Tuesday, October 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Mela mafia active under police protection
From D.B. Chopra

LUDHIANA, Oct 2 — The festival of Dasehra symbolises the victory of good over evil. It was on this day that Ravana, the incarnation of evil, was killed by Lord Rama. But all the modern-day evils, from pick-pocketing to cheating and from eve-teasing to extortion, are taking place in the various Dasehra melas being organised all over the city these days in connection with the approaching festival.

These melas, which are organised by the seasonal Dasehra committees, are proving great fares for the mela mafia that has virtually taken over the city in a bid to mint as much money as possible with the help of the police. The task of the mela mafia has been made easier with the district administration choosing to keep mum over the issue of skill games being organised in these melas. 

Last year, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Goel, had prohibited skill game stalls in these melas. However, it is another matter that the ban was flouted with impunity allegedly with the connivance of the police even then. (The picture accompanying the story shows a ring stall in the foreground with some people trying their skill was taken in the Focal Point mela last year). The Dasehra mela at Jamalpur, Focal Point, believed to be the second biggest after the one at Daresi Ground, provides an interesting case for study. 

Besides the usual merry-go-round, the death well and the stalls selling eatables, toys and other items, it plays host to a large number of sly operators who are on the lookout for an easy money hunt. The man at the rifle shooting stall where children come to enjoy the fun of bursting balloons with their shots would not tell how much they have paid to the organisers. But informed sources reveal that the amount involved is upwards of Rs 20,000.Similarly, other stalls have also been let out at hefty amounts of money, especially the swings, the ring stall, the magician and the variety show that is a great money spinner because of five dancing dames employed by it. It is a 15-minute show ticketed at Rs 10. The stage has been fitted with plywood props to give it the appearance of a huge TV set where a live Chitarhaar is presented. The viewers are a mixed lot: migrants and locals, teenagers and the middle-aged and the tipsy and not-so-tipsy, all huddled together on chairs. Sources inform that every night there is a brawl or a fight between the boisterous all-male crowd. The whole show is being managed by a tough-looking old Bai from Delhi. Next to it is the ring stall doing a brisk business. 

Virtually nobody is able to satisfy the stall runners to claim any prize. The victims are mostly children and young boys. The mela is very well lit-up at night with all those bulbs and tubelights but in a dark corner near the variety show there sits a couple of mufatwars who lure innocent children into their trap with their doctored lottery charts with one of them posing as a customer. They go on fleecing the children while the cops passing by turn a blind eye to the dubious proceedings. There are others of the kind who are constantly on the prowl, allegedly hand-in-glove with the cops on duty. According to informed sources, the amusement mafia would be doing a business worth crores of rupees in the next 10 to 15 days, part of which goes to various police functionaries as protection money which means the police would turn a blind eye to whatever is happening on the mela premises. For example, when a cycle stand employee starts bashing a customer for paying Re 1 less than what is asked, any cop standing nearby has to march to the other side of the mela. Apart from the protection money, the cops on duty also go from stall to stall on a collection spree. 

Cases of blatant eve-teasing are also ignored by the cops as invariably the teasers are none else but the men employed by the mela mafia who are emboldened by the presence of a friendly police force. There are nearly a score of such melas going on in the city, including two in Focal Point at Daresi Ground, in Kitchlu Nagar, Upkar Nagar and Simlapuri. No doubt, these melas are in keeping with the aspirations of the people but can't we avoid the evils currently afflicting them?


WTO agreement — a challenge to Punjab economy
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 2 — With the agreement on agriculture as part of the multilateral trade negotiations coming into force, the agrarian economy of Punjab faces major challenges. Certain changes in the policy are urgently needed in order to accept the new challenges that stare the agriculture sector. Recently, a research paper was prepared by Dr. Joginder Singh, Professor and Head, Department of Economics and Sociology, PAU, on “Performance of World Trade Organisation: implications for a surplus agrarian state’. The paper discusses the major provisions of the agreement — where do we stand in respect of these provisions; what has been our performance since it was affected; and how we should adjust ourselves to the new world scenario.

Food security being the most important element on which social and political stability of a poor country depends, production is encouraged through price support policies. But now dumping of food and food products in the developing countries has created a sense of insecurity amongst farmers. This has happened in case of wheat and skimmed milk powder which entered the country to the tune of 1.5 mt. and 18,000 tonnes, respectively, in 1999 giving a severe hit to the domestic production sector.

Dr Joginder Singh says that no significant increase in world trade in agriculture has taken place despite this agreement, although it was earlier believed that the highly protected economies would open up resulting in increase in prices in the international market and thus benefiting the agriculture based economies. He feels that the developing countries should be allowed to raise tariff so as to protect their producers and the developed countries should lower the tariff and encourage more free trade. He says that dumping has to be curtailed through effective anti-dumping measures.

However, the economies of agriculturally surplus states like Punjab and Haryana are more likely to receive a severe jolt. Punjab is one of the smallest states but contributes about 10 per cent of the total agricultural value output of the country.

It is felt that the flow of exportable potential over the deficit parts of Indian economy requires long-term policy measures. Dr Joginder Singh suggests that the production of agricultural commodities over and above the domestic needs has to be matched.

The cost of freight, market charges, local transport and handling need to be subsidised, especially for export purposes. This would help the state agriculture in being competitive with the other producing countries and help maintain a comparative advantage. Facilities like setting up of dry port with integrated cargo handling cold storage and refrigerator transport; marketing cells for providing information on different consuming and producing countries; technical knowhow regarding production, processing and marketing of exportable goods by the government; and export oriented units for processing various agricultural commodities need to be set up at the earliest.

In spite of increasing opportunity of agricultural products, there is increasing stress on sanitary and phytosanitary measures to protect human and animal and plant health. Quality consciousness requires strict legislations and improved processing and packaging facilities. There is also an urgent need for strict agro-climatic regional planning. The areas having potential for production of different commodities should be earmarked and their production and marketing should be encouraged in such areas.


‘No need to privatise PSEB’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 2 — The country has witnessed the debacle of power sector reforms that have been thrust upon it by the World Bank and despite failure in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh the Ministry of Power is bent upon extending these to the entire country through the Electricity Bill-2000. Privatisation is no panacea for the ills of the state electricity board, rather the state government should lend support to the board’s measures to curb the menace of power theft while giving it full autonomy. If the government wants to provide free electricity to the agriculture sector, the board should be duly compensated. These views were expressed by the speakers in a seminar on “power sector management in Punjab: scenario and challenges” held here today in Punjabi Bhavan. The seminar was organised by the PSEB Engineers Association. About 250 participants representing engineers, industry and agriculturists were present on the occasion.

Speaking on the power scenario in Punjab, Mr G.S. Sohal, Chairman of the board said, “Power demand in the state is increasing by about 8 to 10 per cent every year. To keep pace with the rising demand, additional power to the tune of 400 to 500 MW was required every year. However, because of poor financial health and other constraints, it was not possible for the board to enhance the supply substantially.

Mr N.S. Vasant, former chairman of the board, stressed the need to rationalise the tariff and to inculcate a spirit of discipline amongst the staff and develop consumer friendly culture in the functioning of the board. He observed that instead of dismantling the boards and fragmentation of the state power network into multiple companies the emphasis should be on professionalisation and improvement in management.

The President of the PSEB Engineers Association, Mr Manjeet Singh Bajwa, was of the view that the primary reason for the poor financial health of the board was that more than half of the energy available for sale within the state earned zero revenue. He alleged that during the year 1998-99 out of 23000 mus available for sale nearly 7500 mus were shown as ‘free’ agricultural losses and about 4200 mus were projected as energy lost in transmission and distribution system.

In a separate interview to the TNS he said the association, representing 2500 state engineers was committed to provide better services to the consumers by strengthening consumers awareness movement. Seminars, workshops and continued dialogue with them was part of the process. He agreed that in a developing welfare state like India agriculture subsidy was a reality. But the boards can be compensated through government support and higher charges on domestic and industrial sector.

Prof Jagmohan Singh, President of the Association for Democratic Rights, Mr P.D. Sharma, President of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Jagjit Singh Hara, a farmers’ representative, and others also expressed their views in the seminar. 


YC activists burn copies of Spokesman
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 2 — Youth Congress activists today called for a ban on Sachi Sakhi , a book written by former ICS officer Sardar Kapur Singh, which carries comments against martyrs Bhagat Singh and Lala Lajpat Rai. The party organised a protest march from the District Congress Committee (DCC) office to the Clock Tower chowk where, led by Mr Pawan Diwan, Chairman of the Urban Development Cell of the Indian Youth Congress, the YC activists burnt copies of a Punjabi monthly magazine, Spokesman, which carried excerpts from the controversial publication Sachi Sakhi in its October issue.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr Pawan Diwan demanded that a criminal case should be registered against the Editor of the magazine and the issue carrying derogatory remarks against the martyrs be confiscated. He further warned that a state-level agitation would be launched, if the government failed to take action within a week.

"While a person like Mr Kapur Singh had committed an act of treachery by questioning the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh and Lala Lajpat Rai, the Editor of Spokesman had virtually put all Punjabis to shame by carrying a similar article, just to boost the sale of his publication," Mr Diwan observed. He urged the government to take serious note of such provocative and communal writings.

Prominent YC activists Mr Gopal Monga, Mr Sumit Batish, Mr Akshay Bhanot, Mr Sudhir Syal, Mr Jasbir Singh, Mr Sukhdev Neeta, Mr Karan Walia, Mr Mukesh Lamba, Mr Jaswinder Grewal, Mr Gurdip Garcha were among those present on the occasion.


Youth Congress, Janata Dal (S) protest against petro price hike
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 2 — Youth Congress workers, led by the District Youth Congress President, Mr Parminder Mehta, took out a demonstration to protest against the massive hike in prices of cooking gas, petrol, diesel and kerosene here yesterday. Carrying ‘angeethis’, many of the protesters were riding mule carts to drive home the point that cooking gas and petrol were becoming out of reach of the common man. The procession started from Ghas Mandi Chowk and went up to Clock Tower Chowk where a rally was organised.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Mehta made a scathing attack on the anti-people policies of both the central and state governments. He asked the Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to withdraw support to the NDA government in protest against the oil price hike and to ask the SAD minister in the Union Cabinet to resign. Moreover, he asked the state government to provide relief in taxes on petroleum products to offset the hike.

Describing the price hike as a gift to the masses during the festival season, the DYC President observed that the direct and indirect effect of the increase in oil price would be rise in inflation and prices of all essential commodities. Mr Mehta lamented the fact that the SAD-BJP combine, which claimed to champion the cause of farmers and weaker sections was in fact systematically working to annihilate the economically weaker sections.

He further announced that a large number of party activists would reach Delhi on October 3 to participate in a national level dharna, being organised by the Indian Youth Congress at Rajghat to protest against the hike.

A former Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Mr Harnam Das Johar, senior YC leaders, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka and Mr Ishwarjot Singh Cheema, also addressed the rally.

The Punjab Youth Congress today organised a special meeting at its Civil Lines office to consider ways and means of strengthening the party and to expose the “anti-people policies” of the Centre and the state government.

Mr Sunil Puri Shammi, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, Mr Sunil Kapoor and a few other leaders took part in the meeting. While addressing the meeting, the leaders said that all efforts were being made to strengthen the Congress party at the ward level.

They said that they planned to request the party high command to give more representation to the youth in the next general elections. The Congress leaders said that some corrupt persons were misusing the Congress name and that strict action would be taken against the culprits.

Meanwhile, the Janata Dal (Secular) Punjab also lambasted the central as well as the state government for their anti-industry, anti-trade, anti-farmer and “above all anti-people policies”.

Mr Harish Khanna, the party President, in a press release criticised the state government on the paddy procurement front saying the government’s dithering on lifting of paddy from the state markets had forced the farmers to sell their produce in the open market at Rs 350 to Rs 400 per quintal, against the procurement price of Rs 540 per quintal.

He said both the state and the central governments were doing very little to intervene and help the farmers by issuing suitable directions to the procurement agencies.

Castigating the Central Government, Mr Khanna said the people of Panjab were going to be affected by the increase in the prices of petroleum products as all raw materials had to be transported from distant states which would affect the cost of most end-products, he added.

With the implementation of the WTO regime and the opening of 714 items for import under the OGL without any quantitative restrictions, the market for domestic agriculture and industrial products stood considerably eroded, he observed. The small-scale sector of the state which contributed largely to its economy, was fighting a losing battle against the onslaught of higher excise duty and sales tax on raw materials and finished goods and cheap imports through dumping methods, he added.

Mr Harish Khanna said that the present rise in prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas would only add to the woes of the people of the state coming on the heels of the recent hike in power tarriff and sales tax.

He urged upon the Chief Minister, to exert maximum pressure on the Centre to immediately withdraw the price hike. In case he failed to get this demand conceded to by the centre, he should not only withdraw support to the NDA government but also resign on moral grounds. He suggested the Chief Minister should make a suitable reduction in the sales tax on petroleum products which will marginally reduce the impact of the price-hike.

Mr Khanna stated that all state parties sans the Akali Dal and the BJP will hold a joint rally and demonstration at Matka Chowk, Chandigarh, on October 6. He appealed to the people of Punjab, especially the farmers, to reach the rally venue in large numbers to “wake the state and Centre Governments on the issue”.


Dry day orders violated
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 2 — The observance of dry day on the birth anniversary of Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi was violated with impunity here today.Liquor flowed freely as almost all liquor vends remained open. The scenario was in sharp contrast to previous years when violators of the directive used to sell liquor through small windows. This year, however, the vends remained defiantly open like normal days. While AETC (City) N.S. Brar could not be contacted, sources revealed that the directions to observe dry day are included in the Excise Policy and it is known to the liquor vend owners . They said no special directions are given on the day.

Though there are rules to challan any vend violating the directive, till evening no report about such action came. Sources said that the Excise Department had decided to be lenient with the vend owners as due to rampant smuggling of liquor in the city, the licensed vends had suffered huge losses. The department, too, was apprehensive of losing license fee next year. The dry day has been observed since Independence on Gandhi Jayanti as a tribute to the great Leader of the freedom struggle whose opposition to liquor and all other kinds of intoxicants was well known. 


The Seven Sisters 

The present series, ‘The Seven Sisters’, should not suggest that only seven daughters of Ludhiana qualify to be included in this series of write-ups.

Who am I to decide who is fit and who is not? As I prepared a list of the ladies on the basis of their legacy, work and service, the list grew. But there is no doubt that many more who qualify may be included in it.

The seventh sister is Bibi Amarjit Kaur. She was born in 1910 in a family of progressive farmers of Sudhar. She was married in her teens. The families nearly matched in status, land-holdings and social background. Whereas Amarjit Kaur had modest education, her husband did masters in both Persian and Philosophy, one of the few to do so from the clan of peasants and farmers. Her husband was Sher Singh, who later became a college lecturer in the Department of Public Instruction of Punjab Government. The couple complemented each other perfectly. Prof Sher Singh went to England to obtain the highest degree in research. He returned home with a PhD degree from London University in the late thirties.

This further cemented their conjugal relations. A foreign degree then had ruined many happy homes. But in her husband’s absence, she looked after the children.

As a testimony of her quality academic atmosphere at home, the elder son, Gurbhajan Singh Dhaliwal, was selected for a most enviable engineering career in the Indian State Railways (ISR). A repeat performance was given by his younger brother, Harbhajan Singh. Both worked at the famous Chitranjan Locomotives (West Bengal) and both rose to become Chief Engineers. The daughter was married to a brilliant young man who retired as Commissioner, IRS.

This simple but progressive lady created harmony at home. Her devotion to her husband was never at the cost of her children and vice-versa.

Dr Sher Singh wrote letters in Punjabi from several countries of Europe to his wife, from time to time. She read, re-read and kept them respectfully as well as carefully wrapped is silken-scarves. The letters were edited and published by her as pardes yatra, the only book of that genre in Punjabi literature, to-date. Once their pet dog, Tiny, died. In compassion, Dr Sher Singh wrote a poem which was published in Preetlari. Bibi Amarjit Kaur would often recite it from memory with the pride of being its first listener. The couple exchanged pleasant jokes. Dr Sher Singh loved neatness. She provided it. He loved good food, she cooked. He researched, she helped. He had his personal library, she maintained it professionally. He avoided people who wasted time, she handled them with a matching tact. She was shattered after the accidental death of her husband and that of her daughter, Ravi. But recovered through her faith in God. Death, to her looked like a golden key to eternity. The couple had christened their home as Charhdi Kala — meaning a spiritual abode. She recover from the shocks and tragedies. She celebrated her husband’s birthday (February 3) to heal her wounds. She too died recently. She was a perfect housewife and an excellent mother. (Concluded) 


When Ludhiana tasted freedom for 2 days
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Servicce

LUDHIANA, Oct 2 —Like uprisings in the whole country, the great revolt of 1857 swept parts of this district as well. Said to be the country’s first struggle for freedom from the British rule, the movement, however, lasted for a few days and could bring freedom for two days only.

The rebellion, in fact ,did not arise from the city. Kabul pensioners, Kashmiri shawl workers, Gujars, Baurias and other communities were weak and not united.Though the British forces were not present in large numbers, rebels from Jalandhar raised the banner of revolt against colonialism in this part of Punjab.

According to references in several history books, C.H.M. Ricketts was the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana. He had at his disposal a weak force of 3rd Native Infantry which consisted of 130 men of all ranks.

Sensing trouble, he sent the Britisher’s treasure to the Phillaur fort, where it was lodged under Her Majesty’s 8th Foot. The British forces began patrolling the borders of the district during night. The worst fears of the British were regarding the possible revolt from the native soldiers. Historians have recorded that though there were rebellious elements among the native soldiers, they could come together and plan something drastic against the British rulers.

It was the uprising in Jalandhar that sparked off incidents of violence against the British in this district. The mutineers from Jalandhar and Phillaur had begun collecting near the Sutlej. A British force and regiments from the Nabha province set out to meet the mutineers at the river.

A fierce encounter ensued. In spite of being in small numbers, the freedom fighters defeated the British in all departments and killed many.

“Then, the mutinous regiments, no longer obstructed or opposed swept on to Ludhiana on June 9, 1857 ”, records the Ludhiana Gazetteer. On their entrance into the city, Indian soldiers, formerly fighting for the British joined them. Soon local citizens, Kashmiris , Gujjars, Syuds, Mohammadens and Kabulis joined the revolt. Several British officers and their families were killed. The Indian soldiers were in total control of the district.

The locals were, in fact, already against the British and were led by Maulana Shah Abdul Qadir, who worked up anti-British feelings against the colonial rule. The Maulana was later hailed as the leader of the revolt in this part of the country.

The excitement and celebrations, however, could last for two days only. In their hurry to leave Jalandhar, the mutineers had taken blank cartridges with them instead of the balled cartridges. Whatever fit ammunition they had was soon used. In the absence of proper planning, the soldiers were rendered helpless not only to annex more territories from the British but also to save themselves.

According to the book ‘History of the Indian Mutiny’, written by Kaye and Malleson, the strategic mistakes of the mutineers of facing shortage of ammunition and then instead of trying to regroup and equip proceeding to Delhi brought their downfall. The book mentions that from the British point of view, the damage suffered was small in comparison with the possible danger they had escaped.

The success of Indian soldiers here could well have changed the course of revolt. The book says that the loss of this important city lying on the strategic high road from Punjab to Delhi would have death a heavy blow. It says that the success of the mutineers could have ruined the British hopes of recapturing Delhi. Instead of strengthening themselves, the mutineers merely carried themselves off to Delhi only to swell in large numbers without increasing their actual strength.

V. D. Savarkar historian and freedom fighter argues that had the mutineers managed to hold the Ludhiana fort it would have been a great strategic and moral advantage. The fort was key to Punjab and Ludhiana it had already been established as the centre of revolution in North India. He adds that the orders issued from the revolutionary headquarters in the Red Fort at Delhi to Maulana Shah Abdul Qadir to reach along with the troops to Delhi immediately also was a strategic mistake.

The British forces that had began collecting fast cashed on these mistakes and plundered the city and killed anyone raising revolt against them. The British even fined the city Rs 55, 294, supposed to be collected from the residents.

The British even razed to ground all native houses within 300 yards of the Lodhi Fort in order to ensure safety of the fort in future. The houses were searched and all civilians were disarmed..

Soon after the fall of Delhi and the arrest of King Bahadur Shah, Maulana Abdul Qadir took refuge in Patiala. The British shortly announced general amnesty for all mutineers. At this the Maulana returned with his family to the city after spending little over an year in asylum.

He was accorded a warm welcome and the family soon regained its old popularity and social eminence. This perturbed the British who jailed his three sons and confiscated his property, including the revered Masjid-do Manjil. However, the Punjab government and the Government of India did not approve of the step and the Maulana’s family was soon released. The Maulana later died a peaceful death in the city.


351 widows get relief 
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 2 — As many as 351widows of the city were given relief in the form of ration and other items of daily use at the 38th monthly widow pension distribution programme held by the Gyan Sthal Mandir Sabha here yesterday.

Mr Sat Pal Gosain, Deputy Speaker, Punjab, who was the chief guest, asked the people to donate liberally to the cause of widow relief and to make the programme launched by the sabha a permanent feature of the city.

A special feature this month was the participation by some businessmen from Jalandhar city who had come to attend the function after reading about it in the newspapers. Mr Krishan Lal Gulati said he would donate Rs 500 every month to the sabha for carrying out the noble work.

The Senior Vice-President of the temple sabha, Mr Arun Jain, told that the sabha would marry off two poor girls on October 15. The sabha was arranging for a free homoeopathic dispensary, free ambulance service and a computer course in the near future, he added. Prominent industrialists of the city were present in strength on the occasion.


Tributes paid to Father of the Nation
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 2 — Gandhi Jayanti and the birthday of Lal Bahadur Shastri were observed by Congress activists with traditional devotion and commitment to the cause of the people. The partymen, led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, MP and Mr Surinder Dawar, President, District Congress Committee (DCC) took out a padyatra from DCC headquarters to Town Hall, where floral tributes were offered to Mahatma Gandhi.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Ghalib exhorted former countrymen to always remember great sons of India like Mahatma Gandhi and the former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, who had taught the people of India to live with the head held high all over the world. While the peaceful struggle carried out by the father of the nation against tyrannical British rulers to achieve independence of the country was unparalleled, a simple and down-to-earth man, Lal Bahadur Shastri had made invaluable contribution for reconstruction of a modern India.

Fancy dress, poetry recitation, declamation and mono-acting competitions marked the Gandhi Jayanti celebrations at Everest Public Senior Secondary School here on Monday.

Over 75 students participated in the fancy dress competition. Saurav who dressed himself like a doctor stood first, followed by Madhav, who acted like a model. In the poetry recitation competition, Damanpreet stood first, Priya Bhanot was declared second, while Rupali stood third. In mono-acting competition, Amardeep who highlighted problems of oldage, stood first. Ruchika Mittal and Neeshu stood first and second, respectively, in the declamation contest.

Gandhi Jayanti was celebrated here on Monday by the Block Congress Committee at the local Congress bhavan. Ex-Minister and Member of Parliament, Mr S.S. Dullo, while paying homage to Mahatama Gandhi said that the teachings of Mahatama were relevant even today.

A function to commemorate Mahatama Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri was organised at Manjit Nagar. Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, MP, Mr Harman Das Johar, Mr Surinder Dawar, Mr Parminder Mehta, Mr Sushil Malhotra and Bibi Gurnam Kaur along with other leaders garlanded photographs of Mahatama Gandhi and Shastriji.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Ghalib said that Gandhiji’s non-violent path had shown us the way to rise above the narrow considerations of caste and religion. If we walk on the path shown by Gandhiji, we could strenghten secularism and democracy. Mr Parmanand Mehta said that if we give attention to the message of Gandhiji and Shastriji we can strenghthen the unity of our country. He appealed to the youth to be ready to take up cudgels against anti-national forces threatening the secular and democratic fabric of our country. Mr Surinder Davar stressed that it was very important to keep alive the memory of freedom fighters.Back


12 kg of poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 2 — The Sadar police has arrested a woman and seized 12 kg of popy husk from her possession.

According to information available, Karami, a widow and resident of Talwandi village, was arrested during a routine patrolling by the police.

The accused has been booked under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Two arrested
The police has arrested two persons in separate incidents and recovered a kamanidaar knife from both the accused. While one knife was recovered from Gobind, presently residing in the hutments along the railway station, another knife was recovered from Jinder Yadav. In both cases, the accused have been booked under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

Car stolen
A Maruti car (PB-10L-0105) was allegedly stolen from outside Gurdwara Alamgir on September 25. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered on the complaint of Mr Gurmit Singhat at Mirado police post.


Roadside tailors barely make a living
By Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA: Who is an entrepreneur? A person who undertakes a job on his/her own. We have been talking about women entrepreneurs who have made it good. But there is another breed of entrepreneurs, unsung, unappreciated, yet working quietly and with dedication in adverse situations, earning a meagre sum.

This is the sixth write-up in the series on such entrepreneurs.

Oct 2 — “Tailor maketh a man,” it is often said. It can be said of the tailors of Bond Street, London, or the tailors of haute couture. But the tailors by the roadside can hardly make two ends meet even after working for eight to 10 hours a day under cramped conditions. Facing the soot and grime of the moving traffic, which effects their eye and probably the whole system, they have no choice but to work, in order to feed their families.

Ram Babu, from Unnao, needed only a sewing machine, cost merely Rs 650 and a plastic sack to keep the clothes, both stitched and unstitched — all that was required to start his venture. Since he makes only Rs 50 to Rs 60 a day, he cannot afford to buy extra zips and reels of threads. He is only 27 years of age but has an attitude of an old man. His lifestyle doesn’t permit him to have any time for leisure. He works for eight hours. For the rest of the time he is buying daily groceries and cooking his meals,” This sums up my life. I live here without my family, without any comforts. Since I am sitting on a highway, I do not get many orders. The bhaiyas (migrant labourers) give clothes for mending and sometimes I get new clothes to stitch. I have resigned myself to my fate.”

Ram Babu, from Kanpur, bought his sewing machine for Rs 1200, sits on a plastic sheet made of cement floor boris and a sack to keep clothes. Since he is on the highway, he has a floating clientale, the bhaiyas. He seemed to have resigned himself to the maxim, ‘what cannot be cured must be endured’. He makes Rs 70-80 per day. “I stitch trousers and shirts for Rs 120 a pyjama kurta for Rs 35. I can stitch blouses and petticoats too. My biggest problem is the municipality. They come and pick up our machine and clothes. Then we have to go and pay about Rs 200-300 to them. Is this justice? We are not asking the government to help us get good jobs. We are self-employed and we have our own dignity. We are sick of this routine of the municipality coming every other day to harass us. I think I will go back to Kanpur for I am tired of this harassment. When the government cannot give us any jobs then do they have any right to humiliate us? We are reduced to a state of beggary before the officials of the Municipal Corporation.”

“What will you do there?”

“I will join some tailor, and if I cannot get a good boss then I will go back home till my land. “He says dismally.

It is not surprising that as we go into the interiors, the rates of the roadside tailors increase. Daya Ram’s wandering spirit brought him to Ludhiana. He charged Rs 120 for stitching a pair of trousers and a shirt and Rs 70 for a set of kurta pyjama. “These days we are facing a slump. So my day’s work involves repairing old clothes and stitching a few new clothes. After putting in hard labour, I make about Rs 1500 a month. I cannot afford to see a movie for neither do I have the time nor the money and inclination. My wife died due to a disease and my only daughter, seven-year-old, lives with my brother in the village. So why should be we harassed.” is the MC listening?


Computer exhibition concludes
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 2 — IT@Punjab 2000, a two-day exhibition organised by the Association of Computer Entrepreneurs (ACE) at the Ludhiana Stock Exchange concluded today. More than 50 companies, dealing in computer hardware, software, internet services and web-designing from all over Punjab put up their stalls.

Dealers of various computer hardware companies like Compaq, Hewlett Packard, HCL, Zenith, IBM and Macintosh as well as two local companies, Offshore Informatique Limited and Medi Digital, offering training in medical transcription were also there. Compact discs (CDs) on education, games, songs, movies and other subjects were available at various stalls. Several web-designing companies like justpunjab.com and ludhianabiz.com had participated with a view to promote their websites.

Local dealers of several software manufacturing companies like Wings 2000 and JMC Softwares, selling basically accounts softwares, said they got a good response at the exhibition. Autotex 2000, Delhi-based manufacturers of CAD and CAM textile-designing software, displayed the technique of designing software digitally. Glide and Satyam, internet service providers, had come up with new packages. Several finance companies offering zero interest schemes on computers also participated.

Mr N.S. Dhami, vice-president of ACE said, ‘‘With over 10,000 visitors to the exhibition in two days, we got a vey good response. Earlier, we had organised an exhibition in which only the Ludhiana-based IT companies participated, but for the first time we had companies participating from all over Punjab. A couple of companies from Delhi and Haryana also took part.’’

Ms Sumedha, a BCA student, found the exhibition very informative. ‘‘I did not know that so much related IT was happening in the city,’’ she remarked. 

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