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


DCI for ban on opening new dental colleges
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 5 — The Dental Council of India has sought a ban on opening up of new dental colleges in the country due to lack of infrastructure and non-availability of trained teaching staff.

Speaking at a function organised by the Punjab branch of the Indian Dental Association to honour him, Dr. R.K. Bali, president, emphasised the need for providing quality education.

He said, quality rather than quantity of the institutes was the directive of the DCI. Shortage of postgraduates, and lesser interest in teaching than in private practice were the main factors leading to the shortage of teachers in the dental colleges across the country.

Referring to the irregularities in some dental institutions, Dr Bali said some colleges had been misleading the DCI regarding irregular admissions.

Dr Bali said that 90 per cent of the population was suffering from one or the other dental ailment. An alarming 35 per cent of the total cancer cases are of oral cancer.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Bhagwant Singh, president of the IDA, Punjab, stressed the need of regularising the syllabi, methodology of teaching and examination system in dental colleges. He sought intervention of the DCI to take steps to force the government to have a National Oral Health Policy and proposed for the amendments in Dentists’ Act 1948 for the betterment of dentistry in India.

Dr. J.S. Gujral, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Dr R.S. Pathania, Founder Director (dental) Health Services, Himachal Pardesh and Dr N C Mann, Additional Director, Dental Health Services, Punjab also attended the function and felicitated Dr R K Bali for being elected as the President of the DCI for the third term.

The official publication of IDA Punjab, Journal of Clinical Dentistry, Punjab, edited by Dr J.S. Judge was released by Dr Bali on the occasion. Another booklet “A Guide to New Dental Surgeons” was released by Dr J.S. Gujral. Ten dental surgeons from different parts of Punjab were also honoured for their contributions to the IDA at the function which was attended by about 200 IDA members and senior dignitaries from dental and medical fraternity.


Woman cries for justice 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 5 — For Sunita Rani, alias Jugni, a middle-aged married woman with three children, life has indeed been an ardous journey. In spite of the fact that she has tried to “rectify her mistakes”, life continues to be cruel to her.

Though Sunita Rani has already helped the police against three women and two men, who had allegedly used her in getting an FIR registered of rape against three businessmen, her woes are not yet over. She has been deserted by her husband and has been forced to leave her children at the mercy of relatives in her native village in Orissa. To top it all, a few persons have forcibly taken possession of her house in Fatehgarh Mohalla, and she has lost the roof on her head.

“This is quite a price to pay for one misdeed that I committed in order to earn quick buck for the betterment of my family,” she rues. She says that while she has had to face hell for her wrong doing by losing her all, the other accused are still leading a comfortable life. “The police, too, has not taken any action against them for getting a false case registered and misleading them,” she says.

Sunita Rani was reportedly in dire financial straits when she was offered a sum of Rs 50,000/- by two women for alleging gang rape against three local businessmen. These two women reportedly had personal scores to settle with the three men and wanted to blackmail them through Sunita Rani.

“At that time, I badly needed money to sail through a particularly bad patch in life. My father, a cancer patient, was undergoing treatment and my husband was also not keeping good health. Since I knew Rosy and thought of her as a real friend, I agreed to help her and be paid handsomely for the job,” she says.

It is learnt that Sunita Rani was working as a tout in the local court and was making around Rs 150 to Rs 200 per day on an average. A couple of months ago, she became friendly with a woman from the Haibowal area, Rosy, and in the course of time, she came very close to Rosy and began discussing her problems with her.” Rosy realised that I was in dire need of money and she offered me Rs 50,000 if I somehow managed to allege and get an FIR of rape registered against three local businessmen — Vijay Jain, Rajesh Kumar, alias Raju, and Niranjan Singh. It was then that Rosy and another friend of hers, Shashi Sood, a local Congress leader, made a gameplan and put a few injury marks on my body by rubbing me with a stone.”

She says that she got an FIR registered at the Salem Tabri Police Station on January 3, accusing all three above mentioned businessmen of raping her at gunpoint on the previous night. She had alleged that the three men were friends and had promised to help her set up a business in trading Henna and it was on this pretext that they had taken her to Phillaur. She had further alleged that on the way back, the three men took the car to some secluded place and raped her.

“However, soon after the FIR was registered, the two women refused to pay up after giving me a mere Rs 5000/-. In the meantime, on January 11, my father passed away in our native village in Orissa and I had to go there. On my return in the last week of January, I learnt that Rosy, Shashi Sood and their third accomplice, Harjinder Kaur, had already been paid around Rs 2 lakh amongst themselves for getting a case registered against the three businessmen. I also learnt that the entire exercise was performed by Rosy as two of her close associates, Mohan Jain and R.P. Handa had a score to settle with Vijay Jain. The two had paid Rosy Rs 1.35 lakh for the job.”

She alleges that Shashi Sood had a personal score to settle with Niranjan Singh, alias Raju, and Harjinder Kaur had also been paid up Rs 50,000 in order to involve Rajesh Kumar in this case.

She says that upon her return after attending the last rites of her father, she found that the relatives of the three businessmen were on the lookout for her and that her husband had also deserted her. “I learnt that a few people in my locality had already fixed a deal for Rs 25,000/- with these relatives in order to hand me over to them. But I myself approached the police and brought the truth to their notice. It was then that the secretary of the locality, Jaspal, Billa, Roshan Lal and Uma, having suffered a loss of Rs 25,000 after being unable to hand me to the relatives of the three businessmen, took forcible possession of my house and rendered me homeless. I have been forced to spend my days and nights on the roads and live on the alms given to me, while the main brains behind this case are moving scot-free.”


Hotel industry not being served 
By Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 5 — The hotel industry of Punjab is once again facing depression as the tourist season approaches. This is due to the absence of imaginative policies and inadequate infrastructure. The state had declared the hotel and tourism business as a full-fledged industry in March 1996.

The lack of tourist spots, absence of Shatabadi and Internet services, besides inferior hotel services, have aggravated the situation.

“Foreign tourists do not find any place in Punjab worth visiting. Most visitors to religious places stay in gurdwaras. Due to this, our business suffers because it is dependent on tourists,” says Mr N.S. Nanda, President of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab.

“It is not easy to sustain a high per capita income for long, particularly when profits in the agriculture sector are declining and industrialisation has not picked up. In this situation, tourism can boost the economy of the state,” he adds.

About the tourism industry, Mr Nanda said, “It has become a major earner of foreign exchange to the tune of Rs 13,000 crore. This income is expected to reach Rs 14,000 crore in two years. However, the share of Punjab in this business is bare minimum.”

Mr Jagdish Anand, President of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Ludhiana, said, “Hotel business has been given the status of an industry, but the power-supply rates charged from us are for commercial oganisations and not the industrial ones. As a result, we suffer loss worth crores of rupees. The civic bodies charge house rent according to room tariff instead of actual rent. The room tariff includes charges for the surplus amenities and services.”

About the lack of trained manpower in the hotel industry, Mr Manoj Chaudhary, General Manager of Hotel Shingar Regency at Jalandhar, says, “Professionals consider it below their dignity to join Punjab hotels. Even all kitchen items are not available here.”

Hoteliers blame the Punjab Government for not promoting tourism in the state. “While the government has not developed historical places as tourist spots, it has imposed an 8.8. per cent sales tax on food items to kill the industry,” says Mr Satish Arora, owner of Hotel Castle and Secretary of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab.

About the changes in the industry, Mr Rajpal, a receptionist in Mohan International Hotel, says, “We are doing fine compared to the days of militancy when only policemen and militants and not tourists used to visit hotels. About 40 per of our rooms remain vacant in the tourist season even today.” Mr Arora says, “The hotel business may look glamorous to outsiders, but about 40 hotels are for sale at present due to poor business.”

Mr Surinder Bajaj, Assistant Director in the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, says, “About 10 new hotels have received investment subsidy upto Rs 25 lakh each. The case of power-supply on industry pattern is being considered. We have also prepared a proposal to give subsidy to films on tourism and training institutes for hotel professionals.”

The industry representatives, however, say that such cosmetic changes in the subsidy policy will not be enough. Mr Nanda says, “To attract more tourists, the Punjab Government, should develop spots like Sheesh Mahal and Baradari of Patiala, Aam Khas Bagh of Sirhind, Bhatinda and Ludhiana forts, Bhakra Dam and Hussainiwala border. He said, on the pattern of Buddhist circuit at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh, a tourist circuit linking Chandigarh, Ropar, Anandpur Sahib, Amritsar, Ferozepore, Muktsar and Ludhiana should be created.” A survey of all facilities in various segments of tourism sector is needed for formulating long-term and short-term plans.

Customers have some expectations from the hotel industry, too. Mr Raman Gupta, a chartered accountant, says, “The hoteliers should upgrade their facilities. Hygienic food should be made available at reasonable rates.”


Campaign to check wrong parking
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 5 — To ensure a smooth flow of traffic in the congested areas, the Ludhiana Traffic Police has launched a special campaign from today to check wrong parking of vehicles on the roads and busy places like the Mall Road, Ghumar Mandi, Fountain Chowk, College Road and Mata Rani Chowk.

Mr S. S. Bhatti, SP ( traffic) said, as a result of steps taken earlier, the number of jams in different chowks has been substantially decreased. The continuous checking drive to implement the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding the traffic violations has yielded excellent results, he said.

Mr Bhatti informed that during the checking campign in the current year till August 31, 51511 vehicles were challaned and penalty amounting to Rs 78,38,815 was realised against 45323 challans with a fine of Rs 50,58,665 collected during the corresponding period last year.

He said under the special campaign for streamlining the vehicular traffic in the city and for educating people regarding traffic rules, traffic park staff was involving the school children to regulate the traffic and educate people on how to use the roads and be safe.

He said shopkeepers on both sides of the roads in different localities were being persuaded not to park their scooters, cars and other vehicles in a haphazard manner as these were creating hurdles.

Mr Bhatti said the traffic police was also strictly dealing with unauthorised red lights atop the vehicles and black filming on the glasses. He informed that during the checking, the traffic police has nabbed three people for preparing fake authority stickers regarding the permission to use black films on glasses, by putting up false signature of the ADGP, Security, and a case has been registered in police division number 5.

During the traffic campaign, the stress was also being laid to persuade more and more auto-rickshaw owners to get their autos repaired and to get pollution check certificates. He said the traffic police had also organised a special pollution check camp, where a number of devises were provided and 3872 auto-rickshaws were checked and given pollution certificates after making required modifications.

He informed that the traffic police in collaboration with the district administration would also organise more pollution check camps. He called upon the people to extend their full cooperation to the traffic police to make all the roads in the city safe and accident free and not to allow the under-age children to drive the vehicles.



Sure...? Confident...? Lock kiya jaye?
By Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 5 — Sure...? Confident...? Lock kiya jaye? has become the latest idiom in the common man’s lingo. Notwithstanding any language or dialect, sex or age, the idiom is popular everywhere.

This probably reflects the best involvement of the people across the subcontinent, who become glued to their television sets from 9 to 10 in the evenings from Monday to Thursday. It is the time when life comes to a halt. When most of the viewers switch to the Kaun Banega Crorepati? show hosted by the great icon of the Indian cinema, to watch the contestants play on India’s biggest game show ever, to see the options they had, the choices they made, the friends they called, the intuitions they believed, the hurdles they crossed and the audience that cheered.

The great superstar of yesteryear is once again thrilling. His style is still the same. He just does not present the show, he acts all through it. Each word he speaks spells charm. Whether the KBC rediscovered Amitabh Bachchan or he discovered the KBC is difficult to decide.

Hardly has any other show made this much of impact on the lives of people. When clock strikes nine, attention gets focused on the KBC. This is the time when busy and overcrowded roads become desolate and deserted. Even in a busy and thickly populated city like Ludhiana, where roads are always overcrowded, it presents an entirely different look.

Programmes and parties are scheduled before or after the KBC show. People prefer to go out for dinner after 10 pm. A visit to several hotels and restaurants revealed that the business during the show timings was far low than the average. Earlier between 9 and 10 p.m. it was supposed to be the peak time with heavy rush of customers. But now the hour is the leanest period of the day.

This has prompted hotel and restaurant owners to offer home delivery services to the customers. As the programme gained popularity and the number of customers started declining, the hotels and restaurants offered to deliver food at home to customers. Those who could not manage to make home delivery came with a different offer. They would tell people that they could have food and also watch KBC?

While, earlier the cinema owners took pride in Amitabh’s name, now they had reasons not to like him. Most of the cinema halls were reporting low attendance. Otherwise, the evening shows would record maximum attendance as people would visit the theatre after a day’s hardwork. Now the entertainment full of thrill and excitement was provided in the bedroom itself.

In fact it is thrill and knowledge with entertainment that makes even hardworking students like Gaggan, Reet Sibia and Meenal to schedule their studies in such a way that they can spare some time for the KBC. And what attracts them the most in the show? “Of course, Amitabh Bachhan plus a good amount of general knowledge that you get out of it”, remarks Gaggan, a final year student in Government College for Women.

Unlike others, Reet Sibia and Meenal, both of whom study in Government College for women are not carried away by the KBC. Reet watches it as a matter of routine. She will not watch KBC at the cost of other things. But Meenal does plan her schedule to spare an hour for the KBC.

It is not for the first time that a ‘quiz show’, is being telecast on the television. Earlier also several quiz shows have been produced and also with prizes in them, but without such a huge audience rating.

Although the prize money is a big attraction, yet there is something more that makes KBC more attractive, more thrilling and obviously more interesting that people will change their usual routine and set it in a way that they do not miss the show. “It is not a simple quiz show”, remarked Mr Rajkumar Raja, a businessman, who watches KBC regularly with a routine. If it were a mere quiz show the number of viewers would not even have been average, he pointed out.

There are others like Mr Dinesh Prashar and Mr Jassi Bhogal who “cannot afford to miss the show”. The two prosperous young businessmen disclosed that they had never had it so good. Because they will never return home before late night. “But everybody tries to rush home before nine to be on time for the tryst with Amitabh”, Dinesh said, adding that KBC had become an occasion for a daily family get together.

Mr Jassi Bhogal is too much fascinated by the show. Having visited several countries he recalls a similar show Greed, he had seen last year in the United States. “However, I feel much impressed by the KBC”, he said. Jassi’s mother Santosh Bhogal is more fond of the show than her son. She said that she had tried several times to get into the show, but had not been lucky so far.

Moreover, the involvement of the people is not just limited to the watching of the show, but making each and every person who watches it an active player in it. Hundreds and thousands of people try their luck daily. In the first month alone 80 lakh telephone calls were made for the programme. This is substantiated from the fact that most of the PCOs in the city are crowded in the night hours. Their business has shot up by leaps and bounds.

Mr Amandeep Singh, a PCO owner said, his business would have been much more in case the lines (of the KBC) were not usually busy. He said that it took hours to get connected to KBC. And most people get the lines at Calcutta and not in Delhi. Hundreds of people who had not availed of the STD facility on their telephones had either already got it released or had applied for it.

While millions try the KBC numbers, only the lucky get into the last ten and the luckiest one plays the game with Amitabh Bachchan. Even if you do not play yourself with Amitabh, yet the involvement remains no less than your being there.

There are several stages in the game. The contest is open to everyone. It starts from a phone call on the specified number to Calcutta, Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi. If your telephone line gets through you are asked one question. The contest starts from here. If the answer is right, you are told to wait for their response (from KBC). They claim to chose at random 100 people whose answers are correct.

It is no less than another Bollywood blockbuster of Amitabh. Because this only does not make you to watch him act but also promises an opportunity to shake hands with him, to sit with him and to play with him. (With inputs from Shikha Puri)



Advice for poplar planters
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 5 — The farmers having poplar plantation in their fields have been advised by the scientists of Punjab Agricultural University to irrigate their trees fortnightly instead of weekly as the temperature starts decreasing during September.

The caterpillars of leaf defoliator and leaf webber feed on leaves of this tree. Control the insects by collecting and destroying infested leaves. Spray monocrotophos 36 SL (Moncil, Nuvacron, Monolik), 600 ml in 200 litres of water per acre, to control them.

Autumn crop of sugarcane can be sown if the poplar age is less than three years. However, maize, bajra and sorghum can be taken as fodder at any age of the poplar.

To control bark-eating caterpillar, 100 g of the spray, Sevin 50WP/Hexavin (Carbaryl), in 200 litres of water per acre, is used.


Shabby show by SickMacay

THE Ludhiana Chapter of SpicMacay has done a yeoman’s service by inviting renowned vocalists, sitarists and santoor player of international repute to promote the love of Indian culture among the youth.

But what one fails to understand is why the city’s four prestigious schools like the two convents in Sarabha Nagar and Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, D.A.V. Public School and G.R.D. Academy have not chosen to host any of the 28 programmes. They have done great injustice to the students by keeping them away from these eminent artistes.

SpicMacay held its first programme in Pal Auditorium in PAU. According to one source, the inauguration was shabby in Ludhiana as compared to the one Jalandhar and other cities.

The Municipal Corporation took the job non-seriously. The pronunciation and the spoken English were not of acceptable level. A small boy was asked to read out an introduction to Niladhri Ji and his tabla accompanist Som Nath. The boy, it was obvious, had not practiced enough and faltered over big mouthful words. The pair of scissors was just handed over to the chief guest whereas the custom is to place on a silk covered platter. For a cultural programme of this repute, the beginning was shoddy. Electricity played truant, plunging everyone in darkness.

Mohiniattam in K.V.M. School had a smooth sailing. ‘Charandas Chor’, a famous play of an international theatre personality, also suffered due to poor lighting and a bad sound system. First of all the play was in Chattisgarhi dialect. Then the poor sound quality, robbed thousands of students in the auditorium of the true pleasure of watching the play. Dr. Ishita Arora, coordinator, Ms. Nilam Kapoor and other members of SpicMacay tried their best to make it a success, but success can come only when others co-operate.

One does hope that the remaining programmes will be better organised.

For once the area around Ghanta Ghar presented a spacious look following a crackdown by the police in the wake of a bomb blast in the Sessions Court three days before Independence Day.

Footpath shops in front of the Bank of India building which also houses the lottery market were removed and the rehriwallas on the road to Lakkar bridge were chased away. The shops that were removed included old currency changers with their small kiosks, a couple of pan cigarettewallas, a golegappe walla, a couple of chana bhaturewallas and the like. A couple of tea stalls were also removed. All that in the name of precautionary security measures for the approaching Independence Day.

These measures were extended to the Sunday Chaura Bazar the next day as a result of which thousands of Sunday shoppers from the city and the neighbouring villages had to return disappointed. It was perhaps for the first time that the foot-path bazar did not operate on a Sunday.

Most likely, the footpath businessmen had been assured that they would be allowed to return after August 15. So they started coming back just the day after Independence Day. Today, everybody is back at his old ‘shop’ and doing normal business. For five fine days, the pedestrians moved freely without being jostled around. Now everybody from the currency changer to the tikkiwallah is back in business. The tea shop under the peepal tree seems to be the favourite of the policemen on duty. At least one of them is there any time of the day wearing a detached look on his face, and lovingly caressing his moustaches.

Does the city have to have bomb blasts at regular intervals to keep the Ghanta Ghar chowk clean and spacious?

Force of ‘danda’
Lack of financial resources with the police department has led to the policeman wielding his danda to get official work of the department done.

A spate of daring armed robberies were witnessed in and around the city in the past two months. In the wake of the public pressure and outrage at the police not being able to check the crime, a large number of people were rounded and kept in the various police stations for questioning.

In one such police station, these persons were provided with adequate food during their stay and in return for this comfort, the police made sure that the two new cells that they were planning to construct for quite some time could be done without paying the labour charges. These people were let off only after they had constructed the new rooms and tended the lawn in the police station.

All in fun
It was the fun loving Ludhianavis’ tryst with a night of fun and frolic, booze and dance. Dancing and guzzling, though not all of them, the couples set the floor on fire. The high-decible sound from the giant speakers added to the excitement of the event. The show was organised in a five star hotel and sponsored by a wellk-nown liquor company (see photo at the top of the page).

It seemed that the Ludhianavis were stepping into the world of fun, pleasure and gaiety shedding all taboos . Most of the women were not clad in the orthodox salvar kameez. Trousers, skirts and sleeveless shirts with the maximum possible exposure, were in evidence all around. Couples danced passionately.

By and large, the couples danced with each other or with acquaintances. But brief and mild flirtation with a stranger in a fit of excitement that dancing usually generates, particularly after having one too many, was not unexpected. And did happen. It was not the young alone, but also the old and the bald and the not so beautiful who took pleasure in dancing with strangers.

However, there was a sad and rather paradoxical climax. An unlucky dancer had to find his way to a waiting police Gypsy on charge of ‘eve teasing’. He was alleged to have deliberately elbowed a female whose husband took objection and called the police.

Here is another nugget of highway poetry written on the back of a truck.

Chalti hai gari,
udti hai dhool,
jalti hai duniya,
khilte hai phool.



Sarpanch, associates booked 
From Our Correspondent

KHAMANON, Sept 5 — The wife of Mr Ram Singh, a member of the panchayat of Manderan village, near here, was injured when the sarpanch of the same village allegedly attacked them with his five associates.

Ram Singh alleged that his television set, refrigerator and wires of his telephone set were damaged during the attack. Ram Singh said sarpanch was angry with him because he had written to the Punjab Government and officers to inquire against the sarpanch for alleged misuse of his powers in the Panchayati Land Scam.

The Khamanon police has registered a case against the village sarpanch and five of his associates under Sections 452, 506, 323, 148 and 149 IPC. Sarpanch and two of his associates have obtained anticipatory bail but three others are still absconding. The sarpanch could not be contacted for comments.


Lack of wagons may hit Tibetans
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 5 — Though winter is two months away, the wholesale trade in hosiery goods has begun in the old city markets of Hazuri Road, Dal Bazar, Rai Bahadur Road and Wait Ganj.

Ashok Kumar, a wholesaler in Hazuri Road market, says that it is mostly Tibetans who buy the goods in bulk at this time every year. They sell these goods at places like Mumbai and Calcutta. Local retailers buy the goods just before they begin their sales in October. “After a 35 per cent increase in the price of yarn, hosiery products are going to be expensive this season,” says the retailer.

Dorje Chophel is one of the thousands of Dharamsala-based Tibetans who are in the town to buy hosiery items. He prefers to sell the goods in Srinagar. He spends a couple of days in Ludhiana to select the items that he wants. His ordeal begins after the bales are taken to the railway station. Even if he pays the necessary freight charges and Rs 300 in tip for every bale, he has to wait for long before the bales are loaded on the train to Srinagar.

At the parcel office of the local railway station this time of the year, one can see a number of such bales piled up in the yard. The Chief Parcel Officer, Mr Pritam Singh, said he could not cope with rush at this time. He said this was because he was not getting the required number of wagons from the divisional headquarters at Ferozepore. He said even those that were dispatched from here to Hatia, Asansole, Calcutta and Mumbai, did not return on time.

He said he had reminded officials at the divisional headquarters many times to do something in this regard, but nothing had been done. Under such circumstances, one can only pray for the harassed Tibetans whose business and income are at stake.

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