Tuesday, February 6, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Shot fired at wedding celebrations kills youth
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 5 — Celebrations turned into mourning at a wedding near Sherpur Chowk here past night when a shot fired by an overexcited cousin killed a 17-year-old boy of Sidhwan Bet village.

The incident could have been prevented if the order of the District Magistrate regarding the ban on carrying firearms at weddings had been obeyed. Instructions regarding the ban on carrying firearms have been painted in bold letters on notice boards of all marriage places, but no one seems to be following the order.

According to an FIR registered by the Focal Point police in this incident, when Naresh Kumar was dancing at the wedding of Narinder Kumar, the bridegroom’s brother, Manoj Kumar, took a .12-bore gun from another relative to fire a shot in the air. The bullet hit Naresh in the heart.

Naresh was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead. The accused is reported to have absconded. The marriage was, however, solemnised in the presence of only a few persons later in the night. The bride belongs to Shivaji Nagar here and the bridegroom belongs to the Haibowal area.

The police has registered a case against Manoj under Section 304 of the IPC, on the statement of Mr Hari Om of Sidhwan Bet village. No arrest has been made so far. Sources said Manoj and Naresh had been close friends and Manoj had run away only at the instructions of his elders.

The DSP, Mr Gurjit Singh, said the police had reached the site soon after receiving the information about the incident. He said members of the marriage party did not want to register a case, but the police had decided to go ahead with it.

The police said the owner of the gun was yet to be identified, though it had been learnt that he possessed a valid licence for carrying it.

Officials of the marriage palace where this incident happened were reluctant to talk about the incident. They said the shootout had taken place outside the palace. They said the district administration had already banned the carrying of firearms at marriages and they had not allowed anyone to flout the order so far, though, sometimes it was difficult to stop overexcited persons.


Gun law: DC to punish violators

REACTING to the violations of the ban on carrying firearms at weddings, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, said strict action would be taken against members of marriage parties who fired shots in air at these functions.

Mr Sandhu said, though who had valid arms licences were free to carry arms, no one would be allowed to fire wild shots.

Regarding the lack of the proper enforcement of the order, the DC said, in the wake of the incident near Sherpur Chowk in Ludhiana, he had directed his men to enforce the ban strictly.


No roll numbers even on examination day
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 5 — Though this was the second day of the practical examinations of Class X students of the Punjab School Education Board, many private candidates were still without roll-number cards.

Students had no information regarding the centre and timing of the test. More than 50 such students and owners of private schools gathered at the board office here in Punjabi Bhavan today to enquire about the roll numbers.

The lists of roll numbers and examination centres put up at the office did not include the names of many students. Ms Narinder Kaur who runs a private school on Noorwala Road here, said, “There are eight Class X students in my school. While seven of them have got their roll numbers, one has still not received it. We scanned the lists of private candidates sent by the board here, but the name of that student was not there. Officials here have told us to go to SAS Nagar for enquiring about the roll number of that student.”

Meanwhile, there was chaos at centres where private candidates were appearing. While the final list of all candidates has still not reached most centres, teachers at some of these centres received the list only today. More than 60 students turned up in Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School at Bharat Nagar here today. Most of them were supposed to appear in the test on Saturday. Some of them have their test tomorrow.

This confusion delayed the start of today’s test. Seven girls of a private school of Sunet village who turned up in the Bharat Nagar school, said, “We arrived here at 9.30 am as our examination was scheduled to begin at 10 am. However, our examination began at noon and concluded at 3 pm.”

Meanwhile, several mistakes have been found in the roll-number cards that have been issued by the board. Officials of the board here said, since morning, many parents and students had enquired about these errors. Same roll number was issued to two students of a school. Officials said the board authorities at SAS Nagar had not corrected some of the mistakes in roll-number cards that they had found after proof-reading past month.


Bar coding of export goods from April 1
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 5 — The Centre has issued a notification to announce that bar coding of all export products will be made mandatory from April 1. “The use of bar coding and electronic data interchange (EDI) by exporters will support automation of communication between trading partners,” said Mr J.S. Kullar, Director of Small Industries Service Institute (SISI). He was addressing exporters at a seminar on International Numbering and Bar Coding that was organised here today by the SISI and Engineering Export Promotion Council (NR).

Mr Ravi Sharma, Chief Executive Officer of EAN India, said the use of global standards had enhanced the implementation of these technologies. He said a common identification system would improve accuracy in electronic communication. Though the bar coding system was being used in developed countries for the past three decades, Indian companies still did not want to adopt it.

Participants at the seminar said, even if they introduced the system now, there would be many hurdles in its optimal utilisation because officials of the Departments of Customs and the Railways did not understand this system.

Mr Kullar said international system like EAN.UCC was used in over 90 countries by more than 8,50,000 companies in business, service and government sectors.

EAN India, a joint venture of industry and the Ministry of Commerce, was the only authorised body in India for the allocation of EAN.UCC numbers used in bar coding technology globally. The EAN.UCC system is used in grocery, healthcare, textile, packaging, publishing, music, electronics, telecommunications, postal, defence, transport and agriculture sectors.

Mr Bua Singh, Country Manager of Great Eastern Impex Limited, gave a presentation on Total Solutions in Bar Coding. He said, “The use of bar coding can reduce material cost, improve production efficiency, quality and profitability.”

About 60 exporters and industrialists participated in the seminar. A committee of exporters, SISI faculty members and experts was formed to identify the difficulties in implementing the technology. Mr Kullar said the committee would submit its report to the Ministry of Commerce through the Ministry of Industry.

A five-day training programme on Forging Dies Designing and their Computer Simulation was also inaugurated today on the SISI premises.


Crime against NRIs on the rise
By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 5 — The recent cold-blooded murder of an NRI, allegedly by a taxi driver, near Doraha has once again brought to the fore the issue of the safety of the life and property of the non-resident Indians in the state.

Those who think that the cases are just sporadic incidents need to just inquire from any district police headquarters, a court of law or from the various chapters of state NRI Sabha. Records of the cases of crime against the class are not only galore but are also on the rise.

The scenario is discouraging as the state government has been harping on collecting revenue from the foreign exchange brought to the state by the rich NRIs. However, if such crime against NRIs continue to happen, they may not frequent the place as often as they do now.

While a majority of the cases are of property dispute, there is an alarming incidence of barbaric murder of a number of NRIs and also of their family members in certain cases. Another point worth noting is that most of the murders are committed with a motive to rob the NRIs who are largely believed to be bringing immense wealth with them.

To quote a few cases, one of the most heinous crimes involving NRIs was the much publicised contract killing case, popular as Jassi murder case. An NRI girl had fallen in love with a youth of Kaunke Kalan, who was not well-off. The love bond did not go well with the relatives of the girl, who hired certain local persons, including a Sub-Inspector of Punjab Police, to murder the couple. The girl was subsequently killed but the youth survived the attack miraculously.

About one-and-a-half-year ago, an NRI family was mercilessly murdered in a cruel manner by a group of persons, which included the driver of their hired taxi. The NRI couple and their 12-year-old son were first looted, disrobed and then stabbed to death. Their naked bodies were thrown in a village pond near Banur. The murderers are yet to be arrested.

In May last year another rich NRI having a lucrative business in London had come to India along with his wife to meet old friends and share old memories. Their peaceful stay was, however, shortlived. A group of murderers headed by a woman, who at one time was the leader of a gang of pick-pockets, was constantly eyeing their jewellery and cash. Unable to control the greed any longer, the group, having about 4 members, killed the couple and fled away with the booty. However, the Khanna police managed to arrest all of them.

Besides other incidents of looting of NRIs that took place from time to time, the latest hair-raising incident occurred on Saturday when another taxi driver, driven by the greed of money, robbed an NRI couple and murdered the husband.

While the cases of physical assault are easily highlighted, those of property dispute do not make similar news. According to Mr Pritam Singh Deol, president, and Mr B.K.Vig of the NRI Sabha, Punjab, such cases are on the rise. ‘‘ Gone are the days when there were one or two cases of land grabbing of NRIs,’’ they said, adding that now at least five cases of property dispute and physical assault with a motive to rob are received by the sabha.

According to the sabha members, a perusal of the cases reveals that the main motive behind the killing was the belief that the NRIs were rich people who bring bags full of cash and precious items to the country. Further, the unassuming NRIs, in spite of warnings by the Sabha not to hire taxi drivers without verifying their assets, fail to take the advice. Resultantly, most of them have been robbed or killed by the taxi drivers.

The sabha members also concluded from cases reaching them that the property of a large number of NRIs have also been grabbed by persons, who were also relatives. As the NRIs remain outside, the property is only waiting to be grabbed or encroached upon.

Enquiries from the economic offences wings of the state police also bring the disturbing trends of rise in economic crime against the NRIs also. Of these, majority cases were of fraud played on the unassuming NRIs in the banks. Even if the culprits are identified, the legal process takes years leaving the suffering party more harassed.

Mr Deol and Mr Vig suggested that the government should open counters for the NRIs at airports and other places. NRIs also should not flaunt their money openly.



Killings in Srinagar condemned
From Our Correspondent

AMLOH, Feb 5 — The killing of six Kashmiri Sikhs by unidentified persons at the behest of Pakistan in Srinagar was strongly condemned by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president, Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, and member of Rajya Sabha today, at Sounti village near here. He was addressing a public gathering organised by the village panchayat and Ravidas Sabha in connection with the birthday celebrations of Guru Ravi Dass.

He further said the massacre of Sikhs in March last year at Chhatisingpora and the killings of Sikh truck drivers later near Banihal were part of a deep-rooted conspiracy of Pakistan to spread rift and hatred among the minority communities. He said that he would attend the bhog ceremonies of the Sikhs killed in Srinagar. He demanded from the central and the state government of Jammu and Kashmir to take strict action against culprits and ensure peace and security for the people.

He was critical of the Punjab government as well, which he said, had failed to fulfil the promises it had made to the people at the time of elections in the state. He was also critical of the bureaucracy, particularly the police in the state, which had become a puppet in the hands of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his family.

He challenged that this government would not remain in power for a longer period. He condemned the WTO, which he branded as harmful for the country, particularly for the state of Punjab.

He alleged that the reduction of wheat price by Rs 60 per quintal was an anti-farmer policy and the government should withdraw it.

In the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections in the state, Mr Tohra declared that four Akali Dals, namely Democratic Akali Dal, Akali Dal (Panthak), Akali Dal (A) and Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal would join hands to contest the elections collectively. Among others who addressed the gathering were, Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra MP. Mr Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, member SGPC, Mr Rajinder Singh Tohra, District President, Patiala and Mr Paramjit Singh Khanian.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra later laid the foundation stone of a government primary school building in the village. Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the school building from his discretionary fund.

In the meanwhile, a meeting of the youth wing of Congress Sewa Dal, Punjab, was held today, under the presidentship of Mr Kulwinder Singh Ambey Majra, state president of the youth wing at Mandi Gobindgarh. The meeting condemned Sikh killings at Srinagar by unidentified persons and demanded resignation of the Home Minister Mr L. K. Advani.


Blood donated for Gujarat earthquake victims
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 5 — More than 150 volunteers donated blood at a blood donation camp, organised by the Rotary Club and other voluntary organisations at Bengali Hospital, Raikot, about 30 km from here today, for those injured in the earthquake in Gujarat.

Mr Jagjit Singh Talwandi, Chairman, Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation, inaugurated the camp.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Talwandi said that more such camps will be organised to meet the requirement of blood for the injured persons in various towns of Gujarat. Expressing his shock at the worst-ever earthquake that had taken a heavy toll of human lives, rendering countless others homeless and injured, he said the people of Raikot had already contributed Rs 1 Lakh in cash and 3500 blankets for the quake victims.

He exhorted the members of trade, industry and other social and religious bodies to contribute towards the mammoth task of relief and rehabilitation of quake-affected people.

Mr Talwandi also presented a cheque of Rs 1 Lakh as ex-gratia grant to the widow of Kargil martyr Sepoy Jaspal Singh of Johllan village in Raikot Tehsil .

A team of doctors from the local DMC Hospital, headed by Dr Pavneet Kumar collected the blood, which would be sent to hospitals and medical teams working in Gujarat towns.


Gujarat rehabilitation trust formed
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 5 — To help victims of the earthquake, which recently shook Gujarat, city residents have come together to form Gujarat Rehabilitation Trust, which is all set to launch various projects there in the coming days.

The budget of various projects has been earmarked as Rs 5 crore and all the projects would be taken up one by one. This information was given by Mr K.K. Kapila, Commissioner, Income Tax, and the chairperson of the trust here today, while speaking to mediapersons at Jain Temple. He said for the collection of this amount, the trust would ask well-to-do city residents to donate money.

He said that the arrangement of finances was not a difficult task in the city as Ludhianvis were known to donate generously for a noble cause. Mr Kapila himself donated Rs 5,000 for the same and said that the Income Tax department had donated an amount of Rs 1,27,780 while the employees of the department had given their two-day salary also. He said that the District Income Tax Bar Association had also collected Rs 2.5 lakh.

According to Mr Kapila, a team of experts would be leaving for Bhuj tomorrow and would conduct a survey to execute the trust’s plans effectively. He said the trust in the first round would construct a higher secondary school for the children of the victims of earth-quake. He said in the second round, the trust would construct houses for those who had lost theirs after the quake.

He said although the media had brought live pictures of the whole scenario to our homes and people were ready to help, still the general public had a short memory and to keep the spirit of helpfulness alive, efforts were needed to be done at a larger scale. He called upon residents to donate for the rehabilitation of victims.


More contributions pour in

TRADE, industry and other voluntary organisations in the city today deposited donations worth Rs 8,90 lakh at the relief counter of District Red Cross Society here.

Giving details, Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, informed that the organisations and individuals who contributed today included, Car Dealers’ Association, Feroze Gandhi Market (Rs 3 lakh); Bhandari Hosiery Export, BRS Nagar (Rs 1.11 lakh); Staff of District Public Relations Office (Rs 9,000); Bajwa Nagar Hosiery Association (Rs 25,000); Gemco Cycles (Rs 21,000); Cremica Foods (Rs 21,000); S.T. Cotton Exports (Rs 11,000); Kala Mandir (Rs 11,000) Sheel Nanda (Rs 5,000); Nanda Industry (Rs 5,000); C.R. Aulakh and Brothers (Rs 5,000); Rico Casting (Rs 5,000) and Mr Nirmal Ahluwalia (Rs 2,100).

The Ludhiana Citizens Council has handed over a consignment of 500 blankets for the earthquake victims to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, at Mini Secretariat here.Back


Ritambra to adopt orphans
From Our Correspondent

DORAHA, Feb 5 — Sadhavi Ritambra, President , Vatsalya Mandir, has vowed to adopt orphaned children in Gujarat. She made a statement to this effect to the press at the local grain market, where she had come to attend the rasam pagri of her father, Mr Pyare Lal, who expired on January 21. She later left for Gujarat.


6 liquor vends’ employees held
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 5 — The district police has arrested six persons on the charge of violating orders of the district administration regarding the closure of all liquor shops by 11:00 p.m.

The six persons were employed in liquor vends which were open beyond the deadline set by the administration. The arrested persons are Kundan Lal, Dalip Kumar, Sukhminder Singh, Surinder Singh, and Manjit Singh.


Extortion bid foiled
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 5 — The Phillaur police today claimed to have foiled an attempt of extortion made by a person from Thala village near here. He had allegedly threatened Parminder Singh of the same village to pay him Rs 3 lakh failing which, he would kidnap his children.

Parminder Singh, after receiving the threatening letter had arranged for the amount and waited for the person at the determined place but no one came to the spot. He received another letter after a few days, with the same threat and same demand. He contacted the local police, who set up a trap on the spot.

The man, who had demanded money came to the site covered with a shawl and was nabbed by the police. He was identified as Roshan Lal of Thala village. After interrogation, he admitted that he had accepted an amount of Rs 20,000 from Parminder Singh. A case under Sections 386 and 507 has been registered against him.


Changing trends in the two-wheeler market
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 5 — The two-wheeler market in the country is witnessing tremendous changes. The market is shifting from scooter to motorcycles. Major companies in the two wheeler industry are also restructuring their production in the plants.

The two-wheeler companies have high stakes in Punjab. According to the information available, the sales of mopeds and motorcycles have shown a sharp increase in recent months despite recession in the market. In Punjab, the sale of motorcycles increased by 300 per cent as compared to sales in the previous year. The motorcycle market is picking up, though the sale of scooters has shown declining trends in recent months.

In fact, there has been a noticeable change in consumer preference in recent years. Market analysts feel the young generation is looking for stylish and speedy bikes. Increase in the income of the middle class and changing lifestyles are affecting the market of two-wheelers.

The youth are ready to spend a little extra, provided they get good two-wheelers, which can present them as young, brave and different. Consequently, the sale of motorcycles with style and power is showing an upward trend.

Scooter companies are putting up a brave front, despite setbacks in their sales. In fact the dominance of limited players in the Indian scooter market has kept consumers bereft of technologically-advanced scooters. The two-stroke engine, that is used by Indian scooter companies, is banned in most of the developed countries, due to unsatisfactory mileage efficiency and also as it leaves high pollutants in the air, in comparison to four-stroke engine scooters.

Echoing the views of scooter riders, Mr S.D. Verma, a bank employee, who has been using a scooter for the past 10 years, said, "Companies are introducing new models every year, but there is no change in the engine or mileage efficiency. Prices of petrol have increased manifold, but the companies have failed to develop fuel-efficient scooters. Moreover, they create so much air and noise pollution’’

Though there are proposals in the Centre Government to ban the two-stroke engine wheelers in phases, but the pressure of companies in the name of swadeshi and the probability of increase in costs are big hurdles in technology change.

The companies are, however, keeping their options open, as the pressure of the Supreme Court and the environmentalists may force the government to impose restrictions on two-stroke engine two-wheelers in the face of an increasing oil import bill and an increasing pollution in the cities.


Think before you buy a scooter

  • Leading companies are going to launch four stroke engine scooters, a new version of present two stroke engine scooters.
  • The four stroke engine will give at least 65 km per litre mileage on the road as compared to 40-45 km per litre mileage by the present models.
  • Four stroke engine scooters leave less polluting elements in the air as compared to two stroke engine models.
  • The new models will have a slightly higher cost, around Rs. 30,000.
  • They will be available in two variants, low capacity and high capacity.
  • Two stroke engine scooters may continue in the coming years if the government or the court do not ban them.


Daily wagers a harassed lot
By Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Feb 5 — One sees a number of purely clad people standing in groups at Aarti Chowk, Haibowal, Ghumar Mandi, Vishva Karma Chowk, Gill Chowk, Division No 3, Jodhewal Basti and Model Town everyday from 8 o’clock in the morning to 10.30 a.m. The number reduces somewhat but the majority stands and waits for someone to engage them on a daily basis. Yes! These are the people who wait everyday for somebody to hire them and pay them daily wages to enable them and their families to survive.

We do pass by them without wondering the hardships they have to face. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, most of them said that they led a distressful life. Bhagwan Das, who has been a ‘raj mistri’ for the last 40 years, is still unable to find a job everyday inspite of his skill. He says: “I do not work with thekedars as they do not pay the labour well. They take money and run away leaving us high and dry. So I decided to work independently. My wages are Rs 180 per day. If I was occupied everyday of the month, I would be pretty well off. But sadly, I am engaged only for 10-15 days a month.”

In Ghumar Mandi, a lot of these daily wagers with hope in their eyes and prayer on their lips wait expectantly for people to give them work, but most of them keep waiting and go back home disheartened. Some of them have no homes and sleep on pavements. On no work day, they just roam the streets in search for food, visit different gurdwaras and temples for free langar.

The rates on the wall say that a raj mistri’s wages per day are Rs 180 whereas the beldar or the helper is to get Rs. 90. But people do not pay this amount and exploit them and pay far less. Since many have not been employed for as long as 45 days, in some cases like that of Kishore Shanker, workers accept less wages too.

They all left their homes back in Gonda in U.P., and Bihar and came to Ludhiana looking for jobs. Failing to find jobs, they all started working as daily wagers. At home they could not find any jobs and a daily wager was paid a lowly sum of Rs 30. In search of better pastures, they came to Ludhiana hoping to earn a decent livelihood and also support their families. Most of their dreams lie shattered due to want of work.

Shamsher Singh from Sujaat village said: “I have not found any work for the last 15 days. I am a farm hand and am employed on daily wages of Rs. 60 by farmers for sowing purposes. Farmers do offer us a salary of Rs 1500 but then they think they own us. We are supposed to be at their beck and call all 24 hours a day. So, I do not want to be employed.”

The most outspoken speaker was Radhe Sham. He said bitterly: “We are too many and the jobs are too few. Moreover, due to an increase in the price of bricks and building material, few houses are being built and hence most of us are unemployed inspite of possessing expertise. I am a raj mistri and I find very hard to bring up my family as practically half the month I am just looking for a job”.

“I think they should drop a bomb on us, so that half of us die. Probably, then when our number is reduced we may be employed or some disease should strike us so that we may perish. To live a life waiting for people to employ us, and then failing to find any engagement, our hopes are shattered and the whole process of wait and watch is getting too much to bear”, he said.

When asked if they have contacted the district administration about their unemployment and other problems, all of them said that it was pointless as they would be turned away at the gate by the security. They felt there was no solution to their problem and they were destined to suffer hunger and poverty. Along with them, their families also had to starve most of the times and eat only whenever these daily wagers were able to send them some money.

A new entrant to this clan was a strapping young boy of 22 years who after a fight with his father has come from Delhi. He says, “I have been sleeping on the pavements. The police bothers us all the time. We eat food if we get it from gurdwaras or temples or we just roam around idly. I do not want to go home as I want to prove something to my family. I am educated, but I have not been able to get a job for all the employers want a guarantee and who will give the guarantee for me?”

The only consideration shown to them is by building a toilet for them at Ghumar Mandi. Most of them have resigned themselves to their fate, hunger and poverty. They feel that they cannot change their stars and fight against their destiny.


Different faces of Chaura Bazar

WALKING down the entire length of Chaura Bazar on any weekday in the morning hours, one finds it indescribably filthy. Shopkeepers sweep their shops and push out the rubbish on the roads, which later assumes the shape of garbage mounds. Such mounds can be seen in the entire bazar right up to Guru Nanak Market. Ironically, when the road is littered with garbage, shopkeepers inside their shopes are polishing counters and cleaning the objects in the shop. The marble floors contrast very sharply with the road full of rubbish where one has to walk carefully avoiding garbage heaps.

People seem complacent and unbothered about the dirt and filth surrounding them. To make the matters worse, the hum-drum sound of generators irritates shopper. Amidst various scents of burning incense sticks and obnoxious fumes of generators, the shopkeepers do not have much chance of attracting customers. On the pavements, there is a lot of business in small items like undergarments, chappals, spectacles, duppattas, towels, handkerchieves etc. A number of cyclists selling chhole-kulchas can be seen moving around. A lot of uncovered food stuff like gol-gappas, chat-papdi, tikki, vegetable salad, fruit salad is also on sale. Beggars abound in the market leaving the customers exasperated.

On Sundays, however, the bazar presents a different picture. Most of the shops remain closed so the bazar is dominated by roadside sellers of second hand clothes, rejected export quality clothes, cheap woollens, jeans and trousers, shirts, shoes, blankets and what not. The colourful umbrellas put by them, give the Sunday bazaar a cheerful look compared to the somber look of other days. People from different walks of life can be seen browsing through the second hand books at various stalls.

People on this day seem more relaxed. Sunday crowd is more jaunty and more money changes hands as goods are reasonably priced. One can easily spend half-a-day just leisurely walking through the bazar. The two faces of Chaura Bazar are really contrasting. — AA


Cinema hall in bad shape
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 5 — Chand Cinema, at the Jalandhar bypass road, is one of the city’s biggest cinema halls. It has always been a favourite with the young generation for years. The theatre attracted crowds by putting up Hindi and English blockbusters. But due to non-maintenance on the part of cinema authorities in recent times, the cinema hall presents a poor picture with rehris, garbage, stray dogs, cycles parked at the entrance, lawns and corridors, clothes drying at the main building itself and hundreds of visitors standing, roaming and chatting at the theatre premises.

The cinema hall has a seating capacity of about 1300.The balcony has 552 seats, which are torn and broken. The ticket for the balcony is Rs 15 per person. There are five boxes with 76 seats. The ticket for the D-circle, which has 160 seats, is Rs 10. There are about 442 seats in the reserved class.

As soon as one enters the lobby, which is the main entrance of cinema hall, one finds junk, dust and broken statues. One can not even stand near the stinking toilets. Ludhiana Tribune spoke to the owner of the hall about the stink and ill-maintained structure. He said, “we are helpless these days, as our tubewell is not working. If there is no water, how can we keep the theatre clean?”. He said that men were already on repair work of the tubewell.

The window panes on every floor were broken. The team also discovered that no regular check was made for fire safety measures. Lot of algae and plants could be seen in the broken air cooling systems. The authorities had kept many LPG cylinders in the lobby itself.

The theatre has one canteen where eatables were lying in the open and attracting flies and insects. The canteen was surrounded by left out junk and papers, dirty polybags, and stains of chutney and sauces.

There was no proper parking in the cinema hall. Anyone could park his or her vehicle anywhere. No gatekeepers could be seen at the main gate or entrance. The theatre was in bad shape and lack of civic amenities, miserable condition of ticket counters and lack of proper maintenance added to the chaos.


Bus overturns, ten injured
From Our Correspondent

DORAHA, Feb 5 — At least 10 persons were injured when a Sirhind-Khanna bus overturned at the Kaddon chowk, near here, on Saturday evening.

According to sources, the accident occurred when Pardeep Singh, the driver of the bus (PB11P-1655) coming from Patiala, tried to avoid a collision with a car coming from Payal. The driver lost control and the bus turned turtle.

Out of a total of 42 passengers, seven were seriously injured while three others received minor injuries. They were immediately admitted to a local hospital by ASI Harbans Singh . Those who have been seriously injured are Jaswant Singh, Teja Singh, Avtar Singh, Karnail Kaur, Ravinder Kaur, Jasbir Kaur and Ram Piari.


Two injured in accident
From Our Correspondent

DORAHA, Feb 5 — Two persons were injured when their car hit a tree, near Gurdwara Atarsar Sahib, near here late last night.

Gurmit Singh of Shahpur village and Rajinder Singh of Kotli village, were coming from Ludhiana when due to blurred vision of the driver, the vehicle met with the accident. Both the occupants were badly injured and admitted to a hospital.


Man shot at
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 5 — A man was injured when he was shot at in a brawl at Jassar village in Sadar police station here late last night.

The injured man Om Parkash was an employee at a liquor vend in the village. According to the police, a few persons had some heated argument with the employee over some issue and soon a fight ensued in which one of the attackers opened fire.

The injured man has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital and is reported to be out of danger.


Industrialist missing
From Our Correspondent

AMLOH, Feb 5 — The mystery of a missing rice mill owner of the town, Mr Dharamveer (50), has not been solved yet. According to the report lodged with the local police by his son, Sudesh Paul, on February 1, Mr Dharamveer had gone to Maharaja Palace, Amloh, to attend a marriage party on January 30, but did not return.

In a representation to the Chief Minister, Punjab, today, his brother, Mr Shivcharan Dass has demanded a high-level inquiry into the matter.

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