Saturday, October 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India

 

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

 

 

Power station foundation stone demolished
Political rivalry leads to tension
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Nangal Kalan, October 12
Political rivalry among local leadership has turned an otherwise development event into a law and order problem with villagers from Nangal Kalan and adjoining areas up in arms over the demolition of a foundation stone, announcing the starting of 24-hour power supply in the village, by some unidentified miscreants early today morning.

The incident occurred sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. today when four unidentified persons, two of them allegedly policemen, demolished a newly constructed foundation stone of the 24-hour power supply to the village. The foundation stone was scheduled to be inaugurated by Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, MLA and senior leader, Panthic Morcha, this morning but was allegedly demolished by the supporters of Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister, who is the political rival of Mr Grewal.

Tension prevailed in this and neighbouring village since morning following the incident as there was a clear-cut divide between the village population, which belonged to different political factions. A large number of youths belonging to Bhai Nanu Club, who had pooled money to pay about Rs 55,000 for the power supply, were quite agitated at the incident. Heavy police security was arranged in the village amidst fear of clash between different parties.

The police has recorded the statements of some eye-witnesses but no case was registered till evening. Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal alleged that police was under political pressure to act in the case. He gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the police and the district administration to identity the culprits and ensure the safety of the villagers.

Jagraon SSP Balkar Singh Sandhu told Ludhiana Tribune that investigation was on in the case and the police will identify the culprits. He assured the safety of any foundation stone to be laid in future in the village.

When a Ludhiana Tribune team visited the village today morning, the entire village population seemed to have come out on the streets. While a meeting of the villagers and the club under Mr Grewal was going on in a house, another group was assembled at the house of the village sarpanch who owed allegiance to Mr Garcha. The police had posted heavy security outside his house also.

According to Mr Surjit Singh, an eyewitness, he along with several other villagers were on thikri pehra duty in the village when a police Gypsy came in the village and asked why they were moving around. He said fearing some trouble they got separated. The Gypsy went away and later they heard a noise as someone was damaging a wall. He said when they rushed to the site of the foundation stone, they saw four people running away. Two of these were policemen, he claimed.

Mr Sukhwinder Singh, president of the club, said they were deeply hurt at the incident as they had worked hard to collect money and get the facility of 24-hour power supply to the village. He said the club invited Mr Grewal to inaugurate the supply but the rivals sabotaged their move. He demanded immediate arrest of the accused.

While the scheduled inauguration ceremony could not be undertaken, Mr Grewal later in the afternoon inaugurated the supply by switching it on.

While Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha could not be contacted, Mr Nirbhai Singh, Sarpanch of the village said the 24-hour power supply was got on the efforts of the entire village. He said the panchayat which was being accused of working against the club, had in fact passed the resolution on the power supply and without its approval the scheme would not have passed.
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Power shortage in region
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
Power shortage hits Punjab and other parts of the region as two units of 500 MW each of the National Thermal Power Corporation at Sangrauli and Rihand went out of generation following leakage in boilers. This has badly affected the power supply to the Northern Grid.

According to official information, the state will face hard times for the next two days. Punjab is already facing an acute shortage of power because of the breach in channel of the Mukerian hydel powerhouse and all four units have been out of generation since October 10.
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USA must spare the innocent: Maulana
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
Sober yet angry mood dominated the overall atmosphere during the Friday prayers at the historic Jama Masjid here today. Thousands of Muslims attended the prayers which passed off peacefully with adequate security arrangements made by the district administration. A number of policemen, besides others in mufti, were also present outside the mosque, while people were offering prayers inside.

Although there was no direct mention of the American attacks on Afghanistan, the weekly Friday speech was full of references to the attempts at ‘demonising Islam’. Although Shahi Imam Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman did not address the congregation owing to his ill health, his son Maulana Usman-ur-Rehman made full mention of the attempts being made the world over to ‘present Islam’ in dark colours. He said Islam always stood for peace and brotherhood.

Earlier, talking to reporters Maulana Atiq-ur-Rehman, president of the Punjab unit of the Indian Muslim Council said, the Muslims in the state had decided not to organise any protests anywhere against the American attacks. However, he clarified that America was equally to be blamed for the rise of terrorism across the world and it had now resorted to counter terrorism. He said that the world community should get together to evolve some solution to prevent killing of thousands of innocent Afghans, who are already suffering for the last three decades.

The Maulana pointed out, “It was America which trained Osama bin Laden during the cold war to fight against the Russian army in Afghanistan and now it (the America) was reaping the whirlwind”. He observed that now when America had been grievously hit, it had realised the pain of terrorism. “Nobody would listen to us when our people were getting killed in Punjab, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir and other places and now when they have seen it themselves they are calling the world community join hands”, he said.

The Muslim leader said while he supported America’s war against terrorism, he did not approve of the killing of innocent Afghans. He suggested that America should identify the enemy and the innocent and helpless Afghans should not be identified with the Taliban or Osama bin Laden and bombed and killed.

Mr Rehman also regretted the weak stand taken by the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, by offering unconditional support to the USA. Mr Vajpayee, he observed, should have realised that when India wanted America to appreciate its point on cross border and global terrorism it never cared to bother. He felt India is strong enough to fight its own war against terrorism and only a strong will was required.

No untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the city. The police had been deployed in adequate numbers, both in uniform and mufti as the intelligence reports had cautioned of some possible protest against the bombing of America and the stand taken by Pakistan military ruler, Gen Pervez Musharraf. Most of the Muslims, who had come to offer prayers at the Jama Masjid, preferred silence on the issue. However, there were others who applauded the Taliban for taking a stand against America, which they said, was the logical conclusion of American hegemony. 
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Hostel renovation scam: no headway
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, Chandigarh 12
Even after four months of having issued a chargesheet to seven employees in the infamous Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) hostel renovation scam, no headway has been made in the case as yet.

There has been no action against the chargesheeted employees yet, nor against certain senior officials of the Estate Office even though the university had announced that all the officials would be brought to book.

Meanwhile, the university has advertised the post of Executive Engineer recently and is expected to hold interviews by the month end. The post has been advertised, according to sources, to avoid giving extra charges to some tainted officials.

PAU had chargesheeted seven employees in this case on June 22 and had asked for the reply within a month’s time. Sources said that some of the chargesheeted employees had not even furnished their reply with the university and the authorities were waiting for it before initiating any inquiry into the case.

Those who were issued the chargesheets were Piara Singh Gill, former XEN, SDE Harnek Singh, SDE A.K. Garg, Harbhajan Singh, V.K. Saggar, Harpal Singh and Mahipal Singh, all JEs, in the alleged irregularities in renovation case.

The matter is pending with the university for the last two years. The then Vice Chancellor, Dr G.S. Kalkat, had assigned Additional Director, Research, Dr V.K. Sharma, to probe the matter. He had submitted his report in January, 2001. The action was, however, not taken against anybody since then.

Sources disclosed that the office of the Director, Students Welfare, had released an amount of Rs 70 lakh for the renovation of the hostels and it was alleged that the university had not advertised any notices inviting tenders and quotations for the materials required. Sources also said that this procedure was not followed if the repair work amounted to not more than Rs 10,000.

Sources disclosed that the records showed that Rs 6.38 lakh were spent on repair of roofs, Rs 5.62 for civil works, Rs 13 lakh on renovation and Rs 2.56 lakh for the upkeep and maintenance of the hostels. Heavy expenditures were shown on other works, including the repair of toilets, floors and fixing of doors and window-panes. The Employees’ Union had alleged the irregularities on July 20, 2000, and the Vice-Chancellor had immediately ordered an inquiry.

Dr Kalkat had asked for the report within a month but ADR had submitted it in January. The action was not taken and Dr Kalkat had submitted his resignation in March and Dr K.S. Aulakh had followed him in April.
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Temple trust, park panel cross swords
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 12
The gate, put up at a park right opposite Shri Bhole Nath temple in F Block of Kitchlu Nagar, a posh locality in the city and subsequently pulled down by the area residents on Thursday, has become a bone of contention between the temple management and the park development committee.

Right from the beginning of the episode, the issue has been mired in controversy, with the two sides making claim and counter claims, But the role of the temple trust, according to residents of the area, has not been above board and there is more to it than meets the eye. An office-bearer of the temple trust, who also happens to be one of the three functionaries of the Park Development Committee, has been in the thick of things.

Initially, when the irate residents of the locality objected to the action of putting up a gate at the entrance of the park, the temple management vehemently denied that it had any thing to do with the act and further maintained that the Park Management Committee had installed the gate to keep stray animals at bay. Apprehending that the act (of putting a gate) might be a prelude to an attempt to encroach upon the park, the residents dismantled the gate on the same evening.

However, a written statement issued by Mr Som Nath Jindal, president of the Park Development Committee, put the role of the temple trust under a cloud. He asserted the development committee had nothing, whatsoever, to do with the installation of the gate and further claimed that it was the act of the temple trust. Pointing an accusing finger at the person, who holds office, both in the temple management and the Park Development Committee, Mr Jindal further observed that if any of three members of the committee had done this undesirable act, he should be held responsible in his individual capacity.

In a complete volte face after being caught in the act, the temple trust now maintains that the gate had been put up by them to avoid the damage caused by the unrestricted entry of pigs and other stray animals. Claiming that the residents had over reacted by pulling down the gate, the office-bearers of the temple trust went on to assert that undeterred by the objections raised by the residents, the gate would be put up again, albeit with due permission from the Municipal Corporation Authorities.

However, the apprehension of the residents that the temple management had ‘plans’ to encroach upon the park are not misplaced in view of the fact that marble slabs have been laid in a part of the park and a “havan kund” is already in place and the park was being put to occasional use by the temple management.

The MC administration, however, appeared to be having different thoughts. The MC Additional Commissioner Mr Raminder Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that there was absolutely no question of the Park Development Committee or the temple trust being permitted to put up a gate at the park, which was a public place and the entry of members of public could not be restricted in any manner. He said the existing structures in the said park were in place when the residential scheme of Kitchlu Nagar was transferred to the MC and no further structure would be allowed to be erected in the park. The officials concerned of the civic body had already been directed to maintain a vigil at the park, he added.
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Appointment letters, but no jobs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
Twentynine kin of terrorist victims, most of them women whose husbands were killed by terrorists during militancy in Punjab, are literally knocking at every door to get jobs although they are carrying the appointment letters with them. The Department of Local Bodies in the Punjab Government issued appointment orders of 29 of such kin about six months ago, but they are yet to get any jobs.

According to Sudesh Kumari, wife of Gurdas, who was killed by militants in February 1992, she was appointed for a class IV job in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation and the appointment orders were issued on June 5, 2001. However, she has not been provided a job as yet. She disclosed whenever she approached the corporation officials, they would tell her that the corporation did not have enough funds to pay its existing employees, from where will it get funds for the new employees.

Similar is the case of Nirmala Devi. Her husband was killed by militants in 1990. “It was after about 10 years that we were compensated with jobs and now we are told that the government has no money to pay us salaries so we are not allowed to join anywhere”, protested Nirmala Devi, the mother of four children, one of whom is handicapped.

The two women revealed that during the past five months they had moved from pillar to post and must have made about 20 rounds of various offices in Chandigarh and Ludhiana. “However, nobody seems to be bothered about our problem and we fear that our appointment orders may get lapsed”, Sudesh Kumari apprehended. She has to feed her three children, one of whom is handicapped.

The life has been tough for both the women as they have to do petty chores to earn a living. They said they had not yet lost hope as they expected the Chief Minister to intervene and provide them with jobs. “Otherwise it will amount to mockery of relief claimed to be provided to the terrorist victims”, the two women said in one voice. There are 27 others like Sudesh Kumari and Nirmala Devi, who are waiting to be given the jobs. Yesterday they also presented their case before the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, who assured them to put up their case with the higher authorities.
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Molestation case: NCP threatens  to file suit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
The president of Kisan Cell of the Nationalist Congress Party and a retired scientist of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has decried the role of the president of the Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association (PAUTA) in the molestation case involving a girl student and teacher of the university.

In a statement issued here today, Dr Balwant Singh, president of the NCP, said that the PAUTA president should have allowed the law to take its own course instead of trying to exonerate the teacher.

Dr Balwant Singh further said the assertion made by PAUTA that the former was trying to play up the issue of molestation was totally false and baseless. He said he was not involved in any way in getting the complaint lodged against the teacher.

Dr Balwant Singh said the high power committee headed by Ms S.K. Mann, Dean, College of Home Science, had found the teacher concerned guilty of misconduct. He threatened the university authorities that if action was not taken against the guilty the NCP would file a petition in an appropriate court of law.
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Police drive no deterrent for eve-teasers
D. B. Chopra

Ludhiana, October 12
The menace of eve-teasing continues unabated in the city despite an increase in general awareness that making gestures, passing comments and making physical overtures are punishable.

An autorickshaw driver near the Laxmi Cinema asks a woman commuter to make room for another passenger. While doing so, he also gives a slight push to the woman with his hand. The woman grimaces as she makes room for another woman, her face burning with anger. The new passenger is also handled by the lewd autorickshaw driver. He gives a furtive look of mischief to one of his colleagues awaiting his turn. The women know that they are being teased, which is a crime, but do not think it wise to create a scene every time they encounter a person like this.

A well-dressed man in his late fifties boards a mini-bus and instead of occupying a vacant seat, chooses one where he can touch a woman. In case there is a woman sitting next to him, he places his arm or elbow over her arm. In case it is a young schoolgirl, he feels at liberty to extend further. He tries to strike a conversation with her.

Then there are boys and men who keep looking at their watches so that they do not miss their daily bird-watching in front of a particular school or college in the mornings and afternoons. The loafers among them shout obscenities while others indulge in vulgar gestures.

A woman working at a photo shop has to listen to double-meaning talk by laboratory boys. She does not like the place and the people around, but for want of another suitable job, she is carrying on with it.

The conductor of a mini-bus, in his early 20s, eyes every beautiful girl who boards the bus. He uses every trick and pretext on which he can come in physical contact with them. He also tries to get friendly with a particular girl by offering her free rides and taking the bus on a detour to drop her close to her house.

Such is the extent of the menace of eve-teasing that if all cases are reported to the police, thousands of cases of eve-teasing under Sections 294 and 509 of the IPC will have to be registered everyday. Under a campaign to nab eve-teasers, cases are being registered against boys from neighbouring villages and locals who pass remarks against fashionably dressed girls in posh areas of the city. Three boys belonging to Jalandhar have been nabbed in this connection.

Observers of city’s crime scene think the campaign has failed to act as a dampener for eve-teasers. The problem cannot be effectively tackled by merely registering a couple of cases everyday. The city police has in fact little time to look out for eve-teasers. The thanedars do not possess enough zeal and do not have the time to go after eve-teasers in their respective areas.

It is only when a thanedar gets a call from the SSP that he wants four or five ‘parchas’ of Section 509 from his area before evening that the thanedar springs to his feet, calls out for his staff and the Gypsy to be on the job. The police can pat itself on the back for registering so many ‘parchas’ against eve-teasers under its campaign, but it cannot be credited with having made any appreciable change in the eve-teasing rate in the city.
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Badal under pressure over Commissioner’s selection
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 12
Over two weeks have passed since the Commissioner of the local Municipal Corporation, Dr S.S. Sandhu, was transferred over the controversy over the demolition of the outer wall of Sri Gauri Shankar Mahadev Mandir, allegedly being raised on a part of the road with the government having failed to name his successor so far.

According to highly-placed sources, the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had to bow to the pressure mounted by his coalition partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party, since a veteran BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member, Lala Lajpat Rai, was the vice-president of the mandir trust, and had reluctantly agreed to the shifting of Dr Sandhu, one of his favourite officers. While the erstwhile MC Commissioner has been posted as Managing Director of the Punjab State Electronics Development Corporation, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, continues to hold the charge of the Commissioner of the civic body.

Mr Badal was under immense pressure from various quarters over the appointment of a new MC Commissioner as both the ruling SAD-B activists and the BJP wanted to have an officer of their choice. Sources disclosed that both factions of the district Akali Jatha, as well as senior BJP leaders, had a series of meetings with Mr Badal and the Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, on this issue.

Known for keeping his cards close to his chest, the Chief Minister was keeping his options open while having assured every functionary of the coalition that their recommendations would be considered. In this context, Mr Badal’s forthcoming visit to the city on Saturday and Sunday was being viewed with significance, with the general expectation that the Chief Minister would discuss the entire issue threadbare with senior MC officials and political activists, before making his choice of the new MC Commissioner.

With the selection hanging fire, for the time being, speculations over the probable names of IAS officers who may be chosen to fill the vacant slot are on. A new name is being added to the list with each passing day. The names doing the rounds in political and bureaucratic circles here include those of Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Mr A. K. Dube, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir and Mr S.S. Rajput.
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Tohra for privilege motion against DGP
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 12
The President of the Sarb Hind Shiromini Akali Dal, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra is contemplating to move a privilege motion against the Director-General of Punjab Police, Mr Sarbjeet Singh, in the Rajya Sabha for his alleged refusal to attend to his telephone calls and not showing proper respect to him.

Mr Tohra, a member of the Rajya Sabha, is also a member of the privilege committee of the Rajya Sabha. He told Ludhiana Tribune here today that he had been trying to contact the Director-General of Punjab Police Mr Sarbjeet Singh, for the past six months and he had made a number of telephone calls to him during this period. The latter had not shown any courtesy to attend to his telephone calls or make a return call, he alleged. He claimed that he wanted to discuss with the DGP the poor condition of the vehicles provided to him for his security by the state government.

According to Mr Tohra, he had been provided security on the recommendations of the intelligence reports of the state and central intelligence agencies. “I have never sought security for myself and the state government has provided me the security on the reports of the intelligence agencies. Initially the state government sent me four vehicles including one bullet-proof Ambassador car, two Gypsies and one Sumo jeep. I returned the bullet-proof car and other vehicles, and kept only one Gypsy. It has now outlived its utility as it has covered nearly 3 lakh km”, he said.

The former SGPC chief said he had been trying to contact the DGP to apprise him of the situation. The government was supplying 500 litres of petrol for the Gypsy per month. Mr Tohra said he was not able to take the CRPF personnel with him during his tours because of the poor condition of the Gypsy. All of them were stationed at his house in the village and he used to travel in his personal car.

Mr Tohra had also participated in the meeting of members of Parliament convened by the Chief Secretary of Punjab two days back to review the disbursement of the local area development funds given to MPs for development works. He said he had announced at the meeting that the Central Government had accorded the status of a secretary of the Central Government to members of Parliament but Deputy Commissioners did not have the courtesy to listen to the telephones made by him.

Mr Tohra disclosed that he had spent the entire amount of Rs 6 crore allotted to him by the government under the local area development scheme. He claimed that had distributed the money all over Punjab. But regretted that none of the Deputy Commissioners had informed him how the money had been utilised and utilisation certificates had not been issued so far. 
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COMMUNITY

PPA to preserve Bapu’s memorial
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
An over 50-year-old memorial of Mahatma Gandhi on the banks of the Sutlej, near Phillaur, which has been lying in a neglected condition for the past several years, has got a fresh lease of life as the authorities of the Punjab Police Academy (PPA) have taken the initiative for its maintenance.

Peeved at the deplorable condition of the memorial and the apathetic treatment meted out to it by the civil administration, politicians and the public at large, the academy authorities have decided to daily start cleaning the premises besides the weekly and monthly inspection of the maintenance by senior officers.

Sources disclosed that the academy authorities took the decision after news reports published in Ludhiana Tribune recently revealed the neglect of the memorial by the administration and other agencies.

The academy officials noted that politicians and the administration cleaned up the place only at the birth, death or ashes immersion anniversaries of the Father of the Nation. An official, preferring anonymity, said as the memorial was close to the academy and had the potential of becoming a popular excursion spot for academy residents, cadets and visitors, the PPA decided to take up its maintenance.

When contacted, ADGP D.R. Bhatti, Director, PPA, confirmed that the academy had decided to maintain the memorial.

He said the academy considered its duty to preserve the place as it lay close to it and was a national monument. He said the academy had enough manpower to do the job.

The memorial was constructed in February, 1948, in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, whose ashes were immersed at this spot in the Sutlej as per his wish.

A memorial was later constructed at the place and maintained by an agency called Vayu Raksha Brigade, which was said to be stationed here before 1971, but had then moved away.

Resultantly, even though boards announcing the maintenance of the memorial by the agency can still be seen at the place, the agency is seen no where. 
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CM responsible for sacrilege acts, alleges morcha
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
‘‘The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and his ministerial colleagues are directly responsible for sacrilege acts against Guru Granth Sahib. In a blatant violation of Sikh traditions, Mr Badal has encouraged the blasphemous Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara and several Punjab ministers have been visiting the dera of the controversial Baba’’.

These allegations were levelled by senior leaders of Panthic Morcha Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Mr Ravi Inder Singh and Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode in a joint statement here recently.

The Panthic Morcha leaders chided the Chief Minister for shedding ‘crocodile tears’ over the sacrileges against Guru Granth Sahib and asked the reason for his prolonged silence and inaction for such a long period. They also cast doubts on the intention of the government to suitably punish the culprits. Mr Badal sought to gain public sympathy by raising hue and cry over burning of ‘Birs’ but during his entire tenure, he had been violating the panthic traditions by his participation in ‘havans and yagyas’, bearing ‘tilak’ on his forehead and bowing his head before gods and goddesses. ‘‘His association with Chandra Swami is an ample proof of his scant respect for his own religion’’.

Charging Mr Badal with scuttling the move for ‘panthic unity’, the Panthic Morcha leaders observed that in the wake of public outcry over the incidents of sacrilege, the Chief Minister had once again asked for cooperation of all panthic forces. ‘‘Why had Mr Badal chosen to ignore the edict of the then Jathedar of Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh, to maintain panthic unity in 1999,’’ they asked.
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Ludhiana in grip of dengue?
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
The city is again in the grip of dengue, with over 80 suspected cases reported from different hospitals in the city. The Civil Surgeon’s office has confirmed that out of these, only six cases have tested positive for dengue, with three being from Ludhiana. No death has been reported so far.

Dr Neelam Bassi, officiating Civil Surgeon, said of the total 80 suspected cases of dengue, about 50 cases were reported from Hoshiarpur. She said dengue was a serious disease in Asia and Africa. Classic dengue, known for low mortality, had become more serious, both in terms of frequency and mortality, in recent years, she added.

“Dengue is caused by RNA flavivirus exhibiting many serotypes. Symptoms vary according to the serotype. The main vector of dengue, aedes aegypti, flourishing in mankind’s urban to suburban environment, has spread the disease to many parts of the world. Another mosquito, aedes albopictus, a less important urban vector, has helped maintain the prevalence of dengue in Asian region”, she said.

The officiating Civil Surgeon said the department was distributing pamphlets and literature regarding the disease and was spreading awareness to the masses by organising rallies to clean their air coolers and not letting water stagnate in them. Officials at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital reported 78 unconfirmed cases of dengue in the past few days, out of which two were confirmed ones. 
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Public road closed for fashion show
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
In blatant violation of the directions of the civic administration and the district authorities that no public roads could be closed to traffic for private functions, organisers of a fashion show at the Lakshmi Ladies Club here, completely blocked the road junction linking Club Road, Rakh Bagh, Guru Nanak Stadium and the west side of the railway station.

A big ‘shamiana’ was put up on the entire width of the road between the club and the stadium. A score of waiters squatted under it, polishing the crockery and making preparations for a lavish dinner meant to be served to the guests at the fashion show. Fuming and fretting motorists, two-wheeler drivers, rickshaw-pullers and pedestrians had to turn back and take a separate route to proceed to their respective destinations.

The area residents were angry over the highhandedness of the club management and the organisers for denying access to them to the public road. The west side of the railway station, Rakh Bagh and Guru Nanak Stadium being in the vicinity, a large number persons, including rail passengers and sportspersons, were put to inconvenience.

Many residents of the area sarcastically remarked that tall claims by district and civic officials that such blockade of roads would be sternly dealt with had proved hollow. “In the past, one or two criminal cases were also registered for obstruction of traffic on roads in the city. The MC had also taken cognizance of the welcome gates put up during a ‘shobha yatra’, which had created a ruckus,” they said.

The MC authorities expressed their ignorance on the issue. The MC Joint Commissioner, Mr Prem Chand, told Ludhiana Tribune that there was no question of granting permission for closure of the road and he was not aware that Club Road had been closed to traffic. He said the staff concerned had been directed to look into the matter and take action against the offenders.

An office-bearer of the club, Ms Beri, curtly told Ludhiana Tribune on telephone that the Deputy Commissioner had granted permission for closure of the road. Mr Sandhu was not available for comments. 
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Treat your taste buds to Nawabi zaiqa
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
It is time to savour the authentic finer layers of zaiqa the taste of the Nawabi delicacies at the ‘Hyderabadi khazana’, the Hyderabadi food festival currently being organised at Yellow Chilly. The food festival which started from October 10 will continue till October 21.

Hyderabadi cuisine being blessed with a rich and varied cultural heritage has an exclusiveness that is delicious and different. The sumptuous flavours are heightened by the laborious time-consuming and authentic cooking methods. And the ambience in the restaurant is just right to transport one to the days when time was not at a premium and life was endured with high standards.

There are appetising authentic Nizami creations like the world famous Biryanis “Kachha gosht ki biryani,” “Sajyani Pulao”, “Paya Nihari,” Pathu ka gosht, “Haleem”, “Dum ka murgh”. And vegetarians do not have be disappointed as they too have a variety of dishes like “Diwani thindi”, “Luqmi”, “Nizami jarkari biryani”, “Mirch ka salan”, Paneer, “Tomato koot”, “Sulz ki shikampoor” and several others. For those with a sweet tooth the taste of royal ‘Khubani ka metha’, ‘Gil-e-firdans’ are tempting enough to take your senses for a journey to the “Nawabi Khana.”

The kitchen at the restaurant captained by Chef Robinder has transformed itself to a Nizami kitchen under the guidance of Chef Wali Agarad who has come specially from Hyderabad for the food festival. 
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Aggarsain Jayanti function on Oct 14
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
A state-level function to observe Maharaja Aggarsain Jayanti would be held at Dusehra Ground in Aggar Nagar Part B here on October 14. The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, would be the chief guest and Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Minister for Legal Affairs, Punjab, will preside over the function.

According to Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal, chairman of the reception committee, more than 20,000 members of Aggarwal community from all over Punjab would participate in the function.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Fertilisers and Chemicals, Mr Pardeep Mittal, president, Akhil Bhartiya Aggarwal Sammelan, and Mr Nand Kishore Goenka, chief of the Agroha Trust, were also expected to attend the function, he said.
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Philately Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
The Department of Posts, in collaboration with the Ludhiana Philatelic Club, celebrated Philately Day at the Ludhiana Head Post Office here yesterday.

A national-level competition of school students on designing a stamp was held on this occasion. Ms Sandeep Raikhi and Ms K. Bangia, teachers, were the judges. Mr S.N. Basanwal, Senior Superintendent of the post office, said the competition was held to encourage youngsters to enhance their knowledge about stamps.

Mr Yashpal Bangia, in charge of the Philatelic Bureau, said exhibition of stamps and coins would be organised in schools shortly. Ms Avinash Kaur Walia, member of the Postal Advisory Committee and Principal of Spring Dale Public School, was also present on the occasion. 
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World Food Day on Oct 16
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
The Community Food and Nutrition Extension Unit, Ludhiana, will celebrate the 21st World Food Day at Anganwadi Training Centre, Jeevan Preet Colony, October 16.

The topic is “Fight hunger, reduce poverty”. On this day nutrition education programme, mini exhibition, video film shows, slogan-writing competition and healthy baby show will be organised.

Mr Ranvir Singh, in charge, will talk to participants about causes of malnutrition and its prevention. Mr Ramandeep Kaur Sekhon, Principal, AWTC, will preside over the function.
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A theatre at home a dream no more
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
With progressive improvement in sound systems, one can get amazing results of surround and woofer sound and THX certified dolby digital and DTS home theatre for viewing a movie in the comfort of your home. Home theatre brings in real sound and amazing clarity. A click of the remote control offers one a wide variety in selecting different scenes and songs. Since Ludhiana theatres do not have such hardware, many discerning viewers do not prefer to watch movies in cinema halls.

Professional home theatre can give people a wide choice of installing different kinds of home theatre in their houses. The cost of home theatre is variable and can run from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 40 lakh, depending on the fancy gadgets one wants. Says Mr Vikas Raikhy, who is into installation of home theatres, “Many of my clients had a desire to own private cinema halls like some film stars. They are happy now that their dream is being translated into reality as they can install a home theatre. A reasonably professional home theater can be installed for Rs 8 lakh while the cost of owning a private cinema hall will run into crores. One can get it installed in their bedroom or in their livingroom without disturbing the original setting.”

The first stage required to install a home theatre for a professional is a visit to the site to assess technical aspects of light and acoustics. Acoustics play an important role and absorb all outside sound. The next step is to consult one’s interior designer. Accordingly a set-up is selected, comprising components of international brands. All underground wiring is done before the room is painted. The necessary material is arranged and transported. Following installation the system is tuned.

The result is a theatre which has been custom designed to blend in with the room decor. There is no compromise on picture and sound quality. The choice of the budget is yours.
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For him ‘attar’ selling is heritage
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, October 12
‘Chand ki chandni sitaron se puchho, attar ki khusbu laganewalon se puchho’, this couplet is very famous and common. For many people, ‘attar’ (also called ‘itar’) selling might be a vocation, but for Arvind Singh it is a heritage which he follows religiously. He says ‘attar’ selling is more important for him than religion.

‘Attar’ has been an essential part of our culture. It has been used in almost every social and religious functions and ceremonies in the country. Now many people use branded perfumes but still this Indian speciality has its own place in our society. But this is a hard reality that these days very few people could be found who sell this Indian speciality.

Arvind says his great grandfather used to sell ‘attar’. Though he earns around Rs 100 to 150 per day, still he is happy. He is following it religiously because he feels while doing this work, he does not have to obey anybody’s order. Arvind brings the ‘attar’ from Kannauj in Uttar Pardesh where it is produced in bulk. According to him, Kannauj is the right place to purchase high quality ‘attar’ which has no complaint in the market.

For him there is no fixed place for selling ‘attar’. He roams around the important places in the city like Chaura Bazaar, Gur Mandi, Fountain Chowk and Ghumar Mandi. But during special festivals like Id-ul-Fitar, Id-ul-zulaha, Moharram and other important festival, he stays outside the Jama Masjid. Otherwise he could be spotted outside the Jamma Masjid on every Jumma (Friday). For his business, Jumma is very important day as many people visit the oldest mosque in the city and he could compensate the loss of others days’ business on Friday.

He says different sections of people still like to use ‘attar’ at different occasions as it is pure and natural way to scent the atmosphere. They often get orders for marriage parties and other function from a large number of people during the festival season.

According to him, ‘attar’ does not contain any chemical. Whenever one applies ‘attar’ on any part of body, one does not have a feeling of cooling that part. But if you apply any branded perfume which contains chemical, it gives a feeling of cooling on its application on any part of the body, he adds.

Even today, ‘attar’ is being used for performing rituals in any temple and mosque during religious functions and ceremonies. Arvind says in any wedding ceremonies of Hindus and Muslims, ‘attar’ is an important item of use. 
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Employees take out rally
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 12
The General Category Employees Welfare Federation, Fatehgarh Sahib, organised a ‘chetna rally’ from Mandi Gobindgarh to Fatehgarh Sahib recently in protest against the proposed overruling of the Supreme Court’s decision on reservation issue by Parliament.

The rally was led by Mr Baljit Singh Komal, district president of the federation. Addressing the rally, leaders of the federation announced that candidates belonging to the general category against the BJP candidates in the coming Assembly elections.

They demanded that reservation should be on the basis of economic factors rather caste factor and admissions to professional courses should be purely on the basis of merit. Their other demands included ensured supply of seed and other agriculture implements to farmers at reasonable rates and waiving of their loans.
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CRIME
 

Fake degree racket busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
A gang selling fake Ayurvedic doctor’s degree has been busted in the city following the arrest of a member of the gang. The police is now on the look out of an Ayurveda doctor who ran a clinic at Tibba Road in the city and was allegedly the leader of the gang.

According to police sources, Dr Umesh Kumar, and his two alleged agents Jagdish Pandey and Ranjan Kumar have been booked in the case. Ranjan Kumar has been arrested while the other two are absconding.

Police sources said the CIA wing of the city police has evidence that the accused doctor and his two alleged agents had duped several persons by promising them a BAMS degree. The two reportedly had links with some universities and their contacts were also being looked into.

According to sources, the accused Ranjan Kumar had confessed to being an agent of the accused doctor. The gang had charged lakhs of rupees from students.
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