Friday, May 25, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Immigration agency in police net in Canada
Owner made $ 1 million in three years
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 24
A large number of youths of the state who aspired for a career in foreign countries, especially in Canada, and paid hefty amounts to immigration companies are in for a shock after the exposure of an alleged international immigration racket. An immigration consultant having branch offices in Chandigarh and Ludhiana is facing charges in Canada of making at least $ 1 million in the past three years by allegedly duping the youths of their hard-earned money by offering them immigration on the alleged fake job offer letters.

Mr Santokh Singh, better known as Sam Basra, a partner in Malhi and Basra Immigration Consultants, having its head office in Canada is facing at least 28 forgery charges in that country. Though the case was initiated against him in the last week of January this year, the matter came to light only now when certain persons who had applied for migration to Canada learnt from websites of certain Canada-based newspapers that he was facing charges under both the Criminal Code and the Immigration Act.

According to the websites — and of the Canada-based newspapers, the Royal Canadian Mounted police seized more than 340 files from the Basra and Basra Associates INC, that allegedly detail “years of international deception”.

The charges levelled against him include that he travelled to India, Zimbabwe, and other countries after placing advertisements and inviting clients to an immigration lecture. The aspirants filled out application forms, paid Singh allegedly $ US 1000 as retainer fee and hoped he could find them job in Toronto, according to the websites of the Canadian newspapers.

According to the websites, the Canada police alleged that Basra grew rich by charging 340 clients on an average of $ 3000 and made about $ 1 million from 1998 to 2001. He allegedly carried offered jobs on fake letterheads as teachers, guidance counsellors, plumbers, nurses, electricians and computer engineers. Some of the letters belonged to real and imaginary firms. Another $ 1,500 was allegedly paid for this service, the websites allege.

Refuting the allegations, Basra in his clarification sent to his branch offices in Ludhiana and Chandigarh has owned responsibility but has held one of his former employees responsible for the whole episode. He stated that one of his former employees was fired from job in January, as she had the office key and had access to the filing cabinets. He claimed that his business was clean and the former employee tampered with 14 files of clients from Fiji and later reported it to the police.

He claimed that none of his clients had ever complained about their service or showed any discontentment. He said his Toronto office was working in full capacity.

The Canada police has, however, claimed in the website report that about 40 per cent of the victims of the alleged forgery came from India while remaining were from Fiji, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and South Africa. The Canada police claimed that none of these made it to Canada.

According to the process, a number of immigration agencies operating in India and other countries, especially Canada, have started luring youths with a promise of “secure” immigration to Canada through job offers. The offer of a job ensures 10 more points for the applicant in interview before the Canadian Embassy officials. The website has alleged that job offers were worthless until they were validated by Human Resource Development, Canada. It is learnt that the HRD, Canada, approves only those jobs for which they do not find workers in the country.

A branch office of the immigration agency was opened in the city in January.



Woman alleges police harassment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 24
Darshan Kaur, a middle-aged woman of Hearn village, near Raikote, has alleged that she was being harassed by the police at the behest of her estranged husband and father-in-law. She is living separately with her seven-year-old son, Sukhdarshpreet.

Darshan Kaur, who had come here to submit a complaint to the Deputy Commissioner in the weekly sanghat darshan, disclosed that she had been deserted by her husband. She alleged that her husband was living with another woman.

She claimed that seeing his character, her father-in-law had bequeathed all property, which included a house, a poultry farm and about one and a half acre of land, to her. Until two months ago her father-in-law was also living with them as he had reportedly disowned his son.

However, about two months ago, her husband managed to convince his father to his own side. Her father-in-law also started living with his son and reportedly filed a complaint against her with the police at the behest of his son seeking her eviction from the house, which is in her name.

Although Darshan Kaur is staying along with her son, she fears that her husband and father-in-law, with the help of the police, may forcibly evict her and also harm her.

She revealed that the police had visited her house several times and she was being terrorised to leave the house.

Darshan Kaur, who is a literate, has been seeking protection from the administration.

However, she claimed, the administration was not taking her case seriously.



Colleges flout UGC norms
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, May 24
Notwithstanding the UGC notification on having at least 180 teaching days annually, majority of the colleges of the city are flouting it by conducting classes for no more than 140 days.

According the latest calendar sent by Panjab University to its affiliated colleges, the number of teaching days is 194. The university has recommended 23 holidays on account of festivals, 50 holidays during summer break and eight days of autumn break.

Examination would be conducted twice a year, including nine days during December and 45 days in April and May as per the university calendar.

However, most of the colleges declare holidays on their own when a college team wins awards in sports or cultural activities.

Besides, classes are not held for several days as preparatory holidays for examination are declared, youth festivals, annual functions and sports days are organised.

Also, when the students and staff go on strikes, classes are not held for several days consecutively. In the current session, staff of Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women had gone on strike for more than three weeks and no classes were held when they were protesting against the extension of services of the then principal, Ms Kuldip Kaur.

Similarly, students of GGN Khalsa College and Arya College for Boys had gone on strike in December demanding slash in fee when it was raised in the middle of session. Such days when teaching does not take place, amounts to more than 25 to 45 days, said teachers of SCD Government College, on the condition of anonymity.

Commenting upon the situation, Prof K.B.S Sodhi, president, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union, said, “Even though classes are not conducted during the days of youth festival, annual function, sports days, examination and preparatory holidays, the entire teaching staff is on duty and all such days are working days”.

He further said that during such days students get knowledge about their culture and other activities, even if they are not imparted knowledge from textbooks.



BCA students seek change of exam dates
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 24
The final-year BCA students of colleges affiliated with the Punjab Technical University have written to the Vice-Chancellor, demanding change in the date of examination.

The students have stated that an examination which was to be held today had been postponed to June 8, when the entrance test for MCA was to be conducted by the Guru Nanak Dev University. They said if the examination was not preponed, they would not be able to appear in the entrance test.

The students said earlier the university had fixed the examination for June 2, which was clashing with the date of entrance test for MCA to be conducted by the university. The examination was preponed on repeated requests to the university authorities, said the students.



Women lawyers seek a fair deal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 24
As many as 36 women lawyers in the city are trying to break into the male bastion in adverse circumstances in District Courts, Ludhiana. Out of 1,250 registered lawyers in Ludhiana Bar Association, including taxation lawyers, these women are trying to hold their own in gruelling heat, unorganised courts where at times they have to struggle past the crowded courtrooms to reach the judges.

The number of active practising lawyers in the city is around 600, yet the percentage of women lawyers is miniscule. Mr Harish Dhanda, president of the Bar Association, District Courts, felt that the women don’t take this profession seriously due to family responsibilities.

This correspondent spoke to some of the women lawyers having independently practice. A majority of women lawyers are working as juniors with senior lawyers. Only a few have been able to cope up on their own. Ms Kamal Jyoti, a fire brand lawyer, has been practising for the past nine years. She said, “We do face a lot of problems from male lawyers. When a young girl joins the court, her behaviour is under microscopic observation by the lawyers. If she talks to the lawyers freely, rumours spread that she is ‘fast’. If the women faces the comments boldly then they say, “chalu hai, zara bach ke rehna.” We have to maintain a fierce exterior so that no one has the guts to say anything about us. Sensitive freshers can’t withstand character assassination and quit the profession. We have seen many sensitive girls leave after a short while.”

She said even when she was working with a senior lawyer, the others teased him. So from 1994 she is practising independently, has earned a lot of goodwill and has a lot of clients. They did say that exploitation of women lawyers was there as the system always considered women to be a weaker sex.

Two new entrants to the profession also felt that male lawyers were discouraging and they had joined the courts with a great deal of hope of settling down, but after a few months, they were quite disillusioned and wondering what to do. “The men do not want the women to compete with them. Even the clients do not trust the new entrants and only a few of them encourage them,” they said.

Sushma, another lawyer, said,” My whole family has been involved in social work. So after doing law, I joined All-India Trade Union Congress. I worked three years in that office filing applications for the workers , and generally learnt the ropes and gained a lot of confidence. After three years I started my own practice. I had no problem in settling down as I fight for workers in labour courts. I am a member of Punjab Istri Sabha and Communist Party. I fight cases for the downtrodden. I feel after working for 15 years, I am well established now.”

She also felt that male lawyers try their best to unsettle the new lawyers. They know that the young girls will get married. Even if she has managed to have a good practice after marriage she might have to leave the place, or else she will take a break from the profession to rear the family. So they try to discourage them that is why they were so few in number.

Avtaar Kaur seconded Sushma’s point and said: “Women lawyers do have to disrupt their practice to raise the family. She said," When I joined the courts, I could foresee the problems of exploitation and knew that the working conditions were not very conducive for women lawyers, so when I got a chance to become a “notary public”, I gladly took up the job. I do give free advice to the poor. I give them the right guidance. The working conditions are quite bad, but now we are hoping that after paying Rs 75,000, when we shift to new courts ,the conditions would be better.”

Both Avtaar and Sushma said there was no separate “Bar Room” for ladies. In the common Bar Room, they felt out of place. The toilets were bad. Moreover, there were no toilets for the public, so it was very embarrassing for them to see the men using the entire court premises as open toilets.

Ms Jassal was lucky as her senior became a judge and all his work came to her. She said,” My clients are murderers, and litigants fighting marital discord cases. I feel happy that clients repose more trust in me as they feel women are more honest and even leave the original documents with me. I had to quit practice for 10 years as I was raising my family. When I returned, it again took some time to build my practise.”

Parminder, another woman lawyer, says that it is difficult to get work. Male colleagues are not very helpful. They do not want women to outshine them. On the contrary Ms Moxi, who has been practising for the past 20 years, said,” I encountered no problems. If a person is confident, one can get work as one can handle the clients. I don’t think that men dare pass any derogatory comments on us.”

Though their experiences varied but on one thing the women lawyers were unanimous that the clients were good to them and never harassed them regarding their fees. The working conditions were bad but they were hoping the new court premises adjacent to Feroze Gandhi Market will offer them more facilities like a “day care centre” where they can leave their kids during the work hours.


CM’s stress on IT education for schools
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 24
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today called upon social and religious organisations engaged in running educational institutions in the state to lay main stress on introduction of the latest Information Technology (IT) and computer-based job-oriented education in their institutions so that “our coming generation could become computer literate and compete at the international level.”

He was addressing a largely attended religious congregation, organised to celebrate the 54th birth anniversary of Swami Lal Das Ji Bhuriwale at Bhuriwale Ashram at Rakba village, about 25 km from here.

Mr Badal said that in Punjab saints as well as other social and religious organisations were contributing in a big way for the promotion of education in the rural and urban areas and these institutions were giving excellent results in the field of quality education. “It was not possible for the government alone to provide better health and education facilities to the fast-increasing population. Therefore, the need of the hour is to achieve better coordination between government and private bodies to make the education completely job oriented.” He said the present system of education was unable to produce properly trained professionals, which was the main requirement of the modern industry and the multi-national companies at national and international level. The Punjab government had involved international-level companies engaged in computer and information technology training to provide computer based education to the students at school and college levels.

Appreciating the efforts of Swami Bhrama Nand Ji, who was running a large number of educational institutions, including five degree colleges, two public schools, besides a good hospital, Mr Badal said that Bhuriwale sect had been preaching high moral values, peace and mutual brotherhood among the society and their followers were educating the people to eradicate social evils, which was the main need of the present time.

The Chief Minister exhorted the people to rededicate themselves for the cause of nation building and strengthening social fibre. Referring to the demands, the Chief Minister assured that the required road would be constructed and proper arrangements for drainage of sullage water in the village would be made at the earliest.

Addressing the function, Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, president, SGPC, said that the Sant Bhuriwale sect had been making great service to society in the fields of rural development, education and health facilities. He said that Swami Brahma Nand Ji had been creating awareness among the people and educating the people to adopt “our ancient religious and moral values, preached by our great Gurus and saints”. The sect, he added, had also made substantial contributions to society in bringing the people out of the false beliefs and to eradicate social evils, including use of intoxicants and dowry.

The present head of the Bhuriwale sect at Rakba village, Swami Meharban ji Maharaj, and Acharya Chetna Anand ji called the people to adopt the principles of selfless service to the suffering humanity, moral values and patience in their lives.

Among others who were present on this occasion were Mr. Tota Singh, Education Minister, Mr. Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister, Mr. Ajit Singh Kohar, Minister for Jails and Justice, Mr. Sadhu Singh Ghudani MLA, Mr. S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Director, MARKFED, Mr. Amarjit Singh Bhatia, vice-president, SAD, Mr. Avtar Singh Makkar, acting district president, SAD-B, Mr. Jagdev Singh Tajpuri, former Minister, Mr. Krishan Kumar Bawa, secretary, PPCC, Mr. Gurmail Singh Sangowal and Bibi Harbans Kaur Sukhana ( both SGPC members). 



Gambling at public places? No problem!
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, May 24
Huddled together in the park along the Dusehra Grounds in the Urban Estate on the Chandigarh Road are auto drivers, rickshaw-pullers and idlers, oblivious of the world around them. All that matters at the moment is the card which one has to dispense with in lieu of the one picked from the pack in the middle. The men are playing a rummy, at the end of which one of them will get richer by Rs 30. Only a few steps away is seated another set of rummy players. They too are engrossed in the proceedings.

A couple of policemen enter the park silently and confront them. The rummy players do not panic as the cops are old acquaintances. They know what to do. The fee has to be paid which is not much. Only one game, which means a ten-rupee note. The senior policeman collects the money from the eight gamblers. Once outside the park, the cops split the money between themselves before leaving in different directions. The rummy games resume. It is only when the cops do not find any other quarry in the day that they turn to roadside gamblers to arrange money for liquor.

In the block opposite the Calibre Plaza in Bhadaur House market, outside a couple of closed shops, ten gamblers, mostly rickshaw-pullers and idlers, are literally falling over each other to get their turn at calling the card of choice. As one calls out his favourite card, he places his bet, the soiled currency notes in his fist, along the pack of cards. Foul exchanges are liberally used.

The group is so busy in its transactions that it fails to notice the two cops who arrive on the scene on a scooter. They do not look towards the gamblers while they park their vehicle. The policemen swoop suddenly and the gamblers grumble and protest. The angry cops hurl some abuses and fists around. Within no time, they drive away with Rs 150 or so, pooled together by their victims to escape a trip to the police station concerned.

These specific instances should dispel all doubts about gambling in public, places which continues to flourish in the city, courtesy the police, which finds roadside gamblers a useful lot. Apart from extorting petty amounts from them from time to time, these low-profile gamblers are also hauled up to the police station to do some menial labour jobs whenever required.

At the higher levels of gambling, things are different. The middle and upper classes have their own gambling places, which are literally out-of-bounds for the lowly cops as these are reserved only for their higher officials. There is no dearth of small-time gambling dens in the city’s localities, where a gambler can hope to try his luck by paying a certain fixed amount which is charged by the hour by the den operator.

This hourly fee may be anything between Rs 10 and Rs 50, depending upon the volume of the business and the time of the day or night.

According to information gathered by Ludhiana Tribune from the police and a number of compulsive and professional gamblers, the high-profile gamblers of the city prefer clubs, where there are virtually no chances of a raid. A number of white-collar criminals are also operating posh gambling dens with all the facilities. These joints are mostly favoured by the affluent gamblers and duly protected by the police.

Rumours are also rife in the gambling circles about the percentage certain higher police officials are getting from the so-called high-profile gambling dens in the city. Even policemen can be heard talking about the same, though in low tones. One wonders if the city is going to be unofficially known as a virtual paradise for big-time gamblers.



‘Attacks’ on PSEB teams resented
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 24
The PSEB Engineers Association has taken a serious view of the increasing tendency among industrialists to manhandle PSEB staff or to lodge false and fabricated complaints with the police as diversionary tactics to cover up theft of energy and other irregularities.

A meeting of the association held here today, resolved to fight against the attempts to demoralise the PSEB staff, and further threatened to intensify the stir, including direct action, if the cases registered against PSEB employees were not withdrawn forthwith.

According to regional secretary of PSEB Engineers Association, a deputation of the PSEB engineers, led by its president, Mr M.S. Bajwa, met Chief Minister here today to apprise him of the attacks on teams of PSEB officials by labour and owners of two steel units, which were found to be involved in theft of power and registration of false cases against the PSEB employees, subsequently.

The PSEB engineers alleged that local steel mill authorities were caught red-handed by flying squad and operation officials of PSEB while stealing power by tapping the LT tubewell lines. The owners not only resisted the replacement of power meters with an electronic meters, but also instigated their labour, who manhandled the PSEB team and interfered in their duty.

While the PSEB engineers expressed their satisfaction that the Chief Minister had asked the Deputy Commissioner to order a probe into the incident and take remedial measures, they made their intentions clear by asserting that the PSEB staff would not be cowed by high-handedness of industrialists and attempts to demoralise by use of money and political power.

Meanwhile, the PSEB Employees Federation (AITUC) has come out openly against those responsible for manhandling and intimidating PSEB staff, which was duty-bound to conduct raids and checking to detect theft of energy.

Mr Tejinder Singh Mohi, secretary of the federation has said in a statement here today that it was most unfortunate that while the state government wanted to cover up the deficit of the PSEB by plugging the massive power thefts, the employees and officials, doing this duty, were being beaten up and the administration was helplessly watching the whole thing.

Mr Radhe Sham, president, Mr Amrik Singh, general secretary, Mr Darshan Singh Dhillon, vice-president of the federation have warned the police administration and the government with a state-level agitation if the culprits were not brought to book immediately. They also urged the PSEB management to take up the matter with the government, for providing adequate security to PSEB officials and employees.



Industry threatens agitation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 24
The industry, as other categories of consumers, have sharply reacted to increase in the security charges (advance consumption deposit) by the Punjab State Electricity Board and have threatened to launch a state-wide agitation against the high-handedness of the PSEB management if the same was not immediately withdrawn.

The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) president, Mr Inderjit Singh, has termed the PSEB move as vindictive and ‘mischievous’ for the reason that orders for upward revision of security (ACD) were issued in back date (May 10). He said in a meeting with members of trade and industry here on May 15, the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had given a categorical assurance that all PSEB matters, involving financial implications, including revision of power tariff and sundry charges, will henceforth be decided by the Punjab Electricity Regulatory Authority.

He observed that the increase in the ACD, ranging between 33 per cent and 300 per cent, for different categories of consumers, would further add to the price competitiveness of the industrial goods and adversely affect the industrial economy.



BJP councillors stage dharna against Mayor
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 24
In an unusual development, which might have far reaching political ramifications in the civic body set up in the city, Bharatiya Janata Party councillors today started an indefinite dharna against the MC administration, with the City Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, being their particular target. The two-hour daily dharna would continue on all week days till the demands, put forth by the party, were conceded.

Activists of the party, led by the district president, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, the group leader of the BJP councillors, Mr Pran Bhatia, several BJP councillors and people from many outer wards in the city, carrying banners and placards converged at the MC headquarters and sat on the dharna at the main gate, after slogan shouting against the Mayor for quite sometime. The Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Sat Pal Gosain, also joined the protesters and assured his full support to the agitation.

The BJP, though an alliance partner of the SAD-(B) in the civic body, had been involved in a cold war against the Mayor over several issues, including the elevated road project. The situation came to a flash point during the MC general house meeting, when the MC administration brought the proposal of the elevated road before the House through a supplementary agenda, which was subsequently carried by the majority support, amidst loud protests and a dharna in the House by the BJP group.

In a tactical move, the BJP councillors and other senior party leaders were now professing that they were not against development projects in the city in general and the elevated road project in particular. However, they want the MC administration to put its priorities in the right perspective. “The MC was morally bound to provide basic amenities like water supply, sewerage, sanitation and street lights to the people. Projects like the elevated road, involving massive expenditure (an estimated Rs 38 crore), can wait,” assert party leaders, both privately and in public utterances.

Addressing the protesters, Mr Gosain said it was a folly to indulge in the wasteful expenditure which would be on no practical use right now when the MC was providing piped water to only 60 per cent population and the sewerage facility to not more than 50 per cent people in the city.

Mr Sethi and Mr Bhatia made scathing attacks on the MC administration charging it with utter disregard for undeveloped and underdeveloped colonies. They said majority of the city population was forced to drink polluted and poisonous water, many of the colonies lacked proper sewerage and water disposal system, roads were in a state of disrepair and poor maintenance and condition of streetlight was no better. On the top of it all, the MC had admitted that in the prevailing financial condition it was unable to make provisions for adequate infrastructure development in the city.

Mr Bhatia questioned the MC decision of going ahead with the elevated road, saying on one side the civic body had obtained a loan of Rs 105 crore from HUDCO for sewerage projects in the city, while on the other several crores were to be spent on the elevated road. He maintained that the BJP would stand in the way of extravagant and wasteful expenditure by the MC and would continue to fight for the rights of the people to basic civic amenities.



Ghuman stresses Panthic unity
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 24
Panthic unity between the two warring factions of the SAD led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Punjab, and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the SHSAD, is the need of the hour, which can usher an era of peace, progress, development and prosperity in the state. All the senior Akali leaders, workers, intellectuals, senior citizens and well-wishers of the Panth should make sincere efforts to bring about this unity. This was stated by Jathedar Mal Singh Ghuman, chiarman of the Punjab Mandi Karan Board, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, at Chanarthal village, 10 km from here, yesterday. He had come to lay the foundation stone of the new grain market to be constructed by his department at a cost of Rs 50 lakh.

He advised the workers of the Akali Dal to show restraint and not to indulge in any activity which might further widen the rift between these two leaders. He said the Akali workers and leaders should sacrifice their individual interests and work for the unity so that the Akali Dal could win the coming Assembly elections. He said the Akalis had always fought for the cause of the state, whereas the Congress government had always looted the state. He said he equally respected Mr Tohra and Mr Badal.

Later, addressing a massive gathering, he said when he took over as the chairman of the mandi board, the income from the market fees was Rs 374.64 crore, and now an increase of Rs 100.12 crore had been recorded. The board had passed the budget for Rs 600 crore this year, which was almost double than the last year. He said it had been made possible only due to the hard work of the board employees and due to the record increase in the agricultural produce.

He said the help being given to the victims of agricultural accidents had been increased five times. Earlier Rs 15,000 was given to such victims and now they would get Rs 75,000. He said the board had distributed Rs 14 crore as compensation among such victims last year. He said the terms and conditions to get the compensation had also been relaxed. He said all the roads falling under the Chanarthal Market Committee would be repaired. On this occasion, he distributed cheques worth Rs 52 lakh to 247 victims and also distributed cheques under shagun scheme worth Rs 1.32 lakh to 26 poor families.

Addressing the function, Mr Ajaib Singh, Mukhmailpur, Minister for PWD, said in all constituencies in the state the repair work of the roads and recarpeting was in progress. The government had allotted Rs 1 crore for every constituency for this purpose. He said those roads which have not completed the duration were also being repaired. He said there was 32,000 km of roads in the state and there was not even a single village, which had not been linked by road.


A poet who establishes instant rapport with readers
N.S. Tasneem

Ludhiana, May 24
Meeting Jaswant Zafar is like having a glimpse of the futuristic vision of life. He is ever in the process of views and reviews. He thinks differently not as a matter of routine but as the result of conviction. He composes poems to establish a rapport with his readers. He then merges his identity with collective consciousness to debunk the traditional attitudes to men and matters. His approach is based on logic and he shuns emotional responses. Emotion he uses as a medium of communication with the thoughtful minds.

Born in 1965 at Mehsampur (Phillaur), he did his pre-engineering in Government College, Ludhiana, and then passed B.E. (Electrical ) in 1989 from G.N. Engineering College, Ludhiana. He joined Punjab State Electricity Board in 1991 and is working as Assistant Executive Engineer at Ludhiana. The poet in him is ever engaged in the mathematical formulation of ideas and he takes the help of numericals while putting across his viewpoint. He considers human relations in accordance with the theory of relativity. For him father minus affection is ‘oldie’, brother minus love is ‘sharer’ and husband minus understanding is ‘man’.

His recently published book of poems, ‘Asin Nanak De Ki Lagde Han’, has created a stir in the Punjabi literary circles. Never before had someone pinpointed so assertively the misuse of the name of Guru Nanak for commercial purposes. Even more than that, he has presented an altogether different profile of the great Guru . Sardar Sobha Singh’s portraits have depicted Guru Nanak contemplating on the Supreme Being in a calm and serene atmosphere. That is the bhagati aspect, whereas the aspect of a crusader against the social, political and religious ills has ever been eclipsed.

This search for the true icon of Guru Nanak has been welcomed among others by Dr Manohar Singh Gill, Chief Election Commissioner of India. He has written in his letter dated May 2, 2001, in no uncertain terms, “Your poem on Guru Nanak is really powerful, and I read it to a number of persons. I must congratulate you on your excellent book of poetry.” This letter followed after a long trunk call from the dignitary. Perhaps the cartoonist in him is helping him a lot in discovering perfection through distortions. The exhibition of his cartoons at PAU in 1997 drew much applause from the viewers. The poet and the cartoonist in him are ever engaged, of course not simultaneously, in drawing a line of demarcation between appearance and reality. This quest reveals the aesthetic aspect of his personality.

Jaswant Zafar is of the view that life is not static but cyclic. An alert mind can view the fleeting glimpses of life as the universe is ever involved in the process of rejection and renewal. Man is a part of the environment in which he lives.

In his poem ‘Bachcha’ (The Child), Zafar has, perhaps unconsciously, alluded to the omnipresence of the spirit of evolution and extension. This is the secret which is manifest everywhere but eludes the comprehension of the over-wrought humanity. There is no tranquillity to enable a person to listen to the music that emanates from the cords of affection that bind ‘each to each’.

The child is not merely a member , it is the pivot of the whole family. Its presence is felt not only in a room but in the whole house. It throbs and vibrates in all the things in every nook and corner.


A display of traditional attire
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 24
It was a day with a difference for the fashion conscious women of the city. Forgetting all that is in vogue now-a-days, it was their turn to look traditional and ethnic. So, decked up with heavy antique jewellery, they participated in a beauty contest organised by VLCC at Sutlej Club here today. Members from over five ladies clubs participated in inter-club ‘Mrs VLCC Ethnic’ contest.

The five ladies clubs which participated in the contest included Niharika, Triveni, Ramgarhia, Gayatri and Geetanjli clubs. The contestants presented a true picture of “Punjabi mutiaar” wearing “saggi phul, tikka, sing tabiti, punjabi jutti, phulkari and bagh”. They were carrying “gagar, chajj, baltoi and pakhi.”

The contest was divided in two categories. Sandeep from Niharika Ladies Club was adjudged ‘Mrs VLCC Ethnic’ and Aman Bassan from Triveni Club and Sabina from Geetanjli Ladies Club were declared first and second runners-up, respectively, in below 35 year age group.

Jasmeet of Niharika Ladies Club was adjudged ‘Mrs VLCC Ethnic’ and Ravneet Arora of Gayatri and Shaheen from Niharika ladies club were declared first and second runners up respectively in the over 35 age group.

Aman, Sabina, Sudha, Sandeep, Sheetal and Rameet walked on the ramp in an elegant manner. The participants wore “salwar-kameez” with embroided dupattas. Aman, a participant from Triveni club, said," I feel good. The dress I am wearing, was worn by my mother-in-law on her wedding. We should respect our values, traditions and culture”.

A talent hunt round was also organised in which the contestants sang “boliyan” and Punjabi songs. Ms Jasmeet sang a Punjabi number “ainve na lareya kar, tere sehreyan naal viyahi haan” was appreciated by the audience.

According to Jasmeet, the winner of the crown, the Punjabi woman was an embodiment of beauty, hardwork, love and sacrifice. Due to her patience, she is able to get all the love and affection from her husband, parents, in-laws and society.

Another participant, a mother of two children said, “We should encourage our children to respect our traditions and rich culture”.

The three judges were Ms Archna Sarup, Ms Manjula Jain and Ms Neera Aggarwal. The prizes were sponsored by VLCC.



Shruti declared Summer Queen
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 24
The annual function of the Maharani Ladies Club was held at a restaurant in Model Town, today, where a ‘Summer Queen’ contest got underway.

Members of various age groups took part in the contest. Some of the contestants looked ethnic and graceful in sarees in pastel summery shades.

The contest was divided into three rounds. Ms Shruti Kapoor, a newly married club member, was declared the Summer Queen while Ms Rimpi Khurana and Ms Nidhi Saluja were declared first and second runners up, respectively. Ms Navneet was given the ‘Mrs Graceful’ title for her winning smile.



Villagers seek inauguration of exchange
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 24
On a call given by the Kirti Kisan Union, residents of Manuke, Deharke, Bhamipura and Bassuwal villages staged a dharna outside the office of General Manager (Telephones) demanding an early commissioning of the Manuke exchange, here today.

Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, state president of the union, while addressing the protesters, said the inauguration of the exchange had been delayed unnecessarily due to a political tussle. He said the building for the exchange had been completed and air conditioners installed.

He said the exchange machine had also been lying there for the past one year. But since the sarpanch of the village belonged to the Badal group, he did not want the exchange to operate from a building belonging to his political rival.

Earlier, when a deputation called upon the GM (Telephones) on April 23, he had assured that the bigger exchange would start functioning from May 10. But in the petty political battle the exchange has remained a non-starter so far compelling the villagers to adopt an agitational approach.


Amarinder’s 7-point programme hailed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 24
Congress functionaries have welcomed the seven-point programme for trade and industry, announced by Capt Amarinder Singh, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, during an interaction with members of trade and representatives of civic bodies.

In a joint statement here today, Mr Pawan Diwan, chairman, Urban Development Cell of Indian Youth Congress, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, secretary, PPCC and several others observed that the SAD-BJP government had betrayed the electorate by refusing to fulfill its poll promise of octroi abolition.

The commitment of the PPCC President to abolish octroi, transit pass, sales tax check barriers and providing single window service to industry in case Congress regained power, would spell a new era of development and prosperity for the trade and industry.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Congress activists, presided over by Mr Kanwardeep Singh Pappi here last evening condemned the ‘sangat darshan’ programmes being held by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, all over the state.

Commenting on the deteriorating law and order situation in the city, Mr Anil Kumar Pappi said a dharna by acting president of the ruling party (SAD-B) at the residence of the SSP, was ample proof of failure of the government on all fronts and breakdown of the law enforcement agencies.



Arrest criminals, demands association
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 23
Members of the Truck and Bus Bodybuilders Association, Sirhind, held a strike today in protest against the failure of the Sirhind police to nab a gang of robbers who looted goods from their workshops and injured a few employees recently.

A delegation of the association led by Mr Balraj Sood, president of the local BJP unit, and Mr Varinder Rattan, general secretary of the association, met the SSP and presented a memorandum in this regard.

The association, in a memorandum, alleged that earlier also six such incidents had occurred and the robbers had not only injured them, but had also looted tyres worth lakhs of rupees. They have alleged that the police had failed to solve any of the robbery case. They said if such incidents continued their business would be affected. They demanded that all theft and looting cases should be transferred to CIA staff and the night patrolling should be intensified.



League’s plea to SGPC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 24
Lieut-Col C.S. Dhillon, president, Indian Ex-Services League (Punjab and Chandigarh), has appealed to the SGPC to ensure that the families of those Sikh Armymen who had left their barracks in the wake of “Operation Bluestar” are ‘given all benefits of sustenance and their children are looked after and brought up as proud citizens’.

In a press note issued here today, Colonel Dhillon said the 17th anniversary of “Operation Bluestar”, was approaching. The Sikhs in India and all over the world observe the day as prayer day. It was incumbent on all faithfuls to accord foremost place in prayers to those soldiers who left barracks in the wake of the operation. They emulated the sacrifice of Baba Deep Singh and marched toward the centre of their faith exposed and unprotected, with the only aim to glorify the solemn oath they had taken at the time of their entry to the Army. Their act was in the true spirit of the Khalsa traditions and their sacrifice deserved an important place in the prayer of the community, he added.



Bonsai is a passion with him
Our Correspondent

A rare variety of peepal in a small pot.
A rare variety of peepal in a small pot.

MR Ranjit Singh Chakkal, a local resident, has achieved the distinction of having the largest collection of bonsai in the region. Bonsai, the Chinese word originates from two words- ‘bon’ and ‘sai’. ‘Bon’ means the pot and ‘Sai’ means the plant. Bonsai means the plants collected in pots or flat trays. He has planted over 300 bonsai plants. Today, he claims with pride that some of the plants are more than 30 years old.

Mr Chakkal, an auto engineer by profession, says, “It is not everybody’s cup of tea. The growth of the plant depends on the total control of shapes. The particular shapes are maintained through regular cutting, pruning and watering”.

He has a huge collection of unique and different plants of neem, peepal, reetha, aamla, narangi, seetaphal, chakotra, chandni, apple, pomegranate, almond, plum, guava, fig, bil and many more. He say some of his collections are so unique that people have offered him up to Rs 30,000 for one plant. But he says,” These are not just the plants but are my babies and I can not sell them”.

Mr Chakkal says people have a misconception about growing peepal at homes. “But peepal is the only tree which gives fresh air equivalent to 10 airconditioners. The leaves of the tree are used in several medicines”. He has recently developed a composite plant of seven varieties of peepal, neem, bargad, pilkan, gular, bill and anaar.

“I feel very happy to see the seven varieties of plants developed in a single pot. A lot of hard work was done to create such a rare variety”, says Dr Chakkal.

He hardly goes out of station because of his true love for rare varieties of trees and shrubs and if he goes out once in a while nurseries are the first place to visit.



Sarabha’s renovated house inaugurated
Tribune News Service

The newly renovated house of Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha which was formally dedicated to the state at a function held at Sarabha village on Thursday. — Photo Inderjit Verma 

Ludhiana, May 24
The newly renovated house of Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha was formally dedicated to the state at a function held in Sarabha village today on the occasion of the martyr’s birth anniversary.

Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister, inaugurated the house in the presence of Punjab Mata Jagdish Kaur and Mr Narsher Singh, the only living relatives of the martyr.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Garcha said we should try to follow the path shown by the martyr. He said his ideals should be preserved and nurtured. Mr Garcha also informed the gathering of the future programmes of the government to convert the house into a museum.

Mr S.R. Kaler, ADC, was also present on the occasion. Interestingly, the officials of the District Public Relations Department were conspicuous by their absence in the function.



Bank employees hold demonstration
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 24
On a nationwide call given by the United Forum of Bank Union, nearly 250 employees, including officers, working in branches of nationalised bank in the district gathered in front of Punjab National Bank’s branch at Sirhind yesterday and held a demonstration in protest against the non-acceptance of their demands.

In a joint press note issued by the Zonal Secretary, Punjab Bank Employees Federation, and the President, PBEF, Sirhind unit, said the employees were demanding release of salary arrears.



Corruption in PSEB alleged
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, May 24
Mr Dalip Singh Pandhi, former minister, alleged that the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) had kept Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, in the dark about the poor financial state of the board. Mr Pandhi, who was here to attend a social function, alleged that corruption was rampant in the board and a scam worth Rs 50 lakh had been unearthed. Talking to mediapersons Mr Pandhi added, “the costs of coal supplied to three thermal plants in the state, which generate about 22000 MW electricity for the state, were not paid and the balance has piled upto such an extent, where the companies may refuse further supply of the coal and whereas the board has no money to make the payments. At such a stage, the state will have to face a crisis”. 


PM’s resignation sought
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 24
The Tehelka episode has exposed the misdeeds of the BJP Government and instead of resigning, the Prime Minister has given clean chit to all those involved in this incident. This was stated by Bibi Pritam Arora, vice-president, All-India Mahila Congress, while addressing a protest rally at Sirhind yesterday.


BSP deputation meets DC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 24
A deputation of the Bahujan Samaj Party led by its secretary of the Punjab unit, Mr Gurdial Singh, met the Deputy Commissioner today seeking fresh investigation into the murder of Harbilas in mysterious circumstances in a factory.


Middle-aged man found dead
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 24
A middle-aged debt-ridden man, who allegedly had bitter relations with his parents, wife and in-laws, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in front of his shop near a temple in Daresi Ground market early this morning.

The police, according to its preliminary investigations, registered a case of abetment to suicide against unknown persons on the statement of Ms Sumitra, mother of the deceased. The police said it seemed that the deceased, Bharat Bhushan, had consumed some poisonous substance and there was no foul play. Further investigations on different aspects of his life had been started and the FIR could be amended accordingly.

According to Ms Sumitra, the deceased was not living with them or his wife. The police said the man was a habitual drinker and was not on good terms with any of his relatives. His weak financial condition also seemed to have compounded his frustration.

Inquiries revealed that the man was running a shop in the Kapoor Market and was selling oils. Apart from spending his earnings on drinking, he was allegedly regularly investing in lotteries as well. He suffered a huge loss recently and was under debt.

Other shopkeepers of the market said a money-lender had locked his shop five days ago as he was not able to pay off the debt. Mr Kamal Sharma, a shopkeeper, said his body, lying on a cot, was spotted at about 6 a.m. by some passersby. Soon a crowd gathered there. A part of the market adjacent to the man’s shop was closed till afternoon.



Former coop society secy booked
Our Correspondent

Khanna, May 24
The Khanna police has registered a case against a former secretary of the Pawat Cooperative Agriculture Service Society Hedian on the charges of cheating and fraud of about Rs 2,50,000.

The SSP Khanna said the Assistant Registrar of Cooperative Societies Samrala lodged a complaint that Charnjit Singh , secretary of the society, had not deposited Rs 90,300 in the account of the society, and had fraudulently withdrawn Rs 80,000 from time to time, which was not entered in the ledger. He defrauded the society of Rs 67,000 in 1999. A case has been registered. The accused was still at large.



Car mechanic booked for theft
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 24
A car mechanic who has a service centre on the Ferozepure road has been booked on the charges of stealing a resident’s car given to him for repair.

According to the police, Dr Swaran Singh, a resident of Adarsh Colony, had sent his car (PB-02G-4800) for repair to Gurjit Service Centre. He complained that Gurjit Singh, owner of the service centre, came to his house later and told him that his car had been repaired and was parked outside his house. The complainant alleged that after some time, he came out to see his car, but was surprised not to see his car.

Travel agent booked
John Masih, a travel agent, has been booked by the police for duping a villager of Rs 1.80 lakh on the promise of sending him abroad. The police said Surjit Singh, a resident of Mand Udhowal village, had complained to the police that the travel agent had taken the amount from him on the plea of sending him abroad. Neither was he sent abroad nor was his money returned. The accused was yet to be arrested.

House burgled
Mr Subhash Jindal, a resident of Agar Nagar, complained to the police that his house was burgled last evening by some unknown persons, who decamped with valuables and house- hold items.

He said the burglars entered his house by breaking open the kitchen window. The locks of the almirah were also broken. The police has registered a case.

Dowry case
The police booked Kewal Krishan, a resident of Fatehgarh Colony, on the complaint of his wife, Ms Meenakshi. She had alleged that her husband was harassing her to bring more dowry. No arrest has been made so far.

Woman set afire
A newly-wed woman was admitted to the CMC & H yesterday with serious burn injuries. The police booked a number of members of her in-law’s family, who as per her statement, tried to burn her to death.

She said her in-laws doused kerosene on her and set her on fire. A case of attempt to murder and dowry has been registered against her in-laws. No arrest has been made so far. 


Plot allottees defrauded
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 24
About 200 buyers in Jai Shakti Nagar in Basti Jodhewal have been left in the lurch by a builder who is alleged to have fled after allotting them the plots they have purchased from him. Most of these plot holders today approached the Deputy Commissioner, seeking his help to get ownership rights of the plots, for which, they claimed, they had paid the money to the coloniser.

The residents, who did not wish to be identified, alleged that they had purchased the plots of various sizes from the builder about five years ago. While the coloniser executed the sale deed in favour of about 50 holders, he had signed an agreement with the others.

The coloniser had reportedly purchased the land from a farmer. The said farmer was allegedly harassing the plot holders and preventing them from starting construction on their plots. He allegedly hired some goons and was threatening to evict all those who possessed only the signed agreement with the coloniser.

While the coloniser was reportedly absconding, the farmer who originally owned the land was demanding Rs 200 per square yard more from each of the plot holders to allow any construction. The farmer, belonging to Jamalpur area, allegedly visited the colony daily to threaten the plot holders.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |