Wednesday, December 5, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Clash between neighbours leaves one dead
Four brothers booked
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
Old rivalry between the members of two neighbouring families led to the murder of an aged man and left two others seriously injured at Khanpur village near Alamgir late last evening.

Four brothers, have been booked by the police in this connection but only one of them has been arrested so far.

The victim, Hassan Mohammad, 65, died in the Civil Hospital late last night. He had sustained several injuries on his head after he was hit with some blunt weapon by the accused.

Amarjit Kaur, mother of the accused youths, was also among those injured. Ashraf Mohammad, one of the accused has also been injured. Both have been admitted to the civil hospital.

According to the police the two neighbouring families, both Muslims, were at loggerheads with each other for quite some time on different issues. However, the main point of discord was the right of worship at a ‘Mazaar’ near their houses. The families also had differences over a common wall of their houses.

The police said the clash began when the four brothers, sons of Inayat Ali, allegedly under the influence of liquor, attacked the family of Hassan Mohammad with sticks, rods and sharp-edged weapons. Though out numbered, the family members of Hassan Mohammad also took out same weapons in self defence. This led to a fierce clash which continued for quite some time. Ultimately, the villagers led by Sarpanch Gurdev Singh and former Sarpanch Gurcharan Singh separated the families but by that time, Hassan Mohammad was seriously injured. The villagers rushed the injured to the civil hospital where Hassan Mohammad breathed his last.

According to Iqbal Mohammad, son of the deceased, they had retaliated only in their defence as the accused were beating his father with sticks. He said they had the right over the ‘‘mazaar’’ but the other family was making claims on it and trying to forcibly stop them from offering prayers.

He said the accused attacked them without any provocation last evening while they were sitting in their house.

According to sources close to the accused, the victim's family was equally responsible for the clash. They said the mother of the accused and one of the accused had also been injured and it was just ill-fate that Hassan Mohammad had died.

According to the police the investigation so far suggests that it was not a well-planned murder but just happened in the fierce fighting. Police sources also added that the mother of the accused was injured while she was trying to stop her sons. The post-mortem examination has confirmed death due to injuries on the head.

A large number of villagers had collected at the Civil Hospital. They said they had tried to convince both the families to bury their differences and live peacefully but they had not paid heed to their suggestions. The village panchayat has demanded immediate arrest of the accused.



College teachers hold rallies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 4
Over 500 agitating teachers from government aided and unaided colleges of the district were out on the streets today to embarass their local ruling party politicians and to protest against the non-implementation of their demands. In fact, teachers have started taking on the ruling party politicians, especially a local minister, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and also top bureaucracy one by one.

Teachers from the local colleges and also from Doraha, Khanna, Jagraon, Samrala, Raikot and Gurusar Sadhar, participated in the rally. Carrying banners and placards bearing their demands, they proceeded towards the residence of Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Minister for Technical Education, this morning. They raised slogans against the state government. They submitted a memorandum to the minister. Before joining the procession, they marked their attendance in their respective colleges.

The demands of the teachers include implementation of the pension-cum-gratuity scheme, revision of posts after 1981, enhancement of grant-in-aid to aided colleges, covering the unaided colleges under the scheme, payment of arrears from January 1996 to December 1998, lecturer’s designation for DPEs and librarians and the grant of rural area allowance.

Addressing the rally, Prof Satish Sharma, Panjab University Senator and Lecturer at Arya College, criticised the Punjab Government for ignoring the genuine demands of the agitating teachers. He blamed the government for making wasteful expenditure at sangat darshan programmes. He said government had forced the teachers to hold rally and disrupt academic work in colleges.

The rally was also addressed by Prof Rajinder Bhandari, also a PU Senator, Prof Surinder Kaur and Prof Geeta Bhandari, co-conveners of the women wing of the PCCTU. They demanded immediate fulfilment of these demands failing which they said that the agitation would be intensified. Prof Parminder Singh, district secretary of the union, said the teachers would gather outside the Mini Secretariat tomorrow and submit a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.

Meanwhile, there was total ‘‘cease work’’ in all private colleges of the district. No classes were held and no examinations were conducted.



Check polluting autorickshaws’ 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
The district traffic police and transport authorities, who have launched a massive campaign against those auto-rickshaws running without permits and spreading pollution in the city recently, have lamented the lack from support from citizen welfare groups or NGOs to clean the mess. They have rued that these organisations, who often complain about the administration’s inaction, are not coming forward to support them.

On the other hand, the onslaught of the traffic police and district transport authorities have forced the ever divided auto-rickshaw unions to unite for their survival. They have formed a joint action committee to face the battle politically and legally to defend themselves in the court as well as against the offensive of the traffic police and the media campaign, being run against them.

Mr Om Parkash Jodhan, president, Ludhiana Bus Stand Auto Rickshaw Unions, in a press note issued here today, said, “We have formed a 21-member committee by including all representatives of different unions, which used to be at loggerheads earlier. This committee would fight against the injudicious challans of the traffic police.”

The Ludhiana Mini-Bus Operators’ Union had already taken the SSP ( traffic ), Mr Arun Pal Singh and DTO, Mr Bhupinder Singh to the Punjab and Haryana High Court for not taking steps against the illegal running of autos on their routes. They had alleged that the authorities had not taken any steps to stop the auto-rickshaws, which were running without valid permit, and were largely responsible for the pollution in the city.

Senior officials have not openly asked the NGOs and civic associations to come to their defence, however, they privately lament that while they are fighting against the political pressure, no industrial or traders’ body has come forward to check the menace.

Mr Jodhan disclosed that they had already engaged counsel to fight the legal battle in the court. The joint action committee has also approached Mr Satpal Gossain, Deputy Speaker in the Punjab Legislative Assembly to stop the challans. He has assured his support. A meeting has been called on December 7 to chalk out the next course of action. The committee would meet the Deputy Commissioner on December 11 so that traffic police could be asked to restrain itself.

He added, “More than 200 autorickshaws were challaned yesterday, though a number of them had valid documents. When the government removed octroi posts, what is the point of challaning auto-rickshaws operating outside the city limit.”

It is learnt that the Punjab and Haryana High Court has fixed December 20 as the next date of hearing. The Mini-Bus Operators have been alleging that the auto-rickshaws have been granted permits to run within the city limits, however, they have been running illegally on all routes. Insiders in the Transport Department said that there were, 7063 three-wheelers registered at Ludhiana by the end of July, 2001 and about 80-100 new vehicles were registered every month.

Official sources revealed that the actual number of three wheelers in the city was anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000. Out of these, about 5,000 three-wheelers, bearing PCL numbers of late eighties registered as petrol-driven vehicles, had fitted local-made diesel engines, and were running without any permit in the city as well to the neighbouring towns.

Most of them run between Samrala Chowk, Haibowal, Bus Stand, Jalandhar by-pass, Dholewal Chowk and Kohara, Sahnewal, Phillaur and Alamgir. Interestingly these are mostly owned by 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims and authorities fear to take any action against them due to political reasons. Mr Fateh Singh Libra, Managing Director, Libra Bus Service says in this regard, “Though the three wheelers have been allowed to operate within city limits, but they go even up to 20 km from the city and badly affect the mini-bus and other operators, who have paid heavy passenger tax.”



Follow safety norms: MC
Directive to cinemas, discos 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 4
In order to ensure compliance with the prescribed public safety norms and other mandatory requirements by cinema halls, discos, circus and other similar public places, the Municipal Corporation has issued strict instructions to all Zonal Commissioners and other field staff to scrupulously enforce the provisions of the Section 348 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, which provided for obtaining a prior licence from the MC to run these places.

Further, for effective regulation of all such public places, Mr R.L. Kalsia, MC Commissioner, has also taken up the matter with the Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police to make sure that all individuals or companies, making application to the District Administration for permission to run cinema hall, circus or any such public amusement place, under any other relevant provisions of law, was in possession of necessary permission from the civic body.

Mr Kalsia further said directions were issued that before the issuance of any such licence, the yearly renewal of which was also mandatory, the applicants should be required to obtain a ‘no objection certificate’ with regard to the structural safety of the premises and installation of adequate number of fire-fighting equipment. The Additional Commissioner and the Joint Commissioner, in charge of the Fire Department of the MC were asked to carry out inspection of all such public places and bring the violations, if any, on record. He made it clear that action, including closure of such places and prosecution, would be taken against offenders.



Octroi gone but consumers yet to get benefit
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
Though the Punjab government has abolished octroi in the state, shopkeepers and traders have not passed on this benefit to consumers so far. In a way the abolition of octroi has failed to provide any relief to the consumers concerned. It appears that the controversial decision is expected to benefit the traders and manufacturers by about Rs 500 crore annually if they did not pass on the benefit to consumers in the coming days.

In fact the state government has not placed any official mechanism in operation to oversee whether shopkeepers and traders have stopped charging the octroi money from consumers or not. Octroi was a shiftable tax which traders used to charge from consumers by adding it in the price of the goods concerned. It is another matter the government is making tall claims with regard to the waiving of the octroi and asserting that it had fulfilled its promise, though belatedly.

With the abolition of octroi there should have been a fall in the prices of various goods, especially of the luxurious gadgets but it has not happened as yet. In Ludhiana the traders and manufacturers were paying around Rs 130 crore as octroi. In fact, some of them fear that the state government would introduce some other tax to compensate the fall in taxes, so there was no point in taking any decision in haste.

Earlier, the trading bodies had been asking the state government to abolish octroi, which was, they claimed, a retrogressive tax. They had promised that the resultant profits would be passed on to the customers. But a survey of the market, has revealed that consumers have not benefited from the fall in product prices.

Market observers say that there was a 2 to 3 per cent octroi duty on electronics goods. The customers were expecting that the dealers would reduce the price of these consumer durables proportionately. The average price of colour TV, costing around Rs 20,000, should have declined by Rs 400 to Rs 600. However, no dealer has announced any price cut.

The textile, cycle, cycle parts and auto-parts’ manufacturers are the biggest beneficiaries of this decision in the city. Mr Vinod Thapar, a leading knitwear manufacturer and president, Knitwear Club, disclosed that the textile industry was importing needles, yarn and machinery by paying heavy octroi duty. The industry used to pay 2 per cent octroi on needles worth Rs 30- 45 crore annually, which was lately slashed to 1 per cent. Insiders say that the textile units would save crores of rupees, but no one has decided to cut down the prices.

Mr Rajesh Jindal, president, Engineering Exporters Association of India, also admitted that the engineering exporters would benefit substantially, but so far they have not decided to reduce the prices. He said: “We had been paying more costs on raw material as compared to the Delhi manufacturers, where octroi had been abolished long ago. The costs have been just rectified.”

Mr Surinder Singh, marketing manager, Deekey Electronics Limited, admitted that the price of electronics goods have not been reduced. However, he blamed the manufacturing companies for this situation. He said: “The manufacturers have not cut down the product prices for us. So there was no question of reducing the prices.”

The price of sugar, edible oil, and other products in the market has not shown any declining trends. Interestingly, the prices of cement have been reportedly slashed. Mr Ashok Juneja, president, Punjab Cement Dealers Association, said, “We have cut down the prices by Rs 5 per bag resulting in uniform price within the city and outside. Subsequently, the sales have also picked up marginally in the city limits.”



Mad rush for Cong ticket
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
There appears to be a mad rush for the Congress ticket in urban areas, with at least 50 candidates applying for four urban constituencies of Ludhiana district. Ludhiana west seems to be the most sought after constituency with 24 candidates applying from here. One of the main factors responsible for the mad pursuit seems to be the growing belief that the Congress may do well in the urban areas as compared to the rural areas.

Of about 50 candidates, there may not be more than 10 serious candidates, who sincerely mean to contest the elections. The other reason for maximum number of candidates from Ludhiana west is believed to be the uncertainty over Mr Harnam Dass Johar’s fate. Given his strained relations with the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president, Capt Amarinder Singh, Ludhiana west appears to be an open constituency. Mr Johar had contested unsuccessfully from here in 1997 and lost to Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal by a huge margin of over 15,000 votes.

Besides Mr Johar, others who have applied from here include Mr Ajit Singh Chawla, general secretary of the Satluj Club, Mr Pawan Dewan, chairman of the Indian Youth Congress (Urban Development Cell), who has also remained District Youth Congress president, Mr K.K. Bawa, Mr Jeevan Dhawan, Mr S.S. Ahluwalia, former senior Deputy Mayor, Mrs Gurkanwal Kaur, daughter of former Chief Minister, Mr Beant Singh, Mr B.K. Rampal, Mr Joginder Kumar, Prof Satish Sharma, Raja Narinder Singh, Kripal Singh Aujla, Mr Deepak Kwatra, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, Mr Hemraj Aggarwal, Mrs Meenakshi Saini, Mrs Harbans Kaur, Mr Ravinder Singh Sohal, Mr Paramjit Singh Sipia, Mr Mewa Singh Kullar, Mr R.R. Bharadwaj, Mr P.C. Gupta and Mr Vijay Arora.



Driver booked for smoking in bus
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
In a first ever case registered for smoking in a public place following the directive of the Supreme Court, the local police has booked a driver of Haryana Roadways bus for smoking in the bus en route Ludhiana to Ambala.

The case has been registered on a complaint by a local resident, Bhai Amrik Singh Amritdhari, the police has registered a case under Sections 188 and 294, IPC, against the driver of Haryana Roadways Bus Sonepat (No. HR 69-0168).

In his complaint to the police, the Chief Minister of Haryana, the Chief Minister of Punjab and the State Transport Commissioner, Haryana, Bhai Amrik Singh alleged that he was travelling on the said bus on November 25 at around 9 pm. When he boarded the bus from Ludhiana he noticed that the driver was smoking. He requested the driver not to smoke as there were the orders from the SC as well as Haryana government.

But the driver refused to listen to him and said he would not stop smoking and he even offered a cigarette to the complainant. The complainant also alleged that the driver used abusive language for him and even charged at him.



Case against two for rape bid
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
The local police has registered a case against two persons for an attempt to rape a girl who was kidnapped by them.

According to police sources, the victim, a resident of Janakpuri, had gone to the market to buy some household goods yesterday. In her complaint to the police, she has alleged that on the way she was forced into a car with tainted glasses by two persons. She alleged that the duo tried to rape her, but she foiled their bid by running from the place.




Affluence and vanity run side by side in Ludhiana. They say about Ludhianvis that if they possess a million they will claim a billion, as long as they do not get noticed by tax officials where they claim otherwise. There is a typical trait among Ludhianvis of looking ‘very important person’ if they cannot claim more than that. Minimum requirement to get noticed in the social circles is to behave or at least pose like a VIP in any possible manner. Most of the Ludhianvis betrayed this trait on the concluding ceremony of the National Games. The district administration had announced that the entry would be free and there were arrangements of proper sitting everywhere in the Guru Nanak Stadium. However, only two gates were reserved for VIPs entry primarily for the security reasons and three stands were reserved for them and sportspersons. For Ludhianvis something there could be no other occasion to prove that they really are something by way making an entry through the VIP gates and getting into the VIP stands, even if it meant watching the three-hour function. This was for the reason that television cameras remain focussed on VIP stands only.

The matter does not end here. For the VIP hangover is too strong to last so early. With the invitation cards the organisers had issued VIP parking slips also, which were meant specifically for that day and for a particular venue only.

And the hangover seems so strong that none of the invitees have removed the VIP parking slips from their vehicles. Because, this seems to become a status symbol. Several vehicles can be seen roaming in the city with at least three VIP parking slips stuck to the windscreen. Typical Ludhianvi vanity.

Mafia vs Commissioner

With the new Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Mr R.L.Kalsia, taking his crusade against roadside encroachments in right earnest, an interesting tussle seems to be on the cards. While Mr Kalsia is quite determined to achieve his objective, the encroachment mafia, too, seems to be too adamant to budge. While the former has no axe to grind, the latter have at stake a huge regular income by way of ‘monthlies’ which it cannot afford to lose. Trucks of the Tehbazari Department have been moving around the city and lifting scooters and ‘rehris’ for the past 10 days or so.

The general impression is that the new Commissioner means business. For the time being the mafia is waiting in the wings, only to bounce back into the business as usual. The next few weeks would be the decisive period.

Event to remember

Ludhiana had the privilege of being one of the main centres for playing host to thousands of athletes and other officials in connection with the XXXI National Games, which concluded on Saturday. The people who descended on the city left it with a heavy heart as two weeks time was sufficient for them to fall in love. People here, they said, were very warm and hospitable. That is the typical Punjabi character.

Moreover, the city also offered these players a good shopping esplanade. Interestingly, they had got familiarised with most of the important shopping centres like Mall Road, Ghumar Mandi and Chaura Bazaar within this brief time. And most of them would go for shopping only in Chaura Bazaar, saying they could not afford The Mall. Woollens, as Ludhiana is known countrywide for these products, were one of the main attractions for athletes, particularly those who had come from Manipur, Mizoram or Assam.

Their presence had added another dimension to the busy and vibrant life of Ludhiana. With them were another 100-odd journalists who had come from different parts of the country. While Ludhiana is already famous for its hosiery and is known as ‘Manchester of India’, these journalists further popularised the city in their respective areas. They had also a word of thanks for the local people for their cooperation and hospitality.

Political optimism

With the election fever catching up in the state, Ludhiana is also having its share of political turbulence and upheaval. The process has already started with the Congress seeking applications from the aspiring and prospective candidates. While senior leaders, active workers and those with good social standing may have full justification for applying for the tickets, there are so many others who also seem to be trying their luck. Every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to have jumped into the race. And interestingly, most of the applicants in the second lot seem to be too optimistic and a number of them are roaming around with their pictures while submitting the applications. Nobody can refuse anybody the right to be optimistic and not at least to the politicians and that too the new entrants.

Ostrich attitude

Sometimes selfishness turns people too blind to look beyond their nose. This is exactly what seems to be happening in Ghumar Mandi, where a handful of shopkeepers are protesting the traffic police decision to introduce one-way traffic. The decision has been widely hailed by the public and a large section of shopkeepers since it helped in removing the traffic bottlenecks in the area. Moreover, the traffic used to remain blocked every time before the new arrangement. A few shopkeepers are, however, opposed to the idea since they claim that this has affected their business. They also staged a dharna to pressurise the police to withdraw the decision. The police has done well in the public interest by not succumbing to the pressure. It is after a long time that people now can move comfortably in Ghumar Mandi and some people do not like it!

Civilisational affinity

Dog is believed to be the first animal who was tamed by the man during the early phase of the evolution of the human civilisation. And that relationship continues even now without a break. And dog is the most faithful animal which stands by its master always. While all dogs do not have the privilege to live a comfortable life, some are more lucky than human beings even. For they live in air-conditioned apartments and are taken for running in luxury cars, a privilege not many human beings can even dream of and not at least in India. Like a beauty pageant for men or women, it was the ‘Dog Show’ to chose healthy and smart dogs in Ludhiana. Animals were brought to the venue with utmost care. And those who won were really a matter of pride for their owners and of course envy for others. (see picture)

Osama in city?

A group of Muslims from Gorakhpur were on a visit to Ludhiana recently for collecting donations. Having come to know about the ongoing National Games, they could not resist the temptation of watching the handball match between their home state and Jammu and Kashmir. So they landed up at the Guru Nanak Stadium in their traditional dress.

On top of all, their flowing beards made them stand out in a crowd and invited some curious looks. In an informal chat with a friend, one of the visitors recalled that he heard a little boy saying to his friends ‘Dekho, Osama bin Laden apne doston ke sath ja raha hai’. The comment certainly did not amuse the group.

No choice

It seems that the district administration uses government schoolchildren as fillers every time a major event occurs in the city. Last fortnight when the National Games were held these children were used for filling the empty stands of the Guru Nanak Dev Stadium. Teachers were directed by the District Education Department to bring the children to the venue on the opening and closing ceremonies. Similar was the situation at the Asian Hockey Tournament held at the Punjab Agricultural University astroturf in August. The children have no choice but to agree to the orders given by the higher authorities.

— Sentinel



Abolition of octroi comes under sharp criticism
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 4
The Bhartiya Swayatshasi Karamchari Mahasangh, a body of civic body employees, affiliated to the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, a frontal organisation of BJP, has made a scathing attack on the State Government for its failure to formulate definite plans to make up the financial loss to the local bodies as a result of abolition of octroi.

The General Secretary of the Mahasangh Mr Ram Lubhaya Bawa, who is also a member of the national executive of the Sangh, lamented that the future of more than 6,000 civic employees, working in octroi wings all over the state, had become uncertain in the absence of unambiguous instructions about =their alternative posting.

Mr Bawa, questioned the sanity of the decision to do away with octroi, saying all local bodies were running in a loss and many of them had diverted the funds from provident fund accounts of employees to other heads. The government was well aware, he added, that in the states, where octroi had been abolished, the civic bodies were not in a position to pay salaries to their employees and development works had been given a go by.

The trade union activist urged the government to come out immediately with a clear-cut policy for alternate resource generation to continue development works, posting of civic employees from octroi wings to their respective local bodies and meeting the liability of salary and other dues of MC employees.

Meanwhile, the District Youth Congress (DYC) has termed the decision of abolition of octroi by SAD-BJP government as a desperate act to win back the urban electorate. The DYC President, Mr Parminder Mehta, while addressing a meeting at Vishwakarma Chowk here, observed that the step of octroi abolition was bound to prove counter-productive as people could see through the real intentions of the ruling alliance.

Mr Mehta announced that the party would gherao the MC headquarters here on December 18 to press for implementation of proposal to provide free water and sewerage facility to the city population, which had been adopted unanimously by the MC general house.



City Scan
Ludhiana’s sheen fading

Ludhiana faces many hazards, the bulk of newspaper reports is a pointer. The multitude of residents face multiple problems. Pollution is taking an alarming altitude as a real demon of all evils. The city is expanding in all directions, faster than ever imagined. Every thing is changing fast. Change for the worse is faster hitting city profile. Material progress is costing dear in terms of culture. Health is at stake. Road safety was never so serious. The corporation is engrossed with civic problems. The police is fighting a desperate battle against ever-increasing crimes and fast growing criminals. Education is expanding, but the general quality of learning is falling. The rising tuition graph is an index of this malady. The tuitionists are replacing the educationists. It is mainly the educationists who gave the city its sterling image. Even a die-hard optimist is worried about the future of the city. Ludhiana has many faces. It has some images. Images are under change, some even at stake.

Between optimism and pessimism, is the state of realism. Ludhiana has no fault as such. It is made to suffer. I don’t say the city causes illness, I infer we are collectively making the city sick. We, as indifferent persons, are the cause. We collectively suffer its effects. All must restore to it its glory, its pristine wealth, its robust health. In ignorance, we are losing sight of its real imagery also. We only assert our rights. Who were those who never forgot their duties? Some of them gave such images: ‘Education centre’, ‘Pivot of Green Revolution,’ ‘Industrial hub’, ‘Manchester of India’ etc. A country may take centuries to perpetuate its image. Egypt, China, Iraq and India are termed as cradles of ancient civilisation. Some time a small state got a few real intellectuals, thinkers and men of action. It earned a permanent niche in history, besides acquiring an image. Ancient Greece is a state of that class. History has a record of lesser known human habitats which rose to outshine in the sphere of academics and learning. Taxila and Nalanda are such landmarks in India. From forest to hamlet is a slow journey, from a village to city is a fast one. The metros appear in less time over large areas. There is a qualitative difference between a ‘mahanagar’ of yore and a metro of our time. Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and Pune had glorious past. They carry history as well as heritage. Go beyond Punjab, you confront the problem of identity. Glory of Punjab stands by you as an asset. Discover what the others know of Ludhiana. The range is from little to something. One is unhappy at their ignorance. Here and there, they refer to Sahir. You feel assured.

Ludhiana is lost in a mist of indifference. Change in profile is real. Imagery is changing. Images are shifting. In the ’50s Delhi was categorised as city as against Kolkata and Mumbai since both had graduated as metros. In the ’60s a resident of Mumbai would call Delhi a very big village. An average Delhi resident did mind it. It appeared to him a wry comment, a derision. When a Delhi resident visited Mumbai in those days, he came back a less angry person. Area covered is one dimension of progress. Population supported is one more. The nature of life, particularly the living part of it, differentiates between one city and another.

A big city, in time, acquires an image. A metro projects a symbol. Go beyond India to a modern Western country and study. India is distant to the ignorant, but very close to a man of history. Talking about Punjab, meet an educated man in London, he refers to Ludhiana’s Government College. Stay with a progressive agriculturist or horticulturist in California, he talks in pleasing terms about its agricultural university. Talk informally with a medical professional of Chicago or Toronto, he responds in appreciative terms to the Christian Medical College and Hospital. Images are fast changing, Sahir, Government College and the CMC bear image of Ludhiana, in India, even abroad. Ludhiana, with all thy ailments collectively caused by residents, we love you. Once ‘Manchester of India’ acquired new face. — M.S. Cheema



The cops who rewrote the rules
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

DSP Ranu Kundal
DSP Ranu Kundal of J&K Special Task Force who has led many operations.

Ludhiana, December 4
They are the personification of grit and courage, though unlike supercop Kiran Bedi they have been unsung heroines. In fact, they are the real life daredevils, who have smilingly performed their duties, overcoming difficulties of the tough profession that policing is, especially in a strife-torn state like Jammu and Kashmir.

Whether a constable or an IPS officer, they have a tale of valour to narrate. They have come all the way from Jammu and Kashmir to share their experiences at a regional conference on the topic, “Forging a new future for women in the police” underway at the Punjab Police Academy in Phillaur.

Ms Ranu Kundal, a DSP who served for five years in the Special Police Task force in Srinagar, the hotbed of terrorism, has become a ‘most wanted’ police officer for terrorist organisations. The reason: She has never been afraid of terrorists and has always led from the front to chase and shoot them down. She has had many a bloody fight with them and one or two close shaves. Her extraordinary courage and pluck to interrogate them made her a most-feared police officers among militant ranks. She received information that human bombs had been pressed into operation by terrorist outfits to finish her. But such threats have not affected her official and other routine in any manner. What has stunned terrorists is the guts exhibited by Ms Kundal. Their bravado is punchtured and they feel humilated when a ‘woman’ cop shoots down their dreaded accomplices.

The sense of determination and fearlessness which is writ large on her face, is enough to make one understand how she hunts down terrorists in encounters, even at a time when her male counterparts fled from the spot, leaving her alone.

She is the first woman cop to volunteer to join the Special Task Force, Srinagar, in 1997 and conferred the Gallantry award by the Union Government acknowledging her mettle and an example for other women to follow. Recently, she was shifted to Jammu as part of a special security arrangement.

She got married recently to a colleague posted in the valley. “Being a police woman is no problem in private life if you have the determination and grit to fight against all odds,” says she.

Similar were the views voiced by Ms Rajni Sharma from J&K, who also worked with the Special Task Force at Kupwara for three years. She asserts that life goes one’s way, if one has the willpower to achieve the impossible. Having a recommendation certificate from the Chief of the Army and having got two promotions out-of-turn as a reward for acts of bravery, Rajni was visibly upset at her being transferred from the STF.

“I had pulled away a DSP from the hail of bullets. I also participated in many special operations. But this is what they have done to reward me. They have transferred me to some insignificant place (not disclosed for security reasons). It has hurt me”, says the brave woman who considers it as an act of discrimination against women.

There are five women police officers in the Special Task Force in J and K. Two of them are in Phillaur.

The story of the first woman SHO, Ms Bindu Bala, of North India is no less exciting. Ms Bala, an SHO in Patiala, had to face discrimination at the hands of her male colleagues. Although, she says, officials were good to her, but her male counterparts used to treat her as a weakling. “Even the public used to think that I won’t be able to handle complicated cases. I saw many persons coming to my police station with a complaint but after looking at me, I heard many of them asking my male colleagues to handle their cases”, says Bindu.

“But not any more. My work has now induced confidence among the public about me and my colleagues, who think I can work equally well,’’ asserts a confident Bindu. Now she goes for her duty on various nakas even during the night and has nabbed many criminals, including those involved in drug trafficking.

“I have changed the scene at my police station. Nobody is allowed to use foul language or torture anybody. I tell my subordinates that if only interrogation can help get the information, what is the need to torture anybody?”, says the professional.

A mother of two kids and married to a police officer, Bindu remembers the day when she had gone to her husband crying. “I was sick of the surrounding and the discrimination being meted out to me. But he made me understand that only with endurance could prove my worth to all those who had doubted my capacity to work as a police officer. And today I understand how true he was. It is very necessary to have a understanding and cooperative family,” said Bindu.

Talking about the discrimination prevalent in their department, Ms Satwant Atwal, SP, Commandant, Shimla, has this to say, “We are required to behave as men. Why don’t they understand that we are not men or women, but cops. We have our own way of doing work. Be it sympathetically or rudely, it a way typical of a person, irrespective of the gender. Then why are we supposed to get converted into men?”, a pertinent question you would agree.



Badungar gives 4 lakh to gurdwara
Our Correspondent

Doraha, December 4
Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, speaker, Vidhan Sabha, attended a bhog of akhand path at Gurdwara Damdama Sahib, here today. The path was kept in view of the speedy recovery of Mr Prakash Singh Badal, Chief Minister.

On this occasion, a cheque for Rs 7,100 was given to Harijans for the construction of a Dharmshala and Rs 31,000 was given to residents of Satnam Nagar. Mr Atwal thanked Mr Gill and other organisers for organising the function. The programme was also attended by Mr Kirpal Singh, Badungar, Prsident, SGPC, who announced Rs 4 lakh for the construction of a diwan hall of the gurdwara.

Apart from others who attended the function were Mr Santa Singh Umaidpuri, Chairman, Market Committee, Sahnewal, Mr Jagroop Singh, circle president, SAD, Sahnewal, and Mr Karamjit Singh Bhairomunna, Akali leader.



“Ek Minute Game Show” at Lodhi Club
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 4
Lodhi Club organised “Ek Minute Game Show” here on Sunday. Mr B.M. Mahajan, general secretary of the club said in a statement that many surprise gifts were given and lucky draws held.

The banana eating competition was won by Stuffy, the bread eating competition by Nitin and Sunny. Shilpy won the prize for making funny faces and Nishit won the prize for flying paper aeroplanes.

There were many other competitions like bounces of balls, biscuit searching, lemon squeezing, drawing by holding pen in mouth, blowing bubble gum balloons, sticking bindi on the face of husband and pastry eating.

Surprise gifts were given to those wearing the maximum number of earrings, maximum bangles having the longest moustache and beard and the lady wearing the highest heel.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, SDM East, was the chief guest. Cultural items were presented by the kids of club members.



PAU roads to have facelift
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
Roads on the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) campus will soon have a new look. The Punjab Mandi Board has agreed to give a facelift to the roads on the campus.

This was stated by the Vice-Chancellor of the PAU, Dr K.S. Aulakh, here today. He said a layer of premix would be laid on 28 km long roads in the university at an estimated cost of Rs 1 crore. In a letter written by Mr Mal Singh Ghuman, Chairman Mandi Board to Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, the Chairman stated that the Board would be doing a great service to the farmers by improving the roads.



Nepalis drug housewife, decamp with ornaments
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 4
The city police is on the lookout for two Nepalis who drugged a housewife in Khud mohalla on Sunday night and decamped with some gold ornaments.

According to the FIR lodged by Ms Krishna Sachdeva, wife of Mr Ramesh Sachdeva at the division number three police station yesterday, the gurkhas, namely Ram Bahadur and Tarak Bahadur, mixed some drug in the meal served to the family members. She fell unconscious after consuming the drug-laced meal and the accused managed to nick a gold chain, a gold bracelet and some other ornaments. A case under sections 328,381 and 34 of the IPC has been registered and an investigation is on.

Held under Excise Act: In an interesting case, the division number five police yesterday registered a case under the Excise Act against some men for drinking at a public place, while earlier, various sections of the IPC were used for such offences. Three persons, Madan Rai, Mela and Joginder Singh were arrested while they were drinking publicly on the Ferozepore road. The accused have been booked under sections 61,1,14 of the Excise Act.

Beaten UP: The division number one police has registered a case under sections 323,325 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Sunny, son of Mr Som Nath, resident of Deepak Cinema road, against Lucky Jain,Ashok Jain, Adarsh Jain and Sunita Jain, all residents of Soshal Nagar, Ludhiana. The complainant alleged in his statement that the accused attacked him and injured him. No arrest has been made so far.

Fraud: The Model Town police has registered a case of fraud under sections 420,467,468,470,471 and 506 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Roshan Lal, son of Mr Waryam Ram, resident of Phagwara, against Govardhan Khanna of Khanna Tour and Travels. The complainant stated that he gave Rs.3.5 lakh to the accused for going abroad, but the accused neither fulfilled his promise nor returned the money to him.



Boom time for woollen manufacturers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 4
Contrary to the general impression that the onset of winter has been delayed a little this time, the mood in the woollen industry here is upbeat. Woollens’ manufacturers are happy that their old as well as fresh stocks have almost been cleared. It is after several years that they have felt this comfortable in their business. Though last year too their stocks had been cleared, but only after the rains in the last week of December. In fact the woollen markets have learnt to adjust with the changing climatic conditions in this region. The manufacturers stagger their operations in a planned manner to avoid piling up of stocks at their premises.

A survey conducted by this correspondent revealed that there was a craze for the latest woollen items among people. Hosiery items like ladies’ cardigans, pullovers, jackets and open sweaters for men had been selling like hot cakes.

Ludhiana Tribune spoke to a number of manufacturers who admitted that after a long time it had been the best season for them so far. Mr Varinder Kumar Billu, a prominent knitwear manufacturer of Subhash Nagar, said that due to the timely onset of winters this year, the season was good. “The marriage season on and the winters is also around, so there is quick clearance of stocks. Girls have been preferring short cardigans. Bright colours like red, orange, blue, green and yellow are in vogue these days. Most women prefer the feathery stuff, which is shimmering and gives a formal look”, said Mr Varinder Kumar.

Mr Sunil Jain from a prominent exporting unit, Sunder Nagar, maintained that though it was a good season from the business point of view yet the reasons were different. He added, "The manufacturers had limited their production because they did not want to dump their production like last year. The manufacturers are happy because their last year’s stock has been cleared up”.

Mr Jain said that heavy sweaters were not much in demand. People preferred imported sweaters which were light in weight but gave a formal look. There was a great demand for computerised and striped designs among young girls. The elderly preferred plain cardigans of sober shades.

The upper strata of the society preferred branded sweaters. Men preferred jackets and open sweaters to pullovers this time.

Another reason for good sale was that earlier people thought it better to purchase woollens in the off season. One of the retailers on the Mall Road said, "The rates are reasonable. Earlier people waited for the off season discount, but now fresh stock was available at reasonable rates”.

When asked about the rates, the manufacturers said that branded sweaters were available between Rs 1,000 to Rs 4,500 whereas the middle range was between Rs 500 to Rs 900 and the sweaters made on the flats machines started from Rs 250.

Mr S.R. Sharma of a leading knitwear company said that this year there was great demand of woollens in Maharashtra, Gujarat and the Middle East (due to heavy rains). The manufacturers had restricted their production because the yarn traders were strict this time. They did not provide the yarn on credit, so the production was low as a result there was a good sale because of the limited stock.

Most of these manufacturers said that local buyers preferred the latest designs in sweaters (on the feather stuff) which included stripes, geometrical designs, computerised designs and plain woollen sweatshirts were much in demand in Maharashtra Gujarat while the Tibetan buyers preferred sweaters made on flat machines.


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