Tuesday, September 12, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Tension in Gurdwara Dakki Sahib
By Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — Tension is brewing up in Maqsudra village, 15 km from here, following the “seizure of all routes” leading towards the Dera Gurdwara Dakki Sahib. Hundreds of followers of the dera staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office and submitted a memorandum to him seeking his intervention.

The memorandum accused some residents of the village of trying to take forcible possession of the dera which owns property worth crores of rupees, including about 300 acres of land, besides several buildings and hundreds of cattles.

The memorandum alleged that all routes leading to the dera had been “seized” by people owing allegiance to the ruling party. They said, there were three routes which led to the dera. On each of the route several people had laid cordon and had prevented the head of the dera Baba Darshan Singh to enter it.

Later they told TNS that the rivals of the baba were working under the patronage of an MLA and a minister. They disclosed that the case over the possession of the dera was going on in the court. The court, according to them, had ordered a status quo. While, they claimed, the dera followers were abiding by the court orders, the rival group was trying to grab it by misusing their connections in the government.

They said telegrams had been flashed to the President of India, the Prime Minister, the Governor of the state and the Chief Minister, besides the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. However, no action had been taken till today.

The sevadars have set September 18 as the deadline for removing certain “unauthorised” people who are manning the routes to the dera. Otherwise, they warned, they would spread out in the Sunam constituency to campaign against the government and tell everybody about the injustice meted out to them.

They revealed that since supplies to the dera had been stopped as the routes were blocked there was every chance that the cattle inside might die. They alleged that whenever they passed by that route, they were abused and even threatened.

The sevadars led by Balbir Singh and Gurdeep Singh warned that the government would be responsible for any untoward incident that was likely to take place as some vested interests under the patronage of the government were trying to forcibly grab the dera property.

Village Maqsudra appears to be divided between the supporters and opponents of the dera. On December 12 a fire broke out in the dera which was balmed on the same people who were now trying to occupy it. The dera is running a de-addiction centre and a gaushala. It also created a record of sorts when the sevadars there donated 5202 points of blood on a single day. The sevadars claimed that about 13,000 addicts had been treated and cured at the de-addiction centre run there. However, due to the ongoing controversy the centre is lying closed.


Principal booked for misappropriating funds
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — The controversy about the tussle for power in the management of the Guru Nanak Education Trust today took a new turn with the Principal of the Guru Nanak Girls College being booked along with six others in a case of breach of Trust and fraud.

According to the information available, Ms Jasbir Kaur Minhas, Principal, Mr Gurbir Singh, Mr Harmeet Singh, Mr Ranbir Singh, Mr Prithipal Singh, Mr H.S. Singh and Mr Gurmeet Singh have been booked under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC in a case registered at Model Town Police Station. The complainants, Dr G.S. Grewal, Honorary President, and Mr Jagdev Singh, Secretary of the Guru Nanak Education Trust, have accused the above mentioned of cheating, forgery and misappropriation of funds of the college. It is alleged that all the accused, in connivance with each other, opened two new bank accounts in the name of the Trust and began shifting the Trust money from the original bank accounts to the new accounts opened in HDFC Bank, Mall Road, and UCO Bank, Bharat Nagar Chowk.

The Trust has the vacancy of seven persons to be appointed as Trustees and the new Trustees can be added only through vacancies created either by death of a Trustee or his resignation. Till date, there is are six Trustees of the total of seven — Dr Gurinder Singh Grewal, Mr Jagdev Singh, Mr Gurbir Singh, Mr Balbir Singh and Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal. Mr Gurbir Singh was the President and Mr Jagdev Singh the Secretary till May 15, 1998, when Dr G.S.Grewal was elected Honorary President and Mr Jagdev Singh was reinstated as Secretary.

The trouble had been brewing amongst the Trust members for a long time and litigation was also on in a civil court in Jalandhar. It is alleged that while Mr. Jagdev Singh was abroad between August 1994 and October 1994, Mr Gurbir Singh committed misappropriation of funds and this became a bone of contention between them.

After Dr Grewal was elected President, he and Mr Jagdev Singh were fully authorised to operate the bank accounts of the Trust in Punjab and Sind Bank, Model Town, and State Bank of India, Dugri Road. A few days after the applicants being elected office-bearers of the Trust, Mr Gurbir Singh, through an application before the Civil Court where the litigation was already going on, challenged the meeting where they were elected the office-bearers.

He then allegedly hatched a conspiracy with the help of three persons — Harmeet Singh, Ranbir Singh and Prithipal Singh — by presenting them as Trust members on the basis of a forged resolution of May 25, 2000. On an earlier occasion, the three accused had tried to come to the Trust meeting on September 25, 1995, but were prevented from doing so. It was then that the accused, with the connivance of the college Principal, began diverting funds in the new bank accounts opened by Mr Gurbir Singh.


One held with fake currency
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — The arrest of a local ginger trader for bringing and selling fake foreign currency here via Siliguri near the Nepal border has exposed the inefficiency of the General Railway Police in trying to contain the large-scale smuggling of goods through the Railways. The police has seized 50 American dollar bills of 100 dollar denomination, that were recently brought here by the accused in a train, last night.

According to the information available, the CIA staff, led by Inspector Maninder Bedi, had laid a naka near the Jalandhar bypass last night. They had received information about the a person carrying fake currency. They laid a naka around 8:30 pm and arrested Gurdeep Singh, a resident of Thapar Nagar, near Jalandhar bypass.

The accused was a regular trader of ginger and was getting it here from Siliguri in West Bengal. This was the first time that the accused had been introduced to the smuggling of foreign currency by another local ginger trader, who had been in this business for a long time.

At a hurriedly convened press conference here today, the DSP Detective, Mr Manjit Singh Dhesi, informed that accused Gurdeep Singh had been supplied with the dollar bills by a Punjabi youth at a hotel in Siliguri, where he was staying, at the rate of Rs 25 per dollar. He was supposed to sell these dollar bills at the rate of Rs 45 per dollar.

Without taking any names, the DSP said the accused proposed to sell these dollars to licensed foreign currency exchange shops in Gur Mandi. He said the police was investigating into the matter and a special team of the local police might be sent to Siliguri to nab the person supplying the fake currency there. He also informed that the police was making efforts to nab the accused ginger trader here. The police has registered a case under Sections 489-B and 489-C of the IPC.

It is alleged that large-scale smuggling of fake Indian currency also goes on from Nepal. Where the agents of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence supply these to their operatives in India. The fake currency flows into various states after it is smuggled in trains.

Meanwhile, according to the information available, it is not just the smuggling of fake currency, but also of other electronics goods that goes on unchecked through the Railways. It is alleged that a large contraband of pirated music cassettes and compact discs are smuggled in trains from Delhi. A few of these music cassettes and CDs are also meant to be off-loaded here and smuggled into Pakistan via road. 


RPI rejects statue review panel
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — The state unit of the Republican Party of India (RPI) has rejected the Constitution Review Commission, describing it as ‘un-constitutional and ‘undemocratic’. Further, the party said the commission might damage the secular fibre of the country and adversely affect the rights of the minorities and Dalits.

Addressing a ‘save Constitution’ convention, organised by the state unit of the party here on Sunday, the national president of RPI, Mr Ram Das Athawale observed that the exercise of the Constitution review was a dangerous move, which, if given effect, could have far-reaching repurcussions on the unity and integrity of the country.

The convention, presided over by the state president Mr Mukhtiar Singh Arsi, adopted several resolutions, demanding the imposition of a ban on the RSS the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and other communal outfits, inciting caste politics, separate reservation for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes out of 33 per cent reservation for women, ceiling on movable and immovable property, nationalisation of entire cultivable land and industries and completion of backlog of reserved posts.

The party called upon the government to reconstruct the demolished Babri Masjid at Ayodhya, to hand over control of Mahabodhi Vihar in Budh Gaya (Bihar) and Valmiki Tirath in Amritsar to Valmikis.

The convention lashed the government for atrocities against the minorities and asked the government to grant a minimum compensation of Rs 10 lakh to each affected family and provide government job to one member of the family. Through other resolutions adopted at the convention, the RPI urged the enactment of the Reservation Implementation Act, the adoption of Mandal Commission report, the implementation of reservation in private educational institution and ensuring employment for every citizen.

Among others, the national secretary Mr Kumar Sain Bodh, Mr Subhash Disawar, Dr Gopal, Dr Amar Nath Mudki, Mr Bihari Lal Khar, Mr Banwari Lal Chauhan, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Pritam Singh Chahal, Mr Jagdish Kumar Jogi and Mr Makhan Singh attended. 


A forgotten archaeological treasure
By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — Sunet, a village on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore road, which hogged headlines in the mid eighties when thousands of coins and sealings dating as back as first century A.D. were found during excavations carried out by the National Department of Archaeology Punjab, is today gradually passing into oblivion.

Though the department had put up boards announcing it as a protected monument yet few mounds of the village, also known as Ucha Pind are disappearing fast, thanks to the rapid expansion of the city towards Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar and encroachment by several landless labourers. The disappearance of the mounds threatens to lose a rich archaeological site .

The village came into focus when certain persons building houses on the site found strange pieces of metal during the digging. The news spread and soon experts of the Archaeological Department descended on the place.

Vigorous digging carried out by them brought out a large number of seals and other thousands of coin moulds of the Yaudheeys, coins of Hermaeus, Gondopharnes, of Chandragupta and Samudragupta thus throwing light on the pre-Harappan and late Harappan period. The excavations also assumed significance as it answered several pertinent question regarding the dark ages from 3rd century to 8th century.

According to later books published by the department, the place used to be a mint (taksal) and thus a number of coins were found at the place. The digging revealed that Sunet was inhabited in correct sequence of history. It had signs of Harappan civilisation from Ramayana and Mahabharata kal, Kushana kal and Arya kal and even Gupt kal. One of the most prominent inhabitants of the village were the Yaudheeys, descendants of Yudhishtra, the eldest Pandava son.

The digging coincided with a similar excavation exercise carried out in Sanghol which later assumed limelight through out the world as several statues and structures were found from the village near Samrala.

However, Sunet could not get that recognition even though the excavations found here are treated as significant by archaeologists. While Sanghol has been developed as a tourist site, Sunet awaits even a befitting memorial.

The present sorry state of the site, whose ruins attracted film makers from Bombay and Punjab, is a sad climax of a glorious beginning.

To add insult to the injury even a couple of mounds left of the old village are disappearing. People have been using sand for construction of houses and some have even been levelled. To cap it all scores of migrant labourers have built huts on the mounds and the place has become an open toilet.

A visit to the site revealed that the place which had become world famous is lying forgotten. Youngsters quizzed about the place where excavations were found denied any knowledge of it. Only some old people remembered the time when teams of archaeologists not only from India but from abroad frequented the place.

According to Mr Lekh Raj, a shop owner living just near a mound, the place was no longer frequented by people. He said people who were constructing houses even now find strange coins and other utensils which are mostly broken due to careless digging.

Village elders said people had been finding such coins from time to time but the Department of Archaeology has ceased to show any interest. They said the department might have some reason for stopping the work but they could protect the mounds so that they were available for future digging purpose.

While senior Archaeology officials were unable for comments, sources in the department revealed that though initial digging brought out significant coins but later nothing important was excavated. They said the mounds were protected in case of need for future digging but now they were being encroached upon thus closing a door to the history. Sources revealed that the authorities had been apprised of the encroachments and the lack of preservation done at the site but nothing had been done in this regard.

According to an official of the state Archaeology Department, who was a member of the team which carried out the excavations, the digging was stopped as the immediate aim of finding the inhabitants as suggested by history was found. He said there was, thus, no need for further digging. However, the central government had declared the mounds as protective monuments to preserve them in need of further excavations. But rapid urbanisation in this part of the city had encroached upon most of the mounds and protection had remained only on paper. He was apprehensive that if immediate steps were not taken to preserve it, then rich archaeological site might be lost forever.


13.51 cr for development works in city
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — Punjab Finance Minster Kanwaljit Singh today promised accelerated development in the state in the next one and a half year, the period left for the completion of the tenure of the Badal government. He said this while addressing the District Planning and Development Board meeting here today.

Setting aside the reports of financial bankruptcy in the state, the Finance Minister claimed that the government had enough funds at its disposal to ensure all-round development of the state. He stated that Rs 5000 crore had been earmarked for the construction of new roads and the repair of damaged roads, link roads, lanes and bylanes in the state.

He said there was no paucity of funds, particularly for the development of the state. He claimed the pace of development would be visible in next few months as the government was stressing upon pace and quality of the developmental works.

The minister revealed that the government had taken austerity measures and saved considerable amount of money which would be utilised for developmental works. He said all unnecessary expenditure had been checked and spared for developmental purposes.

He announced that Rs 13.51 crore would be spent on various development works in Ludhiana. He said a number of development projects had already been launched and the work was in progress. The amount will be spent on various beneficial and infrastructure projects.

Deputy Speaker and local MLA Satpal Gosain emphasised the need for quality work in all developmental projects. He said the government had taken the issue of quality in all the developmental works seriously and any laxity on this front would not be tolerated.

Later, presiding over the meeting of the District Grievances Redressal Committee, the Finance Minister ordered action against the members of a school committee in Shiv Nagar area and some revenue officials who had effected a wrong mutation, which led to changing of land records in favour of the school committee. The complaint had been lodged by Mr Gosain and had been found correct after investigation.

The minister also asked the Municipal Committee, Khanna, to stop the disposal of the waste water into the fields of a farmer who had made the complaint at the today’s meeting. The minister asked the SDM and the Executive Officer of the committee to ensure timely action on the issue.

Among others who attended the meeting included MLA Samrala Amrik Singh, MP Sukhdev Singh Libra, Deputy Commissioner S. K. Sandhu, SSP Kuldeep Singh and Commissioner S. S. Sandhu.


SAD will win Sunam byelection: Tandon
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — The Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, today claimed that the ruling SAD(B)-BJP combine would win the Sunam Assembly byelection by a big margin. Talking to mediapersons at Circuit House here, he said BJP workers were being mobilised and duties being entrusted to ensure the success of Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, nominee of the Akali Dal.

He replied in the negative when asked if Mrs Pameshwari Devi, Congress candidate and the widow of Mr Bhagwan Das Garg had an upper hand because of the sympathy factor. According to Mr Tandon, people might sympathise with her but the circumstances in which Mr Garg had died, would not tern sympathy into votes.

The minister said the Punjab Government, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had during its over three years of rule, done what the successive Congress governments could not do in four decades.

He said under an ambitious plan, the respective municipal corporations and municipal councils would soon start work on the construction of new bus stands and renovation of existing ones in 24 small and big towns of the state. The plan envisaged the construction of 12 new ultra modern bus stands and extensive renovation of some others.

According to the minister, with the setting up of the second finance paid, the civic bodies and the village panchayats in the state, would usher in a new era.


Bengali artisans for Navaratras
From Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — Navaratras are celebrated to worship Durga, the divine mother, to seek her blessings and guidance to follow the right path in life. Even Lord Rama invoked the blessings of Durga to destroy Ravana, the symbol of evil. The worship of Kali in Bengal symbolises the removal of darkness from the mind and imbuing it with virtue.

Over the years Ludhiana has acquired a cosmopolitan character with people belonging to different cultures coming here to try their luck. And with them they bring their values, rituals and symbols creating a cultural kaleidoscope. They believe it to be a city full of possibilities.

Every year skilled craftsmen and artisans come here from different regions to make idols of Durga. Shankar Pati, Balaram Sahoo and Ganesh Maiti have come all the way from Midnapur district in West Bengal to make idols of Durga, Saraswati, Kartikeya, Lakshmi, Ganesha and Mahishasur. These artisans have been brought from Bengal by members of the Bangiya Samsad to prepare for the navaratra pujan.

Shankar Pati, the master artisan, has come to the city for the first time. “I never knew that Durga puja is celebrated in Punjab in the same way as we do in Bengal. Though I face the language problem here, still I like the city and the people here are warm hearted,” says he.

Giving details of what they were going to make, Balaram Sahoo said, “We will be enacting a scene in which Durga kills Mahishasur and is worshipped along with Saraswati, Kartikeya, Lakshmi and Ganesha with bows and arrows in their hands”.

Talking about the time they take for making idols, he said, “It usually takes us one month to make these idols. We make the rough sketches within a week, but making idols and adding colours usually takes 15 days”.

Mr Abhir Banerjee, a member of the Bangiya Samsad, said the artisans usually charged Rs 8,000 for the entire set. The decorative fittings and colours are brought from Bengal. Only a particular type of clay is provided to them. Ganesh Maiti says, “We save above Rs 5,000 from one set. We also book orders for more sets and prepare various idols, which is quite profitable. There are so many murtikars in Bengal and there is a lot of competition. So we generally do not get a better bargain”.

These artisans will go back to their villages to celebrate Durga puja. Navaratras in Bengal coincide with the harvesting of paddy and they intend to celebrate the festival with their families.


White-backed plant hopper may hit paddy yield
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — Scientists in Punjab Agricultural University are apprehensive about attack of whitebacked plant hopper. They fear that the hopper may hit the paddy yield badly.

According to Dr N. S. Bhuttar, Head, Plant Clinic, PAU, whitebacked plant hopper has appeared as an epidemic in the state.

It has caused damage in Malwa belt of the state and is likely to cause damage in other areas, where paddy has been sown late. He said plant samples in paddy had indicated that the damage of whitebacked plant hopper in Amritsar, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur areas was alarming.

The major cause of its spread is that it remains less noticed as the insect pest feeds in leaf sheaths and remains hidden. Once its infestation starts in the field, the infestation spreads very quickly, if not controlled in time. In this context, farmers have been advised to be cautious, particularly in late-sown paddy fields (green crop), and to inspect their fields for the presence of insects.

Dr Buttar suggested that farmers should tilt a few plants at four or five places and tap these two or three times. If 5 to 10 plant hoppers are observed floating in water, the crop should be sprayed with insecticides.

If the damage is noticed at an early stage, the affected spots should be treated.

All insecticides are contact insecticides and thorough coverage is a must. The spray should be directed towards the base of the plant. He pointed out that the farmers were using nondescript mixtures of pesticides, which was dangerous for paddy cultivation.


Garcha to donate eyes
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister of Punjab, has pledged to donate his eyes after his death.

Mr Garcha appealed to the public to come forward for this noble cause. He assured all possible help for this project. Dr Ramesh, Director, Eye Bank, Mansuran, said Mr Parminder Garcha, son of Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, and Mr Gurtejinder Kaur, Medical Officer, Dhallion, also pledged to donate their eyes.

Dr Ramesh examined 1100 eye patients and 52 patients were operated upon during the camp. The guest of honour was Dr (Mrs) Santosh Kataria. Mr Hari Singh, President, Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee, presented siropas and mementoes to the guests and doctors.


The inimitable Sardar Begum
From M.S.Cheema

Sardar Begum, mother of the legendary poet Sahir Ludhianvi, was born in the first decade of the 20th century. She was no ordinary woman. Throughout her life, she stood like a rock in the face of odds. She personified the glory of womanhood. It is a challenging task to portray her as a mother. Her maternal instinct was an inexhaustible source of energy.

Sahir’s grandfather was Fateh Mohammad. He was a big feudal landlord. The family migrated from the lower Shivalik Hills to the vast tract of land on the left bank of the Sutlej during the Mughal period. They were called Chaudhris and belonged to the Gujjar community. Sahir’s father was Chaudhary Fazal Mohammad. He was a fiery and a well-built person. He had all the vices that often go with men of rich worldly means. Sardar Begum was his 11th wife, the only one to bear a male child to him. She belonged to the Kashmiri migrants community that had settled in Ludhiana two centuries ago. Her father, Abdul Aziz, was a contractor and was respected by him community. He had two sons and two daughters. Sardar Begum was healthy, beautiful, intelligent and the youngest of her siblings.

Chaudhary Fazal Mohammad boasted of his high Rajput ancestry and treated his in-laws, whom he considered to be of lower status, with contempt. He treated Sardar Begum as a commodity. Sahir’s mother challenged the feudal vanity of her husband and fought a long-drawn battle with him for custody of their son. In her 14-year ordeal, her mother gave her moral as well as material support. Sardar Begum even had to sell her ornaments to fight the legal battle with her husband. The case took a crucial turn when Sahir was asked about his choice. He opted to live with his mother. Sahir was then a student of Malwa High School. The Headmaster of the school, S. Dharam Singh, certified that the boy had a bright future provided he was allowed to continue his education.

At this Chaudhary Fazal Mohammad burst out: “We have all the riches, a vast property, several houses and agricultural farms. The boy does not need any education”. Sardar Begum won the case.

In August, 1947, she was forced to leave Ludhiana. Sahir went to Lahore and brought her back to India. Such was the bond of love between the mother and the son. Sardar Begum wanted Sahir to get married, but he did not agree and remained a bachelor throughout his life. It was Sardar Begum who taught the deeper meaning of life to Sahir, who transformed his pain into poetry. If there was any woman behind Sahir, it was his mother, the great Sardar Begum.


Dasehra on October 8, says Dugri panel
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — A general body meeting of the Urban Estates Ram Lila Dasehra Committee, Dugri, was held here on Saturday and decided that Dasehra would be celebrated in Urban Estate on October 8.

Mr Ravi Gupta, chairman, and Dr Shiv Gupta, general secretary of the committee, said a shobha yatra would be undertaken on the same day.


Liquor seized at Chhapar before mela
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — In its efforts to ensure that no untoward incident takes place during the annual Chhapar Mela which begins tomorrow, the Dehlon police has seized over 100 litres of alcohol in the past two days.

According to the information available, the Dehlon police has been asked to set up special nakas by the Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagraon, Mr Jaskaran Singh. It was during one such naka laid by the SHO of police station Dehlon, Mr Jasbir Singh Rai, that the police arrested two persons — Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Hara Patti, Chhapar and Chamkaur Singh, Umarpura on September 6 and recovered 81 litres of alcohol from them.


Truth behind zero interest schemes
By Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Sometimes zero is not always equal to zero, at least when it comes to various finance schemes prevalent in the market for cars and other consumer durables. Some facts about zero per cent interest finance schemes................

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — The increasing competition in the market, the continuous slump in the automobile industry and the electronic goods market have forced the industry and the dealers to devise innovative schemes to increase their sales and consequently enlarge their profit margins. The nationalised banks, private banks and finance companies have become active partners in this ‘win-win’ game. Different finance schemes are offered to woo the consumer. Zero per cent financing is one of those schemes. Is it really without any interest? Or there is some hidden cost. Where lies the catch in them?

Mr Sandeep Kumar, Financial Consultant of a car dealer says, “On the purchase of a Maruti standard-800, Baleno, Suzuki or Wagno-R we arrange finance upto Rs 1 lakh at zero per cent interest for a year. The procedure is simple. The amount of Rs 1 lakh is divided by 12, meaning a monthly instalment of about Rs 8,333. The customer has to deposit an advance at least four instalments known as equated monthly instalments (EMIs). In the next eight months, he has to pay the remaining amount. “Since we do not charge any processing fee or file charges, the scheme has become very popular. Last year about 275 cars were sold through this scheme, he says.

How do they adjust their costs? He says, “we get sufficient commission from the manufactures. In addition, we save the discount of about Rs 7000 that we offered to a customer who pays cash. The finance company also gives us a commission of about Rs1000. Hence we are more than compensated in the deal. We try to persuade the consumer to get finance for at least Rs 1 lakh.”

Mr Varun Kapoor, a young trader who has recently purchased a Baleno says,” Few people opt for zero interest financing because the loan amount is very small. Moreover, the financiers do charge a processing fee. No doubt, the customer is attracted by the big banners and advertisements of zero interest financing. Once he enters the showroom, he may prefer other schemes.”

Mr Sandeep Kumar, agreeing with Mr Kapoor, says, these schemes do help to bring the customer to the showroom.

The consumer is offered various schemes by the dealer, financial consultants and direct marketing associates. Even those who can afford to pay cash prefer financing for fear of the income tax authorities and the possible utilisation of the cash in business.

Mr Harish Sharma, Finance Manager of an auto company, says, “For Santro and Accent models we provide finance with zero per cent interest up to Rs 3 lakh for 12 months. However, we charge 2 per cent of the loan amount as processing fee and insist on four EMIs in advance.”

Mr Jiwan Pandey, Sales and Marketing Executive of another company, is of the view, that, “there are no zero per cent interest schemes. The hidden costs ensure that you have to pay, sometimes more than the market rate of interest. “How can you have something for nothing?” he asks.

It is not always like that as the dealer also pays if the product remains with him for more than the desired time. Mr Riti Pal Singh Brar, Sales Manager of a marketing firm says,” The consumer is not always the losers. It is the profit of the dealer and the financier that is shared with the consumer. But the consumer should calculate the actual and hidden costs before purchasing a product.


Now eco-friendly furniture
From A Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — Eco-friendly furniture will not require felling of trees any more, Sauder of America has started making furniture from waste wood.

Furniture from America first arrived in Hyderabad. Kaushals, who were into making food processors, got the idea of setting up a furniture shop of Sauders in Ludhiana. They will be carrying and forwarding agents for Punjab as well.

The most convenient part of the furniture is that it is ready and easy to assemble. All parts of items like beds, cupboards are numbered. Instructions on how to assemble different parts are given in the ‘easy to do manual’.

No carpenters, no polishers are required. One saves time as one gets from a computer armoire — which has all the space for office files, computers etc, two beds with two night stands. The prices are very competitive. The furniture carries a guarantee period of five years. If any part breaks, the company will replace it. The life of furniture is about 20 years.

In another part of Bell Wood Interiors, a beautiful range of crystal products could be seen. Cut glass under the brand name Aria in cooperation with a Swedish firm is being manufactured by JIK Industries in Mumbai. Aria product range comprises glasses, bowls, vases, decanters, figurines, candle stands, chandeliers, gift articles, clocks and surprisingly a chess set. Aria crystal is lead free, and it is eco-friendly as well.

“We have the maximum range of cut glass under one roof,” said Reena, “All these objects are handcrafted. The blow pipe invented 2000 years ago is still being used today the world over. Our craftsmen trained by Swedish experts use similar technology, to artistically handcraft crystal in an array of European designs in unbelievable shapes, sizes and colours. The price range is affordable,” explained Reena.

Mr Rupen Kaushal said: “In case one glass from your set breaks, we will give you another one to complete your set. In case you love a design of some particular glass item, the customers can give us the sample and we can make similar pieces if the order is large.” He also said, “In case our furniture venture is successful, we will import manufacturing units from America and utilise the waste wood for making furniture, thereby we can save our forests and help the conservation of our forest cover.”


‘Love’ and ‘hate’ Web sites flourishing
By Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, Sept 11 — Internet can propagate the varied emotions of love and hate. While some sites give bring people of different faiths together, there are several such sites that aim to arouse the netizens against wrongs committed against a community. On the Internet flourish several ‘love sites’ and ‘hate sites’.

The site onecountry.org is a ‘love site’ which gives news about various inter-religious get-togethers across the world. It helps people of various religions to come for exchange of views.

There is members.tripod.com that gives instances on how Sikhs and Hindus have worked in harmony in the past. It tells about the sacrifices made by the ninth guru of the Sikhs for the sake of Kashmiri pandits. It tells that Guru Granth Saheb, the holy book of the Sikhs, incorporates the hymns of Namdev and Kabir, non-Sikhs.

There are more than 150 such sites that bring people of different religions, castes and creeds together. The site saxakali.com aims to bind the people of different castes of Karnataka and ietravel.com gives instances of how people of various ethnic groups of India and Nepal overlap.

‘Hate sites’ arouse passions against wrongs done against some community. A site on Kashmir provokes Kashmiris to protest against the wrongs meted out to them.

Some sites also go to the extent of defaming a particular person or faith. They give gory details of bloodshed, violence, gang rapes, wailing of women folk and much more. No check has ever been made on such sites. 

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