Saturday, May 19, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Elevated road project approved amidst high drama
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 18
The general house meeting of the Municipal Corporation (MC) today approved the controversial elevated road project amidst high political drama, with the isolated and marginalised Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillors sitting on dharna on the floor of the House and shouting slogans against ‘adamant attitude’ and ‘high-handedness’ of the city Mayor Apinder Singh Grewal and the MC administration.

In fact it was a cleverly thought-out and meticulously-executed plan that pre-empted the BJP move to oppose the entire supplementary agenda of nine items, including the one on elevated road, proposed to be constructed over Old G.T. Road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema in the city. The item for approval of the tenders received for the project was brought before the House through a supplementary agenda, issued at the last moment, which took the BJP, a partner in the ruling alliance, by surprise.

Sensing the mood of the House on the basis of signed support for the project by 51 councillors, the BJP group leader, Mr Pran Bhatia, raised objection to the manner in which the vital project, involving an expenditure of a whopping Rs 38.62 crore, was brought before the House through backdoor. He also protested that the BJP was left out of the traditional core committee meeting before the general House meeting.

Mr Bhatia tried to garner the support of the councillors, representing outer wards (undeveloped or under developed areas) with the plea that rather than spending a huge amount on elevated road, the money should be provided to the outer wards for providing basic amenities like water supply and sewerage. However, Akali Dal councillors Giani Baldev Singh, Mr Manjit Singh Mundi and Mr Kirpal Singh saw through the BJP game and stood their ground in support of the elevated road, saying it was necessary for the increasing vehicular population in the mega city.

The councillors, from all political parties, continued to make speeches, more or less, complaining over the slow pace of development works, discrimination in allocation of funds and the apathetic MC administration, without actually touching the items on the agenda. After more than three-and-a-half hours of deliberations, when the Mayor announced that agenda items would be taken up, the BJP councillors, led by Mr Bhatia, started shouting slogans and most of them squatted on the floor, demanding that the supplementary agenda, containing the item on elevated road be deferred and taken up in the next meeting.

Sinking their political differences, for the time being that is, councillors from all other parties, raised their hands in unison as the Mayor took up the items one by one. At one time, the city Mayor, Mr Pran Bhatia and Mr Sunil Mehra (both BJP), Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia and Mr Sat Pal Puri (both Congress) were speaking together, using the microphones and pandemonium prevailed in the meeting.

Earlier, the proceedings of the House were disrupted for some time when Ms Barjinder Kaur, a Congress councillor from ward No 13 led an angry procession of residents from Tajpur Road and adjoining colonies, to protest against water scarcity and the failure of the MC to take remedial measures. She told Ludhiana Tribune that work for commissioning a tubewell had been stalled, allegedly due political interference. She also charged the MC administration with discrimination on the basis of political affiliation of councillors, in allocation of funds for development works. While several councillors, supported the protesters, the Mayor briefly met the protesting residents and assured them that work on the tubewell would resume shortly. 


Students of COAE to continue strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
The agitating students of the College of Agricultural Engineering(COAE), Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), have decided to continue their week-long strike as their meeting with the Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, remained inconclusive yesterday. The students said they would discontinue the strike after meeting the Minister of Agriculture only.

According to Kulbir Singh, spokesperson for the striking students said that the meeting that ended at Chandigarh last evening failed to redress their grievances.

According to him, the minister accepted certain minor demands of the students but did not approve the main demand of immediate filling the posts of district agricultural engineer in the state. They were accompanied by the placement officer of the COAE, Dr Sehjpal Singh, when they went to see the minister.

Kulbir Singh also said that they would continue the strike till they discussed the matter with the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Gurdev Badal. He said that the students were asking the Vice-Chancellor to fix up a meeting with him.

Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor of the PAU, said that he was trying to arrange the meeting of the students with the Minister of Agriculture. He said that the Education Minister assured the students that they would be selected as vocational teachers in the schools.

The Vice-Chancellor said that the students were adamant that they would call off the strike only when they were made to meet the Agriculture Minister. He said the minister was not keeping well and had gone to Delhi for treatment. He said he had even assured the students that whenever he was back a meeting would definitely be arranged.

The students of the COAE have been boycotting their classes since May 9. The PAU authorities had even arranged their meeting with the Education Minister on May 15 which failed to satisfy them. The students of the College of Agriculture had, however, called off the strike after getting assurances from the minister the same day. The students who had gone to meet the minister for the second day today had not returned till this report was filed.


Who says law and order is a problem?
Jupinderjit Singh & Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
If the observations made and the views expressed at a meeting of the leaders of various political parties with the Principal Secretary Home, Mr Bikramjit Singh, and the Director General of Police, Mr Sarbjeet Singh, yesterday are any indication, all was well with Ludhiana.

Even the District Youth Congress Committee (Urban) president, Mr Parminder Mehta, who staged a demonstration against the deteriorating law and order situation in Ludhiana only two days ago, chose his words carefully at the meeting, so as not to annoy any local police officer. Mr Mehta demanded a “free hand for the police” to improve its efficiency. According to him, it was only political interference in the day-to-day functioning of the police, which was responsible for any lapses.

Except Mr Harish Khanna, Punjab president of the Janta Dal (Secular), leaders of all political hues, including Congress leaders, and workers showered praise on local officers for being “humane and cooperative”.

The leader of the Congress party in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia, praised the Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police, who, he “said, were only a phone call away”. He sought more facilities for the police, including more manpower and other infrastructure.

The district BJP president, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi quite expectedly, asked the police to “look more people friendly”. He, like Mr Ahluwalia, emphasised the need for improving infrastructure and manpower.

It was only Mr Harish Khanna who said that rate of crime had increased, besides pointing out the deaths that happened in custody. He observed that there was fear among people and they feared the police most . He alleged that police stations were for sale and deals were struck before assigning a particular officer to a particular police station. He also questioned the logic behind keeping some officers permanently posted in Ludhiana.

What was expected to be a stormy session, proved to be a “police appreciation” meet, with most of the speakers with only one exception, vying with each other to praise the local police officers.

Probably sensing the motive behind the laudatory comments in the meeting, the Home Secretary made several interruptions asking speakers not to specify any particular officer in their praise or even the criticism, although none of the letter was forthcoming.

Even Mr Hira Singh Ghabria, a rebel Akali MLA, did not want to be quoted for any criticism against the police or the administration. When asked specifically by this reporter about his observation of the situation, he replied, “Such small crimes do take place in a big city like Ludhiana”.

While the leaders belonging to the ruling SAD- BJP alliance spoke on expected lines, by not raising any issue relating to law and order, and appreciating the officers, Congress leaders did not want to be left behind in their praise for the local police officers. It was a heartening experience for the Home Secretary and the DGP, who had been consistently maintaining that nothing was wrong with the law and order situation in Ludhiana. In the words of Dr Gurbhajan Gill, a professor in the Punjab Agricultural University, who also attended the meeting, “If these leaders were to be believed, nothing is wrong in Ludhiana”.

Later talking to reporters, Home Secretary Bikramjit Singh said that more meetings would be held in the future, especially with the families of crime victims and after taking feedback from them, the state government would enforce the required improvements.

The Home Secretary, too, did not find anything wrong with the city and said crime incidents took place in every society. He said as per discussions, he had come to the conclusion that the police needed modern infrastructure and more force to effectively deal with crime.

DGP Sarbjit Singh said that the state had made efforts for verification of the migrant labourers, but co-operation from the governments of UP and Bihar had not been forthcoming. He said restructuring of the police would be done after taking more feedback from the public.Back


Agile cops catch fleeing murderers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Five policemen of Sadar police station arrested two suspected robbers who had just shot dead a person in Ghumar Mandi at about 10.45 last night

Parminder Singh Tinku was shot dead by two persons when he resisted their move to run away with his car. SHO Ramandeep Singh along with four other policeman was passing by when they heard the shots.

His gunmen immediately ran after the suspected robbers and after a short pursuit and later struggle of about 15 minutes with the robbers managed to overpower them.

The police team later handed over the two persons to the Division No 5 police in which area the incident took place.

According to the SHO, the police personnel who played commendable role were Tarsem Singh, Dhir Singh, Balwinder Singh and Sukhwinder singh.


Check post-harvest losses: VC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Dr Dirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, while speaking at the 23rd annual workshop of the All-India Coordinated Research Project on the Post-Harvest Technology organised at the Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) here said, “The agricultural research needs to develop technologies to reduce the post-harvest losses incurred by the farmers. We are loosing 17 per cent of our produce as post-harvest losses, while countries like Japan are lossing only 1 per cent.”

The Vice-Chancellor also said, under the WTO, when the world was becoming an open market there was a need to process the produce to meet the demands of new consumers who had an access to the products world over. He said that countries like Indonesia and Brazil were processing 70 per cent of their produce and it had a great demand in the international market.

Dr Anwar Alam, Deputy Director, General Engineering, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, while speaking at the inaugural function, said that to face the challenges of the WTO, rural food security was the first requisite. He also said that to reduce the losses after the harvest, infrastructural betterment was required not only in the research institutes but at the farms also.

Dr Alam further said that post harvest technology was a thrust area in the seventh annual Five Year Plan. He said that it still needed attention as nothing much had improved even after announcing it a thrust area.

Dr M.S. Bajwa, Director Research, PAU, said that the need for adopting various post-harvesting technologies was rising in the present era of agriculture. He said that the containers containing Indian wheat exported to Iran were returned as the wheat was of poor quality.

He further said that this was a lesson for the agriculturists that this area needed attention. He said in the open market much emphasis was laid by the traders on processing and packaging of the produce.

As many as 100 scientists are participating in the workshop from all over the country. According to Dr B.S. Bisht, coordinator of the project, all scientists would be presenting their research work during the four-day workshop. He said that the project under which the workshop was being conducted was being run in 18 centres of the country.

He also said that the mandate of the project was to develop technologies for poor harvest loss reduction, value addition and development of need-based agro-processing centres.

Those prominent among present on the occasion were Dr S.M. Ilyas, Director, CIPHET, and Prof V.K. Sehgal, Head, Processing and Agricultural Structures, PAU.Back


Manipulated meetings?
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
The behind-the-scene activities at the meet-the-public event held by the Home-Secretary, Punjab and DGP, Punjab, are equally interesting.

According to sources, the pleasant picture of the city presented by ‘public-representatives’ was the result of a two-day exercise undertaken by the city police. Not only were selective people called at the meeting, but no one from the general public was informed about the VIP’s visit. Even the Press was informed about the visit in the  morning. It did not receive any press note in advance, so the public could not be informed about the visit.

Inquiries from persons participating in the meeting revealed that all who praised the police were either informed in writing by the District Administration, or over the phone by various police officers. A number of them, wishing not to be quoted, admitted that the SHOs and the DSPs of their area requested them to be present at the meeting. A number of them who had, in press statements, criticised the police but praised it in the meeting said they had no option as the District Police officers were sitting in front of them and if they had criticised it, the police would have refused to do their ‘work’ tomorrow.

Mr Harish Khanna Janta Dal Leader and President of a body of Industrialists, whose was a lone voice calling a spade and spade, also alleged that the entire meeting was a farce perpetuated by the police, ‘‘ It informed only those persons who frequently needed the help of the police as they have to get work of the public done’’. He claimed that the public was deliberately not informed and only selective people were arranged by the SHOs and the DSPs to discuss the law and order problem of the city.

Mr D.S. Mann, a teacher, who had gone to meet the DGP in order to complain to him about police inaction in a complaint filed by him said he was also not informed earlier. He came to know about the visit only through some leader who inquired whether he had been invited.

The SHOs and the DSPs it seems, worked overtime for two days to present people of their choice at the meeting. No wonder that the invitees either praised the police or held lack of infrastructure responsible for the incidents. A number of mediapersons present in the meeting were shocked to witness the volte-face by the public representatives. However, some questions remained unanswered. For example, how lack of infrastructure was responsible for custodial deaths and for a number of shoot-out incidents in the city where several persons died?Back


Arora hints at radical reforms in administration
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Punjab Chief Secretary N.K. Arora today hinted at radical reforms in the state administration, particularly in the power, health and education sectors.

Briefing reporters after addressing a meeting of officers of the local administration and the police, he said there was a need for changing the conservative mindset and adopting a creative and innovative approach.

The Chief Secretary said the government was all set to introduce modern module of governance in the administration to enhance the efficiency at a reasonable expenditure as the conventional system of governance had outlived its utility, besides being most expensive without the desired results.

He said there were grim challenges ahead which needed to be tackled.

He pointed out major portion (to the tune of 65 per cent) of the budget of the government was being spent on the salaries of the government staff only, leaving only the marginal amount for carrying out the development projects.

Expressing concern over the poor achievements in providing basic services to the people at unbearable costs by some departments, including health and education, the Chief Secretary pointed out that in the state-run hospitals, despite huge expenditure spent there not many people visited these centres. However, he did not elaborate which type of reforms would be introduced in the medical services.

Similarly, he said the education sector also needed reforms and the faith of the people needed to be restored.

He pointed out that in government schools there were highly qualified and highly paid teachers and yet the people preferred private schools and would pay hefty fees there. He observed that the government would have to formulate a new alternative module in the service departments to provide efficient and quality services at economical rates.

Mr Arora disclosed that the process towards reforms in the power sector had already started. Referring to the need to bring down the line losses in providing power to the people by the PSEB, he said that the government was seriously considering to develop a new system to minimise the transmission losses and informed that to bring about major reforms, the government had also signed an MoU with a reputed company.

He said the Chief Minister was alive to the law and order situation in Ludhiana and had deputed the Principal Secretary, Home, and the DGP to study the situation by seeking suggestions from officials and the public who would submit their reports within a few days.

Among others who attended the meeting were Mr Raminder Singh, Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr Kuldip Singh, SSP, Ludhiana, Mr Jaskaran Singh, SSP, Jagroan, Dr Rajinder Dev Dhoke, SSP, Khanna, Mr A.K. Sinha, ADC(D), Mr S.R. Kaler, ADC (General), and all the SDMs.


The crowning glory of life

IT is the last of life, according to Robert Browning, for which the first was made. Old age is a boon in the sense that one has the satisfaction of having lived life to the full. The bonus years that one spends in this world provide joy to the heart and with each calendar year one ascends the next step of the ladder. The difficulty comes when ascending the ladder with rickety knee-joints becomes a painful experience. At that time one craves for a place where one can rest a while and see the years go past without ruffling one’s hair. This is the period that ensures the crowning glory of life.

Prof Surinder Singh Narula, doyen of Punjabi literature, is passing these days through such a period. He is vibrant intellectually even now but the body does not respond to the cravings of the mind. Pain predominates the very existence and each passing day leaves behind the memory of agonising moments. Still the fighter in him is ready to accept any challenge. Even in his 84th year, he wants to share his views with his readers in all eagerness. He is working, mostly in his mind, on the topic of his choice — “Towards a new theory of fiction.”

What does he mean by a new theory when the literary world has already exhausted all fictional theories?

“My contention is that Freud and Marx had had their day. The only thing that matters is going to the roots. The new theory must be based on the objective study of life but not in the conventional way. There should not be vivi section of the characters, nor should there be their mummification. The author has not only to observe life but to understand it also. This is the main task of the creator of the new theory of fiction.”

In the context of Punjabi literature, what does he prefer — the widening of the literary scenario or the profundity of literary works?

“We have Punjabi writers all over the world. The people settled abroad have not overcome their home-sickness. What they write is neither fact nor fiction. Nearer home, very few Punjabi writers have the sense of the aesthetic which concertises the abstract wither from a metaphor or a folk motif. Moreover, all great writers have had their role models in their own traditions. By imitating the Western models, some of the Punjabi writers have forgotten the founding fathers of their own literature. There should be some sort of balancing at some stage.”

How does he view the pace of his literary achievements?

“I have always enjoyed writing novels. I always talk in my novels, sometime to my characters and sometime to myself. My endeavour is to balance the objective reality which I observe and its subjective appraisal. I never philosophise and there is no razor’s edge in my novels. The milieu and the man in my novels are more important than the elegance of language. I have evolved a new structural pattern for each one of my novels, suitable to the theme, even though the mode of narration remains the same.”

Undoubtedly Prof Narula has presented the comic view of life in his fictional works. Even his poems, mostly unpublished, betray his sense of wry humour. His eagerness to laugh, in full measure, at life’s absurdities is paramount in his world view. His sense of humour is obvious in his attitude to matters concerning his personal life. The ironic comments that he makes tickle the humorous vein of the listener.

Now at the bend of the road, he looks back with the satisfaction of having accomplished his task well. 


Sangat darshan not a solution to problems
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, May 18
Though the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was visiting every assembly constituency area for redressing the problems in the form of sangat darshan programme, but these visits have failed to redress the common problems of the people so far as it was not enough to grant money to panchayat.

At a sangat darshan programme, which was held on January 2 at Senior Secondary School, Koom Kalan, though the CM has disbursed the cheques for more than Rs 125 lakh but the general problems, which were redressed or approved by the CM at that time, are yet to be solved. An important announcement of diversification of Budha Nulla to the Sutlej to avert the overflow of water during the rainy season towards Ludhiana, for which Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, was directed to issue a fund of Rs 1.07 crore, could not be put into practice till date.

The Chief Minister’s assurance to the Sarpanch Union, Koom Kalan, for starting a women college in this area was also not implemented. Opening of an extension counter of the PSEB at 66 KVA grid station, Chaunta, for the collection of energy bills and starting the post of JE-I, are yet to be completed. It seems that the officials have forgotten the CM’s orders. At Koom Kalan village, which has been a focal point and also a node of large rural area, the deployment of a Revenue Officer for the registration of land or property for a day in a week is yet to be fulfilled. To construct the platform of Koom Kalan Mandi, announcement of grant of Rs 5 lakh which had to be provided by the Market Committee, Machhiwara, is yet to be received. Similarly, the peripheral road of Karaur village for which the grant of Rs 1.25 lakh was announced could not be constructed till date, in spite of receiving the grant.

The people have sought that government should not confine sangat darshan to disburse grants only for the rural development works. It should care for the common problems of people also.


Sangat darshan
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 18
The kin of the terrorist and riot affected would get government jobs on a priority basis in government offices. This was stated by Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, while addressing a sangat darshan programme at Bachat Bhavan here.

He directed various departments to send the list of various posts in their offices. He also directed all officials of various departments to sort out all complaints in sangat darshan within 15 days. Mr Partap said no “undertable auction” of shamlat lands would be allowed in the district. He directed the BDPOs to be present in the villages at the time of auction. Regarding the dispute of shamlat land at Khumanon village, the Deputy Commissioner directed the ADC (D) to inquire and settle the dispute immediately. The panchayats of Raipur Chobdaran and Ladpur village said there was no teacher in their primary school. Mr Partap directed the DEO (P) to immediately send staff there.

He ordered an inquiry to BDPO, Fatehgarh Sahib, against the complaint from Gram Panchayat Bhamarsl Jer for misbehaviour by the panchayat secretary.

About 45 complaints were received in the sangat darshan out of which 15 were sorted out on the spot.


City lures career-oriented women
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, May 18
Gone are the days when the Indian woman was restricted to the confines of her home and was ‘blissfully unaware’ of the word ‘career’. Due to the social changes over the past three decades and the recent phenomena of globalisation, and the ensuing privatisation, the entire concept of women’s careers has undergone a sea change. Our society has not only accepted the concept of ‘career-oriented’ women, but is also encouraging the trend. The acceptance of working women by male counterparts has resulted in more women coming out of their homes to establish their own identity, where they have proved their worth in a hitherto male-dominated society.

Ravneet Grewal, 24, finds a lot of opportunities in the industrial city. After completing a designer’s course from NIFT Mohali, Ravneet is presently working as a designer for Monte Carlo. “People look at us with pride and respect. We have an edge over others in our respective fields. It is really a nice experience. I feel encouraged to work harder if my opponents criticise my work”.

Daughter of a retired Army officer, Ravneet also wishes to get married to an army officer. She has a clear approach towards life. An enterprising Ravneet adds, “ I am not going to leave my job after marriage. Ludhiana is a place where one can get good exposure and it is convenient for me to do a job here. I get all the co-operation from my colleagues and boss. My parents have faith in me and I am living here alone as a paying guest. I enjoy my independence”.

Keeping in view the increasing number of professional women in the city, several residents have started converting their houses into paying guest homes, where working women get a homely atmosphere. Dr Amarjit, who runs a women’s hostel at Pakhowal Road, is one such person who likes to give them a homely atmosphere.

Rishu Arora, who hails from Mohali, is working as a designer with the Pringle group of industries. She has been in the city for the past seven months.

“I got this offer right after finishing my designer’s course from Mohali. I have become more confident now. The working woman has her own identity and there is no more spoonfeeding by parents. Even a stranger addresses me as, “madam” which, is very encouraging. I think every woman should be financially independent. Working in the garment industry, my counterparts are always there to help me with their sincere advice”, says charming Rishu.

Rishu wants to get married to a person who will always be there to boost her career. In her early twenties, Rishu thinks that she can think logically. “I can manage well with my limited salary. I do not demand anything from my parents. Despite the fact that I am living far from my parents, I am able to save something out of my salary” says enthusiastic Rishu.

Harpreet Sohal’s case is really different. She is a married woman staying away from her doctor husband for the sake of her career. She considers herself very lucky that she got such a caring and understanding husband. “He always stands by me in crucial times. It is due to him that I am able to continue with my job. My husband knows that I have the calibre, so he did not let me waste it for his family’s sake” said Harpreet, who is working in a garment company.

Sukhmani, yet another professional married to a Jalandhar-based doctor, wants to start her medical career here as she thinks that Ludhiana provides the kind of opportunities no other city does. She wants to try her luck in the city and plans to open a dental clinic. “My husband and in-laws have been very supportive. They have given me a free hand to try my luck here. I am staying here in a working women’s hostel away from my husband for sake of my career as Ludhiana is the best place to get a good break”, she adds.


Disabled left in the lurch
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 18
After two and a half year of applying for an STD PCO and a photostat shop in the New Court premises under the handicap quota, Mr Raj Kumar Gautam (50) is still waiting for the allotment of the shop. Despite the fact that many people, who had applied with him, have already got the allotment letters.

Mr Gautam, who was working as chauffeur with a private company, was badly injured in a car accident in December, 1988, in Jammu and Kashmir. After that he remained in the hospital for a long time and the doctors declared him 63 per cent disable. After the accident, he lost his job . But he never lost heart and decided to earn livelihood by means of self-employment. On October, 18, 1998, he applied for a kiosk in the New Courts premises so that he could run an STD PCO and photostat shop there.

He waited for about six months but nothing happened. Then he approached the Deputy Commissioner on January 4, 1999, who, then, directed the Executive Engineer (provincial) to take necessary action.

Then the matter was referred to the SDO concerned and he demanded the photographs of the suitable places. Despite fulfilling all necessary formalities, the kiosk was not allotted to Mr Gautam. He met the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment on January 7, 2000, and the secretary of the minister in this regard. He also met member, Parliament, Mr Buta Singh, who then asked the DC to take necessary action. But even then nothing happened.

As a last effort he presented his case at a sangat darshan held on March 8, 2001 before the DC, but the DC rejected his request on the plea that there was no site left to allot him in the said area.Back


Hypocrite exposed by Tarksheel Society
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, May 18
A tantrik has been exposed by the Tarksheel Society, Sahnewal, when he admitted in writing that he has no heavenly powers and is an ordinary human being.

It was on the quick reasoning and rational judgement of Mr Balwinder Singh, sarpanch of Dharour village, that the Tarksheel Society was asked to intervene in the matter and expose the tantrik.

Jatinder Singh, for the past few months had been acting as a “saint” and prescribing all sorts of miraculous solutions to the problems. Not only this, people paid him money as “bakshish” and also whatever he demanded. He used to sit in a small room, with pictures of gods and goddesses hung around, reciting hymns and convincing the fickle-minded people that he has heavenly powers and has come for the betterment of the world.

When the Tarksheel Society intervened he admitted his fault and himself brought out his true picture before them. He said that he used to be a tailor and when his work failed to satisfy the hunger of his family, he became upset. The daily disputes with the family members made him so disturbed that he lost his mental balance. It was then that he thought of exploiting the people. He not only admitted his folly, but also assured that he would find honest ways of earning his livelihood.


Oldest granny is no more
Tribune News Service

Jhande (Ludhiana), May 18
Basant Kaur, the oldest granny, is no more. She passed away on May 15 at the age of 116. She was probably the oldest lady who was listed in the last census held on February 9 in this village. Census officials took pride in listing her as the first person to be counted in this small village, where she came as a young bride about 100 years ago from Bassian village.

Basant Kaur was given a touching and tearful farewell by the entire village, which loved and respected her as the village mother. She was known as Mata ji, and rightly so. She was an embodiment of woman power in a non-descript village like this. She was example of a woman who stood up against all odds for the welfare of the women in the village and that too in the evening of her life.

Her long journey as a protagonist of feminism began about 30 years ago when, along with four other women, she set up a milk cooperative society and launched the Jhande Women Milk Producers Society in 1979. One of the first all-women dairy cooperatives in the country, this society came a long way from having mere five members and a daily procurement of 10 kg to the current 136 members and about 10 quintals of milk procured daily.

She had donated her own land for the functioning of the cooperative society, as some people had opposed the cooperative idea and locked the local dharamshala, from where it was operated. She had also set up Mahila Mandal. For this also she donated her own land.

Recalls Bibi Ranjit Kaur, a co-founder of the society, but much younger to Basant Kaur, Basant Kaur would travel in milk vans herself during the Bhartiya Kisan Union strike to ensure that the supply to milk plant was not disrupted. She also pointed out that it was her motivating and persuasive power that helped other women to come for work as they were otherwise discouraged to come out of their home.

Although age had caught up with Basant Kaur, she still wielded the authority in the family of five generations. Till she breathed her last, she headed the family of five generations, which included her adopted son Jaswant Singh and other grandson Upinder Singh. Jaswant Singh is the village numberdar.

Life had been a tale of tragedies for Basant Kaur. She had lost her only son Jawala Singh, when he was not even 20 in war. This was followed by the death of her husband Gian Singh within two years. For a long time she felt lonely. Then she adopted Jaswant Singh, the son of her nephew Bhagwant Singh. Jaswant Singh, who actually happens to be her grandson is himself the grandfather of three children. One of his sons Gurvinder, who is settled in the USA.

Although Basant Kaur never knew the exact year of her birth, all that she remembered was that a devastating plague had hit Punjab at that time claiming many lives. It was probably in 1887. On May 15 she woke up as usual. She had her breakfast and also the lunch. “It was all of a sudden that we discovered that the granny is no more”, said Upinder Singh, her great grandson.



THERE was some relief from the oppressive heat wave. Showers here brought down temperatures, bringing cheer and joy to the Ludhianvis.

The police says, “police force mange mor”. Mor vehicles, mor police personnel, mor funds, mor facilities. At the directive of the Chief Minister, Director-General Police Sarabjit Singh and Home Secretary Bikramjit Singh held a meeting with councillors. This was the second meeting to discuss the deteriorating law and order situation in Ludhiana. But again the same story — complaints by the police of tough working conditions, interference by politicians in the working of the police, heaping of praise on police officials by councillors, and the verdict, “all is well”. Six hours later a youth is murdered in a busy shopping centre Ghumar Mandi at 10 pm. The only saving grace for the police was that the culprits were nabbed.

Councillors gave a clean chit to the police functioning. But what about the poor public which lives in fear. Why the representatives have to please the police is surprising?

Big B’s eagerly awaited movie Ek Rishta was released this week. The star cast is powerful, led by Akshay Kumar, starring for the first time with Big B. Hazel eyed veteran actress Raakhi, and young heroines Karishma Kapoor, Juhi Chawla and that powerful actor Asish Vidyarthi are added attractions. As the name suggests, the story revolves round the relationship between a father and son. A must see for Ambitabh fans. AA


An ideal day-care centre for kids
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, May 18
With the numbers of working women swelling ,the need of the hour is to have good baby care centres, that left children be in healthy, hygienic surroundings for the proper growth of the child. One such model day-care centre is being run at the PAU campus by Drs S. Jaswal and I.J.S.L Jaswal for the Human Development Department.

Dr Jaswal said the Child Development Centre came into existence in 1998. This facility was started with two main purposes. The first was academic, as students of B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. take up Human Development courses. During their course, they have to observe the behaviour of children in ideal conditions for their study which this centre provided and secondly it exists for the convenience of working mothers at the university. It is a boon for them as they can leave their babies aged 2 years to 3 years at the centre from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. At present there are 30 kids in the centre. Later, kids go to the nursery on the same premises.

As the parents come in to drop the children, the kids are made familiar with the natural environment. The children run around and explore nature, climb slides to get rid of their fear of heights, wade in the pool to get rid of hydrophobia. Totally refreshed, they troop inside a well-decorated nursery and march into the dining room, where they are served nutritious food prepared under hygienic conditions in the kitchen. The children are helped by trained personnel to eat their food and then taught to keep their trays in proper places and throw rubbish in the bins. They are served five meals. They are given milk and snacks twice and served lunch. The charges are Rs 1,300 per month. At present, 90 students are on the waiting list for enrolment to this Day Care Centre.

According to Dr Jaswal, the students are not allowed to get food from home. Rather till the age of 10, food is cooked for them in the institution itself. In the centre, the emotional, social and developmental needs of children are taken into consideration. Children learn to explore, to communicate and learn verbal skills. For example, if some students have a habit of pushing and biting, they are pushed to realise how bad it is to be pushed. The kids are also given toilet training.

Says Dr Jaswal, “We educate parents about the importance of toilet training for children. For this, parents have to be up early and feed a lot of fluids to the kids. Sometimes, the parents wake up late and dress up children hurriedly and send them to the centre. Lack of toilet training becomes a problem when the child becomes adolescent. These days it has been seen that an adolescent within the age group of 15-17 years develop juvenile piles primarily because of lack of proper toilet training and the biological clock not being set as well as set due to consumption of a lot of junk food.

After meals children are made to rest. Through a one-way mirror, the students who are undergoing training watch the tiny tot’s behaviour. Dr Jaswal was against bottle feeding, as most cases of infant mortality in third world countries occur due to poor hygiene. So children are made to drink from glasses. No chocolates or soft drinks are given to them. On TV, kids are shown small pictures based on sharing as it is considered very important for children. Children are given blocks to develop motor control and in the nursery, children can enact role plays and assume the role of any person.

Both the doctors say that parents have to have a healthy mix of dos and don’ts for children. In the don’ts are the following precautions: a) the electric installations within reach of children should be sealed b) sharp-edged instruments and knives also have to be kept out of their reach c) Not to give toys with gaudy colours that can have harmful chemicals. c) The mother has to be adequately trained as each child responds in a different way every time and she must know how to handle him.

Some dos for the parents include a) play with the children as much as you can b) allow the child to explore the environment c) exercise a lot of patience, for the child’s attention span is limited and he gets bored easily d) Parents must take their children out from the confinement of the home e) parents should readout to children. f) Research has proved that IQ of children increases if parents reduce TV viewing time. g) The children should not be left at home alone with servants, as it has been found that sexual abuse occurs most when children are left under the care of the servant.

The house should be made friendly for children and expensive and breakable things should not be kept within their reach. Parents should provide them with guided exploration like showing them vegetables, dresses and shapes. In the centre also, the children are encouraged to make models with clay so that they develop motor skills. Similar kinds of activities are suggested for them at home.

Both the Drs Jaswal have done major research in the field of child development. They suggest that parents should never hit children or scold them, as it impedes their natural growth. The key is patience.


Hariharan to perform in Ludhiana
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 18
The Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam has organised a programme of famous gazal maestro Hariharan on May 22 in Ludhiana at Guru Nanak Bhavan. Hariharan is one of the renowned gazal singers and adept in classical singing.

Son of a well-known Carnatic musician, Hariharan was proficient in Carnatic music but he completely unlearned the Carnatic style of music and switched over to Hindustani style of singing and trained under Padamshri Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan.

A South Indian singing gazals was unthinkable to purists, but Hariharan thrives on challenges. So much so that he perfected the nuances of the complex Urdu language. His very first album was ‘Gazal Ka Mausam’ followed by ‘Sakoon’. Hariharan’s innovative ideas were seen in his next album ‘Aab-Shaar-E-Ghazal’ that was sung by Hindi filmdom’s queen crooner, Asha Bhonsle. One of the songs of this album has been featured in the World Archives of Music. This album turned gold.

Hariharan has a numbers of film songs to his credit and has won a lot of awards, including the national award for the song in Border. He has sung a number of songs for Tamil films, too. 


Triplets born
Our Correspondent

Kamaljit Kaur (inset) and the triplets
Kamaljit Kaur (inset) and the triplets

Sahnewal, May 18
Three babies, including a boy and two girls, were delivered by a woman of Nizampur, Payal tehsil, yesterday.

All three were delivered at home and were reported to be hale and hearty. Parents Bahadur Singh and Kamaljit Kaur were married five years back. During this period they had two daughters but the ardent desire for a male child led the couple to take another chance. Yesterday Kamaljit Kaur, who had come to her sister-in-law’s house at Jugiana village, gave birth to three babies.

Kamaljit Kaur said, ‘‘I shall happily rear two more daughters as God has blessed me with a male child, a rare treasure for my family.’’


Rioting case against mob
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Almost two weeks after an angry mob damaged a number of police vehicles and gheraoed Haibowal police station for more than 24 hours, the city police today registered a case against unknown persons for rioting, damaging government property, a breach of the peace and being members of an unlawful assembly.

According to the police, the case has been registered after an inquiry conducted by the DSP, Sarabha Nagar, into the incident which took place after the alleged custodial death of a farm labourer, Karnail Singh.

Police sources said that the registration of the case was delayed as the police wanted the anger of the people to subside. No arrest has been made so far.Back


Dowry death accused arrested
Tribune News Service

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 18
The Dehlon police today arrested four persons accused in the alleged dowry death case of newly married Baljinder Kaur, a resident of Barrewal, near the city.

Her husband, Harpreet Singh, mother-in-law, Manjit Kaur, and two other relatives, Kuldip Kaur and Surinder kaur, have been arrested, almost 48 hours after the angry relatives of the deceased blocked traffic on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road for about an hour on Wednesday.

Baljinder Kaur succumbed to burn injuries in the Civil Hospital, Ahmedgarh, on Wednesday morning. The police had already registered a case of dowry against her in-laws but no one was arrested. After her death, her relatives lost control and beside blocking traffic, staged a dharna in front of Dehlon police station.Back


Lahan stocks seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
In a major joint operation, excise officials of Jalandhar and Ludhiana conducted a raid along the banks of the Sutlej and destroyed a huge amount of illicit liquor.

The operation started at 5 a.m. on Thursday and continued till late in the afternoon. About 24,000 litres of illicit lahan, five boilers drums and running stills were seized and destroyed. Search was carried out in about 20 km stretch from Phillaur to Boote and Chhan villages. The teams were led by Mr Harbir Singh, ETO, Jalandhar, and Mr R.K. Grover, ETO, Ludhiana. More than 130 persons took part in the operation.

Scooter stolen: A grey colour LML Vespa scooter was allegedly stolen from civil lines area two days ago.

According to Mr Murli Sharma, he had parked his scooter outside his house on Brindaban Road in the civil lines area. He had purchased the scooter only a few days ago and it carried the temporary registration number (PB-10-Y-0363).


Girl abducted
Our Correspondent

Doraha, May 18
A girl was allegedly abducted by a boy, his sister and mother, while she was on her way to attend a tuition class on May 14.

Gurmukh Singh of Jaargari village has lodged a complaint with the police that her daughter, Sukhwinder Kaur, went out of the house on May 14 at about 2.30 pm.

 When she did not return, the parents inquired for her everywhere. The father alleged that his daughter had been kidnapped by Jassi Singh, his sister Sharanjit Kaur, and his mother Melo, with a motive of marrying her off to Jassi Singh. A case under Sections 363,366 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.Back


Agro-techies to hold statewide protest
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 18
The Agriculture Technocrats Action Committee, Punjab, will organise a state-level protest rally here on 19 May for the implementation of their already conceded demands.

Addressing a press conference here, Dr Satnam Singh general secretary of the organisation, said that as the impact of the WTO had started showing on the farming community, until we improved our technology, we can neither compete nor survive. He said Punjab, being a surplus state, with its economy depending upon farming, we would have to improve on quality and adopt better methods for production.

He said all this could be done by none other than the agriculture technocrats. He said the technocrats had taken the initiative and the results as far as quality and production were concerned, had been positive. Citing a example, he said the technocrats introduced new technology in Lambi area for cotton crops and after two years, the yield increased many times without any spray. Similarly, the quality and quantity of grapes and kinoos had improved. He said it was unfortunate that the government was not paying any attention to strengthen the technocrats and to introduce new technology. In foreign countries, only one per cent of the population indulged in farming as they had equipped their respective agriculture departments with the latest techniques.

He said the present government had done great injustice to them by lowering their status and scales by three steps, i.e., from class one status they had been made equivalent to nurses. He said after a long struggle and a strike of 791, days the status of technocrats had been increased on 4 September, 2000, but again on 28 November of the same year, the status was lowered through a notification. The Association held a meeting with the Chief Minister on 8 December, 2000 and it was decided that the notification would be withdrawn, but the decision had not been implemented. 

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