Monday, June 18, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Marriage palace owner deposes before Chief Secretary
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
Mr Vijay Kumar, owner of the Megha Resorts which was demolished on June 5, today named Mr Shridhar Milawat of the Milawat and Milawat Company as the person who had offered to procure a ‘no objection certificate’ and to get the electricity supply restored to the marriage palaces served with demolition notices in June, 1999.

It is learnt that Mr Kumar, while deposing before the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, has claimed in a written representation, “One Mr Shridhar Milawat of Milawat and Mialwat Company came to us. He assured us to bring a letter from the Defence Ministry in favour of us, which would be valid as long as the Akali-BJP government stayed in power, for Rs 20 lakh”. The Chief Secretary is probing the allegations made in a newspaper report that some officials in the Chief Minister’s office were also involved in the case. Elaborating further, he said that Mr Milawat reportedly told them that Rs five lakhs were for the restoration of electricity connection and Rs 15 lakhs for the NOC.

He said, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal then an Akali MP from Ludhiana, arranged a meeting between him and the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. According to Mr Kumar, Mr Badal ordered Mr K. Shiva Prasad, the then Additional Deputy Commissioner, on telephone to release the connection. “And this was confirmed by Mr Shiva Prasad to me on mobile phone”, he revealed.

Surprisingly, the next morning Mr Milawat reportedly rang him up and warned that unless he (Mr Vijay Kumar) paid Rs five lakh to him, the connection would not be restored. Mr Vijay Kumar talked to Mr Shiva Prasad and also gave him the telephone number of Mr Milawat. Mr Kumar said in his representation, “Mr Prasad who had confirmed the restoration of electricity connection last evening told me that Mr Goyal, the then Deputy Commissioner, had kept the file somewhere and he had gone for training. So the connection could not be restored”. He added, “Till date I fail to understand who is the person who could overrule the CM’s orders”.

However, Mr Shridhar Milawat has denied these charges saying that his name was unnecessarily being dragged into the controversy, as he had refused to invest in their business. He told Ludhiana Tribune on telephone that he had no connection in the bureaucratic or political circles. However, he admitted that some of the palace owners had approached him for investing in their business which he had refused as he knew that these palaces fell within the restricted area.

Mr K. Shiva Prasad, the then Additional Deputy Commissioner Ludhiana who is currently the Deputy Commissioner of Jalandhar, refused to make any comments. He said since the case was under investigation and the Chief Secretary was inquiring into the matter it was not proper on his part to make any comments.

Mr Vijay Kumar when contacted also refused to divulge anything saying that whatever he had to say, he had given it in writing to the Chief Secretary. He hoped the government could fix the responsibility and find out the truth.

On the other hand the Chief Secretary said that he was here today on a specific job to inquire into the allegations against the CMO. “You can say that today I am here on a fact finding mission”, he remarked. He said that he had talked to most of the marriage palace owners. He clarified that the inquiry he was conducting today was on the specific orders of the Chief Minister and was different from that ordered by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He said he would be soon submitting his findings to the Chief Minister.

He said that he would complete the inquiry (ordered by the High Court) by September 30 as desired by the court and in case the need be action would be initiated against those found guilty and the action-taken report would also be submitted before the court by October 8.

The Chief Secretary also refused to comment on the charges of selective demolition of the marriage palaces saying such questions should be asked to the local authorities who had acted on the orders of the court.


Police to hold sangat darshans
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
All those having complaints which require police action or contains allegation of police inaction in a case will soon have a platform to air their grievances. On the lines of a weekly sangat darshan presently organised by the Deputy Commissioner, the SSPs of Ludhiana, Khanna and Jagraon police districts will also chair such programme every week shortly.

Disclosing this to Ludhiana Tribune here today, Mr Suresh Arora, the new Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Ludhiana Range, said he had given orders to the SSPs in his range for holding sangat darshans in order to mitigate problems of the public. The DIG will also organise two sangat darshans every month in his office in which complaints not attended properly by the SSPs would be taken up. Cases of all the ranges can be sent to him.

The decision was one of the several measures discussed and decided in a recent meeting of the DIG with the senior police officials. Sources said the need for holding such programmes had arisen following allegations of inaccessibility levelled against various senior police officials. Recent cases of police highhandedness and torture had spread panic among the masses. The urgency to initiate people friendly measures was thus being felt.

The DIG has also directed the police to install complaint boxes at various places in the city in which those persons who fear going to a police station or want to make a complaint against an SHO or some senior police official can put their complaints. The DIG said he would post special staff to open such boxes and would at times do it himself to instil confidence among the public.

A proposal of restructuring or re-demarcating the boundaries of the existing police stations in the Ludhiana city has also been mooted. The DIG said there were only 15 police stations in the city and a proposal to increase the number of police stations had been sent to the government and was likely to be accepted shortly.

New posts of DSP were also being created in the city. Mr Arora said “At present a DSP has to lookafter a population of 4 lakh which was a difficult job”. He said the exact number of posts was yet to be decided.

The DIG said he had learnt that one of the major reasons for increase in crime rate was the posting of several ‘out-stations’ police officers in the city. He said the performance of such officers was being analysed and if found unsatisfactory they would be transferred.

In a related case, he said that it had come to his notice that several ORP rank officers were holding plum postings as DSPs or SHOs. He was also reviewing the performance of such officers.

Talking about individual cases, he said that he was studying the Haibowal custodial death case and the mysterious disappearance of a youth Jaswinder Anokha from Basant Nagar in the city. In both the cases police personnel were the accused.


Blasting summer disco way
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, June 17
Day — Saturday
Place —
A big spacious hall of a five- star hotel with huge gleaming chandeliers twinkling and blinking mischievously in the psychedelia lights.

Occasion — A most happening party arranged as promotional drive by a famous two-wheeler and a liquor company

Time — 8 p.m. onwards.

Dress code —Informal

Scene (outside) — Gleaming cars trying to find parking space. The motley crowd entering the big portals amidst tight securities. No partners, no entry. Many desolate boys hanging outside for want of partners in spite of the magic entry ticket.

Scene (inside) — The whole ball room hall is beginning to fill up with motley crowd. People of all ages and sizes are jostling along. Surprise! Surprise! a lot of small children from ages three to 10 are romping along. Children are to be in bed and not on dance floor, one would think. But the doting parents were carrying their apple of eyes in the arms.

The dance floor getting packed by the minute. The experienced and popular D.J. Bhanu played a new music album.

The opening song ‘Are you Ready’ followed by popular number of Hans Raaj Hans ‘Akh lad gayee’ to ‘Sexy Eyes’ had the crowd swaying excitedly on the dance floor. No one seemed to mind being shoved on the floor as it was to crowded. For the next hour was the hour of the dancers who danced on ‘techno’ and ‘house’. From midnight it was our Punjabi pop all the way.

Music became more betsy, thumping the feet of the dancers twirled, the hands raised in elation with the sheer pleasure of doing their own thing. Gone were the inhibitions, any restraints, any fetters, any constrains and repressions. All the dancers seemed to be in a trance in a world of fantasy where music transported them in a altogether a different plane.

The young dressed in very trendy micro-minis seemed to be least oblivious of the looks they received. Some were in tight skirts, while others in the sedate ‘salwar suits’ and some came draped in sarees.The boys with gelled-hair, with thick gold chains, a stud in their ears, swaggered on to dance floors with glasses in their hands. Mercifully the liquor company wasn’t offering free drinks.

The Punjabi palate is always tickled by ‘chicken tikkas, tandori chicken, paneer tikkas’ The smoke added new dimensions to the ‘Summer Blast’.

“The party was a great fun. We really freaked out. We think such ‘blasts ‘ give youngsters like us to practice our dance steps. The best thing about such parties is that our parents can come along. They enjoy the good food and feel happy that we are under their watchful eyes. So the whole family is happy,”said Mukkta, who had come with her family and friends.

Ms Jugnu said they were happy that kids were allowed as they did not know where to leave their kids. “Of course, we cannot dance as freely as when we were newly married. But still it is fun to revive our courtship days”.


PUDA washes hands off its colonies, MC refuses to take over
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 17
Residents of several colonies, developed by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), in the city are in a peculiar situation. They are at a loss to decide as to who is responsible for the maintenance of the colonies since the PUDA authorities assert that the colonies — Urban Estate Phase I and Phase II on the Dugri Road, Sector 32, 38 and 29 on the Chandigarh Road stand transferred to the Municipal Corporation while the MC administration refuses to own the colonies, at least for the time being.

While the residents of these colonies are in a dilemma and have nobody to turn towards for urgent maintenance work, particularly, in case of disruption in essential services like water supply and sewerage, the PUDA and the MC authorities are busy passing the buck and refusing to own up the responsibility of maintenance of civic amenities and other infrastructure in these colonies.

The Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr G. Ramesh Kumar, while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, said that as a matter of routine, the colonies developed by the PUDA were transferred to the civic body after a period of five years and in the same way these PUDA colonies had been handed over to the MC. The PUDA, he added, had also paid the first installment of Rs 82 lakh from out of the charges payable to the MC on account of takeover, as agreed between the officials of PUDA and the MC at a high-level meeting.

However, the MC administration claimed that the process of takeover of these PUDA colonies was yet to be completed. Certain MC officials pointed out that as on date, there was a technical hitch in the way. The item relating to takeover of these PUDA colonies was brought before the MC General House meeting on May 18 through a supplementary agenda. Though the agenda, carrying nine items, including the controversial ‘elevated road project’ was approved amid uproar following a dharna by BJP councillors within the House, the state government had later stayed the entire supplementary agenda and the MC was asked to get these items approved by the House under the rules.

According to Mr B.R. Kaushal, president, Urban Estate Residents Welfare Society, the residents of these PUDA colonies were made to go from pillar to post even for minor problems and at least for the present, there was nobody to listen and redress the grievances of these hapless people.

Focussing on the sad state of basic amenities and other infrastructure, he said the roads were in a pathetic state, what with potholes, broken patches and deep depressions, which made driving on these roads difficult if not impossible. Main roads and bylanes had non-functional streetlights, posing grave risk to life and property of the residents. Further, the sanitation level left much to be desired. No provision had been made for garbage containers or pits and removal of household refuse, with the result that rubbish and heaps of garbage, scattered all over these colonies, was a common sight and the residents were put to great health risks.

Several localities in these colonies experienced acute scarcity of water, almost on a permanent basis and complaints of choked and overflowing sewers were common. Other major problems, which needed to be addressed immediately, were development of cremation ground in Phase II, providing a second bridge on the Sidhwan Canal to link Southern Bypass and creation of adequate facilities for schools, public health units, community centre, shopping complexes and stadia.


Can music therapy cure FMD?
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
While veterinarians and scientists the world over are deliberating on the ways to effectively curb the foot and mouth disease (FMD), a tribe from Rajasthan is minting money from ‘gullible’ farmers of the district by claiming to cure the disease by playing music before the cattle.

Sounds unbelievable, but it is true. Several farmers, especially in the Samrala belt of the district, are having a sound sleep these days confident that the effects of sarangi, a musical instrument, and songs based on “Heer-Ranjha,” the famous folklore of the state, have made the cattle immune to the disease unmindful of the danger lurking ahead.

The experts at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and the veterinarians have been advising the farmers time and again that the only cure of FMD is its prevention. No other remedy except the vaccination can help prevent the disease. But these farmers without thinking of the consequences change to provide their cattle with “music therapy” which costs them much more than the vaccine.

The tribals hailing from Rajasthan come every year to this part of the state whenever there are cases of the dreaded FMD and get spread in villages in groups. A group usually comprises four persons including one playing sarangi and the rest of them singing Heer-Ranjha in Rajasthani.

They keep roaming in villages and look for cattle suffering from “mooh khur di bimari” (FMD) and rush to the farmers whose cattle suffer from it. The already nervous farmers fall prey to their claims when they say that the remedy is tried and tested since years down in Rajasthan. It takes 15 minutes for them to play music before each animal and the remuneration is taken in kind. Many farmers have to feed the “musicians” regularly for many days if the disease caught by the cattle is in the advanced stage.

Bahadur Singh, the leader of such a group, met Ludhiana Tribune in Todderpur village near Samrala. Adorning Rajasthani dress and turban he claimed that his music had treated many cattle suffering from FMD. The underlying theory that he gave for the curing properties of the folklore was that Ranjha stole buffaloes from the house of Heer and many of these fell sick and died in the absence of Heer. “So whenever there is an ailing buffalo we make it listen to this music and it is cured,” he said.

He said that he had been visiting various villages including Khirnia, Mushaqbad and Jhar Sahib for the past three years and claimed that he had cured many sick animals. Most of the farmers of these villages were aware of the therapy and believed in it, he said. However, one of the farmers, Mr Ralla Singh, told Ludhiana Tribune that only last year his cow had died in front of this man while he was playing music, contradicting all claims of the tribal.

The experts at PAU said there was no such therapy that could cure FMD. They said it was a viral disease and only secondary infection could be treated. Dr R.S. Sahota, a scientist from the Department of Livestock Pest Management said that he had also heard of many such cases. He said that he had been educating farmers against the therapy.

Dr Sahota said that instead of spending on this therapy, the farmers should go in for vaccination that costs only Rs 30 per cattle per year. He said that this was the only prevention for the disease.


Protest over liquor vend opening
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
Residents of Maha Singh Nagar Colony have taken to the streets in protest against the opening of a liquor vend in the area. Led by representatives of different political parties, the residents has been sitting in dharna since late last night outside the liquor vend and just near the Dabba police post when the owners tried to open it.

Talking to reporters this morning, the representatives, which include activists of the Congress and the Shiv Sena, and interestingly of the All India Sikh Students Federation (Badal), a youth wing of the ruling Shrimoni Akali Dal, said they were opposing the opening of the vend as it was located close to religious places.

The representatives said they had been opposing the opening of the vend for the past one month when they learnt about it and had sent representations to the police authorities in this regard. However, to their surprise, they saw owners packing the shop with liquor bottles last evening.


Badal’s sangat darshan a ‘desperate attempt’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 17
Congress and Youth Congress activists have scoffed at the ‘sangat darshan’ programme of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, saying that the people were being misled and taken for a ride.

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee General Secretary, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, said in a statement here today that the ruling party would not be able to woo the electorate through distribution of largess in an indiscriminate and haphazard manner. “Even otherwise what Mr Badal is doing (distribution of development grants) is the job of the DDPO or the BDPO. The Chief Minister is rather lowering the dignity of his office by spot distribution of grants in violation of all norms and procedures.”

Mr Gill observed that the SAD-BJP coalition government having failed to fulfill its poll promises, particularly those made to urban masses, during the past four years, was now resorting to populist measures like ‘sangat darshan’, in which massive funds from the state exchequer were being squandered away. The sangat darshan, he added, was nothing but a desperate attempt by the ruling coalition to win back the support of the people of Punjab, who had drifted away as a result of anti-people and short-sighted policies of the government.

Commenting on the dismal economic scenario, he said the industry, particularly the small and tiny sector, was passing through a severe recession and liquidity crunch, unemployment among industrial workers was mounting and the agriculture sector was virtually clueless to tackle the production glut as well as the WTO regime.

He was confident that the people would not be misguided by populist steps being taken by the government, which, more or less were part of a well- thought out exercise to cover up both the ‘misdeeds and inaction’ of the government machinery during the past four years of Badal regime. “The Congress is all set to make a comeback and people of Punjab are desperate to get rid of the SAD-BJP combine in coming elections,” he claimed.

In a separate statement, Mr Sumit Batish, general secretary, Punjab Youth Congress, has echoed similar sentiments. He said Mr Badal, having sensed the mood of the electorate, was making a last ditch attempt to remain in power by distribution of massive development grants in ‘sangat darshan’ programmes. The SAD-BJP combine had betrayed the masses as far as keeping poll promises was concerned and several welfare schemes, announced with great fanfare, were put on the back burner.


Kids want more entertainment places
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 17
“Where shall we take our friends from Los Angles for entertainment? They have been telling us of the wonderful places of entertainment specially designed and devised for the children back home. There are gardens, skating rinks, libraries, fun games, dolphin shows and many other sources of entertainment for the children,” said Annu to her mother.

When one looks at the big sprawling city of Ludhiana, one does realise that there are hardly any places of entertainment meant specially for children. The Rose Garden which had boasted of swings of different kinds and a pond for pedal boats which the children frequented and loved to be there are defunct now, “The pedal boats have gone and so have the swings. Instead people with small swings are doing brisk business by attracting a large number of children who are taken to the Rose Garden because there is hardly any place worth its name that is specially meant for the children of Ludhiana. “We have to spend a lot of money on the swings whereas earlier the children enjoyed the swings inside the garden without paying any money,” says Meenu, a mother of two kids.

“The planetarium in the garden which was so useful for the children has also been shut down. God knows for what reasons. In the holidays, the children of our relatives from Kangra used to enjoy seeing the stars and planets moving and found it the most exhilarating experience. But now that pleasure has been denied to the children too,” says Arun.

“There is a small mini train which runs in the Rakh Bagh and is quite a favourite with my children. The ride on the train was a must for my Nitesh every Sunday but now Nitesh is bored with the same old train. He feels that a new more exciting train should be put on rails,”said Neeta.

The kids are at a loss as to where to go during their summer vacation or on holidays. Of course, the Tiger Safari is one place where the children love going. It is quite exciting for children to see the tigers bathing and roaming freely from the windows of the van. Sidharth and Ridhima after a visit to the safari said, “We have seen the tigers in a zoo. But it was exciting to see the tigers sleeping under the bushes to protect himself from the fierce sun. We enjoyed seeing the tigers bathing in the pool. It was a very thrilling experience.” But a few privileged children can reach the safari as it is located quite far .

The Hardy’s World generated quite a lot of excitement in the hearts of Ludhiana children as they had seen in the advertisement Essel World and had wanted a similar thing. “When I went in the train of Hardy’s World, I was shocked to find many boats, cars and other broken object lying strewn all around. It seemed like a junk yard. Obviously the things were not being well maintained. Over the period of many years, only water sport has been included,” says Anita, who visited Hardy’s World after a couple of years with her guests.

The ‘traffic park’ for the children is quite a favourite. It is quite educative too as children while driving learn the rules of road safety. But it is only one park of its kind and the city needs many more. There was a children’s library in the traffic park but it has been under renovation.

“The children do not know what to do during their holidays as Ludhiana does not have much to offer to them. The only other alternative is to watch TV all the time which is not good for the children anyway. The need of hour is to channalise the energy of children by providing them with sports complexes, parks, museums, libraries. The Shastri Hall was popular with the children fond of learning badminton and table tennis but there, too, the students have stopped going as there are hardly any coaches to provide them with training, “ says Fang.


Residents compliment Mayor, councillor
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 17
Residents of Shaheed Karnail Singh Nagar (Phase II) on the Pakhowal road in the city, have complimented area councillor Giani Baldev Singh and city Mayor Mr Apinder Singh Grewal for speedy completion of various projects, as for ongoing and proposed development works in the locality.

A meeting of the welfare society of the colony placed on record that water supply in the area had tremendously improved with the commissioning of the new tubewell, the parks were being beautified and landscaped, the work for providing streetlights was in progress and a large number of saplings were planted to expand green cover and make the locality pollution free.

Giani Baldev Singh, councillor, while speaking on the occasion informed that stores for streetlight project had been issued and work would be completed soon. The sewerage project for the colony will be taken up on priority and construction of the proposed stadium would commence soon. He made a particular mention of city Mayor A.S. Grewal, who, he said was keenly pursuing the development works in the city and making special efforts for development of outer wards.

Major Sher Singh Aulakh, president of the society, as well as Mr Harkirat Singh, former member, PSEB, Col Gurmeet Singh and Mr D.S. Pamal, former sarpanch showered praise on the Mayor for his vision, foresight and dedication, which they added, had changed the face of the city. They also made a fervent appeal that work for the proposed flyover from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema be taken up immediately in order to tackle the needs of increasing traffic congestion.

Prominent among those present in the meeting were Mr Inderjit Singh Sekhon, Mr M.S. Brar, Mr Sohan Singh, Mr Bhajan Singh Gill, mr Hardev Singh, Mr Tarlok Singh, Mr Amarjeet Singh and Mr Sajjan Singh.


Theft by patent office alleged
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, June 17
Mr Rachhpal Singh Gill, a local inventor, has accused the patent office in New Delhi of ‘stealing’ one of his inventions, thus denying him the right to get it patented. The patent office has reportedly told Mr Gill that he did not follow the proper procedure in submitting his application for getting patented his invention pertaining to a device that prevents birds getting sucked in by an aircraft engine. While all necessary papers submitted by him have been returned ‘after scrutiny’ he apprehends that his invention would be sold for a price.

Mr Gill has, in an open letter to Parliament, claimed that several inventions of Indian inventors were being stolen and sold to people overseas. He has blamed the ‘outdated and obsolete’ patent rules as being responsible for the manipulations that take place in the patent office.

For a backgrounder, in October 1998, Mr Gill went to the patent office in New Delhi to submit one of his inventions for a patent, but he came back without submitting it as a rule of the patent office required him to ‘leave’ his invention along with the application without getting any acknowledgement at the time of giving his application.

It was like leaving money at a bank counter without obtaining a receipt, he said. So he decided to withhold his invention. But he brought two copies of a booklet, “General Information for Filing Patent applications in India” from the office.

Later he decided to send one of his inventions, a device to prevent birds from getting sucked into an aircraft engine during flight, to the patent office. He sent the invention by registered post on March 28 last. But instead of receiving any receipt from the patent office, he got back all the papers on April 13. He says that his invention has been read about by the men in the patent office and they could sell it further and arrange a patent in somebody else’s name. His intellectual property had been stolen, he alleged.

Mr Gill said that after having failed to draw any response from the Prime Minister’s office after repeated attempts, he was requesting members of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha to permit him to publish three of his inventions in Indian newspapers without losing his right to get a patent for the same. The inventions include a water pressure turbine for use in hydro-electric dams, capable of producing at least double the power than the conventional turbines, a rotary engine with revolving piston and a crankshaft without wheel.


Rattan’s ‘Teesra Banvaas’ “simple, penetrating”
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, June 17
“I chose the name ‘Teesra Banvaas’ for the book of my anthology because I was inspired by the title ‘Doosra Banvaas’ a powerful poem written by the famous Urdu poet, ‘Kaifi Azmi’,” said Nirpinder Rattan, the poet-bureaucrat at Punjabi Bhawan today, while speaking to Ludhiana Tribune. Many eminent poets, writers, playwrights had attended the function to discuss the book of anthology ‘Teesra Banvas’ by Nirpinder Rattan . The function was organised by Punjab Sahitya Akademi at Punjabi Bhawan this morning.

He further said: “Doosra Banvaas is one of the most powerful poems ever written in my opinion. After the demolition of Babri Masjid, Ram Chander comes to Ayodhya and when he sees the macabre scene of death and destruction, his sorrow is very profound and he crosses the river Suryu and takes exile. He said that when we talk of the first banvaas, all the non-Muslims think of banvaas of Ram Chander for 14 years. The Jews think of Moses being expelled from Egypt whereas Christians think of wanderings of Christ in Jerusalem. Muslims have in their mind the moving of Prophet Mohammad from Mecca to Madina. But I chose the title ‘Teesra Banvaas’ for basically every person is suffering from self-imposed exile or otherwise. Even Guru Nanak Dev has written in Aadi Granth ‘Mann pardesi je thiyya, sab des paraya’. Everyone suffers from feelings of alienation from himself/herself, and when one is alienated from one’s own self, he is alienated from everyone else from society.

Since the exile is only for a limited period, the person comes back. “Similarly, in my poems, despair is followed by hope.”

Nirpinder Rattan is the Financial Secretary and incidentally was the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana some 25 years ago. When asked how he could find time to write poetry and stories, he replied that if one desired to do any thing desperately , one finds time to do it.

Gur Iqbal Singh in his paper on ‘Teesra Banvaas’ said that the poems were simple and penetrating as they were seeped with despair. Gulzar Singh said in his paper that Rattan has conveyed through his poems his poetic sensibilities quite well. Dr. Sukhdev Singh from Panchkula said poems originate from the depth of human heart.Rattan has his hand on the pulse of the people where lakhs of the people have taken ‘banvaas’ not out of any bravado like Ram, but they sit at home and wait for things to happen.

Surjit Pataran eminent Punjabi poet, said that in the prevailing scenario Rattan has been able to communicate with himself and has listened to his own voice without caring what others would label him. He has given vent to his deep feelings. He said, “His poetry has made me face myself and unless one talks with oneself, one cannot do one’s own evaluation. His poetry has rebellion . He has exposed the emptiness and hollowness of the time.”

Waryam Singh Sandhu, Punjab Sahitya Academy, winner said, “When Rattan wrote about bureaucracy, he wrote short stories and his short stories like ‘Gandoya’ has been extremely popular but when he wants to talk about the sorrow, he writes poetry. He has written about pain of separation, death, hunger. Dreams die but Rattan does not give up and the despair turns into hope and hope rules supreme in his poetry.”

Dr Sewak said that the three paper readers had done justice to the poems but Sukhdev had been able to pinpoint the thought process of the poet. He has rightly interpreted his poems that the man is in despair but not helpless and is fighting with himself and an alternative to despair is ‘banvaas’.

Kulwant Jagraon spoke about the sharpness in his poetry where as Mahinderjit Singh Grewal admired his different styles of writing used in different poems. Ms Kanah said, “In every male , there lives a female and vice-versa. In Rattan’s poems I have found female side to be more predominant. Secondly, I found that his poem ‘Mera Ki Kasoor’ very useful for family planning slogan. Being a family planning officer, I am looking for poems that can motivate people to take to family planning. Thirdly, he is more ‘darbari’ than ‘sarkari’ as he talks of palaces etc.

Dr Sukhjit Singh Johal anchored the discussion well, stating that perhaps poetry was born out of arguments either between people or between one’s own conflict.

The other important people present for the discussion were Dr Parminder Singh, general secretary of Punjabi Sahitya Sabha, Waryam Singh Sandhu, Amrik Singh Punni, president, Punjab Sahitya Sabha, Gurbhajan Gill and Janmeja Singh Johal.


Arora assures Baddowal residents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
A delegation of residents of several villages and colonies in the periphery of the Field Ammunition Depot today met the Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, urging him that they may not be harassed with the demolition notices. The Chief Secretary reportedly assured them that justice would be done to everybody.

Talking to reporters after meeting the Chief Secretary, Mr Rajinder Singh, leader of the delegation, said they pointed out to him that they had been living there for years. They pointed out most of them were average middle class people who had put in their lifetime earnings for constructing the house.

They urged the Chief Secretary that the government should take due care of them as they were faced with an uncertain situation after the Punjab and High Court had ordered the demolition of all unauthorised structures falling within the 1,000 yards of the depot.

Mr Rajinder Singh said the Chief Secretary assured them that the government was duly concerned about their situation and they will not be let down. The residents are vigorously fighting against the move to demolish their houses. They have also been staging dharna to protest demolitions.


Jawan’s last rites performed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
Thousands of persons paid tributes to Naib Subedar Mahinder Singh of First Sikh Light Infantry who was cremated with full military honour at Feru Rai village in tehsil Raikot, near here today.

He achieved martyrdom on June 13 in Rajaouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir. He was killed when the militants opened indiscriminate fire on a military party that had gone to hunt them.

Among others, Mr S.R. Kaler, ADC, Mr Jagjit Singh, chairman, Punjab State Small Industries and Export Corporation, Wg Cdr M.S. Randhawa, Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare, also paid tributes to the martyr.

Mahinder Singh was born on April 4, 1966, and is survived by his wife Ms Baljinder Kaur and two brothers, Mr Gurcharan Singh and Mr Dalbara Singh, who are also in the Army.


Residents call on DIG
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
A delegation of city residents led by a BJP leader today met the DIG, Mr Suresh Arora, and submitted a memorandum alleging that five persons arrested by the Division No 5 police on charges of loitering three days ago were framed.

The delegation led by the BJP leader, Mr Inderjit Panchi, alleged that an ASI of the Division No 5 had allegedly snatched away Rs 5,000 from them. The DIG has assured them of looking into the matter.


Swindlers’ gang busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
The sadar police today claimed to have busted a gang of swindlers who used to sell financed vehicles on fake documents and thus dupe both buyers and Finance companies in the process.

SHO Ramandeep Singh said Iqbal Singh and Devinder Kumar, residents of Mohali, had been arrested near Gill village after they had struck a deal of selling two scooters to some persons. He said the two accused used to take finance to buy scooters and later prepare fake documents and then sell them off.

Two scooters have also been recovered from their possession. The police said the involvement of any employee of the Transport Department has not been found so far.


Hosiery centre bereft of civic amenities
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
The Lalumal Street, in the Chaura Bazar, is the main hosiery trading centre of the city. Starting with two to three shops in the mid- sixties, it has developed in to a full-fledged whole sale and retail hosiery market over the past three decades. About Rs 1000 crore worth of hosiery goods are sold annually from this market and the adjoining Dal Bazar, Fly Bazar, Chawal Bazar and Kachi Gali, to the customers from different parts of the country.

Among the major traders in the market, Nitin, Shahi and Puri Garments have come to known for shawls, Vivek Garments for undergarments, and Puja Knitwear and Collection and Jain Garments for other hosiery goods. The shops of Mr Uttam Jain and Mr DharamPal Thapar’s are said to be the oldest one in the market. Mr Thapar claims that he has been living and working here since 1966. A traders’ association has also recently come up that takes up the problems of the shopkeepers with the Municipal Corporation.

The shopkeepers say that they are paying crores of rupees to the state and Centre Governments, and to the Municipal Corporation, as income tax, sales tax and house tax, but they have not been provided even the basic civic amenities such as public toilets, water supply and proper parking place despite number of complaints to the authorities.

Mr Harish Chander Aggarwal, president, Lalumal Street Traders’ Association, says, ‘‘The Municipal Corporation has not provided any water connection or made any toilets in this area though thousands of customers visit the market daily. The problem is so acute for the female customers and the traders coming from other states that they think twice before coming here.”

He says that shopkeepers are dependent on a sole water tap of the Illaichigiri temple, the oldest one in the area, for drinking water. The others have to buy water for themselves and for customers during the summer season. Some have installed water coolers for this purpose. Mr Sunil Aggarwal of Vivek Garments admits that the trading business has increased manifold over the past many years but facilities have not improved.

The encroachments on the road by the shopkeepers have aggravated the problem. In fact, the shopkeepers say, few years back the Lalumal Street, used to be about 16 feet wide, has now reduced to hardly five feet. Over the years the shopkeepers on both the sides have encroached upon the road by illegally expanding their shops. Almost every shopkeeper keeps his goods and vehicles outside his shop. Even if a rickshaw enters the street, the whole traffic comes to a standstill. Neither the MC nor the association dare to raise this issue despite the fact that business has been affected by the congestion.

Mr Aggarwal admits, “A number of customers of Civil Lines and Model Town area have almost stopped visiting the market. Now due to congestion and lack of parking space, they prefer to buy from the shops on the Mall Road and in the Ghumar Mandi where the rates of hosiery garments are marginally higher than this market.”

Like other shopkeepers, he fears that in the near future the market may lose its historical importance if the administration fails to improve the situation. The market watchers say that the Municipal Corporation should demolish the illegal construction in the market to widen the road. Further, the traffic police can impose one-way traffic from Chaura Bazar to the Lalumal Street that may pass to the Kachi Gali, to restore confidence of the shopkeepers and customers alike.

The other long term and permanent solution, they say, is to develop a master plan with the participation of traders for the whole area. The present shops can be demolished and a new multi-storey commercial complex can be developed as the area is quite near the railway station and is in the centre of the city.


Study on WTO impact sought
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
The Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India (FOTSII) in a memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has sought that the impact of the WTO and liberalisation on the small-scale industry in the country should be thoroughly studied. The federation has claimed that about 50 per cent of the SSI units in the country have become sick or have closed down.

Mr Joginder Kumar, president, FOTSII, a body of about 400 small-scale units in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, said, “The manufacturing units, especially the small scale units, are passing through a bad period due to recession and the flooding of the Indian market by the foreign manufacturers. The industrial growth rate has come down to 2.7 per cent from 6.5 per cent in April 2000-01.” According to the data released by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), the manufacturing sector has suffered a major climb down from 7.1 per cent to 2.7 per cent within a year, he added.

The industry representatives criticised the role of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, which has failed to protect the interests of the small-scale units in the country. In fact, they allege that the 11-member council was dominated by the representatives of big industrial houses. The small units here have contested the claims of the government that there was no adverse impact of the WTO and the opening of the economy and de-reservation on the small-scale units.

Elaborating the impact on small units, Mr Joginder Kumar, said,“The bank officials have been given standing instructions by the management not to provide advances to these units, which are on the brink of closure. The government under the pressure of large-scale units have de-reserved hundreds of items earlier reserved for the small and tiny sector. Further, the cheap imports from China and other countries have severely affected us.”

The FOTSII has urged the PM to instruct the Department of Industries to study the status of the SSI sector and the impact of the WTO on the sector. The government should take remedial steps in view of that study to save the industry that was the backbone of the economy.

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