Thursday, July 6, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC meeting adjourned amidst high drama
BJP, Cong councillors trade charges
From Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, July 5 — The general House meeting of the Municipal Corporation witnessed uproarious scenes, trading of charges between BJP and Congress councillors, angry speeches by a section of BJP concillors, and party legislator Sat Pal Gosain levelling allegations against all and sundry, including the MC Commissioner, Dr S.S. Sandhu, raising of slogans and counter-slogans in the committee room, before being adjourned by the Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, when a scuffle could have followed the threatening gestures by the two sides.

Even before the meeting commenced, a large number of MC employees staged a dharna outside the venue to protest against poor working conditions and increasing congestion in the main office of the civic body.

As the meeting commenced, one of the BJP councillors, Mr Pran Bhatia, raised the issue of encroachments along Budha Nullah, with specifically mentioning that Mr Sat Pal Puri, a Congress councillor, had constructed 16 shops in Shiv Puri on the land belonging to the civic body. He further alleged that certain officers of the MC had colluded in the ‘unlawful’ construction and were even now, shielding the offender.

The allegation drew angry protests from Mr Puri and some others, and the plea made by the Mayor that a house committee had already conducted the enquiry but its report could not be tabled today as its Chairman, Giani Baldev Singh, was preoccupied with some court cases in Chandigarh, was ignored in the din. Mr Bhatia also refused to relent when the Mayor made an offer that after the meeting was over, a few senior councillors from all the parties would go together to visit the site and take a spot decision.

The BJP councillor was soon joined in by his party legislator, Mr Sat Pal Gosain, who went a step further and charged the MC commissioner, Dr Sandhu with protecting certain ‘tainted’ officers, against whom he (Mr Gosain) had lodged written complaints to the state government. His remarks that the Commissioner, who was away to USA at that time, had been following the developments in a written complaint against an SDO of the Municipal Corporation through long distance calls, evoked a volley of protest from the Congress and some Akali Dal councillors. Dr Sandhu also protested against the allegations, which he maintained were ‘baseless’ and motivated.

Amidst repeated pleas by the Mayor and the Commissioner to maintain decorum and not to make personal attacks against each other, Mr Gosain threatened that he would sit on dharna or even ‘lie down’ in the meeting hall till the House decided to proceed against the offenders and orders for demolition of shops, constructed by the Congress councillor, were issued. The Congress councillors reacted strongly to the conduct of Mr Gosain and virtually surrounded him at the dais with many of them speaking at the same time in angry tones.

For quite some time it was a ‘free for all’, and sensing that the councillors were in no mood to let the proceedings move further, the Mayor adjourned the meeting before the situation could take an ugly turn.

Once outside the meeting hall, the BJP councillors, led by Mr Gosain, staged a demonstration in front of the office of the Commissioner, raising slogans against the MC officials and demanding action against those who had encroached upon the MC land. The situation took a comic turn when soon after the Congress councillors started raising slogans in support of the MC Commissioner. Mr Puri, whose allegedly illegal construction had dominated the unruly proceedings of the house meeting, was seen waving a newspaper cutting of a report on Talab Bazar market, which was also constructed on the MC land a few years ago, but this time by certain BJP activists led by another councillor of the same party.

The senior officers of the MC, along with technical officers, stood together in solidarity with the Commissioner, Dr Sandhu, and condemned the outbursts of the BJP legislator against the officers. An emergency meeting of the officers presided over by Additional Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, soon after the adjournment of the House meeting, observed that the allegations levelled by Mr Gosain against Dr Sandhu and other officers were ‘baseless, false and fabricated’. The officers decided that in future they would abstain from attending meetings of the general House till the issue was amicably and ‘respectfully’ resolved.

The MC officers later proceeded on a mass casual leave for rest of the day as a mark of protest.

Interestingly, a large number of councillors, not only from the Congress and the Akali Dal, but including a few from the BJP also sided with the MC Commissioner, Dr Sandhu, and in writing, flayed the conduct of Mr Gosain in launching personal attacks against senior officers of the civic body. It is significant to note that among the signatories of the ‘support letter’ , the name of Mr Inderjit Singh Panchhi, the group leader of BJP councillors also figured.


Industry to agitate against power hike
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 5 — The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has expressed dismay at the arbitrarily announced hike in power tariff for industry and has called upon Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to review the tariff hike of 17 per cent for medium supply consumers, failing which the trade and industrial associations would resort to a statewide stir.

An emergency meeting of the CICU (executive committee) and heads of different affiliated associations held here last evening to review the impact of the jacked up power rates for the industrial sector, observed that rates of tariff hike announced by the PSEB were absolutely at variance with the decisions arrived at during the meeting of representatives of the industry with the Chief Minister. While the trade and industry bodies had agreed to a hike in power rates at around 8 to 9 per cent, the PSEB had gone ahead in an arbitrary manner on the issue to the surprise of the tariff sub-committee and members of trade and industry.

The meeting was presided over by CICU President, Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, and prominent among those who attended were CICU General Secretary, Mr Avtar Singh, the federation of associations of Small Industries President, Mr V.P. Chopra, the Secretary-General of the Punjab Plywood Manufacturers Association, Mr Ashok Juneja, the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association President, Mr G.L. Pahwa, the Punjab Beopar Mandal activists, Mr Kasturi Lal Mittal and Baba Ajit Singh, the Jammu Colony Small Manufacturers Association President, Mr D.S. Chawla, the Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association General Secretary Mr Charan Singh Kohli and the Punjab Bakery Association President, Mr S.S. Bindra.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Sewing Machine Industries Association has also condemned the move of the PSEB to effect a power tariff hike. The association chairman D.S. Dhiman, President Baldev Singh, and General Secretary, Gurdev Singh said in a joint statement here today that the state government should immediately intervene and review the decision in consultation with the members of industry, particularly the small units, which were already reeling under a grave financial crisis.


Cinema owners flay admn move
From A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 5 — The police raids on certain cinema halls in the city yesterday allegedly showing indecent and obscene movies has drawn a howl of protest from the owners of the cinema houses who have made it clear that they would be left with no alternative but to close down if the district administration continued to "harass" them in this fashion.

A deputation of cinema owners led by Mr Bhupinder Singh Malhotra, president of the Ludhiana Exhibitors' Association, will soon call on Deputy Commissioner S.K. Sandhu to protest against the "unfair treatment" being meted out to them.

Talking to TNS, Mr Malhotra said that it was not fair to hold the cinema owners responsible for the posters and movies being exhibited in the cinema houses.

"Every movie exhibited in our cinema halls is cleared by the Censor board. The cinema posters are printed in Mumbai or Chennai. How are we responsible for them?" he asked.

He along with Mr Abnash Singh, vice-president of the association, pointed out that cinema owners had invested crores of rupees in the business and it was but natural for them to expect a good return. All of them were respectable members of society and, therefore, did not like to be treated like common criminals.

"If there are some black sheep amongst us who are showing obscene movies by violating the law, the administration must proceed against them. But the innocent and the law abiding should not be hauled up for no fault of theirs", they pleaded.

Ludhiana has a total of 21 cinema halls. They offer an inexpensive and wholesome entertainment to the whole families. Although Ludhiana is a rich city, not everybody can afford a colour TV along with a VCR or VCD. They pointed out that the cinema industry had been through a long crisis firstly because of terrorist violence and secondly due to the onslaught of the cable TV.

For the first time in several years, things have started looking up and some of the movies are attracting record crowds, giving rise to hope among the cinema owners that the industry will soon get back on the track. But such raids destabilise the industry

As regards the criticism regarding substandard facilities offered by the cinemas of Ludhiana to their patrons, this is hotly contested by the owners who say that they are second to none in offering the best possible facilities to the cine-lovers. Every attempt is made to update the facilities, improve the sound system, repair the damaged seats and clean the hall and toilets every day.


BKU defends free power to farmer
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 5 —The Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) has sharply reacted to the uproar against free power supply to the agricultural sector, saying it was engineered by persons with vested interests, including rich industrialists.

The BKU Secretary General, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, said in a statement here today that it was most unfortunate to see the affluent industrial sector pressing for withdrawal of free power facility to agriculture. Staunchly defending the government stand on the issue, he claimed that free power and water to farming community cost the state government Rs 300 crore annually. As against this, the Dalits alone with a total population of around 20 per cent in the state were given sops worth Rs.350 crore in the shape of various welfare schemes.

Further, the state government spent a major portion of its total revenue on the salaries of the employees, who number a mere 1.5 per cent of the total population but none dared to raise a finger in this direction.

Mr Kadian alleged that the BJP, the alliance partner of the SAD (B), along with a powerful section of industry, was behind an orchestrated campaign to withdraw free power facility from the farmers. However, he expressed confidence that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, would withstand the mounting pressure and in the larger interests of the state and the farming community, the free power and water supply would continue.


What is purpose of police probes ?
From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 5 — Why does the police mark inquiries into cases registered against certain political bigwigs? Is it a way of dilly-dallying and aimed at exonerating the 'chosen ones'?

The answer could well be in the affirmative if the institution of police inquiries into several recent criminal cases registered against local politician and likely to have some political repercussions are any record.

Though the police strongly denies that the purpose of these inquiries is either to absolve the accused or deny justice to the complainants, a series of cases likely to have some political repercussions are proof enough in this direction.

The most recent case in this regard is the naming of a Youth Congress leader in the sensational Sanjay Kumar, alias Dabboo, murder case. It is reliably learnt that in spite of this politician's involvement in the case, he was earlier not named as an accused. However, since this did not allegedly suit a few other officials, they brought the matter to the notice of a senior police official and the said politician was named as an accused who had helped the other accused to dispose of the dead body.

It was then that the police had registered a case under Section 201 of the IPC and after this the said politician sought the help of the other local political leadership and cutting across the political lines leaders from the BJP and the SAD reportedly pleaded his case before the authorities and an inquiry was ordered. After this, the police had also the arrest warrants of the accused, but because of the inquiry being ordered, he is reportedly not being arrested.

Last month, activists of the two rival factions of the SAD led by Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia and Mr Avatar Singh Makkar had indulged in violence and had also allegedly fired at each other during nagar kirtan. It was then that the police had registered a case under Sections 307, 323, 324 of the IPC, but later at the intervention of the SAD party leadership, the police was asked to conduct an inquiry. After the inquiry was ordered, the arrest of Mr Bhatia and the sons of Mr Makkar, who were named as the accused, was stayed. It is now reliably learnt that the two sides have now reached a compromise after the police inquiry.

Earlier in May this year, a Qadiyan Muslim was lynched in a local mosque and six other persons of the same sect were seriously injured by a nephew and other associates a prominent Muslim leader. In spite of an FIR being registered against the nephew in the case along with a few of his associates, the political powers in the state allegedly “directed” the police to mark an inquiry into the case and again reestablish the facts.

More than two months have passed since but nothing has come out of the inquiry and the nephew of the Muslim leader has not been arrested till now.

Before these two incidents, the police inquiries into two other cases of rape in which political figures were named as the accused had exonerated the accused. A 16-year-old-girl was alleged to have been kidnapped and later raped by friends of a BJP leader. A police inquiry was conducted and the leader concerned was exonerated.

Similarly, the police inquiry into the alleged case of rape of a minor girl of the city by a son of the Punjab Agriculture Minister also absolved him of the kidnapping and rape charge.

When contacted, Senior Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Singh denied the allegation that the institution of police inquiries in all these cases were aimed at delaying the matter or putting pressure on the complainant to reach at a compromise with the accused. “Police inquiries are a routine procedure in order to ensure that justice is not denied to anyone — be it the accused or the complainant. If either of the two parties approaches us and requests that a high level inquiry be conducted, we agree to it.”Back


Ludhianvis’ obsession with Net
From Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, June 5 — For almost six hours a day Rahul Gupta, a BA student, can be spotted at a local cyber cafe. Chatting on the Internet is his favourite pastime. He holds the record of sitting for 14 hours at a stretch in this cafe. He has now become so expert that he can simultaneously chat with six different people in six chat rooms. His monthly bill at this cyber cafe hovers around Rs 5,000 but this does not seem to affect him.

Gagan Dutt (not his real name), a 40-year-old advocate, is also one regular customer at another cyber cafe. He spends on an average five hours a day on chatting and e-mails in this cafe. He loves to chat with young girls on the Internet. Repeated phone calls from his wife with messages like jaldi aa jao khana thanda ho raha hai do not move him from his seat.

Meenu Goyal, fashion designing student, who has the Internet connection at her place, uses it for at least four hours a day. She does not like to chat. Instead, she is fond of surfing fashion websites. She has already seen almost 3000 websites on fashion. She started seeing these websites with the aim to know the latest trends of fashion in the West but now she has almost become a junkie

These are just a few instances of Ludhianvis who have become addicted to the Internet. It has been observed that when it comes to this type of addiction, age, sex, occupation or money is no bar. Teenagers, professionals, housewives — the Internet seems to have taken into its grip almost all sorts of people. With hot weather outside, these people find the Net as a good mean of entertainment.

The most badly hit group is the teenagers who are shunning all their physical activities and becoming more and more lethargic. Their vision is affected and they generally start neglecting their studies. Parents need to take it very seriously.

It has generally been seen that most of these junkies also do not like to make friends as one of them said, "I no more like the company of friends around me. They are all dishonest." But on the Internet lies are rampant. Nobody tells the actual age, sex, location or name. Even a 50-year-old man tells his age as per the age of the girl he is chatting with.

Cases of cyber love with people from Ludhiana have come into light. A 23 year old guy revealed that he has twice met a girl from Delhi with whom he chats daily for two hours. Another girl told that she once received a call from a guy staying in Canada with whom she used to chat till last month.

Mr Balwinder of Net Media says, "There are all sorts of people coming to our cyber cafe. While some of these check their e-mail taking not more than half an hour, others remain hooked for five to six hours. It is because of the facilities that we are providing. We offer various schemes to all those who become members of our Internet Club. We are offering free training to all those who need some guidance. In addition, our cyber cafe is air-conditioned all those who visit here feel very relaxed." He also informed that the most commonly used sites for chatting are Yahoo and ICQ.

Meanwhile, the ever-increasing number of cyber cafes most of which are well-packed at all times show that the more and more Ludhianvis are becoming cyber-savvy.Back


Where have all animal lovers gone ?
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 5 — For the past one week residents of the colonies around Sat Pal Prashar Park near Shingar Cinema on the Samrala road have been watching an unusual pitiable sight. A tan-coloured male calf is battling for life and death under a shady tree in a corner of the park .

The one-year-old calf was perhaps hit by some vehicle on the road and now cannot move on its own as its back bone has been broken in the accident. Somehow it was found near the park by the residents who had since then been contacting the authorities concerned to save its life or at least remove it from there.

The residents wishing not to be quoted told Ludhiana Tribune that they had reported the matter to the gaushala authorities here but in spite of repeated requests no one had turned up. According to Mr Vinod Kumar, a karyana shop owner, the residents also informed the People For Animals (PFA ) here who did visit the place and took the calf away from treatment but later they brought it back.

Dr Sandeep K. Jain and Mr Ajay Jain, president and general secretary, respectively, of the PFA said after receiving the calls they had immediately rushed to the place and took the injured calf to the PAU veterinary clinic where all possible treatment was given. Dr Jain said the injuries were of serious nature and the calf was incurable.

They said the organisation had no building of its own and it could not keep the sick animals. He said a proposal of providing land for constructing a shelter was pending with the government. H e said such animals have to be kept at the gaushala.

However, in spite of repeated attempts no official of the gaushala could be contacted. Telephone calls made at the office were answered by some outsider who identified himself as Bau Ram. He said this was the gaushala but there was no official here who could answer the query.


Fortune-telling a big business

Fortune-telling has become a big business these days. There is no dearth of astrologers, palm readers and horoscope interpreters in the city.

While the more lucky of the lot operate from palatial kothies and offices with telephones and all that, the not-so-lucky ones try to thrive on the city’s footpaths, wherever they can find a suitable place.

When they open their ‘shops’ in the morning, they do not know themselves what the day holds in store for them, how much money they are going to make by the end of the day. But the superstitious and the gullible think that only a ‘jyotishi’ could read their palms and the stars to predict their future accurately.

A 65-year old well-to-do punditjee candidly confided that the general modus-operandi of all fortune-tellers was invariably the same. As for himself, he admitted that a large number of his clients were much easier to handle than the menfolk. He reads the horoscope or the palm for a few minutes with concentration, frowns a bit, takes off his glasses slowly and heaves a little sigh. Enough to raise the curiosity level of the customers. As the woman awaits eagerly, he drops his hook. “Though you toil day and night, nobody in the house values your worth”, he says.

This one-liner is enough to send the woman into sobs. She tells everything that punditjee wants to know to work further on the case. He has a variety of imitation stones and cheap Jaipur-made rings as well to sell. So he blames a certain planet for the trouble or the obstacle in the lady’s path. Solution? “Yes, your Jupiter is not benign. To appease and please it, wear this topaz (Pukhraj) ring” he says. How much for the ring, please? Depends on how poor or wealthy is the gullible buyer. The ring that costs punditjee only Rs 5 (complete with the stone) fetches anything between Rs 51 to Rs 2100.

I decided to check it out for myself at a footpath ‘fortune shop’ in Urban Estate near Jamalpur. The guy has a number of astrology books and journals spread out in front and a glass-paned ring case to his left. And a little tin plate as well that announced the fee for palm reading, a meagre Rs 5. I stretched out my palm which he graciously gripped with both hands. Soon he asked, “What is your problem?”

“You are the palmist. If you are really a good one, you have to tell what it is”, I retorted. The man was visibly non-plussed at that. Obviously he did not know how to deal with ‘a customer like that’. In the meantime, there arrived a migrant labourer. Within minutes, the foot-path soothsayer succeeded in selling a cheap stone ring for Rs 50.

Besides selling imitation stones and cheap rings, these so-called astrologers sometimes ask their customers to perform certain bizarre and ridiculous acts and ceremonies to ward off evil spirits and usher in good luck. For example, “Throw 5 kg of wood coal into the Buddha Nullah every Saturday for five weeks.”

Apart from these fortune-tellers, there exists a more sinister and dreadful tribe of tantriks who advertise themselves assuming fancy names such as Mian Pashaji Bengali Tantrik. They claim to provide solutions to every problem.

According to informed sources, these tantriks are visited by the illiterate and the educated alike. Their customers are a mixed lot. A woman seeking revenge on a neighbour or a close relation. The wife of an officer seeking promotion for her husband. A man entangled in an expensive litigation and so on.

But the worst case is that of an issueless married woman who is desperate to have preferably, a male baby. The gory incident near Sahnewal last Sunday in which a 4-year-old boy was sacrificed so that a woman named Tara could conceive a male child must be enough to serve as an eye-opener for the concerned officialdom to initiate some action against the menace of the bloody tantriks who are growing in number with each passing day.

— D.B. ChopraBack


Removal of liquor vend sought
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 5 —The Postal Department of the city has strongly opposed the opening up of a liquor vend outside the Mini Secretariat which is adjacent to the Head Post office building on the Ferozepore road.

Sources revealed that the postal employees had threatened an agitation against the presence of the vend. The Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Mr M.K. Khan, has also dispatched letters to the Deputy Commissioner, the Senior Superintendent of Police and the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, here for immediate removal of the vend.

The sources also revealed that the department was not satisfied with the mere closing of the vend and urged the authorities concerned to remove the vend structure immediately.

The letter says that the ‘ unauthorised ‘ khokha was a big nuisance not only for the postal employees and but also for the general public who come to the office for various official purposes.Back


Foot bridge dismantling creates a host of problems
It was hindering smooth flow of water: authorities

From Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, July 5 — It was just a foot bridge or a ‘puli’ in common man’s parlance but it connected the people living across the Budha Nullah in more than one dozen localities like Upkar Nagar, Kundan Puri, Prem Nagar, Bindranban Road and Deep Nagar on left side and Pritam Nagar, Chander Nagar, Hargobind Nagar, Aman Vihar, New Chander Nagar and Civil City on the right side of the nullah.

The dismantling of the puli by the civic authorities on Saturday even while a new two-lane bridge is under construction and would need another month or so to complete has created a host of problems for the people residing on both sides of the nullah. Many residents complained to the visiting Ludhiana Tribune team that the only passage, now available, to go across the other side of Budha Nullah, is the Chander Nagar puli, which is totally inadequate to take the traffic.

“The Chander Nagar puli can take only single file vehicular traffic, and with the foot bridge suddenly gone, a large number of employees were caught in the traffic jam on Monday morning and could not reach their offices in time. With more than half a dozen schools, located in areas on both sides of the nullah, opening after summer vacation on Monday, the schoolgoing children were also delayed on the way and many of them returned back homes,” complained a housewife in Chander Nagar.

Mr Prem Aggarwal, a building material dealer in Chander Nagar market, lamented that there was absolutely no traffic regulation on the Chander Nagar puli, which is now the only connection between the localities across the Budha Nullah in this area.

Even though the traffic moves at a snail’s pace throughout the day and traffic jams are an everyday affair, particularly during peak hours in the morning and evening, no traffic policemen were deployed to ensure a smooth flow of traffic across the puli. “The police personnel from the nearby chowki occasionally stand around but they mostly check two-wheelers and cars and collect money,” he alleged.

The MC officials, when contacted, informed that the foot bridge had to be removed as it hindered the flow of water in Budha Nullah and with rainy season just at the door, the localities across the drain would have been put to great risk if the step was not taken. A new two-lane bridge is being built just near the site where the footbridge was located, and when completed around the end of this month, the movement of traffic across the nullah would become a lot more smoother.

However, the officials were evasive when asked if it was known that the foot bridge would have to be dismantled before onset of rains to improve flow of water in the nullah, why was the schedule of work not so planned that the new bridge could have been completed by this time.Back


T.S. Anand honoured
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 5 — Dr T.S. Anand of the Department of English, G.G.N. Khalsa College, has been unanimously elected as General Secretary of the Indian Association for American Studies in the elections held at Madurai, Kamraj University, recently.

Dr Anand is the only person from the region to be honoured for the second year. He presided over one of the paper reading sessions.

Fiftytwo research papers in various branches of social sciences and literature related to the USA, were presented at the university by scholars drawn from various Indian universities and colleges.Back



A successful woman entrepreneur
From A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA: If there is a woman behind every successful man, Mrs Neera Mago (48) is a perfect example of this phenomenon.

Starting as a lecturer in a private college in the city way back in 1975 when she was just about 21, she was the first woman in Ludhiana to start a small department store selling bakery items and cold coffee on the Mall under the brand name of Kitty. Through sheer determination and by dint of hard work, she expanded her business rapidly to three shops in just three years, forcing her husband, Ramesh Mago, to resign his job in a bank to look after the stores.

When her husband landed in a deep financial crisis because of heavy losses on exports to Russia a couple of years ago, she stood solidly by his side and sold off the department stores along with every thing else to settle her husband’s debts. Among the items sold were their factory, a plot of land, their cars as also their palatial kothi in the swank Sarabha Nagar. They now live in the same kothi as tenants.

“God willing, we will have another kothi soon”, says Mrs Mago optimistically.

“It was a hard decision to take. What was even more difficult was the decision to sell off the department store as well,” says Mrs Mago as she recalls the past with moist eyes. “That department store was my whole world. I had built it brick by brick and never cared about working hours. Coming to the store in the morning and working till late into the night was no joke. For days together, my children would not see me because I was busy round the clock ... The sale of my kothi, cars and other things did not bother me because I had, in any case, started from scratch. But the loss of the department store was a great shock to me. It took me quite sometime to reconcile to reality.”

But she is glad that her efforts have not gone waste and her perseverance is bearing fruit once again. The business has already revived and is now expanding steadily. “My objective is to save enough money to buy back the department store from where I started my business almost a quarter of a century ago”, she says.

She began with a small bakery producing only about 600-700 loaves of bread. Then she started a semi-automatic plant before graduating to a fully automatic plant. Her products were being sold all over Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. In the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Kitty bread is among the top-selling brands.

Soon the hosiery bug bit Mr Ramesh Mago and the profits from the Kitty Foods business were ploughed into a factory manufacturing hosiery items under the name of Kitty Hosiery Exports. Almost the entire produce was tied up for export to Russian. That was when disaster struck and the Russian economy collapsed. Mr Ramesh Mago found himself in a deep financial crisis forcing him to sell off everything to settle debts.

“All cheques for debt settlement used to go through me”, recalls Mrs Mago. “But we were able to survive the crisis. After the setback on hosiery front, we concentrated on the food business and I am glad to report that we are now well on the road to recovery”, she says.

Mrs Mago says that she has always had a creative streak. Soon after she became a lecturer, she wrote a book on “Teaching of Science”. “My husband doubted my abilities and sold off its publications rights to Parkash Book Depot for just Rs 10,000. The private publisher published the book in large numbers and made lakhs...”


PSEB told to refund amount
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 5 — The District Consumer Redressal Forum here has directed the PSEB to refund an amount of Rs 1293 along with 12 per cent interest to Mr Jit Lal, a resident of Bhai Manna Singh Nagar, Chowni Mohalla, here which was recovered against the rules from the consumer.

Mr Hardial Singh, President of the forum, gave this order on the complaint filed by the consumer through his representative Mr S.S. Sarna. The consumer had complained that the PSEB had wrongly charged costs of theft of energy which the PSEB could not prove.

The orders said the glass of the electricity meter of the complainant was broken somehow. The complainant brought this to the notice of PSEB officials concerned who later changed the meter. The complainant was then told to furnish costs of the new meter instead of the glass only. Later even some costs under the theft of energy charge were also recovered from the consumer.

The consumer, peeved at the PSEB’s policy, moved the forum and said he was wrongly charged. The consumer contended that even though the rules said that the meter should be taken in a sealed box and checked later in the presence of the consumer, but as this was not followed he was wrongly charged for theft of energy and thus deserved compensation.


Firemen given cash prizes
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 5 — The Joint Commissioner, Mr Harjinder Singh, who looks after the local Fire Brigade, was awarded a cash prize of Rs 10,000 by the Corporation Commissioner, Mr S.S. Sandhu, here today, in recognition of the job done in controlling a big fire that broke out in S.K. Tangri Hosiery, New Kidwai Nagar, on January 22.

Prominent among the awardees were Mr R.K. Sharma, Assistant Divisional Fire Officer — Rs 7500, Mr Kartar Singh, Fire Station Officer — Rs 1000, Mr Amarjit Sharma, Sub Fire Officer — Rs 5000, Sub Fire Officer, Mr Ravinder Kumar and Mr Jagdeep Krishan — Rs 1000 each. Three firemen — Mr Ram Lal, Mr Subhash Chander and Mr Taranpal Singh — were awarded a cash prize of Rs 5000 each.


Astrologers’ meet
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 5 — Astrology pandits met here yesterday with the aim of getting astrology recognised as a Science and removing general misgivings about the subject.

A body named, ‘Aryavrata Jyotirvigyan Sanstha’, was also formed which will hold a two-day “Astrological Meet-2000”.

Those who have been unanimously nominated to the body are Prof Mohan, Chairman; Mr Suresh Atreya, President; Mr Baldev Verma, Vice-president; Mr Kamal Dev Khurana, Secretary; Mr Vasudev Shastri, Convenor, among others.Back


Ban migrant labour, says SSF
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 5 — The Sikh Students Federation (Mehta), has urged the state government to impose a ban on the arrival of migrant workers to Punjab and conduct a thorough screening of those already settled in the state, for what it described as a spate of violence, robberies and other criminal activities in the state.

In a joint statement, the SSF president, Mr Rajinder Singh Mehta, and the secretary general, Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla, observed that large-scale arrival of migrant workers in this state had created a threat for the people and incidents of violence had created a sense of insecurity among citizens.

The federation leaders alleged that inaction on part of police had led to criminal groups like ‘kale kachhewale’ ruling the roost and people, particularly those in rural areas, live under continuous terror.Back


Home gardening tips  

*The concrete of the building has to be softened with greenery. As the hedges are grown outside the boundary wall, the inside face remains hard. Grow the self-clinging climber, the ficus species vine. Growing for many years even outside the room walls it has never caused a seepage or dampness.

*This green wall effect provides you with an excellent background for growing flowers with contrasting colours in front of it.

*No extra space is required to have such a green effect. You can start planting rooted cuttings now. In the initial stage you may feel the cuttings have dried, but do not lose heart and keep watering. These will sprout again within a few days.

*You always wanted to make your garden privy to yourself. There are many ways to do it. Try the following.

— Grow casurina and clip it at any particular height. This way you can create a green wall at amazing heights.

— In case your construction is new, use bamboo or jafri fencing and grow some fast growing plants to plug the holes. Tapioca or cassava also called manihot is a good choice. The cuttings of this plant are planted in January-February. Planted close to each other, they form a dense hedge in no time. The plants are ornamental and the leaves have a combination of yellow, red and green. However, this is also a temporary arrangement as the plant sheds its leaves in winter.

— During winter you can also make a temporary screen with kana and on this could be grown the sweetpea vines.

*This is also the time when you can start planting permanent hedges like clerodendron, murraya, duranta, etc.

— Satish Narula



Man murdered by colleagues
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 5 — A man was killed allegedly by his colleagues on the suspicion that he was “poisoning” the ears of their employers against them.

According to information available, it is learnt that Mann Bahadur and Jang Bahadur, both residents of Palma, Nepal, murdered Parvesh Kumar as they believed that he was speaking against them to the service station owner where the three were working.

A case under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC has been registered at the Focal Point Police Station on the statement of Jaspal Singh, owner of Preet Service Station.

Four Arrested: The police has arrested four persons — Jasvir Singh, Lakha Singh, Sukhwant Singh and Suresh Kumar — for conspiring to commit dacoity at petrol pumps and liquor vends in the city areas.

All accused have been booked under Sections 399,402 of the IPC and 25, 54 and 59 of Arms Act and three knives, one 32 bore countrymade revolver, one .12 bore countrymade pistol and nine live cartridges have been recovered from them, informed SHO Focal Point, Inspector Paramjit Singh.

Fraud case: The police has booked six persons on charges of fraud and cheating . It is alleged that one of the accused, Darshan Singh got a loan of Rs 3.30 lakh sanctioned from U.C.O. Bank, Kohara, by impersonating as Piara Singh. He was helped by Hardev Singh and Piara Singh. The police has booked him under Sections 419, 420, 465, 467, 468 and 120-B of the IPC.

Two Injured: Two persons — Rajesh Kumar and Anil Kumar — were seriously injured when their scooter collided with a truck, bearing registration number PB-12B-7662. A case under Sections 279, 337, 338 and 427 of the IPC has been registered at Focal Point Police Station.



Undertrial hurt while trying to flee
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 5 — An undertrial was injured while trying to escape from the police van while being taken from the courts to the jail.

It is learnt that Prem Singh, an accused in a theft case, had been declared a proclaimed offender by the police and had recently presented himself before the court and sought bail.

After bail was denied to the accused, he tried to escape by jumping from the police van while it was going over the Dholewal Chowk Fly-Over. Prem Singh fell down the fly over and sustained serious injuries. He is undergoing treatment at Civil Hospital.


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