Friday, September 29, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Gloom descends on Gurcharan’s village
By Kamal Kishore Shankar

ROREWAL (Ludhiana), Sept 28 — Gloom descended on this small hamlet as the news reached here that the local lad Gurcharan had lost under the most unfortunate and unprecedented circumstances. Most people in the village had gone to nearby Machhiwara town about 7 km from here as the people were not sure about the light. But they returned quite disappointed.

However, behind this gloom there is a mild consolation that Gurcharan did not lose in actual terms. “He lost technically”, most people fail to understand here. “If Gurcharan did not win, he did not lose either”, says his 80-year-old grandfather Kesar Singh a retired army Havaldar Kesar Singh appeared disappointed, but at the same time he is proud of his grandson, Gurcharan, “who did not lose at any stage”, although he could not win the medal, he says regretfully. So does the entire village speak in unison. The entire village was preparing to celebrate Gurcharan’s return with a medal. But the fate willed otherwise.

Gurcharan belongs to a family of service personnel and ex-servicemen. Most of the male members have made their mark in wrestling at the local level. Gurcharan was the first to switch over to boxing. And he never lagged behind in the bouts. But he lagged behind in luck.

It was a momentous event for the family. Kesar Singh led his four of the five sons Capt Jagir Singh (retd) (Gurcharan’s father), Capt Pritam Singh (retd), Amrajeet Singh a retired Havaldar and now a the village sarpanch and Jasdev Singh the president of the Machhiwara Truck Union to Machhiwara to see their son bring honours for the country and also for the family. The fifth son Dalbir Singh, who is working in the Chandigarh police was watching his nephew fighting at Chandigarh only.

The women who included the elderly grandmother Bhan Kaur, the mother Sukhwant Kaur and aunts were praying at home. The prayers did not pay off. Although Gurcharan did not lose, he did not win either. Rather, he was made to lose in the ultimate outcome. But neither the grandmother nor the mother appeared to lose heart. Both of them hoped that Gurcharan would perform better in future and would definitely win a gold medal in the next Olympics by the grace of Waheguru.

In almost each of the 150 households in the village, there are at least two persons working in the Army. Most of the villagers have migrated here at the time of partition and do not possess much land. Army service is the most easy option for the villagers to earn their livelihood. Besides, the most of the villagers have been good wrestlers. ‘Mulkraj Akhara’, a leading akhara in the area is the most frequented place.

Like most of his family members Gurcharan was earlier a wrestler only. However, when he joined the Army in 1992 he opted for boxing. Since then he has never looked back. The list of honours and medals is too long. These include gold medal in Junior Asian Games held at Pintoung in Taiwan in 1995, gold medal in South Asian Federation Games, Madras, in 1995, gold medal in Ninth Mayors’ Cup held in Philippines in 1996. It is here that Gurcharan had defeated Asian Games gold medallist and qualified for the Olympics. Another gold medal he won in the President Cup held in Indonesia in July 1997. The list is too long and yet, unfortunately, slightly short of an Olympic medal.

It is not just the family of Gurcharan that has been placed into the gloom. The entire village shares the disappointment. In true spirit of pastoral brotherhood that is a common feature in the countryside, the entire village descended on the house of Kesar Singh to console over the disappointing moment not alone for the family, but for the entire village.

The villagers are disappointed and angry as well. Swaran Singh (76), said. “I had gone all through to Machhiwara to watch Gurcharan’s bout on TV. It is gross injustice that Gurcharan was made to lose for so- called technical reasons”, he said with anger in his tone. Swaran Singh feels that the government should not let down Gurcharan and encourage him so that he performs better in future.

Other villagers like Dr Manjit Singh and Jagdish Kumar, a farmer supported his argument saying that the government should honour and encourage him. Because his performance has been as good as that of winning. “Because Gurcharan did not lose”, is the common refrain everybody this reporter talked to.


'Produce according to market demand'
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 28 — ''Punjab have to move from protective to competitive environments in order to compete in the world market'', says Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, former union minister.

He said this while speaking in a dinner meeting organised at Punjab Agricultural University to honour Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, the man behind the Green Revolution in rice farming.

He said that Punjabis had the capacity and competency to maintain their lead in agriculture as well as industry but they have to change the orientation due to globalisation. We have to produce according to the needs of world market and have to maintain high standards. So far the emphasis was on quantity but now we have to take care of quality also,'' he remarked.

He pleaded with Dr Khush that although he had done a great service for revolutionising the rice production in the state, he should also guide for future planning of Indian agriculture.

Dr Khush promised all help to Punjab for developing agriculture. He stated that there would be substantial increase in rice production in the state within two to three years. He stated that a new plant type popularly known as super rice developed by him has the yield potential of at least 25 per cent more than the existing varieties. He had also developed new high yielding dwarf varieties of basmati rice. These varieties when adopted would certainly double the yield of basmati rice in the state and would boost the economy of the state because basmati had great export potential.

Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor of the university, promised that the university would strive hard to direct research activities as per the requirement of the state for developing agriculture.


Shobha yatra marks Navratras’ beginning
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 28 — The first Navratra marked the return of festive life in megacity, which had otherwise came to a standstill during the last fortnight of shradhs. As the days are supposed to be auspicious, other activities have also returned to the routine.

With the marriage season already arriving, the businessman are back with their new venture, which they had to hold for 15 previous days. Ramlilas at various venues in the city, have started which will continue for nine days and conclude with Dasehra. Maa Durga is worshiped along with Lakshami, Kali and Saraswati in each house in the city.

A shobha yatra was organised by the Durga Mata Mandir trust to mark the beginning of Navrataras. A colourful tableau decorated with flowers and balloons was prepared for the occasion. 


Probe ‘clears’ PAU scientists of plagiarism
By Surbhi Bhalla

LUDHIANA, Sept 28 — The inquiry instituted by the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University in June last year into the allegations of plagiarism against two senior scientists of the Department of Entomology has reportedly exonerated them.

It may be recalled that, Dr Darshan Singh, Head, Department of Entomology, wrote to the VC on June 2 last year that a preliminary inquiry conducted by him had proved that two teachers of the department, Dr G.S. Dhaliwal, Prof, Ecology and Dr Ramesh Arora, an entomologist were “indulging in serious acts of scientific corruption or plagiarism during the performance of their official duties.” He added that the cases of plagiarism had been put forth to him “by some seniors serving as well as retired faculty members.”

Dr Darshan Singh reported to the Vice-Chancellor that the teachers concerned had got some research papers published as co-author in the Journal of Ecology though they had contributed nothing to the authorship of these papers. Dr Darshan Singh, therefore, requested the VC to order a regular inquiry into the matter for further action.

The teachers concerned — Dr Dhaliwal and Dr Arora denied the charges vehemently and termed these as fabricated and mala fide. Dr Dhaliwal said the charges had been framed against him to intimidate him since he had challenged the appointment of Dr Darshan Singh as Head of the department in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Dr Arora had been implicated since he was his close associate. The two teachers said Dr Darshan Singh was not competent to conduct any inquiry — even preliminary — against them according to the rules of the university.

The VC ordered a regular inquiry by appointing Dr K.S. Sekhon, the then Additional Director, Research, as the inquiry officer to investigate the charges against the two teachers.

The inquiry officer is reported to have come to the conclusion that the charges levelled against the teachers could not be substantiated.

Dr Sekhon who is now working as Dean, Postgraduate Studies, told this reporter that the main authors of all the four research papers had made written depositions to the VC that both Dr Dhaliwal and Dr Arora had made substantial contribution to the publications of the research papers.

One of these authors, Dr Jatinder Pal Singh Bhattal, who is now working as an Entomologist in Geraldton, Australia, wrote to the Vice-Chancellor that Dr Darshan Singh by levelling substantial charges against a man of Dr Dhaliwal’s stature had not only insulted him but also lowered the image of the. - PAU.

It is learnt that the report of the enquiry had not been made available to the two teachers. They rued that their reputation had been sullied without asking for their version and explanation.

“Now that the inquiry has exonerated us, the authorities have quietly shelved the report without letting anybody know about its contents,” the two teachers said.

“Justice demands that the university should inform the public at large through the media that the charges levelled against us have proved to be utterly baseless,” demanded Dr Dhaliwal.

A senior official of the university, said it was a lapse on the part of the university that a copy of the inquiry report was not given to the teachers concerned.


Gujral should pay house rent: Oberoi
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 28 — The father-in-law of the UT Home Secretary Mr R.S. Gujral, Mr Surjit Singh Oberoi, has written a letter to his son-in-law to pay the rent of a house occupied by Manpreet before marriage and retained after the wedding at the insistence of the Home Secretary.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Oberoi revealed that his son-in-law had asked Manpreet not to vacate the house so that they could stay there till the time a government accommodation was allotted to him.” We retained the house, but Mr Gujral has neither paid the house rent, or the other bills, which have now been forwarded to me,” he revealed.

“I have now written a strongly worded letter to Mr Gujral and asked him to accept his responsibility and pay the bills,” he revealed.

Mr Oberoi said he was in regular touch with Manpreet over the telephone.” She is still in a state of acute depression and had asked me to send her medicines. She has been recommended to stay on in the USA for another month as she is under observation. However, she is herself adamant on returning here at the earliest and clearing her own as well as the family’s reputation that has so callously been ruined.”


Festive days are here
By Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Sept 28 — The city is agog with excitement. The Navratras have arrived and Daresi ground in the walled city is the hub of excitement and hectic activity. The mela there is now full with exciting rides like a Merry-go-round, a giant wheel, rotating chairs and swings of different shapes and sizes. Five thousand to 7,000 persons have been visiting this mela every day and from today the crowds are expected to reach the figure of 10,000.

The most fascinating thing in the mela is “Maut Ka Kuaan”. One might have seen two motor-cyclists going round and round, but in this, a Maruti car and four motor-cycles go round and round with their hands extended out. The hands are kept away from the handle bars and the steering wheel. The scene makes the crowd shiver.

A new sport introduced at the mela is a kind of water sport in which. People go down a serpentine slide deep into the water. It is proving to be a novelty. All games in the mela are popular as the tickets are priced at Rs 10 except for the water sport which costs Rs 15.

Ram says, “This water sport is quite safe unlike, the Hardy’s World where two persons were drowned. There are numerous stalls selling eatables. A few stalls offer Khurja pottery. One can also buy trinkets like necklaces, ear-rings etc.

Mohan Singh, a stall owner at the mela says, “The fair begins at 4 p.m. and closes at 11.30 p.m. Though there are jostling crowds, but no unruly behaviour takes place. The police is managing the crowds very well”.

This reporter met a team of 15 artisans led by Ishtiar Kamal preparing effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarana, Khar Dushan and Meghnad. These artists come every year from Muzzaffarnagar. They have to work day and night for a month to make the effigies.

Hari Mohan says, “Earlier my father used to come to this fair. Now he is old, so I come instead. The art of making these effigies comes to us naturally. We enjoy being here.”

“How do you make the effigies?”

“First, we make bamboo structures. Then we tie these with thick thread. We cover these structures first with brown paper and then with coloured paper. Next we embellish these with silver, gold and black motifs. We have to make about 100 such pieces. Then we tie up the whole structure and a day before Dussehra, we pitch it in the ground. We leave an opening where we stuff crackers. The night before Dussehra, we have to be very vigilant for someone may set the effigies on fire.”

“Have things changed over the years.”

“Yes”, says Randhir. “The images are becoming bigger. Earlier we used to make only one effigy of Ravana, but now we are making many more. Besides Kumbhakarna and Meghnad, we are also making an effigy of Srupnakha. The Ramlila organisers are asking for more figures. This year we have created antelopes, a jatayu and a crow”.


Move in circles as you eat
From A Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 28 — It is not exactly the first, but the first one in Ludhiana. It is a four-storey revolving restaurant. After some initial problems with the municipal corporation, and the people of the locality, it has finally become functional.

People love a novelty. So the novel restaurant and all its floors remain packed with customers while some still wait for their turn.

It has five levels (that is how they describe the floors). The first level has a lobby with a beautiful chandelier. The second level has two banquet halls that can be made into one, if needed. The games plaza on level III is meant for children with games of different kinds which are also affordable.

Mr Avinish Bhalla, who is in charge of the place is pleased with the response of the people. “The restaurants can accommodate only 70 persons, and it takes one hour to take a full circle. So the others have to wait in the lobby for their turn. Since the waiting would not have gone well with the clients, we did not do any publicity. But we are getting popular.”

In the restaurant, the interior has been done in pastel colours and diffused lighting. Mr Bhalla says they have so kept the revolving speed that people do not feel sick due to the movement of the restaurant. The two waiters who serve the customers find no difficulty in walking around in the restaurant. “it is no problem, we feel quite comfortable”, they say.

Some of the diners found the place quite attractive, but one of them pointed out that the carpet on the stairs needed to be changed.

Mr Bhalla says they are planning to improve the ambience by installing a waterfall on the terrace and laying turf grass.

A diner, who was there with his family, said they liked the place. The prices were competitive.

According to Mr Bhalla, the place is popular with students. They hire the halls for their birthday parties and other functions.


Docs seek action against ex-MP
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 28 — The district unit of the PCMS Association has condemned the threats by the former MP Mr Kamal Chaudhry to the Civil Surgeon, Hoshiarpur and alleged trespassing his home at night.

Dr Hardeep Singh, president and Dr Balwinder Bawa, general secretary of the district unit of PCMS association, took a serious note of the incident at Hoshiarpur in which Mr Chaudhry had allegedly trespassed into the house of the Civil Surgeon, with his body guards. The ex MP had also allegedly forced the Civil Surgeon to conduct the postmortem of a dead body at night.

The PCMS leaders said, according to the rules, this was a serious interference in the duties of a Civil Service Officer. Post-mortem should be done in the daytime only. Such attitude could not be expected of a responsible person of a democratic country. Civil officer could not give justice to the common man under such threatening circumstances.

The leaders of the association have urged the Chief Minister to take strict action against Mr Chaudhry.


PAU employee placed under suspension
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 28 — A senior assistant, K.L Babbar, working in the office of the Director of Research in Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here has been placed under suspension on charges of misbehaviour, indiscipline and insubordination.

In a charge sheet signed by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K. S. Aulakh, Babbar has been told that he was assigned the additional duty of looking after the work of another assistant from May 21 to May 28. "However, due care was not given by you to this work and the work of this seat suffered badly, " says the charge sheet.

In addition, Babbar has been charged with dereliction of duty. He has been told that he was asked by the Director of Research, Dr M.S. Bajwa to attend office on any two holidays in July.

However, it is further alleged that instead of obeying the orders, Babbar walked into his office and started arguing with him using derogatory language. He is accused of telling Dr Bajwa "You do not deserve and justify the position of the Director of Research". The charge sheet says that the incident took place when three employees of the university were present in Dr Bajwa's Office.

In his reply, submitted to the university authorities, Babbar has denied all the charges. He has emphasised that he has unblemished record of 31 years of service during which his services were appreciated by all officers, including Dr K. S. Aulakh with whom he worked for over six years . Besides, he says that the additional work assigned to him by the Director of Research was promptly and honestly attended to.

During the period he was assigned additional duty, he was also ordered to go to visit the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to know the latest position regarding the upgradation of some teachers of the university. Babbar has contended that had he not been considered dependable, he would not have been deputed for such an important assignment .

Babbar has refuted the allegations of misbehaviour with the Director of Research saying that the remarks attributed to him were never made by him. He has submitted that he politely requested Dr Bajwa not to assign him any duty on the holidays since he had already made arrangements for the celebrations of his 30th wedding anniversary during the days mentioned above. 


Raj Babbar launches
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 28 — To meet the growing demand of Punjabi singers and Punjabi music worldwide, a site which can promote and simplify this business was launched yesterday., an e-directory of Punjabi singers, lyricists, music directors and recording studios designed by Artcave web designing company, was formally launched by Raj Babbar, noted film actor and member parliament, at Guru Nanak Dev Bhavan yesterday.

Addressing the gathering, Raj Babbar said: ‘‘With the launch of this website, the business of Punjabi singers will flourish further. Middlemen who take away a major share in the process will no more be required as the singers will now be available via the site’’.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, a former Union Minister, said Punjabi music was already popular worldwide but with the launch of the website Punjabi artists would also gain popularity. Dr Surjit Pattar, renowned Punjabi poet, said, ‘‘The website has reduced the distance between singers and their audience making them just a click away.’’

About his site, Mr Swaranjit Savi, director of Artcave, said: ‘‘The site gives complete profile of the Punjabi singers along with their tastes, work, postal and e-mail address. An e-mail account has been created for all those singers who did not have it earlier. We will use the postal services to send all the messages of the singers received on their account. Telephone calls will be made to convey urgent messages.’’

Giving more details, Mr Savi said, ‘‘The site also gives historical perspective of the singers beginning from the Rigveda, sufiana music, ghazals, folk music and the latest pop singing. It gives complete information on non-percussion music. Besides, it gives articles by some music directors and professors of music. Till date, details of Punjabi singers can be had from the site and within a week the number will be raised to 115.’’

Mr Savi said he would be earning through advertisements of latest releases of Punjabi music in the form of banners on home page of the website and would be charging Rs 1000 per week of display of the banner.

Over 40 Punjabi singers, including Pammi Bai, Wadali brothers and Kuldip Manak graced the function and each of them sang a song.


All set for Gurmat Samagam
From Our Correspondent

RATWARA SAHIB, Sept 28 — Preparations for the 10th annual Gurmat Samagam at Ratwara Sahib being organised by the Vishwa Gurmat Ruhani Mission Charitable Trust, Ratwara Sahib, are in full swing. The four-day congregation will start tomorrow.

The samagam will be held under the supervision of Sant Wariyam Singh. Bhai Lakhbir Singh informed, ‘‘Renowned sants, intellectuals and yogis will address the congregation, highlighting the philosophy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib by sharing their experiences on self-realisation’’. About 10 to 12 lakh devotees are expected to take part in the gathering.

To accommodate the devotees, a 600 ft by 250 ft pandal has been erected At least 150 close circuit television sets will be installed. The whole area of the gurdwara will be connected through intercom.

Special arrangements for round-the-clock langars have been made. Efforts are being made by the organisers to ensure that the devotees do not have to wait for their turn. The Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences and doctors from Yoga Rishikesh will provide free medical facilities to the devotees.

Separate tents for males and females, cordoned off by snake trenches, have been erected in the complex.

A large number of devotees are expected to arrive from foreign countries, especially Canada, the USA, England and Australia. For the foreign devotees, separate arrangement has been made in front of the gurdwara and about 40 rooms reserved for them. Apart from the local arrangements, other gurdwaras, school buildings and bhavans have also been reserved to lodge devotees coming from far-off places.

The kar sewaks are working round the clock to give finishing touch to the beautification of the gurdwara. The kar sewaks have already constructed a 1,600-foot road. Special parking and lighting arrangements would be made for the occasion. Sites would be earmarked for the vehicles coming from various parts of the country.

Sant Wariyam Singh Ratwara Sahib, Sant Mohinder Singh Khannewale, Sant Bhupinder Singh Jarag, Sant Sadhu Singh Sangrur, Sant Kalian Das Singh Anandpur Sahib, Sant Dhanwant Singh Gurdaspur, Sant Hari Singh Randhwaile, Sant Sarbjot Singh Bedi, Dr Ved Bharti Rishikesh, Swami Pritam Joti Hari Shri Amritsar, will enlighten the audiences through Gurmat thoughts. 


Turban tying competition
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 28 — To discourage the practice of hair-cutting amongst the Sikhs, a turban tying competition was held at Gurudwara Shahidan Pheruman, Dholewal Chowk here today. Over 100 boys from various schools participated in the competition.

Harpreet Singh of Sargodha Khalsa Co-education School won the first prize and a cash award of Rs 1100. Sheetal Singh of Dashmesh Senior Secondary School stood second and was given a cash prize of Rs 500 and Karamjit Singh of the same school was declared third and was given a cash award of Rs 300. 


ASI denies eve-teasing allegation
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 28 — The Assistant Sub-Inspector, who was formerly in the security of former Union Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal has claimed that he was innocent and was instead caught in the crossfire between his friend and the latter’s foe. ASI Birbal, who has recently been transferred to Ludhiana, clarified that the allegation about his being caught eve-teasing and subsequently being thrashed by an irate cloud was baseless.

“I was returning back home from the Field Ganj locality on the night of September 26, when I stopped by at Church Chowk near Christian Medical College and Hospital in order to meet an old friend, Christopher, who was staying in a hostel there. While the two of us were talking outside, Ravinder Sharda, a clerk in CMC and his brother- in- law, Anil came from the opposite side on a scooter. Christopher and Ravinder had been on poor terms for quite some time and he also knew that I was in the police from the time that my wife had been hospitalised in CMC for treatment,” he said.

He said Ravinder also knew about his friendship with Christopher and thought that I had been approached by the latter to settle his score with Ravinder. “The two persons ran towards me and I too got scared and started running. While running, I got hold of a rod and it was only in my defence that I wielded the rod at the two men. During the scuffle with Ravinder, I hit him.”

He said in the meantime, a few people gathered on the spot, dragged him to a vacant plot near St Thomas School and beat him up.


Couple crushed under bus
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 28 — An elderly couple was crushed to death by a bus near Hotel Gulmohar on Ferozepore Road here last night.

Atma Ram and his wife Ramesh were killed by a private bus while they were crossing the road. The police has registered a case under Section 304-A. The driver of the bus has not been arrested so far.

Nickle stolen
Nickle and a few copper wires worth Rs 60,000 were stolen from a factory in Dhandari Kalan. The complainant, Tejwinder Singh, the owner of a cycle spare parts factory, has alleged that someone scaled the walls of his factory and fled away with the goods.

One arrested
Pradeep Kumar was arrested by a team of the anti-goonda staff led by SI Gurpreet Singh for playing satta. A sum of Rs 640 was recovered from him and he has been booked under various sections of the Gambling Act.



Octroi post looted
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 28 — Three unknown, armed persons are alleged to have looted a Municipal Corporation octroi post on the Lohara-Daba road, past midnight on the intervening night of September 26-27.

According to the information available, the three persons pushed their way inside the octroi post while the clerk, Mr Surinder Kumar and a peon, Mr Prithvi Raj were alone there. It is alleged that the three barged in brandishing knives and in a fit of rage, broke all the window panes. They are also alleged to have wrecked the computer kept at the octroi post.

Later, the assailants took away cash amounting to Rs 1,765, the driving licence and the identity card of Mr Surinder Singh. They are reported to have made good their escape on a motor cycle. A case under Sections 382, 427 and 34 of the IPC has been registered at Sadar Police Station.

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