Saturday, July 14, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Desperate parents get feelers for compromise
Disappearance of youth from police custody
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Wadla (Ludhiana), July 13
Two days after the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered a CBI inquiry into the mysterious disappearance of a youth from the custody of the Sudhar police in April 1991, the aggrieved parents have began receiving feelers from some middlemen to arrive at a compromise on the issue with the police.

Waiting desperately to get knowledge about the fate of their youngest son, Chamkaur Singh, in this village, about 60 km from Ludhiana on the Khanna-Chandigarh road, his father, Mr Harbachan Singh, and mother, Mr Nachinder Kaur, were perplexed on whether to feel happy at the CBI inquiry or take another inquiry into their stride.

‘‘The orders of the CBI inquiry has definitely provided us with a new ray of hope, but we are not sure whether the question mark over the whereabouts of our son will be removed any day’’ said Mr Harbachan Singh talking to Ludhiana Tribune from his residence last evening. With several inquiries by the police and the civil administration, besides the judiciary, unable to answer the question, the parents could not help being too optimistic.

The question mark over their son’s fate had been staring them in the face since April 17, 1991, when he, through a mediator, surrendered before the Sudhar police (Jagraon police district). That was the last day they had seen him. Ever since then, their days started with efforts to learn the whereabouts of their son and ended with despair at receiving no information about him.

Chamkaur Singh’s mother, Ms Nachinder Kaur, said just after the inquiry was marked to the CBI, many middlemen had started visiting the family, asking them to take compensation in the case. The middlemen, expressing sympathy, minced no words in trying to convince them that they had got nothing after running here and there all these years for tracing the missing youth.

The parents claimed the middlemen had advised them to let bygones be bygones and take money to improve the life of their other children, adding that they had been receiving such messages all these years, but were determined to know what happened to their son and bring the guilty to the book.

Tears rolled down her cheeks when Ms Nachinder Kaur recalled the sequence of events. She said Chamkaur was the youngest of their two sons and four daughters. She cursed the day when Chamkaur, an electrical foreman with a company based at Noida, near Delhi, had come to the village to attend her elder brother’s wedding in 1990. She added that bad luck had descended on her home that very day.

Chamkaur’s father revealed that during the wedding, Chamkaur came in contact with some anti-social elements and soon the police started making rounds of their house looking for him. He said even Chamkaur started staying away from his parents. ‘‘However, whenever we met him, we always used to press upon him to surrender before the police if he was doing something wrong ’’.

He said later one of his maternal uncles, Mr Baljit Singh of Manupur village, persuaded him to surrender before the police as he was known to some policemen at Sudhar police station. They arranged for his surrender and Chamkaur surrendered to ASI Dilbagh Singh and Head Constable Harbhajan Singh on April 17, 1991. According to him, the DSP at that time was Harnek Singh, who is SSP Fatehgarh Sahib at present.

Mr Harbachan Singh claimed that the police had told them that he would be released after 10 to 15 days. He said they kept visiting the police stations of Wadla and Sudhar, but could not know anything about their son’s whereabouts. Then they made a request to the DSP Harnek Singh, who told that their son was sent to Sudhar police station after interrogation.

Mr Harbachan Singh said when their village panchayat met SHO Shamsher Singh of the Sudhar police he said the interrogation was not over as yet. For months they heard no news about their son. Ultimately they went to the khula darbar of the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana who ordered an inquiry against the police officials concerned. The SDM of Jagraon was instructed to inquire into the case. They alleged that when the inquiry was going on, various police personnel used to come in large numbers to threaten the old couple.

Mr Harbachan Singh alleged that police had picked him up several times and had threatened him to withdraw the case. When the inquiry could not yield anything, Mr Harbachan Singh knocked at the doors of the judiciary in 1995 and filed a petition in the High Court. He said the HC then sent the case to the Sessions Court in 1999 and asked it to submit the report in one month. The Sessions Court, in its 12-page report, recommended the inquiry by an independent agency into the case. The HC yesterday directed the CBI to inquire into the matter and submit the report.

“We do not deny that our son had set up on a wrong path, but we have the right to know what happened to him,” says Mr Harbachan Singh, adding that whatever his crime was, there was some law in the country under which his son could be tried. “Our only desire is that before breathing our last we want to know what actually happened to Chamkaur and whether the guilty persons were punished for it or not,” the parents added.


Rs 1 crore scandal stares PAU in face
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
While Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is yet to recover from the infamous hostel renovation scandal, another case of mismanagement of funds, amounting to Rs 1 crore, stares the university in its face.

The audit department has rapped the university for not keeping a record of this amount, which was spent by the construction wing of the university on various construction works.

According to an audit memo issued to the PAU by a senior audit officer of the inspection branch, large amounts of advances were paid to various junior engineers and extra-assistant engineers of the university during the past four years, but this was neither adjusted nor accounts tendered.

The memo, a copy of which is with Ludhiana Tribune, has mentioned the names of 12 junior engineers and assistant engineers and has indicated that these advances were paid from years 1996 to 2000.

The Senior Audit Officer (SAO) has also written very clearly in the memo that no other advances should be given unless previous advances were adjusted and account tendered.

But according to the SAO, the university has not followed this practice and has been giving more and more advances to the JEs without bothering the adjustment of the previous ones.

Quoting an instance, the SAO has said that an amount of Rs 71.87 lakh was issued between November 1996 to July 2000 to an engineer but the university authorities have failed to get the accounts adjusted for the past four years. He has also mentioned the name of the engineer concerned in the report.

The memo further says that heavy advances, amounting to Rs 104.30 lakh were still outstanding against various JEs.

The detail of the imprest has been given in an annexure attached with the memo against the names of the JEs concerned.

The SAO has clearly mentioned that the university has not bothered to keep a record of the purpose for which the imprest was given to the officials. He has said that the construction division no.-I did not keep a record of whether the advances were adjusted.

While the Audit Department has suggested the PAU to fix the responsibility on the erring officials who did not bother to maintain a record, sources in the PAU told Ludhiana Tribune that the officials had no record of the advances which were paid during the past 30 years, and these four years were just a small duration.

The Comptroller of PAU, Mr S.K. Bhatia, was not available for his version. His personal assistant said he had gone to Delhi and would be available only next week. The Vice-Chancellor of PAU, Dr K.S. Aulakh, was also said to have gone to Chandigarh.

The SAO has sent a copy of the memo to the Comptroller of PAU in which he has asked to explain why action should not be initiated against the defaulters in the case and why had the university authorities failed to get the imprest account adjusted.

The Audit Department has also asked the Comptroller for intimating the purpose for which these advances were paid.

The department has also asked for the relevant cash book and cash vouchers under which imprest amount was given since 1996-97 to be produced to audit. The names of the officers who sanctioned imprest amount repeatedly without adjusting the previous advances are also required to be intimated by the Audit Department. 


128 fresh gastroenteritis cases reported
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 13
Over 128 fresh cases of gastroenteritis were reported in various city hospitals today. More than 100 cases have been reported from B.L. Kapoor Memorial Hospital, while some patients have been admitted to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Christian Medical College and Hospital and Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital.

With this, the number of gastroenteritis patients has risen to 580.

The number of cholera cases has gone up to 67 with the arrival of eight fresh cases in different city hospitals.

An official of the Health Department, meanwhile, said that there was no threat from malaria as no case had been reported from any of the city hospitals.

Meanwhile, there has been a sudden increase in the number of eye-flu patients in the city. An ophthalmologist in a Chaura Bazar, hospital said, “An average of two-three patients with severe viral and bacterial infections are daily coming to our hospital. The infection is always there during monsoons”.

He suggested that if certain precautionary measures are taken, infection can be avoided. He said, “It is a communicable disease. People should wash their hands regularly, they should avoid shaking hands with the infected persons, and, if needed, good quality glasses should be used.”


No great expectations from the summit
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
As the countdown for the much-hyped Indo-Pak summit comes to a close, there are no great expectations among the common people. The general refrain remains that given the traditional stand taken by the two sides, much headway may not be made in the talks. However, this may lead to beginning of a long process of dialogue.

According to Mr Fateh Singh Libra, owner-cum-managing director of a bus service here, it would be too simplistic to presume that there would be any significant outcome from the summit.

He was also critical of the Indian Government that it had gone out of its way to welcome General Pervez Musharraf. Moreover, he pointed out that General Musharraf did not salute Mr Vajpayee when he had gone on a bus ride to Lahore. “And now we are being more than generous in according a red-carpet reception to him”, he observed.

Dr M.S. Kuhad, a scientist, was of the opinion that the talks should be welcome, as after a long time there is going to be a dialogue between the two countries and that, too, at the highest level. Moreover, he pointed out that whatever may be the extent of strained relationships, a beginning has to be made some where. “At the same time we should not expect miracles overnight”, Dr Kuhad remarked.

Capt Satish Sood, an ex-serviceman, said that too much importance was being given to the summit and General Musharraf had been given a superhuman aura. He regretted that his role in Kargil was was being ignored and too much heat was being generated. “Public memory is shortlived”, he said.

Mr Agyapal Singh Bajaj was of the opinion that we would simply be befooling ourselves if we expect too much from these talks. He said as long as General Musharraf sticks to the age-old stand on Kashmir, there would not be any major breakthrough. “At best I hope these talks would lead to another round and the dialogue should continue”, he remarked.

However, there are people who do not outrightly reject the talks as a non-issue. Mr Kishen Thakur, a businessman dealing in catering services, said it was good that at least the two countries have agreed to talk to each other. “After the Kargil war, it is the first time that the relations between India and Pakistan seem to be devoid of hostility”, he pointed out, adding that the dialogue should go on at different levels.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Mr Yogesh Manav, a Chandigarh-based businessman. He said, “Let us wait and see what comes out and not pronounce judgements in advance”. He pointed out that it was too early to conclude anything. “May be something positive and significant comes out”, he hoped, while remarking, “Let us see the glass as half full and not half empty”.


Congress councillor stages dharna
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 13
Piqued over being made to wait for about four hours and his complaint still not being taken up in the weekly sangat darshan programme, despite being posted for hearing on July 12, the Congress councillor from Ward 66, Mr Sat Pal Puri, staged a dharna, in front of Bachat Bhawan in Mini-Secretariat here.

He alleged that the erring officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board against whom he had filed a complaint of cheating and fraud had conspired with and influenced the district administration.

Mr Puri alleged that officials of the City West Division of PSEB had recovered Rs 58,000 in two installments against accumulated arrears and other outstanding charges.

Two separate receipts on plain paper for Rs 49,000 and Rs 9,000 were provided for the same by Mr R.P. Singh, revenue accountant.

The amount so collected was not deposited with the PSEB and the said PSEB official later claimed that he had issued two receipts for Rs 9,000 each, to which the complainant himself had added the digit four to make it a receipt for Rs 49,000.

The councillor told Ludhiana Tribune that in addition to filing a civil suit against the PSEB officials and lodging a report with the local police, he had brought the matter to the notice of Home Secretary, Punjab, and Director-General, Punjab Police, for initiating criminal proceedings against the defaulting PSEB employees.

According to Mr Puri, preliminary investigation by the police on his complaint had found the charges against the PSEB officials correct.

A report submitted by the Director, Forensic Science Laboratory, Chandigarh, had also established that all the digits in the disputed receipt for Rs 49,000 were written in the same handwriting.

However, no further action had been taken by the police in this connection.

The councillor made it clear that he would not take the official apathy and injustice lying down and would resort to staging protests both in Chandigarh and the PSEB headquarters at Patiala till the erring officials were brought to book.


SGPC seeks Vatican status for Nankana Sahib
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 13
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has sought Vatican status for Nankana Sahib — birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev — now in Pakistan and free movement of Sikhs all over the world to the holy city.

This demand has been made by SGPC chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, in a note sent to the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the External Affairs Minister for taking up the issues with the Pakistan President, General Parvez Musharraf, during his visit to India starting tomorrow. Mr Talwandi has stated that Nanakana Sahib be declared holy city on the lines of the Vatican as Christians, Muslims and Jews have their own holy cities where they go for salvation. The holy city of Nankana Sahib is in Pakistan territory.

Mr Talwandi has further stated that there are about 200 historical Sikh shrines in west Pakistan and to pay homage to these shrines, Sikhs have a long cherished desire. The Pakistan government allows pilgrims to visit shrines. The Pakistan government allows pilgrimage to shrines situated in Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib, Lahore, and Gurdwara Sacha Sauda only. The shrines such as Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh, Gurdwara Bhai Laloji and other situated on the route of pilgrimage at least should be opened to the pilgrimage.

Pointing out that these shrines are in a dilapidated condition as no repairs have been undertaken since the partition of the country, these shrines have become ruins and are about to lose their existence. The government should obtain permission for Baba Harbans Singh of Karsewawale to visit Pakistan accompanied by a dozen technicians to undertake the renovation work of the shrines. The labour would be hired from Pakistan and the money for this purpose would be donated by the Sikhs settled abroad.

The SGPC has also sought permission for priests and sewadars to stay in gurdwaras in Pakistan to perform the daily duties of rehat-maryada at Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib and Lahore.

Mr Talwandi has sought the intervention of the Prime Minister on the issue of the huge property — landed and commercial — attached with the historical Sikh shrines and wants that a proper record be maintained and income from the same be spent for repair and renovation of the buildings of these shrines.

The SGPC has sought a separate cell in the Union Home Ministry, New Delhi to solve the problems of the Sikh pilgrims in concert with the SGPC. The SGPC president further pointed out that the SGPC sponsored four pilgrimages to Sikh shrines every year and for the arrangement of langar, karah parshad, in addition to performing duties of akhand paths, kirtan, procession and changing of cloth of Nishan Sahib, the body deputes its staff.

He asserted that till date not a single employee had been tried for anything detrimental to the unity and integrity of the country. He has urged the Prime Minister that the practice of striking out the names of the SGPC employees and officials from the list of pilgrims be checked.

Mr Talwandi further pointed out that the holy Birs of Guru Granth Sahib are taken to Pakistan for installation at various shrines by rail. Keeping in view the sanctity of the holy book, the same may be allowed to be carried by road.

The Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, had invited Mr Talwandi to Delhi to discuss the issues to be taken up with the Pakistan President three days ago but he could not go due to indisposition. Mr Talwandi has been bedridden for the past almost two weeks now and has been advised rest.

Mr Talwandi during has meeting with the Prime Minister on January 6 after assuming the presidentship of the SGPC had taken up these issues in a memorandum submitted to the former. He had also sought disbanding of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (PSGPC).


Doctors welcome Indo-Pak summit
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 13
Indian Doctors Forum for Peace and Development has welcomed the proposed summit between India and Pakistan.

Dr Arun Mitra, general secretary of the forum, in a press statement today said that the talks can prove to be a milestone in defusing tension between the two countries. The leaders of both the countries should utilise this opportunity by coming to an agreement for complete elimination of nuclear weapons, and also not to carry out any further nuclear weapon tests.

Dr L.S. Chawla, president of the forum, said that both the countries had other similar things to resolve. Ignoring the fact that a large number of population in both the countries was living below the poverty line, the two were the biggest buyers of arms in the world. The members said if the amount spent on buying arms by the two countries was diverted for the welfare of the people, there could be no poverty, illiteracy or poor health.

The doctors suggested that nuclear weapons only added to tension and wasteful expenditure on arms race. The people in the two countries shared common cultural background and glorious history. The peace and cooperation among people of two countries was not only essential but will be a healthy step towards development.


Quest for the right time

WHEN celebrated Urdu poet Puran Singh Hunar (my uncle) attained the age of 90, I asked the then Director of Languages, Punjab, to celebrate this occasion by honouring him at a function in Amritsar. The Director was reluctant to do so as he considered attaining the age of 90 or above by a litterateur a non-event. Incidentally, Hunar Sahib died six months later. Thereafter, the media highlighted the achievements of the departed poet but the Languages Department maintained its stony silence.

Even now nothing is being done to take a special notice of the writers and poets in their seventies and eighties (nineties is a rare phenomenon). We are accustomed to hold back our accolades for the celebrities in the fields of art, literature and culture till they are no more on the scene. This reminds me of a myth that God once held back for a long time the rain clouds. This resulted in drought that made the mankind famished. Then the aides pointed out to Him that in the back chamber there was a dark cloud that could alleviate the sufferings of the people. The reply given by the Almighty was that He had kept that one for causing floods.

The other day, at the time of observing the second death anniversary of Krishan Adeeb, it was realised that the city seldom took care of the renowned poets and artists in the evening of their lives. It was, therefore, regarded as improper to turn a blind eye to the problems of the poets, artists and thinkers when they needed the attention of their admirers the most.

Generally all kudos are kept in reserve for the observance of death anniversaries years later. This makes such a show of sentimental outburst the travesty of the solemn occasion.

In fact we are too much narcissistic, mostly involved in the predicaments of life. Else we nurse a grudge or two against our contemporaries, even though they are much advanced in age. Tragic events touch the raw nerve of our being and we try to shout down the clamour of our guilty conscience. It will be in the fitness of things if the celebrated artists and literary figures in their seventies and above are given their due during lifetime. As they say it is better here than there. The great minds do not crave for petty gains and they prefer to be left alone. Still they should not be made to feel neglected in their aloneness.

The International Sahir Foundation has come up in the city with the object of recognising the worth of those who have created ripples in the field of art, literature and culture. The president of the foundation , Lion Kanwarjit Singh Sohal, is building a seminar hall, in the vicinity of the Jagraon Bridge, which has a seating capacity of 200. This will also be the venue of the functions at which the works of the creative writers will be reassessed and re-evaluated. Such functions should give incentive to the upcoming writers, besides providing personal fulfillment to the well-known literary figures.

This foundation, in the name of Sahir Ludhianvi, is in fact an umbrella under which the activities concerning art, literature and culture will be highlighted from time to time. Prof Aziz Parihar, K.S. Parihar, Dr Surjit Patar, K.C. Kashyap, Randhir Kanwal and others look up to the day when the city sets an example of honouring the artists and the litterateur at the right time. Now, it is said, is always the right time, as tomorrow is definitely shrouded in uncertainty.


Female child labour preferred in domestic work: study
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 13
There are millions of unfortunate children who are deprived of basic necessities of life and are forced by circumstances to work as domestic servants. Child labour is defined as the work of children under conditions that interfere with the physical development, education and recreational opportunities which they require. The root cause of child labour is poverty. There are numerous factors which force these children to join labour force viz. large family size, poor economic conditions of the family, chronic illness as well as untimely death of the bread winner, steep rise in the price of consumer goods, hereditary occupation of parents, and above all illiteracy.

An attempt was made by Ms Ruchi Gupta, a postgraduate student of the Department of Family Resource Management, under the guidance of Dr (Mrs) M.K. Dhillon, Professor and Head of the department, to study female child labour in domestic work to identify the nature and extent of female child labour participation in domestic work, economic contribution made by female child labour to the family’s income, factors responsible for female child labour participation in domestic work and the problems faced by them during work. A sample of 120 female labourers was selected. The data was collected through an interview schedule.

A majority of these working children belonged to large family size of six to eight members in the households and started working at the age of nine-11 years . Almost all of them were illiterate.

These children were doing household cleaning, dish washing, washing and ironing of clothes, child care and household cooking. The average monthly income of female child labour came out to be nearly Rs 500 in urban areas and Rs 400 in rural areas.

A large number of respondents from rural and urban areas got payment regularly. In most of the cases, parents received payments of the children’s work. There was no provision of advance payment for majority of female workers from both rural and urban areas. Few respondents were getting increase in wages. Some were getting annual increment of as little amount as Rs 25 per year. A great number of respondents got extra benefit in the form of clothes and food. However, there was no provision of any holiday for these children. Drinking habits of father, chronic illness in the family, coercian by parents etc. also force female children to work in house. The problems faced by female child labour were mainly long working hours, deprivation of any sort of entertainment. Most of them were underpaid, had constant fear of losing work and being underfed, leading to stunting of physical growth.

With the pooling of children’s money in the family income, a great number of families in rural and urban area were able to provide good food, land, good clothing to the family to a certain extent. For this reason, the girl child is welcome in poor families as young working girls are always in demand. People feel safer employing girls for household chores and good for taking care of the young babies.


Railway commuters having tough time
Our Correspondent

A view of Platform No. 5 before the arrival of the DMU train from Ferozepore in the afternoon.
A view of Platform No. 5 before the arrival of the DMU train from Ferozepore in the afternoon. 
— Photo by D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, July 13
Railway commuters between Ludhiana and Ferozepore are having a tough time due to the shortage of racks at the railway station here.

There are only four passenger trains, which take care of the passenger traffic between the two cities. The first train leaves for Ferozepore at 5.05 a.m. which is followed by the only express train for Ferozepur at 7.00 a.m. The other three passenger trains for Ferozepore run at 1.10 p.m., 5.20 p.m. and 7.40 p.m., according to the railway station sources.

Commuters, especially those travelling by the afternoon train at 1.10 a.m, are a harassed lot. The number of passengers is maximum in the afternoon. A mad scramble follows soon after the shuttle halts. The chaotic scene is favourable for pickpockets.

For passengers, particularly the elderly and women, it is a harrowing experience. The number of passengers far exceed the capacity of the shuttle train. Shopkeepers, who return to Ferozepore after their purchase in the city’s markets, find it hard to manage enough space in the train for their merchandise.

Railway officials express their helplessness over the non-availability of spare racks. They say the starting of more passenger trains on the Ferozepore section, which has also been a long-standing demand of the commuters, is up to the higher authorities to a decide.


Drying of flowers — a lucrative business
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, July 13
Flowers with their amazing variety, colors and hues, their delicate scents are all-time favourites. Love for flowers is universal and so is the desire to preserve their beauty for a long time. Even under ideal conditions and best scientific solutions, the life of flowers cannot be prolonged. But with the modern scientific methods, fresh flowers can be dried in such a way that they retain their colour and brightness. The processes are simple and the home makers can take it as an income-generating hobby.

All marriage palaces are bedecked with exotic flowers specially flown from Bangalore, Sikkim and other states. But after the ceremony is over they are dumped into a rubbish heap. Thousands of rupees are just wasted. If some enterprising people can take up drying of flowers, it can provide a very good source of income. The florists sell arrangements with dried flowers and they too brighten the rooms and are quite economical as they last for a longer period.

A study on ‘Evaluation of various methods of drying and preserving flowers and foliage’ undertaken by an M.Sc student, Ms Sukhmani Shergill of Home Science College, Punjab Agricultural University, suggests various ways to dry flowers and leaves.

With dehydration of certain flowers and leaves they can be preserved with their colours intact in all their natural glory for several months or even years. She experimented with roses, carnations,and helichrysums among flowers and ferns like asparagus and silver oak were selected among foliage. The plant material was dried by different methods viz drying at room temperature, drying in microwave oven, by embedding in desiccant(silica gel and sand. Silica gel is easily available at ‘science houses’ in the city.) preserving by glycerine and by press drying. Press drying requires the flowers and foliage to be pressed between sheets of papers and put under weight.

For drying by embedding in desiccant, deep air-tight containers should be used. They should be deep enough to take the entire length of the flowers and foliage. Put two-inch deep layer of silica gel at the bottom of the container. Insert the lower ends of the stem. Pour silica gel in the container so that the entire flower is covered with it. Sprinkle silica gel to plug any empty spaces left. Pour desiccant in order to bury the flowers .Seal it and leave it. The different flowers and ferns take different time. For example a rose needs 64 hours whereas carnations takes 72 hours and helichyrsum takes 36 hours to dry for excellent results. Take them out after the required time and shake off the desiccant and the flowers are ready to be used.

Similarly drying in micro ovens requires different timing for different flowers. A carnation would give good results in five and a half minutes to six minutes but if left in micro oven for half a minute more, it would burn. The rose has to be microwaved for just four and a half to five minutes where as helichyrsum needs only three and a half minute to four and a half minute. On the other hand solar drying for a rose needs 6 hours and pressing would require 120 hours. The overall appearance of rose flowers dried by different methods remained unchanged but in case of roses dried by press drying , it deteriorated slightly.

The foliage can be preserved with glycerin. The fern dried by embedding in silica gel for 36 hours and later press dried for 60 hours gives excellent results. Asparagus preserved through glycerin and later dried in solar drier gives good results. Silver Oak is preserved by dipping it in glycerin although for 360 hours yields good results.

The cost of drying flowers and foliage is quite negligible. The dried flowers can be easily stored in card paper boxes with paper cushioning. The dried plant material can be used for greeting cards, flower arrangements, ‘torans’(welcome arches) wall hangings, buttonholes, broaches, book marks, file covers, and bouquets, paper weights, table tops.

The various dry flowers products are fast catching up as an avenue for self employment as a hobby and on a commercial scale as an industry in both developed and developing countries. In 1996-97 India exported dried plants and flowers worth Rs 430 crore as compared to Rs 160 crore of fresh plants and flowers.


Fans for schools land up in Mini-Sectt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
While the government does little to provide facilities to schools in rural areas, it does not hesitate to grab what is donated to these in charity. The fans installed in the lobby in front of the office of Sub-Registrar (West) in the Mini-Secretariat here is a typical example.

A few years back, the District Red Cross Society had appealed to various charitable organisations to donate fans so that these could be installed in rural schools as the government was unable to provide fans for those. Hundreds of fans were collected by the Red Cross in the name of these schools.

Whether these fans reached the schools is difficult to be confirmed. However, a number of these fans found their way into government offices. The ceiling fans installed in the lobby of the office of the Sub-Registrar stands testimony to it.

These fans have Bharat Vikas Parishad marked on them in Gurmukhi. The fans also bear the telephone number of the Bharat Vikas Parishad office. There are about 12 fans which have been installed in the lobby.

Inquiries made by Ludhina Tribune revealed that like other voluntary organisations involved in charitable work, the Bharat Vikas Parishad had donated 100 fans to the District Red Cross Society about three years back. The fans, a parishad official said, were supposed to be installed in rural schools which were without fans. However, most of these fans found their way into the Mini-Secretariat.

The parishad official pointed out, “We were asked to arrange the fans for rural schools by the District Red Cross authorities a few years ago and we provided the fans. What happened to them is none of our business”. He admitted that not all fans had reached the desired destinations and a number of these fans were installed in some government offices.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, who is also the ex-officio chairman of the District Red Cross Society, was not available for comments as he was away to Chandigarh. No other senior official of the society could be contacted. However, one of the junior officials said the society had appealed for fans about three to four years back so that these could be installed in schools falling in rural areas. He said hundreds of fans were donated by various organisations and institutions. Claiming that most of these fans were given to rural schools, but some might have been left out and installed in the Mini-Secretariat to utilise them.Back



Officers donate blood for Nihang baba
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 13
Top civil and police officials of the district administration donated blood for Jathedar Baba Baldev Singh Nihang Singh when he was operated upon for bypass heart surgery at a heart institute here yesterday.

Those who donated blood on the occasion included Mr S.K.Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sumedh Saini, Mr Gurjit Singh, DSP, and Mr Paramjit Singh, Inspector.

A press release issued today by the Gurdwara Akal Bunga Sahib Patshahi Daswein, Chhawni Nihang Singhan, Transport Nagar, said the baba was thankful to all those who donated blood for him.Back


Two bodies recovered
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, July 13
Acting on the statement of Ms Shinder Kaur, wife of Mr Beant Singh of Kumbh village, near here, the local police recovered the body of latter with multiple injuries. The post-mortem was conducted at Civil Hospital, Mandi Gobindgarh, on Friday.

A case has been registered against the three alleged assailants —Tarsem Singh, Sher Singh and Amrik Singh, all residents of Kumbh village — under Sections 302 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. However, no arrest has been made so far.

Sources informed that Beant Singh along with the accused, had gone to Chandigarh in a Tata Sumo on Thursday to meet a minister for working out a compromise about some land dispute. At 1 am on Friday, Beant Singh was reportedly thrown in front of his house in an unconscious state. Later he succumbed to his injuries.

In another incident, the body of an unidentified migrant labourer, hanging from a tree, was recovered on the GT road at Mandi Gobindgarh on Thursday. The municipal council cremated the body after post-mortem, as it was unclaimed. A case has been registered under Section 174 of the Criminal Penal Code.Back



Rapist nabbed by police
our Correspondent

Sahnewal, July 13
The person who tortured and raped a minor girl of Raian village, was arrested by a police naka at Bhaini Sahib Chowk today.

The accused, Kuldip Singh, was presented in the court and was remanded in police custody for one day. 

He was arrested on the basis of a report lodged with Sahnewal police station by the victim’s father, Satpal Singh, that his nine-year-old daughter was tortured and raped by Kuldip Singh of the same village while she was on her way back home along with her younger sister. The case was registered under Section 376 of IPC on Tuesday and the accused had been absconding since then.Back


1 killed, 6 hurt in accident
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
The police is yet to ascertain the whereabouts of the driver of a Tempo truck that was involved in an accident with an auto-rickshaw near Baddowal last evening in which one woman was killed and six were injured.

Meanwhile, the condition of one of the injured, Kulbir Singh, driver of the ill-fated auto-rickshaw, remained critical at the DMC Hospital. The accident took place last evening when the truck lost its balance and fell over an auto rickshaw near Baddowal village on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore road. All the victims belonged to one family of the Dugri Colony, Urban Estate, in the city. They were coming back after paying obeisance at Gurudwara Nanaksar, near Jagraon.

According to SHO Ramandeep Singh the accident appeared to have occurred due to the bursting of the tyre of the truck. He said Rajinder Kaur(60) died in the accident, while the driver of the auto-rickshaw, Kulbir Singh, was admitted to the DMC Hospital in serious condition. The police has registered a case against the driver.


Imposter held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
The workers of a dyeing factory near Central Jail today caught a man posing as an Excise and Taxation officer who had come to the factory to raid it.

He was stated to be in inebriated condition, but the moment the factory owners demanded his identity card he fumbled and tried to flee. However he was overpowered and beaten up.

The factory owner first complained to the Tajpur police, which directed him to approach the Subash Nagar police, under whose jurisdiction the factory falls. The police has not registered any case.


Contractors told to exercise restraint
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 13
In view of a complaint by the Small Scale Steel Re-rollers Association of Khanna alleging that octroi contractors were harassing general public travelling by cars, a meeting was called by the Executive Officer, Khanna Municipal Council, in which representatives from both the association and the private octroi contractors took part.

Mr Ravinder Sharma, Executive Officer, said the employees of the octroi contractors were harassing public by searching their belongings.

People, particularly, travelling with ladies accompanying them, were facing embarrassment on being searched by the octroi staff.

It was also brought to the notice of the meeting that there were no clear signboards indicating octroi barriers.

The representatives of the contractors justified the action by saying that goods, particularly mobile phones, Internet connection cards, etc. were being brought within the municipal limits without paying any octroi.

After hearing both sides, the Executive Officer issued instructions to the contractors to check private cars for octroi evasion only in cases where they had specific information.

No private car, especially with ladies in it, would be checked. He also directed the octroi contractors to install clear sign boards on the checkpost barriers.

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