Wednesday, November 8, 2000,
Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Crime rate in city on the rise 
Unplanned use of ground force to blame
By Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, Nov 7 — The crime graph in the city has continued to show an upward trend during the past couple of days, courtesy the lack of planning in deploying the working ground staff.

Though there is acute shortage of the actual ground force, with only 508 Head Constables and 2385 constables, it is alleged that the problem in manning the innumerable entry and exit points as well as keeping in check the burgeoning floating population in the city lies more with making the best use of the available strength at the ground level.

Of the two ranks of Head Constables and Constables in the Ludhiana police district, around 150 personnel from the Ludhiana force are serving with those officials who have previously had a posting here and another 150 are believed to be working as security guards with the VIPs, with around 200 working as security at the houses of various police officers and civil administration staff.

Other than this, 75 personnel help in household chores and in doing the paper work of the police officers stationed here and another 100 are on deputation to the neighbouring police districts of Khanna, Jagraon and Ropar, which fall in the Ludhiana police range. Around 25 to 40 personnel belonging to these two categories of employees have allegedly also been illegally provided as security to a chosen few.

The trend of giving promotions in their Own Rank and Pay (ORP) to the various ranks in the force has also added to the problem of lesser ground force for controlling the ever-increasing crime. Of the 189 sanctioned posts of Assistant Sub-Inspector in the police district here, the total number of ASIs in the district is 321. Of these, 184 Head Constables have been given ORP promotions as ASIs.

Informed sources in the police department reveal that in several police stations, there are more ASIs than Head Constables. As a result, work suffers with regard to patrolling and laying of nakas in the areas falling under each police station as not many Head Constables are available.

On the other hand, the Head Constables promoted to ASIs on ORP basis are neither capable of doing investigations, nor are they allowed to handle several cases of serious nature. An ORP promotee ASI, with his own rank being that of a Head Constable, can only investigate cases under the Excise Act.

Other than this, the number of SPOs and Punjab Home Guards (PHGs) employed on an ad hoc basis in Ludhiana has also come down. During the past two years, around 500 personnel belonging to the above-mentioned cadres have left their jobs.

There has been a spurt in the number of armed robberies, murders, kidnapping and thefts this year, besides other local and special crimes. In spite of the efforts made by the local police by intensifying its night dominance, the desired results could not be obtained and the police was unsuccessful in solving many of these cases.

This year alone, seven cases of armed robbery, allegedly by members of criminal tribes in and around Ludhiana, have left 12 persons dead and around 25 injured. Several cases of murder, kidnapping and theft too have remained unsolved.

Alarmed at the situation, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, has taken certain administrative decisions in order to chalk out a plan for a more stringent night dominance to ward off any untoward incident in the future. In a meeting of all gazetted and non-gazetted police officers convened by the SSP yesterday, it was decided to deploy most stationary staff three days a week for night dominance here, increasing the city’s active ground force.

The police band staff, employees of the District Police Office, sportsmen in the force, office staff of all GOs as well as the personal security staff of all police officers in the district will now be engaged for regular night patrolling three times a week. It was felt that by increasing the number of ground force, the local police would be better off in laying nakas at all strategic entry and exit points in the district. The police also placed the Anti-Fraud Staff at the disposal of the SP City I, Mr G.S. Sandhu, till the time the chances of attack by criminal tribes was less.



More and more migrants taking to crime
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 7 — Increasing involvement of migrants in heinous crimes, including murder, kidnapping, abduction and rape, is a major cause of concern for the police here.

Between January 1 and November 5 this year, there have been at least 17 cases of murders involving migrants and 10 of kidnapping, abduction and rape.

Ludhiana is no exception. The situation is no different in other towns, including Chandigarh and Panchkula, where the spurt in incidence of urban violence has shown increased involvement of migrants.

Two major incidents of heinous crimes, including a double murder at Sahnewal and killing of a police constable in Gandhi Colony here, during the past five days have brought into sharp focus the inability of the police to contain this growing trend of urban violent crime, involving migrants. The police officials are feeling concerned as use of firearms has been on the increase.

"Once petty criminals, including thieves and burglars, become armed with firearms and lethal weapons, they become a major threat to law and order. Besides organised gangs, most of the cases of urban violent crime involve migrants who are first-timers in crime. After committing the crime, they disappear leaving no clues behind," confess police officials.

Investigations reveal that migrants involved in heinous crime were broadly from four categories — industrial workers, domestic help and servants, farm workers and members of notorious gangs of criminals.

Of 48 cases of heinous crime reported in Ludhiana police district alone, more than 60 per cent cases are still at investigation stage where no arrests of identified suspects could be made.

The Ludhiana district police chief, Mr Kuldeep Singh, admits that involvement of migrants in urban violent crime has been on the increase. "Incidence of urban violent crime has gone up in the localities which are either adjoining localities and colonies of migrants or are being served by migrants."

The most disturbing trend, besides murders and robberies, has been abduction of minor girls, says Mr Kuldeep Singh.

Most of the urban violent crime committed by migrants was targeted against their "affluent local targets". But there have been several instances in which the rivalries amongst migrant families themselves were the root cause of the incidence of crime. In one such case reported from Takhran village, one migrant labourer clubbed his accomplice to death with an iron rod. This incident took place in January.

At present, the number of migrants may be slightly more than 5 lakh, meaning that almost every fourth inhabitant of this industrial town is a migrant.

On July 3, some unidentified persons entered the house of Mr Jagdish Singh at Mundian village and killed his mother by smashing her head with iron roads and decamped with gold ornaments and cash. Same month, Mr Bharpur Singh of Humayunpur reported that some unidentified people came to the house of Mr Karnail Singh and murdered him with sharp-edged weapons besides injuring his wife and decamped with valuable household items.

On the night intervening August 6 and 7, unidentified assailants entered the house of Mrs Anjali. Her husband was seriously injured after attacked with a brick. The assailants escaped with gold ornaments and other valuables.

The double murder at Sahnewal on the morning of November 2 created a scare in the district here.

The murder of the constable Jasbir Singh for whatever reason, say the police officials, was a dare act of deviltry and defiance of the law. Elsewhere in Punjab, the police officials say, there are organised gangs of tribes of criminals who have been responsible for at least 20 cases of killing of occupants of houses burgled or robbed by them.

One of the trends in recent spurt of urban violent crime has been nursing of grouse by migrants employed as domestic help or servants or even workers at their farmhouses or industrial units. In one such case reported in February this year when 13-year-old girl Bimla was stabbed to death by Shankar of Bihar.

In yet another case, a housewife, Mrs Malti, aged about 35, was allegedly done to death by Babblu, the servant, and his accomplice.

An infant Gurjot Singh of Dhandran was reportedly done to death after he was kidnapped by a domestic help, China Pandit.

These cases of murder apart, there have been numerous instances in which attempts to "murder" their victims were made by migrants. In one such case reported from Model Town locality, a domestic help reportedly tried to poison all members of the family of an industrialist. At least five members of the family had to be hospitalised for several days. The domestic help, however, disappeared immediately after the incident.

In yet another case, domestic help or servants tried to kill the houselady by hitting her with blunt weapons in Sant Fateh Singh Nagar in June this year. In yet another case in April, domestic help tried to strangulate the housewife of Bhamian village.

The police officials also hold the civilian population responsible to an extent. "Whenever we appeal to the general public to get their domestic help, servants or even their employees at farmhouses or industrial units registered with us, they oppose it. The main culprit, the police officials maintain, is the housewife, herself. She does not want to lose her mundu or bahadur or Gorkha but cries hoarse when the same person makes an attempt on her life or decamps with valuable household items." 


No erosion of BJP electoral base in Punjab: Kohli
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 7 — The BJP general secretary and in charge of Punjab affairs, Mr Om Parkash Kohli, today claimed that there was no erosion in the electoral base of the party in Punjab and propaganda to this effect was politically motivated by opposition parties to create confusion. Talking to mediapersons here, Mr Kohli, who had recently been nominated the new in charge of the Punjab affairs in place of Mr Narendra Modi, said his priority would be to strengthen the party base in the state and to fully involve the grassroots- level workers in the organisational affairs.

Mr Kohli was given a rousing reception on his arrival at the local railway station by party workers. The State BJP President, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, Deputy Speaker of Punjab Assembly, Mr Sat Pal Gosain, almost all BJP ministers, including Mr Balramji Das Tandon, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Mr Tikshan Sood, Mr Manoranjan Kalia and many other office-bearers of the party were present at the railway station to accord a welcome to Mr Kohli on his maiden visit to Punjab after taking over his new responsibility.

He said efforts would be made to make the organisation an effective tool for better coordination between the party and the government and to initiate a process for permanent settlement of pending demands of Punjab. Asked on his party’s stand about free power to the farm sector in Punjab, which was being opposed by several other sections of the people. Mr Kohli remarked that he would make an in depth study of the matter before making any comments. “However, at the moment I can only say that the state economy is predominantly agricultural and in the larger interests, others may have to make sacrifices to sustain the agricultural development.”

Answering to a question on the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, pulling out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition following an imbroglio over the selection of new Chief Minister of the tribal state of Jharkhand, Mr Kohli said the action of the JMM was no threat to the coalition. The BJP had 32 legislators in the newly carved out state and majority of them were tribals. Therefore, the claim staked by the BJP to the post of Chief Minister was most convincing and genuine, he maintained.

He refuted the charge that the BJP was functioning under the influence of the RSS. “We have been repeatedly saying that the BJP and the RSS are two different organisations. The charge against the BJP of pursuing the RSS agenda is as ridiculous because the government led by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee is bound by the NDA agenda, agreed upon by all the constituent parties of the alliance.”

He asked the media not to read too much in the reported statement of BJP president Mr Bangaru Lakshman that the party could go for adjustment even with the Congress to oust the CPI-M regime in West Bengal. It would be too early to say anything conclusively at this state.

However, he added that any final decision in this regard would be taken by the party leadership after due consultations with the state unit of the party.



Govt agencies ‘not buying paddy’ 
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Nov 7 — No purchase of paddy is being made in Asia’s biggest grain market Khanna by government procurement agencies since October 18 and farmers are being forced to sell their produce at the terms of private traders and millers.

More than 14 lakh tonnes of paddy had been procured in Khanna mandi till October 18, out of which FCI had procured 2,08,763 quintals, food supply 2,02,393 quintals, Punsup 1,82,750 quintals, warehouse 1,37,865 quintals, Punjab Agro 48,676 quintals and private traders and millers had purchased the rest 8,36,931 quintal. The procured paddy had been lifted from mandi but from October 18, no procurement had been made by these agencies and the farmers had been left on the mercy of private millers who were purchasing paddy at a lower price of Rs 450 to 513 per quintal which was Rs 40 to 90 Rs less than minimum support price declared by the Union Government.

Mr Sadhu Ram president of Arhtiya Association, Khanna, said, some officials when asked to procure paddy had replied that the paddy coming now was not with in the specifications and some had said that they had funds to purchase more paddy. However, no official of these agencies was available for comments.

Mr Ranbir Sood, press secretary of the Punjab state unit of Federation of Arhtiya Association said that Punjab Agro, which had procured 48,676 quintals of paddy was not paying the dues which were near about Rs 3 crore. He said till today Punjab Agro had released only Rs 4 lakh out of Rs 3 crore.

Secretary market committee Khanna Jit Komal also confirmed that no procurement had been made by govt agencies after October 18.


Petrol station scam
 PAU panel for transfer of staff
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 7 — The controversy over the filling station at Punjab Agricultural University selling adulterated petrol has taken a new turn with the fact-finding committee constituted by the Vice-Chancellor recommending the transfer of employees manning the filling station.

It has also been suggested that the employees posted there be immediately replaced and that all inlets and outlets of the petrol tank be sealed as a precautionary measure to check the pilferage of petrol. This would also prevent the recurrence of such unsavoury incidents in future.

Interestingly, the university authorities have resumed the sale of the remaining stocks of the fuel after almost one month of being shut. It may be recalled that following complaints of adulterated petrol being supplied from the varsity’s filling station in mid- September, the PAU authorities had closed the filling station and sent samples of the petrol to Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) laboratories at Jalandhar for examination.

The tests had revealed that the petrol was, in fact, doctored with some other petro product. Following this, the Vice-Chancellor had constituted a three-member investigating team headed by Dr V.K. Sharma, Additional Director (Agricultural Engineering) to probe the matter thoroughly.

As a consequence of the committee’s recommendations, two employees, who had been working at the filling station for a number of years have now been shifted to other departments.

When contacted, the Comptroller of the university, Mr S.K. Bhatia, said the sale of the remaining stocks of the petrol had been resumed on the request of some class iv employees. It is learnt that the remaining stock of adulterated petrol was around 9000 lts. Mr Bhatia had earlier claimed that the left-over stock of the adulterated petrol would be probably retrieved by IOC. The buyers of the allegedly adulterated petrol would have to give an undertaking in writing that they were buying the product at their own risk, said Mr Bhatia.

Inquiries made by this correspondent revealed that most of the staff members and drivers of the university were wary of getting the petrol from the university filling station for fear of damage to their vehicles. The Registrar, Mr Alok Shekhar, informed that by and large petrol for official vehicles was being arranged from private petrol stations outside the university.


Trader fined for selling substandard soft drink
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 7 — In a significant judgement aimed at stopping the sale of substandard articles, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum here today directed Raghav Traders, Focal Point, to pay a penalty of Rs 10,000, along with costs, to a consumer for selling a substandard bottle of a soft drink to him.

Mr Hardial Singh and Mr Tilak Raj Arora, delivering the judgement on the basis of the complaint of Mr Devinder Pal Singh of Friends Colony, mentioned that in order to stop the sale of substandard articles, it was desirable that heavy penalty was imposed in the case. According to a copy of the order, the complainant contended that he had been purchasing crates of the soft drink from the shop and a salesman used to deliver the crates. On April 4, he purchased a crate for Rs 200, but found a bottle containing insects.

He felt nauseating and vomitted as he had already consumed a bottle and apprehended that it also contained insects. Alleging that the bottles were filled and sealed without proper cleaning and under unhygienic conditions, the complainant demanded compensation as the selling of the substandard articles was against the provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.

The trader claimed that the complainant never purchased a crate of the soft drink. He said the bottle, if it was spurious, might have been purchased from some other dealer. He claimed that that bottles were properly filled with a sophisticated and modern automatic plant, which ensured a high standard of hygiene and cleanliness, with strict quality checks ruling out any possibility of the presence of foreign material. He also alleged that the complaint was motivated.

The forum upheld the claim of the complaint and accepted the evidence furnished by him. The trader’s assertion that the complaint was motivated could not be sustained as no evidence of the consumer having some grudge against the trader was proved. The forum also found that the complainant had given a notice to the trader before filing the complaint, but no reply was given. The bill of the purchase of crates was found to be true.

The forum directed the trader to pay a penalty of Rs 10,000, along with a sum of Rs 500 as costs of the proceedings, to the complainant. The trader was also directed to refund the amount of Rs 200 paid by the complainant for the purchase of the crate.


Closing hole in heart sans surgery
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 7 — Mrs Pritam Kaur 55, was denied visa by the Canadian High Commission as the doctors had found a hole in her heart. She could get the visa only after getting her ailment treated. It was shocking for her to learn about the disease which she was told she had right from her birth.

According to Dr Raman Chawla, it was an asymptomic diseases. She did not want a surgery. She was referred to a local health centre here.

The doctors suggested a painless and scarless surgery for blocking the hole in her heart. Closure of hole by devices is a new armentarian available to invasive cardiologists where they can close the hole by non-surgical procedure without any scar. This avoids the risk of patient being put on bypass surgery and hazards of blood transfusion. Apart from this, the new mantra of medical technology of reduced patient stay in hospital as the patient can be discharged on the same evening or the next day. This is in contrast to the seven to 10 day stay of post surgical a patient’s stay in hospital and usually a month for complete recovery.

Pritam Kaur is likely to be discharged from the hospital tomorrow.



A library with only 100 members

THE Municipal Corporation Library is housed in one of the Municipal Corporation buildings on the Gill road. First of all there is no board, so one has to wander into different directions and after climbing number of broken stairs one can locate the library. In front of the library one can see hordes of people standing. It transpired as it is the 'labour office.'

Ms Anurag Mohan, who has been working as Librarian since 1994 said, "The library has shifted from the old municipal complex to the new Municipal Corporation building to the Gill road to the new corporation building and then back to the Gill road."

The location of the library is simply baffling. There are foundries all around. These make a terrible din as one looked out of the window. One saw a host of halwais with karahis on the pavements. On the other side, a colony of migrant labourers had settled down. The place is inhabited by illiterate labourers.

The library is housed in five rooms. The first room had modern steel almirahs. But as you enter other rooms the condition deteriorates. In the last room there were sacks of old and torn books and files of old newspapers.

Ms Mohan said, "This library is well stocked. We have 16,000 books in totality. The Municipal Corporation possesses 22,000 books — 1,200 books are stored in children's library in Children's Traffic Park, Model Town, and there is a library in the Rose Garden too. Most of the books pertain to fiction but there are books on law and other subjects too. There are only 100 members of this library in spite of the nominal subscription of Rs 15 per month and Rs 30 as refundable security. Nearly 25 members have dropped their membership because of its distant location. Dr Yamni Malhotra, said, "I used to visit the library when it was in the town. But now I have discontinued as the library has gone too far away." Similarly, Neelam Mehra, S.L. Bharti, Balwinder Kaur, Neelu Vohra and many others find the present location very inconvenient.

Ms Mohan said, "We have 16 reading rooms spread all over the town where we supply 29 newspapers. In three centres in Model House, Chowni Mohalla and Jodhewal Basti, the reading facilities are available for the full day whereas in the other 13 centres the reading rooms function either in the morning or in the evening. The timing of the library is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In a day we get only 10 to 15 persons. Some of the student members also complain of the distance from the college and they constantly request us to shift the library somewhere in the town".

* Do you plan to computerised the library?

Yes, we do but we are not sure whether we are going to stay here in this building for how long.

It is really sad to notice that there are no readers. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhus, wants the library to be shifted to a central place but due to apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned it will take some-time.

— Asha Ahuja


Protest against beef sellers
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Nov 7 — Several activists of the Shiv Sena, the BJP, the Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal raised slogans and staged dharnas in front of the District Courts' and SSP's office in protest against the practice of cow slaughter and demanded strict action against those held for selling beef.

The four alleged accused namely Siad Ul Rehman, Jamil Akhtar, Majbool Haq and Majroom were caught red-handed for selling beef. 


Ludhiana Calling

PADDY farmers across the state may be too upset and distressed, obviously for the poor prices they got for their rich produce. But they do not seem to be too depressed to give up the fun in life. Recently a group of farmers drove straight into the bar of a leading hotel, claiming itself to be the only five star in Ludhiana to celebrate whatever they had got from their produce.

The farmers, about half a dozen in number announced their arrival with all the rustic and pastoral touches, otherwise forbidden in that particular hotel. The farmers arrived in a few tractors, clad in traditional Punjabi dress. While the overcautious security personnel deployed at different entrance points of the hotel seldom allow any such stuff on usual days, observing the spirits of their unusual guests they did not dare to offer any resistance.

But the guests were not unwelcome. They were ‘honourably’ received by the hosts at the hotel. Because, for them guest is a guest, no matter how he is dressed or made up. He must be carrying a heavy wallet and about that the hosts were sure.

And when they entered the bar they set it on fire. Liquor flowed like water. Probably for the first time the bar had received guests who could gulp liquor in quantum and pose a sound challenge even to the Bacchus. The urbane and the genteel who were already sitting in the bar were little shocked and little surprised over their country cousins who they did not expect to observe all those manners. But they certainly did envy their capacity to gulp in quantum. It reminded of the popular Punjabi folk song Lokan ney peeti tupka, tupka, mahiye peeti baate naal, mein akha charh gayee way, sharate nal mein akha charh gayee way.

See before you sneeze

You may be able to avoid a number of uncomfortable things. But you can never avoid a sneeze. At times it may not prove just uncomfortable but embarrassing as well. Recently at a busy shopping mall an unsuspecting married young man had to face the wrath of two young girls, just because he could not avoid sneezing.

The man was sitting in his car, while his wife had gone for shopping. Meanwhile two young girls passed by. Incidentally he happened to sneeze at the same time. The sound was slightly high. The two girls were a little frightened at the big shout.

Suspecting the motives of the man they came and tried to reprimand him. They felt that he had deliberately sneezed with “obvious motives”. The man tried to convince the two damsels that it was just a coincidence that he sneezed at the time they passed him. Moreover, he could not avoid it. In fact nobody can. Although the girls did not drag it too long, they were not convinced by the arguments of the man.

By that time his wife returned and he explained the entire episode to her. The wife was brave and wise enough to take up his husband’s case with the two girls. She managed to convince the girls that her husband was a nice guy and never meant what they thought him to mean. The girls were convinced by her argument. Moral of the story. See before you sneeze.

Bold, beautiful and brave

Hazaron khwahishein aisi, ki har khwahish pe dam nikle

Bahut nikle mere arman, lekin phir bhi kam nikle

Nikalana khild se adam ka sunte aye hain lekin,

Bahut be abroo hokar tere koochey se hum nikle.

Although Mirza Ghalib may have composed these famous couplets in an entirely different context yet it fits into the situation when recently a handful of ‘Romeos’ had to face the wrath of some bold, beautiful and brave girls.

It happened in a Ludhiana theatre, while people were busy watching the Mohabatein. The bunch of youth probably tried to re-enact weave their own story and started teasing a group of girls who were sitting nearby. While in the beginning the grils ignored all the “proposals and gestures”. Since they could not offer any resistance, feeling encouraged, the group of Romeos persisted with their pursuit, without realising that there could be an anticlimax beyond their expectations.

When they “crossed all the limits”, the girls decided to do what was needed to be done. They summoned the manager and brought the matter to his notice. In order to ensure that such incidents do not happen again, all the ‘Romeos’ were taken in front of the screen and made to do sit ups. The matter did not end here. Each girl slapped each boy! An anti-climax indeed.

Devotional nights

despite unbound affluence Ludhianvis have maintained their faith in tradition. In fact affluence and prosperity have reaffirmed and strengthened their faith in the divine. With the hot humid days of summer already over and relatively cooler nights of pre-winter season already having arrived, people have started organising various jagratas in the name of their deities.

Everyone organises it in his own way depending upon the resources at his disposal. For the rich and affluent it becomes an occasion to show of their wealth, besides their faith. They always try to rope in one or the other reputed artist or singer. During past some time different people organised such jagratas with the singers like Narinder Chanchal, Anuradha Paudwal, Anup Jalota and Sardool Sikander reciting bhajans for full night.

An interesting aspect of these jagratas is that people attend them in great numbers, no matter who is the organiser. And they stay for the entire night, obviously out of sheer faith and unfailing devotion in the Mata.

And more interesting is that the singers irrespective of their religion sing Mata’s bhajans. Recently at the jagrata organised in the Civil Lines area eminent Punjabi folk singer Sardool Sikander moved thousands of people with his numerous renditions of Mata’s bhajans. Although for great artists like Sardool Sikander there is no other religion than art and music, but having been born in a Muslim family, it was really a great occasion when the entire Muslim troupe who gave company to Sardool sang the bhajans making people move in faith.

Living in hell

Sonabai and her family comprising three sons and three grand children live on the pavement. The wall of the Municipal Corporation building is their mainstay. They stock their meagre belongings next to the wall. Sonabai and her three sons collect scrap from the rubbish heaps lying everywhere in and around the cycle market and adjoining areas. Sonabai, then, burns away all the rubbish attached to the little pieces of scrap (See in the picture). The three grandchildren watch her perform this chore the whole day. 

Sometimes there are pathetic scenes. The water kept in a mug for her children is drunk by a stray dog. She was oblivious of this happening till her grandson started crying. The children are suffering from malnutrition. Sonabai cooks, bathes, sleeps on the pavement. But the fear of municipal authorities who will chase her away from her bit of little pavement always haunts her. During rain her plight is miserable and in the coming winters cough and cold will be the persistent companions of the whole family. In spite of working very hard, they will not have many woollen clothes to ward off cold. Their lives are being lived in hell year in and year out.

Re-exhibition for minister

 The participants of the inter-school district-level science model exhibition organised by District Education Department had to re-exhibit their models after they had packed up and were just planning to make a move. Not because there was any confusion in the judgement. Infact at 2 pm, an official from the Education Department came to the school with the information that Mr Jagdish Garcha, Minister for Technical Education, was to come for the prize distribution to be held at 4 pm. Some of the students who had lifted their complete set up, had to re-arrange their apparatus, again set up the wiring and display their school banners till 5 pm. An exhibition for eight !hours!

— Sentinel


Demonstration fields to be set up 
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Nov 7 — To promote the diversification and reduce at least 20 per cent area under wheat cultivation, the Department of Agriculture, Ludhiana, will establish demonstration fields on all main roads of the district, said Dr Gurcharan Singh Rajajung, Chief Agricultural Officer, while addressing a gathering of farmers at the block-level farmers' training camp held at Chuntta village.

Dr Rajajung said farmers were facing problems due to mismanagement of farming like the increased use of chemicals, fertilisers and insecticides. He advised the farmers that they must use certified seeds and fertilisers according to the soil test report of the fields. The farmers must switch over to farm yard manures and green manures to raise the quality of their produce.

He emphasised on the reduction of the area under wheat cultivation. "The farmers should go for cash crops like sugarcane, oil seed crop, gram, turmeric and vegetables", Dr Rajajung said. He assured them that they would get good quality farm inputs because a flying squad of plant doctors had already started working in the district. He said more emphasis would be given on availability of good quality of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides.

Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, general secretary, Youth Akali Dal, said that the farmers should enhance the quality of their produce and follow the instructions about new agro-technologies given by experts.

Dr Rajinderpal Singh Aulakh talked about the liberalisation policies of GATT under the banner of the World Trade Organisation.

Among others who present on the occasion were Dr Amarjit Singh Dhaliwal, Dr Raghbir Singh Uppal, Dr Om Prakash Choudhry, Dr J.P. Singh and Dr Daler Singh.



Parking turns into cricket ground 
By Minna Zutshi

LUDHIANA, Nov 7 — The parking place of Bhadaur House turns into a cricket ground every Sunday. Scores of young boys can be seen playing cricket oblivious of cars parked in the area. The reason is simple — there is no playing ground within a radius of four-five km.

One of the boys said that they used the parking place as their playground not because they were fond of doing so but because they had no other option. After six days of gruelling work, Sunday was the only day when they could unwind themselves through a game of cricket. And the only open space available was the parking area.

As most of the shops are closed on Sunday, there is hardly any restriction from the shopkeepers. But for those who want to park their cars, the cricket game is a source of nuisance. A woman who parks her car daily said that on Sunday she was reluctant to park it there. If at all she parked it there, she made it a point to check her car at least twice or thrice for a possible damage.

When asked about it, boys said that they used only a rubber ball and not the standard cricket ball.

Fixing the blame on boys may be easy but the real malady lies elsewhere. Our city falls woefully short of playing grounds. The captain of the boys said that a few years ago, they used to play in the grounds of a nearby school. Later, the permission to play there was denied to them. The school authorities restricted the entry to the school students only. From then onwards, their Sunday cricket venue shifted here.

Residents of the area are aware of the lack of playing ground in the area. They said that their children remained cooped up in their rooms as there was no open space where they could play. They also rued that for their children grass and fresh air were a rare commodity.

A five-year-old child remarked that she had a great fascination for football but there was no place for her to play.

A shopkeeper, who usually opens his shop in the morning, said that though it was a bit disconcerting to find tall, strapping youngsters playing in the area, yet it was heartening to see that at least they were utilizing their time productively.



Tips for potato growers
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 7 — The experts of Punjab Agricultural University have given important tips for the care of potato crop during November. Farmers have been advised to rogue out virus affected plants from seed plots. Second dose of 85 kg urea per acre, should be given and the dose of urea should be increased to 115 kg per acre in case of light soils. Earthing up should be done in 40-45 days old crop. At the time of earthing up, 4 kg thimet 10 G per acre should be applied in the seed plots. For control of jassids and aphids, the crop should be sprayed with 300 ml of Rogor 30 EC, Metasystox 25 EC or 75 ml of Dimecron in 80 litres of water per acre.

Farmers have also been advised to apply Indofil M-45 @ 500-700 g or copper oxychloride 50 WP @ 750-1000 g/acre in 250-3000 litres of water in the first week of November before the appearance of disease. This should be followed by 5 more sprays at 7 days’ interval. Under heavy diseases situation, instead of third and fourth spray of Indofil m-45, two sprays of Ridomil MZ @ 700 g/acre should be done at 10 days’ interval.


PAU advice to cane growers 
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 7 — Scientists of Punjab Agricultural University have advised the sugarcane growers to spray the crop with 500 ml of thiodan 35 EC or 350 ml folithion/sumithion/acothion 50 EC in 150 litre of water per acre if they observe the attack of sugarcane pyrilla and white fly.

The crushing/harvesting of early maturing varieties like CoJ 86, CoJ 64, CoJ83, CoP 211 and CoJ 85 should be started immediately. The crop should be irrigated at monthly intervals.


A tete-a-tete with Bhupinder & Mitalee

AFTER finishing her performance, Mitalee came and sat among the audience. Talking to her, revealed a very friendly person. She said, “I love coming to Punjab for my in-laws are here.

Do you enjoy the pop music of today?

She replied, “Sometimes, I find it very relaxing. I am enjoying the youthful out burst of the youngsters here. They seem to be enjoying themselves.” The young crowd was dancing unabashedly to the singing of Rajinder Malhar and Mitalee locked to be very pleased.

Are you enjoying yourself? Do you like being in Punjab?

To both the questions, she said, “Yes, I am enjoying myself hugely and it is a great change for me to be out of Mumbai.”

Do you plan to sing for Hindi films?

‘No’, she replied, “I am happy cutting albums for private companies. I enjoy my singing.”

Who is your favourite singer and composer?

Bhupinder will always remain my ideal composer and singer.

What message do you have for the media about the present day music?

“Personally I would like that television which is influencing a vast majority of the people these days should take some responsibility of promoting our traditional folk music so that the youngsters do not totally gravitate towards western music. It is very important that we must do something to promote our rich culture and its heritage, so that the younger generation becomes aware of it and tries to promote it.”

In the noisy atmosphere, a longer interview with her was not possible.

While talking to Bhupinder Singh, one came to know about his Bindas attitude. He said, “I started singing from the year 1962. The music composer Jaidev called me from Delhi to sing along with renowned singers like Mohammad Rafi in the film Haqiqat. There is awaargi in my voice. But now I am trying to compose songs on classical patterns.”

Whose lyrics do you like singing?

Gulzar is my favourite lyricist and my association with him is very long. I have sung with all the contemporary singers and I love being in Punjab. I find the audience very receptive.

What is the future of music in India?

“I share my wife’s views. We must promote Indian classical music. Pop music has invaded the modern music world but Indian music has solid roots so it will withstand the invasion of pop music. Both of us want to promote good meaningful music that will enable the people of all generations to enjoy its simple pleasures.”

Thus ended the tete-a-tete. —AA



Return of the native 
By Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LALTON (Ludhiana), Nov 7 — ‘‘Kya khabar thi inqilab aasmaan ho jayega, Yar dostoon ka milna naseebe dushmanan ho jayega’’, laments 88 year old Munshi Wali Mohammad who is currently on a visit to his native village here, about 15 km from Ludhiana. He articulates the pain and pathos of the partition which made hundreds and hundreds of friends to part ways at the time of country’s partition in 1947 just because they did not belong to the same religion.

Despite the tragic fact that his father Barkat Ali and his nephew were killed in riots in the same village, Wali Mohammad has not broken ties with his ancestral land where they had been living for generations together. He had migrated to Pakistan with his left out family members in the aftermath of partition. It is his fifth visit after partition to his native village. His love is equally reciprocated by the villagers. Not just the elderly of his own age but by the younger generation also.

Wali’s was one of the few affluent families in the village. He was running a provisional store with Kishen Lal, his childhood friend. It is this friendship and other memories of his native land which keep on haunting him. “Yeh mere wattan ki mitti hai, jis ki judai sahi nahin jati”, he remarked while sitting in the house of Kishen Lal and explaining the reason for his visit to Lalton.

He has sad and tragic memories of partition. He can still recreate the scene of August 24, 1947. He has not forgotten even a moment from those 24 hours of ordeal. He remembers, although without anger, but not without grief and pain that he had an upset stomach on that fateful day. He had returned from the clinic of Dr Kartar Singh with Kishen Lal. Kishen told him to go home and take rest. On the way he found almost the entire Muslim population of the village gathered together in search of safety as the deadly hounds were hunting for them.

Although it was not unexpected, it was sudden and instant. Saboteurs had already descended on the village with vengeance. They had already killed so many people. They were selectively picking up the Muslims. They had already picked up his father and nephew. Both of them had been killed. The rest of the family members found refuge in the house of Hari Singh. However, in the night the rioteers announced that if anybody was found to be giving shelter to the Muslims, he will have to pay with the life of his own children. Hari Singh was frightened. Wali and his family decided to move out.

It was the dead of the night. With saboteurs stalking them and death staring them in the face, they just moved on without knowing where to go. However, humanity does not die an easy death. On the outskirts of the village they were provided shelter by Pratapi, the wife of Ganga Singh. She locked them inside their house to ensure they were not detected. However there was noise outside. The entire family was crammed into a wooden box and it was closed. Within a few minutes they felt suffocated. They asked Pratapi to take them out even if it meant death at the hands of rioteers. “Because we did not want to die of suffocation”, recalls Wali. Meanwhile Hari Singh’s wife came rushing to them with their shoes which they had forgotten in her house.

She pleaded with Pratapi to tell the truth as she wanted to return their shoes so that they had not to move barefoot. As the night progressed Wali and others decided to move ahead. They kept on moving, while at the same time hiding themselves in the full grown grass in the fields. In the morning they reached the outskirts of Ludhiana, which was under curfew. Here they went to the house of a non Muslim acquaintance. The family members asked them to deposit all their money and jewellery with them. After depositing it all, some of them decided that they should be killed. However, an elderly woman intervened pleading that “they are already dead”. This saved them from the slaughter. Subsequently they moved towards Habowal where the government was running a camp for Muslim refugees.

Later they took the journey to Pakistan. How this journey was not free from ordeals either. His old grandmother was already tired. She breathed her last on the way. Wali recalls what his shattered grandmother remarked while dying, “basti vee dekhi, ujarh vee dekhi, amiri vee dekhi, gharibi vee dekhi, par yeh Pakistan kithe gaya”, a pithy remark on the saddest event of subcontinent’s history. “She was buried without any rites, even without a shroud. Even the grave was not properly dug”, recalls Wali.

However, Wali is not angry. “It was a spontaneous event. An accident of history which cannot be undone. But this should not freeze the relationships”, he observes. It is not always easy for him to visit here. Visa has always been a problem.

Settled in village Kote Abdul Malik, Wali would always go to Nankana Sahib and get his message announced if someone had come from Lalton or Ludhiana as he wanted to meet them.

This time he was given a visa for Delhi only. Still he decided to come, as Kishen Lal’s sister Kamla Duggal stays there. However, he was lucky and allowed to visit Ludhiana. Pakistani’s are not usually given a visa for Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir during these days.

The entire village is playing host to their guest. He was honoured in the local gurdwara after a civic reception was hosted in his honour. He was offered a copy of the holy Quran.

Wali pleads that visa procedures should be simplified so that people do not have any problem from visiting each other.


Non-removal of garbage irks residents 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 7 — The non-removal of garbage from near the Life Insurance Office, Urban Estate Dugri road, is causing heartburning among the residents of the area.

In the absence of an earmarked location for the disposal of house-hold waste or of garbage bins in the area, residents are using an open ground near the LIC office for throwing litter and garbage. However, the PUDA authorities do not lift garbage regularly due to which the whole ground has become litter-infested.

The residents who not wanting to be quoted said they had approached the PUDA authorities several times, but no action had been taken.

According to sources, the LIC office had also requested the PUDA authorities for the regular clearance of the garbage but to no avail.

The residents said stray dogs, cattle and pigs throng the place and spread litter all around. Even birds scatter the waste on the road. Due to the slippery waste, the area has witnessed a number of accidents near the garbage site.

The residents said all the clearance was specially necessary due to the spread of dengue in the city.


Khanna residents’ problems discussed
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Nov 7 — The Director, Local Bodies, Punjab, Mr J.B. Goel, held a meeting with the local MLA, Mr Bachan Singh Cheema, and the Municipal Councillor at rest house here today to discuss the water supply and sewerage problems faced by residents of Khanna.

Mr Goel said it was a matter of great regret that only 55 per cent population of the city was availing water supply facilities. He said the Local Bodies Department would try to ensure that 100 per cent area of the town be covered under water supply till 2005.

Mr Goel asked the XEN, Sewerage Board, to increase the amount from Rs 16 crore to Rs 27 crore for sewerage and water supply of the city. He said the project would be completed after taking loan from HUDCO and the Punjab Government had taken the decision to give guarantee for this loan.


Four of family booked for fraud
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 7— The police has booked four members of a family on charges of criminal conspiracy, for allegedly giving a bogus cheque to Jaswinder Singh and threatening him.

According to an FIR registered under Sections 406, 420, 120 B and 506 of the IPC, the complainant has alleged that he was issued a bogus cheque of Rs 5 lakh by K.S. Kumar, his sons Amardeep Singh and K.P.S. Kumar, and daughter-in-law Vanita Kumari on May 17, 1999.

He has also alleged that he was threaten by the accused.

One arrested

Surinder Pal, a resident of Mohalla Santokhpura in Phagwara was arrested by the local police and a "kamanidar" knife was recovered from him. He has been booked under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

Car stolen

A car bearing registration number PB-10Z-3876 was reportedly stolen from near Deep Hospital in Model Town on November 4. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered on the complaint of the owner of the car, Kuldeep Singh at the Model Town police station.


‘Indo-US cooperation has great scope’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 7 — Renowned US-based non-resident Indian Jassie Singh feels that there is great scope for cooperation in business between the United States and India. Mr Jassie, shot into prominence after hosting a dinner for the US President Mr Bill Clinton and his family on September 23 at his residence in California.

Mr Jassie was here to inaugurate the in vitro fertility centre (IVF) at Deep Nursing Home. He said, he had taken an initiative and was exploring ways and means by which the business communities of the two countries could come closer without any hassles.

He met the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and other leading industrialists of the state. He pointed out that liberalisation had opened up new vistas of trade and business for the two countries.

He disclosed that he felt an urge to do something for the people of his own country. He had identified certain priority sectors for business. These would be based mostly in north India. He had already met some leading industrialists in Punjab and Delhi.

Listing his areas of interest, he said environment was one of the important fields. He hoped that a project would start in February. He said, pollution was a problem in the country. Latest technology would be introduced for developing devices for checking and controlling environment and other pollution. He said, this would also help in generating employment in the country.

Mr Jassie hoped that the latest cooperation and understanding which had evolved of late between India and the US would help in building up a strong and lasting business partnership among the businessmen in two countries.

He mentioned that the visit of the US President Bill Clinton early this year and the visit of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to the US had strengthened the relationship. He hoped that the partnership would be free from official red tape.



SSIs seek better deal 
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 7 — In a meeting of the Ludhiana Small Scale Manufacturers’ Association, it was decided that a memorandum would be sent to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, stressing the need of devising such policies that would give a boost to their businesses.

It also slated that if such policies were not framed, a dharna would be planned and fast would be observed, informed Mr Harish Khanna, president of the association.

The members said of the total 30 lakh small-scale industries in the country, nine lakh units had closed or either turned sick. These included 8000 units of Punjab. The members pointed out that the hike in prices of raw materials, devaluation of rupee vis-a-vis dollar, high level of corruption, opening up of import of consumer goods, double taxation policy of industry, outdated and obsolete technology prevalent in small scale sector and high rate of bank loans were some of the reasons of decline in the small-scale sector.

They also said that the Swadeshi policy should be followed and that multinational companies under the garb of liberalisation and globalisation were proving highly detrimental to the interest of the small-scale sector.

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