Monday, November 27, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Digvijay blames Punjab for delay
Ludhiana-Chandigarh rail link
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 26 — The Union Minister of State for Railways, Mr Digvijay Singh, today blamed the Punjab Government for delay in the commencement of work on the proposed Ludhiana-Chandigarh rail link. He said despite being asked a number of times, the state government had failed to give its consent to contribute 5 per cent of the total cost of the project, being share of the beneficiary state. As a result, the project failed to make it to the list of those projects, which were to be taken up on priority basis.

Talking to media persons at local railway station, the minister told that the Railways had decided to seek participation of the state governments by way of 5 percent contribution to the total cost of the project. A number of states had responded positively, and work on several railway projects was already under way. He said it was only through partial cost sharing by four states that the Ministry of Railways had been able to raise Rs 400 crore for the Konkan Railway project and it was successfully completed and commissioned on schedule.

Replying to a question, Mr Singh informed that the work for electrification of Ludhiana-Amritsar section would be taken up soon. The Railways, he added, had undertaken quite a number of electrification projects, throughout the country which would be completed by the end of year 2003 at an estimated cost of Rs 1400 crore.

On providing more facilities to the passengers at Ludhiana railway station, the minister said that escalators would be provided for the convenience of senior citizens, sick and physically handicapped passengers. A new foot-bridge would be constructed to connect the newly constructed platform No. 7 and the entire railway station would be given a new look.

Earlier, the Congress MP from the city, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, received the minister at the railway station. In his welcome address, Mr Ghalib announced that he would provide funds from his constituency development grant for expansion of existing facilities at the railway station.


Punjabi beauties in offbeat ramp show
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 26 — Excitement spiced with comedy marked the Vishav Panjaban 2000 contest. Modern Punjabi damsels changed into traditional attires to walk down the ramp.

Swaranjit Sandhu of Ferozepore was chosen the Vishav Punjaban 2000 and was given a gold crown. Aman Ramgarhia and Poonam Walia were declared the first and second runners-ups, respectively. Ms Manpreet Kaur was declared the Susheel Punjaban and Giddhe Di Rani award went to Jaswinder Gill.

It was a beauty pageant with a difference. No revealing dresses or obscene postures were seen in the contest. Instead of this, one saw beauties with brains that reflected various hues of Punjabi culture.

The contest was organised by the Sabhyacharak Sath Punjab to identify and encourage real beauties of the region “in a dignified manner”. The event that was inaugurated by Mr S.S. Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, continued till midnight.

The contest saw participation by 15 damsels who represented different districts of the state. The event began with a performance by Amit Verma’s cultural troupe. Ambience of a Punjabi wedding was created on the stage in the first round of the contest. All beauties wore bright coloured suits and lehangas with phulkaris and baaghs for this part of the event. Their jewellery included saggi phul and kaleeras and they had aalta applied on their hands.

The contestants danced to the tune of Punjabi numbers and performed giddha . The third round was of Punjabi boliyan. The contestants answered questions on Punjabi culture rather confidently.

The panel of judges included Dr Harbhajan Dhillon of Chandigarh, Prof Harbhajan Singh Gill of Patiala, Ms Raji Shinde of ETC Channel and Ms Harinder Kaur Sohi.

Bhagwant Maan and Jagtaar Jaggi were at their comic best while cracking jokes that entertained the audience. The Malika-e-Tarannum award was given to Amar Noori, who was accompanied on stage by her husband, Sardool Sikandar.

There were surprise prizes for lady with long hair, newly wedded couple and person with ten 500 rupee notes.

The winner, Swaranjit Sandhu, said the event had been well-organised. She said, “Our parents allowed us to participate in the contest because they knew that would be a dignified event. Punjabi girls should promote their culture.” Swaranjit is a final-year M.Com student. She said she considered inner beauty to be as important as outer beauty.

Poonam Walia, the second runners-up, is a BBA student of the Khalsa College for Women. She said, “You don’t need to expose to prove your beauty. Even a fully clad woman can receive appreciation. Such appreciation is more dignified.”


Two workers killed in factory brawl
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 26 — An altercation between two night-shift workers of a plastic bag factory in Shivaji Nagar here cost them their lives. While one worker succumbed to his injuries on the spot late last night, the other died in hospital today.

The worker who died in the factory has been identified as Bhutan, while the other who died later in CMC Hospital this evening was identified as Ram Kumar.

Giving details, Mr Paramjit Singh, SHO of police division no. 6, said that the two workers were not on good terms and had altercations earlier also. Last night, they were deputed to supervise the machines, operating on ground floor and first floor of the factory building.

When a family member of the factory owners, who lives in the same building, came to check them, he found one of them lying dead in a pool of blood, while Ram Kumar was critically injured, with several wounds, inflicted with some sharp-edged object. The injured worker was admitted to CMC where he succumbed to his injuries without making any statement.

The police believe that a knife-like working tool, used in the factory to cut plastic bags, was used by both men to attack each other. According to the SHO, the possibility of any outsider, intruding in the factory and being involved in the dual killing was remote, in view of the fact that the outer gates of the factory were locked from inside.

A case under Section 302 was registered earlier by the police, but the FIR might have to be revised, since both persons were killed.


Paper leakage alleged
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 26 — Rowdy scenes marked the beginning and the end of the 3rd state-level mathematics test organised by the Castle Learning Centre at Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, here today. Over 1100 students from 35 schools took the test.

The test began 15 minutes late and soon some parents started complaining about mismanagement and leakage of paper. They alleged that the in charge of the centre, Ms Rima Juneja, had shown the question paper to a school teacher, who was standing near the school gate. The parents found it objectionable and called an examiner outside the gate, where they were all standing. Soon a heated discussion ensued and the examiner finding it difficult to convince parents left the spot.

Again when the examination was over, agitated parents entered the school building and a similar discussion followed. Some of the parents tried to snatch answer sheets from students sitting in a room, who were taking their test even 10 minutes after the time was over. The parents then started raising slogans against the organisers. Later, they left the school with their wards.

The school teacher, when contacted, admitted that she saw the question paper while the test had just begun, but she denied any leakage of the paper. Ms Juneja said the paper began late as the names of the students had to be compared with the list available with them. Some time was also lost while allotting roll numbers and seats to the examinees, she said.

She said that she showed the paper to a school teacher for just 10 minutes and then took it back. She further said that she ensured that none of the teachers from any school went to any of the rooms where the test was being conducted.

Ms Juneja said, ‘‘The test began late in one of the rooms as answer sheets were missing in one of the packets. Since the test began late in that room, we gave them some extra time. The room had students from different schools which proves that there was no partiality.’’


Martyr cremated at native village
From Our Correspondent

SAYAN KALAN (Ludhiana), Nov 26 — The body of Sepoy Kartar Singh of 13 Sikh Regiment, who died while defending the country in Siachen on November 23, was consigned to flames here today.

The young soldier was killed in an artillery attack by Pakistan Army. The body that was flown to Chandigarh yesterday afternoon, was taken to the martyr’s native village this morning after it had been kept in Ludhiana overnight.

Residents of the twin villages of Sayan Kalan and Sayan Khurd gathered at the soldier’s house early in the morning today to pay their last respects to the first ever martyr from these villages. Many young men of these villages are in the Army.

On way to the village cremation ground, the Army jawans marched behind the bier, followed by a large number of villagers. The sound of the Army band often got lost in the shouts of “Shaheed Kartar Singh, amar rahe”. Behind the funeral procession were the village womenfolk, including the mother of the martyr, Ms Amarjit Kaur, and sisters, Karamjit and Harjinder. They have not stopped crying for the past couple of days after they received the news of Kartar’ death.

The GOC-in-C of the Western Command, Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh Sangra, the GOC 11 Corps, Lieut-Gen K. Davar, the Station Commander of 715 AD Brigade, Brig A.K. Verma, the CO of the 45 AD Regiment, Col Vineet Mohan, and Wg Cdr M.S. Randhawa, District Sainik Welfare Officer of Ludhiana, laid wreaths on the martyr’s body.

The civilians who laid wreaths on Kartar’s body included Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Minister for Technical Education of Panjab, Mr Jagjit Singh Ghungrana, Chairman of Punjab Agro, Mr Tarsem Jodhan, former MLA, Mr S.R. Kler, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana, and Mr Rachhpal Singh Bajwa, SP (Headquarters) of Jagraon. A large number of villagers and Kartar’s friends also laid garlands on the martyr’s body.

The Antim Ardas was performed by Bhai Gurcharan Singh before Gurnam Singh, younger brother of the martyr, lit the pyre. Kartar is survived by his widow and a three-year-old daughter named Jaspreet.

Kartar Singh was born on October 30, 1974 and joined the Army on February 24, 1994. Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha said the village primary school would be upgraded to the middle level soon and named after the martyr.

Mr S.R. Kler announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh and a grant of Rs 5 lakh or a plot in addition to a government job for a member of the martyr’s family.


Front honours martyr’s family
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 26 — The family of a Army martyr, Mr Kulwant Singh, who laid down his life while fighting against the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, was honoured by the All-India Anti-Terrorists Front (AIATF) here today.

Presiding over a function organised by the Tagore Public School in Agar Nagar here, chairman of the AIATF and former Indian Youth Congress President, Mr Maninderjit SIngh Bitta, presented a cheque of Rs 50,000 to Ms Balbir Kaur, the widow of the deceased.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Bitta called upon the government to provide relief and rehabilitation measures to families of those who were killed in Kashmir or elsewhere during fight against insurgency, at par with the Kargil martyrs. The least the nation can do for them, is to provide them some respectable means of livelihood and financial security. He said he would take up the matter of allotment of petrol pumps and LPG distributorships to families of Army martyrs, at priority level, with the Union Government.

Earlier, addressing a news conference, Mr Bitta called for cleansing the political system in such a manner that the criminals and their patrons could not contest elections .It is unfortunate that the politicians were not bothered about the country and still worse, the people were not taken into confidence, even on vital decisions, which had far reaching implications on the destiny of the nation he added.

Lauding the remarks of the President of India, Mr K.R.Narayanan, on criminalisation of politics and need to break the nexus between criminals and politicians, he suggested that the President, at his own, should take the initiative and set up a judicial commission to probe the links between politicians and criminals.

The Election Commission could also play a major role in this regard by creating awareness among the electorate about candidates with criminal backgrounds, so that even if such persons were not disqualified due to legal loopholes, the voters had the option to choose a better alternative.


Mushaira in memory of Sahir Ludhianvi
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 26 — There was romance in the air. In a chilling cloudless night under the open sky, the poets sparked off the fire of their imagination setting the tune that perfectly befitted the occasion — Millennium Mushaira — in memory of the legendary poet Sahir Ludhianvi.

Poets from various states like Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi participated in the mushaira which was organised by the International Sahir Foundation (ISF).

Inaugurating the mushaira Mr Raja Singh, chairman of the GRD Academy, emphasised the need of patronising art and culture. He also hailed the efforts of the ISF in reliving the memory of Sahir. The Principal of the Academy, Mr J.S. Dugal, regretted that a language as live as Urdu was being neglected.

Setting the tone of the night Randhir Kanwal presented a poem of Sahir, mein ne jo geet tere pyar ke khatir likhe, aaj un geetoon ko bazar mein le aya hoon. The presentation created a poetic environment making it convenient for others to follow.

Comparing the symposium, Aziz Parihar started by quoting Faiz, Bara hai dard ka rishta yeh dil gareeb sahi, tumhare nam pe ayengay gham ghusar chale. His measured and well weighed phrases kept everyone involved. His own poetry was no less charming. Koi ramz nishani de, soch ko ghera pani de. mausam guzre patjarh ka, shai koi lafani de. And Udhas sham ka manzar yeh subah ki lali, yeh silsila hai mere dhoobne ubharne ka.

Other poets were no less impressive. Dr Mehmood Alam's labhe khamosh ke lehjay ki bhu samajta hai, ab ek shakhs meri guftugu samajta hai. Woh chahe dhoor ho kitna mein usko sunta hoon , kahin rahoon woh mujhe ru ba ru samajta hai; and Asliyat khulne lagi to barhami achhi lagne lagi, dosti se uski dushmani achhi lagne lagi received cheer and applause from the audience.

Renowned poet Balraj Komal, who was awarded the first Millennium Award was very impressive. There was rhythm and music in his poetry. His renditions like Asman hoga ya zameen hoga, harafi roshan ka woh amir hoga, bazme yaran panahgah uski, hona hoga to woh wahi hoga proved too irresistible not be applauded and cheered with shouts of mukarir (for repeating).

Balraj Bakshi from Kashmir highlighted the pain of an average Kashmiri who is caught in a strife and whose is always doubted by everyone. Hamein to roz wafa ka saboot dena hota hai, hum woh hein jo roz azmaye jate hein probably summed up the situation in his homeland.

Raminder Jhakhu's Aap ne aisa masiha bhi dekha hai kya, zakhm de kar jo poochhe dard hota hai kya, Aadmiyat se juda jab ho gaya hai admi, rooh kais jism se koi rishta hai kya, and presentations of Prithipal Singh Betab, Swarnjit Savi, Dr H.K. Lal, M.S. Tasneen, Narinder Kalia, Jagtar Singh, Jigar Jallandhari, Prem Kumar Nazar, Surjit Judge, Sardar Panchhi and Zahid Abrol were equally brilliant in their composition.

Presiding over the function Mr Chandershekhar, Inspector General of Police, while paying tributes to Sahir said, every Ludhianvi should feel proud of him.

Earlier Mr K.S. Sohal, President of the ISF, listed various aims and objectives of the foundation and announced that it would work for the progress of Urdu language. He said, a website would soon be launched. Mr Gurshminder Jagpal, Organising Secretary, thanked the poets and the guests.


They tell your fortune for Rs 10
By Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Nov 26 — Scores of fortune tellers have encroached upon the pavements outside Panjab University's Extension Library in a bid to catch the attention of passersby, luring them by giving them insights about their future.

They sit on the pavements, spreading a blanket covered by a sheet which has almost become black due to soot of the passing vehicles. Doing a tough job, these fortune tellers sit there from morning to evening in the hope of getting some clients. Though very reluctant to talk on anything except doling out advice for an amount, they had to be literally coaxed into giving some information about their profession.

All the three fortune tellers that spoke to Ludhiana Tribune appeared to have decided to talk in mono syllables. It was found out that they had come from Rajasthan. Their leader, so it appeared, was the spokesperson. He informed that telling fortunes was his ancestral way of earning a living. From last seven generations, his forefathers had been telling fortunes of the people. He had gained jyotish vidya from them. He reads only horoscope.

''How much do you charge for reading a horoscope?"

"It depends on the client and his wish. He may give us Re 1 or Rs 10. We never ask for money."

"What sorts of clients do you get?"

"Obviously, not very rich ones."

"Do you read the palm?"

"No, we don't believe in palm reading."

"Which books do you consult?"

"We consult a jantri which tells us about greh-gochar."

Another fortune teller, Mangat Ram, has displayed a board stating his name, fee and the mode of telling fortune. He reads the palm and also reads the forehead and tells the clients about their future. He also hails from Rajasthan and charges Rs 11.

The third one, Bajrang Lal, is from Bihar and learnt jyotish vidya from some Brahmins in Bihar. Kamal from Nepal was consulting him about his domestic problems. A young, pretty girl, Naina, was also very keen to know her future. Bajrang Lal was different from others as he never read the janam patris but generally answered questions that one asks him.

Naina seemed to be very satisfied with his answers as she told this correspondent. She said: "What he told me is true. It is true that whatever I think never materialises. He has told me so. He said that shani was creating all these problem. He advised me to get married before I am 24. Just for Rs 10 he has cheered me up and boosted my morale."

"Do you know what kind of a day you are going to have?"

"Most of them did not wish to answer this question."

"Do you believe in the horoscope printed in newspapers?"

"We don't know because there are millions of people under one rashi. So the predictions may be true for some and may be wrong for others."

In spite of their hard work and knowledge, their working conditions are very tough. They don't have any shelter and it seems that they were really not earning as much as the labour they put in. May be, they should do some upaye to improve their own fortunes first.


Shabd singing programme
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 26 — Religious nectar flowed uninterrupted for 16 hours before the ninth vishal alokik rainn subai gurmat samagam came to a close here this morning.

Devotees started thronging the venue soon after 4 p.m. yesterday when the night-long programme of shabd singing got under way at the Dasehra grounds in Jamalpur Colony, Focal Point. It was organised by the Shri Guru Ram Dass Sewa Society in collaboration with the managements of several gurdwaras, including Gurdwara Guru Singh Sabha, HM-Jamalpur.

The programme was held in connection with the 400th parkash utsav of Guru Granth Sahib.

Among the ragis who enthralled the audience throughout the night were Bhai Harjinder Singh (Srinagarwale), Bhai Nirmal Singh Hazoori, ragi, Golden Temple, Bhai Narinder Singh, Hazoori ragi (Banaraswale), Bibi Baljit Kaur (Talwarawale), Bhai Davinder Singh Sodhi (Ludhiana), Bhai Ranjit Singh Chandan (Faridkot), Bhai Gurcharan Singh Rasia (Ludhiana), Bhai Satinder Pal Singh of Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Bhai Manpreet Singh (Kanpur), Bhai Sukhdev Singh (Patiala), Bhai Jaswant Singh (Amritsar), Bhai Kuldip Singh and Satwant Singh (Sangrur) and Bhai Hardip Singh of Gurdwara Jamalpur Colony.


Tohra should not lay terms for support’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 26 — Punjab Finance Minister and senior leader of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal Capt Kanwaljeet Singh today asked the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra to lend unconditional support the SAD.

Talking to TNS here today while attending a function organised in memory of the Namdhari martyrs Subha Gian Rattan Singh and Sant Rattan Singh, Capt Singh claimed that Mr Tohra never means what he says. Reacting to the statement of Mr Tohra that he would not oppose Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi or Mal Singh Ghuman as the candidates for the post of president of the SGPC, Capt Kanwaljeet Singh said, if Mr Tohra really means what he said, he should not lay any conditions.

The Finance Minister alleged that Mr Tohra had never wished for meant unity of SAD. “Whether it is unity or support he always tries to bargain”, he remarked. However, he preferred silence on whether the unity moves should be made from the two sides.

Reacting to the meeting of a Congress delegation with the Union Home Minister in which it was alleged that the state was facing a serious law and order problem, Capt Kanwaljeet claimed that the Congress was saying it out of sheer helplessness as it had realised that it was being wiped out in the state.

He observed that the leaders were decided in five-star hotels, while workers were ignored. He said during the installation ceremony of the PCC president two senior leaders of the party were absent.

The minister said that the Congress could not reconcile to the fact that peace and communal brotherhood had returned to the state. He said that the party should set its own house in order and only then comment on the functioning of the government.

Earlier Capt Kanwaljeet paid floral tributes to the two Namdhari martyrs at their memorial at the Jail Road here. He said people should remember the sacrifices of all martyrs, particularly the Namdharis. He hoped that youth will seek inspiration from their sacrifice and work for the peace and progress of the country.

The head of the Namdhari sect Baba Jagjit Singh exhorted people to observe the true dharam. He said, “we should not forget the sacrifices of martyrs and also the ideals and principles they stood for”.

Thousands of people converged on the memorial here today and paid their tributes to the martyrs.


Son accuses mother of cheating
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 26 — A city resident has alleged that his mother has cheated him by leasing out a building owned by him. He said, in doing so, she had violated a recent court order that affirmed his ownership right.

Unable to bear the shock of the accusation, the father of the complainant has reportedly suffered a heart attack. He is convalescing in a New Delhi hospital now.

In an FIR registered at the Kotwali police station, Sunil Bajaj, a resident of Satguru Nagar, alleged that his mother, Usha Bajaj, had purchased a building in Tagore Nagar here in 1972 and had made him the owner of the property subsequently.

The building was rented out to the State Bank of India. Sunil Bajaj used to collect the rent. However, after some differences arose between the parents and the son, a legal battle over the ownership of the building ensued.

According to the FIR, the son won the case, but complained to the police that his mother had already entered into a new lease agreement with the bank. The police registered a case under Sections 420, 467 and 471 of the IPC.

However, when a police party reached the Delhi residence of the parents of Sunil Bajaj, it found that both were in a hospital. The police says that the father, M.L. Bajaj, has suffered a stroke due to the shock.

Mr Balbir Singh Tiwari, SHO of the police station, said no arrest had been made so far in the case. He said the police would take action only after a proper investigation. According to preliminary reports gathered by the police, the mother had entered into the lease agreement with the bank before the court had decided the case in the favour of her son.


Four booked under Dowry Act
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 26 — The district police has booked four persons under various provisions of the IPC for allegedly demanding more dowry and causing mental and physical torture to Baljit Kaur, a resident of Dalem village. Those facing criminal charges under Sections 406 and 498-A, IPC, are Jasvir Singh, Jarnail Singh, Sukhdev Kaur and Ramandeep Kaur, husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law and sister-in-law, respectively, of the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.

Car stolen
A Maruti car (DL-5-CA-8540) was reportedly stolen from Street No 11, Hargobind Nagar, here while it was parked in front of the house of a local businessman, Mr Yogesh Sood. The police has registered a case.

Poppy husk seized
The police has seized two bags of poppy husk from a cycle rehra from near the Gill canal, Lohara village. A case under Sections 15, 61 and 85, NDPS Act, was registered against Sat Pal, a resident of Mohalla Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Dhandra Road. The accused escaped.

Liquor seized
The police arrested Sanjiv Singh Babu, a resident of Musahibpur village under Mukerian police station and seized eight bottles of illicit liquor from his possession last night. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act was registered.

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