Saturday, September 16, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bomb blast case top priority: IG
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 15 — Mr J.P. Birdi, the new Inspector-General of Police, Jalandhar zone, today earmarked the solution of bomb blast case in district courts here and the Aman kidnap and murder case of Khanna as top priority of the respective police officials.

Giving this direction to the officials concerned in his first ever meeting of Ludhiana police range at Police Lines here today afternoon, he also ordered the constitution of a special investigation team of the police to solve the cases ‘without further delay’.

Mr Birdi had assumed charge of IG-Jalandhar zone in which the Jalandhar and Ludhiana police ranges fall two days ago. The SSPs of the four police districts along with some SPs attended the meeting.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune in an exclusive interview later, Mr Birdi said the two cases needed immediate solution as they were pending for quite some time. He gave directions to the police officials for the immediate clearance of all pending cases to improve the image of the police.

Mr Birdi also informed that so far the police was clueless about the perpetrators of the bomb blast in the district courts on the intervening night of August 11 and 12. He said though the chemical examiner’s report was awaited but most likely RDX was used in the blast.

Regarding the kidnapping and murder of a minor boy, Aman at Khanna, the IG admitted that no major headway was made in the case. He, however, did not specify any time limit for the solution of the cases.

Aman, a minor, was kidnapped on August 1 from Khanna and his dead body was found from a field near the town on August 6. The police had made some arrests but the case has not been fully solved so far as the kingpin still eludes the police.

Talking about his priorities, the IG said he would work for improving the image of the police not only in the area of proper investigation but also in dealing with the public. “I would concentrate on giving justice and proper treatment to the poor” the IG said while warning the police officials of any relaxation in this field.

He informed directions had been given to all the SHOs about proper treatment of persons especially poor coming for complaints to the police. He said people build faith in police only after they were properly treated.

Mr Birdi was also worried about the spate in crime incidents in the region especially in Ludhiana. He said he would meet all the SSPs separately to chalk out plans of combating crime in their respective areas. He held the migrant labourers responsible for the sport in crime in the city. He said he was particularly anxious about the increasing cases of kidnapping and crime against women.


Hoardings violate HC directive
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 15 — While the Punjab and Haryana High court had a few years back directed removal of all advertisement hoardings along the national and state highways, the railway tracks and roads within the municipal limits, yet several such hoarding can still be seen in the city.

In fact advertisers seems to have found a clever way of escaping the directions of the court. They have removed the advertisements from the hoarding but instead painted the advertisements on the walls of houses or some other building right under the earlier hoarding. The newly-painted advertisements may cause same distractions to the travellers as the earlier hoardings did due to which the court ordered removal of them as the distractions was said to be causing accidents.

A survey of the city roads and railway lines has revealed that not only this new form of painting advertisements is getting popular but people have also not removed the iron structures which hold the hoardings. Due to the non-removal, another purpose of the court’s order stands defeated. The court had ordered removal as the hoardings had fallen off at several places resulting in deaths and injuries to passers by.

Now with iron structures still on the rooftops, the chances of such accidents can not be ruled out. Besides, the structures spoil the scene. The local Municipal Corporation had also ordered removal of the structures.

Interestingly, when the MC officials and the railway authorities were quizzed about violations, especially along the railway tracks and flyover in the city, they pointed fingers at each other. While Mr S.S. Sandhu, Commissioner, MC, said the hoardings were not in their land. The railway authorities also insisted that these were not in their land. Both, however, asserted that they had got all hoardings removed.

Mr Sandhu commenting on the ugly iron structures said the MC had given notice to the public and clearly stated in it that in case of any mishap the person concerned and not the MC would be held responsible.


Brain behind lottery racket held
By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 15 — It was the lure of making quick money that propelled Virender Kumar into the world of fake lottery racket. He was arrested by the city kotwali police here today as the main accused behind the sale of Shubh Diwali Bumper lottery of the Azad Hind Lotteries company.

The crime was incidentally the first by the accused who hails from Bathinda and is a BA 2-II drop out. Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune he revealed that he was inspired by programme ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ where people were making fast money. He said he saw the overwhelming interest of people in programme which he termed as just another form of gambling and was inspired to make quick money .

He said he did not try to participate in the programme but instead bought several lottery tickets of the Punjab Government and other states and then made one of his own. He said he got it published through web-off set.

According to the police, the accused was nabbed when he had just started making dealers or distributors in the city. The police said around 11,000 worth lottery tickets were recovered from him. A case under Govt. Lottery Act 7\3 1198 had been registered against the accused.

The police said though the accused was detained yesterday , a case was registered against today as a police team sent to Chandigarh to verify the lottery ticket reported that the government had not given permission to the lottery.

Incidentally, police sources revealed that the accused had already sold tickets in the rural areas, especially in Bathinda and Amritsar where it is alleged he had appointed stockists also and thus duped a number of people. However, the charge was not confirmed. The accused also maintained he had not sold the tickets so far.


AISSF again guns for Daler
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 15 — The All India Sikh Students’ Federation (AISSF) is at it again — Daler hunting.

Driven by the zeal of enforcing a moral code of conduct in the society at large, the federation seems to be bent upon bringing Daler Mehndi to his knees before the Akal Takht in person to apologise for hurting the deep-rooted religious sentiments of the Sikh community through the release of his “malicious and derogatory” “Ikk Dana Do Dane” number.

At a party meeting here yesterday, which was attended by nearly a score of the top brass and chaired by the senior vice president, Mr Gurdip Singh Leel, it was decided to issue an ultimatum to the king of Panjabi pop according to which he is required to appear before the highest temporal seat before September 21 next or face a Punjab-wide agitation involving the burning of his effigies and cassettes at every nook and corner of the state.

The meeting observed that following the party’s earlier crusade against the objectionable number, ban Tips company had stopped its sale in Punjab which had unfortunately been restarted by the company. It called upon the company to ban the song before September 21 or face a total boycott of its products in the whole of Panjab thereafter.

The meeting also decided to give a call to the rural masses to be ready for burning Daler Mehndi’s effigies in their respective areas if the singer did not apologise in person at the Akal Takht before September 21 next.

Through another resolution, the meeting requested orchestra clubs and groups to refrain from organising and participating in western type dance programmes which were trying to wipe out the Indian culture. The party said it would not tolerate any non-cooperation in this regard. It was hoped that the cable operators in the cities and towns would also tow the federation line by stopping the screening of indecent material that could not be viewed by a family gathering. 


Firm directors charged with forgery
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 15 — The Directors of Ind-Swift Limited, a Chandigarh-based pharmaceutical company, having an annual turnover of about Rs 150 crore, have been charged with forging signatures and breach of trust. They were recently granted bail by the Chandigarh Sessions Court in a case relating to alleged for fraudulent transfer of 1800 shares of a mining spare parts manufacturer, Mr Rajiv Rai Mehta.

Mr Mehta has alleged that he had applied for 1800 equity shares (no. 679321-69720). These shares were listed in his name till January 13, 1993, according to the company records in the registrar’s office. He was not provided any receipt, dividend or share certificates and various excuses like company launching its public issue and new certificates were being printed were offered. However, Mr Mehta was shocked when in 1993 he found that his shares were transferred to his mother Raksha Mehta by the Directors that included his three brothers S.R. Mehta, V.K. Mehta and B.R. Mehta.

Mr Mehta complained to the Ludhiana Stock Exchange, where the company’s shares were enlisted, the Investor’s Grievances’ Committee and the SEBI but to no avail. Consequently, he decided to file a suit in the court. It was alleged that Ind-Swift Ltd and its Board of Directors, namely Chairman, A.K. Jain and the Directors created forged and fabricated documents by entering into a criminal conspiracy by forging signatures. He was cheated of about Rs 3 lakh besides the due bonus.

It may be mentioned here that Mr Rajiv Mehta, along with his brother, had invested about Rs 1 lakh in 1989 to launch the company. He was promised 4 per cent of equity shares in the company but again he was not given the dividend and other benefits. His shares were misappropriated, alleges Mr Mehta, by forging the documents. They were granted bail in this case also and the suit is pending.

Interestingly, the company had brought out two public issues of Rs 3.5 crore and about Rs 35 crore in between. According to the stock exchange bylaws, the company was supposed to inform immediately the stock exchanges where it had been listed that criminal cases were pending against it. Otherwise, its dealing could be suspended. But on the complaint nothing was done except issuing of the show-cause notice to the company. Surprisingly, the value of company’s shares rose from Rs 20 to Rs 70 during this period. The company had no doubt mentioned in its public issue that it has been penalised by the Central Excise Department for not paying adequate duty.

Mr Mehta said that he would continue his struggle for justice. He claimed that he had been offered Rs 10-15 lakh by the company representatives to withdraw the case.

On the other hand, Mr A.K. Jain, Chairman of the company, when contacted said “Mr Mehta is a mean person, disowned by his mother. The company has nothing to do with his family feud.”

When asked about the actions being taken by the Ludhiana Stock Exchange on the complaint, Mr H.S. Sidhu, General Manager, said the case was under process. We had already sent a notice to the company. We do not want of take the harsh steps like delisting the company that would effect the interests of shareholders, he added. Back


Turn your hobby into a profession
From A Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 14 — We can learn oil painting and Tanjore painting in just a few months if we work hard. It is a real experience coming to this school for we have much to learn and we are happy when we finish our paintings. I have started my painting school in Ambala where I reside now. I earn Rs. 4000-5000 a month sitting at home and running an art school,” said Reena, a former student of a painting school run by Rekha.

Geeta, another student said, “I am 28. My parents have not found a boy for me as yet. They used to nag me and show me a lot of boys whom I never liked. So to get rid of their nagging, I joined this art school. Within six months, I became good in textile painting. I get orders now to paint linen and I earn around Rs. 3000. Since I have become financially independent, my parents are much nicer to me.”

Talent is a gift God has given everyone. But lucky and fortunate are those who have a chance to hone their talents, bring them to surface and earn both name and fame, and also make it a source of income.

Rekha is one such person who is well known in art circles. She has reached out to many students and has helped them to create beautiful things, and shared her talent and skills with hundreds of girls.

She has been asked by the organisers of various shows to present her paintings to important people at various functions.

Basically, a bachelor in commercial art (bachelor of fine art) from Banaras Hindu University, she started hobby classes for the children of neighourhood without charging any fee. The result was that the students were not serious. Only when the students started paying, they became serious.

A pioneer in pot painting, she has always been experimenting with new ideas. She just painted an earthen pot, covered it with paint to give it a wooden look. Varnished it. It was an instant success, and after that pot painting became a rage in Ludhiana. Next she tried to give a metallic look to the pottery pots. Very innovative, she introduces a new kind of painting or technique every year. She was again the first to introduce painting of Chinese panels, painting on velvet cloth, acrylic painting. Everytime she changed the base it was like proverbial old wine in new bottle, but the change worked everytime.

Chemical flowers - translucent flowers of very ethereal colours and beautiful shapes can again be credited to Rekha . The flowers are simple to make. First mould is made using golden or silver wire. Then each petal is dipped separately into chemicals. All the petals are gathered and finally all the petals are joined togather to make flowers.

‘Wash Tempra’ - a Japanese style of painting was introduced. A special type of paper, washable sheet, which absorbs the stain of the colour is used. After doing one coat of painting, the paper is put under water and the stains of the colour are left whereas the extra paint is washed off. For the second time, dark colours are applied. The paper is again washed. For the third time, fine work is done to give the finishing touch. Water tempra is still very popular technique of painting all over the world.

Embossing on a metal sheet is durable, but hard to make. First a design is chosen then it is traced on a metal sheet. Pressure is applied with a dead ball pen by doing this, the impression of tracing comes out. A sharp edged ice-pick is used to put dots on the outline. Special tools are used to apply adequate pressure to emboss it. Metal paint is applied. One painting takes 15-20 days to finish.

Tanjore paining from the far away district of Tanjore in South, has become the latest craze. It is a traditional painting and very expensive as gold leaf is used. A water proof board is prepared. Ordinary latha is pasted on the board and chalk meeti is used to cover the cloth and make it absolutely smooth. Finally a base is prepared for Tanjore painting. Usually mythological figures form the subject of Tanjore paintings. But now the people are using modern subjects. Plaster of Paris gum, and chalk meeti is mixed to prepare a paste. With tooth picks, the mixture is applied at the lines which have to be raised. Later gold leaf with the help of gum is stuck to the raised paint. The rest of the paining is coloured with water paints. It takes almost two months to complete this kind of painting. This is the latest craze of art collectors at the moment.

Textile painting is also taught, which is enabling many students to turn professionals.

The latest technique to be introduced is painting on bone china or porcelain. On plain porcelain pieces, special porcelain colours are available which have to be applied with free hand. Only a person with practice can do it. The paints would not fade.

One can learn any mode of painting and perfect it. Later, what started as your hobby can turn into a lucrative profession very aesthetically satisfying.


Dharna by Milkfed workers
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 15 — Employees of the Punjab Cooperative Milk Producers Federation will stage a demonstration in Chandigarh on September 20 to protest against the delay in payment of arrears, pending since 1997.

The local unit of the union of employees held a dharna today at the Verka Milk Plant on the Ferozepore road. Most of the employees participated in the dharna in the morning hours before joining their routine duties.

According to Mr Sukhdev Singh Pradhan, president of the local union, and Mr Jagdish Kohli, general secretary, the employees of the Milkfed had not been paid arrears due to them on account of the implementation of the Fourth Pay Commission recommendations for the period between January 1, 1996 and March 31, 1997.

Mr Pradhan and Mr Kohli revealed that for the past three and a half years, they had been insisting upon the management for the payment, but there had been no positive response. The employees are also demanding Assured Career Progress (ACP). Mr Kohli pointed out that there was stagnation in the non-cadre posts. He said a clerk retires as a clerk only even after putting in over 30 years of service, while the cadre-based posts are always assured of timely promotions.

The employees are also demanding production incentive. Justifying their demand, they said that in 1981, the milk plant at Ludhiana had a capacity of one lakh litre, with a total staff strength of 700. After the inauguration of the second plant, the capacity was enhanced to five lakh litre, while the staff strength had come down to 500. The employee leaders disclosed that there had been no fresh appointments, even against the posts of those employees who had retired. Despite that, the government had stopped the production incentive scheme.

Plagued by mismanagement, the Verka milk plant at Ludhiana was making good profits. However, shortsightedness on the part of the management had turned a good profit-making plant into a loss-making one. The losses were reportedly in crores, despite the number of employees getting reduced every year.


Where friendships have gone
by N.S.Tasneem

Sometime I realise that I have not been able to know my friends as well as adversaries throughout my life. I am unsuspecting by nature and, at the same time, I believe in the dictum of ‘ forgive and forget.’ I consider everyone who comes into my contact a friend, unless he proves otherwise. Even when he proves otherwise, I regard it as a passing phase. I think people have short memories like me, so why should anyone nurse a grudge against me for long. But many a time I have been proved wrong.

To my dismay I have learnt that most of the people are flat characters and cannot come out of the grooves of their preconceived notions . Mostly their ideas are fixed and there is no scope for any revision.

I am lucky that I could not recognise my adversaries well in time. I treated them in the same spirit as I expected them to treat me. I always met them with open arms and tried to help them as much as I could. Even in literary functions I went out of my way to speak about their creative works in laudatory tones. Even though I was unable to understand their nefarious designs, I was saved from harbouring doubts and suspicious in my mind about them. To be malicious or vindictive is, in a way, like bartering one’s soul to the devil. Once one’s ideas take the hue of bellicosity, one heads towards ‘eternal perdition.’

In the course of my life, I have gone out of my way to befriend those who happened to be estranged from me at one time. The small talk, sometimes across the tea-table ,seemed to be clearing the atmosphere of misunderstanding. Later I shook hands with them in a most cordial manner and even embraced them. Even then I was a bit disappointed, if not frustrated to find them stiff-necked or keeping a stiff upper lip. Such an attitude dampened my spirits all the more.

Now when I look back I am confronted with certain incidents that tell another story. There was a time when I used to stay with a friend of mine in Chandigarh whenever I happened to visit that place. Mostly I went there to get my transfer cancelled from Muktsar to Tanda or from Kapurthala to Nabha. On such occasions I stayed gladly with my friend and his family, considering them to be equally pleased with my stay with them. Incidentally that friend of mine was my class-fellow and later my room-mate in Shimla for two years. Then he got married and shortly afterwards his office shifted to Chandigarh.

The trouble started when I too left Shimla for pastures new and as a college lecturer I was frequently transferred from one remote corner of the state to another. This thing necessitated my visits to Chandigarh for the redress of my grievances. Nothing ever materialized to my satisfaction but I had to stay with that family many a time. Once when I went there late in the evening, my friend was rather cool in his response. I took it in my big stride and settled myself comfortably on the sofa. His wife too did not evince any interest in the purpose of my visit. There was no need as it was always the same..’cancellation of transfer.’

At the dining table that evening both the husband and the wife kept their lips sealed. I gulped down two chapatis instead of the usual three and started waiting for the sweet dish. The wait was not for long. His wife got up to collect the utensils on the table. In a mood to relieve the tension, I said,” Bhabiji, why are you so reserved today?”

“Bhraji, you should take the trouble of informing us before-hand when you have a mind to come to us.”

“As you know, I always have to rush to this place suddenly. These transfer orders unnerve me every time. Perhaps they also provide me with an opportunity to relieve those days of the past when both of us....”

“You live in the past,” my friend Ghrogi intervened,” but we live in the present and plan for the future.”

Truly speaking, one should always live in the present and plan for the future. On my part, I would have felt miserable if I had done so. I go on considering my friends as friends even when they have changed, over the years, their attitude towards me.

Their indifference or even aversion fails to register itself in my mind as I fail to entertain any idea of their changing the plank of friendship to that of antipathy. As I said in the beginning I am a poor judge of my friends and adversaries. In certain cases, they have changed their places to my utter ignorance. Thus I am always in a blissful state.


PAU warning on pest attack
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 15 — Scientists of Punjab Agricultural University, have cautioned farmers against the outbreak of pest attack on cotton crop in near future.

The farmers are, therefore advised to keep a watch on these pests and adopt timely suitable measures. The scientists have recommended that for the control of grown up larvae of American bollworm (1.25 cm long) to use chlorpyriphos at 2 litres/acre or acephate at 800 gm/acre or Fenitrothion at 850 ml/acre in 125-150 litres of water. For whitefly control, farmers are advised to check stickiness on cotton leaves due to honeydew production by whitefly adults/nymphs.

If 50 per cent plants show stickiness, spray the crop with triazophos at 600 ml/acre or Ethion at 800 ml/acre in 125-150 litres of water. In the absence of control measures against whitefly, the middle canopy cotton leaves will show the development of sootymould (black fungus).Back


Flavour of the week
By Asha Ahuja

Our roots are steeped into religion and religious rituals. So every week we are engrossed into one religious activity or the other. The past week marked the end of 11 days of festivities revolving around Lord Ganesh. Finally the idols of Lord Ganesh were taken in a procession to the Satluj for immersion. Soon followed ‘sharads’. This period is marked for our dead ancestors.

Come September — and the number of ladies’ clubs that have sprung up get busy organising competitions. This week, ‘smile competition’ and ‘tatoo competition’, a part of fashion show, were held by clubs. Smile actually takes 14 muscles where as a scowl takes about 40 of them — and so the ladies should have been told to smile more often. Tatoo, an age old art has come in its modern avtar. Tatoo can be painted round the navel, on the face, arms and even neck. Tatoos called Swarowski (the most expensive crystal) are gaining popularity and do not come cheap. Tatoos with Mehndi are also popular.

Some of the prestigious institutions have been in the thick of controversies. The row in Guru Nanak Public School started among the trustees. Incidentally, Mr Parkash Singh Badal is also one of them. An NRI trustee has taken charge of the school. He has become highly unpopular both with the staff and the students. On the other hand, the former principal and the two management members have been debarred from entering the school. The teachers and students are paranoid about their safety under the new principal, so the school has been closed for 10 days — an unprecedent happening.

In one college, the principal has been removed on charges of embezzlement - doesn’t bode well for the health of educational institutions.

The young students are saying a big ‘thank you’ to Spic Macay for making them aware of their virasat of culture, music and dance by presenting performances of great artists like Gurmeet Bawa, Prerna Shrimali. The awareness of the culture has made them feel proud of their rich heritage. Mission successful as far as the organisers of Ludhiana Chapter of Spic Macay is concerned and their hard work put in has paid rich dividends.

Karobar, the new movie again is a remake of ‘Indecent proposal’. It took a long time in making . It is showing at Malhar and Luxmi. One feels that movie makers have run out of ideas. Practically every movie has a love triangle. Can’t they come up with some contemporary and modern themes? Khalil Mohammad was very confident that there would be no shortcomings in his Fiza as he had been a film critic of many years, but the critics have punched holes into this debut directional film.

Chhapar Mela generated a lot of interest as the news surfaced that skimpy dressed women were performing in an enclosure charging only Rs 10. This comes after the wake of a resolution passed by Vijay Sahota, president Punjab Orchestra Association which had put a ban on skimpy dresses. One will have to wait and see the line of action which is going to be taken against the people who flouted the norms.

The city is gearing up to meet the shopping rush of ‘Navratras’. Renovation of showrooms is being carried out. New showrooms are coming up fast trying to beat the deadline of the first Navratra. Even the liquor lobby is becoming more optimistic as they are sure the festivities will push up the sales of liquor. Hope springs eternal in breast.


‘Maize best substitute to rice, wheat’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 15 — Winner of the World Food Prize for 2000, Dr S.K. Vasal, along with other scientists, visited Punjab Agricultural University today to see various research experiments on maize crop in the university.

Dr Vasal, who is working on ‘Distinguished scientist and team leader’ at Asian Regional Maize Programme (Thailand), has made significant research contributions in the development of quality protein maize. He has developed breeding methodology for evolving hard endosperm grains similar to normal maize grain, which possesses almost double the quality of two amino acids — lysine and tryptophane. This has improved the nutrition, which has resulted in better general health of people as well as of animals.

Interaction with the scientists of the university, Dr Vasal said maize has great scope and can be the best substitute to rice and wheat under the crop diversification programme. He cited the example of the success of hybrid maize in Thailand, achieved in just 10 years. He emphasised that in order to popularise maize in India, specially in Punjab, better hybrid varieties capable of withstanding heat and water, should be developed. He said we must popularise the fact that maize crop has varied uses, such as fodder vegetables (baby corn) and grain.Back


Mehta’s appointment opposed
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 15 — Mr Narinder Singh Makkar, a former vice-chairman of the Congress (I) business cell, today, strongly opposed the appointment of Mr Parminder Mehta as the president of the Ludhiana Youth Congress in place of Mr Pawan Dewan.

In a signed statement issued to the press, Mr Makkar said Mr Mehta’s appointment had broken the hearts of diligent Youth Congress workers. He said Mr Mehta had been the president of the Ludhiana district unit earlier also but he had been busy collecting money from the workers through his political secretary Mr Paramjit Kohl

Mr Makkar accused Mr Mehta of sowing the seeds of communalism within the party because of his Shiv Sena background which would prove very harmful to the party. He charged Mr Mehta with creating dissensions between the late Chief Minister Mr Beant Singh and Mr M.S. Bitta.

Mr Makkar appealed to the party high command to immediately remove Mr Mehta and appoint some honest and hard working person in his place.



Chattisinghpora victims given relief
From Our Correspondent 

MACHHIWARA, Sept 15 — A Sikh delegation headed by Mr Kirpal Singh Ghumana (Mangat) has recently visited Chattisinghpora in Jammu and Kashmir and distributed Rs 18 lakh as relief among members of families affected during the massacre of civilians.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune here after his return from J and K, Mr Ghumana disclosed that the amount donated was contributed by Sikhs residing in Canada. The relief was delivered in the form of a bank draft to the next of kin of the deceased.

Appealing to Sikhs at Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Chattisinghpora, to live peacefully and amicably with the Muslims, he said history was witness to the fact that whenever a tragedy struck Kashmiri Sikhs, it were the Muslims who lent a helping hand. “Since last two months Chattisinghpora was without electricity. There are no concrete roads and other basic facilities,” he added.

He was accompanied by Mr Sukhwant Singh Sarao, Deputy Director, Rural Development and Panchayat, Patiala division, Dr H.S. Bath, Regional Deputy General Manager, New India Assurance Company, Chandigarh, Mr Harchand Singh Nirwa, XEN, Mr Inderjit Singh Kharaur, MC, Patiala, and Mr Gurpreet Singh Mangat, father of Mr Gurdeesh Singh Mangat, President, Toranto NRI Society.


Ban on Jai Hanuman sought
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 15 — Dr Ambedkar Sangharsh Morcha yesterday demanded a ban on the telecast of “Jai Hanuman” serial because “it depicted Bhagwan Balmiki in a bad light”.

In a press note issued here, the morcha chairman Mr Vir Baleshwar Daitya, said that the depiction of Bhagwan Balmiki in the serial had no historical basis and was totally imaginary.

The morcha has written a letter to the President of India, urging him to ban the serial at the earliest. It also demanded that a representation of the Balmikis be taken on the Censor Board.


People go crazy over expensive watches

Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 15— Not an ordinary watch to watch. It costs, hold your breath, Rs 3.2 million. It is on display in a leading jewellers shop on Mall Road. Obviously not for sale. It is there for attracting people to show them other watches.

It looks well past the days when people used to wear wrist watches for monitoring time. Now it is over to luxury and craze. Most people do not purchase watches for necessity alone. They make a luxury out of it.

There may be the general demand for local brands, which cost a few thousand only, but there is an equal rush for foreign, read Swiss brands. Foreign brands start from Rs 5,000 and jump to a few lakhs.

According to Mr Pradeep Kumar, from the distributors of a brand of Swiss watches in India, after getting a good response from Chandigarh, the company decided to launch the product in Ludhiana. For its influence, Ludhiana was chosen as the priority retail centre in Punjab. Although, there is another retail centre in Amritsar, the company is more optimistic about Ludhiana, for the reason that people here relatively spend more. Flaunting of wealth is a way of life here.

Mr Chanderkant Jain, the proprietor of Nikamal Jewellers, the local retail agents for another Swiss brand, there has been a decisive improvement in the purchasing power of people. People no longer confine themselves to their necessities, but are very forthcoming in spending a few extra bucks, if they get better quality.

For Mr Jain, selling watches is maiden business. For the past six generations, the family has been into the jewellery business. Theirs is probably the first jewellery export house in Punjab, which has been awarded ISO 9002. They have also extended their business to selling watches, besides diamond and gold jewellery.

But the international brand names have in no way dampened the spirit of local watch dealers. Mr Ashok Kumar, one of the dealers of a local brand, claimed, there was an assured market for local watches. He was of the opinion that in a country like India, the percentage of people who can afford watches costing Rs 10,000 or more was too small. Average middle class still opts for average watches, which range, between Rs 1000 and Rs 3000.

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