Monday, October 1, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



New insurance scheme for farmers
Cover for farmers on purchase of fertilisers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
In a first-ever scheme of its kind in the state, three co-operatives have come together to offer personal accident cover for farmers.

The insurance scheme was launched by the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr S.S. Dhindsa, at a function organised here today on Punjab Agricultural University campus, which was attended by thousands of farmers.

The scheme, known as Sankat Haran Bima Yojna, has been launched by a joint venture between IFFCO and TOKIO General Insurance Company. The benefits of the scheme would be given to farmers on the purchase of fertilisers produced by Iffco, Kribhco and Indian Potash Limited (IPL).

The salient features of the ‘Khaad to khaad, bima saath’ policy include compensation in the event of injury causing permanent, total disablement or death for a sum of Rs 4,000 after the purchase of fertiliser bag of Kribhco, Iffco and IPL from cooperatives or farmers' service centres with a maximum capital sum of insurance being Rs 1 lakh.

The policy would be effective for a period of one year from the date of purchase. The cash receipt and debit memo will serve as the insurance cover. The policy covers accidental death, total or permanent disablement and loss of a limb for Rs 4,000, Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,000, respectively.

As per the scheme, in case of death claims the documents required would be a claim form, death certificate, post-mortem report or panchnama and original purchase receipt. In case of permanent disablement the documents required would be a claim form, disablement certificate, full photograph showing the disability clearly and the original purchase receipt.

The farmers do not require to pay any extra money for the insurance cover as Iffco, Kribhco and IPL, the three participants in the scheme, will contribute Re 1 on every bag of fertiliser sold under the scheme.


Political parties condemn demolition
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
The demolition of an outer wall of Durga Mata Mandir near Jagraon Bridge by the Municipal Corporation officials on the night of September 28 has been condemned by several political parties here. While leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, partners in the ruling alliance in the MC, say that the party is “surprised” at the demolition, the Opposition Congressmen and members of the Panthic Morcha say that the MC has connived with the government “to create tension” in the state with an eye on elections.

Except the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), whose leaders were conspicuous by their absence, all major political parties were represented at the dharna outside the temple. The dharna was led by a BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member, Lala Lajpat Rai, who was accompanied by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Satpal Gosain, a Congress legislator, Mr Rakesh Pandey, and a Panthic Morcha legislator who represents the area, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, besides several others.

The situation did not go out of control in spite of the absence of leaders of the SAD (B). Later, Mr Rai received a communication from the Chief Minister that the Municipal Commissioner had been transferred, after which, the situation became somewhat normal.

The temple falls in Ludhiana West, the constituency of Mr Grewal. He condemned the act and assured the temple management committee of his party’s support. “It is surprising that the MC selected the temple for demolition when there are hundreds of other structures around it that have been built in clear violation of laws,” he said. “If the structure was illegal, why did the MC allow it to come up?” he also said.

The head of the Pradesh Congress Committee, Capt Amarinder Singh, who visited the temple late in the evening, also said the MC should not have allowed the structure to come up if it was illegal. He urged the people to maintain communal harmony and said all parties should condemn this incident.

The head of the District Congress Committee, Mr Surinder Dawer, alleged that Mr Rai, who was Senior Vice-President of the temple management trust, and Mr Gosain had secretly consented to the demolition. He said, “Mr Rai had admitted himself that he had been talking to the MC officials for past one month in this regard,” His views received support from several other Congress leaders, including Mr Pawan Dewan and Mr K.K. Bawa, who demanded an inquiry into the incident.

However, the BJP leaders, including Mr Rai, said the demolition had shocked them and they were trying to reach an agreement with the MC on the issue.


Work resumes on structure
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
The construction work of the two outer pillars of the Durga Mata temple, which were demolished by the Municipal Corporation yesterday, was resumed today without any resistance from anyone. While some labourers were seen busy removing debris of the demolished pillars, others were simultaneously erecting these in the presence of some members of the management committee of the temple trust.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner S.K. Sandhu has been given the additional charge of Commissioner of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.

The demolition had sparked off widespread protests across the city, which ultimately led to the removal of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Dr S.S. Sandhu. Obviously feeling encouraged after the removal of the Commissioner, the temple management lost no time in resuming the construction work, although the corporation officials have been consistently maintaining that the pillars were being raised in clear violation of municipal laws.

An official of the MC confirmed that the construction work had been resumed. However, he refused any comments, hinting that the corporation was not inclined to intervene for obvious reasons, particularly after the removal of Dr Sandhu.

Mr S.K. Sandhu today took the additional charge of the Commissioner after the orders were issued to this effect by the government in Chandigarh today. Mr Sandhu will hold the additional charge till further orders.



An unceremonious exit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
Not many tears were shed over the unceremonious exit of Dr S.S. Sandhu who was removed after his controversial decision ordering removal of a disputed structure along side the Durga Mata Temple. The reasons are obvious. Although Mr Sandhu may have all the reasons to go ahead with his demolition drive, yet the issue was not as simple as he presumed it to be. And quite unfortunately for him, it proved to be too sensitive that even the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and the Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramdassji Tandon, who patronised him, could not come to his rescue.

The officer of the UP cadre had, no doubt, endeared himself to a certain section of people in the city, he had always remained in the eye of storm with allegations from the ruling SAD-BJP alliance that he was supporting the Congress. And the BJP leadership struck with vengeance at the right moment when he had gone ahead with his controversial decision of demolishing the pillars of the entrance gate of a temple.

Questions are being raised as why the corporation chose the temple structure knowing full well that it may snowball into a major controversy with communal overtones. And it almost did as some people tried to view it from a communal and sectarian angle. And had it not been for Mr Badal’s appropriate decision to order his transfer the situation would have turned volatile with tempers running high among the members of a particular community.

His action also left hardly any options for the Chief Minister except transferring him as only that could assuage the hurt feelings of the people. Senior BJP leader Lala Lajpat Rai was the most upset, saying he felt betrayed. Mr Rai said while they were trying to sort it out by negotiations, the MC officials went ahead in haste with their demolition drive. “They did not even send us a notice,” he disclosed, while regretting the unilateral decision of the MC.

Meanwhile, there has been a mixed response to the removal of Dr Sandhu with some supporting and others opposing it. The Indian Medical Association has expressed regrets over the transfer of Dr Sandhu. In a joint statement the Ludhiana chapter president of the IMA, Dr Gurcharan Singh, the general secretary Rajesh Sharma and the state secretary, Dr Anil Sethi, said that Dr Sandhu had been made a victim in the game of politics.

Several social and religious organisations have condemned the demolition of the pillars of the temple claiming that it had hurt the religious sentiments of the people and welcomed the transfer of Dr Sandhu. These include the Nationalist Congress Party and the Mandir Jap Bajrang Bali Prabhandak Sabha.



Major reshuffle in city police likely 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
The Ludhiana SSP, Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, effected a minor reshuffle in the city police in the wake of transfer orders of Inspector Mukhwinder Singh from the division No. 5 police station yesterday evening, where violent protests over the demolition of a structure of a temple took place.

He has been transferred to Focal Point police station in the place of Mr Santokh Singh who has been transferred as SHO, Basti Jodhewal. Mr Warryam Singh, former SHO Basti Jodhewal, has been attached with the CIA. Mr Randhir Singh has been posted as SHO Division No. 5. No officer has been appointed as SHO Model Town, a seat which became vacant after the transfer of Mr Randhir Singh.

Police sources said another major reshuffle in the city police administration was on the cards especially after the creation of five new police stations in the city. Sources said there was anxiety among the existing SHOs over the possibility of their shifting while there were several former and new candidates who were trying hard to get a good posting. The lobbying for the key postings has become difficult as not much weightage has been given to political recommendations in the city in the recent past.



Robbers strike, decamp with jewellery and cash
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
Armed robbers struck at a house in Model Town area of the city at around 9 p.m. yesterday and decamped with gold ornaments, Rs 35,000 and other expensive goods.

The five robbers gagged and blindfolded the woman and the servant who were present in the house at that time. Ms Veena Kapoor, the woman, working in the local Education Department, was working in the kitchen when the robbers struck. They asked for the keys of the almirahs from Ms Kapoor by brandishing guns.

When she refused to hand over the keys, the robbers tied her and her 13 year-old servant’s hands and later locked them in the store of the house. After that they ransacked each and every corner of the house for half and hour and went away in a car.

The police has arrested the servant of the house. It is worth mentioning here that two sons of the woman, who deal in spare parts, have an office on the first floor of the house.

Narrating the incident, Ms Kapoor said that she had just entered the kitchen after her son left the house when the robbers struck. She said that her other son had gone out of station with his wife. She said that two robbers entered the kitchen with guns, while other two asked for the keys. One of them was standing guard outside the house.

She said that after locking her in the store, the robbers ransacked all the almirahs, beds, dressing table and even the shoe stand. Then they took Rs 35,000 cash which was kept in the almirahs and 35 gm of gold.

A broken number plate of a car was discovered by the police near the house.



On Oct 2, remember Bapu’s memorial as well
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Tents of railway workers dot the Gandhi memorial at Phillaur. IV

Phillaur, September 30
While the nation remembers Mahatma Gandhi on his 132nd birth anniversary on October 2, a memorial dedicated to Bapu near the old bridge of the Sutlej, where his ashes were immersed on February 12, 1948, is in a dilapidated state.

Politicians of Ludhiana and Phillaur gather at the memorial on every birth and death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, but the place remains neglected. Those who live near the memorial recall that the Phillaur civil administration and some politicians sometimes used to clean up the place till a few years ago on these two occassions, but no one does that now.

The condition of the memorial deteriorated further over the past few months after employees of the Railway Electrification Wing erected tents on its premises. Though these workers claim that they have rather cleaned up the place, tents have destroyed the ambience of the place. Old timers recall how they used to visit this place in morning and evening — the time that has now been lost.

Established at the backdrop of the Sutlej in February 1948, the memorial with its quiet ambience used to be an attraction for residents of Phillaur, cadets of the Punjab Police Academy and tourists. Few persons visit it now.

The site for the memorial was chosen by Union Government of 1948 as Gandhiji had wished that his ashes be spread all over the country. This place was just beside the then GT road bridge over the Sutlej. However, with time, the bridge became too narrow for traffic and another bridge was constructed at a distance from the site. This diverted eveyone’s attention from the memorial also and, today, the site resembles a forest.

The inside of the premises is ill-maintained and overgrowth block the only entrance to the memorial. Sources in the civil administration said the memorial was maintained by an organisation called the Vayu Raksha Brigade, so, they could not do anything for its maintenance. However, there no one knows anything about the organisation or its address.


‘Anti-labour’ policies resented
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
The government polices have severely affected basic rights of the labour class during the past one decade. The trade union movement has to come up with a clear theoretical framework and will have to launch a decisive struggle to counter the onslaught of greedy capitalists, said Prof Sucha Singh Gill, an Economist at Punjabi University, Patiala here today.

In his keynote address in the seminar on ‘New economic policy — working class and trade union,’ Prof Gill asserted that the government was befooling common people and working class by telling lies but hitting hard to the public at the same time.

The seminar was organised by the Association for Democratic Rights, Punjab, to commemorate the birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh here today.

Participating in the debate, Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of the AFDR Punjab, added that 10 years of economic reforms was a sufficient period to judge the failure of economic reforms as all sectors of the economy were affected negatively. The external debt of India has increased manifold during that period.

Prof A.K. Malary, district president, AFDR, Master Bhajan Singh from the Democratic Teachers Front, Dr Hardeep Singh, president, PCMS Association Punjab, Mr Vijay Narayan, president, Moulder and Steel Workers Union, Mr Nirmal Singh, Mr Sukhdev Bhoudin, Pendu Mazdoor Union, Mr Ram Parsad , general secretary, Shopkeeper Association, Ludhiana, Mr Jaswant Jeurak President Inqlabi Kendar, Dr Arun Mittra, president, Indian Doctors for Peace and Development, Mr Sudesh Kumar, Chairman, Punjab and Employees Federation and Dr Harbhajan Singh Grewal also participated in the discussion. 


Potters gear up for winter
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, September 30
If the weather turns nippy in Punjab, can the most popular delicacies ‘sarson da saag’, makki di roti and ‘chaach’ be far behind? But how are potters related to this heady combination of every true Punjabi’s favourite food. To a large extent, the ‘taudi’ or the earthen pot used for cooking the ‘saag’ is being made by the potters on their potters’ wheel. Women and men are busy rotating the wheel to make hundreds of taudis. Punjabis who are connoisseurs of ‘saag’ know that the real taste of the delicacy comes when it is cooked in the ‘taudi’ and not in pressure cookers. Moreover, the ‘chaach’ or buttermilk to be drunk glassfuls is churned out in ‘chatties’ again made out of clay. Curd is also set in earthen pots. All this earthenware is most needed to enjoy ‘sarson da saag’ and ‘makki di roti’ for the next few months.

About 20 Muslim families migrated from West Bengal to Ludhiana for making pots 30 years ago. The families are traditional ‘ghumars’. According to Nur Mohammad “These days the most difficult part is to obtain the special clay that we have been getting from different villages like Khedi Chmedi, and Dhandra and Laliton. The special clay has to be obtained from river banks or where constant moisture is present. Phul Muhmmaad agrees. He says, “Ludhiana’s clay is not suitable for making pots as the earth is too sandy. With growing population, it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to get the right kind of clay. We have to pay for the cartage. Then the clay has to be kneaded to the right consistency. Afterwards with our nimble fingers we mould the clay as per the desired shape. The entire process of the clay taking shape into objects is of relative simplicity and extreme beauty. Then we bake them in the special kiln made for these pots.”

Gul said that flower pots of different sizes and shapes too are in great demand. People are getting very fond of flowers as well as ornamental plants. With winter round the corner, the winter flowers, especially ‘guldodi’ i.e. Chrysanthemums, and other winter flowers are in great demand. His wife Janam Khatoon says, “Earlier the summers were good for us. People used pitchers and ‘surahies’ for cooling water. Now they have iceboxes and refrigerators to cool water. But thank God people are still cooking saag in earthen pots. People who are used to drinking ‘chaach’ have pots to churn curd. The ‘halwais’ need big shallow pots for setting curd.”

Kasoor says, “The children like buying ‘bugchis’ or as some call it ‘guluks’ i.e. piggy banks. So we make them in different sizes as some families buy jumbo sizes as the whole family drops the loose change into the slit and only after it is full, they break it.”

Aman, who was buying a guluk, said, “Every month I buy one and I make it a point that it gets filled within that period. I am able to save Rs 100 every month. Though at times I am tempted to take the money out with the help of a pin but I refrain as I want to save money to buy a computer game called Keen.”

Thanks to our traditions, the traditional art of pottery is still alive.


Illiterate women spreading education

IT is no transcendental tale of life beyond life, but is a true story about the realisation of the importance of education by a person who had never been to a school. It tells the vision of an illiterate person who later provided a women’s degree college in the heart of rural Ludhiana.

Girls from nearly 70 nearby villages find this world a better place to live in because of the education they have received here. Ms Harparkash Kaur of Sidhwan has built a big educational campus having several academic institutions.

Ms Pritam Kaur of Kamalpura has also contributed significantly towards the spread of education in this region. She belongs to a peasant family of rural Malwa and married Kartar Singh of Kamalpura, an average-sized village of Hansra clan of Jats. It is situated on the Sudhar-Jagraon-Hathur -Raikot belt of Ludhiana. Economic conditions in the pre-Sirhind canal time were hard. The area was mostly rainfed. Adventurous people of this tract took to other professions. Some migrated to Kolkata, while others went to countries of South-East Asia.

Kartar Singh Hansra along with his family went to Malaya and later to Singapore. Later he emigrated to the UK and by dint of hard work established itself firmly on the alien soil. Kartar Singh’s sons, Amarjeet Singh, Baljinder Singh and Piara Singh, made rapid progress in life and made a fortune. Their major concern now was the education of the third generation. At this stage the family felt the need of preserving their culture, maintaining their identity and respecting their traditional values.

It is here that the nucleus of the family, Ms Pritam Kaur, contributed her best. She remained a role-model as well as a source of inspiration. She felt that her work was not complete yet and that she owed to her village. She felt that the key to progress is education. She asked her family to contribute towards education in their ancestral place.

The Hansras then offered their material assests for a huge campus. More than Rs 1.5 crore was contributed. A three-storeyed Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College for Women has come up. It is a degree college affiliated with Panjab University. It has an ideal campus in the green belt with beautiful trees by the side of road with a canal distributory running along it. It is the realisation of the vision of the one who was deprived of education herself. — M.S. Cheema


SSF condemns burning of Birs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
The Sikh Students Federation (Mehta) has condemned the burning of some Birs near Sirhind last night. An emergency meeting of the federation was held under the chairmanship of its president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Grewal, which condemned the incident and demanded strong action against the culprits.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Grewal alleged that this was part of a major conspiracy to create tension and disturb the peaceful atmosphere in the state.

While cautioning against the designs of such people, he urged people to remain cautious and not get provoked. 


Apparel Park for Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
Mr Kashi Ram Rana, Minister for Textiles at the Centre, will launch the prestigious project of Apparel Park here on October 5. A team of the Punjab Small Industries and Exports Corporation led by the Chief Engineer visited the city yesterday and surveyed two sites near Sahnewal airport and on Bhaderke Road for the project and consulted industry representatives to finalise the site for the project.

According to Mr Vinod Thapar, president of the Knitwear Club, the state government had offered land near Ladowal which found few takers as the land was flood prone and the price of land was too high for the recession-hit industry.

He disclosed that the Centre and the state government had now agreed for an Apparel Park here. Mr Atul Chaturvedi, Joint Secretary, Department of Textiles, had proposed a grant of Rs 10 crore or up to 75 per cent cost of the infrastructural development for the park to the state government, in addition to a Rs 5-crore grant to set up an effluent treatment plant and Rs 2 crore for training purposes. The Textile Ministry had already sanctioned Apparel Park projects in Karnataka, UP, West Bengal, Kerala, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

The industry has proposed that a committee should be formed with industry representatives to look after the planning and implementation of the project. It has also demanded that for installation of knitting machinery above the value of Rs 25 lakh, the requirement of NOC from the Pollution Control Board should be withdrawn as these machines were running in airconditioned environment.

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