|Friday, June 23, 2000,
In Chowni Mohalla crime is the rule of the day
LUDHIANA, June 22 — Petty caste and class politics between four local politicians has manifested itself into violence and shamelessness in the Chowni Mohalla area even as the residents of the area continue to blame the police for the situation going from bad to worse.
The locality has attained notoriety for violent clashes between members of a minority caste and the members of two minority religions with arson, daylight robbery, eveteasing and molestation being allegedly the rule of the day.
It is alleged that the spate of violent incidents in the area during the past 10 days are allegedly a result of the one-upmanship to between a leader of the minority community, claiming to be an adviser of the state Chief Minister, a Senior Vice-President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, a Congress leader and another Akali leader of the area.
It is also alleged that seen in case of a minor scuffle the four politicians blow up the issue as a point of prestige till the time it attains serious proportions. And in case of arrests of the accused — their ‘godfathers’ allegedly manage the strings so as to bail them out.
A large number of residents of Chowni Mohalla, angry and sick of what they allege as ‘the rule of the muscle’ lament that the recent attacks on members of the two majority communities by members of the minority community and their subsequently managing to evade arrest was a result of the police allegedly playing into the hands of these politicians.
However, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, when contacted denied all the allegations and said that his force had now managed to restore peace and tranquility in the area “After the first incident on June 13, the police had been put on alert and the tension was controlled. However, after another person, Ajit Pal Singh was attacked on June 15, we set up a police picket with an Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police and around seven other personnel, “ he said.
But the residents of the areas feel otherwise. While talking to TNS here today, a large number of residents of the area alleged that they were not just scared for their material possessions, but also for their physical well being and honour of their women.
A resident of the area informs that the population of the minority community and of the majority communities was the same, but incidents of snatching by force, criminal intimidation and terrorising allegedly by members of the minority community were a common occurence. He alleged that because of vote bank politics, no stringent action was taken against them even though they continued to roam about with knives, hockey sticks, cycle-chains and other such weapons.
Another resident of the area, on condition of anonymity, alleged that many people had been forced to keep their womanfolk inside the homes because molestation and eve-teasing were a common occurence. He narrated an incident that occurred only 15 days ago wherein a young girl was teased by a member of the minority community near Beli Ram Chowk “when the irate brother of the victim hit the boy in question, a large number of other members of his community stood up to support him and one of their leaders not only beat up the brother of the victim, but also her mother, and the victim was dragged out of her house to the main G.T. Road and beaten up black and blue in public.
Residents of the locality say that they bore with everything till the other side resorted to armed attacks on them with an intention to kill them. It is alleged that the attack on a shopkeeper, Satish Kumar was prompted only when he demanded money from the wife of a self styled leader of the minority community, who had bought goods worth Rs 5,000 from him. When Satish reportedly demanded money from the lady, she threatened him and he was later attacked. Seven persons — Deepa, Satyajit, Bickey, Prince, Sanjeev, Pardeep Kumar and Suraj were booked under Section 307, 324, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC, but no arrests were made.
Similarly, Ajit Pal Singh, a 19- year-old was attacked with sharp edged weapons on the night of June 15 by a group of 7-8 persons but only three — Hira, Dara and Soni were arrested by the police. However, the situation took a new turn with six members of the minority community alleging that they were attacked by Candy, Judgi, Pradeep and Babbi yesterday after- noon — all close associates or key witnesses in cases of attack on Satish Kumar and Ajit Pal.
Interestingly, the police had yesterday refused to register any case in this connection after conductng an investigation and had claimed that the injuries on these persons were self inflicted. However, a case under Sections 365, 323, 324, 148 and 149-A of the IPC was somehow registered at the Sadar police station. The SSP, Mr Kuldip Singh, however, when updated about this development by TNS, ordered that this FIR be cancelled and upheld that the case was made up. He also assured that all those accused in the cases of attacks would be arrested soon and said that he had today recieved complaints from the residents about eveteasing and molestation by a few youths and said that even these people would be taken to task.
against sarpanch to be probed
LUDHIANA, June 22 — The Deputy Commissioner Mr S. K. Sandhu today ordered a probe into the complaint against the sarpanch of Gondwal village for failing to utilise a grant of Rs 3 lakhs for a development project in the village. Mr Sandhu expressed concern on the issue and directed the DDPO to thoroughly inquire the case. He directed that in case the whole grant was not utilised within coming two months, the recovery should be executed from the defaulter.
Mr Sandhu, while addressing the officers, after listening to the complaints in the weekly Sangat Darshan programme here today, said all officers and government employees were public servants and it was their duty to sympathetically listen to the complainants and to provide remedy to their problems. He directed the officers to speed up the work on the on going projects so that the grants could be utilised in the stipulated period and must ensure the quality of the projects also.
On the demand of suitable government help through different departments to the affected people of Dhulewal village, where Sutlej river had eroded a large portion of agricultural land during the last three years, the Deputy Commissioner said suitable action would be taken to provide maximum help as per rules and bank loans would be granted to the people of the village to start their ventures under different schemes. He said that a polling station and ration depot would also be set up as per the requirement of the villagers.
The Deputy commissioner advised the people not to bring complaints concerning the cases pending or related to the judicial courts in the Sangat Darshan as it was not the proper forum. The Deputy Commissioner said the Sangat Darshan system of redressing the public complaints would be further streamlined in order to ensure the disposal of a complaint received within a period of 15 days and directed the officers concerned to maintain the proper record regarding the complaints and action taken thereof.
Chamber opposes proposed hike in power
LUDHIANA, June 22 — Mr P.D. Sharma, President of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, today opposed the proposed hike in power tariff in the state.
In a statement issued here, he said the issue of power tariff had become crucial mainly due to two facts. Firstly, the scrutiny of the PSEB’s account did not justify any hike. On the contrary, the PSEB was already charging more tariff from industry than was due from it. Secondly, the issue of free power to agriculture had many off-shoots which affected the economy of the state.
The free power was responsible for the cancellation of all loans to the Punjab government from the World Bank with prospects of no loan for the development of the state. In other words, free power had mortgaged the future development of Punjab.
The State Government had offered to give Rs 200 crore to PSEB from its exchequer. This implied more burden on the industry indirectly. This extra money had to come from industry and trade through “coercive means of tax collection”. Already, this coercion was being taken as an “extortion of taxes” from the business community.
He complained that sales tax officials had been given unrealistic targets for revenue collection by invoking draconian provisions under section 14-B of the Sales Tax Act. The Transport Department had also been given unrealistic targets and the officials concerned seldom left any vehicle without extracting some revenue by way of penalty.
He said there was great resentment in the industry and trade about the government’s attitude towards business community. The manifestation of this anger was reflected in the recent Nagar Palika elections in which the ruling SAD(B) and BJP candidates faced rout. It was advisible for the Punjab Government to withdraw the provision of free power to agriculture sector and effect economy in expenditure, he added.
There was another crucial matter linked with power tariff. The government and the industry should note that there was parallel power tariff on industry by way of octroi on power. In Ludhiana alone, industry was paying over 6 paisa a unit as octroi on power. Recently, this mode of collecting octroi was changed from specific to ad valorem at the rate of 2 per cent. This meant that after the tariff hike, the quantum of octroi on power went up further. Thus, the withdrawal of octroi on power should be precondition for effecting power hike how-soever modest it may be. Proposed hike in power how-soever modest it may be
Meanwhile, the Fastener Manufacturers Association of India has criticised the Punjab government for its proposal to increase power tariff in the state. The association said that the tariff was being increased without taking the industry into confidence.
In a statement here today, the Chairman of the association Mr Mohinder Paul Jain, pointed out that the industry had pointed out to the Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal that free power to farm sector would be at the industry’s cost. He claimed that the Chief Minister had assured that the free power to farmers will not be given at the cost of the industry. He said but the Chief Minister had gone back on his promises and betrayed the industry.
Supporting the stand of Mr Jain, Mr Raj Kumar Gupta, president and Mr Narinder Bhamra, general secretary of the association said that the increase in power tariff will not be tolerated by the industry. They threatened to close down their units in case the government went ahead with its proposals of increasing the tariff. They suggested that the Chief Minister should at least stop free power to those farmers who own more than 5 acres of land.
LUDHIANA, June 22 — Pre-monsoon showers lashed Ludhiana in the morning today. It was welcome breather for the people here and around as the atmosphere was full of humidity.
As the black clouds spread in the sky the morning turned dark. Although it did not rain for long, yet the people get great relief as the day temperature came down by 6° C from 31° C. However, the morning temperature remained almost same at 28° C.
According to Dr G.S. Mahi, an Associate Professor in the Department of Meteorology Punjab Agricultural University, the mild showers may occur again during the next 24 hours at one or two places in Punjab. He said it was the mild drizzle of pre-monsoon showers. The rainfall recorded today was less than 1 mm.
Notwithstanding the fact of mild drizzle, a number of streets, roads, lanes and bylanes were inundated by the water. At some places the water accumulated was knee-deep. Pedestrians and two-wheeler drivers had a difficult time in the morning. The situation was worse in the walled city.
Drink deep, or taste not
To be interested in literature is not the end but the beginning of a long affair with words. Some persons confine themselves to reading while others venture forth into the area of creative writing. To be a poet, a story writer, a novelist or a dramatist becomes an obsession with them. Literary criticism is another field that fascinates those who have been endowed with analytical minds. For a literary person it is mot merely an entry into a room, Rather it is like the opening of a series of doors, one after another, with the passage of time.
Ludhiana can boast of having a good number of literary persons in its fold. Punjabi, of course, is the dominant language and rightly so. In fact this city has assumed the position of a pivot around which the Punjabi literary world revolves. Most of the poets and writers who are NRIs visit this place for getting their books released. The function becomes all the more authentic if it is to be released, particularly by a new writer. But the sky changes when a literary seminar (Vichar gosthi) is organised.
Alexander Pope was adamant in his view that the poets should either ‘drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring’. But it is not always possible to drink deep at the front of poetic inspiration. The mundane life does not allow many persons to engage themselves in the literary pursuits whole-heartedly. In view of this, the poets, the story writers, the novelists and the critics who reside in this metropolitan city are not of the same caliber. They can never be. Still their presence in a literary function makes the occasion a memorable one. Sometimes sparks fly in the air.
When one looks back, the names of the literary stalwarts come to the mind. Not long ago, Professor Mohan Singh ceased to be without much ago. His end was sudden and peaceful. Principal Sant Singh Sekhon was a unique combination of gravity and levity. He could be ruthless in his comments but, at the same time, he could laugh away some literary aberrations of his contemporaries. His passing away, a few years back, has left Ludhiana in a state of desolation. Giani Sohan Singh Seetal, whose presence in a literary functions was considered a privilege, was both a Dhadi (singer of the deeds of valour), a novelist and a historian of Punjab. His absence from the literary scene has created a vacuum not easy to be filled. The loss of Krishan Adeeb, the prominent Urdu poet, had been a staggering one. The like of him is hard to find in the contemporary literary world.
The old guard is in its eighties and seventies. Professor Surinder Singh Narula and Jaswant Ajaib Chitarkar are in their mid-seventies. They have made the city proud by producing enviable works of literature. Ajaib’s literary stature as a poet has overshadowed his output in the field of art. The set-back in the health of Dr Atam Hamrahi, the scholar poet, has been a cause of anxiety for the litterateur but luckily he himself is in high spirits. He is eagerly looking forward to the release of his monumental work in poetic prose, Ludhiana bolda hai (Ludhiana speaks forth).
Lately, the city has acquired the reputation of a place where things happen in a big way. The award-ceremonies, such as Kartar Singh Dhaliwal Award, have an aura of its town. There is indeed hunger for recognition in the well-known as well as lesser-known persons around. Haste in getting oneself recognized sometimes robs the occasion of its glamour and authenticity.
At times the reputations are made or marred in a calculated manner. Jealousy too plays its role in belitting others so as to get an opportunity for oneself to come to the centre-stage. To be in the limelight is the craze of some otherwise good poets and writers but this thing turns out to be counter-productive in the long run.
On the whole, the literary scene in Ludhiana presents a spectrum that delights the heart and informs the mind at the same time. In totality the city is an amalgam of many literary tastes, both refined and unrefined. There is much display of such an ambience as can generate new ideas for starting literary movements.
Mandir association bags award for social work
LUDHIANA, June 21 — Shri Gyan Sthal Mandir Sabha,Subhani Building Chowk, has won the Bhagwan Dass Sharma Shakti Sewa Award from Durga Sewa Sangh for public welfare activities for the current year. The sabha is engaged in activities such as monthly financial help to hapless widows, marriage of girls from poor families and coaching classes for girls besides opening free homoeopathic dispensary and offering free ambulance service.
The sabha initiated its social services in September, 1997, when it started distributing free monthly ration items such as wheat flour, pulses, rice, cooking oil, sugar, salt, some vegetables and toiletries to 51 hapless widows of Ludhiana city. The widows are also being given clothes and footwears. Now the number of the widows who are being helped has risen to 251.
“We make sure that nobody takes unnecessary advantage of this scheme. Therefore, we get some forms filled from the widows which are then attested by the councillors of their wards. Members of our sabha then personally visit their homes, “ informed Mr Jagdish Bajaj, president of the sabha.
Earlier when the local people used to donate rice or dal to the mandir, a part of it was used by the priest and the rest generally went waste. But with the onset of social activities in the mandir there is no wastage.
The sabha is also arranging trousseau for the marriage of girls of poor families. The couple is gifted 21 suits, a sewing machine, a silver jewellery set, a wrist watch and other household items. The alliance is, however, arranged by the members of the girls’ families.
“Ludhiana city has several donors. Therefore, we have rarely fell short of donors. Some donate in the form of cash and others in kind. Some donors have given fixed deposit in the name of the sabha. Most of the donors do not want their name to be disclosed,” says the president.
Interestingly, there is one donor named Reshma, a eunuch, who is donating Rs 1100 to the sabha every month. Once she even gave Rs 11,000 which was the total amount she obtained from one family who had a son.
With an aim to make women self-reliant, the sabha has also started coaching classes on stitching, embroidery, cooking and painting. The charges are generally minimal. Almost 300 girls have cleared the course. A fresh cooking course will commence on 26th of this month. Ms Dilpreet Kaur will give free cooking training to the girls.
Suffering Kashmiri woman gets a new lease of life
LUDHIANA, June 22 — Kusum Bhardwaj had lost her husband when he was kidnapped by the Kashmiri terrorists in Chandanwadi district on July16, 1997 on his way to the holy shrine of Amarnath.
He was kept in custody by the terrorists for almost 17 days. His fault was that he raised an alarm against the terrorists who raped an elderly woman. He was badly hit with the butt of a gun. He was given injections of intoxicating drugs and his life was spared after so much begging.
He has suffered from severe mental shock and internal injuries. He was admitted in a hospital and his wife Kusum had to sell her home and 45 tola gold but all went in vain as she could not save her husband’s life.
The woman was left behind penniless with a small child. She even suffered a huge abdominal hernia. She developed the hernia after three operations on her abdomen. Many surgeons had hesitated from operating upon her. One surgeon had asked hew for Rs. 30,000, and another had asked her Rs. 35,000. This was beyond her capacity.
Then she came to know Dr Narotam Dewan, who had devoted a ward in Dewan Hospital for the benefit of economically weaker patients. Kusum Bhardwaj was successfully operated upon by Dr Narotam Dewan for a nominal charges of Rs 3,000 only. The surgery took four hours. Kusum is now recovering and after the surgery her pain has vanished. She is able to digest the food also. Dr Dewan said that the surgery was challenging and that he was physically exhausted after tying thousands of knots to repair the hernia. What kept him operating were the images of his mother in his mind and the thought of God.
He told that in this ward devoted to economically weaker sections of the society any major surgery was done with a nominal charge of Rs. 3,000 only. Laparoscopic surgery is done for Rs 4,000 only whereas medium and minor surgeries are done for even lesser amount.
NCP criticises Tohra
LUDHIANA,June 22 — The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has taken strong exception to the remarks of Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD,)
president, Mr Gurcharn Singh Tohra, and the All-India Sikh Student Federation leader, Mr Harminder Singh Gill, describing migrant workers as ‘second class citizens’ and trying to create hatred.
Declare Jats as
LUDHIANA, June 22 — The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), has urged the government to declare the Jat community in the state as ‘backward class’ and to take up with the Centre, the issue of granting the same benefit to other states as well. A meeting of the union with Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal in the chair resolved to join hands with the Jat community in the struggle to seek justice.
Giving details of the deliberations to the press, the BKU general secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, informed the presspersons that states like Rajasthan, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, which have a sizeable population of Jats, had already included the community in the backward classes. Similarly, the Haryana government had also decided to implement the report of the Gurnam Singh Committee on this issue which had made recommendations in favour of the Jats.
The meeting also took notice of complaints from Uttar Pradesh where officials were reportedly reluctant to issue BC certificates to members of ‘Jat Sikh’ community even though they were eligible for the same, as per the decision of the state government.
The BKU gave a call to all factions of the Akali Dal and other Sikh bodies to agitate against the injustice done to jat Sikhs in UP and to press for grant of similar benefits to jats in Punjab.
In another resolution, the BKU urged the union government to immediately announce minimum support prices of paddy, cotton, sugarcane and other kharif crops based on the price index. It demanded a minimum price of Rs 636 per quintal for paddy, Rs 3,000 for cotton and Rs 132 per quintal for sugarcane.
LUDHIANA, June 22 — The police has arrested the owner of a video shop at Gill Market, near Daba Chowk, on the charge of making duplicate copies of new films. The police seized four video cassettes of ‘Josh’, three video cassette recorders and one television set from his possession.
The accused, Kulwinder Kumar, alias Kala, has been booked under Sections 51, 52-A, 63, 68-A of the Copy Right Act and Section 292 of the I.P.C. The case has been registered at the Division No. 6 police station.
Motor Cycle recovered: The police has recovered one Hero Honda motor cycle, which was stolen from Fatehabad, Haryana,. The alleged accused Shiv Kumar has been arrested and booked under Section 411 of the I.P.C. The accused was arrested during a naka at the Gill road by A.S.I. Lakhbir Singh.
LUDHIANA,June 22 — Garment manufacturers of Ludhiana will put up a joint show at the forthcoming ‘Indian International Garment Fair 2000’ being held from July 15 to 17 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
According to Mr N K Miglani, the garment manufacturers would collectively participate under the banner of the Knitwear Club. The initiative has been supported by the UNIDO Cluster Development Programme.
The forthcoming fair for the spring summer 2001 collection is the silver jubilee edition in the series of the bi-annual export promotion fairs being organised by Apparel Exporters and Manufacturers Association (AEMA) jointly with three other associations and the International Garment Fair Association being the nodal organisation.
Mr Miglani said the Knitwear Club, keeping in mind the requirements of the industry has planned the initiative. With this, the garment manufacturers of Ludhiana would get a chance to reach out to top international and national buyers. The long felt need for exposure to international competition is the motivation behind this initiative being taken up at the platform of Knitwear Club.
He pointed out, besides exposure to international competition, the participants would get tremendous openings for business growth. The trade fairs are also the most effective tool for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the industry. The representatives from Ludhiana would be in a position to benchmark their competitiveness vis-a-vis competition overseas in this fair.
The event assumes more significance in the light of the WTO regime threatening the industry. It has become important for the domestic as well as global players to stay informed about the best international practices as well as trends in the global fashion market.
LUDHIANA, June 22 — When does a Punjabi look complete? His distinct attire a kurta pyjama and a tille wali Punjabi jutti gives him the complete Punjabi appearance.
Punjabi juttis are characterised by their flat leather sole and the typical golden and silver tilla work done on them. But now all sorts of decorative material like beads, sippis, ghungroos and pearls are being used. Several artistic patterns of embroidery (threadwork) make them even more attractive. It has been seen that many girls place orders for getting a specific pattern from their salwar kameez on these juttis. Some even have cut work done.
Punjabi juttis come in two basic patterns, one is lucky with sole stitched in a cross pattern and the other one is called nagra which has a straight single piece sole.
Punjabi juttis are in vogue from time immemorial. They continue to be hot favourites, not only among Punjabis, but also among people with different cultural backgrounds. Visitors from Mumbai, southern India and even abroad buy Punjabi juttis from some of 10 to12 shops of juttis in Chaura Bazaar.
Ashish, a salesman at Parkash Shoes Shop, says, “We are getting juttis from Abohar, Muktsar, Malout and Patiala. Now with the coming up of some local manufacturers, we have started buying local stuff as well.”
Atul Sood, owner of Fancy Jutti House, is selling as well as manufacturing Punjabi juttis. He has craftspersons from Rajasthan for phulkari patterns. He has designs for all seasons. “My customers comprise 60 per cent Punjabis, 20 per cent non-Punjabi Indians and 20 per cent NRIs,” he classifies his customers.
Ravi of Ravi Shoes says, “Since Punjabi juttis are very comfortable, they are in high demand by college-going girls.” One young girl said, “It was not only for reasons of comfort but also the elegance that these imparted that I like to wear them.”
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