Friday, August 18, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


School child sustains neck injury after being slapped by teacher
From Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, Aug 17 — In a shocking incident, a class five student of BCM Arya Model School suffered internal injuries on her neck and had to wear a collar for more than a week after she was allegedly slapped hard by a teacher of the school early this month.

Though the incident occurred about two weeks back, it came to public notice only recently in the parent-teacher meeting held in the school. According to family sources, the school authorities were now forcing the child to give in writing that she was slapped on the back and not on the head leading to cervical injury.

The school authorities have, however, contested the claim and said the child was already suffering from some injury. They, however, conceded that action had been taken against the accused lady teacher as the slap might have aggravated the student’s injury .The authorities, however, refused to spell out the action.

According to sources, on August 5 when the child came back from school, she complained of severe headache and could not get up from her bed for two days.

When her parents took her to a doctor, they were told the child was suffering from spondylitis. The child was told to wear a collar on her neck and could not go to school for some days.

On August 12 when the parents went to the school for the parent-teacher meet, they got to know from some parents of classmates of their child that last week a school teacher had beaten a few children of the school for not getting their copies checked in time. It was then that they realised that their child got hurt in the process.

When the child’s parents reportedly contacted the school Principal they were told that some action will be taken. But they allege that no action has been taken against the teacher.

The school Principal, Mrs Paramjit, when contacted today said: “Any kind of physical punishment is totally banned in our school.

The teacher has been warned and necessary action has been taken which I cannot disclose.”


Containers pile up at local ICD
From .A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 17 — Hundreds of containers fully loaded with goods, for import and export purposes, worth hundreds of crores of rupees have piled up at the local Inland Container Depot (ICD), thanks to the disruption of the handling operations following a change of works contractor at the facility.

The container pile-up at the ICD has led to a crisis situation for many industrial units at Ludhiana, Mandi Gobindgarh, Jagraon and a few other places and they are urging the authorities to take urgent steps to improve the situation.

The Northern India Steamer Agents Association, in an angry letter to the Managing Director of the Punjab Warehousing Corporation (PSWC) which runs the Container Freight Station at Ludhiana, has threatened to “divert all business to the privately-owned terminal” in view of the failure of the corporation to do anything tangible in the matter so far.

According to information available here today, as many as 315 containers, including 275 20-foot containers, and forty 40-foot containers are stocked at the depot since the beginning of this month because of the inability of the ICD to arrange their speedy transportation. The parties concerned have to pay not only the ground rent but also demurrage for the stuck containers for no fault of theirs.

Informed sources at the ICD say that the problem has arisen because of the expiry of the contract of the previous contractor and the delay in take-over by the new contractor. This is despite the fact that ICD cannot afford any disruption in its functioning.

Capt Sanjeev Rishi, president of the Northern India Steamer Agents Association, in a letter to the PSWC has noted that “there has been no improvement in the operations at the ICD. On the contrary, the operations have further deteriorated. We have been informed by our coordinator of the Ludhiana chapter that the equipment deployed is not only inadequate but also totally unsuitable for container handling. It has been reported that the cranes deployed are of “Soko” make which are suitable for towing but not for container handling. The number of tractor-trailers required for movement between rail-head and your facility is around 6-8 which is definitely inadequate.”

Noting that the PSWC had promised a couple of weeks ago to deploy four reach-stackers within seven days, Captain Rishi said not even a single reach-stacker had been deployed till yesterday. “The deficient equipment and an unprofessional approach has led to a total collapse of operations at our facility. We understand that there is a heavy pendency of movement ex-railhead to PSWC and vice-versa and this figure is rising with each passing day because of the inadequate handling equipment deployed at your facility”, he said.

Captain Rishi noted that the new contractor joined on August 1. His information was that before joining, he was given adequate notice and was expected to join and take over operations with complete equipment incorporated in the relevant tender document. “It is beyond comprehension why the contractor was permitted to join with deficient equipment which contributed to the chaos which is persisting till today”.

Mr Amandeep Singh,Chief Port Manager, Container Freight Station and Air Cargo Complex, when contacted, admitted that the operations at the ICD had been affected to some extent, but added that steps were being taken to speed up the handling of containers. He also said that 321 Teu’s had piled up at the ICD.


VIPs fail to show up
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 17 — A conference of the women wing of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) convened at Gurudwara Chauthi Patshahi Sri Guru Ram Das Ji in New Shivaji Nagar to discuss the political situation of the state, in the context of status of women in Sikh community, though a much publicised event, turned out to be a tame affair.

Except for the jathedar of the Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, who although in town, made his appearance at the venue two hours behind schedule. After the media persons had left, all other VIP’s including Bibi Jagir Kaur, president of the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Mrs Mohinder Kaur Josh, Minister of State for Health Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha and Mr Balwinder Singh Bundar, general secretary of SAD (B) and Member of Rajya Sabha failed to turn up, much to the embarrassment of the organisers, particularly the aspirant for the coveted post of district Jathedar of the ruling party, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar.

According to a detailed programme sent by the women’s wing of the SAD (B), the conference was scheduled to commence at 2 pm and the waiting mediapersons were repeatedly told by the organisers that both Bibi Jagir Kaur and the Jathedar of Akal Takht had arrived and would be coming to the Gurudwara shortly. After a wait of more than one and a half hours it turned out that the SGPC president and other VIP’s were not coming and only Jathedar Vedanti had arrived who was taking rest at a nearby residence. An attempt by the press corps to locate the place remained unsuccessful.

Interestingly, had the SGPC Chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, attended the conference, she might have had to face some uneasy moments because one of the demands later made at the conference was that the women should be allowed to recite ‘kirtan’ at the Darbar Sahib in Amritsar.

Another resolution adopted at the conference called upon the government to immediately release Sikhs detained in jails in Punjab and elsewhere. The women’s wing of the ruling party also demanded separate Sikh personal law, strengthening the ‘chetna lehar’ (awareness movement) to effectively face attacks on the Sikh religion from within and outside, safeguarding the rights and security of minorities, stern measures to check drug addiction and the use of other intoxicants, reservation for women in the posts of the SAD (B) and making religious education a compulsory subject in schools and colleges.

The conference condemned the killing of Amarnath pilgrims by militants in Jammu and Kashmir and asked the government to deal firmly with Pakistan. The women wing also expressed its complete faith in the leadership of Punjab chief minister and SAD (B) president Mr Parkash Singh Badal and acting president of district unit of the party, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar.


Aman murder case continues to baffle police
From Ruchika Mohindra and Iqbal Singh
Tribune News Service

KHANNA, Aug 17 — The mystery shrouding the kidnapping and subsequent murder of five-year-old Aman Sood appears to be getting complicated in reported rivalry between two senior police officers here, one of whom is alleged to have masterminded the ghastly act just in order to outsmart the other.

Although the police has arrested one person in this connection, the mystery remains unresolved as the family of the victim has not expressed any suspicions against the accused. The police had arrested Budh Prakash, a middle-aged man and owner of a popular health club here, on August 14 on the suspicion that he wanted to seek revenge from the family of the victim over a minor altercation with Mr Naveen Sood, father of the child. In fact after the kidnapping of the child on August 1, the police had rounded up the accused but Mr Naveen Sood had himself represented in his favour and sought his release.

Highly placed sources in the police have, however, pointed out that the kidnapping and the murder case could well be the result of rivalry between two police officers, with the junior colleague masterminding the act in order to get his senior displaced.

It is being alleged that the accused was a tout of a Superintendent of Police who did not enjoy good vibes with his senior colleague. Sources revealed that the said SP wanted to get his senior colleague transferred from his current posting. The said officers had been at loggerheads eversince the senior one assumed office.

Sources disclosed out that the victim’s family received only one call demanding ransom that was beyond its means. The kidnappers made no further contact with the family. Suddenly after about a week the body of the child was found from sugarcane fields in village Kalal Majra. The sources pointed out, it could be possible that the entire exercise was stage managed and meant to prove the inefficiency of the senior colleague in dealing with the case. As also the child was murdered after a lot of hype and resentment against the police had been generated.

However, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Khanna, Mr R L Bhagat, refused to buy these arguments saying that mere clean chit from the family is no reason to let off the accused. He claimed that several people close to the victim’s family had pointed the finger of suspicion towards Budh Prakash following which he had to be arrested. However, he refused to comment on the alleged involvement of another police officer.

The SSP disclosed that the accused was being questioned and police parties had also been dispatched to several places, including Fatehgarh Sahib in order to nab the other co-accused. Though Mr Bhagat was non committal about any revelations made by the accused regarding the case, he claimed the police was heading towards the right direction.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the child was kept in the sugarcane fields for at least two days and three different people heard his cries for help. However, surprisingly none of them responded with help. The owner of the fields, Kesar Singh, heard the child crying on the evening of August 5, while the sarpanch of village Darshan Singh heard the child on the morning of August 6. Later in the evening, another farmer Najar singh also heard the child crying and reported the matter to the sarpanch. But he did not take any action. Mr Bhagat said that the police was also exploring the possibility of the involvement of these three men in the case.


Angry words and tearful homage
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Aug 17 — Thousands of people from all sections of society paid a tearful homage to Master Aman Sood, who was murdered on August 7 after being kidnapped, at the local grain market here today.

Addressing the gathering, ex MLA Sathi Roop Lal, threatened to immolate himself in front of the CM’s residence if the culprits involved in the killing were not arrested. The tone of most of the speakers was anti state government and anti police.

Local MLA Bachan Singh Cheema said if there was any proof of Akali leaders pressurising the police, he was ready to get any punishment.

Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, MP, alleged that Mr Badal was morally responsible for the murder of Aman Sood. It is strange that when Mr Badal came to Isru, merely 12 km from Khanna, he did not visit the victim’s family.

Mr Malkit Singh Dakha, ex Minister, Vijay Sathi and Roop Lal Sathi, both ex MLA’s, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, MP, were among the prominent speakers on the occasion.Back


Road-widening may hit afforestation drive
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 17 — The much-publicised projects of four-laning or widening of three important roads Chandigarh- Ludhiana, Ludhiana- Moga and Zirakpur- Bahadurgarh — may pave way for speedy , smooth movement of traffic but the development is threatening to cast its shadow on consistent efforts of afforestation carried out in the state.

Apart from the likely cutting of thousands of trees, the project is particularly threatening plantation drive carried in the forest strips along these roads in the last three years under the Japan government aided project of Over Seas Environment Conservation ( OECF ) . Most of the destruction will be suffered by saplings planted in year 1997 under the project. These saplings had now grown up considerably but would be now sacrificed at the altar of development.

While loss of lakhs of rupees spent on the plantation and their upkeep is in itself a matter of concern, Forest Department sources said they are more hurt at the wastage of the effort’s by the department in nurturing the plants. One official even termed it a massive setback to the environment. According to him, the afforestation plans will go back by 10 years, especially along the road side forests. It would require much more effort and money to recover the loss.

The afforestation drive under the project was taken out to provide green cover along the roads. According to environments, this cover not only helped in cleaning the environment but also helped in soil conservation, less dust and sound pollution.

According to sources, the exact extent of loss to greenery would be calculated only after the state government would submit proposal of acquisition of land under forest.Up till now the government has intimated through letters to the Department of Forests about its plans to four-lane the roads but a formal proposal is awaited. Sources said the Department of Forests cannot do much more than orally expressing its concern over the damage to environment as it was only a tenant on the PWD land.

Under the existing rules the government has to pay compensation amounting to double the forest area acquired by it for non- forest purposes.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, Principal Chief Conservator Forests, when contacted said the road strips along the roads belong to the government and the development is the primary use of the strips. Acknowledging that some loss in environment terms would definitely be there but such things cannot be helped.


The goodness of giloy

In the Indian system of medicine, giloy (Sanskrit-gaduchi and amrita, Botanical-Tinospora Cordifolia) is a commonly used herb. Its climber plant is easily available throughout the countryside of tropical India. Clinging on to other big trees like neem and mango, it throws aerial roots, thus fully covering the host plant.

Giloy is bitter in taste and hot in effect, but its extract is considered to be cool and soothing. It is famous for its antacid, and antipyretic properties . It regulates bile secretion and allays thirst and burning sensation. It is useful in low fever, gouty arthritis, diabetes and also in vaginal and urethral discharges. Besides improving immunity, it also purifies blood and is useful in skin and soft-tissue infections. Some of its common uses are:

During summer season in case of feverish feeling due to excessive heat , five to ten ml of fresh juice of giloy, if taken two to three times a day, allays lethargy and body-ache and keeps the mind cool and fresh.

Giloy is a good medicine for acid dyspepsia. A starch-like extract obtained from the stem of giloy which is called giloy satva is taken with cold milk to control acidity. The same satva, if taken with a little powder of Amla, gives relief in case of burning sensation in hands and feet.

It is an excellent medicine for high uric acid. In gouty conditions taking a decoction of a few dry pieces of its stem boiled in a glass of water, lowers the uric acid thus reducing pain and inflammation of the joints.

Amritarishta, in which giloy is the chief ingredient is good in cases of weakness arising after chronic diseases. Another famous Ayurvedic medicine which is prepared in fresh juice of giloy is called chandraprabha vati. It cures weakness due to diabetes, controls frequency of urine, and brings glow on the face by cleaning the body from all type of internal and external toxins.

Giloy should be taken fresh if it is to be used singularly, whereas for making powder with other medicines, it should be collected and dried by keeping it away from direct sunlight.

— Dr R. Vatsyayan


Who will give justice to consumer forum?
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 17 — The District Consumer Redressal Forum which redresses grievances of the consumers is itself in need of help.

Functioning from a rented building near the Ghanta Ghar chowk, the forum exists in one of the dirtiest areas of the city. A proposal of providing two rooms to the forum in the Punjab Bachat Bhavan building near Mini-Secretariat is under consideration for the past one year but not much progress has been in this regard.

While the forum awaits its new office, it has no option but to continue functioning from its present location. Housed in a floor of a building owned by the Zila Parishad, the forum is near a lottery bazaar. Due to rush of people to the lottery bazaar, the way leading to the second floor location of the forum is infested with litter and dirt, The entrance at the stairs leading to the floor is always filled with a small pond of water which accumulates there due to some kind of drainage problem of the building.

The consumers have to literally jump over the water to climb the stairs. A number of stray dogs block their way and after braving them, one reaches the forum.

The scene inside is also not very encouraging. The furniture of the hall is old and weary. The curtains are not only worn out but are also torn.

Even the window panes are broken. When it rains, the water easily enters the forum hall. According to sources, the forum employees find it hard in such circumstances to save the important case files and other documents. Due to shortage of funds with the forum, there are no proper almirahs to store the files and one can see them lying in a heap along with worn-out furniture.

The forum which does not have funds for sending registered copies of orders or summons cannot bear the expenses of the maintenance of the inner office, leaving a bad impression on the visitors.

According to sources the forum has corresponded with the Zila Parishad which is the owner of the building for its proper maintenance. but nothing much has been done in that direction.

Mr Jatinder Pal Singh, Secretary Zila Parishad, said no fresh demands of maintenance of the forum have been received. He said recently the parishad had got the bathrooms of the forum cleaned.


Tree plantation on I-Day
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 17 — Residents of Shaheed Karnail Singh Nagar (Phase II) in the town celebrated Independence Day by planting saplings in the colony. The city Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, chief guest of the function, inaugurated the Van Mahotsav.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Grewal said trees were the life lines of people. “In Ludhiana, one of the worst-polluted towns in the region, tree plantation is a real service to the mankind. The care of the saplings is also essential as these are often neglected,” he said.

The President of the welfare society of the colony, Major Sher Singh Aulakh, talked about various development works undertaken by the society. He said congress grass had been rooted out and saplings of various trees were being planted in its place. He said each resident of the colony had vowed to plant a sapling.

The area councillor, Giani Baldev Singh, Mr Harkirat Singh, a former member of the PSEB, noted writer Kulwant Jagraon, Mr Inderjit Singh Sekhon, Prof Balwinder Singh, Mr M.S. Brar and Mr H.S. Pamal were among those who attended the function.


Ministerial staff want more pay 
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 17 — The ministerial staff of several government departments and employees of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation and the Punjab Agricultural University today staged a dharna at the Mini Secretariat here to press their demands.

Addressing an impressive gathering of the protesters, the district president of the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union, Mr Harwant Singh Mangat, and general secretary, Mr Dalip Singh, lamented that the employees were being accorded a step-motherly treatment by the government. They said prior to 1996 the clerical staff was granted three scales, which were now reduced to two, while the officers were now getting three scales as against one earlier.

The main demands put forth by the union were implementation of the decisions arrived at in the meeting with the Chief Minister on December 31, 1997, revision of pay scales and designation of assistant/stenographer to clerks, time scale of 4,9,14 years to ministerial staff, parity in pay scale with clerks and assistants, grant of conveyance allowance, creating promotion channels for ministerial employees, filling up of vacant posts and putting an end to privatisation of government departments.


Telecom employees stage dharna
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 17 — In response to a call given by the Telecom Engineering Services Association, employees of the Telecom Department today resumed their agitation, with a dharna and a demonstration in support of their demands.

According to TESA District Secretary G.S.Batra, the agitation was earlier suspended after the Union Minister for Communication, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, assured them that their demands were being sympathetically considered. But in the absence of a positive follow-up action, the association had been forced to resort to the agitational approach once again.

The demonstration will continue till the acceptance of the demands. Their demands include the removal of impediments in the promotional avenues of TES group B officers, reduction of residency period for placement of TES group B officers in senior SDE grade, filling of vacancies in STS (DEs) by promotion of SDEs on an ad hoc basis, holding regular DPC for promotions, review of proposals for creation of posts of DEs where excessive cut has been imposed, revision of norms for the creation of posts of DEs in the maintenance regions and circles, retention and redeployment in the placement of TES group B officers belonging to SC/ST categories in TES group B, implementation of the Supreme Court order dated April 26, 2000, settlement of all claims of SDEs for stepping up of their pay and finalisation of pay scales for the executives of MTNL.


Dairy farming camp concludes
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 17 — The Dairy Development Department organised a one-month training camp on dairy farming at Milk Chilling Centre, Raikot, in which 75 youth from Jagraon and Raikot sub-divisions were imparted training on setting up dairy units under self-employment schemes.

Mr Inderpreet Singh Kahlon, SDM, presided over the concluding function and distributed certificates and literature on dairy farming to the participants. In his address, he advised the youth, not to run after jobs and adopt self-employment schemes like dairy farming.

He assured that financial assistance would be made available to those desirous of setting up dairy units.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Devi Dass, Deputy Director, dairy farming, announced that the department would organise four more special training camps on dairy farming at Ludhiana, Samrala, Jagraon and Payal, to train 300 more youths in dairy farming.

Giving details of the self-employment scheme Mr Kuldip Singh Jassowal, Inspector grade I, dairy farming, said that the successful trainees would be entitled to obtain loans from financial institutions to purchase 5 to 50 milch cattle, while the technical guidance will be provided by the department.

Among others Mr Gurmel Singh Virdi and Mr Prem Singh, inspectors, Mr O.P. Goyal, deputy manager, besides experts from the Dairy Development Department, Milkfed, Punjab, and the Animal Husbandry Department attended the function.


Hike in power-tariff resented
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 17 — The Ludhiana Machine Tool Makers Association (LMTMA) has strongly condemned the hike in power-supply tariff for all consumers.

The Senior Vice-President of the body, Mr Narinder Singh, and its General Secretary, Mr Kirpal Singh Sagar, in a joint statement issued here today, said the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) had added to the woes of the industrial sector by increasing minimum charges for power supply to steel furnaces from Rs 350 per KW to Rs 450 per KW. The minimum charges for the large-scale units have also been raised from Rs 120 to Rs 200 per KW.

They said the industry was already reeling under recession and the hike in power tariff would put additional financial burden on them. 


The peerless babbugosha finds growers
From Surbhi Bhalla

LUDHIANA, Aug 17 — Pear is one of the six main fruit crops of Punjab. Pear cultivation in the state dates back to the advent of Chinese travellers to India, who brought the fruit with them which was sown around Amritsar. The oldest plantation of sand pear around Amritsar city still exists and bears testimony to the popularity of pear cultivation.

In Punjab, farmers are increasingly focusing on cultivation of pears. The cultivation of ‘patharnakh’, a sub-tropical pear, with hard and gritty fruits has spread in the whole of Punjab, particularly in Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur districts.

Of late, the growers have started planting semi-soft pear ‘babbugosha’ in Punjab. These semi-soft pears have better fruit quality and fetch more price than the ‘patharnakh’.

Currently the total area under pear cultivation in Punjab is about 1,000 hectares with a yield of 1.25 lakh tons of fruit. The yield is around 150 kg per tree. According to Dr S. Sandhu, Head, Department of Horticulture, over 57 varieties are being grown at Punjab Agricultural University, including hybrids, indigenous and exotic varieties.

The main purpose is to develop semi-soft varieties of ‘babbugosha’, he says. Farmers, according to him, earn more per hectare by growing semi-soft variety.

The pulp is sweet and somewhat gritty. The crop ripens in August. The average yield is about 100 kg per tree. This variety is proven to alternate or erratic production.

The Le Conte trees are medium in vigour. Fruits are small to medium in size and pyriform in shape. Le Conte fruits ripen in August and one tree produces about 60-80 kg. Other varieties, grown and tested at the PAU include Yali from Japan, Shanshiki from France and Kasui and Hasui of rust colour. Wooden boxes and gunny bags are commonly used for packing the produce. The main drawback is that the fruit is not ripened before it is sent to the market.

According to Dr Sandhu and Dr Raghubir Singh, the pear must be ripened before it is sent to the market, first at 2oC for two days followed by 20oC four to six days. Experts are busy improving the quality and yield of the variety.

The semi-soft pear is nutritious and a source of easily digestible sugars, minerals and vitamins. Most of it is consumed fresh. However, products like jam and juice can also be prepared from the pear.

Its fruit slices can be preserved and canned pear remains fresh for a long time. If the modern methods of cultivation are adopted, the orchards can produce an impressive yield per hectare.


Reduction in sales tax rates hailed
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 17 — The recent announcement of the Excise and Taxation Department, Punjab, to slash the sales tax rates on 24 items has come as a great relief to the trade and industry circles.

The Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association has hailed the decision of the department to reduce the sales tax on tractor and combine parts from 8 percent to 4 per cent. However, it regretted that the auto-parts manufacturers and traders had not been included in this decision.

The general secretary of the association, Mr Charan Singh Kohli, said at present the sales tax on auto parts was 8.8 per cent, including the surcharges which was too high and was hitting the trade and industry badly. He pointed out that this industry was already passing through recession and was struggling for survival.

He said on tractors, combines and auto parts, 8.8 per cent sales tax was applicable according to a notification, earlier. The government raised the sales tax on auto parts, including tractor and combine parts, from 5 per cent to 12 per cent which was applicable from June 5, 2000. After the industry resisted the move, the government reduced it from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. However, it once again declared that 8.8 per cent sales tax, including surcharge, would be applicable from May 18.

Urging the government to also include auto-parts manufacturing industry in the notification, the association said it should be possible to do so as the decision was yet to be approved by the Cabinet.


A bazaar for all seasons

The sprawling Sunday bazaar which starts from Ghanta Ghar Chowk and ends somewhere near the shop of Khushi Ram Halwai presents a colourful sight and offers a wide variety of goods. The colourful umbrellas lend a festive air to the whole scene.

You can buy anything and everything. On a Sunday, the bazaar has colourful T-shirts, frocks, baba suits, jeans, track suits, kurta pyjamas, shoes, books, cassettes and household articles on display.

Generally, the people spread their wares on foldable charpoys. Some of them have it displayed on the folding tables on both sides of the road.

According to Mr Uttam Singh, a shopkeeper, most of them bring clothes from big contractors and get commission on whatever they sell. Rest of the stock is returned to the contractor. He further told her that the pretty ladies georgette tops and nighties were available for Rs 5 only. He said, “The contractor has given us free. We sell these for Rs 5 or Rs 10 as per our judgement of the customers’ capacity to pay”.

Mr Ashwani Kumar has a shop right at the start of Chaura Bazar. He says he owns a few hotels. Still, he likes to hold sales every day. Even woollens were stacked up in his shop. Ashwani informed that pilgrims to Vaishno Devi specially from Calcutta and Bombay buy these sweaters. Sometimes, the Tibetans also buy them. He groaned, “This is the worst time for us.” He pointed at some T-shirts and said, we bought these for Rs 40 each and now we are selling these for Rs 15.

He explained, “If I do not sell these now, by the next season they will be worthless. I will not get even a penny for them. So better make the best bargain. Something is better than nothing.”

Mostly T-shirts were on sale, of all sizes, shapes and colours. These were going cheap as the season for T-shirts is winding up. The T-shirts ranged from Rs 35 to Rs 95.

It was amazing how cheap the baba suits were being sold. These were priced at Rs 20 only. Frocks of different sizes, colours and patterns were being sold at Rs 30 and the better ones at Rs 55 only.

Sale was on commission basis. Rinku was selling jeans of good quality priced at Rs 100. The commission is meagre, a mere Rs 5 per piece. They hardly make Rs 50 a day.

There was a variety of shoes on display. Surprisingly, all were priced at Rs 100 only. On inquiry, the correspondent came to know that some of the stock came from Agra whereas some of it was local made. The shoe makers of Prem Nagar find this bazaar a good outlet.

Plush blankets, both single and double, lent charm to the market. Their bright colours and beautiful designs attracted people. But they did not find much favour with the customers in this hot and humid weather.

When asked what type of customers came to Sunday bazar, everyone said, Har Tarah ke. But the correspondent could see that most of them were from U.P., a large number of gurkhas and a motley crowd.

Ujaggar Singh in his sixties had a very amusing comment to make about the old magazines and books that he was selling. He said, “Like old people are turned out of their houses, these old magazines have also been thrown out. They are going very cheap. Rs 5 to10 for the magazines and Rs 20 for the books.” Mostly magazines in Hindi were on sale. These were in fairly good condition. For a voracious reader, a book by Aliastar Maclean or James Hadley for Rs 20 would be a very neat bargain.

After two months, there would be so much of rush that police would be stationed at every 10 yards to control the crowd. But today, the roads had a lot of room for easy walk.

A visit to the Sunday bazar is a must for its sheer variety. One can make good bargains after getting a feel of the market. — AA


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