Tuesday, December 12, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Administrative work hit in 45 ‘headless’ schools
Posts of Principal lying vacant for two years
From Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, Dec 11 — Administrative work remains affected in 45 government senior secondary schools, out of a total of 88 in the district, as the posts of Principal are lying vacant in them. While some of these posts are lying unfilled for the past two years, other vacancies have been created in the current year.

The posts are lying vacant ever since the respective Principals have retired. Sources in the department revealed that there has been no promotion from amongst the teachers for the past more than two years as the Punjab government has not prepared any seniority list. Another reason being cited for the administrative mess was the financial crunch being faced by the state government.

Some of the ‘headless’ schools include Senior Secondary School of Doraha, Macchiwara, Sahnewal (boys’ and girls’ schools), Raikot, Saholi, Mangat, Bhaini Sahib and Guram; while Government Multi-Purpose Senior Secondary School in the city, is also without a Principal since May this year.

The charge of the Principal has been handed over to the seniormost teachers of the respective schools. Besides, doing the usual teaching work, the officiating Principals have been burdened with administrative work as well. An officiating Principal of a government senior secondary school informed that he was not able to take regular classes as much of his time was consumed while performing the administrative duties like drawing and disbursement of salaries of the staff, maintaining discipline and now even conducting examinations.

Adhocism and indifferent attitude of the state government towards appointment of regular principals of these schools has given rise to many problems. Seniormost teachers, officiating as Principals, besides causing unintentional loss of studies to students for not being able to take regular classes, were finding it difficult to perform even their administrative duties. Since they were not the regular principals and the arrangement was merely a ‘stop gap’ measure, their ‘slack’ control administration and maintaining discipline was obvious.

One of the ‘adhoc’ principals told Ludhiana Tribune, on the condition of anonymity said; “I have to be very careful and cautious while dealing with my colleagues. The moment I tell somebody to perform his or her work diligently, I am, somehow, reminded that I am not a regular Principal. Even students, at time, do not give due respect, that is normally given to the head of an institution.”

Another temporary head of a rural school felt that the lot of ‘officiating Principals’ was being discriminated against and over-burdened. “We have to perform administrative work, handle financial and other official matters and at the same time take regular classes, without any monetary or other benefit.”

The problem, rather than taking a turn for the better, appears to have further aggravated, affecting government high schools of the district as well, where posts of 10 headmaster have become vacant. 


Railways, Sales Tax Dept dispute resurfaces
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 11 — In the wake of a simmering controversy between hosiery traders of the city and state sale tax officials over the latter’s move to raid hosiery goods at the local railway station, an old dispute between the Railways and sales tax officials over the issue of setting up a permanent tax checkpost in the station once again beckons solution.

The Sales Tax Department wants to set up a checkpost in the station to keep a daily tab on tax evasion done by traders while importing or exporting goods from the local railway station. After the present controversy tax officials say that if such a permanent post, if erected at the station, there would be no need of such raids. The local railway authorities have been vehemently opposing the move arguing that setting up such a post drew away traders and affects the business of the Railways.

The opposition of the railways had been so venement that had the sales tax officials not been accompanied by CBI and an High Court order, they would not have been allowed to enter the station for conducting such a raid. Under the present rules sale tax officials have to take permission from the Ministry of Railways in this regard.

In fact in July this year the two departments had been involved in a bitter row when the railway officials uprooted a make-shift checkpost set up the Sale Tax Department in the city. The latter had then shot off protest letters to the Ministry of Railways through the Punjab government condemning the move and demanded permission for setting up such checkposts in all railway stations of the state. The issue hangs fire since then. The Punjab Government has also not been able to pursue the matter religiously.

According to an official of the Sale Tax Department, the need to set up such posts was felt after the setting up of computerised Information Collection centres at the various road entrance points of the state. The traders who allegedly indulged in tax evasion then started sending more products through the Railways where not much vigil by the Sale Tax Department officials was possible.

In fact the traders whose goods have been seized in the raids have also reportedly taken the plea that the Sale Tax Department cannot raid the station without permission by the Ministry of Railways. This has peeved the sale tax officials who have also made renewed efforts to set up such a check post in the station.

Mr T.R. Rana Railway Station Superintendent, said the sale tax officials had to take permission from the Railways Department. He, however, added that the move is discouraged as it has been noticed that presence of such a checkpost affects the revenue collection of the parcel booking centre of the Railways. It was seen that even genuine traders shun the Railways fearing unwarranted harassment by taxation officials.

He said no local official had any personal opposition and were only following the rules of the department.


Traders move High Court
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 11 — Hosiery traders of the city have moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court for hearing of their point of view regarding the seized goods by the state Sale Tax Department and the CBI even as the stand-off between the two warring parties continued for the 6th consecutive day here today.

The department officials today began preparing an inventory of the seized goods as none of the traders came up for the verification of the seized goods. The officials said they will wait till Tuesday evening for the traders and on Wednesday the entire matter would be reported to the high court seeking further directions in the matter.

Mr Jagmohan Sharma, one of the leaders of the traders, said they have submitted an application in the high court today seeking that the court considers their point of view also while deliberating on the report of the Sale Tax Department and the CBI, which is scheduled to be submitted in the court on Wednesday.

Mr Parampal Singh, AETC, said the doors are still open for traders wishing for the verification of the goods.

The stand-off started after the raid by Sales Tax Department and the CBI on December 5 and seized a large quantity of goods of the traders. The angry traders blocked rail traffic for two days and then refused to get the goods verified as offered by the Sale Tax Department.


Dental college in the eye of a storm
From Minna Zutshi

LUDHIANA, Dec 11 — The Christian Dental College here is in the eye of a storm these days. The allegation of sexual harassment levelled by Ms Promilla Samuel, a former senior technician of the college, against the Principal, Dr J.L. Joshi, has created a rift among college employees. The scene seems to be getting murkier day by day amid allegations and counter-allegations.

It may be mentioned here that the services of Ms Samuel were terminated on May 5 this year when an ‘enquiry team’ found her ‘guilty’ of financial misappropriation. However, according to the Brown Memorial Hospital Employees’ Union, the enquiry was ‘stage-managed’. Mr Federick, the general secretary of the union, alleged that verdict of the enquiry commission was pre-planned at the behest of Dr Joshi, who had appointed a one-man commission to conduct the enquiry.

Reiterating that her fight was for justice, Ms Samuel said that she would not rest content till she got justice. She further said that if required she would appeal to the Human Rights and Minorities Commission. She would not hesitate to enlist the help of women’s organisations to fight against what she termed as the ‘travesty of justice’.

However, the Indian Dental Association, Ludhiana branch, has come out in support of Dr Joshi. The association has condemned what it termed ‘character assassination bid’ by Ms Samuel. Members of the association alleged that the complaint filed against Dr Joshi appeared to be calculated to defame him and that it was a ploy to deflect the issue of the financial misappropriation committed by Ms Samuel.

Dr Puneet Giridhar, state secretary of the Indian Dental Association, claimed that the allegations levelled by Ms Samuel were not only baseless but also defamatory. He added that the long time gap of 11 years between the alleged harassment and its reporting by Ms Samuel smacked of questionable motives.

The Christian Dental College Students Council that is siding with Dr Joshi said that the allegations against the doctor had been framed only after the dismissal of Ms Promilla Samuel who had been found misappropriating finances.

Ms Samuel, on her part, dismissed the support ‘drummed up’ by Dr Joshi as pressure tactics. She said that all this would not cow her down as hers was a fight for justice.

This unsavoury controversy has put CMC in a piquant situation. An employee of CMC said on the condition of anonymity that such controversies vitiated the atmosphere, and the reputation of the Christian Dental College had nose-dived after this ugly controversy.


‘PAUTA may join protest’
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Dec 11 — A general-body meeting of the PAU Teachers Association (PAUTA) was called today to discuss the issues of the removal of Dr R.S. Paroda from the posts of the DG of the ICAR and Secretary of DARE, the implementation of the new Career Advancement Scheme and the pay scales of the ADOs of the Punjab Department of Agriculture. The meeting failed to evoke a good response from teachers. Out of over 1,200 members, the meeting was attended by hardly 100 teachers.

According to Dr Hari Singh Brar, President of the PAUTA, the general body adopted a resolution that condemned the “shifting” of Dr Paroda from the posts. He said the general body had demanded an immediate reinstatement of Dr Paroda. He also said PAUTA could join the tomorrow’s protest march to the Parliament by the All-India Federation of University Teachers Association (AIFUTA) and the one by the All-India Federation of Agricultural Universities Teachers Association (AIFAUTA) on December 12. Teachers are seeking a proper implementation of the new Career Advancement Scheme with effect from January 1, 1996.

“The general body,” said Dr Brar, “thanked the Punjab Government for shelving the proposal to reduce the pay-scales of the ADOs of the state Agriculture Department. The ADOs should get a parity in pay-scales with veterinarians, medicos and engineers.”

However, some teachers were not happy at the proceedings of the meeting. Dr R.S. Brar, a former Secretary of PAUTA, said the meeting was not valid as it did not have a mandatory quorum. He also said the constitution of PAUTA did not permit the general body to deal with the issue of anyone’s removal or reinstatement. He said the scientists working in the ICAR had not sought PAUTA’s intervention in this matter.

Dr A.S. Grewal, a former Head of the Department of Veterinary Immunology, said it was sad that despite many requests to the President of PAUTA, he had not been allowed to express his views at the meeting. “If PAUTA has taken up the case of Dr Paroda, it should also come up to the rescue of scientists like me who have been made to suffer,” he said.


Ludhianvis underwent famine miseries
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 11 — Famine, and that too in Ludhiana, one of the most productive districts in both agriculture and industrial sectors of the state, sounds incredible. But a peep into the past reveals that the region experienced as many as seven serious droughts since its inception in the middle of the 16th century.

The geographical location of the district ensures substantial rainfall every year. Proximity to the Sutlej river also provides enough water and fertile soil to the farmers, especially of the Bet area , yet the region has not escaped the vagaries of nature.

According to the Ludhiana Gazetteer and a book titled ‘Final Report on the Revision of Settlement of the Ludhiana District’, seven famines struck in the years 1783, 1812-13, 1833, 1837, 1860-61, 1869-70 and 1877-78. The books mention these famines as rare exceptions when the rains stayed away from the district.

The earliest famine which still sends a shudder down the spine of men was witnessed in 1783. The Gazetteer says that the memory of it is preserved in the saying ‘satassiake maria hua’, which is applied to man who has got some food but refuses to feed a starving beggar. The famine had struck the entire north India and the district suffered with the rest of the country. It began with the failure of the autumn rains of 1782 and there was no yield of Kharif and Rabi harvests. Prices had risen 10 times.

The pressure of famine lasted nearly two years and the loss of livestock and human life was tremendous. Grains could not be bought for money and people are said to have died with bags of money under their heads.

T. Gordon Walker in his book even claims that all natural affection was lost sight of, and parents robbed their children of their food and were callous enough to see them die. Many even migrated to places beyond Yamuna where they saw a hope of life. People were even said to have been driven to cannibalism. Such a high number of cattle had died that when the rains finally arrived, men had to drag the plough through the fields.

The famine called ‘chalia’ was long remembered. The writer also notes the bravery of few people who did not desert their villages in this hour of crisis. They were helped by the ancient system of storing water in wells.

In 1812-13, yields of Kharif and rabi crops was poor due to scanty rains. There was a tremendous loss of livestock and oxen ceased to have any value, being given away for nothing, or turned loose in the fields. The loss of life was confined to the poor classes, labourers and artisans, in the towns and villages.

The scarcity catapulted the prices of the grain to eight or ten seers a rupee. According to the samvat calender the first scarcity was witnessed in 1890 and the second was in 1894. It prompted the people to coin a couplet, “Nabbee toan bache, Chauranwe ne mare; Dine Badal te ratin tare” (saved from 90 succumbed to 94).

Winter rains failed in 1861 and the famine first struck the erstwhile Bangar country (the present areas of Rohtak and Hisar districts). The severity of the famine prompted the people to coin another saying- ‘Akal Bangar thon upje bura’ (a famine coming from the Bangar country is bad).

The subsequent famines in 1869-70 and 1877-78 were not much severe in nature. Despite scanty rainfall, the harvest was good. The harvesters in fact made some profit as they supplied stored grains to the badly affected areas in the north western provinces of Madras and Bombay.


Teachers resent census drill during exams
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 11 — Along with the first day of December examination in government schools, rehearsals for the census began here today. Most of the school teachers here were an agitated lot, as they found it difficult to perform double duties of conducting the examination and attending rehearsals at the same time.

In most of the schools, more than 60 per cent of the teachers were drawn for the purpose. A visit to the Government Multipurpose Senior Secondary School revealed that 62 of the total 98 teachers were on census duty at the SAN Jain Senior Secondary School, Daresi Road, while examinations were being conducted at their school.

From the Government Senior Secondary School, Millerganj, duties were assigned to the entire teaching, as well as clerical staff and even the headmistress. Since the examination had to be conducted in the school, only a few teachers from the school could reach on time at the Zonal Municipal Corporation office at Gill Chowk, where the rehearsals were being held.

Teachers said that they had complained to the Education Department about the non-suitability of the dates. However, they said that the department officials told them that they were helpless.

The teachers said that the census would come into operation in the month of February 2001 and it would again be difficult for them to perform duty as teaching work which would be at the peak at that time, would suffer a lot. Examinations have to be conducted in the month of March, for which the students keep turning up with their problems. If we are not available for them, the students will suffer they said.


Sharif’s exile evokes mixed response
From Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Dec 11 — The city residents have mixed reactions over the ousted Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif’s release from jail and his subsequent exile to Saudi Arabia, 14 months after he was overthrown by General Parvez Musharraf. Most of the people took the decision lightly by saying that it was Pakistan’s internal matter and as such Indians were not particularly affected in any way.

Retd. Lieut. Col Dalbara Singh labelled the decision as ‘political negotiation’. He said," the decision hardly matters to us, we are at large unaffected. General Mussharraf wanted to send him away from Pakistan. This is a soft reply to the people of Pakistan, who were agitated against the General. His (Musharraf) purpose has also been served through this decision”.

Mr Singh said that former PM was now free but the Muslim League has suffered a major setback. He felt that Nawaz Sharif’s party would almost be finished.”

Dr Inderjeet Gill Vashisht, Principal, Government College for Girls, feels that nothing can be commented on the politics of Pakistan. However, she said," the way Sharif was treated and charges were ‘crafted’ against him, this was the right decision for the benefit of the chief executive as well as for the man exiled”. She felt that there has always been a repetition of democracy and military rule in Pakistan. She said,” it was a temporary formula to ease out the situation and a guarantee that the exiled prime minister would not take part in political activities”.

Retd Lieut Col Bhupinder Grewal feels that Musharraf has established a complete hold over the country.” General will be there throughout, till he dies. Similar treatment was meted out to Ms Benazir Bhutto. Both of the former prime ministers and their families have been sent abroad to avoid any ‘unpleasant’ situation in the country”, added Mr Grewal. He also said that Nawaz Sharif had made a ‘good’ money during his regime and this kind of punishment was just.

Mr Harpreet Sandhu, an advocate said it was a bold, prominent and unexpected decision of the ruling party. He said the ousted PM had already been punished as per the law of the country. Mr Sandhu added," the political scenario has been changed. The family and other relatives of Nawaz Sharif could have been spared on humanitarian grounds. The step is a bit harsh and a ‘secret deal’ has been struck between the two. (Musharraf and Nawaz)”. He does not foresee any kind of bad effect on India by the decision, but at the same time said," the signed treaties between the two countries will be in doldrums now”.

Mr Yash Paul Ghai, a retired government lecturer, feels that decision of the military government is right. At least he, his brothers, and his relatives have been spared. He said," the decision is in Nawaz’s favour. The politicians in our country should also learn a lesson by this. It is a mild punishment for a person like Nawaz, who committed blunders.

Ms Sandeepa Sur, a student of B.Sc-III said ,”you can never guess what happens next in Pakistan. But on humanitarian grounds, the decision is welcomed. For the wrong deeds, Nawaz was to be punished but this kind of punishment is a balanced one and it is good for Nawaz Sharif and his family”.


SAD in search of a new district chief
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 11 — The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is reportedly in search of a new district president for Ludhiana. The move has been prompted by the war of oneupmanship between the acting president, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, and another senior leader, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, going on unabated and also getting murkier. The party high command is understood to be working on a strategy to create a third alternative well before the Assembly elections, likely to be held within a year from now.

After the exit of the district president, Mr Hira Singh Ghabria, who has switched loyalties to the Tohra camp, the crucial post of the district president fell vacant leading to a power struggle. However, the Chief Minister and the party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, nominated Mr Makkar as the acting president of the district unit, much to the chagrin of Mr Bhatia. The latter has been opposing him claiming that Mr Makkar had no written authority to pose as an acting president.

So far the Chief Minister had adopted a neutral stand by keeping both the leaders in good humour. Both the leaders have been claiming proximity to the CM and setting up their own party units at ward and circle levels. As the things seemed to be going out of control and the two leaders started washing the dirty linen in public, Mr Badal is reported to have asked one of his close lieutenants to find a third alternative, who could be assigned the duties of the district president. And he had reportedly initiated the process of identifying a suitable candidate acceptable to all the groups.

This became necessary after the open and proclaimed rivalry between the two leaders presented a wrong image of the party, particularly at a time when the Assembly elections were drawing closer.

Obviously the party cannot afford to appoint any of the two leaders as it may lead to dissension at the crucial time. At the same time the two leaders may also be suitably accommodated. While Mr Bhatia has already been appointed vice-president of the SAD, Mr Makkar is also likely to be given some respectable post in the party to pave the way for a new incumbent.

While the party high command is busy doing the ground work, several new faces have jumped into the race for the plum post. At the same time neither Mr Makkar nor Mr Bhatia have given up hope and they are putting in equal efforts for the job. 


'Gurdev Badal, son guilty of religious misconduct'
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Dec 11 — The newly appointed head granthi of Darbar Sahib, Giani Puran Singh, has said that the Punjab Minister for Agriculture, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, and his son Mr Kewal Singh Badal, Vice-President the SGPC, were guilty of religious misconduct and should be summoned at Akal Takht for punishment.

Talking to mediapersons here late last evening, he made these remarks when his attention was drawn towards participation of the minister and his son in a religious function organised by an excommunicated sant, Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarewale. He, however, added that this matter was related to the head priest of Akal Takht and he would take final decision.

Giani Puran Singh, a former jathedar of Akal Takht, who was removed by the former SGPC president, Bibi Jagir Kaur, after his confrontation on several matters, including that of Nanakshahi Jantri, categorically stated that the issue of Nanakshahi Jantri should be treated as closed for ever. That issue, he added, was yet another conspiracy, hatched by anti-Panthic forces to create confusion among the Sikh community. From now on, all gurpurbs and other religious occasions should be observed on traditional basis.

Earlier, addressing the concluding function of Gurmat Samagam organised at Gurudwara Nanaksar, Samrala Chowk, in the city, he cautioned the Sikh community against self-styled intellectuals, who were making unwarranted comments on Sikh Panth, gurbani and principles of Sikh religion.

Baba Jaswant Singh of Gurdwara Nanaksar honoured Giani Puran Singh on this occasion. Mr Charnjit Singh Atwal, Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, former Punjab minister Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha and the Akali Dal legislator, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, were among those who addressed the congregation.


He cremates unclaimed bodies
From Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 11— Most people turn their back on an unclaimed body, especially if it is a mutilated one, but here is a man who not only picks it up but cremates it with due respects.

Baba Joginder Singh (52) can rightly be called a messiah of victims who die in accidents on railway tracks. He picks up the badly mutilated, profusely bled and cut body pieces with his bare hands, puts these on his cart and goes to cremate these.

Not only does he cremate bodies, he is also a saviour of abandoned children. He is rearing four such children. The eldest one was accompanying his mother when he was too young and his mother died unidentified and unclaimed in a railway accident. Since then Baba (as he is commonly called) brought him home and made him a member of his family.

The three others, including two boys aged 10 and 12, and a four-year-old girl were found by him abandoned near railway track. “I brought the three from there and now they have become part of my family. How can these innocent kids understand that they are not my own children. They smile at me when I look at them and I forget all the discomforts of my life.” says Baba.

This otherwise rugged-looking man nurtures a feeling to serve the humanity and wants to continue with his nobel deeds till he is alive. Cremating a body fetches him Rs 100 or so and if the claimants of the body come they give him an honourarium. This practice gives him his bread and butter.

“I have not earned anything from this work except alienation from my relatives. My father, who is a vegetable vendor at Samana, does not want me to go to him. My five sisters and three brothers who are settled in Ludhiana shy away from me. But this job gave a perfect gift to me in the form of four children.” he says.

He is a diabetic and is surviving on medicines. He goes to all parts of the city, and to many villages on his cart that is attached with a bicycle to bring the bodies. “Sometimes the bodies are in such a condition that worms bite you when you pick them up. I once had an infection on my arms and hands and my skin was literally consumed by the worms. I got it treated from a doctor.” says Baba.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Baba said that it required a strong heart to indulge in the practice of picking up bodies, “I have met people telling me to turn away with my cart when I approach them with a smell emitting body.”

However, he has a feeling of dejection. Pointing towards his jhuggi standing amidst heaps of garbage near the Railway police station Baba said that it was his only shelter and he was turned out from here also where would he go with his four kids. “I don’t want my children to follow in my footsteps. I want them to go to school. But from where will the money come? They are the children of a poor man and there destiny cannot be better than me,” he says.


Postal strike enters seventh day
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 11 — The postal strike by the All-India Class III Postal Employees Union and the JCA, Ludhiana city, continued for the 7th day today causing inconvenience to lakhs of city residents. A rally was organised by the postal, RMS and telecom employees in which it was demanded that the government should take a decision as soon as possible to save public from the inconvenience.

In the rally, it was alleged that the government officials were giving false and misleading statements to misguide the public instead of implementing the agreed demands of the employees. It was also pointed out that the government was making the strike to take serious turn saying that the demands were not justified.

Mr C.L. Verma, Divisional Secretary and Convener of JCA, said the government was threatening to assign people to manage delivery work during the strike period. He condemned the attitude of the authorities saying that all the union organisations were badly against the move.

Mr Verma in a press note issued here today regretted the inconvenience caused to general public.


There’s a road beneath this market
From D.B. Chopra

ludhiana, Dec 11 — The little stretch of road between Ghanta Ghar Chowk and Lakkar Bridge, known as Katchehri Road, presents a picture of traffic chaos. Shopkeepers and roadside vendors have caused this chaos. Space on both sides of the road has been encroached upon to such an extent that a picture of the market can be passed off as one of a village fair.

Heaps of bright designer fabric and tea-stall chairs, besides roadside vendors of peanuts, oranges, pakoras and ice-cream dot the road. We also have a machine in front of the post office that helps you “test your muscle power with two hands”. A fair, isn’t it?

Shoppers of the Civil Lines area generally prefer to park their vehicles near the old courts building before crossing the bridge. Besides the hustle and bustle of pedestrians, the road also has to take the load of vehicular traffic from the Damoria Bridge side. Local mini buses and three-wheelers that ply between Ghanta Ghar and Haibowal also use this road. There is a never-ending stream of cyclists and scooterists.

Before the Netaji Market was built along the road in 1972, the roadside used to be dotted with kiosks. The owner of these kiosks became shopkeepers. Like in the case of Kamla Nehru Market, here too, things were alright in the beginning with wide verandahs outside the shops serving as passage for pedestrians. However, the shopkeepers gradually encroached upon the verandahs and have been “owning” these for the past some years. They have not stopped at this. Now, they have occupied parts of the road as well according to their convenience. If a tea-shop owner can put table and chairs on the road, why can stop a cloth-seller from displaying his wares there.

Shopkeepers treat the parts of the road outside their shops as their personal properties. Some of them even rent out this place to roadside vendors for upto Rs 100 per day. For them, the road is a mint. The shopkeepers seem to be trying to change the definition of a road.

The shopkeepers are members of the Clock Tower Traders Association. The body also includes persons who own shops between Raikhy Cinema Chowk and Mata Rani Chowk on the GT Road. Mr Jagdish Mehmi, Senior Vice-President of the association, said the shopkeepers were violating all norms by encroaching upon the road. He said the association had tried to make the shopkeepers see some sense, but to no avail. He said the shopkeepers did not understand the advantages of a wider marketplace. “Shoppers can use the space that has been encroached upon by shopkeepers to park their vehicles.”



Begin your day with a datun
From Kamal Kishore Shankar

LUDHIANA, Dec 11 — Bhoja Ram, a 60-year-old datun seller, landed in the city from Gujarat 45 years ago. The turbaned man has been selling datuns for his living. He has been selling these since 1955 in Ludhiana.

Bhoja Ram arrived here as a migrant labourer from Gujarat. But he found datun selling to be a profitable business and decided to pursue it. However, he feels that now datun selling is not a profitable business. “I am selling four sticks for just Re 1. I do not have enough money to do other business.”

Though there are many varieties of datun which is used for different purposes, Bhoja Ram sells kikkar and neem datuns only. He said that neem stick is not only good for teeth but very effective in curing eye diseases also. Neem stick also purifies blood. Kikkar datun is good for gums.

“Those were the days when people would get up early in the morning and devote at least 15 minutes towards the health of their teeth”, he recalls, adding, modern society does not use datun because it is considered old-fashioned”.

Dr Vikas Jindal, a dentist, told Ludhiana Tribune, “The use of datun is as old as Charaka Samhita, an ancient medical book”. Datun is very useful for gums as it contains astringents and antiseptic which tighten the gums and slow down the teeth decay. Datun removes the bacteria responsible for gum diseases. The fibre produced by chewing datun completely cleans the teeth surface.

Dr Jindal said, “Datun provides the desired exercise to the teeth and gums.” He recommends the use of datun as a routine to his patients along with the regular brushing of the teeth. He claims that he has seen remarkable improvement in the condition of gums of his patients who use datun regularly.

He opined that datun should be patented in this country after regular scientific study and research before being taken away by other countries.


Telecom employees stage dharna
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Dec 11 — All the group C and D telecom employees of the Mata Rani exchange in the city staged a day-long dharna to protest against insulting and dictatorial attitude of Mr Sital Singh, a sub-divisional engineer in the exchange, towards branch secretary and other trade union activists.

According to Mr Balwinder Singh and Mr Harish Khanna, district secretaries of the All-India Telecom Employees Union, Class III, the protesting employees held a rally before the gate of the exchange, in which attitude of the officer came under criticism. The speakers demanded immediate transfer of the officer, failing which the employees would intensify the agitation.


Poppy husk, liquor seized
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Dec 11 — The Khanna police has arrested three persons and seized 62 kg poppy husk and nine bottles of illicit liquor from them.

According to a press note of Mr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, Khanna, Bhupinder Singh alias Kala of New Model Town, Khanna, was arrested from Payal and 30 kg poppy husk was seized from him.

In another case, Anil Kumar alias Neelh of Azad Nagar, Khanna was arrested by police and 32 kg poppy husk was seized from him. Cases under Section 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against Bhupinder Singh and Anil Kumar.

Nine bottles of liquor were seized from the possession of Pawan Kumar of Ramgarh Sardaran village. A case under Section 61, 2 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered against him.


Case registered against in-laws
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 11— The Sadar police station today registered a case of abetment of suicide and criminal conspiracy against five person, including two women and all in-laws of a Patiala resident, Tejpal Singh, who committed suicide at Jalandhar bypass here on Sunday.

The case has been registered on the complaint of Mr Iqbal Singh, brother-in-law of the deceased. According to the FIR, the persons booked on the accusations of driving the deceased to death were, Tirat Kaur (wife), Sheeda (mother-in-law), Nazir Mohaman (father -in-law) , Fari and Shonki (brothers-in-law). The FIR further states that the deceased was married to Tirat Kaur about two and a half years ago, but was being harassed by his in-laws. Due to continued harassment, the man committed suicide yesterday near Jalandhar bypass in the city.


Man caught for theft
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 11 — The local police today claimed that it had arrested a person named Sanjiv Kumar alias Bobby, a resident of Vishkarma Nagar, for his alleged involvement in various cases of attempt to murder, causing hurt and purse snatching.

Bobby had recently snatched a purse that contained Rs 10,000 in cash, an identity card and some important papers from a woman in the city.

A case under Section 382 of the IPC had been registered against him. He was sent to the judicial remand.

The local police caught him near the Vishkarma Nagar cremation grounds.

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