Monday, March 12, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bouquets, brickbats for councillors
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 11
The slow pace of development works, diversion and misutilisation of funds earmarked for providing basic civic amenities and favouritism in execution of development works in the city is almost a routine and the councillors often have to face the anger and resentment of the residents.

Up in arms against her whimsical ways, residents of various colonies staged a dharna and blocked traffic to express protest against the area councillor, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, who they alleged had got the main sewerage line diverted towards her own house, whereas the trenches dug out for laying the sewer pipes on the main road were filled without the work having been done.

Mr Mohinder Singh Ramana, block president of Samajwadi Party, and Mr Manjit Singh, circle president of the All India Sikh Students Federation, who led the protest, told Ludhiana Tribune that the residents had earlier also voiced their protest against the non-completion of main sewer line and attempts to divert the work at the instance of the councillor. Ms Sukhwinder Kaur had assured the protesting residents that the sewer lines would be laid on the main road and the work would progress further.

But the councillor retraced her stand and on her specific directions, the sewer line was diverted to cover the locality, where she resided, said Mr Kashmir Singh, chairman of the Mohalla Sudhar Committee.

The councillor and MC officers concerned could not be contacted for their comments.

In a rather unusual development, residents of more than two dozen colonies between Kakowal and Bahadarke Road in ward 6, went on record to appreciate the excellent work done by the councillor, Mr Ranjit Singh Dhillon, with the full cooperation and support of the city Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh, and the Shiromani Akali Dal legislator, Mr Hira Singh Gabria.

According to the presidents of the welfare societies of the respective colonies, the residents were earlier living in poor civic conditions. There was no supply of clean drinking water, the streets and roads were unpaved and the basic amenities were denied to the people.

The councillor, the residents said, had ensured supply of clean drinking water by way of small submersible pumps in the colonies. A sewerage project on Noorwala Road and Bahadarke Road had been completed and branch lines were laid in several localities. Three new tubewells had been installed, one water reservoir of 1,00,000 gallon capacity had been constructed and work was on for commissioning of another tubewell in the ward.

Various other development projects for supply of clean drinking water to all localities, laying of main and branch sewer lines, providing streetlights on main roads and streets, development and maintenance of parks and improvement in sanitary level were also being taken up by the councillor, claimed the presidents of mohalla sudhar committees and welfare associations in the ward.


Hooliganism on Holi!
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
Holi and hooliganism seem to be made for each other. Apart from the traditional bonhomie associated with the festival of colours, hooliganism was on display in varying degrees in various parts of the town yesterday with boisterous boys on mobikes , cars and open jeeps making rounds of the city. The police had a tough time chasing rowdy groups of boys all over the city, particularly in Ghumar Mandi, other areas of Civil Lines and the Focal Point.

A couple of minor accidents involving a scooter and a motor cycle and two cars were also witnessed in the Focal Point area. A five-year-old child fell off from the roof of his house in Pritam Nagar but he was lucky to escape with minor injuries. Minor clashes were also witnessed all over the city between groups of boys prompting many an old timers to remark that instead of burying old hatchets, the festival of holi was being used to create new enmities. But by and large, the festival passed off peacefully with no serious accident or incident reported from any part of the city.

In the Focal Point area, migrants, employed as well as self-employed, observed a total holiday. Most of them started making a beeline for the liquor vends since early morning. The migrants also roamed about in hired tempos shouting ‘Surra ra ra ra, Holi hai”. In the afternoon, small groups of virtually ‘dyed’ migrants could be seen on the road singing and dancing to the accompanying live music of ‘Dholaks” and other instruments. In fact, the migrants seemed to enjoy the festival more than the locals did by dancing and merry-making until late at night. Apart from getting high on liquor, most of them were literally on the top of the world with intoxication from various ‘bhang’ preparations. The spirit of Holi is likely to prevail among the migrants for a couple of days more who were seen playing Holi even on Sunday. In the Focal Point area, people had difficulty in finding a cycle-rickshaw this morning as none was around.

The joy of migrants was not limited to singing Holi songs in isolated groups. Special nautankis were also organised by putting up stages and all that provided plenty of entertainment to the audience till late in the evening.

Little children were out early morning with gulal and pichkaris, but it was not before noon that the roads and streets were filled with groups of Holi-crazy youngsters. While most of them roamed about on scooters and mobikes, there were others who rode open gypsies with their stereo players on at high volume. Some of them had their vehicles’ silencers removed to produce ear-splitting noise through the city streets while others blew on whistles for a kick.

Even boys from neighbouring villages roamed about in the Focal Point area on tractors with sacks of ‘gulal’ which they sprinkled on passersby in gay abundance.

Liquor vends did brisk business all through the day.

Hola Mohalla

Hola Mohalla was celebrated with traditional devotion at Sri Bhaini Sahib on Sunday. Hazoori raggi jathas of Sant Harbans Singh and Sher Singh recited gurbani kirtan. Satguru Jagjit Singh, the chief of naamdhari darbar, was also present. The religious diwan with musical renderings of ‘bhagti and shingar ras’ continued throughout the day. The festivities of Hola Mohalla will continue till March 12, with recitation of gurbani kirtan, nam simran and bhog of Sri Akhand Path. Mass marriages will also be performed.

MANDI GOBINDGARH: Holi was celebrated in the city on Saturday with great enthusiasm. Youngsters moved in groups on scooters and motorcycles while the migrant labour exchanged colour with the beat of drums.


Woman nabs husband's killer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
A young migrant from Uttar Pradesh working in a Janakpuri factory, who murdered the alleged paramour of his wife last evening, was arrested soon after the crime, due to the alert wife of the deceased.

According to Mr Paramjit Singh, SHO of the division number six police station, Puttan and Bablu Chauhan, both of whom had migrated from Uttar Pradesh to work as factory hands in Janakpuri, were friends.

Both were in their late twenties and had got married around the same time about two years ago. Of late, Bablu Chauhan had started suspecting his wife Veena Singh’s fidelity and also his friend Puttan’s sincerity. Both of them had had a fight over this some time ago, which had been settled following intervention by other factory workers. Bablu went to Puttan’s house yesterday and invited him for a drink to celebrate Holi at his place. When he thought Puttan was tipsy enough to be hit, Bablu Chauhan picked up the grinding stone used for spices and hit his friend on the head.

In the meantime, Puttan’s wife Meera (20) had summoned Lal Bahadur Singh, the elder brother of her husband, and her brother Guddu. The three of them went looking for Puttan at the place where Bablu Chauhan worked.

Chauhan was trying to flee the scene after committing the murder. They raised an alarm and overpowered the alleged murdered with the help of the area residents. The accused was produced in court today. He was remanded in police custody till February 13, according to police sources.


One arrested
The local police arrested Renu Chug, wife of Anil Kumar of Upkar Nagar, Ludhiana, on Saturday under Sections 498 and 323, IPC.

According to an FIR lodged by Ms Sonia Kumari, wife of Rajinder Kumar Arora of Diamond Medical Hall, Old Grain Market, here, on March 8 it was alleged that on March 7 her husband, father in-law, Amarjit, mother-in-law, Tirtha Rani, her husband’s sister, Renu Chug, thrashed her causing injuries on her face and body.

According to Mr Bhulla Singh, SHO, Amloh, Ms Sonia Kumari had undergone medical examination in the Civil Hospital here and the report is awaited. Meanwhile, Renu Chug has been remanded in judicial custody.


Woman, kids consume poison, die
A woman allegedly committed suicide along with her two minor children at the Samrala road, here yesterday.

According to information, Anju Devi, wife of Dalip Kumar, consumed poison and reportedly gave it to her children, Dhiraj (5) and Niraj (3), following an altercation with her husband. They were rushed to the Civil Hospital from where they were referred to Ludhiana. Later, they were admitted to Sidhu Hospital, Doraha, where they were declared dead


Satta operator held
The local police claimed to have arrested a satta operator, here last night.

According to the SHO, Mr Saroop Singh, a raid was conducted by a policy party headed by the Head Constable, Mr Jasmer Singh, at the nearby Bhattian village, where the accused, Pawan Kumar, a resident of Model Town, Khanna, was held for operating satta.


Rally by Bharatiya Communist Party
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 11
A rally was organised by the Bharatiya Communist Party in the grain market of Doraha which was presided over by Mr Om Prakash Bector and Dr Joginder Dyal, CPI leaders.

The rally aimed at condemning the existing government of its alleged prejudiced policies and negative role in development process. The rally was largely attended by people. Prominent among them were Mr Kartar Singh Buani, district president, Dr Arun Mitra, Mr Nirmal Bhattal, Mr Om Parkash Mehta, Mr Bhagwan Singh, Mr Rajiv Anand and Mr Bobby Anand.


Efforts on to woo liquor contractors for auction
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 11
The Punjab Excise and Taxation Department is finding it difficult to woo the liquor contractors of Ludhiana to come forward to participate in the auction for vends under the new excise policy.

The reason for the apathy of the liquor contractors to go in for the vends under the new policy is the huge loss suffered by them in the sale of country made liquor and Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) due to the unhealthy competition among them. They are estimated to have suffered a loss of Rs 20 crore. The department had even issued warrants for the recovery of arrears. One liquor contractor, Mr Roop Lal, was arrested and detained for 40 days. His son has filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against his arrest. This will come up for hearing tomorrow.

The Punjab Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr D.S. Kalha, held a meeting with liquor contractors of Ludhiana here yesterday and pressed upon them to come forward and participate in the auction of vends on March 26. This is for the first time that auction of liquor vends in Ludhiana is taking place last of all, whereas in the past Ludhiana liquor vends used to be auctioned on the first day or maximum the second day of the start of the auction of vends in Punjab. Ludhiana has been giving the highest revenue of excise to the state government.

The liquor contractors complained to the Excise and Taxation Commissioner that the state government, instead of giving them any relief, had raised the sales tax on IMFL from 18 per cent to 22 per cent. Besides RML (country liquor) which was exempted from it has been subjected to 22 per cent sales tax. They also pointed out that the government had kept the minimum sale price of PML and IMFL at the same rate which was fixed last year, when they did not have to pay any sales tax on PML.

The liquor contractors further said that the security deposit which was 12.5 per cent last year had been raised to 15 per cent at a time when they were faced with financial crisis. They also opposed the decision of the government in allowing a person to carry six bottles of whisky and 12 bottles of beer. This would lead to smuggling, they said. The contractors further said that the neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have reduced the price of PML to Rs 60 per bottle against Rs 80 per bottle fixed by the Punjab Government. At present PML was being sold for Rs 100 per bottle in the local market. The Haryana and Himachal Governments have also merged the excise duty and the sales tax, they said.

They pleaded that there should not be any unhealthy competition as was witnessed last year and they should be given relief in the shape of deferred payment of the arrears. They could pay the arrears only after earning in the new year.

The ETC could not make any firm commitment and pleaded with them to participate in the auction of liquor vends. He told the liquor contractors that the government had a target of increasing revenue by Rs 40 crore this year. They expressed their helplessness in achieving this target.

The liquor contractors in Ludhiana suffered losses due to the unhealthy competition among them and due to the interference of political bosses representing two VIP families of Punjab. There was also an alleged illicit sale of liquor in the town.


Sunday breakfast
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, March 11
Sunday breakfast is special as Sunday is a special day as it is a holiday. For a change, the entire family gets a chance to eat together. The family is looking forward to eating some special kind of breakfast than the usual fare of ‘egg and toast’ or everyday’s mooli or aloo de paranthas.

Ms Chopra sends her servant early in the morning to a very popular halwai making poori-kachauri, aaloo to ensure that the servant will be able to get the foodstuff after three hours. A minimum wait of three to four hours is normal if one is a ‘gourmet’ and really wants to enjoy special aaloo poori breakfast. So Ms Chopra and her entire family will sit down to their favourite Sunday breakfast at around 9.30 which has been waiting in anticipation for their most special breakfast, every Sunday.

Their family is not the only one waiting for sumptuous breakfast of pooris and aaloos, kaddo with traditional kind of pickles going by the popularity of this breakfast. All the well-known halwais, be it a posh colony like Sarabha Nagar, Tagore Nagar, Civil Lines, Aarti Cinema Chowk, Model Town, or the interiors of the walled city, one can see large queues of people with tiffen carriers or similar things for carrying the much cherished breakfast. The halwais make preparations the entire night cooking chanas, peeling the boiled aaloos as the customers flock the shops at the crack of dawn.

The Ludhianvis, while eating pooris after pooris, hardly ever realise that the fried pooris can be very harmful to health, because they are deep fried and the oil used for frying has oxidised and has become rancid. The pickle though delicious may carry a lot of infection, for the hands that have prepared it may be the carriers of many infectitious diseases. In spite of these health hazards, the pooris remain the favourite breakfast or brunch on Sundays for the people of this city. Some people have it once a month whereas some families look forward to this heavy breakfast every Sunday. Some of them prefer kachauris which are even heavier than pooris as they have dal stuffed in it and they are saturated with fat.

Day without newspaper

“Oh ! the newspaperman is late again. I must take the ‘newspaper wala’ to task. This week he has been very erratic in supplying the paper. I cannot start my day till I smell newsprint and go through the paper,”muttered Mr O.K. Kaalia angrily to himself. His wife offering him a cup of tea noticed discontent on his face and said, “Waiting for the newspaper? Forgotten! no paper today! Yesterday was Holi.” Mr Kalia said, “Oh! What will I do now? I get very upset when I do not get to read the newspaper.”

If you think that drugs are addictive, think again! Newspapers are addictive too. Almost all the people would have gone looking for the newspaper this morning, little realising that there would be no newspaper today on account of Holi holiday yesterday. Morning tea is associated with hot news of the paper. Some are waiting to know the latest climb and fall in shares whereas the sporty ones are crazy about sports news. Many scan anxiously the obituaries with trepidation, lest they find faces of their loved ones staring at them from among the faces of the deceased. And specially the women would be interested and keenly looking to find the ‘sales’ being offered for innumerable consumer goods.

Somehow for the menfolk reading the paper has become a ‘ritual’ and a day without the newspaper seems incomplete and meaningless.


INTUC flays Badal govt
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
Dr Shiv Shiv Kumar Gupta, general secretary of INTUC (Punjab), special guest of honour at the Holi celebration function organised by INTUC here yesterday, while addressing the workers, strongly condemned the Akali-BJP government in the state for being anti-workers, anti-government employees, and anti-farmers, alleging that no relief had been given to the working class during its tenure.

He said implementation of various labour laws was not ensured in private factories and the labourers were being harassed and victimised by industrialists at the behest of the state government, which , he said, was a puppet in the hands of such capitalists. Labour Inspectors or other Officers seldom visited any factory for checking proper implementation of labour laws. Dr Gupta appealed to the Chief Minister of Punjab to ensure strict implementation of the Factory Act.


Plea to provide job to SPO’s kin
Our Correspondent

Amloh, March 11
The bhog of the special police officer, Darshan Singh (27), a resident of Bhadson, near here, who was crushed by a tanker while he was on duty at Landran Chowk, near Chandigarh, on February 26 was performed on Saturday.

Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamkot, a former minister, Punjab, urged the government to appoint one member of his family in government job on priority basis. Among others who spoke on the occasion were Mr Lachhman Dass Gupta, office secretary, CPI, Punjab, Mr Harwinder Singh Khanera, chairman, Block Samiti, Nabha.


Habib brings style to Ludhianvi hair
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
Earlier people used to get their haircut when there was a need for it, but now they come to a hairstylist to get a nice, good and new look. These were the views of a famous hairstylist, Mr Habib Ahmed, who was here yesterday to open Habibs Saloon at Maharaja Regency.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune earlier, Mr Habib said he always liked Punjabis very much. He said Punjabis had education, taste, culture and money.”Ludhiana people are known to be fashion conscious, so we chose to enter Punjab through the Manchester of Asia”, added Mr Habib.

Mr Habib said success did not come to him so easily. To get name and fame he worked like anything.”At one stage of my life, I became so frustrated that I decide to leave India forever. It was in the seventies that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi encouraged me and advised to have patience”, stated Mr Habib.

Today the Habibs group has chains in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkota, Udaipur, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Bhutan. “We offer hairstyling, hair-perming, highlighting, hair-straightening, variety facial, bridal packages, groom package and hair treatment to our customers”, said Mr Javed, one of Mr Habib Ahmed’s sons.

Mr Habib said he got into the profession by chance when he saw the beautiful hairstyle of a foreigner who was coming out from a beauty parlour in New Delhi. He went to the London School of Maurice Hair Dressers in the late sixties to get thorough training on the subject.


6 Satluj Club office-bearers elected
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
The following were elected office-bearers of the Satluj Club here today: Mr Ajit Singh Chawla — General Secretary; Mr Sandeep Jalota — Joint Secretary; Mr Yogesh Bansal — Treasure; Mr Nomesh Gupta — Bar Secretary; Mr Navneet Malhotra — Sports Secretary; Mr Karan Bal — Executive Member; and Mr Gurinderjit Singh — Executive Member.

Those who were elected unopposed earlier include Mr Manoj Verma, Mr Raju Sharma, Ms Manjula Jain and Ms Sunita Jain as vice president, mess secretary, cultural secretary and executive member, respectively.

Not only the family members and friends of the contestants, but the district Congress leaders, relatives of state ministers and income tax and corporation officers were seen canvassing. Mobile phones, usually not allowed inside the club, were being freely carried and used by the members inside the club.

With nearly 1900 members on the poll rolls, polling was nearly 60 per cent. While four candidates were elected unopposed last Sunday, elections for the posts of general secretary, joint secretary, bar secretary, treasurer and two other executive seats were held today.

The members of the club informed that the competition between the two contestants for the post of general secretary was tough.

While the entire city seemed to have gone to sleep after celebrating Holi, hectic activity was on at the club today.


Workshops on Budget hail positive measures
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 11
“Union Budget 2001 is an appropriation of various policies like public distribution system, disinvestment, exit policy, direct foreign investment, infrastructure sector, banking and financial sector reforms,” said Mr Bibek Debrol, Director, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, New Delhi, while addressing members of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA), industrialists and business executives at a workshop on “Implications of Union Budget 2001”, organised jointly by the LMA and the ICICI Bank here today.

Mr Debrol was of the opinion that the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, had done a good job in packaging and marketing of these policies. He rated the so called second reforms Budget at an impressive 7.5 on a 10 point scale. He further noted that in the past two years, the employment in public sector had gone down from 3.7 million to 3.4 million, which was an indication of the will of the Finance Minister to reduce the overemployment in the public sector. At the same time, he termed the reduction as more of a statistical jugglery.

Mr K.K. Kapila, Commissioner, Income Tax, observed that in the post-Independence era the government policies had been to direct the economic growth with foreign exchange regulation. Dr Manmohan Singh’s Budget in 1991 had pushed these economic reforms and subsequently the next 10 Budgets had been aiming at economic restructuring.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Mr S.K. Rai, president of the LMA, said it had been the tradition of the association to organise a debate and invite the experts on the subject for analysing and discussing the intricacies of the Budget and its impact on the industry.

The another seminar on the Budget was organised by the Ludhiana Chartered Accountants Society (LCAS) and the District Taxation Bar Association (DTBA). Mr Sushil Singla, secretary of the society, said the Budget would prove to be instrumental in the long- term development of the economy.

The seminar was presided over by Mr Ashwani Kumar, president, LCAS, and Mr Lalit Takyar, president, DTBA. Nearly 200 CAs from Ludhiana, Khanna, Mandi Gobindgarh and other nearby places attended the seminar.

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