Tuesday, July 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


PAU gets own computer network
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 10 — Rs 1.3 crore has been spent recently for the establishment of the PAU Computer Network (PAUNET). It has been established under the Agricultural Research Information System (ARIS) project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) funded by the National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP).

The ICAR gave Rs 50 lakh to the PAU headquarters and five zonal research stations at Jalandhar, Faridkot, Bathinda, Gurdaspur and Ballowal Saunkhri. Out of these funds, Rs 10.34 lakh was spent.

Rs 39.6 lakh was used for the establishment of the local area network (LAN). Under this project, optical-fibre cables, switches and other network equipment were installed. As many as 144 nodes were created under this project. These nodes are located in different administrative buildings and all departments. About 3-km-long optical-fibre cable was also laid.

This project was put into operation by establishing a V-SAT (128 kbps) contact from the National Informatic Centre (NIC). The ICAR has further sanctioned Rs 30 lakh for strengthening this network. After the installation, all buildings on the PAU campus will be on the PAUNET. Later, 100 more nodes will be created. At present, 700 e-mail addresses have been fed in the PAUNET. The faculty and the postgraduate students are making extensive use of this facility. It will also be possible to access the library's CD-ROM database from any place on the campus.

The PAUNET has been established to help various wings of the university share information and communicate. Various agencies are being approached to supply a suitable software for this purpose. The ICAR supplied servers and router to be installed in the ARIS cells in the initial phase. It has now supplied 35 computers and the UPS. The equipment have been allocated to all departments and research stations by the Directorate of Research.

At present, the surfing facility is extremely limited due to a low bandwidth from the NIC. This problem will be overcome once the Internet service is introduced in computer laboratories of all constituent colleges of the PAU. After this, the browsing facility will also be available to the faculty for the purpose of research. A cybercafe managed by a private firm has been established in the PAU library.

According to Mr Alok Shekhar, Registrar of the PAU, "After the LAN has been established, e-mail addresses have been provided to everybody on the campus. Now, we can exchange views with other persons on various research projects and issues regularly. Management of information systems will definitely help in a better management of the university."

"The university also has a website (www.pau.edu) which is frequently updated to benefit students, farmers and researchers," he added.


A billion, and counting fast
From Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 10 — As the world celebrates Population Day tomorrow, people in India have more cause for concern than celebration. With already a billion in number, the Indians may not have much to celebrate. The same old resolutions by the political leadership, committing itself to providing better living facilities to the teeming millions, can be expected.

The day is most likely to pass off with routine rituals, formalities and lectures. Hundreds of functions will be organised to mark the occasion. A million vows may be taken again and yet there will be a million more babies.

The government of India may seek consolation from the laudatory comments in the United Nations Human Development Report-2000, released by the United Nations Development Programme on June 29. But should that be enough, as the country is still placed at a poor 128 in the world ranking of 174 nations as far as human development is concerned?

This is attributed primarily to the uncontrolled population growth in the country, which has an adverse impact everywhere. Work and employment, food and shelter apart, generates a plethora of other problems.

Although the rate of population growth has come down, it is far too short of the desired target. This is being attributed mainly to the poor literacy rate in the country. Although the states like Kerala with 100 per cent literacy rate have done extremely well to check population growth, the rest of the country still needs to go a long way.

While for the rest of the world, Population Day may not hold much significance, for India it does.

However, there is a positive note to all this. The people have great concern about the rising population. This was evident from the overwhelming response the Ludhiana Tribune got to the debate on banning the baby boom in the country. The debate had been initiated with a local MP, Lala Lajpat Rai, seeking a two-year baby holiday in the country.

Hundreds of people responded with their opinion and showed a common concern to curb and check the rising population at all costs. The resolve may be strengthened further when a series of programmes scheduled to be held in this connection are held.


Sycophancy gets the better of hard work
From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 10 — Want a promotion in the Ludhiana police? Sycophancy may get you what hard work has not.

For proof, check this up. Of the eight sanctioned posts of Deputy Superintendent of Police, four of the DSPs are on Own Rank and Pay (ORP) postings. There are 17 sanctioned posts of inspector, a posted strength of 23 and three of these officials are posted on an ORP basis. Similarly, there are 54 sanctioned posts of sub-inspector, a posted strength of 68 with 38 SIs on an ORP basis.

The less said the better for the ORP postings in the cadre of assistant sub-inspector of police. Though there are 189 sanctioned posts, the total number of ASIs in the district police is 321, with 184 personnel on ORP postings.

As a result, the police is allegedly falling short of the actual ground force. It is learnt that there are only 508 head constables and 2,385 constables in the Ludhiana police district. Out of these two ranks, around 150 personnel from the Ludhiana force are serving with those officials who previously had a posting in Ludhiana, another 150 are believed to be working as security guards with the VIPs, around 75 help in the residences of police officers here, another 100 are on deputation in the neighbouring police districts of Khanna and Jagraon and around 25-40 personnel have also been illegally provided as security to a 'chosen few'.

Informed sources in the police department reveal that in several police stations, there are more number of ASIs than head constables. "As a result, work suffers with regard to patrolling and putting of nakas as there are not very many head constables available. On the other hand, the HCs posted as ASIs on an ORP basis are neither capable of doing investigations nor allowed to handle several cases of sensitive nature," he discloses. He also informs that an ORP promoted ASI with his own rank being that of a head constable can only investigate cases under the Excise Act, a practice that is not really adhered to here.

It is also learnt that in the cases relating to NDPS Act, Prevention Of Immoral Trafficking and cases relating to FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulation Act), only a gazetted police officer can investigate the case , or else these cases do not stand a chance in the court. (In cases under NDPS Act, only a magistrate, a DSP or any other gazetted police officer can search the accused and has to be present at the time of the recovery). Even the Motor Vehicles Act clearly states that an official not below the rank of a non-gazetted officer can challan people.

Compare the rules with what really happens in the city. Till yesterday, the posting of the DSP (Detective), one of the most sensitive postings in the city, was given to a ASI promoted as DSP in his own rank and pay. The CIA in charge, his next in command was actually senior to him as he is a sub-inspector promoted as inspector on an ORP basis because of his contribution in catching hardcore terrorists. Now, the work of the DSP (Detective) has been assigned to the DSP (Headquarters) who is also an ORP promotee. It is pertinent to mention here that the CIA works on the most sensitive of cases, including drug trafficking and prevention of immoral trafficking. But the DSP in these departments not being gazetted officers cannot investigate the cases.

Similarly, the Economic Offences Wing Of the police is under the supervision of an ORP promotee DSP as is the Marriage Dispute Cell.

Interestingly, the present in charge of the Traffic Police is actually a Head Constable posted as an ASI in his own rank and pay. So, if one goes by the Motor Vehicles Act, he is not authorised to challan people and all such challans can be challenged in the court.

It is learnt that the practice of giving ORP postings was started in the heyday of militancy to boost the morale of the police force and as a reward. Then, the district head i.e. Senior Superintendent Of Police could recommend for the ORP postings of those personnel who had done some exceptionally good work and then orders were passed by the DIG of that particular police range. It was some two years ago that the ORP postings by the SSP were stopped and since then, only the Director-General Of Police is authorised to give ORP promotions — after these have been recommended by the SSP to the DIG, who in turn forwards it to the Central Police Office( CPO). The CPO after examining the particular cases then issues the orders for the ORP postings.

It is also learnt that a former SSP of Ludhiana and presently serving in the rank of a DIG had given a large number of ORP postings in Ludhiana and now the DIG Ludhiana Range, Mr P.S. Sandhu, has written to the CPO for reverting all these promotions. In spite of this, the trend of recommending and then endorsing the ORP promotions in the district has failed to subside and are going a dime a dozen.

However, it is reliably learnt from the police headquarters at Chandigarh that orders for the more than 200 ORP postings in the Ludhiana police district have not been issued so far and that not more than 50 per cent of these cases have received sanction. It is also alleged that a senior police officer often personally recommends the ORP postings of the personnel and often on flimsy grounds.Back


Showers lash city
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 10 — The city had another spell of rain this afternoon lasting about two hours, bringing further relief from the prevailing hot and humid conditions.

The city had a clear morning today as the south wind blew moderately. But it was once again the south-west wind that ushered in the dark rain clouds in the afternoon.

Gurdev Nagar, one of the posh residential areas of the city, was said to be in two and a half feet of water following the showers.


Timeless wonder lying in wilderness
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 10 — Ever seen a 122-year-old clock ? Especially, one which is built in stone and is mounted on a pedestal with only one iron hand that tells the time but does not make any ticking sound.

Moreover, it's upkeep is not expensive it and does not demand a penny to keep going. There is no need to wind it's key or energise it with cells. Still further, no amount of water can jam its functioning.

Visit the old Canal Rest House near Doraha along the Sidhwan Canal in this district to see the treasure lying in wilderness. The timeless wonder clock, installed in the lush green lawns of the Rest House is an antique piece of human ingenuity. It has defied the vagaries of nature and onslaught of elements to keep ticking, figuratively speaking.

It was made by a British, R.G.Kennedy in 1878 as engravings on the pedestal reveal but was moved to Doraha in 1928. The engravings do not tell us where the clock was installed. It uses the rays of the sun to work. Not to be confused with solar energy, the clock or rather the iron hand requires only sunlight to fall on it. Then the hand throws a shadow on a parallelogram shaped dial of clock which has been, like the modern day clock, numbered from one to twelve.

To read the time, one has to be a bit of a mathematician as well. For, one has to add 26 minutes to the time shown by the shadow of the iron hand falling on the dial. After this, one has to make another complicated series of subtraction and additions given in a table near the clock .The table, again an engraving on metal, tells what to add or subtract on different days and months of the year. After this 'little' effort, one arrives at the right time.

Guards at the Canal Rest House say that the place was a permanent abode of senior British officials, especially those associated with irrigation work. It could not be ascertained whether the British installed the watch for seeing the time only or they preserved it, keeping its rich antique value in mind.

The clock has a few drawbacks as well: It can tell time only when sunlight is over it. It is 'dead' during the night or when the Sun is covered by clouds.

Nevertheless, its antique value as well as unique design make it fit for preservation. Though it is in excellent condition, it faces the threat of being stolen or vandalised. It would suffice to either turn the rest house into a tourism spot or take the clock to a museum. According to the guards of the house, few people of the area know about the treasure in the house.

The Canal House has other claims of tourism attractions as well. It has the more than 70-year-old grave of one of the most faithful dogs of a British officer. Also, a unique small iron railing fitted in the floor acts as a 'doormat'. The idea was that the person entering should rub his shoes on the grill for cleanliness.

The canal also has blue coloured iron signs fitted in the walls, telling the visitor of the highest point that the water of the canal flowing near by has flooded. It is because of this threat of floods that the antique clock needs a better handling.


Left convention flays economic policies
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 10 — A joint convention of Left parties, held at Punjabi Bhavan here yesterday, called upon the people and like-minded parties to launch a fight against the policies of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation, being pursued by the NDA government led by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee.

The convention organised by the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI), Communist Party of India (ML)-Liberation and Communist Party of India (ML)-New Democracy was attended by more than 700 activists from all over the state. The presidium comprised Mr Ganda Singh of Sangrur, Mr Tara Singh Chalaki and Mr Rajwinder Singh Rana.

Inaugurating the convention, Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, General Secretary of the MCPI, lashed the Union Government for bowing to the dictates of international bodies like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation and in the process, compromising the people’s interests. Opening the floodgates to the MNCs had landed the domestic industry and agriculture into a crisis and led to large-scale deindustrialisation and unemployed.

The convention observed that the Union Government had removed restrictions from 741 items under pressure from the WTO, allowing their free flow at the cost of domestic agriculture and small-scale industrial sector. The flooding of Indian markets with foreign-made consumer goods, dairy and farm products would spell the doom for the Indian economy, it warned.

The Union Government also came under criticism from the speakers. They said the repression of agitations and protests of the people against the economic policies of the government was undemocratic. The Punjab Government was also condemned for supporting the steps contemplated by the Centre.

They said the sharp increase in the power tariff and hike in the prices of chemical fertilisers would particularly affect the common people and the peasants. The strike by brick kiln owners was also condemned as it had thrown thousands of workers out of job.


Curbs on beggars in rly station
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 10 — Entry of beggars and other undesirable elements to the railway station would be henceforth be restricted in accordance with a series of decisions taken here today at a meeting of the Station Consultative Committee.

The meeting was held in the wake of a series of reports carried by Ludhiana Tribune, highlighting various problems, including the unlawful presence of criminal elements, on the railway station and the general lack of sanitation.

While the Additional SHO, Mr Ved Parkash, was asked to step up the vigil against beggars and petty criminals entering the station premises, it was also decided to impose an on-the-spot fine of Rs. 50 on anyone spitting on the platforms or elsewhere within the station premises.

In order to maintain hygiene on the platforms, the vendors would be provided with an extra dustbin.

The meeting, chaired by Mr Kuldip Singh, Area Officer, Northern Railways, was attended among others by Mr Harmohinder Singh Pahwa (Avon Cycles Ltd.), Mr Raju Sharma, Secretary, Ludhiana Petroleum Dealers Association, Mr Bhushan Maini, a local businessman, Mr T.R. Rana, Station Superintendent, Mr Ved Parkash, Additional SHO, GRP, and Mr Pritam Singh, Chief Parcel Supervisor.

After the meeting, Mr Kuldip Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that it was also decided to construct a bridge to connect platforms number 6 and 7 with other platforms. It was also decided to limit the number of persons coming in to see off and receive friends and relatives. It is often seen that upto 20 persons turn up at the station to say ‘bye-bye’ to a single passenger!

The frequency of usual warnings to the passengers to be wary of persons offering food or drinks will be increased to make the public more cautious of criminals who drug the passengers and loot them of cash and other belongings.

Mr Harmohinder Singh Pahwa said that the railway authorities had been requested to open four railway booking counters in the city, at Dhandari, Model Town, Miller Ganj and at the Civil Lines, to minimise rush at the railway station booking counters which otherwise is a boon for pick pockets and luggage-lifters.

It was also proposed that the halt of three trains — Duplicate Howrah, Barauni Express and Janseva — at Dhandari be sufficiently extended to enable the passengers to board these trains at Dhandari itself. This would further ease the rush at the railway station.

Mr Kuldip Singh said that a computerised railway inquiry would be available to the city residents on telephone number 133 in the near future.Back


Plea to shift Baddowal ammunition depot
From Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, July 10 — The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police of this district to keep a strict vigil and to periodically visit the area to make sure that no new construction activitiy takes place in the notified army area around the ammunition depot at Baddowal, on the outskirts of the city. This was disclosed by the Deputy Commissioner Mr S.K. Sandhu, while talking to The Tribune here today.

The Deputy Commissioner, who personally attended the proceedings in the High Court on July 6 in a public interest litigation (PIL), pleading for shifting of the ammunition depot and a writ petition filed by some marriage palace owners in the area, which were clubbed together, was further asked to make another personal appearance on July 17, the next date of hearing, to report the compliance of the earlier directions.

Meanwhile, for once, the political differences have been put aside and the welfare of the city and its people have been accorded due priority. In a welcome move, four city legislators, belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress have come together to make an impassioned plea for shifting of Baddowal ammunition depot, located at the outskirts of the city, to a safer place.

Mr Hira Singh Gabria, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal and Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, all SAD(B) legislators, though owing allegiance to Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, and the lone Congress MLA, Mr Rakesh Pandey, apparently upset at the recent incident, in which lightning struck near the ammunition depot, though no damage was caused, said any mishap could have caused unimaginable damage and the consequences could have been catastrophic.

“When the fire struck the Bharatpur ammunition dump in Rajasthan, the entire area around 10 kilometres of the town was got evacuated. It was only the heroic efforts of our military officers and jawans which saved the Bharatpur and other neighbouring cities.”

The legislators observed that the largest city in the region and the industrial capital of the state was, in fact, sitting on a volcano. The entire population of around 35 lakh ran the risk of a major tragedy in the case of a mishap.

They pointed out that safeguarding life and property of its citizens being the prime duty of any government, it would be in the fitness of things that Baddowal depot was shifted to a safer place and the city population saved from a very serious threat to their existence and survival.


SAD (A) ultimatum to UP Govt
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 10 — The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) headed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann has served an ultimatum to the Uttar Pradesh Government to release around 100 Sikhs, including activists of the Udham Singh Nagar Raksha Samiti, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party, within the next 48 hours, otherwise the SAD(A) functionaries would proceed to U.P. where they would burn the effigies of the Chief Minister, Mr Ram Prakash Gupta, and stage other forms of peaceful and democratic protest.

Addressing a news conference here today, the party General Secretary, Mr Jagmohan Singh narrated the sequence of events, which he said, smacked of the BJP, the ruling party in U.P., resorting to communal repressive measures against the Sikh community, which was opposing the inclusion of Udham Singh Nagar in the proposed hill state of Uttranchal Pradesh. He said around 300 Sikhs, many of them properly invited by the administration, were thrown out of a function marking the inauguration of the District Collectorate at Rudrapur (U.P.) by the Chief Minister on July 7. On the following day, the activists of U.S.Nagar Raksha Samiti, including some prominent Sikh citizens of the region were arrested on the charges of burning the effigy of the Chief Minister.

On July 9 there were widespread protests against the detention of Sikhs, and the administration retaliated by arresting about 100 more persons, most of them Sikhs, who were sent to Bareilly prison. Mr Singh disclosed that among those physically removed from the District Collectorate function at Rudrapur was the U.P. state unit President of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Mr Harbhajan Singh Cheema.

Mr Jagmohan Singh while alleging that the activities of the BJP and the RSS could be fatal for the minorities, charged the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister with stooping to cheap tactics in an order to appease the majority community (Hindus) and to cover up his own declining popularity. Besides taking up the matter in the Lok Sabha, the party would lodge a formal complaint with the National Minorities Commission, Mr Singh added.

Lamenting that the ruling SAD(B) President and Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had adopted a ‘criminal and conspiratorial silence’ over the entire issue concerning Udham Singh Nagar, he called upon Mr. Badal to ‘snap ties with the BJP’ and to bring about a change in his ‘defeatist’ attitude. He further observed that among all the constituents of the ruling NDA combine, the SAD(B) was the only party which had not raised its voice to secure any demand, either for the state, its people or particularly for the Sikh community.


Birdi takes objection
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July10 — Mr Jaswant Singh Birdi, General Secretary, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers’ Association, expressed his shock over the statement made by Mr G.L. Pahwa and Mr D.S. Chawla, President and Senior Vice-President respectively of the association, that the recent statements made by him against the hike in electricity tariff on industrial, trade and domestic consumers, announced by the board, reflected his (Mr Birdi’s) personal opinion.

Referring to the reported news item about his alleged dismissal as General Secretary of the association, Mr Birdi said it was baseless and devoid of any fact. Mr Birdi criticised Mr Pahwa and Mr Chawla for supporting the stand taken by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the issue of hike in power tariff. He regretted that the two were fully endorsing the chamber’s decisions without taking into account the interest of the industry.

Mr Birdi stated that the majority in the house of 1400 members of the association had elected him as the general secretary and as per the constitution of the association, only the general house of the association has the powers to dismiss any elected office bearer.

Mr Birdi asked that when the general house had not passed any resolution aimed at his dismissal how could he be labelled as a ‘dismissed’ General Secretary. He sought to clarify that the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers’ Association was not affiliated to any other association, “much less the Chamber of Commerce and Industry”. Accordingly, he added, the association was not bound by any decision taken by the chamber on any issue.


From America, with lots of love
From Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, July 10 — When Preet Chandhoke of Xibernet Technologies was chatting on the Internet with one of his cyber friends, Manav, his friend asked him to do him a favour. He asked Preet to buy a cake from the famous ‘Hot Breads’ and send it to his father on his birthday which fell the next day.

“Sure”, replied Preet, who fulfilled his friend’s desire. Manav, who lives in California, felt highly obliged as he did not have any relatives or friends in India who could have done that for him. And Manav’s father was pleasantly surprised at the unexpected treat.

This is how Preet got the idea of designing a new website which would cater to people staying abroad. NRIs are now sending cakes, chocolates, flowers, dry fruits, sweets, soft toys, computers, cosmetics, perfumes, greeting cards, watches and a long range of other gift items to their friends and relatives in Ludhiana and other parts of Punjab through ‘apnimarket.com.’

When an NRI logs on to apnimarket, he clicks on the type of gift he would like to send. With this click, he can know more details about the gift he is sending. If he wants to send the item, he can type the address to which it has to be sent.

Prices have been mentioned in US dollars. Apnimarket has a currency converter which converts this price into the currency of 189 countries world over. The sender can place the order and pay through international credit cards. The payment system is fully secure as it gets locked at the time he is typing his credit card number. Apnimarket then verifies the credit card number online. The whole process may take not more than 20 minutes.

At apnimarket, on an average two orders are being received per day. The orders are basically coming for people in Jagraon, Phagwara, Jalandhar and Nawanshahr. Apnimarket is being directed by Prabhneet Chandhoke, Preet’s wife, and Anuradha Bhasin. Whenever they receive an order, gifts are purchased, packed and sent via courier to the kith and kin of the sender or staying in or around Punjab.

NRIs usually order cakes on birthdays, silver coins on wedding days, paintings and audio/ video systems for newly wed couples and Parker pens on Father’s Day. It is not only gifts which are being sent. A column called “Now Biji won’t have to wait for 15 days to get your letter” allows the NRIs to send their e-mails on this site. Print outs of these messages are being taken and sent free of cost by post to the specified address. This process takes two to three days and thus reduces time gap. The facility is being used by the NRIs whose relatives here do not have an e-mail account.

The list of gift items on the website is expanding on the demands of the surfers. One can click on “suggest more gifts” and type the required item. An NRI can even ask for some items for himself. When a person staying in Canada could not find any website of Punjabi books, he went to apnimarket and ordered the desired set of books.

Apnimarket is planning to have raakhis as the next item on the site. It is also planning to develop a set up by way of which NRIs will be able to send payment by cheques. It is also planning to develop a new column where it will be able to enter a list of special days. These will be used as reminders and e-mails will be sent a few days prior to these special days.Back


Traders to gherao PSEB office
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 10 — The Industry and Trade Forum, Punjab, will continue with its agitation programme and will gherao the Punjab State Electricity Board office at Patiala on July 21.

Mr Harish Khanna, President, Industry and Trade Forum, said that the forum will continue to agitate till the demand of the forum for the withdrawal of steep power hike with effect from July 1 was not conceded.

He alleged that there was a ‘secret deal’ between some of the industrialists and the Punjab State Electricity Board.

The forum alleged that in case of furnace oil the increase was at 7.5 per cent only whereas in other categories the hike was upto 10 to 17.3 per cent. Since the three of them own steel plants/furnaces, there, the increase was on the lower side.

Mr Khanna said since the industry and trade of the state belong to the small scale sector, the forum opposes the power hike for any category of consumer. He alleged that he along with other 3 members who were also members of the industrial panel, had been sidelined and a secret pact was reached with the four gentlemen who ultimately got their act done together for their own personal benefit.


Exhibition of designer wear
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 10 — A three-day exhibition of designer coats, suits, shirts and ethnic wears organised by Hallmark, a Jammu-based company, opened at Maharaja Palace yesterday.

The exhibition held to display new designs and book orders for the next season drew a good response from the fashion conscious elite of the city. “We are very much satisfied with the response,” said Mr V.K.Sachdeva, owner of the company. “Delhi has been the main market for our products. Now Ludhiana, too, is emerging on the scene. Some of the prestigious showrooms in the megacity have begun to stock our products and we get good sales”.

Originally, a resident of Ludhiana, Mr Sachdeva, migrated to Jammu in the wake of Operation Bluestar in 1984. “I started from scratch. We had only a couple of machines in the beginning. Now the business has expanded with a total turnover of nearly Rs 6 crore. Products are now designed by the graduates of the NIFD. As regards embroidery, the Kashmiri embroidery is famous throughout the world”.

Not everybody can afford the designer wear being marketed by Hallmark. The price ranges from Rs 2000, to Rs 12,000. So the clientele consists of only those belonging to middle class and upper middle class.


Sahaja yoga — ladder to God 
From Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, July 10 — A meeting on Sahaja yoga, aaj ka mahayog was organised by Sahaja Yoga Kendra, Ludhiana, in Aggar Nagar Community Centre. Since sahaja yog recognizes all religions, it was attended by people from all walks of life.

The 200-odd members of this society call themselves sahjis. The meeting started by the singing of a bhajan, a shabad and songs penned by Sufi writer Faridi in a rich baritone voice of a sahji. One sahji said every time she thought of Ms Nirmala, she felt vibrations and got goose pimples. The organiser also said ever since she had joined this organisation four years ago, all her problems had vanished.

So what is sahaja yoga? It is awakening of kundalini. Where is this kundalini? It is present in everyone, irrespective of the caste, religion, age or creed. When a child is born, it is very much there for the child does not know who is he, who are his parents, but as he grows up, his kundalini also goes to sleep.

The audience was told to awaken their kundalini. The whole thing has a scientific base, sajhis claim. Lady Harding Medical College in Delhi has introduced sahaja yoga in its course.

Ever since the inception of the human race, the perennial question haunting the human mind is: “How am I going to meet my Maker? How do I find the truth about myself and God? The truth is that ‘truth’ is immovable, cannot change, cannot sell, cannot be removed. One can only search for it”. Sahaja yoga says, “Find this truth living within the radius of performing duties of family life and fulfilling national duties too”, by awakening your kundalini.

“Why do you expect shade from a dry tree,” it was asked from the audience. All the religions are flowers of the tree symbolsing God. The flowers wither, but the tree stands. When you visit a gurdwara or a temple or a church, do you feel you have signalled God about your arrival? Have you changed yourself? Have you helped others change? The answer most probably is, “no”.

So sahaja yoga is telling us to find God within ourselves by awakening kundalini. Its awakening helps us to be one with God. Where is kundalini located? This power is located in a sushampa nadi present in our vertebra. This nadi leads to heart and then to talu which is in the centre of the head. If kundalini is awakened, the human being moves towards spiritualism, which is the basis of our soul. This is a ‘living act’.

Anyone can awaken it at any place. Just sit quietly and surrender yourself to God. Spread your palms facing upwards. After all, what have you given God? Then some kriyas were performed. For example, we were told to sit with both hands facing upward and ask God to help us awaken the kundalini. Then the right hand had to face the earth and the left hand was to face the front. We had to chant and ask God to make our kundalini active. Then we were asked to press our talu. After that, we were asked if we felt any vibrations. Only a few did . Another follow-up meeting is being called to find the reason for not getting any vibrations.

Ms Nirmala, who had her seshtra 30 years ago, travelled 80 countries. She educating people all over the world. “Try awakening your kundalini and you will be free from mental stress, mental and physical ailments, and you will be one with your Maker. You will experience rare joy and peace within yourself,” claim sahjis. So you could always start this practice, for it does not cost any money and gives you so much. Those who wish to know more about sahaja yog may contact the society. 


PAU nursery is arboreal goldmine
From Surbhi Bhalla

LUDHIANA, July 10 — "When buying a plant, make sure it looks healthy with glossy and evenly-covered leaves. Be wary of plants where the compost is either too wet or too dried out. It might be a neglected plant," says Mr Grewal, Landscape Officer of the Punjab Agricultural University.

Landscape nursery of the PAU supplies plants to individuals, colleges, schools, government offices, residential colonies and factory areas throughout the state.

Different varieties of trees, shrubs, climbers, potted plants, seasoned flowers, roses, chrysanthemum and other plants available in the nursery are raised under local conditions.

Think about the space you have and where do you want to put your plants. Kitchen is a good place for moisture-sapping plants, but, if you want to keep plants in a dry hall, choose sturdy ones.

The nursery has saplings of amaltas, gulmohar, kachnar, Australian wattle, sat patia, pegoda, tun, maulsari, putranjiva, bahera, kusum, ashok, mahagony, sukhchain, queen's flower and other similar plants. Prominent shrubs which are available include single-double chandni, kamini, raat ki rani, peeli kaner, sawni, Christman flower, jakopha, acalypha, golden duranta and hibiscus. Besides, more than 15 varieties of bougainvillaea are also available.

Climbers like peeli chameli, railway creepers, curtain creeper, jhumca veil, golden shower are also available in the nursery.

Local conditions suit most of the potted plants available in the nursery. Presently, the nursery is growing chrysanthemum on a large scale. Besides, 4,000 potted plants are being prepared for an exhibition-cum-sale in December. The exhibition is organised by the Executive Engineer of the Horticulture Division every year.Back


2.5 kg of charas seized
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 10 — The police has seized 2.5 kg of charas worth around Rs 40,000 in two separate incidents during the past 24 hours.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, informed that a police party led by Inspector Maninder Bedi, Incharge CIA Staff, had been holding special nakas in various parts of the district. While 1.5 kg of charas was recovered from Sikandar, a resident of Salem Tabri near Laddowal, another one kilogram of charas was recovered from Raj Kumar alias Raja from the Alamgir T-Point.

It is reliably learnt that the price of one kilogram of charas is approximately around Rs 15,000 and that it is generally smuggled into Punjab from Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

In both the cases, the police has registered a case under Sections 20, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act at the Sadar police station.


A woman is alleged to have been forced to take the extreme step of suicide by her husband.

Poonam, a woman in her late twenties, had been married to Vipin Kumar, a resident of Hargobind Nagar. She is alleged to be continuously harassed by her husband and in-laws for bringing insufficient dowry. She was reportedly being harassed by her husband to get a new scooter for him from her family. It was then that she decided to end her life and on the night of July 9, she poured kerosene over herself and immolated herself.

She is learnt to have succumbed to her injuries last evening. A case under Sections 306 and 398-A has been registered at Police Station Division No. 6.Back


Satluj Hospital runs into murky waters
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 10 — The war of attrition between the ousted director of Satluj Hospital and four others took a new turn, with both the sides managing to get police cases registered against each other. The police has filed cases against Dr Ravinder Tah and Dr Sarvesh Mathur under Sections 323, 536, 34 and 308 of the Indian Penal Code on the complaint of Dr B S Sekhon and also against the latter, under Sections 323, 506 and 342, IPC, on the complaint of Mr Virender Gupta, a cashier in the hospital.

Dr Tah and three other directors had been claiming that they removed Dr Sekhon from the Board of Directors of Satluj Hospital legally, in accordance with the Company Law Act, by a majority vote. They maintained that they were prepared to return the share of Dr Sekhon as it was difficult to carry on together. However, Dr Sekhon alleged that the four directors had cheated him and were trying to deny him his due.

The situation took an ugly turn on July 6, when Dr Sekhon alleged that he was assaulted by some persons, with a motive to cause grievous injuries to him. In his complaint to the police, he reportedly alleged that he also suffered serious spine injuries in the assault. The police has referred the case to the Civil Surgeon to establish whether Dr Sekhon had suffered spine injuries or not. Dr Sekhon is undergoing treatment in a local nursing home.Back

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