Wednesday, January 3, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Jathedars ‘hijack’ Badal’s sangat darshan
By Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

KUMBHKALAN (LUDHIANA), Jan 2 — Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today sanctioned grants worth Rs 2 crore to the panchayats of about 50 villages for development works. This includes a grant of Rs 1.07 crore for the construction of a drain in the Bet area, parallel to the Budha Nallah for combating the problem of water logging and draining out flood water. However, villagers who had gathered in the cold weather were disappointed as Mr Badal expressed his helplessness to solve their major demands.

Despite heavy fog and intense cold, the Chief Minister reached even before the scheduled time of 9 a.m. here for the ‘sangat darshan’ programme. Most of the officials were yet to here by that time. Even visitors to the sanghat darshan had not arrived. Members of the Sarpanches Union, Thana Kumbh Kalan, presented a memorandum to the Chief Minister demanding sub-tehsil status for Kumbhkalan, the widening of the road from Mattewal to Partapgarh, upgradation of the primary health centre, and removal of encroachments on panchayati lands. However, the Chief Minister talked about the financial crisis that the government was facing and asked them to wait for some more time.

Interestingly, the development grants to the village panchayats were distributed by the Chief Minister himself, though the Rural Development Department issues these grants annually. Most of the sarpanches considered it as an election campaign exercise as the Chief Minister presented no agenda for the development of the region or any package to bring agriculture out of the present crisis. Mr Gurdev Singh of Purna Village said,‘‘ We have not come to get small cheques of Rs 1 or Rs 2 lakh grants, which are not even sufficient for the maintenance of village roads or schools. We want permanent solutions or increasing employment and electricity supply to the agricultural sector. But the Chief Minister is not even ready to speak on these issues, what to expect solutions of such problems.

’’Mr Bashir Mohamad of Ghamait village had come with his friends to ask the Chief Minister to order the vacating of a number of mosques in the surrounding villages, which had been forcibly occupied by village panchayats and big landlords. But they were not allowed by the jathedars to meet the Chief Minister. ‘‘In more than 70 villages we do not have a single mosque for Friday and Id prayers, though Muslims are present in significant numbers. We do not want that all the mosques to be vacated, but we should be given at least a place for prayer,’’ pleaded Mr Bittu Mohamand, another member of the delegation. But unfortunately the Chief Minister was not able to listen to these demands. The common problem that was mentioned by the interviewed sarpanches was encroachment on panchayat lands. It is noteworthy to note that in a majority of villages of the Kumbhkalan constituency, the panchayats had a large portion of common lands. However, like other villages of the state these lands had been encroached upon by the powerful people and thousands of cases filed in the courts.

For instance, Ms Jaswinder Kaur, sarpanch of Babhana village was unable to control her tears while narrating the devastation of her village. She pleaded with the Chief Minister, ‘‘We have about 135 acre of shamlat land, but it is controlled by a few powerful people of the village. Though they have succeeded to vacate this land, but they had to pay a high cost for it. The 40 households of Scheduled Castes are fighting more than 50 cases in District and High Courts. Almost every household of the SC dominated village is under debt in order to vacate this land.’’Ms Balbir Kaur, another panchayat member, while showing the remains of 30-year-old building in her village to the TNS team, about 10 km from Kumbhkalan village, said: ‘‘Do we have any benefit from the Sangat Darshan programmes if our children have to go to school in other village, Jiunewala, at a distance of about three kilometres. This school ceased to exit 27 years ago.

’’Mr Manjeet Singh, who had come to the programme, said, ‘‘The identification of panchayats for the participation in the programme had been dictated by Mr Atwal. There were number of panchayats especially of SC dominated villages, which had been invited in the function. Moreover, he himself is shielding the jathedars who have encroached upon the land. Can we expect justice from the Chief Minister in his presence?’’ he asked.


Hrithik heat in Nepal: Indian tourists a harrowed lot
By Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Jan 2 — Indian tourists who had gone to spend holidays in Nepal, had a nightmarish experience during the anti-India riots, triggered by the alleged remarks by the film star Hrithik Roshan.

Several tourists from the city, had a harrowing tale to narrate. They told The Tribune that at one stage they felt “absolutely insecure and in an alien land.” According to Mr Trilochan, who had gone to Nepal with his wife to celebrate the New Year Eve at Kathmandu said, “We were forced to remain confined within the four walls of our hotel rooms, lest the saboteurs should harm us. It was a horrifying experience. Even if there was a knock at the door by hotel waiters, we thought the rioting mob had come to beat us”.

The couple has been going to Kathmandu every year, to celebrate Christmas and New Year there. Mr and Mrs Trilochan reached Kathmandu on December 24. They said that there were about 2,500 tourists, and most of them were Indians accompanied by their families and friends. Everything went on smoothly till the morning of December 26.

They were busy shopping at the Super Market, when all of a sudden shopkeepers started putting down their shutters. About 60 to 70 people on motorbikes crossed the road with white flags in their hands. Most of the tourists thought it to be a rally by students. However, the tourists came to know about the episode when the youth started shouting “Hritik Roshan Murdabad”.

However, most of the shopkeepers were kind enough to provide shelter to Indian tourists. The angry youth started pelting stones at the shops, where Indians were hiding themselves. It was shocking and surprising for most Indians as they could not know the reason for all this. “Within a moment, the entire country, which so far looked no different from India turned hostile towards us”, revealed a horrified and shocked Trilochan.

It was only after sometime that the Indians got to know the reasons from the Nepalese that the Indian filmstar had made some derogatory remarks against Nepal. The fury of the crowd was unprecedented. A shop at the Super Market was set on fire, allegedly just because an Indian magazine was lying there. Most Indians halting at Kailash Parvat hotel at Darbar Marg, were shifted to some safer places as there was a college on that road and students were creating trouble for Indians. The owner was scared that the mob might damage the hotel, where more than 45 Indians were staying.

Ms Surinder said,”We were shifted to the interior part of the city, where other Nepalese womenfolk resided. That day, a shooting incident had also taken place. We were not in a position to leave the country, as we had not arranged our return tickets. But we were lucky enough that Indians, after hearing the news, cancelled their visit to Nepal and we could arrange the return tickets soon”.

The couple said that there were no taxis, autos or buses available for Indians and they had to take cycle-rickshaws. They reached the airport after two hours. The tourists found themselves unsafe even with the security personnel. A cinema hall which had put on Hrithik’s film Mission Kashmir was also set ablaze.

Another youth of the city, Anil, said that a family of Calcutta had gone to Kaathmandu with their servants and cooks. They reached Nepal in the morning and by evening, they had to arrange a bus for themselves and leave for Calcutta the same evening.


Abandoned jail: haven for anti-social elements
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 2 — A one time jail at the back of Civil Hospital is being increasingly used by anti-social elements to carry out criminal activities. The police, municipal corporation and the Punjab Urban Development Authority here is passing the buck to each other for getting the wild bushes, shrubs and trees removed from the jail premises.

While the police had written a number of letters to the MC officials for cleaning the jail premises and installing traffic lights around it, so that criminals bent on hiding in it or carrying out their activities could be easily spotted, the MC has responded by saying that it is the duty of the PUDA, as the land has been transferred to it under the Optimum Land Use scheme of the state government.

The PUDA, however, maintains that though the land was supposed to be their property under the Optimum Land Use policy, but the jail premises has yet not been transferred to them.

They say that it was the duty of the MC. Adding to the confusion are the reports that not all of the land would be transferred to the PUDA. The telephone department, the PSEB and the Christian Medical College have also reportedly staked claims for getting some stretch of the jail premises. It is not clear to any department as to who is responsible for which part of the land.

The confusion started in October this year, when the police wrote a number of letters to the MC for getting the jail premises cleaned. However, while the police has been waiting all these months for any action on their request, the MC Commissioner. Mr S.S. Sandhu, told Ludhiana Tribune today that the MC is not responsible for cleaning the premises.

He said that it was the responsibility of the PUDA, as the land has been transferred to it under the Optimum Land Use policy of the state government.

However, Mr G. Ramesh Kumar, Additional Chief Administrator PUDA, here said it is still the responsibility of the MC as the land has yet to be transferred to his department. He said even if the land was transferred to PUDA then too it would not be the department’s sole responsibility, as the land is supposed to be given to several other departments.

With the premises being no one’s baby, the police seems to be helpless on the issue. On its part, it has decided to post two policemen for round-the-clock vigil of the area.

The need for cleaning the jail premises was being felt for long, as a number of times police discovered that the site was becoming a convenient hiding ground for criminals. Of late, the place had been specially used by a gang of alleged kidnappers, who had abducted minor children, both boys and girls, and sodomised or raped them in the premises.

While a minor girl was found dead in the premises last year after being raped, a 9-year-old-boy was sodomised in the premises last week only. A month ago, another badly injured boy was recovered from the old jail.

Besides this, the police had recovered a number of intoxicants from the premises. According to the residents, only a small number of criminal activities had come to light and much more keeps on happening here.


History prevails over exigency
Move to disturb Lodhi Fort’s charm shelved
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 2—The dilapidated Lodhi Fort here, an over 400-year old monument of immense heritage value, will continue to be at the mercy of vagaries of weather. A proposal mooted by the district administration, the Knitwear Club and the National Institute of Fashion Technology, to open a research institute in its premises has been turned down by the Punjab Government.

The land for opening of an Industrial Research and Training unit along with a unit of training youths in modeling and fashion designing in all likelihood would now come up near village Laddowal village on the Jalandhar-Ludhiana highway near the land allotted to Punjab Agricultural University and the Police department recently.

Highly placed sources informed that after a number of meetings between the land demanding parties and the state government officials it was observed that such an institute would serve better purpose if opened in an easily accessible area like the highway. Sources said the matter would be taken up at the tomorrow’s meeting in the city between the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the land demanding parties.

Mr Vinod K. Thapar, President of the Knitwear Club, however, said efforts would be made to make the Chief Minister agree to their proposal. The sources said though the district administration had also recommended the proposal the government seems to have got wind of the criticism made by residents here.

A number of residents had also opposed the proposal. They had stressed the historic importance of the fort, constructed by scions of the Lodhi dynasty in the 16th century. The city was named after the dynasty.

The proposal was mooted in June this year when the Government Institute of Textile and Dyeing Technology moved out of the fort. The fort, located in the heart of the old city, attracted the Knitwear Club. The club in association with the North India Institute of Fashion Technology demanded land for an industrial training and research institute. The proposal was recommended by the district administration.

The Knitwear Club had taken the plea that the fort had not been declared a protected monument. The club also argued that the fort was already in ruins and was of little architectural importance.


Gurpurb celebrated
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 2 — The birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh was celebrated with much religious fervour in all gurdwaras of the city here today.

Following the bhog of akhand path early morning, kirtan and katha were performed at the gurdwaras. Ragi jathas from the Golden Temple, Patna Sahib and Srinagar were here to recite kirtan. At the Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Sarabha Nagar, Bhai Harjinder Singh, Srinagar wale, Bhai Manjit Singh and Bhai Randhir Singh, both hazuri ragis, Golden Temple, enthralled the sangat. At the Mai Nand Kaur Gurdwara, Ghumar Mandi, dhadi jatha narrated the life history of Guru Gobind Singh.

Devotees started visiting gurdwaras from early morning and performed sewa at langar halls. Later, langar was served. Late night diwans were also held at various gurdwaras. Besides, roadside langars were also served at the GT road and main streets of the city. 


Udit Narayan, Shweta enthral
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 2 — The postponed New Year’s Eve function of the Sutlej Club was held at Maharaja Palace here yesterday.

Udit Narayan and Shweta Menon
Udit Narayan and Shweta Menon at a function organised by the Sutlej Club in Ludhiana on Monday. — Photo by Rajesh Bhambi

Ludhianvis, all dressed to meet the challenges of the cold night, were enthralled by Udit Narayan, his son, Aditya and wife, Deepa. Among the performers were also Shweta Menon, Swareena, Shakeel Ansari and comedian Bal Mukand Sharma.

The lamp, to mark the start of the function, was lit by the Deputy Commissioner and president of the club, Mr S.K.Sandhu. Shweta Menon, dressed in designer lehanga choli, danced on Bandhan number Main diwani roop ki rani. 

Udit Narayan, clad in black blazer and trousers, 

started off with Papa kehte hain bada naam karega.

Udit shared his memorable moments with the audience.The singer was thunderously applauded for his latest numbers Dil ne ye kaha hai dil se and Pehla nasha pehla khumar.

A mother woke up her child when the singer sang the child’s favourite number Jadoo teri nazar from Darr. The number was followed by some other hits like Ghar se nikalte hi; Dil ye bechain hai and Pyar ki kashti mein. Soon he was joined by his son, Aditya, to sing Akele hum akele tum.

The club secretary, Mr A.S. Chawla, appreciated Udit Narayan and the dance troupe for extending their stay. The programme was postponed on December 31 due to heavy rains.

The dance troupe took the entry on Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's Aafrin number. The dance had been choreographed by Ms Kavita. This was followed by another foot tapping number Ishq brandi chadi chadi. The audience also enjoyed the jokes cracked by Balmukund Sharma of Chacha-Bhatija fame. 


Night without power
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 2 — The city was plunged into darkness during the first night of the new millennium as the power supply remained disrupted in almost all parts of the city.

Residents had to face the problems as there was no power supply to areas like Chandan Nagar, Civil Lines, Rani Jhansi Road, Sarabha Nagar, Bharat Nagar, Kundan Nagar and Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, besides many other localities of the city. The supply to many areas remained disrupted for more than 12 hours today causing inconvenience to residents. Due to the electricity failure there was no water supply.

Although in some areas the situation came back to normal by the evening but still certain areas are without power till late evening.


40 parents attend workshop
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 2 — Nearly 40 parents attended the lecture on “Good parenting” being organised at Lovely Lotus Nursery School, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, here today.

While delivering the lecture, Ms Harpreet Kaur Gill, Principal, spoke on the importance of active listening by parents, good communication skills, enjoying the cooperation of child and managing nuisance. Ms Gill said based on the type of behaviour, parents can be categorised into six type — ‘Child centric parents’, who can suffer any kind of inconvenience to fulfill their demands; ‘Child doting parents’, who are much pampered and unable to adjust with the real world later; ‘Disciplining parents’, who impose discipline to the extent of destroying the autonomy of the child; ‘Self-centered parents’, who neglect their child for their own enjoyment; ‘Panchsheel parents’, who are not able to spare time for their child because of busy schedule; and ‘Child centered or ideal parents’, who are aware of the need of autonomy for their progress of their child.

She told the parents about ways to set firm limits and yet maintain goodwill in dealing with the negative feelings in children. She also enlightened the parents on ways to cultivate self-esteem, autonomy, will power, motivation and gift spirit in children. She further informed that the lecture series on the same topic will continue till January 30. 



PUNJAB Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is believed, and rightly so, to be one of the most reliable allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the National Democratic Alliance. He may be the lone exception he never tried to blackmail the BJP or insisted on making some bargain for his own personal or political ends. In fact he has stood by the BJP in its worst times, as recently as when Prime Minister Vajpayee made an unexpected statement on Ayodhya. The BJP’s ideological fountainhead, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), announced one of the few liked programmes to celebrate Guruparab in the temples. This was reportedly done by the RSS without taking into confidence the Chief Minister and his party Shiromani Akali Dal. Although the RSS may not have any agenda except that of integration, as it claims, yet the way it was resisted by some Sikh organisations and institutions, including Akal Takht and the SGPC, it had to be withdrawn. And the Chief Minister was made to move to the backfoot for defensive driving, although he had no role in it. He was placed in acute dilemma, drawing flak from friends and foes alike. Fortunately for him, better sense prevailed on the RSS that it decided not to go ahead with the programme, much to the relief of the Chief Minister. It must have reminded Mr Badal of a famous Urdu couplet huwe dost tum jiske, aasman uska dushman kyoon ho.

Being on time!

It is not always good to be nice. Sometimes it may prove to be too dear and to some extent embarrassing as well. Ludhiana Tribune earlier also appreciated the unique quality of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of being always on time. In fact sometimes he is ahead of the schedule making the organisers feel uneasy.

IST, instead of being elaborated as Indian Standard Time, is interpreted as Indian Stretchable Time. So here it may not be good to be on time, although it is nice to be. On Tuesday the Chief Minister was scheduled to visit Kumbh Kalan village, about 20 km from Ludhiana. As usual Mr Badal was on time. Rather he was slightly ahead of schedule and reached the venue about 15 minutes in advance. Due to the dense fog the visibility was quite low. Barring a few officers who included the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr S.K. Sandhu, not many people had reached the venue. The Chief Minister had to wait for about half an hour killing his time by talking to the officers. Rarely it would have happened that leaders are made to wait by the people, as usually it is the other way round.

Candle-light New Year

There is something attractive in candles. They add to the charm of the night. Special candle-light dinners are organised to celebrate special occasions. And what can be better than a New Year’s Eve. On New Year Eve several special programmes were organised with a few offering candle-light dinners to the couples. And they were made to part with a handsome amount of money to have candle-light dinners. Girls in attractive attire were made to receive the guests with candles in their hands (see the accompanying picture).

But there were thousands and thousands of (un)lucky Ludhianvis who were not made to spend a penny and yet given the pleasure of enjoying candle-light New Year Eve. Courtesy the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). On the New Year Eve as the weather turned bad, most parts of the city were plunged into darkness making people to search for candles. And it was a nice candle-light New Year night for the entire Ludhiana. Maybe you can count many more such occasions as the PSEB is frequently generous towards its customers offering them such dinners at a premium.

Rash driving by VIPs’ drivers

The long cavalcade of cars and other vehicles accompanying VIPs, ranging from a senior police officer or a bureaucrat on the Chief Minister, are a common sight. With hardly any well defined set eligibility criteria for declaring someone as a VIP, everyone seems to be someone of reckoning with all the rights reserved for him to use a red light on his car. Besides, there is no restriction on the number of vehicles accompanying the VIP. Greater the status one wants for himself, greater the number of vehicles zooming on the roads. While during the militancy extra security was definitely needed, now it has become a status symbol. Although there are strict rules on the use of red light on the cars, they are being flouted with impunity.

But the most dangerous part is the way these vehicles are driven by the drivers. No rules are observed and no speed limits maintained. As these vehicles pass you, they sound the alarm on the road. It is not the overspeed by the drivers, but also the way they try to bully anyone and everyone who happens to come in the way. Will anyone care?

Chilly and foggy days for children

With the holiday season over and most of the schools opening again, the difficult times seem to have come for the children. Chilly mornings have brought the expected blanket of fog that wraps itself around the city. It is really too difficult for the children to fight this cold and get past it to reach their schools. Not many schools have changed the timing in the winter season. It may be demanding too much from the small kids to make them wake up and get ready and to roam in the fog to their schools.

Breaking the path

The entry of private companies in the Telecommunication Department was always welcome. People thought it would provide some relief to the customers, who had otherwise to remain content with the services of the Department of Telecommunications, now called the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited. While the DoT services were not unsatisfactory either, the entry of the private sector was hailed as a welcome development.

About a month back a private firm got the contract for providing land telephone services in Ludhiana. It has already started the digging process in most parts of the city for laying out the cables. A number of roads have been dug up and a lot of earth has accumulated on the roads. As if that was not enough, rains added to the woes of pedestrians. At several places pits are knee-deep. With rain water accumulated there pedestrians and motorists have a harrowing experience during the night as it is difficult to judge the depths of water.

Dirty remains

Recently the northern chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry organised a trade fair in the grounds of Punjab Agricultural University. According to CII officials the fair generated trade-related inquiries to the tune of Rs 7 crore. The organisers had spent lavishly in making the fair a success. Pavilions were beautifully set up. The deluxe enclosure where the Chief Minister addressed a meeting of the industrialists was said to have been set up at a cost of about Rs 4 lakh. In fact the Chief Minister also appreciated the beautiful settings of the lounge.

But there is a sad end to all this. After the fair concluded, supposedly with a great success, the organisers of the show wound up all the paraphernalia that was set up there. It took them a few days to de-create all the creations and settings that awed the people for four days. None of the organisers felt the need to get the ground cleaned of all the dirt that lies littered all around. Even after a week the dirt remains spread all over the ground. The PAU authorities also seem to be absolutely unconcerned and not bothered about it all.

(Wo)men power!

Much fuss is being raised over the 33 per cent reservation to women in Parliament and state legislatures. While the legislation may need some more time to become a law, the reality at the grassroots remain to be too far and too different. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday had invited the sarpanch of Bhapana village, about 30 km from Ludhiana, Jaswinder Kaur and other panches. But instead of women sarpanches themselves, their husbands came to see the Chief Minister. It is not unusual, that it is the men who exercise the power instead of women.

And it also changed the nature of demands. While the women panches and sarpanches had their own set of demands, all these demands changed when it came to the women. The women had been demanding construction of latrines in the villages. Besides they had raised the issue of a primary school whose building was constructed several years ago, but it still remains closed. But the husbands who had come to represent their wives demanded among other things like construction of roads. For the men the construction of latrines is not an issue, but for the women it is.

— Sentinel 


Ring road plan: residents to move court
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 2 — With the state government not responding to the demands of the residents of Passey Nagar here, to keep their interests in view before constructing a ring road connecting Pakhowal Road to Doraha Canal Road, the residents have finally decided to knock the doors of judiciary. The residents, whose houses will have to face the bulldozer in the process of laying a road, are all set to fight the battle, as they say that they are fed up running from pillar to post to get their grievances heard.

The approval for the construction of road came recently by the Chief Administrator, Punjab Urban Development Authority, unsettling the life of residents of as many as 60 houses which would have to bear the brunt of the land acquisition process.

The approval came as a rude shock to residents who had been approaching the local PUDA authorities, District Administra-tion , Municipal Corporation and the state government for cancellation of the project. Although no notices have been issued to the residents as yet, they feel that their fate hangs in balance because they are not clear about the exact picture. The residents have been fighting against the project, claiming that they built their houses on the land, got their registries and got their housing plans approved from the corporation and why did the PUDA not demarcate the land earmarked for the ring road all that time?

They say that two years ago, officials of the PUDA, armed with measurement devices suddenly descended on the Passey Nagar colony and Moti Bagh colony and began taking measurements for an over 200-feet-wide road, sending alarm bells ringing among the residents as nearly 60 houses fell into the earmarked area.

The residents oppose the ring road plan on the plea that how could PUDA suddenly decide on the construction of such a wide road, through a densely populated colony of the city that would directly effect 60 houses?

One of the peeved and affected residents, Mr B.K. Sharma, a retired principal of a school and now also running a school in the colony, said that he had bought a plot in the colony in 1993 and had fulfilled all the legal formalities. He said that he had not known in his wildest dreams that this would be the fate of the house erected with his hard earned money.

If they had known that this land was earmarked for a ring road, why did they approved our housing plan? Moreover there was no board saying that this was PUDA land. Otherwise, why would have I purchased this land? I had purchased it with my hardearned money and now they care possessing it illegally.” said Mr B.K. Sharma.

The residents said that this was a 30-year-old plan, when there was no habitation in this area.

Mr Ramesh G. Kumar, Additional Administrator of PUDA, said that the authority was planning a meeting with the residents in a fortnight’s time and would try its level-best to give a hearing to the grievances of the residents.


Harmanjeet — a dancing sensation

GOING to discos and aping Malkit Singh or Karren Jasbir may be the hot rage with most of the youngsters these days, but there are still a few talents left in the city who prefer to stick to the good old traditional bhangra

Harmanjeet Singh Mani is one such name who has made an impact on the bhangra circle of Chandigarh in the recent times.

This 12-year-old dancing sensation, who is passionate about Punjabi and Rajasthani folk dances, has already 75 live and TV shows to his credit. "I love performing bhangra but also have tried a number of fusion dances (Punjabi dances with the western beat) which is very popular among the audience these days," said Harmanjeet.

Harmanjeet has been offered four shows with Dolly Guleria in the USA. An ecstatic Harman, who is looking forward to his first trip aboard, said though it was a big step for a class VI student, "I am looking forward to it as the trip promises to be different."

Harmanjeet has already performed with personalities like Sardool Sikander, Manjit Rupwalia, Raj Brar, Smita Bhatti and Sunidhi Chauhan.

The winner of the dancer of the year competition, organised by the Chandigarh Institute of Performing Arts and also the winner of the male mega dancer and best dancer awards of the year 2000, said it was his mother who got him interested in this field and later teachers like Gagandeep Singh and Jasbinder Jassi helped him in exploring his talent in a professional capacity.

Harman wants to be a choreographer when he grows up, but has not wasted much time as he already started choreographing a few shows, besides preparing his own dance troupe.

A student of Government Model High School, Sector 44, Harman has been managing to do well in studies even though he has to be away from school for long periods.

— Parbina Rashid


Cold brings cheer to hosiery traders
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 2 — Winter is finally here. And that is good news for hosiery manufacturers and traders. Showers in the northern region have brought the mercury down to three to four degrees celsius and the hosiery industry now hopes for better sales.

Weathermen and the hosiery traders were expecting the winter to start in early December, but even towards the end of the month there was no sign of a cold wave. The farmers had also been waiting for the winter rain which is always good for the wheat crop.

The woollen and winter garment manufacturers had already sold their goods to the wholesalers and retailers. The first phase of manufacturing winter garments is generally over by Divali. However, payments from the wholesalers and retailers and the second phase of manufacturing, pick up by mid-December which also marks the marriage season.

The manufacturers are of the view that though it may not possible to make up for their losses fully business will look up to some extent. Mr Sunil Dutt, a leading hosiery manufacturer said: “The customers will certainly come and the sales of woollen garments will pick up.

Mr Chander Kant Todi, another hosiery manufacturer, however, does not have very high hopes from the season. He said: “The season is already gone. We are offering heavy discounts to the retailers and wholesalers so that they pick up our products. Our business depends on festivals and marriages, and the first part is already over. Now, the marriage season may give some momentum to the sales.”

Mr Sunil Batra, a manufacturer of scarves, gloves and other accessories, said that the sales would increase marginally.

A shopkeeper in the Chaura Bazar said they had already slashed the prices drastically. Even then the customers were not coming. However, with the on set of the chilly weather, they would now come, he hoped. “We are offering special discounts on new year sales,” he said.

However, a number of manufacturers and traders were of the opinion that the real problem was of over production and low margins. “The government should try to improve the living standard of the rural people. There is no lack of market in the rural areas if they have the purchasing power. “If agriculture and the small-scale sector of the economy develop properly, we can sell our products,” said another shopkeeper in Kochar market.

The hosiery traders may expect better business in the coming days as the weather experts of the Punjab Agricultural University have predicted more rain and a cold wave in the region in the coming days.

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