings during these days. ‘‘All of them stop catching sparrows and parrots that they sell for the rest of the year. They earn peanuts after selling those and an owl gets them at least Rs 10,000 if not more. It really becomes a prized catch for them”.

He said as this business gave good returns many nomads had also started catching owls leaving their business of selling monitor lizards. They were selling owl’s body parts at a much higher price. A jhuggi dweller in city was also approached by some disillusioned industrialists every year to perform black magic.

He added that usually one owl was bought by a tantrik and was used for performing black magic on at least 10 persons. Dried flesh, beak, claws, feathers and blood of owls were “ingredient” used for black magic. The maximum number of owls would be sold and sacrificed on Divali night and lakhs of rupees will change hands,” he told Ludhiana Tribune.

Dr Sandeep K. Jain, an office-bearer of Ludhiana chapter of the People for Animals said they were keeping a strict watch on the old buildings to save the owls from the clutches of tantriks. He appealed to the city residents not to fall in the trap of these people who were duping them and were killing owls, which were already on the verge of extinction.

‘‘Instead of killing them, we need to save them. Otherwise they will vanish from our country.’’ said Dr Jain advising the residents to report about owl catchers and killers to PFA if they came across any. ‘‘We can save a bird even after it is injured.’’ he added.

Commonly found in many countries, the owl has the fascinated and awed many cults and cultures. The owl has had many associations with witchcraft, medicine, the weather, birth and even death, as such many superstitions and fears about the owl remain.

Not only in India, where an owl is associated with the Goddess of Wealth, sacrifice of owl has been recorded in many other countries also where human rights activists had a tough time educating the masses.

This nocturnal predatory bird is distinguished by a large flat face, a short hooked beak, feathered legs with sharp talons, and soft plumage that facilitates soundless flight.

Owl was included in the Red Data Book after the number of birds decreased drastically due to habitat destruction.



Precautions for safe Divali

Ludhiana, October 29
In keeping with its social commitment to help the general public, Fortis Hospital, Mohali today issued an advisory here on ways to observe a ‘healthy and safe Divali’.

Talking about the basic precautions to be taken to avoid any burn injuries and electric shocks, Dr Vikas Bhutani, consultant, internal medicine, stated that the earthen lamps and candles, lighted during the festival should be placed safely away from any flammable material like wood, cloth or paper and electric wires. Electric lights should never be tied to any metal poles as any leakage of current could energize the pole and give an electric shock to anyone who touched it. — OC



Dengue still cause of worry for admn
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 29
In the past fortnight dengue has already claimed six lives in the city. Over 200 suspected cases have been reported to local hospitals during this period. Information gathered by Ludhiana Tribune indicated that 26 fresh cases of suspected dengue were admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) here during the past 24 hours while 7 patients suffering from the disease reported to Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here. Nearly 12 patients, with dengue-like symptoms were being treated in other different hospitals in the city.

The DMCH authorities informed that till now 161 dengue patients were admitted, out of which, 72 were still under treatment. As per the serology reports, 69 patients had reported positive to dengue while the rest were suspected to be afflicted with the mosquito-caused high-grade fever. Similarly, 29 dengue patients were under treatment at CMCH and till now 16 of them had tested positive.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, had summoned a meeting of the health and civic officials here on October 31 in the wake of increasing number of dengue cases in the city.

While the agenda of the proposed meeting was apparently to chalk out an action plan to tackle the threat posed by dengue in the city, it was learnt that the district authorities were reportedly unhappy over the slack attitude towards preventive measures which were supposed to be taken by the health officials and the Municipal Corporation to check the breeding of mosquito in the city, especially in some of the sensitive localities.

The detailed programme for prevention, education and awareness, was discussed at a meeting in the last week of August. This did not yield desired results.



NRI doctor donates 22 medicated stents 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 29
In a three-day cardiology workshop at the Hero DMC Heart Institute (HDHI) which concluded here on Friday, Dr Anil Kumar Mehra, Programme Director, Interventional Cardiology, University of Southern California (USA) implanted 22 medicated stents worth Rs 20 lakhs on 17 needy patients. The NRI doctor made a donation of these medicated stents as a humanitarian gesture towards the poor patients.

The cardiology team comprising Dr G.S.Wander, Dr N.K. Sood, Dr Bishav Mohan and Dr Naved Aslam coordinated with the visiting NRI doctor for implantation of the stents in these patients.

According to Dr Mehra, a similar camp would be held in the next couple of days at Surat in Gujarat from where he did his graduation in medicine. The same number of medicated stents would be donated over there.

Dr Mehra was highly impressed with the infrastructure, equipment and expertise available in the institution. He expressed his desire to visit the institution frequently to forge a long term association with the HDHI. He observed more young persons were falling prey to coronary artery diseases in India, possibly due to life style changes that were occurring in the present times.

Such efforts by doctors of Indian origin settled abroad for the help of needy patients were highly appreciable and Dr G.S. Wander, chief cardiologist at the HDHI, on behalf of the management, expressed gratitude to the visiting doctor for his association with the institute to help the needy patients and provide best medical care to the cardiac patients of the region.

Dr Sanjeev Puri, also from the USA, announced a donation of 5 drug-coated stents for the poor patients at this occasion.

While briefing mediapersons, Dr G.S. Wander said medicated stents were significant recent developments due to which restenosis rates had been markedly reduced and patients remained healthy for a long period of time provided they took necessary precautions regarding life style and follow strict regimen of regular exercise, stress management and low fat diet.



Acute factionalism prevails in SAD
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 29
The Shiromani Akali Dal leaders do not appear to have learnt any lessons from the defeat in the last assembly elections in 2002. The party continues to remain a divided house. Irrespective of the fact that the assembly elections are approaching fast, there is acute factionalism prevailing within the party and among leaders as well as workers.

The factionalism in the Ludhiana district unit came to the fore today when one of the factions of the party held a separate meeting today for moblising workers for November 4 rally at Delhi. The official faction led by the district president, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, had held a meeting on October 27. The meeting was attended among others by Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, a senior vice president of the party.

The other group led by Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha and comprising Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, an arch rival of Mr Bhatia and a claimant of the district president’s post, lost no time to call a similar meeting of the urban workers owing allegiance to them today. Surprisingly the party leadership has been watching as a mute spectator either because of its connivance or for the helplessness.

Mr Gabria has been a staunch loyalist of the former SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Other Tohra loyalists have also started feeling the same way. The party sources disclosed that there was a dominant feeling among the SGPC members, who owed allegiance to Mr Tohra, that they were deliberately being sidelined by the president, Bibi Jagir Kaur. Even some loyalists who had been instrumental in bringing Mr Tohra and Mr Parkash Singh Badal together have not been spared. Needless to mention the name of Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, who has been feeling marginalised and ignored. The grooming up of a parallel group against the officially nominated district president Mr Gabria, is also being viewed in the same context. It is learnt that similar situation is prevailing in most of the districts with the Tohra loyalists feeling literally “orphaned”.

Some senior leaders in the party agreed that there was a sense of unease among several influential leaders. They maintained that even senior leaders like Capt Kanwaljit and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa were not feeling comfortable with the party leadership as their workers were being ignored. The plight of the supporters of Mr Surjit Singh Barnala is too well known.

The party leaders warned that in case Mr Badal did not take serious note of the situation right now, it would be too late for any remedial measures. They pointed out the SAD-B lost the last assembly elections in 2002 just because Mr Tohra contested of his own. 



PPCB asks industrial units for authorisation
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, October 29
Punjab Pollution Control Board has asked the industrial units to ensure that hazardous waste generated by them must be stored and disposed off strictly as per provisions of Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2003. The board officials said that it was obligatory on part of all the hazardous waste generating units to obtain authorisation by the pollution board.

Despite repeated appeals by Board, more than 100 such units were still being run without authorisation certificates. Not only this, some of these polluting units were operational in residential areas, posing serious threat to the lives of area residents.

According to Mr Sandeep Behal, Environmental Engineer, who has recently been assigned the responsibility of implementation of Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, all the industries, generating hazardous waste, must obtain authorisation under the Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989, as amended in 2003. “In addition they have to ensure that the hazardous waste generated by them should not be disposed off in an indiscriminate manner,” Mr Bahl said, while adding it would be physically verified by the board officials whether the industrial units were complying with the guidelines or not.

The proper disposal of the hazardous waste has become more important in view of the monitoring committee set up by the Supreme Court of India for the purpose. He warned that Supreme Court monitoring committee may take serious note of any violation of Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules. The penal action, Mr Behl warned, would be severe and serious. He said the board was also going to act tough with any violations as it concerned the public health at large.

It may be mentioned here that the Supreme Court while hearing a Public Interest Litigation passed certain directions regarding Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989, as amended in 2003. The apex court also constituted a monitoring committee for ensuring compliance of directions passed by it. The committee has been monitoring the compliance of directions here also and it may not be long before it recommends action against hazardous waste generating units.



Model area for the city soon, says Dawar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 29
The Parliamentary Secretary for Power, Housing and Urban Development Mr Surinder Dawar, who represents Ludhiana East Assembly segment in the city, has said with development works worth Rs 3.5 crore being undertaken in different localities, the segment would soon become a model area.

Addressing a function after handing over a development grant of Rs 1 lakh to Mothu Ram Dharamshala on Brown Road here last evening, he said more projects for development of the area was being taken in hand, including, expansion of sewerage and paving of streets at a cost of Rs 20 lakh and construction of a senior citizen home at a cost of Rs 6 lakh.

Mr Dawar claimed that the state government had embarked upon an ambitious development programme for creation of better infrastructure in Punjab. The Punjab Infrastructure Development Board had finalised a massive Rs 500-crore project for the construction of 7 new railway overbridges, 6 river overbridges, 1,100 km length construction of new roads and widening of another 365 km length of roads in different parts of the state.

This major development project, he added, was in addition to the work already completed for widening and strengthening of 1,755 km length of main roads and construction of 22 railway overbridges at an expenditure of rs 543.66 crore.

While claiming that he was holding regular ‘darbars’ in the Assembly segment represented by him for rederssal of varied problems of the people relating to issuing of new ration cards, driving licences, old age and widow pensions, Mr Dawar maintained that the government, headed by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh was committed for all round development of the state. “The Congress Government has fulfilled most of its poll promises and major concessions have been granted to different sections like farmers, traders, industrialists as well as those belonging to economically weaker sections including members of backward classes and scheduled castes.

Mr Manmohan Singh, president and Mr Samir Kaushal, secretary of Naya Mohalla Sudhar Committee extended a hearty welcome to the chief guest at the function.

Among others present at the occasion were Mr Rakesh Parashar, councillor, Mr Kanwardeep Singh, Mr Sushil Parashar, Mr Mulkh Raj, Mr Jagdish Bajaj, Mr Jasbir Singh Rana, Mr Harcharan Singh, Mr Gurbakshish Singh, Mr Ramandeep Singh and Mr Charanjit Singh.



PSEB to conduct consumer survey
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 29
The local chapter of the Akhil Bhartiya Grahak Panchayat has hailed the decision of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to get the public perception of the quality of power supply and services the board was providing.

Dr S. B. Pandhi, a spokesperson of the outfit, said their members have appreciated the positive public relations initiative but have also appealed to the board to give special attention to resolve the grievances of industrial consumers of Ludhiana by attending to their billing complaints promptly and to assure quality power supply.

The consumers are happy that the PSEB has taken a bold step to carry out a consumer satisfactory survey by collecting requisite information and data about the level of satisfaction with respect to the services being rendered to its consumers. It is better late than never, he added.

He said a lot of grievances will be highlighted by the board in the survey by AC Nielsen- ORGmarg, covering 60,000 consumers across the state. The exercise will list shortcomings of the PSEB that are causing consumer dissatisfaction. The instructions to officers and staff to stay away from the survey is a positive step for the conduct of an un-biased survey. In light of this appeal was made to the public to provide correct information so that the board was in a position to improve its services in future, he pointed out.

The panchayat also drew the attention of the power authorities towards the deplorable working of the Dispute Settlement Committee of the board. The cases of the consumers are kept pending for a long time while genuine consumers are harassed by unscrupulous employees by being framed in cases overloading and meter tampering.

If bills are issued in cases of meter tempering or overloading, the DSC members should be instructed to immediately rectify such cases within a fixed period. A copy of the extract of the minutes of the DSC meetings should also be forwarded to the consumer for information along with instructions to the concerned officials to implement the decision without delay. There must be some provision of penalising the staff held responsible for issuing a wrong bill, he added.

The organisation also welcomed Mr D. B. Arora the new Chief Engineer (Operation), Central Zone, who joined recently. 



Lavish Divali of ‘babus’
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, October 29
For most of government officials here, including the police, Divali does not only bring in lights but it also brings in tonnes of gifts. The number and quality of gifts depends upon the importance of post the official holds. While people share gifts among themselves on Divali here officials holding important positions are showered with gifts irrespective of the fact whether the particular officer is known to the person offering the gift or not. No wonder one can trace and find an officer one was looking for some time back at Divali time, stay put at his residence, and watch guests with gifts who make a beeline.

The gifts are as lavish as one can imagine. These include the latest mobile phones, television sets, expensive scotch, branded clothes, gold products and what not. One need not wonder as to what they do with the gifts. Many of them do not mind selling them off, after the festival. And other gifts like sweets and dry-fruits are distributed amongst the domestic helps, gunmen and gatemen.

Ludhiana Tribune spoke to a number of industrialists who did not mind spending lakhs of rupees to keep the “bosses” in good humour. A majority of these industrialists were reluctant to come on records. One of them, on condition of anonymity, said that Divali was the only occasion when they could oblige the bureaucrats and bank officials who had sanctioned them heavy bank limits.

“We get favours from the income tax, sales tax, customs and bank officials throughout the year. We do please them once our files are cleared. But Divali is the occasion to oblige them in a more natural way. Even they do not mind taking expensive gifts on the occasion. The range of gifts can be anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 25,000 depending upon their designation,” he said.

A bureaucrat’s wife in a light humour said, “We oblige the family members. I try to distribute sweets and dry-fruits among the domestic helps. At times, we do not find time to open the gift-packs given by the people.”



Idols of Lakshmi flood Ludhiana
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 29
Tall idols of Goddess Lakshmi, made of clay, have flooded the houses of artists on Sherpur Road. These idols are being created by expert artists from Bihar.
Ram Prasad who hails from Darbhanga has bought other artists from his home town, who are busy creating the idols. As the deadline, October 30 nears, the artists areworking over time to get them ready. People will pray before these idols on Divali so that the Goddess blesses them with wealth.

Ram Prasad said,"People of different societies , factories and other religious instituions have placed orders for the idols. They have to be ready by Divali day. Over the years, our orders for the images of are on the rise. Hence to cope up with the heavy demand, I have to call people from my native place and train them to finish the job."

He had the album with the photographs of Goddesses, that he had readied for Dasehra. He further added: "We make the basic structure with straw and tie them with thick threads so that it takes proper shape.

Next things is to cover them with smoothly kneaded clay. Then we smoothen it with sand paper and apply a coat of plaster of paris.

We paint bright features on it next.

The last thing left is to attach long lustrous black hair to their head, drape colourful clothes and finally adorn them with ornaments. After hard labour, finally the Goddesses look serene , godly and noble. One month between Dasehra and Divali keeps them busy.

Ram Prasad said while making the idols they got sentimentally attached to them and found it painful to see them immersed in water, but at the same time he felt that was the way of life and he accepted it gracefully. 



Appeal to check sale of adulterated “khoya”
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 29
An extra-ordinary meeting of the National Forum for Consumer Rights (NFCR)was held today at it’s office to take note of the activities of district administration and it’s preparedness for any eventual mishap on this festival of lights.

Dr Ajay Shahi, general secretary, NFCR, welcomed the decision taken by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, regarding banning of fire crackers on Divali night after 10 pm. Dr Shahi demanded that this welcome step should be taken with full sincerity. He assured the Deputy Commissioner to give volunteers to him from this organisation for a round of the city after 10 pm on Divali night. This step should be ensured strictly even if some force has to be used. This will reduce the pollution as well as injuries faced by the general public.

Dr Bharti Uppal thanked the efforts of Food & Supply Department and district health officials regarding procurement of fake “khoya” in the city. This is just the tip of the iceberg and simply a mere eyewash to answer the queries of the vigilant organisations.

Members demanded that each and every sweet shop should be raided immediately to unearth scandals. Dr Sanjeev Uppal warned district administration regarding the sale and purchase of fire crackers that it should be strictly banned from within the inner skirts of the city.

Mr Sarabjit Singh, Kamal Kumar and J.N. Bansal wanted to have strict vigilance and curb on the activities of gas agencies of district as consumers are facing grave difficulties.



Pensioners’ meeting today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 29
The Punjab Government Pensioners Association will hold a meeting on October 30 at 10.30 am at the Arya Model College for Women to discuss the government’s recent notification regarding rationalisation of pensions/family pensions of pre-96 retirees.

The association will prepare a memorandum to be submitted to Ms Sonia Gandhi, President, AICC, urging her to direct the Punjab Government to fulfil the promises made to the pensioners during the Assembly elections.



Yellow pages launched

Ludhiana, October 29
Mr K. Balasubramanian, General Manager, Marketing, GETIT Infomediary Limited, said here yesterday that the market for yellow pages in Punjab, particularly in Ludhiana, held immense potential.

He was here to launch the second edition of Ludhiana GETIT Yellow Pages and Corporate Pages — 2005-06.

He said the company had already started operations from Chandigarh and was planning its first edition from Chandigarh by the beginning of next year.

Title for city girl: Navpreet Kaur from Ludhiana is among five girls who have won the title of “Doy Princess” on Disney Channel.

The channel, after two months of nationwide search, has selected these girls. While 12 year-old Siri N.S. from Bangalore won a magical three-day trip to Hong Kong as the lucky “Doy Princess”, while four semi-finalists — Saloni Mittal (Aligarh), Navpreet Kaur (Ludhiana), Uzma Sayed and Nirali Aimera (Mumbai) — were proud bearers of tiaras, sashes and Disney goodies. TNS



2 arrested, poppy husk seized

Jagraon, October 29
The police has arrested two persons for carrying 240 kg of poppy husk. ASI Raminderjit Singh along with other cops arrested Mukhtiar Singh and Surinder Singh. The poppy husk was packed in eight bags. — OC



Dry fruit prices touch all-time high
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 29
Thanks to the changed preferences for Divali gifts, for the first time in the last over 15 years, the prices of fresh fruit have come down during this festive season. Market for dry fruits, on the other hand, is flourishing with prices touching an all-time high.

Estimating a major demand during the festival season, the supply of fresh fruits was almost doubled by traders. Even storage of fruits was postponed for a couple of weeks. However, as the demand failed to pick up, within a week, prices fell by 10 to 25 per cent.

“It is the first time in the last 15-16 years that we are facing such a situation where fruit prices have come down in the festival season,” said Mr Amarbir Singh, general secretary, Punjab State Fruit and Vegetable Commission Agents Association. Attributing this fall to an increased trend of gifting dry fruits, Mr Singh said: “Earlier the demand for fresh fruits used to register a steep hike as it was common to send fruit baskets. But that trend, clearly, has been replaced by dry fruits.”

The rate of apples, which were available for Rs 350 per box of 15-16 kg, is now hovering around Rs 310 in wholesale markets. The situation is no better in case of grapes, the rate of which declined from Rs 100 per four kilograms to Rs 85-90 within a week. Price of oranges has reduced from Rs 350 a box of 141 pieces to Rs 320-325 a box, whereas that of pomegranate has come down from Rs 800 for 16 kg to Rs 700 during this period.

According to traders, it is only a few days after Divali that prices would return to normal. “That would be when supply reduces,” a trader said.

Market for dry fruits, on the other hand, is on an all-time high. Rates of almonds have registered a major increase. The prevailing rates per kilogram are Rs 480 for almonds, Rs 360 for cashewnuts, Rs 340-380 for pistachio and Rs 120-180 for kishmish. “Demand is very high this time, though it is only almonds that have registered substantial increase. In case of other items, also, prices are on the higher side,” said a dry fruits trader in Haibowal.

Meanwhile, even meat shop owners are a happy lot. After a long gap, meat prices have started rising. Dressed chicken, that was available for Rs 70-80 per kilogram around 10 days ago, is now available for not less than Rs 90-100. Chicken prices are estimated to rise further as demand has started picking up.

“The demand had ebbed during navratras. Now that it is winters and also festive season, the demand is increasing and so are rates,” said Mr Sanjiv Bassi of Punjab Poultry Farmers Association. He said an increase of Rs 10-20 is likely during Divali.



Festival season brings brisk business for florists
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, October 29
Festival season has brought brisk business for the city florists. Be it big flower shops or road-side flower-sellers, the natural as well as artificial flowers are being sold here like hot-cakes. The big florists have booked plenty of ‘rangoli’ orders to celebrate the festival of lights. According to sources, florists in the city make several lakhs of rupees on Divali.

Upto 30 per cent of flower business increases during the season. Still, florists feel that last year, the response was excellent. Mr Sudhir of Dew-Drops said the sale of flowers are more in festival days.

“We have booked orders of Maharashtrian rangoli (with flowers) for Divali this year. It takes a lot of time to make one good rangoli. The professionals have been called to do the needful. On an average, a good rangoli costs around Rs 1,000 and goes upto any extent. The cost depends on the work and quality and quantity of flowers,” said Mr Sudhir.

The florists have been getting regular supply of fresh flowers from Delhi, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh. Seeing the increase in demand, the cost of orchids, gladiolas, roses, carnation are sky rocketting.

Mr Ram Saran, who owns a small flower shop outside Durga Mata temple, Jagraon Bidge, said they could make quick money during festival days. Since Divali was the main festival in India, people usually to celebrate in traditional fervours. “They do not mind spending a few hundred rupees decorating their house to celebrate the occasion. Maximum sale is of marigold flowers. Each simple garland is sold for a price of Rs 15. Residents also prefer to buy the rose petals for decoration purposes. The flowers are also sold in kgs during festival days,” he said.

Not only fresh flowers, shopkeepers dealing in artificial flowers said that torans, sticks and dry arrangements were very much in vogue these days. “For a good flower arrangement, we charge upto Rs 1,500 and people are buying these without any bargaining,” said one of the shopkeepers in Ghumar Mandi.

Ms Priya Sharma, a homemaker said that Divali was the festival of lights but she never missed an opportunity to decorate her house with fresh flowers. “Even the depressed hearts alighten when they see flowers. The fragrance is so refreshing that one feels pepped up,” she said.



Need to generate awareness on medical insurance
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 29
The medical fraternity can play a key role in spreading awareness among the masses on the importance of medical insurance, said Dr Chetan Shah, CMO, HDFC Standard Life Insurance, while addressing a conference of doctors here yesterday.

Mr Shah said Indians needed medical insurance more than people of any other country. Emphasising the role of doctors in the insurance sector, he said they could help generate awareness among their clients.

He said public sector insurance companies still dominated Indian markets and the share of private sector was only 28.8 per cent.

“The speed of country’s development is not proportionate with the expansion in the insurance sector. Lack of publicity is also responsible for this situation,” he said.

Stating that there was a huge market that was still untapped, Mr Shah stressed on the need to make efforts to insure more people.

On health insurance, he said maximum need of the insurance arose when one retired.


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