Saturday, October 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rail roko move fizzles out
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 13 — The much-publicised plan of a number of farmers' organizations to paralyse rail traffic in the district today, in protest against the slow purchase of paddy by government agencies, did not take off as anticipated.

Inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that rail traffic on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore and Ludhiana-Jakhal sections was normal with most of the trains running on schedule.

Traffic on the Ludhiana-Jalandhar section and the Ludhiana-Ambala section was also normal with no reports of any blockade pouring in from anywhere.

Knowledgeable sources, however, revealed that with one of the faction of the Bharti Kisan Unions (BKU) now soft-pedalling on the paddy procurement issue, the farmers' organisations lacked popular support necessary for making a real show of strength.


Porn website: police registers case
Satyam Infoways refutes charge
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 13 — After deliberating on the nuances of the Information Technology Act, 2000 for almost 10 days, the local police has finally registered a case for creating a pornographic website that had cast aspersions on the lifestyles of wards of a number of top guns in the city.

The police has registered a case under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act on the basis of an application submitted by Puneet Singhania, Abhishek Arora, Arjan Soni and Vivek Lakna wherein they had alleged that the controversial website,, was displaying fabricated pornographic information about a lot of people of Ludhiana in different webpages under different derogatory categories.

However, in spite of the police has failed to name any accused in the first information report (FIR) in spite of the fact that the police had earlier claimed that it was zeroing in on the main accused who had created the website. The police had later claimed that they would also make the ISP to the website, Satyam Infoways, a party in the case. But the police has now decided against involving Satyam Infoways in the case.

Meanwhile, Satyam Infoways today washed off its hands from any responsibility for the website being accessed through them and said that the controversial site is not unique to Satyam Infoways Internet access service or for that matter to any other ISP.

Mr. David Appasamy, General Manager, Corporate Communications, Satyam Infoways, has claimed that was simply a website on the Internet that could be accessed by anybody and anywhere with Internet access.

Satyam Infoways also maintains that this website was being run by a group of volunteers in the USA and hosted on a server in Studio City, California. Officials in the company claim that their experts have already helped the police in tracking down the creator of this website to a person named Brar in the USA.

It is believed that the original creator of the website had just suggested the categories for voting and provided different voting booths. It is alleged that all the visitors to the website themselves fed in the names of candidates and voted in their favour.

When contacted, SP (City I) Gursharan Singh Sandhu said the case had been registered on the basis of the complaint sent to the police and after a thorough probe by the investigating officer, the police would fix responsibility.

It may, however, be noted that the inquiry into the case has been assigned to Deputy Superintendent of Police( Headquarters) Gurnam Singh who has been appointed as a the DSP in his own rank and pay as the Inspector. This in spite of the fact that the IT Act clearly states that cases booked under the Act have to be investigated by a gazetted officer not below the rank of the DSP.

Meanwhile, allegations and counter-allegations are also flowing among a few youngsters who have been voted for in the various derogatory categories and a few of the complainants. With no one sure of the real accused, a lot of youngsters are indulging in mud- slinging and beginning to spill beans. One teenager had claimed that one of the complainants in the case had himself launched three voting booths and though they were not derogatory in nature, he had withdrawn these with apprehension of being blamed for the other webpages that were there.


Income tax raids lead to further clues
By Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 13 — Income Tax officials are believed to have stumbled over revealing details about the earnings of a number of doctors in Ludhiana, who are allegedly in league with some leading scan centres for referring patients. Yesterday’s raids at the residential premises, hospitals and workplaces of some leading doctors have reportedly exposed the nexus between some of the doctors and some scan centres.

Details collected by Ludhiana Tribune after the raids revealed that at two of the places, where the IT officials conducted raids, names and addresses of hundreds of doctors were found. These doctors are reportedly getting commission from these scan centres for referring patients for various investigations like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and CT scan.

The IT officials are likely to issue notices to these doctors, whose number has been put at several hundred, for concealing the information that they had been getting commission for referring patient to these scan centres. The names and addresses would be verified and their income tax returns investigated to find whether they had mentioned the income, from the commission they got for referring patients, or not.

The payment of commission to the referring doctors by the scan centres is an established fact. According to the sources, in one of the scan centres a few hundred addresses of such doctors were found, with full details as how much commission they had been paid. The scan centres were reportedly maintaining a separate register where in the record was maintained about the referring doctor for paying him the commission.

While the IT officials were tightlipped over the exact amount or quantity of seizures, Rs 5 lakhs had been reportedly seized from one leading scan centre raided yesterday. The owner of the centre reportedly argued that the amount was accounted and everything was on record. There was some altercation also between the said doctor and the IT officials.

The said doctor while arguing with the IT officials reportedly told them, “if you were keeping an eye on me for the past six months, I was keeping a watch on you for past one year”.

While the IT officials have been maintaining a silence, most of the owners of the hospitals which were targeted in the raids claimed that nothing was seized from their possession which could lead to any action against them. “One of the doctors claimed that the raids boomranged upon the IT officials as they could not find anything they expected”, one of the doctors claimed.


PAU cheated of Rs 35 lakh?
By Surbhi Bhalla

LUDHIANA, Oct 13 — An electronic firm of the city has allegedly duped Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) of over Rs35 lakh. The firm had entered into a contract with the university in 1987 to set up an air- conditioning plant in a laboratory of the college of Veterinary Science, but the proprietor of the firm has reportedly disappeared after pocketing the hefty amount.

Giving details of the scam-commonly known as the AC scam in the university circles- a senior scientist of the College of Veterinary Science disclosed that in March 1987, the PAU authorities had invited tenders for installing an AC plant at the Tick- Borne Disease Research Centre of the College of Veterinary Science. After a scrutiny, the Tender Purchase Committee(TPC) approved and accepted the terms of M/s Jindal Electronics which had demanded Rs 35.40 lakh for the job. It is learnt that the firm concerned made tall claims about its expertise in setting up AC plants. According to the terms agreed to by the proprietor, the firm was to supply quality engineering goods, motors, compressors etc. It was also decided that the proprietor would be paid 75 per cent of the cost of the equipment in advance and the balance 25 per cent would be released to him after the completion of the job and the commissioning of the plant.

Authoritative sources in the university say that the then Vice-Chancellor constituted an expert subcommittee which consisted of qualified engineers of the university. In addition, the university also requisitioned the services of an expert engineer, Mr Ramesh Babu, a consultant of the BM Engineers, Bangalore, to supervise the installation of the plant.

The proprietor got the payments from the university as the engineering goods needed for the plant 
began to arrive. He allegedly managed to get the whole payment from the university and then suddenly disappeared, leaving the job incomplete. The AC plant, according to the sources, never came into operation at the said laboratory.

Well-informed sources in the university said inquiries were conducted at different levels to investigate the scam. The last such inquiry was ordered by the previous Vice-Chancellor , Dr A.S. Khera, who appointed Dr K.S. Salaria, former Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering to conduct a thorough probe and determine the culpability of the persons who were involved in the scam.

On the basis of the preliminary inquiry, a number of employees of the university, including Mr P.S. Bawa, XEN (electrical), Mr D.S Gill, SDE (Electrical), Mr M.P. Singh, Junior Engineer (Electrical) and Mr U.S. Uppal, circle head draughtsman were chargesheeted.

Dr Salaria who submitted his report to the Vice-Chancellor, in Augsut 1995, after considering the explanations of the employees concerned, made some astounding revelations. According to him, efforts to defraud the university had started from the initial stages of the acceptance of the tenders. M/s Jindal electronics had quoted their rates as Rs 24.45 lakh. The tender contained cuttings, over writings and interpolations whereby the word ‘included’ was changed to ‘excluded’ for excise duty and sales tax. This resulted in a loss of Rs 10.29 lakh to the university, the inquiry officer reported.

The inquiry officer also revealed that though the contractor charged the amount for paying excise duty/sales tax on the engineering goods , he never deposited this amount with the government department concerned .

The inquiry officer made another startling revelation in his report that the equipment supplied by the contractor for the AC plant did not conform to the specifications agreed upon. The compressors and the electric motors supplied by him were spurious, old and used ones having different insulations, According to the terms of the agreement the compressors to be supplied should have been of ACCEL/Frick-made. However, the contractor supplied compressors which had the word ‘Sabro’ embossed on them. Inquires, however, showed that the firm manufacturing Sabro-make compressors had not been in existence in the country for the past many years. The EO reported that the expert committee neither checked the warranty cards nor verified the genuineness of the bills before making the payments. The university suffered a loss of Rs 7.80 lakh on account of spurious equipment. The inquiry officer also noted that the payments were released to the contractor well before the expert committee could have a look at the equipment, manifesting that some officials of the university were hand in glove with the contractor.

In accordance with the terms of agreement, 15 per cent payment was to be released after the AC plant was installed. But this condition was waived by the university authorities who released the payment even before the plant was set up, noted the inquiry officer.

Dr Salaria also observed in his report that the contactor had made false claims about his expertise. However, the expert committee failed to detect this fraudulent claim which came to light only after the inquiry had got under way.

On the basis of Dr Salaria’s investigations, the PAU authorities provisionally decided to terminate the services of three employees of the university, namely, Mr P.S. Bawa, Mr D.S. Gill and Mr M.P. Singh since they had failed to discharge their duties properly. However, before the penalty of dismissal could be inflicted, Mr Bawa died away. Subsequently the Vice-Chancellor in an order issued in August 98 decided to stop the next two increments of Mr Gill and Mr Singh since he believed that the main accused in the case was Mr Bawa, who had since expired. In addition to these, the Vice-Chancellor also penalised Mr Jagmohan Singh, Professor of Electrical Engineering with stoppage of one increment with cumulative effect. Apart from these employees two other teachers of the department of electrical engineering had been censured by the VC namely Mr Rajinder Kumar and Mr Dinesh Grover, for the lapses committed by them in the discharge of their duties.

Subsequently, the order of the censure against Mr Kumar and Dr Grover were revoked by the Vice-Chancellor. Inquiries made by this correspondent have revealed that the Vigilance Department of the Government of Punjab is pursuing the case. 


Alert driver averts mishap
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Oct 13 — The alert driver of a good train saved many lives today at the Sirhind railway crossing when hundreds of farmers led by Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, Sirhind, blocked rail traffic in protest against the distress sale of paddy in the district. The level-crossing was closed and there was green signal for the train coming from the Ambala side at that time.

Mr K.S. Kataria, Station Superintendent, said the farmers were survived only due to the alertness of the driver. He said the farmers had committed offence by interfering in the railway working.

Earlier, a large number of agitated farmers and Congress workers led by Dr Harbans Lal, who is on relay fast for the past three days, sat on a dharna on the track. They raised anti-government slogans. The dharna was lifted on the assurance of the ADC (G) and the SDM, Fatehgarh Sahib. 


by Asha Ahuja

THE City is going to witness a festival, meant specially for women the ‘Karva Chauth’. Most of the clubs will organise ‘Karva Chauth’ celebrations. They have issued beautiful circulars to their members and have offered many attractions such as lucky draws, punctuality draws, fancy bangles, bindis, candle stands and tombola. The markets have also perked up. The women have to buy trinkets like bangles, bindis etc and also sarees and suits, to be given to their mothers-in-law, who in turn, will offer pieces of jewellery or clothes to their daughters-in-law.

Halwais are churning out colied ‘sewians’, a must for the ‘sargi’, and mathis.

The farmers of Punjab are in dire straits. The problem is that of plenty and not scarcity. A farmer has already committed suicide. Large-scale rejection of paddy by the procurement agencies has driven many farmers to the brink of disaster and forced them to take recourse to agitation, ‘rasta roko’ etc.

The Prime Minister’s knee replacement surgery by Dr Ranawat, specially brought from the USA, is drawing a flak. The public is of the view that it is a routine operation and that there are doctors within the country who can handle the operation.

‘Astitva’, is a film that will be remembered for the scintillating performance of Tabu. ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hai’ starring Govinda and Sonali Bendre is a remake of Marathi comedy, a comedy, that will bring cheer to the people. Incidentally Mahesh Manjrekar is the director of both the movies.

In the fashion world ‘sequins’ are being stitched at the ends of trousers, on suits and sarees. Coloured sequin, as well as gold and silver sequins, glitter at night. Girls, who have figures to show are wearing short tops and sticking belly buttons in their navels.

For Diwali, some new stores have opened to attract customers. These stores are stocking the latest furniture, crockery, gadgets and artifacts. Moreover, a diamond jewellery exhibition-cum-sale is also on. Inspite of the inflation, more nd more jewellery shops are opening in the Civil Lines and on the Mall Road with their imposing showrooms.

Dengue fever is disturbing the peace of mind of the people and the Municipal Corporation. People have been advised to take precautions to safeguard their health. Prevention is always better than cure.


Melting pot of different cultures
By Minna Zutshi

LUDHIANA, Oct 13 — Ludhiana is fast becoming the melting pot of different cultures. People from UP and Bihar are the most visible non-Punjabis in Ludhiana. Be it agriculture, craftsmanship or teaching — their presence is significant.

People from UP and Bihar are the backbone of our agriculture. They have created a niche for themselves in this field. I cannot conceive farming without them,” said an old farmer who regularly employs more than a hundred labourers from UP and Bihar on his agricultural land.

It is not only agriculture that entices the migrant labour. In fact, craftsmanship comes naturally to them, especially to those from Saharanpur. Beautifully carved pieces of wood work are churned out with amazing ease. At least, it appears so to a casual observer. “But the truth is that behind each item of wood work go years of hard learning and painstaking practice. Only an expert craftsman can design a piece as flawlessly as they can. And we make it a point to train the boys thoroughly first and then to employ them for work,” explained Ahmed, who runs a furniture shop stacked with majestic-looking wooden artefacts.

A relatively unknown but remarkably heart warming fact is that it is the UP Muslims who enliven our Dasehra with their skill and effort. The preparation starts more than a month in advance. They come to Ludhiana and start working on the effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhkaran. “It’s a fairly time-consuming job. Each part has to be worked upon with an eye on detail. The main raw material-the bamboo- is brought from Saharanpur itself, " said a Muslim craftsman whose last assignment was working on the effigies in the Durga Mata Complex, Sarabha Nagar.

The second generation migrants show an amazing affinity to the Punjabi culture. Unlike their parents who can only understand Punjabi or at the most speak a highly accented form of Punjabi, the younger generation is fluent in this language. They are learning the Punjabi way of life fast. But it goes to their credit that they still respect their own culture. Holi, Janamashtami, Dasehra or Divali- the festivals are held in a typical manner.

“How can we forget our own festivals? My mother makes it a point for me to be present whenever she celebrates festivals like Asadhi or Gudiya. I am especially fond of the Asadhi festival. Huge blobs of cow-dung are smeared on a wall. Then the wall is decorated with beautiful drawings symbolising mother goddess. Of course, the tongue smacking ‘puries’ make the festival even more attractive,” said a young girl from UP.

“What I like about Ludhiana is that the city has something to offer to everyone. It is especially heartening to note that illiterate labourers are sending their children to school. Of course, there is a serious problem of unmanageable family size among the uneducated people. But then, this problem is prevalent not only among the migrants from UP and Bihar but also among the uneducated masses from other states,” said a Bihari professional.


Aggressive beggars fleece Ludhianvis
By Deepti Bhatia

LUDHIANA, Oct 13 — The so-called Manchester of India, may soon be renamed ‘the city of beggars’ as an entirely new breed of aggressive beggars is emerging here.

Ghumar Mandi, Sarabha Nagar market, Fountain Chowk, Mall Road, Model Town market and the Chaura Bazaar area are the hot spots of the begging trade. Market goers are mercilessly followed and harassed by them. Baneet, a 19-year-old student narrated her miserable experience at the hands of aggressive beggars. “I had stopped at the signal opposite Park Plaza in my Zen. Soon the beggars started pestering me. When I refused to give them anything, to my horror, they started throwing pebbles at me. Thankfully, before they could do any damage, the lights turned green and I drove away speedily”, she said.

Beggars pester shopkeepers, shoppers and every one who passes by them by. Their favourite targets are sahebs and memsaabs who come in sleek cars. “Usually, they begin with blessings, like — bhagwan tujhe duniya bhar ki daulat de;tujhe chand si bahu mile;tujhe tamatar sa lal lal beta mile;tu first class mein pass ho. But if you ignore them, they let loose a tirade of abuses on you — gareeb ki hai lage;kide parein tujhe;tumhara kuchh na bache;aag lage tumhare ghar parivaar ko”, said Rohini, a housewife.

Sometimes, the beggars turn vindictive and resort to violence. A middle-aged housewife who prefers to be anonymous tells how she was pounced upon by a bunch of persistent beggars who followed her when she was coming out of a shop in Sarabha Nagar market. “As I was about to shut my car door , several hands obstructed my way by holding the door of my car. Some tugged at my clothes. I finally had to give them some money. Only then I was let off”, she said.

Sukhbir, another victim of the begging menace while narrating his experience said, “Once when I tried to shoo the beggars away, they deflated my scooter tyre”. He further said that the civil authorities should do something about it as the beggars were disrupting the peace of the city.


Sending fax through Internet
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 13 — You can send fax from your place, even if you do not have a fax machine. All you need to have is a computer with the Internet connection and a software which will enable you to fax the message. For this, you need not have the STD or ISD facility for sending fax message to far-off places.

Moreover, if you are away from your home, you can go to a cyber cafe, log on to, type your user name and password and send the message.

Several websites enable the user to send fax via the Net. However,the Satyam fax package comes with three types of solutions — e-mail to fax, desktop to fax and web to fax. All these require the use of the Internet connection from any Internet Service Provider (ISP).

In the e-mail to fax solution, fax can be sent in the form of an e-mail and all attachments in the form of illustrations can also go as fax message. In desktop solution, a software is loaded which enables the user to send the message. The software requires the use of the Internet at the time of sending the message. The third solution of web to fax involves the use of Satyam website,, and messages can be faxed from any place in the world.

Says Mr Sanjeev Arora, executive business managing, Satyam Infoway Limited, "Sending messages via fax is a cost effective way. It enables cost saving up to 40 per cent on domestic fax and up to 60 per cent on international fax. For sending fax anywhere in India, Rs 10 will be charged for one A4 size page. For international fax, Rs 25 to Rs 35 will be levied for one A4 size page. Moreover, one need not buy a fax machine."

"Charges are levied only for successful deliveries unlike the while sending messages fax to fax. In the normal fax-to-fax system, the message is scanned twice, once in the sending machine and second time in the receiving machine. However, in net to fax system, the message is scanned just once when it reaches its destination. Less the scanning, more is the clarity of the faxed message," informed Mr Arora.

He said, "The system is also time saving as automatic trials can be made for busy destinations. The SSL (security socket layer) encrypts the message with code so making the message delivery secure and unaccessible by any hackers." 


Shobha yatras taken out
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 13 — Several functions were organised and shobha yatras taken out on the eve of Valmiki Jayanti in the city on Friday. Different factions of the Valmiki community owing allegiance to various political parties organised kirtan darbars, poetical symposiums and took out shobha yatras, comprising band parties, folk dance parties, martial arts and large number of tableaus, depicting scenes from the epic Ramayana.

The Bahujan Samaj Party supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, was the chief guest at a function organised at Daresi Grounds by the District Valmiki Samaj to mark Valmiki Jayanti. Addressing a rally before the commencement of the shobha yatra, he exhorted the Dalits to unitedly fight the battle for equality with the upper castes. He also demanded that the sacred Ram Tirath in Amritsar be named Valmiki Tirath and should be handed over to the Valmiki community for maintenance.

The shobha yatra, which started from Daresi Grounds, passed through main bazars before reaching the municipal headquarters.

Deputy Commissioner S. K. Sandhu and Additional Deputy Commissioner S.R.Kler flagged off the shobha yatra taken out from Chhawni Mohalla by the Bharatiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj (BVDS). They paid rich tributes to Maharishi Valmiki and emphasised the need for imparting quality education to the children of the Dalits so that they could effectively face the challenges of globalisation and high-tech vocational needs.

The Bharatiya Dalit Congress organised an impressive shobha yatra which took off from Jawahar Nagar and passed through Bharat Nagar Chowk, Jagraon Bridge, Clock Tower Chowk, Domoria Bridge, Fountain Chowk and proceeded towards Nav Durga Mandir on Ferozepore Road.

Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Jagjit Singh was the chief guest.

Another shobha yatra was organised by the Bharatiya Valmiki Adi Dharam Samaj, which commenced from Dashmesh Nagar and concluded at Prem Nagar.


My nightmare with

It was one of those days in September that I logged on to the computer to chat. The chatting bug had really bitten me and the most coveted place to chat for the people in Ludhiana was (I seek you) was the most happening place to chat and if you chatted there, you were considered cool. I got myself registered at icq long ago for more than a year now but I had no idea how in the first week of September a mail which I would receive would change my perception of the world of clicks.

Yes that was it. I was chatting with my friends at icq when I saw a URL (Universal Resource Locator) describing that there is a booth for free voting. Checking it, I realised it was from a site and people were asked to cast their votes there. That was the time when I pressed click and, to my surprise, I saw the site of ‘the best looking girls and guys of Ludhiana’. This thing really excited me and I soon clicked on the guy of my choice. I saw the votes increasing every second as people had logged on to the site and were busy clicking to their choices. Much to my amusement, I saw my good friend's name there and clicked a few votes for her. It was all fun. At least that was what I thought was happening because a person could cast any number of votes to their choices.

The next day when I went to school, we friends all had a treat at the school canteen because my friend was the best looking girl of Ludhiana as she had the maximum votes. The thrill had caught us all. We decided that we would definitely cast votes for one another. That night there was another URL waiting ‘the most irritating people of the town’. This was good and we friends again clicked on the people we detested so badly. We had to get back at a few people and this was the best way. We were all so excited because each URL was more exciting than the previous one. We started waiting for more URLs to come.

They did come and brought nightmares for me. The next URL shocked me out of my wits. My brother was on the list of the ‘gays of Ludhiana’. It could not be true. This piece of kitsch devastated me. How could someone do this to him. I knew what the truth was. The next day at school every person had seen it as the fancy of the freevotes had caught everyone. I kept on avoiding all stares and glares. My brother never went to college for all days when the site was on. It had shattered him. He was made the butt of jokes and soon started avoiding everyone. The next URL came and my best friend was paired with a guy of ill-repute and it was called ‘the hottest couples of Ludhiana’. We all knew how she cried and prayed that the sites be removed. The prank continued....

I never touched the computer for the fear of seeing something dreadful where my name would appear. I did not have to wait for it as it came along 'ghatia girls of convent', my classmates and me were the targets this time and much to my horror it was me who topped the charts and I was the 'ghatia girl of the school'. What a disgrace I had brought to my family. My friends all supported me and tried to make me feel comfortable as every person was targeted in one way or the other. The most annoying part of all this was that a person’s name could be anywhere, anyone could create a booth, choose the people they want whose names should be there and play with the names. It was getting too much. One-day I was the 'ghatia girl of convent' and the next day my name was on the most 'innocent girls of the town'.

Rumours started flowing that if you give money your names could be removed from a booth. We all tried to find from everyone we knew whose names appeared on these sites on what to do? No one had a clue about whom should we bribe? But we had too. This was creating a menace for us. We saw our family friends targeted on ‘the worst families'.

Every person we came across was also into trying to find a person who we all could bribe. This was some three weeks ago. But now all this does not affect my family, my friends, and me, as everybody knows that no one has been spared in this. I no longer feel ashamed of myself, when I think about all this, as the world knows that there is no truth out there. The booths that did exist were ‘notorious people of the town’, ‘famous cars of the town’,’ best friends of the town’, people who should be chucked out of the town, lesbians of the town, fukra’s of the town, hottest boy on the gheri, hottest girl on the gheri, gheri freaks of the town, and many other indecent booths about people involved in incestuous relationships.

My sincerest thanks to the Press which have brought this into the open and has put a stop to this traumatic episode which had been going on for the past two months. Now I just hope that the culprits will be found soon.
— A victim


Made for each other
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 13 — Almost all Indian women keep the ‘Karva Chauth’ fast with great faith and devotion. They wait for the fast with much interest. This is the day when even the most modern woman, in her heart feels and re-assures herself about the love, respect and devotion towards her husband and prays for his long life.

The Indian society is considered to be male dominated, where women are supposed to obey the rules and regulations. But there are men who are above all egoistic barriers. Very few persons know that men too keep ‘Karva Chauth’ fast like women to reciprocate the sentiment towards their better half.

Ankit (not his real name), belonging to an upper middle class family has been keeping this fast for past seven years. He argues, with conviction, “if my wife can keep the fast for my well being, why can not I reciprocate the gesture? I think the real ‘made for each other’ couple is the one which has mutual respect and love for, and faith in each other. Even my wife tells me not to keep it but I know that in her heart she likes it. I have great respect for her sentiments”.

Pawan’s case was slightly different. His wife was expecting her child and she was in the advanced stage of her pregnancy. Her doctor advised her not to keep the fast as it might lead to some complications. However, she was reluctant to act upon the doctor’s advice. Pawan was lucky enough to convince his wife. He revealed ,”she was in a real bad state at that time. I kept the fast in her place. It was a loving and touching experience. Everything went out well. But I did not leave the fasts. It has been four years since, I have been keeping the fasts. I feel that our relationship has become more stronger now”.

Some men keep the fast to give company to their wives. Pritam informed in a lighter vein, “I keep this fast and give my wife company. At least she does not lose her patience. She too enjoys it when I am with her”. Vikram has his own point of view for keeping the fast. He said, “a real ‘made for each other’ couple is a combination of two equal as well as opposite forces, which maintains the balance. We are equal as well as opposite and we love each other very much”.

Sunil, a bachelor, has been keeping this fast for the last two years. He is doing it because he wants to marry the girl he loves. But his parents are against the marriage and he said,” I have faith in God. I am keeping the fast just to get my love”. The modern Indian men seem to have become mentally and emotionally too much attached to their wives. They respect their feelings. They have been keeping this pious fast to show that they love, care and share everything in life with their wives. 


Women gear up for Karva Chauth
By Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Oct 13 — A two-day fete on the occasion of Karva Chauth was opened at a leading beauty parlour here today

A variety of products from leading stores of the city were displayed in the fete.The spokesperson of the parlour said that in the fete gold and diamond jewellery stalls were included along with the day-to-day use products. A special package for women from head to toe services was introduced, which included the facial, bleach, manicure and pedicure, hair styling. He informed that the shopkeepers were not charged anything for the stalls. The participation was free of cost just to give extra advantage to clients. The main attractions were gold and diamond jewellery stalls, leather goods stalls and home goods stalls.

The Lakshmi Ladies Club also started a three-day Karva Chauth Mela yesterday.

The club presented an admixture of traditional and ethnic look with over 40 stalls of various things installed on the club premises. The club had specially invited 32 girls who were applying mehandi on the hands of club members and guests.

The goods at the stalls include bed covers from Calcutta, traditional suits from Jaipur, candles and diyas, eco-friendly plastic bags and various handcrafts and paintings.

Mrs Jaggi Walia, president of the club, disclosed that the club had arranged free eatables, ice cream and mehandi stalls for the members. Mrs Nisha Aggarwal, treasurer, said the club was giving free cosmetics kits to its member. Students of Ek Prayas (the school for mentally challenged kids) had put up a stall which displayed various items namely candles, pots, diyas, shagun envelopes made by them. Mrs Pawan Sabarwal, secretary of the club, said that the club was planning to arrange a special programme for kids in November.


Redress grievances, police told
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Oct 13 — The district police today organised a police-public interaction programme at the Sirhind police station under the community policing scheme initiated by the DGP, Punjab, to strengthen the police-public relations.

Addressing the gathering, Mr H.S. Saran, SSP, said the campaign had been launched to improve the image of police as well as to develop coordial relations between the police and the public. He said the police was for the public and there should be no apprehension about the role of the police. He said all police personnel in the district had been directed to respect the public and to redress their grievances. He said indiscipline and the misbehavior would not be tolerated. He urged the people to give true information to the police and to cooperate with the police. He assured the gathering that the life and property of the citizens would be protected at every cost.

Earlier, Mr Surjit Singh Sahi, district president, Arhatiya Association, highlighted various problems of the public relating to the police and traffic in the district. He urged the police to form police-public committees to further strengthen the relations. Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, president, Rice Millers Association, Mr Devinder Singh Pappu, a senior Akali leader, Mr Varinder Takyyar, bank’s union leader, also highlighted problems of the public.


Govt schools to remain closed on Karva Chauth
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 13 — The local Education Department has declared a holiday on the occasion of Karva Chauth which falls on October 16 in all government schools here. The offices will, however, remain open. This holiday has been declared in lieu of the earlier declared holiday date of October 28 which falls on fourth Saturday when schools remain closed.


Traders against ST at first stage
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 13 — The Punjab Government's reported move to introduce sales tax (ST) on steel at the first stage will sound the death knell of hundreds of steel rolling mills in Punjab that are already passing through bad times. The increase in prices of furnace oil, diesel and minimum charges of electricity have already eroded the profit margins of the industry.

These views were expressed by the representatives of various steel rolling industries of Khanna and Mandi Gobindgarh.

Mr P. D. Sharma, president of the APEX Chamber of Commerce and Industry, speaking on the behalf of industry said,"The Finance Department of the state has recently proposed to impose sales tax on iron and steel at the first stage. It means that cost of raw material will increase resulting in less working capital and increase in the cost of finished material by about 5-6 per cent. Though the government is reported to be offering reimbursement of the tax amount for prepared intermediate goods. ’’

But the nature of Punjab industries is typical, widely decentralised, making number of iron and steel products. At present, there is no sales tax on exports. Secondly, number of industries are exempted from sales tax. Consequently, no set off can be availed in these cases, he added.

It may be mentioned that there are about 500 steel rolling units in Khanna and Mandi Gobindgarh. They are totally dependent on other states for raw material, furnace oil, coal, labour and other raw materials. They supply material to the bicycle and engineering industries of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar. A large part of production is exported to the other states.

Mr Harmesh Kumar Jain, general secretary, Small-Scale Steel Re-Rollers Association, Mandi Gobindgarh/Khanna, stated that the prevailing rate of half-inch-thick iron rods in Delhi was Rs 15,000 per tonne. Whereas the ex-factory price of it in Punjab was Rs 14,300 per tonne. The recent increase in furnace oil prices, transport cost, minimum electricity charges, revision in minimum wage rates and 2 per cent CST make it rise to Rs 15,089. The proposed sales tax of 4 per cent will increase the costs by Rs 600 per tonne. He asked in this scenario how the industry could survive what to talk of its development or increase in tax collection.

He lamented that while the other states were giving various incentives to the steel rolling mills but the state government was forcing them to close their units by burdening them with taxes. He warned the state government that if the anti-industry policies continued they might be forced to shift to other states

Mr Chanan Singh Matharoo, senior vice-president of the All-India Steel Re-Rollers Association, was of the view, "by March, 2000 the whole industry will come under the VAT system as per WTO provisions and we will have to open import and export of the steel. We are trying to prepare ourselves for the challenge that we would have to face. The government, instead of helping the industry, is rather imposing more and more tax burden.’’

Mr Anil Suraj, vice-president of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, Punjab said, "We are not so much afraid of global competition as we fear the corrupt and ever harassing tax inspectors of the state."

Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, president of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, expressed the fear that this tax would hit the cycle and engineering industry which should not be loaded with avoidable taxes.

The industry representatives urged the government not to impose any such tax. Rather an independent commission should be formed to revive the industry, they demanded. 


PSIEC fails to fulfil promises
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 13 — In a memorandum to the Chief Minister, the Knitwear Club has alleged that industrialists are grappling with problems as a consequence of poor planning and lack of foresight on the part of Punjab State Industries and Export Corporation Ltd (PSIEC). The problem is further aggravated due to the unhelpful attitude of the PSIEC.

Mr Vinod K. Thapar, president of the club said Punjab State Industries and Export Corporation Ltd had invited applications for allotment of developed industrial plots at focal point, phase VIII, Ludhiana. A brochure was circulated at that time by PSIEC, promising would offer a life-time opportunity to come and set up industry in this fully planned and developed estate, central business centre, collective effluent treatment plant for small scale industries, provision for 3 star hotel, centralised product display and trading centre, convenient shopping areas in each sector were also promised. Other infrastructure promised included banks, hospital, R and D centre, weigh bridge, petrol pump, public transport facilities, fire station, police station, maintenance and break down services. The efficiency of PSIEC could be judged from the fact that out of 15 facilities they were supposed to be provide at phase VIII not a single promise had been fulfilled.

PSIEC stated in their brochure “the large engineering wing manned by skilled and committed engineers has vast experience in developing industrial estate. One can be assured of an industrial plot that has been developed to the highest civil engineering standards and investment in safe hands, PSIEC being state government undertaking.” Regarding this, Mr Thapar mentioned that today roads were in a bad shape and were flooded with sewer-water, street lights were not working and water supply was erratic.

He claimed the main attraction of phase VIII focal point was the provision of common effluent treatment plant for the polluting industries. Till date PSIEC had taken no steps to construct the effluent treatment plant, the plot for that purpose was lying vacant. Plot holders of phase VIII had applied for NOC from pollution department to start the construction on the plot and fulfil other formalities of different government department but the same was rejected on the ground that “sewerage system of the area for disposal of trade effluent had not been completed and commissioned.”

On one hand, PSIEC was running away from their responsibility of providing common treatment plant for trade effluent and on the other they had obtained the power under clause 21 of base deed agreement that no effluent of industrial waste would be permitted to discharge in the sewer. Under such circumstances what should an industrialist do? he asked. Also, without providing any facilities PSIEC was imposing heavy penalties for non-construction and late payment. This had even led to default in meeting export targets by many exporters as their plans failed . He asked the Chief Minister to direct the PSIEC to fulfil its promised responsibilities as early as possible. 


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