Monday, March 26, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Liquor contractors keep fingers crossed
Auction of vends today
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
The Punjab government is unlikely to meet the total target of Rs 1370 crore it had set for the auctioning of liquor vends in the state over the Rs 1310 crore of the previous year. Figures of other districts where the auction has already been completed indicate that the revenue collections may be far less than the target although some increase has been registered, which is mandatory.

According to the Financial Commissioner, Mr Y.S. Ratra, the total auction amount this year so far is already more than Rs 12.30 crore over the previous year. With only the auction for vends in Ludhiana (I, II and III) district remaining, there is hardly any likelihood of the government meeting its target, particularly in view of the fact that liquor contractors here seem to be too reluctant, given the poor revenue collections last year. This is despite the fact that Ludhiana is believed to be the major source of revenue with maximum number of vends. Also the per capita consumption of liquor in Ludhiana is maximum in the country.

With the auction for about 300 liquor vends of Ludhiana district scheduled for tomorrow, the liquor contractors are keeping their fingers crossed as the government is understood to favour some outside contractors who could not be accommodated elsewhere. Ludhiana is the last district in the state for which auction is scheduled for tomorrow. The Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Adesh Pratap Singh, has reached the town and is scheduled to meet the liquor contractors.

The auction in Ludhiana assumes importance on several counts. Besides fetching considerable revenue a close relative of a senior minister in the government, believed to be close to the Chief Minister, had major stakes in the allotment of vends last year. However, he is not enjoying good relationship with the minister who happens to be the son-in-law of the Chief Minister.

The local liquor contractors have kept their fingers crossed in view of the poor revenue generated last year. While during the previous two years, Ludhiana had registered a substantial increase in terms of revenue from auctions this year there are doubts given the inability of the contractors to make payment of their licence fee. Most of the contractors are believed to owe crores of rupees to the department which otherwise should have been deposited by the end of December. One contractor is already in jail for his failure to make the payment.

The contractors have also been blaming the relative of the minister for starting unauthorised liquor vends in different localities of the city to “fail” the authorised vends. Even the police reportedly helped him and it ultimately led to a price war and hence decline in the revenue collections. Under these circumstance not much is expected from the auction in Ludhiana. The auction is scheduled to start tomorrow in Lions Bhavan here amidst tight security arrangements.


DCC stages demonstration
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Hundreds of Congress activists today took out a procession in support of the high command demand for the resignation of the Vajpayee government at the Centre in view of the tehelka revelations.

Led by the District Congress Committee president, Mr Surinder Dabur, the protesters started from Gill Road and after passing through different localities and staged a demonstration Campa Cola Chowk. They were raising slogans against the Prime Minister and seeking his resignation. They also burnt the effigy of the Prime Minister.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Dabur said, the NDA government had no moral right to stay in power after several of its leaders were shown on television accepting the bribe. He disclosed that the Congress had launched a nationwide campaign against the government and the party would not rest until the government did not resign.

The general secretary of the Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, said the NDA government at the Centre and the Akali-BJP government had forfeited all rights to govern. He pointed out the two parties had claimed that they would be providing a clean and corruption free government but had failed in their promise. Instead, Mr Gill said they were shamefully resorting to corruption without any hesitation.

The secretary PCC, Mr K K Bawa alleged that so far the people were under the impression that it was the communal government. But, he added, it had proved to be both communal and the corrupt. He warned the state government of dire consequences if it continued with communalism.

The chairman of the Indian Youth Congress Urban Development Cell, Mr Pawan Dewan, stressed upon the Akali Dal to withdraw support to the NDA government. If Mr Parkash Singh Badal really meant to serve the interests of the people the Akalis should withdraw support to the government.

Mr Akshay Bhanot, president of the IYC Urban Development Cell, Ludhiana unit, also spoke on the occasion.

The District Congress Committee Urban also staged a demonstration against the government. The youth Congress activists were led by their district president, Mr Parminder Mehta.


Punjab millers threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, March 25
The Punjab Rice Millers Association has threatened stir in case the government fails to accept their long-pending and ‘genuine’ demands. They have issued a 10-day ultimatum to the Punjab Government.

The decision was taken by the association at a meeting held under the presidentship of Mr Tarsem Saini here yesterday. Mr Saini, said, “The payment of levy has not been made for the past two months by the government and this has resulted in a clash between millers, zamindars and arhtiyas. Another problem being faced is the storage of rice. The inter-state movement is just one lakh tonnes per month as contrary to the three lakh tonnes promised by the government. Our demand is of six lakh tonnes per month but we know the rice of Punjab is not being moved at a proper speed due to the pressure of the Andhra Government, which prefer to distribute their own rice to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra itself.

“Another problem is of the percentage of damage that has been 2 per cent as contrary to 3.5 per cent demanded by the association. Also the cost of gunny bags is not more than Rs 18 per bag but the government has fixed the rate at Rs 28 per bag,” Mr Saini said. He said the major problem was of slow milling.

The meeting was attended by executive members and district presidents from all over the state. Among others who were present on the occasion were Mr Roshan Lal Amlohi, press secretary, Mr Vinod Ghai, senior vice-president, Mr Desh Bandhu (Jalandhar) and Mr Rakesh Jain (Phagwara).


PAU project to popularise dairy farming
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Punjab Agricultural University will soon develop some villages as information villages. These villages will act as models for farmers of the other villages. In a project started under European-India Cross Cultural Innovation Network, the PAU will train certain farmers of selected villages in dairy farming and organic farming. Experts from Denmark and Italy will be coming from time to time to train them.

“The idea behind the project is to encourage rural youth, specially the young farmers, to adopt dairy farming. But that is only possible if we modernise dairy farming and make it an attractive option,” said Dr Ranjit Singh, coordinator of the project.

According to the coordinator, experts would be motivating the farmers to take up dairy farming as these countries have done wonders in the field of dairy industry.

“Denmark exports 80 per cent of its milk to other countries of the world after processing. This is a real surplus after meeting the needs of their population. If our farmers also adopt dairy farming the health of our soil would improve which has deteriorated after the farming community was concentrating on rice-wheat rotation. If dairy farming is encouraged, emphasis will be laid on cultivating fodder crops which will be a boon for the economy of the state, natural resources as for well as for the soil,” said Dr Ranjit Singh.

“Moreover majority of the farmers in the state being small farmers and dairy farming is one of the most viable alternative to shift some of the area for growing fodder crops. Dairy being a labour intensive enterprise it is going to create more employment opportunities,” he added.

According to Dr Ranjit Singh the training of selected farmers for the project will be held next month and Indo-European meeting to finalise the whole programme is going to held at Bologna, Italy, on May 20. Dr Ranjit Singh will be representing the PAU at this meeting.


Net users dissatisfied with ISP services
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, March 25
It was after several trials that Anirudh, a music lover, was able to connect on the Internet for a chat session with his all-time favourite Jennifer Lopez on a music website. He was yet to get the reply to his first question that he got disconnected. Little later when he tried to log on again, his ISP failed again.

Sumedha, a college going student, wanted to send birthday greetings to her friend in Mumbai. However, owing to poor connectivity, she could not access the net that whole day. It was late night that she could get logged on and send a greeting to her friend who could see it the next day.

Slow speed, poor connectivity and frequent connection break-offs are the problems common to all ISPs of the city. Despite tall claims made by most of them, the services rendered are much dissatisfactory. Though, the city is producing hundreds of computer engineers every year, several IT companies and IT enabled services have been started yet the services offered by the ISPs have not improved ever since their launch.

The story of Ajay Ahuja is no different. Ever since he came back from the US, he is very disgusted with the much hyped Internet services. Voice chatting with his friends and relatives has become a big trouble for him. The sound is slow and unclear and connection breaks too frequently. He has tried connections of all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) of the city, but was dissatisfied.

Under such circumstances, the only option available with the cyber cafe owners and the website designers here is to get connections from different ISPs and keep switching over to the fastest available connection at that time. Rajvinder, a cyber cafe owner, said that he had started running his centre last year with connections from just one ISP. Owing to problems of slow speed and frequent disconnection, his clientele was much reduced. Later, he decided to buy connections from at least three ISPs so that if he was unable to get logged on to one, he had two other options with him.

Several net users while talking to Ludhiana Tribune expressed dissatisfaction with the services rendered by all the six ISPs operating in the city. Glide, they said, was operating on 33.6 kbps despite the company’s claim to provide a connectivity of 56.6 kbps. The connection they said was very slow due to which the computer remained inactive for several minutes.

The services of Satyam Infoway too are not very satisfactory, they said that at one time the speed would be barely acceptable, while at other times getting connected was a nightmare.

With majority of net users opting for other ISPs, the number of subscribers of the BSNL has gone down significantly, thus, making it relatively fast. Using Connect as the ISP had a limitation of having Connect telephone line with it, said the net users. Dishnet, which formally launched its dial up services today in the city, rendered good services today and all depends on its performance in the times to come. The users of Infinet said that it was difficult getting logged on, however, once connected the speed was good.

Now several new ISPs like Emmtel have started Internet services in the city, however, the services of none is acceptable to the net users. Annoyed over the poor services of all ISPs, few of them said that they were planning to sue the ISPs in consumer court.


Sahir Ludhianvi remembered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
There were all elements of wit, humour, pun and satire at the Jashn-e-Saher All India Mushaira organised by the Nehru Sidhant Kendra Trust and the Adeeb International to celebrate the 80th birth anniversary of great urdu poet Sahir Ludhianvi here last night. Besides the reputed poets of the sub continent like Bashir Badr, Iftekhar Imam Siddiqi, Mauj Rampuri there were many new generation poets like Sohail Lucknavi, Nasrin Naqash, Malikzada Javed and Mehak Bharti.

The tremors of, which rocked the corridors of power in Delhi, and the devastating earthquake that rocked Bhuj in Gujarat on January 26, were also felt at the mushaira. Nor did the politicians escape the wrath of the bard for creating tensions and unrest in society by intrigue for their selfish interests.

While all the poets impressed the audience with their remarkable renditions, it was the young Sohail Lucknavi who created stir with his brilliant couplets. So much so, he was frequently pleaded with muqarir, muqarir to repeat his couplets. Sohail caused the storm with achha nahin sholoon ko barhka ke mazza lena, is khel mein tum apna daman na jala lena, allah ne bakhsha hai janat sa wattan tum ko, janat ko kahin logo dozakh na bana dena, He himself said before starting his rendition that these were meant for Raj Babbar who has joined politics. However, Raj Babbar had already left before Suhail could start.

Noted poet Iftekhar Imam Siddiqi prepared the audience for the tehelka he was going to create. And what he wanted in return was cheers and applause. The reference was obvious as he said yeh to kabhi socha he nahin tha, hum to bahut hairan huye, kaise kaise chor, sayasatdan huye. In another couplet, obviously directed at the ruling party, he said, tum kehte thay ab jo mausam aya hai woh achha hoga, mein kehta hoon yeh mausam pal do pal ka aya hoga. He painted a grim picture while referring to the current situation in the country. Aaj ki jo tasveer bani hai woh achhi tasveer nahin hai. socho logo sochne walo, ab kya hoga, kal kya hoga. Kal tak mein sone ki chirhya tha, kohinoor bhi tha, bhookh, Gharibhi aur jahalt aaj meri pahchan huye.

In his poetic tribute to Sahir, he said, shairi mein hai sahiri uski, fun mein apne woh be misal hai. He also condoled the death of noted Urdu poet and critic Kalidas Gupta Riza, who died only two days ago.

Equally impressive was Mauj Rampuri with his brilliant wit and argument. In fact his witty argument with Bashir Badr sent the audience into burst of laughter. While poking fun at Rampuri, Badr remarked, his poetry must not be understood by anyone, lest everyone would perish. And Rampuri retorted with all his wit, “that means you have not understood my poetry so far, otherwise you would not have been alive today”. His couplets were no less impressive as he rendered them in taranum (musical tone), humare samne rahiyo, to hanste rahiyo, mein ik tasveer utaroo ga, zara youn hi khare rahiyo.

And indomitable Bashir Badr will always remain so with his naughty wit and that too with little bit of mischief. His couplets kabhi hum mile bhi to kya mile, wohi duriyan, wohi fasle, na kabhi tumhare kadam barhe, na kabhi tumhari jijak gayee. Tere hath se mere honth tak wahi intizar ke pyas hai, mere nam ki jo sharab thi, kahin raste mein chhalak gayee.

His other couplets like aaina bhi ab meri tarah pagal hai, aaina dekhne jaoon, to nazar tu aaye turned people mad like him. Badr did not spare Mr Raj Babbar and his wife Nadira Babbar for leaving after receiving the Adeeb International award. However, he did it with poetic wit. Nor did he spare the audience as a number of people swarmed around Babbars while the mushaira was going on.

Mehak Bharti also made a mention of the devastating earthquake in Gujarat with ab ke bharish aur andhi mein pathar ke ghar toot ghaye, mere ghar ki deewaroon ka kya anjam hoga likho. Nasreen Naqash tried to give vent to the general feelings of common Kashmiris everyday who have a close brush with the death.

Fana ke teer hawa ke paroon mein rakhe hain, ki hum gharoon ki jagah maqbaroon mein rehte hein and aye zindagi na guzarna humari galiyoon se, abhi humare jinaze gharoon mein rakhe hein, probably reflect best the pain and pathos of people living in the troubled part of the country.

Other poets like Hena Taimoori, Malikzada Javed, Shamas Tabrezi, Gulzar Masarat, Noor Jahan Sarwar, Uzma Akhtar and Azad Gulati were equally remarkable.


Use of solar energy highlighted
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, March 25
A one-day training camp for operation and maintenance of solar photovoltic pumps was organised by the Punjab Energy Development Agency, Chandigarh at the farmhouse of Mr Raj Naresh Singh in Khokhran village yesterday. Mr A.K. Sinha, ADC(O), Ludhiana, inaugurated the camp.

In his address, Mr Sinha said that a total of 500 solar photovoltic pumps had been installed in the state which were working satisfactorily. In the next financial year, 1,000 such pumps would be installed throughout the state as demanded by farmers, he added.

Mr Randhir Singh, project officer of PEDA for Ludhiana district, informed that installation of a single pump costed Rs 4.56 lakh. But a heavy subsidy of Rs 4.21 lakh is being given by the state government for a pump.

In this way, a farmer has to pay Rs 35,000 only. He said that as many as 225 pumps of this type had been installed in Ludhiana district.

He also highlighted other products of PEDA, such as solar homelight, solar lantern, bio-gas plant and solar cooker, which have the subsidies of Rs 4,725, Rs 1,400 and Rs 1,800, respectively.


Mangat’s book released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 25
The Art Cave and Nav Lekhak-Rahra Manch today organised a function at Punjabi Bhavan to release Trishanku, a collection of short stories, written by Major Mangat. The writer is an NRI writer from Canada. The function was well attended by luminaries of Punjabi literature.

Dr Gulzar Pandher and Dr Gulzar Mohmad Gauriya, both noted critics, expressing their views on his book said, “The stories in his collection highlight the problems of Indians living abroad. In spite of better living standard the Indians yearn for closer ties with their motherland. Their thirst for binding themselves with the Indian culture is very strong. The distance can’t dim the stirring of longings for the soil of Punjab and this is very evident from the stories penned by Mangat.”

Surjit Patar, an eminent Punjabi poet, said “Major Mangat has beautifully depicted his living characters in the stories. His prose has a poetical touch and he has brought out the loneliness of Indians settled abroad.”

Well-known literary figures of Punjab who attended the book release function were Dr Jagdev Singh, Dr S.N. Sewak, Ninder Gill, Dr Baldip Singh, Tendu Ram Kaura, Dr Joginder Nirala, Kulwant Jagraon, Swaranjit Singh Savi, Jagtar Singh, Sukhjit Singh and Budh Singh Neelon.

Mangat thanked the people for their appreciation for his short stories. He informed the audience that his next two volumes of poem were almost ready for publication. He assured the writers that wherever he may live, his heart would remain in India and he would always do whatever he could do to enhance the prestige of the country through his literary pieces.


50 blankets distributed

MACHHIWARA: Mr Nirmal Singh Nagara, president, Arhthiya Association, Machhiwara , distributed 50 blankets among women, who underwent tubectomy operations under the family planning scheme at Primary Health Unit, Machhiwara. OC


Kiosks removed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
About 15 illegal kiosks of lottery agents were removed from near the Cheema Chowk by a team of Division No 6 police here today afternoon. The move created some tension in the area as the police had to use force to remove the resisting kiosk owners.

The police said that the kiosks were erected right on the road causing problems in traffic flow.


Behind the silver screen
M. S. Cheema

Cinemas houses of today trace their origin and development to over seven decades. The business itself has undergone a series of ups and downs. Once a picture hall came up, no one would fail to notice it. Even roads were popularly christened after them. ‘Raikhy’ and ‘Naulakha’ led to the Cinema Road in the thirties, while Deepak gave rise to Deepak Cinema Road in the early fifties.

These buildings often occupied central sites. A few busy crossings are known by the theatres in the vicinity, like Kailash Chowk and Aarti Chowk. What happened at Ludhiana, as regards films and cinemas, had its beginings in distant Calcutta, Bombay, Madras (currently re-named Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai respectively) and of course Lahore, still retaining its centuries -old name. Ludhiana’s progress is worthy of notice. The land of Ram Lila and Ras Lila, opened up unfold several dimensions of public entertainment.

Parsi Theatre is a great link between performing arts of middle ages and that of the contemporary era. The ‘mandap’ (central stage) was pronounced ‘mandua’. For example, the contemporary ‘New Chitra’ near Hall Bazar (Amritsar) was originally known as ‘Mahna Singh da mandua’. With the invention of camera appeared stills and silent films. The magic lantern filled the intervening gap. Next on the line was the biscope. With ‘Alam Ara’ films announced their entry in the entertainment world. Silent pictures became talkies’ and therefore cinema houses too, were referred to as ‘talkies’. 1931 is a landmark. Ludhiana, a medium-sized town in the thirties, provided its citizens with ‘Raikhy’, ‘Naulakha’ and ‘Minerva’. It is interesting to recall that the first acquired its name from a sub-caste, the second from the image of a mythical necklace and the third from a Parsi deity. Sohrab Modi and his tribe popularised ‘Minerva Talkies’ throughout India.

In the fifties, population grew and such sites were sought as were close to the railway station and the bus-stand. ‘Society’ appeared, followed by ‘Lakshmi’, a year later. At the house of Aarti Steels Shiv Parshad - Sohan Lal (Lohewale) gave ‘Aarti’ the name to their cinema house. On the G.T. Road appeared ‘Manju’ at the South-East end and ‘Chand ‘ at the North-West one. Similarly, ‘Shingar’ made its mark near the busy Samrala chowk. ‘Manju’, ‘Aarti’, ‘Swaran’ are suggestive of some original owners’ family member’s name.

In the first -phase theatre owners were aristocratic people. Owning a cinema house was a matter of status. City-based and traditional business communities entered this business as an avenue for good investment. Namdharis Sadhu Singh Harvinder Singh, Gurmukh Singh, Gulzar Singh saved from agricultual land to raise ‘Sangeet’, as a symbol of their love for music. Raghbir Cycles built ‘Arora Palace’ at Gill Road, which is being run by Gurcharan Singh. Currently, ‘Orient’ is coming up fast near the Sunet mound in R.S. Nagar’. ‘Lucky’ has proven lucky as far as its site is concerned. With the green revolution peasantry we see grain- godowns and plinth-sites, as well as a few cinemas appearing on the city landscape ‘Preet Palace’ and ‘Malhar’. Once Palace (Regal or Plaza) was enough, but when one existed already, some one else had to add something else part to differentiate. As for the nomenclature of ‘Malhar’ on the surface it is a ‘musical’ name of a classical raga. Mal Singh Khattra who owned Khattra Group of Transporters, Trucks? and his wife Harbans Kaur, had two sons Darshan Singh, Bhupinder Singh. The brothers took the ‘Mal’ part from the father’s name and ‘Har’ from the mother’s, and thus compounded a new name ‘Malhar’. The riddle stands solved!

Calcutta-connected and Jalandhar-based Kailash Pictures was the brain child of Kailash Gupta. With Mr Thapar of Ludhiana in distribution business they founded the ‘Kailash Cinema’. Alas, due to some constraints, it seems to be closing . The Pandhers did their best to see it ran well. The genius of Tirath Ram Chopra, (Brandreth Rd. Lahore fame), who ran Minerva, leaves a rich history behind. Chacha T.R. Chopra survived all odds. 


Booked for murder
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, March 25
A case of murder was registered by the Sahnewal police, yesterday.

Mukhtiar Singh, on whose statement the FIR has been registered said, “I and one of my brothers came to Kalewalan village on March 23, in order to inquire about the health of the eldest son of my sister Manjit Kaur. During dinner time Balkar Singh, brother-in-law of Manjit Kaur, asked her that he wished to go abroad and hence wanted the share of the property to which Manjit Kaur said that they could decide the next day when all of his brothers would be present. Instead of giving his consent, Balkar Singh on the contrary, started quarelling and used abusive language for his sister-in-law.”

“In the morning at about 6.30 a.m., I and my brother went to attend the call of nature when from a distance we heard shouts and screams from the house. We immediately reached the spot and found Balkar Singh hitting Manjit Kaur with an iron rod. Having seen him and his brother there, Balkar Singh ran immediately. My sister died on the spot,” said Mukhtiar Singh.


Land grab alleged
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 25
Balraj Singh, a resident of Joshi Nagar, has allegedly garbed 41 kanals and six marlas of land which belonged to his brother, Late Jagjeet Singh. The accused and his two brothers were the owner of 15 acres of land in Chuarpur, village of Ludhiana.

In 1983, Jagjeet Singh went to Canada and lived there. After six years he came back at the death of his mother. The accused reportedly made use of the situation and allegedly drafted a fake general power of attorney of his brother’s land on the basis of the witness of his relative, Ravinder Singh, on November 9, 1989. After that, on the basis of that power of attorney, he got the said portion of land registered in the name of his son Ravaljeet Singh on November 26, 1998.

After the death of Jagjeet Singh in September last, his wife Ms Kewal Kirpal Kaur came to India to perform bhog ceremony. When she asked Balraj Singh about her husband’s share of land, she was told that her husband had sold the land to him. She examined the documents and found that the signatures on the power of attorney were fake. She filed a complaint with the Senior Superintendent of Police. The accused was arrested. A case has been registered under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 506 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.

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