Tuesday, January 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rain brings cheer to farmers, puts damper 
on revellers
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Jan 1 — The city had a sloppy start to New Year as a result of the rain that started last evening and continued intermittently throughout the night and the day today.

In fact, clouds had been gathering over the city since early Saturday morning. As a moderate east wind continued to blow over the city during the past 48 hours ushering in more clouds, a mild drizzle started in the afternoon yesterday which, however, subsided after an hour or so. It was only a little after 6 p.m. yesterday that it began to rain moderately, but steadily.

Though it was welcomed by and large on account of its usefulness for the wheat crop and breaking the prolonged dry spell which caused health problems, the rain was not appreciated much by new year revelers. Rain kept revelers away from functions in various hotels and clubs of the city. Shamianas in various colonies failed to give shelter participants, particularly those with kids. Everyone rushed back to their home. Only those made of sterner stuff stayed well past midnight.

Low-lying areas of the old city were water-logged with most of the roads such as Brown Road becoming irritatingly slushy.

There were shortcircuits in many city areas due to poor wire maintenance by the electricity people. Power supply had not been restored till noon in Jamalpur where loud blasts accompanied by dazzling sparks were followed by darkness.

At Ghumar Mandi, youngsters danced to the tunes of favourite numbers which blared out of their cars, with doors wide open.

There was chaos at the Sarabha Nagar road where boys and girls roamed till late night. The pleasure was flavoured with hot coffee, drinks and snacks. Amit and his girlfriend Rajneet had great fun. As Amit said," we are here with our parents’ permission”.

However, minor altercations also took place in the city when some boys high on booze had a brawl.

Several functions had been planned, of course in advance and most of them failed to take off as they were being organised in the open air. Members of the Satluj Club, who had purchased tickets for Rs 1400 per couple were to have an evening with singer Udit Narayan and 16 dancers. There was a mad rush for tickets and the free passes till the evening. But the moment drizzle turned into a downpour, members and their guests took to their heels. The club had made arrangements for dinner for 2000. The programme was reportedly postponed for the next day.

Scared by the fury of rain and wind Ludhianvis beelined for hotels which had organised functions indoors. But not all very lucky to enjoy these programmes.

It was night full of fun and frolic at Park Plaza. The night was organised with theme of ice and fire. Revellers danced till the wee hours.


Neglected at primary level
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 1 — The primary wing of Government Middle School in Sarabha Nagar is facing shortage of staff and poor infrastructure.

Not only the government but also the residents of this posh colony have preferred to neglect the school. Parents have not been able to act as a pressure group as there is no parent-teacher association. In contrast, the middle section of the school, located in the same premises, has adequate infrastructure as it has received financial assistance from various social groups of the city.

The building of the primary wing is in a dilapidated condition. During the downpour this morning students in all the five classrooms huddled in dark, dingy corners as roof leaked at several points.

The school also does not have proper sitting arrangement. Even though the strength of the primary section is 178, there are not more than 40 two-seater benches. The remaining 100 students have to sit over worn out mattresses, which too fall short.

Four of the five classrooms of the building have been built in a way that each of these classes get disturbed even if one class is being held. The primary wing was started in a two-room set. Later two more rooms were constructed next to the old rooms. The passage of light and air got obstructed and the rooms became dark and asphyxiating.

There are just three teachers. Two teachers retired more than six months ago. One more teacher retired recently. The teachers club different classes. Class II has been clubbed with Class V, Class III with Class IV. Class I, which has a strength of more than 50 students, is being conducted independently.

Obviously, students of different classes are not getting adequate attention. Worst hit seem to be the students of Class V who have to appear for the board examination in the first week of March.


PAU official reverted after 22 years
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 1 — The Sub-Divisional Engineer (SDE) of Punjab Agricultural University has been reverted to the Junior Engineer after a period of 22 years, following a recent judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on a seniority list of sectional officers drawn up by the university. As a result of the court’s verdict, the board of management of the university has decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the official concerned or any other defaulting official for irregularities committed in the fixation of his seniority and his promotion as SDE.

It is noteworthy that Mr S.S. Grewal, who is working as Junior Engineer in the office of the Executive Engineer (Electricity) of the university, filed a petition in the court of the Sub-Judge, Class I, Ludhiana, challenging the seniority list of the sectional officers (SOs) circulated by the Chief Engineer of the university vide his memo no. 1926-28 dated March 21, 1978, in which he had been shown junior to his colleague, Mr Darshan Singh Gill. Mr Grewal pleaded in his petition that the original seniority list of SOs circulated by the Chief Engineer on December 13, 1973, showed him senior to Mr Gill be restored.

Accepting Mr Grewal’s plea, the Judge, in a judgement delivered in 1994, quashed the revised seniority list, terming it as illegal, null and void. The Judge upheld the old seniority list of 1973 as valid since, according to him, it was still in existence and in subsistence.” He directed the university authorities to refix Mr Grewal’s seniority and give him all benefits like pay and allowances with effect from September 1977.

It is learnt that the PAU filed an appeal against the judgement in the court of the Additional District Judge, Ludhiana. The appeal was, however, dismissed and the suit was once again decided by the court in favour of Mr Grewal.

Subsequently, Mr Gill filed an appeal (No 1391) in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the judgement of the lower courts in 1996. The high court, too, dismissed Mr Gill’s appeal and upheld the verdict of the lower courts. Consequent upon the high court’s judgement, the university administration was left with no option but to revert Mr Gill.

As a sequel to these developments, Mr Grewal requested the Vice-Chancellor sometime back that the original seniority list of SOs circulated by then Chief Engineer in 1973 should be restored and to be given all consequential benefits as per the decision of the courts. He also pleaded that he should be promoted as SDE from the date on which Mr Gill was promoted.

It is learnt from sources of the university that the board of management of the university considered Mr Grewal’s request in a recent meeting held at Chandigarh and decided to promote him as SDE by creating a supernumerary post for the period of November 30, 1978, to November 15, 2000, to accommodate him. In addition, the board notably decided that the case of promotion of Mr Gill as SDE be re-opened and necessary proceedings started against him or any other defaulting employee responsible for wrong fixation of his seniority as so which eventually led to his promotion as SDE on November 30, 1978.


A calendar forever, claims Dr Punia
From Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, Jan 1 — Now you can calculate the day of week for a particular date of any year in less than a minute. No paper work required. No mathematical calculations involved. The day of weak is just three steps away. A 73-year old local scientist has devised a simple, two-table calendar which can be used by even a Class I student.

Dr S. S. Punia, a retired professor from Punjab Agricultural University, claims that his calendar will remain valid forever as he has already left scope for leap years and even years after 9999.

The three steps involved in calculation are:

1. Look for the century in which the date falls. In column of that century, look for the year. Against that year, note down the year code given in column 3 of the same table.

2. Go to that particular code given in row 1 of table 2. In the column of that code note down the number against the month in which that date falls.

3. Add the number to the date. Look for the sum in column 1 of table 1. The day which falls against the sum will be the day on that particular date.

If we want to find the day for today, January 1, 2001, we will go by the following steps:

1. The date falls in 21st century. Year will be 01. Against year 01, ‘A’ is the year code.

2. In table 2, we go to column ‘A’. In this column, the number against January is zero.

3. Adding zero with 1, we get 1. Going to 01 in column 1 of table 1, we get Monday which is the day today.

Dr Punia claims that the calendar would hold good for similar sets of 400 years such as 2400 to 2800 (centuries 25th - 28th) and onwards. The calendar would also be valid if we move back to years 1601 to 2000 and beyond, he said.

Further giving reasons of its validity, Dr Punia said that the calendar has provision for leap years. He further said, ‘‘The calendar year is shorter than the solar year which is equal to one revolution of the earth. Solar calendar runs longer by one day in 3224 years and three days in 9571 years and so on. To make up for such additions and keep the calendar operative as such forever, three excess days from December 9997 may be deleted.’’

Dr Punia explained that three days from that particular year may be removed because this was the suitable stage for change, nearest to four, till year 9999. He said the current series should end on December 28, 9999 (Sunday) and second series should begin from January 1, 10,000 (Monday).

Dr Punia said he had been devising the calendar for the past 10 years. He said even though he had devised a calendar in year 1981, but he kept working over it for he wanted to present it in a concise and simple way. He said he wanted to present the calender on New Year day.


Mobile patrolling squad flagged off
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 1 — With a view to enhancing the effectiveness of police on the crime prevention and detection front, and to improvise upon traffic management and regulation, the local police has constituted a mobile patrolling squad, consisting of 10 fully equipped motor bikes. The mobikes, manned by 20 chosen police personnel, were flagged off today by the DIG, Ludhiana Division, Paramjit Singh Sandhu.

Talking to mediapersons after the flagging off ceremony here today afternoon, Mr Sandhu said the entire city had been divided into 10 mobile patrolling beats, keeping in view the areas’ proneness to crime. Each motor bike had been fitted with a wireless set to ensure quick response of the police in case of an incident. Besides this, the NGO in charge of each beat to be covered by the motor cycle will also be taking care of traffic-related problems .

The DIG also inaugurated a Press Information Centre to facilitate the smooth flow of information regarding crime incidents to the press. This Information room, which is located at the old Police Control room complex, would function under the charge of SI Gurpreet Singh, who would remain in the centre from 12.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.

The DIG revealed that with the ushering in of the new year, the police had initiated several steps to control crime and detect murder cases. He said the Investigating Officers would be given special training to go in for scientific investigation of the crime incidents.

In a gift to the police, the Punjab Government had allotted 50 acre of land near Laddowal for the stationing of a police battalion. Mr Sandhu said about 1,000 police men would be shifted here from the PAP Battalion and Bahadurgarh in Patiala.


Immigration mafia active
By Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 1 — An immigration mafia is reportedly active in Punjab duping hundreds of gullible people of lakhs of rupees. The mafia is said to have devised a unique method of sending people to Canada by including them in various cultural troupes who visit Canada and the USA for various performances. For each illegal immigration Rs 8 to Rs 10 lakhs are charged from the aspiring immigrant.

One leading mafia is said to be headed by a SAS Nagar-based immigration agent. He is doing it under the guise of promoter of art and culture. The said agent sends music troupes to Canada. As it is not difficult to procure a visa for the members of a musical troupe, the promoter registers the aspiring immigrants in one or the other music or dance troupes.

Each aspirant is registered with the music group. He or she is imparted training for a month or two to make him familiar with one or the other musical instrument. Such immigrants are called kabootars, the pigeons in the immigration mafia parlance. Every year a few hundred kabootars are helped to immigrate to Canada. In order to make it look more credible, even photographs are printed on fake covers of musical cassettes and attached with the application for the visa. The entire expenditure is borne by the aspiring immigrant. But even that does not guarantee a visa and hundreds of youth, particularly from the villages are duped this way.

However, it is not always that the mafia succeeds in procuring the visa for the aspiring immigrants. The rates vary between Rs 8 to Rs 10 lakhs per person. Half of the amount is charged in advance while the remaining amount has to be paid at the time of landing in Canada.

What makes the mafia to carry out its operations successfully is the subtle and meticulous way of observing formalities. One cultural troupe, mostly the music groups, consists of about 20 persons. At least 10 of these people are aspiring immigrants, who pay their way into the music group too dearly. After they reach Canada the promoter takes back their passports and produces them at the Canadian High Commission here as a proof that the person has returned to India.

The mafia reportedly works in connivance with the police, which does not take any cognizance of the complaints by several aspiring immigrants who have been duped of lakhs of rupees by various agents.

Recently a local resident Harjit Singh, in a written complaint to the Senior Superintendent of Police alleged that Mr Maninder Gill was given Rs 4.5 lakhs for promoting and sending him abroad. However, he neither promoted him nor sent him abroad. Harjit Singh has alleged that he would seldom visit India and whenever he tried to get back his money he would be bullied.

Harjit Singh belongs to a farmer’s family near here. His father, a retired teacher, had to sell two of his three acres of land to arrange for the money to be paid to the immigration agent. But even after the passage of so much time, he did not get visa. His passport, according to him, still lies in the possession of the agent, which he is allegedly refusing to return.

This is not an isolated case of illegal immigration taking place in Punjab. The issue had surfaced a few years earlier also when several persons died in the Malta boat tragedy.


Gang of robbers busted
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 1 — The Phillaur police today claimed to have busted a gang of robbers responsible for many cases of robberies at various shops and a case of scooter snatching. The police nabbed Swarn Singh, Mal Singh and Gurmail Singh after a tip-off from an informer that they were making plans to loot a liquor shop and a petrol station in an open and lonely place at Magewal on the Bilga road.

They were wanted for robbing the owner of a liquor shop at Khokewal at the gun point, for snatching a scooter at Mau Sahib village at a gun point, for robbing a watch maker’s shop at Lambada, a gold ornaments shop at the Nurpur road, a karyana shop at Lambada and a watch shop at Hambada, according to the DSP, Mr Ashok Bath.

All the three suspects were remanded in police custody for four days.


Footpath vendors are back

LUDHIANA, Jan 1 — Soiled currency changers and roadside vendors of tea, samosas, peanuts, cut papaya cigarettes and biris, who had fled chowk Ganta Ghar following police action some time ago, are back in business.

This signifies a victory for the encroachment mafia which had decided to lie low for some time. Lathi-wielding policemen had chased the footpath vendors away from the scene. But the exercise failed to have a lasting effect. Even at that time, some persons had expressed doubts if the orderly scene would last long and they were sure that the encorachment mafia would have the last laugh.

Everyone is now back at his old place. The tea stalls under the peepal tree, the barbers along the Ghanta Ghar fence, the samosa vendors the peanut hawkers, so on and so forth. A horde of rag pickers and junk collectors bask in the sunshine at the back of the Verka Milk Bar. Nearby are stacked crates of fruit where a merchant sorts the stuff to begin his day on the rehri.

Along the grilled fence are a couple of migrant barbers and yet another tea stall a little further to the right. There is a puddle of water and a heap of garbage created by a tea shop at the place that it uses for dish washing.

All of them do brisk business because the place is full of people throughout the day most of whom are the daily lottery addicts who throng the Guru Tegh Bahadur Market and stay there till the result of the last lottery is declared in the evening.

The place is also frequented by ‘babas’ who profess to predict winning lottery numbers and of course beggars who expert liberal alms from the winners.

A number of policemen hang around and there are the children and adults who collect discarded lottery tickets in the hope of finding one with a winning number which someone might have thrown away by mistake.

The vendors are tight-lipped about the ‘settlement’ they have arrived at with the policemen. However, a regular visitor to the market who is familiar with the scene, revealed that the policemen had upped their price. A shopkeeper said it was impossible to remove the chaos as the policemen were active members of the encroachment mafia. With corporation officials and the police backing them, the footpath vendors were the virtual lords of the area, he added.


TV channels disappoint
By Asha Ahuja

With a number of TV channels, and the sharp competition among them, one had expected their New Year programmes to be entertaining. The promos were interesting, but all the programmes put up by different channels turned out to be of poor quality. They all seemed to have run out of ideas.

All of them showed the famous and not-so-famous film stars, dressed in outlandish clothes. All showed the same kind of dance-and-song routine.

Puran, a domestic help, was alone in the house and was free to watch any channel. He said: “I kept changing the channels and in the end switched off the TV in disgust.

On Sony channel, Asha Bhosle in the programme ‘Kal, Aaj...... Hamesha’ was dressed like a Christmas tree. Sonia, a great Asha Bhosle fan, said: “I did not like the way she dressed herself. Too much of her on the screen made her lose her appeal.

On Star TV Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee played Kaun Banega Crorepati. Shahrukh entertained the viewers with his witty answers, but that was not part of its entertainment programme.

Pooja Bhalla, a teenager, said angrily: “Where have the ideas of entertainment vanished? Do these channels think that song-and-dance sequences by film stars is the ultimate in entertainment? They should have spent some time in designing the programmes and taken pains to make them entertaining. My family was disgusted and finally we played Antakshri ourselves. That was more entertaining.”

The Punjabi channels tried to include some humour in their programmes. But the humour was pathetic.

Mr Jagmohan, an engineer, said: “Never have I seen such inane and senseless programmes. It seems all the channels are bereft of ideas. I think they should pay the viewers for watching their programmes.”

Some people did not have electricity in their localities. So they were spared the misery of watching these programmes.


Sant Kishan Singh’s death anniversary
From Our Correspondent

DORAHA, Jan 1 — Sant Kishan Singh is being remembered by thousands on his death anniversary at Gurdwara Karamsar Rara Sahib.

In 1699, Guru Gobind Singh laid the foundation of the Khalsa Panth. Bhai Daya Singh was among the five purged piaras. He entrusted his holy throne to Baba Sobha Singh (Anandpur Sahib), who in tern gave it to Baba Sahib Singh Bedi (Una Sahib). Baba Bhag Singh (Kure Wale), Baba Vir Singh (Naurangabad), Baba Maharaj Singh, Baba Ram Singh, Baba Karam Singh , Baba Attar Singh (Reru Sahib), Baba Ishar Singh and Sant Kishan Singh followed.

Sant Kishan Singh was born on December 24,1900, in Masita village in Hisar district. A meeting with Baba Attar Singh in the 1920s changed the meaning of his life. He devoted his entire life to the good of his fellowmen.

For nearly 50 years, he advocated the philosophy of God. He purified countless persons with amrit and showed them the way to enlightenment.

Sant Kishan Singh performed Tap in an isolated jungle and later named it Karamsar. Thousands come and visit the holy Gurdwara Rara Sahib. He died in January 1900.


Bus pass holders - a harassed lot
From Our Correspondend

LUDHIANA, Jan 1 — Students with bus passes are a harassed lot. Long-route buses run by the state government do not stop at small stops. The private bus operators do not allow the students to avail the facility.

Sushil Kumar, a student, says, “What to talk to private buses, even the government-run buses do not stop. The drivers slow down for a second and then pick up the speed. Many a times we have to board a moving bus. We know it is risky but we have to do it under compulsion.’’


Peacock released in safari
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 1 — A peacock, which was treated at Jeev Daya Sadan, was released in Tiger Safari here today. The peacock which had got injured after getting entangled in a bush was handed over to officials of the District Wildlife Department.

As the recuperating peacock was not able to fly as yet it was released in an enclosure with black bucks. Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, Wildlife Warden, released the bird. 


Crime on the rise in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 1 — The first year of the new millenmium saw a spurt in incidence of murders, gambling and economic offences in the district. At the same time, there was a minor fall in cases of kidnapping and thefts.

While the police achieved a mixed success in solving murder and robbery cases it can safely boast of achieving success in booking traffic violators. It also seized a large quantity of intoxicants banned under the NDPS Act.

The first case of cyber crime in the city was committed by youngsters who indulged in slander campaign against select children of rich industrialists. The best crime rumour was of a pin-pricking gang. It was rumoured that gang members injected a chemical through pins and made them unconscious with a view to looting them.

According to figures, as many as 66 cases were registered against 42 cases reported in the previous year. As many as 202 cases under the Gambling Act were registered while earlier the number was only 133. Cases of kidnapping last year were 46, while the year before was 49. Similarly incidents of robbery came down slgihtly from 263 to 259 and vehicle thefts from 232 to 216.

If the beginning and the middle of the year witnessed robbery and murder incidents, the end saw a sudden rise in the cases of child kidnapping and sodomy. The police lost a brave constable while trying to catch some robbers. Another constable Gurmail Singh brought laurels for the police by saving a four-year old boy from drowning in the Sidhwan canal where he was thrown by a migrant labourer in order to take revenge on the child’s father.

The police had also to cut a sorry figure as it faced a number of torture allegations throughout the year. Of special mention are two cases of torture against Dalits. In one case a youth even lost his life and in the other a woman had to approach the National Minority Commission seeking end to harrasment at the hands of certain police personnel in the city.

A sub-Inspector posted in the city allegedly got involved in the Jassi murder case. An NRI woman of Jagraon tehsil was allegdly killed by contract killers with the reported involvement of the police officer.

The police arrested few ISI agents operating from the city and also busted a hawala racket along with solving the murder case of a flower girl and a sodomised boy. It also drew praise for the arrest of a farm hand who in a ruthless manner killed the son of his employee.

However, the police failed to solve the District Court bomb blast case that took place in August. It also could not achieve any breakthrough in the murder case of Jhangi Lal, a relative of the Himachal minister. The robbery in a shop in Sarabha Nagar and another at Focal Point also elude solution. The police is yet to solve a number of blind murders especially of youths and children.

SSP Kuldip Singh says the claims of spurt in violence can be justified only if comparison is made with the last year but if figures of other years are considered the number of incidents were only average.

Crime in Ludhiana


Year 1999

Year 2000







Theft of vehicles












Persons arrested for minor crimes




Good seized

Illicit liquor

1579 litre

1619 litre


Rs 753509

Rs 989803


7 kg 530 gm

11 kg 590 gm

Choora post

52 qtl 82 kg

43 qtl .73 kg

Traffic chalans






Paav-bhaji — a good business
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 1 — Paav-bhaji, a favourite dish of Maharashtra has come to stay in Ludhiana. According to Rakesh Kumar, a paav-bhaji seller on the Bhadaur Market Road, he uses boiled potatoes, boiled peas, capsicum, brinjals, ginger, cauliflower and tomatoes to prepare the dish. He sells a plate for Rs 10 on Sundays, he uses 20 packets of buns and 10 or 12 on week days.

These shining aluminum rehris can be spotted easily with their big tawas and heaps of buns on them. The rehris are specially built to have storage capacity for napkins, chopped vegetables, plates and other things required for serving the customers. These are equipped with a small gas cylinder which supplies fuel and also provides light at night.

Rajesh who sells paav-bhaji in Sarabha Nagar, earns about Rs 70 on Sundays and Rs 40 or Rs 50 on week days.

Rajbir Singh says his customers are generally office workers who stay away from their families. They find paav-bhaji an adequate meal. “I was almost starving back home in Bihar. Thanks to a relative who brought me here, now I am able to get two meals a day and can also send some money for my family.”

They have a tough life. No season is suitable for them but the rainy season is the worst as it almost shuts down their business.

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