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


Strike paralyses work in banks
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 15 — The banking services remained paralysed today as the employees observed a strike in response to the call given by the United Forum of Bank Unions.

The strike was observed to protest against the Central Government move to privatise the nationalised banks by bringing down the government equity in these banks below 51 per cent.

The government move, according to the employees unions, is fraught with dangerous consequences like introduction of voluntary retirement scheme, reducing the staff strength and bringing down the retirement age.

The employees and officers of various banks gathered at different places and held demonstrations against the proposed move of the government. Officers and workers from all the banks affiliated to the AIBOC gathered in front of the State Bank of India, Zonal Office, at the G.T. Road here and staged a demonstration. A separate rally was organised near Canara Bank, Bharat Nagar Chowk.

The demonstrations were addressed by various union leaders, including Mr Sudesh Kumar Sharma, Chairman, Punjab Bank Employees Federation, and Mr P.R. Mehta, Secretary of the federation, Mr Vijy Kalia, Deputy General Secretary (SBI), Mr Ashok Arora, President, AIBOC, Mr Vijay Mohan, Secretary, AIBOC, Ludhiana, and Mr S.K. Garg, Secretary of the Ludhiana district committee of the All-Inida Bank Officers Federation.

The leaders pointed out the role played by the nationalised banks in the allround development of the country. The union leaders warned the government against any such move and claimed that it was against the national interest. They claimed that privatisation of banks would have an adverse impact on nation's economy, banking system, agriculture, small and tiny industries and unemployed people.

They revealed that the privatisation of banks was an attempt to cover up the main issue of ever-increasing portfolio of bad and doubtful debts which stood at a whopping Rs 58,000 crore. They regretted that it was unfortunate on the part of the government not to take any meaningful steps to recover the bad loans, most of which were due from the private sector, to which the banks were being handed over.

The striking employees unanimously opposed the move by the government to reduce the retirement age from 60 to 58 years and the inducement to employees to opt for voluntary retirement scheme.

Due to the strike functioning in the banks came to a standstill. Bereft of any employees, the banks wore a deserted look. 


Policemen beat up man
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Nov 15 — Panic was created among the patients and their relatives at the local Civil Hospital when some police personnel allegedly beat up a young man, Mr Ajmer Singh, who had come to see his father, Mr Maghar Singh, a burns patient admitted to the hospital.

Mr Maghar Singh alleged that when he was admitted to the hospital, some persons belonging to the rival party attacked his son and beat him up. He said that the matter had been reported to the police but no action was taken against the culprits.

Disclosing the details, Maghar Singh claimed that when his son came to the hospital to see him, some police personnel, too, came into the hospital ward where he was admitted, and asked him about his son. After identifying Ajmer Singh, the police beat him up brutally. He became unconscious and was rushed to the emergency ward of the hospital.

Corroborating his father's version, Ajmer Singh said that he was beaten up by policemen which included Mr Baldev Singh. He alleged that the police personnel were asking him to make a compromise with the rival party. He also alleged that police had taken away his father.

According to reliable sources, the patients and their relatives in the hospital had witnessed the incident. However, most of them were afraid of disclosing it. The doctor on duty, Dr N.P.S. Virk, confirmed that Ajmer Singh had been admitted to the hospital and the police had been informed about it.

A delegation of the residents of Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar met the SSP Khanna, Mr Rajinder Nam Deo Dhoke, to complain against a police personnel.

A member of the delegation said the SSP had assured them that necessary action would be taken in this regard. However, the SSP said in a press note here today, that both Mr Maghar Singh and Mr Ajmer Singh (father and son) were wanted by the police in some case. He said he had deputed the SP (H), Mr Harinder Singh Sidhu, to conduct an inquiry into the case.


Police party returns empty-handed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, Nov 15 — A police party led by an Assistant Sub-Inspector of police, that had been sent to arrest a doctor of the rank of a Captain in the Army, allegedly at the behest of a police officer of the rank of a Superintendent of Police attached with the CM's security, has finally returned empty-handed. They have neither brought the Captain nor have been able to recover the stolen car from him.

It may be noted that the police party led by the ASI, Narinder Kumar, that was sent to Bikaner in Rajasthan on November 13 in order to arrest the Captain, has been detained by the Army there. It was only after parleys between the top police officers here and in Bikaner, that the police party managed to come back here.

The local police had filed a case under Section 382 of the IPC against Captain (Dr) Vijay Kumar on November 12. It is learnt that the case was filed on the basis of a complaint made by the estranged wife of the Captain, Praveen. In her complaint, she had alleged that her husband had forcibly taken away a Santro car and the relevant documents of the car to prove his ownership.

Interestingly, the complainant is a sister- in-law of a Superintendent of Police attached with the CM's security. This police officer is originally with the Central Reserve Police Force and has been on deputation in Punjab for the past almost six years. He had been posted in Muktsar as the SP (Operations) and is presently holding dual charge.

It is also learnt from informed sources that though the car was financed by the Captain and his wife in the latter's name, the installments were being paid by the husband. When the two reportedly decided to part ways, the husband laid his claim to the car and took it away.


Panthic unity move by Tohra fails to take off
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Nov 15 — A panthic convention organised by the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), headed by former SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra, at Gurudwara Sabzi Mandi complex here today, practically failed to achieve its objective of bringing all Akali factions on one platform under the supremacy of Akal Takht. Except for Tohra loyalists and a group of the Sant Samaj, led by Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, who is already identified with the SHSAD, other Akali factions of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala chose to stay away.

The convention resolved to launch a concerted campaign to unite all panthic groups on a minimum agenda which would strive to revive the glory of Sikh religion, safeguard the separate identity of Khalsa panth, effectively check government interference in gurdwaras and to free the Sikh religious institutions from the “clutches of the government.”

Terming the ruling Akali Dal as “anti-panthic”, the convention called upon Sikh masses to ensure that the Badal group did not interfere in the Sikh religious matters and panthic activities and to work for mass awareness to achieve complete alienation of the ruling Akali Dal from the religious mainstream. The SHSAD general secretary, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, while proposing the resolutions, announced that a “common panthic committee” would be set up to work out the modalities for furthering the tasks set out in the resolutions.

The party further decided to organise a massive chetna conference on February 21, 2001, to mark the anniversary of gurdwara Sudhar Lehar. The conference would be aimed at strengthening the dharam prachar (religious propagation), campaign against intoxicants, asserting the supremacy of Akal Takht and mobilising Sikh masses to scrupulously follow the religious traditions and follow the Guru Granth Sahib.

In his opening remarks, the SHSAD president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, cautioned the Sikh masses to view the erosion in the supreme Sikh institutions like Akal Takht and the SGPC seriously lest the panthic interests should suffer an irreparable damage. Charging the SAD (B) and its top functionaries, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, with digressing from ‘panthic agenda’, he maintained that rather than recognising the sanctity and relevance of panthic institutions, the political powers that be, had made religious bodies subservient to them and were out to woo masses through populist gimmicks like free power to farmers and other facilities to various sections.

Lambasting the ruling party for ‘degeneration’ of institution like the SGPC, Mr Tohra, who himself had headed the body for more than two decades, remarked that the SGPC was supposedly responsible for propagating and strengthening religion, moral values and basic principles of Sikhism. But shielded by the SAD-B government, the reigning president Bibi Jagir Kaur, was clinging to her post in a shameless manner, even after a case for allegedly killing her own daughter was registered against her by the CBI and her arrest by the central agency was just a matter of time.

Mr Tohra further lamented that the ruling Akali Dal, which claimed to be a champion of Sikh masses and had assumed political power with the unstinted support of the ‘Sikh panth’ was the one which had not only ‘politicised’ the SGPC but had ‘governmentised’ the institution of Akal Takht. “The head priests of the Akal Takht are being changed at will, the hukamnamas (edicts) are withdrawn or amended to please the political masters.”

Prominent among those present at the convention were Bhai Ranjit Singh and Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, both former jathedars of Akal Takht and several functionaries of Gurmat Sidhant Parcharak Sant Samaj including, Sant Hari Singh, Sant Sewa Singh, Sant Sukhchain Singh, former Advocate-General of Punjab, Mr Gurdarshan Singh Grewal, Dr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, representatives of panthic bodies from Delhi and Haryana and a few NRIs.

Later, talking to mediapersons, Mr Tohra observed that organised attacks on minorities and a campaign to denigrate Sikh religion by the RSS was a matter of concern and complicity or tacit support of the government to some of these activities was all the more disturbing.

He said during his long political career, he had always advocated that an Akali Chief Minister should not head the party and whenever it had happened, the results were disastrous. “See what the Chief Minister Mr Badal, who also heads the party, has done.” The ruling Akali Dal, Mr Tohra added, had made a mockery of the SGPC and Akal Takht in an attempt to further its political objectives.


Abduction scare in family
Tribune News Service.

Ludhiana, Nov 15 — A young girl's alleged kidnapping by a car-borne youth early in the morning today turned out to be a nightmare for the police. The parents of the girl have, however, refused to get a case registered.

According to the information available, the girl, a student of Class XII, used to go for her maths tuition in New Lajpat Nagar everyday from 5 am to 6 am. While every morning , her elder sister used to drop her off for her classes but this morning she decided to go on her own. Her two sisters were reportedly following her on another scooter.

She reached for the tuition at the usual time on her Sunny, but when she reached there, she was allegedly forced in the car as reported by other students who go for the tuition. It is alleged that the girl struggled and the broken pieces of her bangles fell on the road as she was pushed into the car. It is alleged that the boy was also carrying a dagger, which fell down on the road.

The children immediately informed the girl's family, who in turn reported the matter to the police. However, the parents alleged that their daughter had been kidnapped. When the suspense was at its peak the girl finally resurfaced. When she came back, she told her family that she had lost her way and after parking the Sunny at some unknown place, had hired a rickshaw and come home.

Meanwhile, the In charge of the Kochar Market Police Post, ASI Bhupinder Singh, has confirmed the incident. He said that the police was inquiring into the matter.



Research fellows face bleak future
From Surbhi Bhalla

LUDHIANA, Nov 15 — A large number of young scientists who are working as research fellows in different departments of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), face an uncertain future. Though they possess MSc /Phd degrees in agriculture and allied sciences, some of them have been working for a pittance in the form of a consolidated salary for a number of years.

Research fellows, it is important to mention , are mostly appointed in research projects sponsored by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to assist scientists working on them. The ICAR gives funds to the university to appoint research associates to help run the projects effectively. However , since the cadre of research associate does not exist in PAU, these posts are filled by appointing research fellows. Orders of the vice-chancellor in this respect have been issued by the comptroller of the university, vide a letter dated November 6.

Enquires made by the correspondent revealed that while some research fellows were drawing a consolidated salary of Rs 5,000 plus house rent allowance per month, others were drawing Rs 8,800 in addition to HRA. Some holding a Phd degree were also getting Rs 10,500 under another scheme.

A number of research fellows, this reporter met, rued that there were hardly any prospects for them to land suitable research or teaching jobs, for which they were adequately qualified, because of the ban imposed on the recruitment of technical personnel. They lamented that the chief employer of trained personnel in agriculture and allied services, namely the Punjab Government, had decided not to make any fresh recruitment of agriculture development officers and horticulture development officers in the state. Likewise, the Board of Management of the PAU had decided in a recent meeting that about 340 posts of scientists would be abolished and no fresh recruitment to the posts of assistant professor and equivalent would be made.

Research fellows from the department of soils and entomology, say that a number of posts are already vacant in these departments. “If these posts are advertised, we hope to get these on the basis of our merit, academic record and research experience” they claim. It is also learnt that a few young scientists, who had taken up jobs as research fellows in the hope of getting regular appointment as assistant professors in the university had immigrated to countries like Australia and Canada where they were doing odd jobs to eke out a living.

Some Research fellows saw hope of being employed with the proposed introduction of agriculture as a subject in schools

A senior scientist of the university, who is principal investigator of some research schemes of the national agriculture technology programme (NATP), on condition of anonymity, said that young agriculture scientists may find opportunities for employment drastically reduced in the future with the proposed winding up of the NATP in 2001.


Martyr cremated in native village
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 15 — Havildar Devinder Singh of 22 Rashtriya Rifles was cremated with full military honours at Takhran, his native village, in the Samrala subdivision of this district.

He was 32. He is survived by his wife, a minor daughter and a son. A large number of military officers, civil administration officials and villagers attended the funeral of the martyr.

He wan on patrol duty on November 12 near Chhoor village in the Sangrama Sector of Jammu and Kashmir, where he was killed in an encounter with terrorists.

His father, Hari Singh, and mother, Gurmeet Kaur, said they were proud of their son who had sacrificed his life for the nation.

The SDM of Samrala, Mr Sandeep Hans, the SP (operations), Mr Ram Singh, the officiating Deputy Director Sainik Welfare, Mr Yashpal Sharma, Lieut-Col P.C. Katoch, Col G.S. Bajwa, a member of the SGPC, Mr Kirpal Singh Khirniya, 50 jawans, 15 JCOs and 10 military officers were present at the funeral.


Pardesi charms the native audience
From A Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 15 — He is called Mohammad Rafi of Punjab. His voice is well recognised throughout Kenya, where he went at the age of 14. Not a single Indian in Kenya is unfamiliar with his voice. In London too, Sunrise Radio and Radio Sabras in Leister have made him a darling of all Indians. His melodious voice charmed the audience in the Government College Auditorium last evening. Through the efforts of Ms Manjit Sodhia, ex-Principal of Government College for Women and Principal Government College for Men, Mr Didar Singh Pardesi delighted the audience with his voice.

He looks much younger than his age of 64 years. He said, “Even after living in foreign countries for the past half a century, I kept coming to Punjab. Every year for two to three months, I return to my village Patran near Jalandhar.” Incidentally, renowned Punjabi poet Surjit Singh Patar is his cousin.

It was delightful to see the young crowd of college showing appreciation of the songs of 50’s and 60’s. It proves that it is a fallacy that youngsters are crazy after western music. Students clapped and cheered his songs and listened to him with rapt attention.

Pardesi chose numbers that were simple, understandable and had a profound meaning. Since he loves pastoral life, he sang a song which spoke of the beauties of village life. He sang, Pindan diyan ajab baharan ne and then he sang to the delight of the audience Sada hasda rahe Punjab, sada vasda rahe Punjab. What added to the beauty was his simplicity. He himself played on the harmonium and the tabla player, Rang Ali, ably supported him.

He sang Shiv Batalvi’s songs Rog ban kar rah gaya, pyar tere shaher da. In this song, he depicts the heartlessness of city people. Pardesi said, “I have always loved Urdu language. No programme of mine is complete till I sing some ghazals.

Chak jigar ke see lete hain

Jaise bhi ho jee lete hain

Dard mile to seh lete hain

Ashk mile to pee lete hain

Singing of this ghazal of Kulwant Nadeem brought a big round of applause specially when he sang this couplet. Aap kahen to mar jaayen hum, Aap kahein to jee leten hain.

The youngsters went ecstalic over the simplistic wording of the ghazal and its rendering. His next ghazal was :

Jab se tum jawan ho gaye

Shahr ki jaan ho gaye

This ghazal was also well received by the audience. He kept pleading with the audience that he was 64 years of age and he was tired, but the audience kept demanding more and more. Didar chose to oblige audience with more songs.

Pardesi said, “My no mehfil is complete unless and until I sing Salma. Though Heer is of Ranjha, but everyone says Waris Shah di Heer.” Similarly, Salma is written by Akhtar Shirani, but now it is Pardesi’s Salma. Aa jao baharen katne baleen hai, aab aa bhi ja Salma. He showed excellent control over his voice. On persistent request, he sang Ambi da Buta by Professor Mohan Singh.

He is going to release his latest cassette Bekrari soon. He sang a song from his forthcoming album written by Surjit Singh Patar. Badh the vrikh haan, khatm haan, bas sham tik haan, phir bhi kisi bahar di karda udeek haan. Then he sang Heer in the typical mournful style Doli chaddiyan mariyan Heer cheekhan, Mainu la chale babula mere, mainu rakh la babula. With this beautiful song ended one of the most beautiful and pleasurable evenings. The principal of the Government College, Mr S.S. Sooch, honoured him by presenting him a shawl.

Pardesi speaks out

IN an exclusive interview with Pardesi, the correspondent wanted to know why he was called Pardesi.

He said, “ I left India when I was only 14 years. So naturally I am a pardesi.”

Who is your favourite lyricist?

“I am a voracious reader. While reading, whichever song appeals to me, I choose it. I have sung compositions of Iqbal, Galib, Akhtar, Mohan Singh and Shiv Batalvi.”

Who composes music for your songs?

“I compose my own music. For Salma, I composed its music twice, but I was not satisfied. In my third attempt in Pahadi Raag, I found it was perfect.”

Have you had formal training in music?

“No, music has been a God given gift and I have increased my knowledge in this field by my own efforts I think music runs in our blood. My son, an electronics engineer, accompanies me on tabla.”

How are you familiar with Raags when you have had no formal training ?

“I have been singing for a long time gradually I have become familiar with classical raags.”

Have you ever done playback singing?

“Yes, I sang one song with Asha Bhonsle for Anjana Safar. I sang for Biswajeet in the film Do Shikari. But I did not like the atmosphere, so I came back.”

Is singing your profession?

“Actually I have spent 37 years of my life teaching mathematics and geography. I retired as Head of the Department from Salis Bury School, London. Singing is my hobby. In my leisure time, I find new lyrics and set them to music.”

My message to people is that Indians have roots in India, so they should promote Indian culture wherever they are in the world.


Student factions clash
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 15 — Two factions of students at the Arya College for Boys are on a collision course over the fee hike issue.

While the representatives of Akhil Bhartiya Vidya Parishad (ABVP) are demanding that the fee be reduced to half of the existing amount, representatives of the All India Sikh Students’ Federation (AISSF) allege that the college atmosphere was being spoiled by students belonging to the former faction.

The ABVP group said that the AISSF group was raising demands which could not be fulfilled by college authorities. In a press note by the president of AISSF, Sukhjinder Singh Sukha, it had been stated that even though their principal, Mr V.K. Mehta, had already reduced the fee by Rs 300, and had promised to give fee concession to students from economically weaker sections of the society, the ABVP group was instigating students to demand a greater slashing of the fee. 


Youth fest from today
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 15 — The three-day zonal youth festival of Panjab University will begin at the Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd, tomorrow.

Students from eight colleges comprising Guru Nanak National College, Dakha, Guru Hargobind Girls College, Gurusar Sudhar, Government College, Karamsar, SGGT College, Raikot, Government Science College and Research Institute, Jagraon, DAV College, Jagraon, and Guru Nanak College Narangwal, and the host Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd, will compete for various fine arts and cultural items.


Govt urged to go soft on rice 
From Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, Nov 15 — Farmers of Punjab are happy after the Union Government has relaxed the quality standards for the procurement of paddy, from a 3 per cent damage to an 8 per cent damage, without lowering the minimum support price (MSP). This has saved frustrated farmers of Punjab from a distress sale of the produce. The government should also relax these procurement standards for rice that is produced after the milling process. This will make the milling process smooth and fast.

According to the Quality-Control Department of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the milling of the current crop of paddy has shown that the percentage of slightly damaged grains is more than ever before. This has led to raising of the prescribed limit for damaged and slightly damaged grain. The FCI, obviously, could not accept substandard rice according to the existing standards.

The Union Government had decreased the out-turn ratio of rice from 67 to 64 per cent, which was good for millers. The relaxation would help millers control the percentage of broken and dehusked rice. However, it would not help them reduce the percentage of damaged and slightly damaged rice.

Sources in the rice-milling industry said the increasing quantity of damaged and slightly damaged grains could be removed from the rice only through the use of high-tech sortex plants. However, out of about 2,500 mills in Punjab, only a few units that produced export-quality rice, had these plants. The other units are not in a position to install these plants now.

Mr Brij Mohan, President of the FCI Quality-Control Staff Association, said if the standards were not relaxed, all the rice would be declared substandard. He said this was because the percentage of damaged and slightly damaged grains in the produce was between 2 per cent and 4.5 per cent. The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act allowed the presence of 5 per cent damaged grains in a rice sample (slightly damaged grain did not come under its purview). However, the refraction of both types of grain was clubbed and was allowed only upto 2 per cent.

Mr Brij Mohan said upto 15 per cent moisture in the grains should be permitted. The revised limit was 14 per cent. He said, in December and January, the temperature was low and humidity high in Punjab. The moisture content in the grain was directly affected by these conditions. With no relief, the procurement of rice produced in Punjab would be affected.

Millers said the FCI feared that if standards were relaxed, states would not accept the rice produced in Punjab. They said this fear was unfounded. After the standards were relaxed, the FCI staff in Punjab should not accept or send out substandard rice. The recipient states should continue strict quality checks.

The FCI Quality-Control Staff Association had given a memorandum to the Union Government. It said the percentage limit of damaged and slightly damaged grain in a sample should be increased from 2 per cent to 4 per cent. The categories of ‘damaged’ and ‘slightly damaged’ should be separated. The limits should be raised to 2 per cent for damaged grain and 5 per cent for slightly damaged grain. The rice should be declared damaged only if a large part of it was affected.

A positive attitude of the government would ensure that all rice was milled soon and saved from deterioration in storage units. The need of the hour was to make a long-term and healthy food policy that was good for farmers, consumers and the nation.


Farmers demand agriculture channel 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 15 — Punjab farmers are usually futuristic. An exclusive T.V. channel on agriculture is on their mind. The idea was mooted at the monthly meeting of the Agriculture Production Committee chaired by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu here today.

Representatives of various farmers bodies suggested that a separate TV channel, based exclusively on agriculture should be started, as it would boost the agriculture sector. The meeting unanimously decided to press the demand at different fora.

Addressing the meeting, the Deputy Commissioner disclosed that the representative character of the district level ACPs was being widened, with members from different groups like progressive farmers, cooperatives and milk unions being included in them. Mr Sandhu said, this was being done to ensure that problems being faced by the farmers at the grass root level were properly reviewed and immediate action taken.

Mr Sandhu pointed out, that a majority of the population in the district was dependent on agricultural production and this committee would provide a proper forum to deal with their problems. It would also guide them regarding the latest development in the agricultural sector by experts and the government.

Responding to a complaint by Mr Raghbir Singh Sharanmajra, chairman Milk Union Ludhiana, regarding the adulteration of kerosene oil in diesel, which was causing enormous damage to tractors and engines, the DC said, large scale sampling would be done in rural areas to curb the adulteration. He asked the District Food and Supplies Controller to chalk out the scheme for checking petrol pumps.

Mr Jagjit Singh Hara, a progressive farmer, pointed out that the agriculture department was recommending various crops, without prior experiments by experts in government or PAU farms. The DC asked the agriculture department to ensure that the crops were recommended to farmers after due experimentation.

The DC stressed upon the agriculture department to organise seminars and conferences of leading farmers and marketing experts to create awareness by exploring proper marketing channels for their produce.

The Deputy Registrar, Cooperatives, Mr Kamal Deep Singh Sanga, informed that the cooperative department had planned to set up an agro-processing complex on a trial basis at Rasulpur village. He said if the experiment proved financially viable, more such processing complexes would be set up by cooperative societies in villages, to promote the culture of marketing the processed produce.

Chairman PUNSUP, Mr Bhag Singh Malkha, and Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Kaler also addressed the meeting.


62 pc of paddy was purchased by govt
From Our Correspondent

MACHHIWARA, Nov 15 — About 9.13 lakh quintals of paddy arrived in the local grain market as compared to 8.9 lakh quintals last year. Out of it, 62 per cent paddy was purchased by the government agencies, whereas, the remaining was purchased by private traders. Last year, the government agencies’ procurement was 58 per cent. This time there is a record increase of 21 per cent. In the surrounding purchase centres 1,11,458 quintals of paddy arrived at Koom Kalan, 32, 518 quintals at Hodon Bet, 3,87,66 quintals at Sherpur Bet, 15,672 quintals at Focal Point Burj Powat and 6917 quintals of paddy arrived at Bassi Gujran sub centre. In all, 11,78,558 quintals of paddy was sold in market committee under Machhiwara’s jurisdiction.

Though good procurement of paddy was recorded in Machhiwara and the surrounding sub-centers, but it was alleged that the purchasers belonging to the government agencies had collected a lot of money for doing the purchase work. People alleged that some of the traders purchased paddy at very low rates and sold it on minimum support price to the government agencies. Even a single heap of paddy crop (IR-8 etc) was not purchased in this mandi. So, they alleged that it was obvious that the innocent farmers were exploited by the traders and government agencies.


A cosmopolitan look for your home
From Kiran Jyot Narula

LUDHIANA, Nov 15 — This is a city of the rich and the famous. Residents here, believe in doing everything with pizazz and style. Be it their lifestyle, their cars, or their homes, everything has to be unique and “neighbour’s envy.”

Many designer homes have been built in Ludhiana recently. Mr Vinay Bhatt, owner of one such home says, “I wanted a change in my home and once I started renovating, I decided to opt for the best designer ware.”

While earlier, it was landscaped sprawling lawns and gardens, now, it is waterfalls that are the rage. If there is no space in the garden, a small one in the lobby or drawing room will suffice. It is not only a visual feast but the soothing chatter of the water as it flows is also pleasing to the ear.

Lobbies in most houses function as a family lounge and are a cosmopolitan affair. They are a combination of various themes and cultures — Rajasthani and ethnic fabrics for the upholstery and cushion covers, wrought iron or cane furniture, typical Punjabi divans in one corner for comfort, African wooden carving and masks on the walls, and so on. Multicoloured and vibrant Gujarati style low sitting arrangement in a small corner of the house is in. This also helps in breaking the monotony of pastel coloured wall schemes. Prints of various famous paintings, designer iron candle stands, other trendy wrought iron and marble artifacts, and evergreen plants and potters find a place in the lobby and the drawing rooms invariably.

Mr Hardeepak Singh, who has recently had his home redesigned on these lines says, “I wanted my home to be comfortable and yet different from the rest. I wanted the interior to be a lifestyle statement.”

The drawing rooms are given special emphasis and they too must appear spacious. Circular and ‘L’ shape sitting arrangements are out. Single and double seaters in teak, mahogany, rosewood are in with three to four fragments of such sittings with a rug or carpet thrown in. If you are not ethnic buffs, then you choose the classic dark velvets or light pastels to cover your cushions and upholstery. “Plus one textured wall in the drawing room with a shade slightly different from that of the other walls. A colour that blends in yet breaks the monotony is a must. Leather as an upholstery covering is definitely out,” commented Mr D.P. Singh, a popular interior designer.

Opting for the right flooring for your house is as vital as adding the right amount of salt to your food. For only then can you add the right furniture, and decide on the colour schemes. Gone are the days of chip flooring and carpets. Not to mention wall to wall carpets that are not practical as per Ludhiana climate. Novelty demands Italian or Indian marble flooring in the entire house, at least in the drawing room and the lobby, while the rest of the house is done in tiles. One room with wooden flooring in the house is also en-vogue. Granite flooring and shelving is popular for kitchens and bathrooms.

Ceilings too have bowed down with time, literally. Earlier, ceilings were 12 to 14 feet high, but those can only be found in formal and imposing facade houses. For instance at hotel lobbies and banquet halls, ceilings nine or ten feet high are quite practical.

The facade of these homes too has changed with time. Back in the seventies simple line/Kali in shades of lemon yellow, blues, pinks, dark peach. In eighties cement paint, better known as Snow can i.e. better in quality but in the same colours persisted. In the mid-eighties Rajasthani stonework, Kulu tiles, Bujwa, Dholepur stone work was the craze. Nineties saw superior quality of paints yet again and this time round with textured walls with more sober shades then before. Currently there is a mixing of paint, tiles and stone work. The latest trend is to have one granite facade or stonewall to break the monotony of the rest of the building. Also creepers and planters around the staircase railing create an environment-friendly and green atmosphere.

However, none of these are permanent fixtures. The final choice is governed by the individual’s taste. “Above all, it is really important to understand clients, their habits and needs, for only then can one create a home for them,” says Mr A.S. Chawla, a leading name in the field of designing and architecture.

What is remarkable, however, is the multifarious cultures that one sees being integrated into Ludhiana homes. 


Pensioners seek Jacob’s assistance
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Nov 15 — Members of the Government Pensioners Association have urged the Punjab Governor to help them in getting the recommendations of the fourth Punjab Pay Commission implemented.

Mr Yash Paul Ghai, Additional General Secretary of the association, in a press note issued here, said senior citizens everywhere enjoyed a higher income-tax exemption limit, concession in rail and air fare, old-age allowance and not having to pay the registration fee for getting telephone connections at the age of 65.

He said the Punjab Government had earlier granted old-age allowance to persons above the age of 65.

Mr Ghai said, according to the recommendations of the fourth Punjab Pay Commission, pensioners should start getting old-age allowance at the ages of 65 and 75 in the first and second stages, respectively. He said, at present, they received this benefit only at the ages of 70 and 80 in the first and second stages, respectively.

Mr Ghai said two-years-and-a-half had elapsed since the submitting of the report. He alleged that the Badal government was delaying the implementation the recommendations.

Members of the association said there was no point in setting up a pay commission if its recommendations were not to be accepted.


Litter dumps dot cityscape
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 15 — The shaded area under the flyover near the Dhole Wal Chowk stinks with decomposing waste. Rotten vegetables, tiny pieces of rags, scattered paper litter the area. Recycled polythene bags give the place a bad look. Pigs have a field day going through the refuge. A passerby covered up her nose and complained that sometimes the smell was nauseating to the point of revulsion.

People have a tough time shooing away pigs and dogs that gather frequently at the place. Walking on the road poses a danger as there was a threat of being attacked by the animals.

Cheema Park that is near the place hardly qualifies to be a park. It is dingy and ill-maintained . Squalor and filth dot the park. A resident of Dhole Wal said that it was simply out of question to take a walk in the park. She added that even during the morning hours, the air was suffocated.

Ludhianvis can’t be absolved of their share of the blame for this problem. According to a retired Municipal Corporation official, throwing waste at every conceivable corner was hardly becoming of responsible citizens.

However, at many places , laudable efforts have been made by some citizens in this regard. For instance, some time ago, the area near Aggar Nagar A and B was a dumping ground, especially for decomposing vegetable waste. Grocers used to sprawl their vegetables and there used to be a melee in the evening. Colony residents decided to take the initiative in this regard. Within a brief span of time, the place was transformed into a beautiful park, thanks to the concerted efforts of the residents. A separate area was earmarked for the vegetable vendors. Today, the place has acquired a new spruced up look. Perhaps, more Ludhianivis could take a leaf from their book!


Animal welfare day observed
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 15 — The Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension of PAU observed an animal welfare day at Kotli village (Ludhiana) on November 13, in collaboration with Milkfed.

A team of experts headed by Dr K.B. Singh participated in the technical seminar. Dr K.B. Singh, Head of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension, told the dairy farmers regarding the hygienic and good quality milk production in the light of WTO agreement. He stressed the farmers for reducing the cost of milk production through rational expenditure.

Dr M.P. Gupta delivered a talk on ‘Common diseases of animals and the importance of proper sheds, management and nutrition of animals’. Dr H.K. Verma talked about the ‘Management of reproductive disorders’ and the importance of the right timing of artificial insemination to curb the menace of repeat breeding. A question answer session was also held in which farmers’ queries were replied. Dairy farms of the village were also visited and the correct management procedures were suggested.



A clarification

In the news item, "Bid to molest girl" published in these columns on November 15, it was inadvertently published that the victim was a student of Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Gujjarkhan Campus. The victim, however, was a student of a local engineering college.


38 bottles of liquor seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, Nov 15 — The police has seized 38 bottles of liquor from two different persons during the past 24 hours. Both accused, Ram Parkash and Jasvir Singh, alias Janny, have been arrested and booked under different sections of the Excise Act.

It is learnt that 27 bottles of liquor were seized from Ram Parkash from Mohalla Amarpura.

In another case, 11 bottles of liquor were seized from Jasvir Singh during a special checking at Dolon Kalan village.

One held

A team of CIA Staff arrested Rakesh Kumar for gambling in public at Cheema Chowk and seized Rs 900 and some slips from him. The police has booked the accused under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act.

Scooter stolen

A scooter (PB-10-AN-5582) was reportedly stolen from Mohalla Hargobindnagar. The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC on the complaint of the owner, Vikrant Bansal.


Man missing for fortnight
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 15 — Ram Partap, an employee of the Municipal Corporation here has been reported missing in mysterious circumstances since November 1 as his family members and the Municipal Workers Union blamed the police for indifference and apathetic attitude.

According to Mr Khelar Chand Gupta, General Secretary of the union, Ram Partap (43) left his house on the night of November 1 after having dinner. Before leaving, he told his son, Rakesh Kumar, that he was going to some place with his neighbour, Shyam Behari, and would be back in the morning. Thereafter, there was no trace of Ram Partap even though Shyam Behari had come back. All efforts of the family members to locate the missing person had yielded no results.

The matter was reported to the Focal Point police on November 5, but persistent follow-up by activists of the union and the family had failed to move the police. Mr Gupta further informed that police did round up Shyam Behari but he was later let off without much interrogation.

The union has urged the SSP to take effective measures to locate Ram Partap and to take suitable action against the culprits who were behind suspected kidnapping.


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