Monday, July 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Vigil to be stepped up at railway station
From D.B. Chopra

LUDHIANA, July 23 — The Ludhiana Tribune carried on July 3 a report on the unlawful presence of beggars and petty criminals at the local railway station and on July 5 another one on the pathetic conditions regarding sanitation.

On July 10, a special meeting of the Station Consultative Committee, formerly known as the Railway Advisory Board, was held in the Station Superintendent's office. Prominent among the citizens who attended the meeting were Mr Harmohinder Singh Pahwa of Avon Cycles Ltd, Mr Raju Sharma, Secretary, Ludhiana Petroleum Dealers Association and Mr Bhushan Maini. Mr Kuldip Singh, Area Officer, Northern Railways, chaired the meeting.

A number of significant decisions were taken at the meeting keeping in view the issues raised by the Ludhiana Tribune.

It was decided to step up vigil against the unlawful presence of beggars and petty criminals living at the station. Mr Ved Parkash, Additional SHO, GRP, was entrusted with the job of clearing the railway station of all such elements.

To improve the sanitation, it was decided to provide vendors with an extra dustbin and to impose an on-the-spot fine of Rs 50 on anyone spitting anywhere in the station premises.

Following a crackdown by the security personnel, the presence of beggars at the station has gone down.

The platforms wear a cleaner look now.

Mr T.R. Rana, Station Superintendent, said there was some hindrance in the way of implementing the Rs 50 fine on spitters. The railway men's union is opposing the move. Mr. Rana said that he was trying his best to put across the idea to them and he was confident of a positive response.

About the heaps of garbage on the unused far end of platforms 2 and 3, Mr Rana said that garbage from all over the station was being dumped there from where it was carried off for final disposal.

Meanwhile, information from the computerised enquiry at the railway station which was launched recently can be had from telephone numbers 749781 to 86.


BJP to strengthen rural base: Rinwa
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 23 — The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the alliance partner of the ruling SAD(B), is all set to strengthen its base in the rural areas of the state and bring about a change in its image of being a party of the urbanites and traders. This was stated by the newly elected state President, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, and the national General Secretary of BJP, Mr Narendra Modi, in the city today are any indication.

Mr Rinwa was accorded a rousing reception by the party on his maiden official visit to the industrial capital of the state here. He asserted that the BJP was no longer a party of the urban people alone. "We have plans to bring in the working classes, farmers and ruralites within the party fold and broadbase the organisation."

Addressing a well-attended party workers' meeting, the state BJP chief further said that the Akali Dal-BJP combine was working well. To sort out ambiguities and conflicting stands on some policy matters, a high-level coordination committee at the state level had been set up and similar committees would come into being at district levels as well.

Outlining the plans for reorganisation and streamlining the party in Punjab, Mr Rinwa observed that the state would soon have a BJP chief minister. However, he did not elaborate the point further.

Mr Narendra Modi, who is also in charge of Punjab affairs, stressed the need for discussion of party policies, programmes and commitments, as well as the aspirations and dreams of the people to chalk out effective action plans and take the country forward.

Lambasting the Congress, Mr Modi termed it shameful that its leaders were still justifying the blot on the democratic system (the period of Emergency) and even denying that no repression or atrocities against people were committed by the then Congress government.

A senior BJP leader and Minister for Local Bodies, Punjab, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, created an embarrassing situation for the party by criticising the government policy of providing free power to the farming community. He said international financial institutions like the World Bank had taken serious note of the issue and withheld loans worth Rs 5000 crore for the power sector and another worth Rs 900 crore for rural water supply schemes till such populist measures were reviewed and remedial action taken.

Going a step further, he observed that the entire state economy could not be put at stake just to appease one section of the population. In the same breath, he added that the alliance between the two parties (SAD-B and BJP) was based on mutual trust and principles.

Later, addressing a news conference at Circuit House, Mr Modi shared his views on wide-ranging subjects, like atrocities against minorities, autonomy, organisational set-up, the Prime Minister's forthcoming visit to the USA and economy. But he evaded replies to pointed questions on sensitive matters like action proposed to be taken against Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thakeray and contradictions within the ruling alliance in Punjab.

Denying that the front organisations of the BJP or Sangh Parivar were in any way responsible for violent attacks against minorities, including the Christians, Mr Modi claimed that the evidence available now pointed the finger towards Pakistan's counter-intelligence agency, ISI. Certain parties, in pursuance of their vote bank, had defamed the nation in their bid to bring a bad name to the BJP.

On the Jammu and Kashmir demand for autonomy, he said the National Conference, a coalition partner of the ruling NDA in the Centre, had failed to give a satisfactory reply to the question on how autonomy could be an answer to insurgency. Claiming that the BJP and the NDA government had always been staunch supporters of decentralisation of power, Mr Modi said the pre-1953 condition put forth by Mr Farooq Abdullah was not acceptable to the country.

BJP national General Secretary Narendra Modi is honoured by the state President of the party, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, and other senior leaders in Ludhiana on Sunday.



Irrigation team inspects Dhussi bundh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 23 — In the wake of reports of rise in the water level in the Sutlej and erosion of the dhussi bundh at some points, a team of Irrigation department officials led by Mr Sukhjinder Singh Sandhu, Superintending Engineer, Ferozepore division, inspected the flood protection work here on Saturday and ordered immediate repair of certain sensitive points identified by it.

While the irrigation officials termed it as a routine visit, sources said the visit was prompted by reports of cracks in studs and spurs as well as erosion of the bundh at various places.

A delegation of more than 20 villages located near Phillaur subdivision met the team and apprised it of the weak spots on the bundh.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.S. Sandhu, said the inspection had been done to improve the protection of the bundh. According to Mr D.S. Sandhu, Executive Engineer, Irrigation, here, the team had instructed strengthening of the bundh at some points which include Rampur, Khera Bet and the volatile Kassabad point, near Phillaur, where soil erosion from the bundh had taken place a couple of days ago.

According to Mr Sandhu, a 70-foot area of the bundh, near Rampur point, 50 feet near Khera bet point and similar length near Kassabad would be strengthened after the direction of the inspecting team.

Meanwhile, the water level in the river was about 10,000 cusecs today. Though there was a sudden gush of water of about 30,000 cusecs in the morning, it went downstream without any damage.



Harbhajan heads new Rotary team
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 23 — The new Rotary team headed by Mr Harbhajan Singh was installed at a colourful function held at Rotary Bhavan, Sarabha Nagar,here last night.

Ms Meera Puri was the first woman secretary to be installed by the chief guest, Mr Justice Narinder K.Sud of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

On his arrival, the chief guest was welcomed warmly by Brig R.K. Khanna, the secretary, Mr S.S. Chopra, and other members of the outgoing team. Brig Khanna wished the new team a success in the forthcoming year. Mr Harbhajan Singh, requested the chief guest to award trophies to meritorious students who had excelled in the CET and PMT examinations.

Mr Chopra read out the annual report listing their community service, activities and projects. The new president requested the chief guest to address the audience.

Mr Justice Sud addressed the august gathering.He appreciated the projects taken by Brig Khanna and his team.

He quoted the example of one of the clubs in Mumbai which had trained 20 poor children to make tea and coffee and provided them bicycles so that they could earn their livelihood. Mr Justice Sud was of the opinion that the children should be given skills to earn their livelihood.

Mr K.K. Dhir said that they had to collect the money for the students who were to be given computer education and Rs 20,000 was needed. But within minutes more than the required sum was collected.

The meeting was adjourned after the chief guest finished his speech.


A million dollar gamble
From Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, July 23 — By now, it is obvious that the only person who will make more than a crore out of the gameshow Kaun Banega Crorepati is Amitabh Bachchan and no one else. This show has captured the fancy of Indians like few other shows have been able to. It appeals to the gambling nature of man. Gambling instincts are inherent in our character, but big money puts a brake on reckless gambling. The moment a person reaches the second slab of Rs 3.2 lakh, he becomes cautious, careful and nervous. Star TV has based this show on this weakness of man.

Ramesh Arora is the only one who has won Rs 25 lakh on the gameshow so far. All the rest have buckled before the brooding and mesmerising eyes of Amitabh. Even when a person is right, Amitabh looks at him searchingly and suggests him to take a "lifeline". The nervous participant then chooses to ring a friend, ask the audience or go for "fifty-fifty". The poor participant falls a prey to sonorous voice and penetrating eyes of Amitabh and chooses a wrong option to lose his chances of becoming a crorepati.

It is the biggest gameshow ever on Indian TV. However, it is not an original one, but a copy of a popular American TV show Who Will be the Millionaire?. Conceived by Siddharth Basu, the extraordinary sets, lighting and the anchor of the show have made it a spectacle.

The show is aimed at the greed of a man, though Peter Mukerjea, CEO of Star TV, says, "This is not about money." According to him, a show like this is presented to further improve the image of Star TV. He wants to create value around production quality and raise it to international standards.

Amitabh, on the other hand, says, "It is frightening for me as there are no written scripts unlike films and I have to remember a lot of things." He is doing the show as he finds the format interesting. Moreover, he does not have to act as he is playing himself. However, does it not reduce him to the class of other TV hosts like Roshan Abbas, Sajid Khan and Priya Tendulkar.

Two days before Amitabh junior appeared on the big screen, Amitabh senior appeared on the small screen. Everyone knows why Big B has decided to host the show — for monetary reasons, of course.

Star TV is paying through its nose for this gamble. It is spending Rs 75 crore on 32 episodes. At 9 pm, the prime slot for any TV channel when usually a soap is on the screen, KBC is the only non-fiction show to be telecast. To cover the money spent on it, a lot of advertisement, about ten minutes in every one-hour episode, is required. Each minute of advertisement costs Rs 15 lakh to the advertiser. The four sponsors of the show, Colgate Palmolive, LG, Bajaj and Dettol have paid Rs 30 crore for the first 13 weeks.

It is an exciting show for the audience. More than 6 lakh persons have called up to be registered for the show, but the computer selects the winner.

After that, it is not your luck, but fast fingers and general awareness which counts. So far, the TRP of KBC is going up. According to INTAM, 41 per cent of television viewers tuned in to watch KBC, whereas less than 10 per cent of them tuned in to Sony or Zee while the show was on.

There will be a some happy persons and more sad ones — those who will fail to earn any money on the show and those who will never get a call. The questions asked are easy and a viewer is often angry and wishes to be there when a wrong answer is given.

KBC is an ambitious show, but only time will tell whether Star TV is able to recover the money or not. On the other hand, it is a comeback vehicle for Amitabh as well.

However, for the audience, KBC will remain a memorable show and they will remember it long after they have missed the chance to be a crorepati. Everyone knows that only Amitabh will emerge a crorepati and no one else. Want to bet? Nothing is fixed here.


Undergraduates may soon contest club poll
Tribune News service

LUDHIANA, July 23 — A regulation barring undergraduates from becoming office-bearers of the prestigious Satlej Club and contesting its elections may soon be reviewed.

Informed sources said here today that some members of the club were about to give a representation in this regard to the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana, who was also President of the club. The members believed that the regulation which had been incorporated after amending the constitution of the club on the eve of the annual elections of the club past year, was discriminatory and violated the fundamental right of every member to seek election to any office of the club.

It was also alleged that the regulation was incorporated at the behest of the previous DC to specifically disqualify Mr Gopal Bhushan Gupta who had been a front runner for the post of the general secretary of the club then.

The club was established as an officers' club in the British regime, with the DC as its permanent President in his ex-officio capacity. These two features in the constitution of the club are basic and therefore, have remained unaltered. The broad character of the club has also remained practically unchanged.

Though it is an officers' club, over the years, the membership issue has led to a widespread criticism with regard to the quality and quantity of the members enrolled.

According to a source, the club has a membership of about 3,500. Nearly half of the members are undergraduates. 


Battlefield is most beautiful and terrible

War is not a thing to fight. But it is necessary to fight its agonising aftermath notwithstanding.

Wars are waged due to national exigencies created by external dangers. But sometimes cunning and crafty rulers also ordain war on their people to meet their own ends. Those who have power to wage a war also have the power to end the war or prolong it. It is not the armed forces which wage a war. They are made to wage a war. A soldier takes the oath to protect the honour of the country at the peril of his life. Thus, he himself signs his death warrant when he is required to take the oath after passing the recruits' training and dons the dress of soldier.

This he does before he is introduced to real soldiering which includes battle drill and even battle inoculation. Till then he is unaware of the dramatic potential of an armed conflict. His whole being is tuned to adventuring and courage. These two qualities are ingrained in him to achieve firm belief in discovery and the holiness of war. These both qualities act as prime mover in action, they over-ride the anticipated horrors, grotesque consequences and nastiness of battlefield.

The battlefield is most beautiful and terrible. Beautiful as it displays magnificent spectacle and terrible because it splits humans into pieces. It makes an individual into a man if he comes out as one piece or it renders individuals limbless, disabled or even dead. Let us sample a small skirmish in a big battlefield.

Enormous artillery barrage far away on the horizons in the front as well as at the rear. There is death-like silence as we wait and monotony acts like tyrant as we have nothing else to do. Not a soul in no man's land. We lay in our trenches on our backs brooding. Only an invisible thread of companionship makes us to flash a furtive look at one another. No appetite for idle prattling. Even partners some times cannot be mustered for playing cards. It seems everyone is waiting for the hangman.

Mouths open only for compulsive and limited conversation. The barest minimum words escape the mouth. Smugness and curses are directed at junior commanders who made a mess the previous day as some of us lost their bosom friends in the previous day melee. Commanders sitting back also get their share of curses. Soon due to exhaustion of inaction something like drugging overwhelms us, the state of mind induces us to sleep. Then nightmares and with dreadful dreams we are drenched wet. The weather is extremely sultry and suffocating.

But the human beings have a remarkable inner sense of adaptive capability which rescues them from sheer lunacy. If the stories about hell are true the eternal tormenting is here on the battle field. One wakes up with lock, stock and barrel, drenched in sweat. The sun is going down behind the horizon. We hear the clink of utensils. The carrier howls in low and controlled voice: "There is grub with rum rations."

Everything around comes to life. Junior commanders go round. Small and crisp messages are passed. There is a lot of activity. Anti-personnel mines, booby traps and other relevant equipment is readied. Parties are on the mark. Every tickle on field telephone makes us suspend our breath to know whether it is a message of go ahead or hold on. Any signal contrary to go ahead will cause our spirit to flag. Our every nerve is taut and is itching for action.

Darkness descends. At last, a signal for go ahead comes. We are now free to wage a war. We peep over the rim of our trench. Successive ranks leap forward and move slouchingly with sluggish movements and enter the no man's land. With minimum noise, we advance in robot-like manner and set entanglements, place booby traps and mines. Ears are cocked like listening posts and we behave like hunters. But here hunters and so also the hunted are human beings. A similar activity can be perceived on the opposite side.

Suddenly we are at each others' throat. Bayonetting and hip shooting ensues. Both sides return with depleted strength. Roll calls are called. Next day, the names of those who fell fighting are struck off the company strength. Demands are placed at the rear like any other commodity for replenishment. Letters are drafted with all civilised language and posted to next of kin whose dear ones are no more.


Sahnewal — a small holy town

SAHNEWAL, July 23 — A unique personality possessing the qualities of virtue and valour, service and sacrifice, soldier and scholar — that was Guru Gobind Singh. The aim of his life was to uphold righteousness, lift the good and destroy the evil-doers.

The tyrannical rule of Aurangzeb was at its peak in his times. The Guru began a battle against injustice and religious bigotry. Obsessed with the ideal of justice, brotherhood and equality, he treaded the thorny path. In the times of oppression, Guruji had to vacate the fort of Chamkaur and reach Machhiwara. Two pathans saved his life from the imperial troops and carried him in a cushioned palanquin, declaring him the ‘Pir of Uchch.’

Passing through villages like Ghulal, Katani, Rampur, and Kanaaich, Guruji arrived at Sahnewal on December 27, 1704. In search of a place for respite, he found a tree known by the name of ‘Kareer’ and rested his back against it. Then he sent a man to call the panchayat of the area. The panchayat did not turn up and the man gave a false statement that no panchayat existed at the place. Guruji, the enlightened saint, being aware of the truth gave the verdict that henceforth, no panchayat will ever be formed in the area. He got up to go. He had just started moving when some women circled him and obstructed his way. Since then, the place has come to be known as ‘Ghera Sahib.’ The devoted ladies asked for forgiveness on the behalf of panchayat. Then the Guru softened his words and said several religious-minded people would do justice from time to time. It is heard that panchayats are formed at the place, but never gather to decide an issue. The gurudwara is built near Dussehra Grounds. It is also called as Damdama Sahib.

Leaving the place , the Guru reached Nandpur, a village situated in the heart of Sahnewal. He plucked a twig from a tree by the name of ‘Reru’ to clean his teeth. Then he rested for the whole day under the shade of the tree. The place became auspicious with the holy touch of his feet and a gurdwara was constructed at the place, named ‘Reru Sahib.’ The tree, even after so many years, bears green leaves and is being supported by walls due to its unbearable weight.

Then Guru Gobind Singh reached Tibba. When he was refused water by the people, Guruji started a fountain of water by shooting an arrow into the sandy land. He drank water and distributed it among others, too. Here too, he gave a verdict: who in full faith bathes in this water, would see his wishes fulfilled. The villagers , on knowing the true identity of this enlightened man, caught his feet and begged for forgiveness. Gurdwara Somasar, as the place is called today, is situated on the link road of Sahnewal-Dehlon. A beautiful gate leads to the gurdwara and the holy water of the place is used by people to relieve themselves of troubles and sins.

Thus, Sahnewal has three historically sacred places where the Guru made his presence felt. These places embody the memories of the time when the Guru with wisdom and courage, strength and power, imperilled not only his own life but also sacrificed his entire family in the herculean task that he undertook.

Every auspicious day is celebrated with fervour in these gurdwaras. Great gatherings in the form of ‘sangat’ come from far and near to feel the presence of the Guru. The ‘sangat’ upholds the real worth of ‘seva’ and ‘simran’ for which the Guru preached throughout his life. A prayer performed here in full faith, the ‘sangat’ believes, never goes in vain. The devotees believe in Guru’s Maha Vaak-

Tin kini sab pooran asa,

Simriyo din rein sas girasa.

— Loveleen Bains


Working hard to shape own destiny
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 23 — Without a single penny in his pocket, Sunil Kumar Yadav is fighting adverse circumstances to emerge a winner.

Hailing from a very poor family, Sunil hardly has anything in life today other than confidence and aim to join an IIT. He has not lost self-confidence and hope, in spite of having no money. He is doing things the right way by depending on his self-esteem and his native intelligence.

He did his schooling from RS Model and BVM School, Ludhiana. Sponsored by various people at different stages of his studies, he completed plus two.

Sunil then applied for IIT and the Roorkee college. He also joined Aditya Indian Institute, that charged only Re 1 from him. According to Mrs Usha Tyagi, Director, he was provided with books also. Observing his intelligence, they also helped him to apply for some scholarships.

Sunil worked hard. He stayed at a friend Vaneet Goel's house for four months and they studied together. Vaneet says that Sunil used to put in 17 to 18 hours per day for studying. He stood 237th in Roorkee. But the irony was that he could not join the institute as he had no money.

Sunil could not get admission. But, he did not get upset. With his head erect, mind made up and a heart beating with hope, Sunil has moved to FITJEE, Delhi. He aims to get admission in the IIT. His fees has been reduced to half and he is further trying to get sponsorship.

He is trying to strive for something more than what is expected of a labourer's kid. And it is that ''extra'' which is contributing to make him extraordinary. 


Hammocks for the common man
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, July 23 — Nearly 10 Telugu speaking people have come all the way from Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh to sell hammocks here at throwaway prices.

The hammock sellers are doing a brisk business at The Mall, Maharani Jhansi Road and also the busy Ferozepore Road. Despite the lingual handicap of being unable to converse with their customers, each hammock seller manages to sell anything between 30 and 100 hammocks a day.

Amappan says that they have come to Ludhiana for the first time.

Although the concept of hammocks is not new to Ludhianvis, so far it was limited to the affluent section because the hammocks were being sold only in the high-profile shops dealing with imported goods.

The hammocks are selling between Rs 25 and Rs 40 a piece. Another seller Ramu revealed that each of them had 1000 hammocks. They arrived here only a week ago on hearing that Punjab is a prosperous state and the people fond of buying new things. And they have found it correct.

The hammocks are available in various sizes for children and adults. Although people are not sure about their quality and durability, they do not mind spending Rs 30 or Rs 40. Most people are finding the idea novel. The traders disclosed that they may finish their stock in the next 10 days and return to Andhra Pradesh to get more hammocks.

Life is not so easy for these people. All of them are in their teens or early twenties. None of them can speak Hindi. The only thing they understand is the enquiries about the price of their product. They have learnt how to explain to the customer the price and the uses of a hammock.

The hammocks have proved to be an instant success among the children. These are now being used in place of swings. Even the adults enjoy swinging in the hammocks. Ammapan revealed that the hammocks were quite popular in Andhra Pradesh. He hopes that people here would also go for them. Since their product is within the reach of a common man, they have got a good clientele.


Post-harvest facilities poor: study
From Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, July 23 — There is an urgent need to strengthen the post-harvest infrastructural (PHI) facilities in the state either by increasing their number or the capacity of the existing facilities.

Inadequate storage facilities for fruits, high transportation charges, inadequate market information, undue market charges, delayed and part payments, less prices quoted for their produce, shortage of skilled labour for picking and plucking and shortage of packing material were observed to be the major problems confronted by fruit/ vegetable growers.

This was the conclusion of the study entitled "Evaluation of Soft Loan Schemes for the Development of Post Harvest Infrastructure for Horticultural Crops in Punjab" conducted by Dr Karam Singh, Director, Agro-Economic Research Centre, Punjab Agricultural University, and his team.

To strengthen the post-harvest infrastructure facilities in the major horticultural states, including Punjab, the National Horticultural Board (NHB) initiated soft loan schemes. In Punjab, five projects were sanctioned for soft loans worth Rs 137.48 lakh under the scheme "Post-harvest Management of Horticultural Crops".

The study aimed to analyse the NHB soft loan schemes with reference to adequacy of loan, infrastructural development, its use and its constraints. Impact of these developments on the cropping pattern, employment and income of farmers was also found. Through the study, the growth of post-harvest infrastructure for fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers during the period 1993-94 to 1996-97 in Punjab was also calculated.

The study revealed that cold storages were the major PHI facility developed in the state for horticultural crops. The other facilities were very few and small in size. The overall cold storage capacity generated under the soft loan scheme of NHB was 8910 tonnes which constituted only about 1 per cent of the total cold storage capacity available in the state. However, not much of the other PHI facilities could be generated in the state under the NHB soft loan scheme.

Due to the PHI facility developed through NHB soft loans, the area under fruits remained almost the same over the years, but that for vegetables increased. Due to the increase in area under vegetables, the cropping intensity also showed an increasing trend. The number of milch animals showed no increase over the years while the number of tractors, sprayers/ dusters and potato planters increased.

It was also noted that the total area and production of fruits in Punjab has almost doubled from 1985-86 to 1997-98. The total area under vegetables increased by 33.57 per cent over the same period. The export of fruits from India has increased by 28.09 per cent in terms of quantity and 42.87 per cent in terms of value since 1995-96 to 1997-98. However, in case of vegetables, the quantity of exports declined by 0.63 per cent but their value increased by 5.09 per cent during the same period. The contribution of cut-flowers showed an increase in the total floricultural exports from India.

It was suggested by the researchers that to improve the production, the PHI facilities must be fully utilised and proper representation given to all farmers, irrespective of their farm size, to use these facilities. Regulation of markets and development of efficient market information system will ensure better share to the producer in consumer's rupee. Strengthening of extension services will help in creating awareness among the farmers.Back

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