Friday, December 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Tension over man’s move to cremate father at home
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
Peace returned to Abdullahpur Basti near the bus stand today afternoon with the cremation of Mr Gulzar Singh, after tension had prevailed in the area since late last night over the controversial move of the deceased’s son, Sant Ram Pal Singh, to cremate his father in his home, instead of in the cremation ground.

A fresh row was however kicked up in the evening when the news of registration of a case against unidentified persons, suspected to be Akali workers, spread in the area. The case was registered against persons ransacking the Dera, whereas the persons opposing the Sant’s move, led by an Akali leader argued that a case should also be registered against the Dera managers for hurting the religious sentiments of people by trying to cremate a body in the house. Sources close to Akali leader said the ‘self-styled’ sant was not ‘properly worshipping’ Guru Granth Sahib.

Mr Gulzar Singh had died yesterday late afternoon after suffering a stroke. His son, a self-styled saint, known as Sant Ram Pal Singh and having a substantial following, especially among villagers shocked the neighbours and other residents by initiating preparations to cremate his father in the house premises only. He even dug up a pit to construct a samadhi of the deceased at the place.

The situation took a grim turn when hundreds of people gathered outside his house. Many of these were armed with sharp-edged weapons and sticks. The mood of the mob was further strengthened by the arrival of local Akali leaders led by Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, vice-president, Shiromani Akali Dal, who were also opposing the reported move. On the other hand a number of followers of the Sant also gathered at the place. However, the angry mob opposing the Sant was stronger in numbers and attacked the house. They threw away the logs of wood arranged for the cremation and even damaged the samadhi.

The Model Town police took some while to reach the place. Until then the damage had been done. The police presence, however, prevented any further misadventure by the mob. Tension however continued to prevail as the deceased’s family insisted on cremating the body in the house itself.

After several meetings between the two parties, mediated by the police, the issue was settled in the afternoon today, when Sant Ram Pal Singh agreed to cremate his father in a cremation ground. A large number of followers of the Sant, neighbours and even members of mob including Akali workers attended the cremation.

Talking to Ludhiana, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, said he even lent his shoulder to the body while carrying it to the cremation ground as he had nothing personal against the deceased or Sant Ram Pal Singh. He said he and his fellow workers were opposing the move as it was against the religious and social norms to cremate a person in the house itself. He said if one person was allowed, everybody would do so. Moreover, the neighbours were opposing the move for obvious reasons.

While Mr Bhatia did not know till afternoon that a case had been registered against ‘unidentified’ persons attacking the dera and could not be contacted in the evening, sources close to him said the registration of the case, so far against unidentified persons, was aimed to embarass the Akali leader in near future as every one knows he was leading the mob opposing the Sant’s move. Sources accused the police of partisan attitude demanding that a case should be registered against the Sant also for hurting religious sentiments and sparking off social tension in the area.



Special Story
MC takes austerity measures
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 6
A lot of belt-tightening is in the offing for the Municipal Corporation here in the wake of abolition of octroi, which came into effect on December 1. And suddenly, the MC, said to be the richest local body in the state, having been deprived of a staggering more than Rs 10 crore revenue each month from octroi, found itself plunged in a financial crisis, to the extent that all payments, other than salaries, were stopped for the time being.

As an immediate aftermath, all development works, which were in the pipe line, have been pushed on the back burner and apprehending delays in their payments, due to paucity of funds with the MC in the coming days, contractors have also suspended most of the ongoing works. Even otherwise, the contractors, enlisted with the MC were staying away from the tendering process for over two months now, demanding payments within a fixed time schedule and inspection of the ongoing works during execution.

While waiting for the outcome of the civil writ petition against abolition of octroi, which is still pending with the Punjab and Haryana High Court, MC top brass is keeping it fingers crossed till the state government comes out with an alternate resource generation plan to make up for the loss of revenue from octroi in accordance with the directions of the court.

However, the civic administration has initiated some pruning and austerity measures, purely on a fire-fighting basis to cut down avoidable expenditure and to check the precarious financial situation from further worsening.

It is reliably learnt that the MC administration has taken up the matter with the state government for remedial measures to reduce the burden of being ‘top heavy’ from the civic body. In addition to a Commissioner (an IAS officer), the MC has three Additional Commissioners (one IAS and two PCS among them), two Joint Commissioners (both PCS officers), two Departmental Assistant Commissioners, one Chief Engineer, as many as four Superintending Engineers, more than one dozen Executive Engineers and scores of SDOs and Junior Engineers.

It was only due to the resource crunch, facing the MC that the administration had refused to let some more SDOs and JEs, recently appointed by the Local Bodies Department, to join duty here early this week and they were asked to report back to the directorate to have alternate posting orders. The MC administration had also reportedly decided to do away with the services of those, appointed on contract basis and further to arrange distribution of bills for civic services through its own staff to save the expenses on courier service.

It is, however, pertinent to add here that those, who can pull strings, still manage to prevail upon, the efforts on reducing the administrative expenditure, notwithstanding. At least one Superintending Engineer and one Executive Engineer were continuing to stay here despite having been transferred elsewhere by the government.

The Core Committee of the MC, which met here late last evening, also discussed in detail the situation arising from abolition of octroi and suspension of all ongoing development works in the city. While those present in the meeting were optimistic that the government would fulfil its promise of making good the loss of income by way of monthly grants, it was also emphasised at the same time that ways and means be found out to provide at least some funds to sustain the pressing works till that time and resolve the stand off between the MC and the contractors.

Termination of contractual works, deployment of MC employees to run and maintain the tubewells and distribute bills and curtailment of monthly fuel bill by at least one third, were some of the measures suggested by the committee. Besides, the City Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, and the MC Commissioner, Mr R.L. Kalsia, others present at the meeting were the Deputy Mayor, Ms Santosh Aneja, Mr Hakam Singh Giaspura, Mr Pran Bhatia, Mr Kulwant Singh Dukhia and Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia.



Students worried as colleges remain closed
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, December 6
The closure of city colleges due to the total strike by teachers and earlier due to National Games seems to be affecting the schedule of the students.

The colleges have been closed for the past 18 days and are likely to remain so till December 10. While the teachers, principals and managements have been struggling for the fulfilment of their demands, the students feel that they are getting affected in the ongoing tussle. Students said that the unplanned holidays have not only disrupted the schedule of their classes but also their examination and mid-term break.

They said that during normal circumstances they attended classes till November end, appeared in examination from December first week to the third week and finally took a break in December end and January beginning. However, nothing was going per schedule now.

Gurpreet, a BA II student, said that before going for a break due to National Games on November 18, it was announced that the December holidays would be scraped and that examinations would begin on December 4. ‘‘We kept preparing for the examination all through the break and when the college re-opened on December 3, we were told that examination had been postponed. Now again, we have been told to sit back home and study for another week. Since the teachers are threatening that the struggle would be intensified more, we are very uncertain about the smooth conduct of examination this time, ’’ she said.

Nafees, a B.Com I student from Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, said that while usually she moved out on trips during December, she felt that all her break was wasted on preparing for the examination. Besides, she said that students were stranded in the midst of the examination as she had already taken her first test on December 3, the rest were yet to be conducted.

Even the parents of the students are worried about the results of their wards. They said that the regularity of their children had been broken and they were not able to concentrate well in their studies. Mr Sunil Mehta, father of a student of Arya College for Women, said that even though the demands of the teachers were genuine, they should have looked for alternate method to get them fulfilled. He said that almost a month was being wasted and the teachers should now take extra classes to prevent the crisis.

Feeling concerned about the loss of time, even the principals and teachers have decided that extra classes would be held after colleges re-open. Ms Charanjit Mahal, Principal, Guru Nanak Girls’ College, Model Town, said that she would tell all teachers to devote extra time in teaching to compensate for the loss. She said that all depended on the decision taken by the joint action committee of principals, managements and teachers on December 9 at Doraha. She said even the date of conducting examination would be decided in the same meeting.



5 labourers picked up from marriage palace
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
Some Army men from the Field Ammunition Depot (FAD), Badhowal, near here, today reportedly picked up five labourers who were working at the White Rock marriage palace on the Ferozepore Road. In a complaint filed with the Sadar police station, Mr Shammi Kapoor alleged that the Army personnel, who had come in a few vehicles, picked up five labourers, who were clearing the debris from the palace, and took them to some unknown destination.

White Rock marriage palace was one of the four that were demolished in the month of June this year following the High Court orders. Later, the palace owners got a status quo order from the Supreme Court of India. Mr Kapoor said since the debris was lying in the complex, they wanted to clear it.

He disclosed that some Army personnel led by Col Dhillon of the FAD descended on the marriage palace on December 4. The colonel allegedly threatened Mr Kapoor and his family with severe repercussions in case they went ahead with the cleanliness process in the marriage palace. “He threatened us with court martial”, said Mr Dalip Kapoor, brother of Mr Shammi Kapoor.

They disclosed that at about 10 am today a posse of about 20 Army personnel came in a military truck and picked up five persons, including one sweeper, one gardner and three labourers. The Army men allegedly used rude and foul language with them. The brothers were shocked and pointed out that the Army personnel had no legal or moral authority to threaten them or detain any of their workers.

The Kapoors also denied that they had done any construction work at the demolished structure. It was learnt that the Army officials were apprehensive that the marriage palace owners might once again start organising functions there. For the time being only the status quo has to be maintained. However, Mr Kapoor pointed out that, “the status quo does not mean that you cannot clear the debris that was lying there for so many months”. He said they only wanted to keep the place properly maintained so that they could use it for themselves. “How can we organise a marriage or any other function here, when there is no electricity connection”, he asked. The marriage palace owners alleged that the Army officials were unnecessarily harassing them.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.R. Kaler, told The Tribune that following the complaint from Mr Shammir Kapoor to the Sadar police, he had talked to the Army officials, who had expressed ignorance about any such incident. Mr Kaler also denied that the Army men had detained anybody. The ADC was in Chandigarh in connection with some meeting and was not in a position to furnish any details.

Colonel Dhillon did not make himself available for comments. At least five telephone calls were made to the FAD and every time the operator hung the phone without giving any answers. On the first call the operator said Colonel Dhillon was there and he was giving the line. Subsequently there was blunt refusal that the Colonel was busy and call up after half an hour.

The police has so far not registered an FIR, reportedly at the instance of the local administration which does not want the issue to boomerang into any major controversy. Sources disclosed that they were trying to establish the facts and in case some people had really been detained, they would be got released.


FMD hits Punjab Agricultural University farm animals
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
While state dairy farmers look towards Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) for prevention and control of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), PAU is itself unable to protect its own animals from the dreadful disease.

Atleast 26 cattle, including buffaloes, bulls and cows, of the dairy farm owned and managed by PAU are suffering from a disease whose clinical symptoms clearly indicate that it is FMD. While certain experts attending to the animals say that going by the symptoms the disease was certainly FMD, the authorities insist that they can only confirm the disease after getting the test reports of the samples collected from the infected animals. Authoritative sources have, however, confirmed the disease was FMD.

While the authorities claim that the 500 cattle of the PAU dairy farm are regularly vaccinated for FMD, the onset of the symptoms have put a question mark on the claims. A visit to the PAU farm today revealed that the infected animals were isolated by experts in a shed for the last many days. It was also found that the animals had developed lesions on their teats and were discharging liquid from their mouth.

Sources said that this is not for the first time that the animals are suffering from a disease, but last year also as many as 200 animals were suspected to be suffering from it. Two buffaloes had reportedly died also.

The incharge of the PAU dairy farm, Dr Onkar Singh, could not be contacted as he had gone on leave for some days. The manager of the farm said that the animals was vaccinated for FMD every year. He told The Tribune to contact Dr R.P. Sehgal, Dean, College of Veterinary Science, for comments. But he was also not available as he was said to be busy in a meeting.

Sources said that the incharge of dairy farm had written to veterinary experts of PAU that some animals were suffering from high fever. The experts later went to see the animals and saw that the cattle had developed lesions on their teats, feet and inside the mouth. Many of them were also discharging liquid from their mouth in plenty (hypersalivation).

The experts sent the samples of the blood of these animals to the diagnostic lab at Jalandhar. They said that if the animals test positive for the disease it would indicate that the staff did not take precautions while vaccinating the animals. They said that the vaccine is only effective if the proper cold chain is maintained till its injection. They said while the university had all the infrastructure required for the maintenance of the cold chain, it was an irregularity on the part of the staff for not handling them carefully.

Experts also said that this was surprising for them also as these animals were scheduled to be given the vaccine within a day or two, but before the vaccine they started showing the symptoms. So they postponed their programme and isolated these animals from others so as to avoid further spread of the disease.



Confusion at form centre
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 6
Negligence of the Education Department was once again at its maximum as the number of questionnaires pertaining to Sarb Sikhya Abhiyan was found to be half the required number at Government Senior Secondary School, Jawahar Nagar, where principals from government and aided schools of the district gathered to collect them today.

Utter confusion prevailed at the centre as the principals complained that they had come from faroff places to collect the forms. While the exercise was to begin tomorrow, the principals and the staff engaged for the purpose is yet to obtain the forms.

Besides, the staff engaged for distribution added to the confusion by distributing forms to wrong people. Ms Prem Arora, Principal, Nauhria Mal Jain Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar, said the questionnaires meant for their ward number 10 were distributed to those from ward number 37 out of confusion. She said she was told to wait till the questionnaires were received back from the incharge of ward 37.

Later in the evening, officers of the District Education Department contacted the officers at Chandigarh and were told that a new lot of questionnaires would be sent tomorrow. Then the principals were told to go back home and come all over again tomorrow to fetch them.



Octroi abolition will not ‘affect’ development
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 6
The Punjab Minister for Medical Education, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, today claimed that the abolition of octroi would not affect the development works in the towns and cities of the state. Without elaborating further, he said the SAD-BJP government had not only fulfilled all its poll promises but given more such relief to the people, which was not a part of the election manifesto, the abolition of house tax being one of them.

Talking to mediapersons after inaugurating a new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Sobti Neuro and Trauma Centre here, Mr Kalia observed that the present government had created a history of sorts of being the first ever non-Congress government to have completed its full term of five years. “Not only this, the SAD-BJP combine will score yet another victory and form the next government in Punjab.”

Mr Kalia, dwelling upon the achievements of the government during the past four and half years, said the sales tax structure had been simplified and the trading community was given various concessions. There had been an unprecedented development, both in urban and rural areas and the government had laid special emphasis on infrastructure development.

Taking a dig at the senior Congress leaders, who were fighting with each other in the public, the minister remarked that Capt Amarinder Singh was not the undisputed leader of the party and various factions within the party were working at cross purposes. “The faction-ridden Congress will be no match to the spirited SAD-BJP coalition in the coming Assembly elections and we shall give the opponents a run for their money.”

While welcoming Mr Kalia and other guests at the function, Dr Manoj Sobti, a former head of the Department of Neuro Surgery in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, informed that the ultra modern and state-of-the-art facilities, available in the ICU.

Prominent among others present on the occasion were Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, district president, BJP, Mr Rajinder Bhandari, general secretary, District unit of the BJP, and Mr Anil Sarin, state secretary, BJP.



Kashmiris break free from politics of colour
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
Strife-torn Kashmiris in the Valley have dared to free themselves from the clutches of fundamentalists. Evidence to this is available in plenty.

The craze for wearing trendy clothes has been increasing in the Valley. Though the “guns” of terrorists still dictate terms to the populace by and large, but people have started breaking free from the fear of the ‘hot metal’.

“Earlier, there used to be no demand for short woollen tops and other such items in the valley. Women preferred longish woollen-wear. But that is no longer true.

There is a tremendous increase in the demand for short tops, open jackets and also jackets without sleeves in the Kashmir valley this year”, said Ram Parkash (name changed), a local woollen-manufacturer, who has been supplying woollen clothes and other knitwear to the Valley for the past two decades.

“In fact, local manufacturers have been unable to meet the Valley’s demand for modern woollen clothes. Shopkeepers from the Valley have been camping here for the past several days with ready cash to buy trendy knitwear, but they have not got adequate material”, said another trader.

“I believe the phenomenon of so-called Talibanisation of the Valley in the past decade is on the wane. People, especially women, have started asserting themselves.

They did not want to lag behind other parts of the country (India) as far as adopting the latest fashion trends is concerned”, asserted a local manufacturer. Woollen clothes are supplied by the local hosiery and knitwear industry to the entire Valley.

Kashmiris in the valley used to earlier hate bright colours. In fact, they had linked the colours with religion. Colours like yellow, orange, saffron, golden, red, white and creamish had been branded as “Hindu” colours in the Valley. There used to be very little sale of wearables made of material of such colours. In fact, Kashmiris had a strong disliking for white, creamish, yellow and saffron colour.

But all of a sudden, their attitude has change pertaining to so-called “Hindu” colours this year. Sweaters and jersies of yellow and saffron colour have become the most sought after items in the valley this year. Even the liking for white and creamish jersies has been increasing.

“For the past two decades, we have been using material of black, bottle green and navy blue colours to manufacturer woollies for the Kashmiris. Actually, 75 per cent of the material used to be of black colour. But this season, the demand for these colours have almost vanished”, said a local wholesale dealer, who has been to the valley thrice in the past three months in connection with the supply of woollies.

What has induced such a change in the mindset of Kashmiris about politics of colours ? People by and large are fed up with militancy. They wanted to enjoy the freedom, to at least decide what they should wear and eat. Earlier, their lives were completely dominated by the culture of gun. But such domination is almost over. People have started believing in themselves and have started decided accordingly.

Id-Ul-Fitr is due to be celebrated on December 17. So, the demand for new woollen clothes, especially for children and ladies has gone up manifold in the Valley. On this day, people in the Valley, as in other parts of the country, want to be seen in their best.

Shopkeepers from the Valley have rushed here to buy fresh stock of bright woollen clothes available to the people in valley well before the starting of Id celebrations. Local manufacturers are facing difficulty in meeting their demand.



Need to check ‘tantrik’ activities
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 6
Local residents feel that an awareness campaign against black magic practitioners (tantriks) is the need of the hour. They think the recently found body of a boy is a timely warning for society to unite and fight against this increasing superstition among the people. As per their opinion education is the only way to save the mankind from these butchers.

“Despite so much of scientific advancement, people do not cease to believe these ‘thugs’ for whom human life has no value. These ‘tantriks’ have quickly mushroomed all over the city”, says a school teacher, Mrs Pushpinder Kwatra.

Mrs Kwatra opines that educating people about these superstitions is the only solution of the problem. However, some NGOs are doing good job but there is a need of launching a full-fledged awareness campaign by the government against them, she added.

Mr Abihav Kapoor says a big awareness campaign is very much required at this stage and especially at Ludhiana which is economically the best area for ‘tantriks’ to operate. He says no legal action could be taken against ‘tantriks in the absence of a complaint as whoever consults these ‘thugs’, would never lodge a complaint against them.

Mr Kapoor is of the view that people can be educated by using various methods and, medium showing documentary films, circulating published material, advertisements and live shows of the tricks often played by tantriks to impress innocent people. He says tantriks are looting people and endangering their lives because they give a chance to these thugs to do so. If people do not go to them, they would not be able to indulge in these activities.

An entrepreneur, Mr Hardeep Singh, has also suggested, a full-fledged awareness campaign against tantriks to clean the city. He was of the view that if the required measures were not taken soon by the government, it would be difficult to stem the rot.

“I have seen many ups and downs in business but I never visited and consulted a tantrik for the solution of my problems as I do not feel the need for a tantrik for solving my problems.”, Mr Singh added.

Another entrepreneur, Mr Jagdish Singh, has also supported the launching of an programme against tantriks and “black magic”, in the city to save the innocent citizens who often become their victim.

“Neither can a tantrik solve anyone’s problems nor can he change fate overnight,” he said.

Mr Subhash Rajasthani says, “In the past few years people’s belief has increased in tantriks’ because of low education rate in the city. Here people are literate but not educated on their activities. There is a need for educating them that ‘tantriks’ are no solution for their mental and physical pain rather they would increase their problems.



Letter gives away Mandi Board’s stand
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
The Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board, Mr Mal Singh Ghuman is perhaps unaware what is happening in his own office if a recent controversy on the laying of the roads on Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) campus is any indication.

The chairman had denied media reports yesterday that the Mandi Board had acceeded to the requests by the PAU to give an uplift to the roads on campus. However, a letter received by the PAU on behalf of the Secretary to the Chairman, procured by the Ludhiana Tribune, clearly says that the Mandi Board had agreed in writing to re-lay roads on the campus.

A letter (despatch number 17707, dated November 23, 2001) stating that the Mandi Board would give an uplift to a stretch of 28 km inside the campus has been written to the PAU by Executive Engineer, Roads on behalf of the Secretary to Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board.

The letter upholds the claim of the PAU, which in a press note issued two days ago stated that the Mandi Board had agreed to re-lay roads on the campus. The Chairman, however, in a section of media had denied that he had never answered to the request of PAU. He had said that he had in fact called a meeting on December 10 to decide about the re-laying of the roads.

He had also said that the VC was requesting the Mandi Board again and again to re-lay the roads which had not been given an uplift for past many years.

The office-bearers of Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association said that they had suggested to the authorities of the university that the Mandi Board could be asked to finance the re-laying of the roads as the PAU was facing a serious financial crunch. The estimated cost for the work was coming out to be Rs 1 crore.

The Vice-Chancellor had then asked the chairman to help the university with the work. Then suddenly a letter was received by the PAU that the Mandi Board was ready to reconstruct the roads of PAU stating that it would be a service to the farming community.



Sugary snowman” comes to town
Asha Ahuja

“sugary snowman”
The “sugary snowman” has come to Park Plaza to herald Christmas. 

Ludhiana, December 6
For the first time, a 15 ft tall “sugary snowman” has been erected as a special attraction to sell cookies, chocolates, plum puddings and cakes for Christmas. All though Christmas is several days away, Harmeet Singh, chef of Park Plaza, has created this unique “man” out of icing sugar and egg whites adding charm to the lobby of Park Plaza.

Last year, they had created a gingerbread house to sell confectionary. This year, Harmeet thought they would do something different. Something the Ludhianivies had not seen earlier.

The “snowman” has a basic structure made of bamboos and thin plywood. Harmeet took 50 kg of sugar and whites of 300 eggs. Four men beat this mixture till it became white and fluffy. Later, they used icing bags to make designs and stick on the plywood that covered the front of the “snowman”. It took four men four days to complete the icing. The eyes and mouth are brown as colour was added in the sugar. The “snowman” looks dandy in his black hat. Around the “snowman” cotton has been fixed with glue to give it a snowy look.

The “snowman” has also been decorated with baubles, Santa Clauses, stars and other gee-gaws generally used for decorations for Christmas. The two potted Christmas plants in front of the “snowman” complete the effect of the “snowman”. Only the reindeers seem to be missing.



Bhaniara panel continues working
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 6
The three-member panel comprising two retired judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and one Sikh scholar set up during the tenure of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi as the president of the SGPC, has continued its working even after the election of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar as the new SGPC chief. The working of the panel has not been hampered so far, contrary to the reports in a section of the press. The panel is still functioning from the SGPC sub-office in Chandigarh and no one has stopped it from working there, says Dr Kharak Singh Mann, a member of the panel.

Dr Mann told this reporter today that the panel had already visited the spots of incidents and had also recorded the statements of some of the witnesses in this regard. The panel had received certain documents including the book written by Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala.

Dr Mann said that the SGPC had withdrawn the official vehicle provided to the panel members by the SGPC and added that they could do without the car.

Asked when would the panel submit its report to the SGPC Dr Mann said that they were organising the documents and the report was likely to be submitted within this month.

It may be mentioned here that Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar had already stated that the three-member panel would not be wound up.

Meanwhile, Mr Jawahar Singh a close relation of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi who was appointed as in charge of the SGPC sub-office in Chandigarh, has been transferred to Amritsar to look after the Sikh reference library. Mr Amar Singh Randhawa has joined in his place at Chandigarh. Mr Jawahar Singh has not joined at Amritsar so far. 



Mittal favours Badal-Tohra unity
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 6
The BJP and the SAD will have joint election campaigns during the Assembly elections, said Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Minister for Food and Supplies, here today.

He said the state BJP working committee would meet here on December 23 to finalise the poll strategy and to select the candidates of the party. He said the BJP would select candidates for 23 seats, which were contested by it in the last Assembly elections. The additional seats had been identified and no decision had been taken about the number of seats to be allotted. This would be decided by the state working committee on December 23.

Mr Mittal said so far the BJP high command had not taken any initiative to bring unity between Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. But he did not rule out the possibility of the BJP central leadership making attempts in this regard after the announcement of the election programme in Punjab.

Mr Mittal was of the view that both Mr Badal and Mr Tohra were seasoned and matured politicians and had worked together for the interest of the state and the Sikh community. They should sink their differences and join hands. Moreover, the Congress was the common enemy of both the leaders and he did not find any difficulty in their unity.

Mr Mittal said the biggest achievement of the SAD-BJP government in Punjab was the cementing of the communal harmony which had been shattered during the Congress regime.



MC employees booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 6
The Shimla Puri police has booked some employees of the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, for fraud on the complaint of Mr Ram Tirath, Superintendent, yesterday, that they were carrying a forged receipt book for octroi and cheating the general public. A case under sections 420,468 and 471of the IPC has been registered but no arrest has been made so far.

The Focal Point police has registered a case under sections 406 and 420 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Ram Parkash, a manager of Nahar Spinning Mills, against Sumeet, a resident of New Delhi, who bought thread worth Rs. 24,64316 and issued a cheque for Rs. 14,50,000 which was dishonoured by the bank concerned. The accused did not even pay the money after that. No arrest has been made so far.

One killed in accident: The Sahnewal police is on the look out for the driver of a Tata-407 vehicle (PCQ 4990) who hit and killed Gurmail Singh, resident of Palghira village, before fleeing the scene. A case under sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered and an investigation is on.

Migrant held with opium: The Sahnewal police nabbed Ajit Kumar, a Bihari migrant yesterday and recovered 1700 gms of opium from his possession. The accused has been booked under sections 18,61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Beaten up: The Jodhewal police has registered a case under sections 323,324 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Rajesh Kumar, son of Mr Hans Raj, resident of Field Ganj, against Anoopa who allegedly beat and injured the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.

The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under sections 341,506,294,295,323 and 120-B of the IPC on a complaint made to the SSP on December 3 against Sandeep Thakur, Devinder Thakur, Kishan, Dharma and two other accomplices of the accused, all residents of Shimla Puri. The complainant in the case, Mr Amarjit Singh, son of Mr Rai Singh, a resident of Maha Singh Nagar, Lohara road, had alleged that the accused beat him and injured him. None of the accused have been arrested so far.

The division number six police registered yesterday a case under sections 341,323,506 and 34 of the IPC on a complaint made to the SSP on December 4 against Ajay Tiwari, son of Mr Ram Gobind Tiwari, Gulshan Tiwari, Shiv Kumar and some other persons for beating and injuring one Mr Mishra , a resident of Islam Ganj locality. No arrest has been made so far.

The Sadar police registered a case under sections 323 and 324 of the IPC against Balram, a resident of Sham Nagar, Ludhiana, for beating and injuring Mr Som Pal, son of Mr Gajjan Singh, resident of Threeke village yesterday.

Case for impeding duty: The Sadar police has booked Manjit Singh, son of Inderjit Singh, resident of Dullanwal village near Goraya for impeding Mr Sukhvir Singh,ASI, in the performance of his duty and threatening him while he was stationed near Laddowal Chowk yesterday. A case under sections 353,186,382 and 506 of the IPC has been registered against the accused.

Accident: The Sadar police has registered a case under sections 279,337,338 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Mohan Singh, son of Mr Ram Singh, a resident of Kanailpur village near Mullanpur, against an unknown driver of a three-wheeler which hit the complainant’s scooter on the GT road near Baddowal as a result of which the complainant was injured and the scooter badly damaged.

Rs 35,000 stolen: The division number 1 police has registered a case under sections 381 and 408 of the IPC on a statement of Mr. Mohinder Singh, son of Mr. Bhagat Singh, resident of Mohan Singh Nagar, Ludhiana, against Mandeep Sohi. The accused, who was serving as manager in the office of the complainant, allegedly stole Rs 35,000 on the morning of December 4. No arrest has been made so far.

Beaten up:The division number two police has registered a case under sections 323, 324, 341, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Updesh Singh, son of Mr Sardar Singh, a resident of Sewakpura mohalla near the Dhuri lines, against Pawan, son of Mr. Piara Lal, a resident of Abdullahpur basti, Sonu, Vipan, Meshi and wife of Pawan Kumar and two other persons. According to the complainant, the accused beat and injured him in his locality yesterday. No arrest has been made so far.

Teachers held: The division number five police has booked Bhajan Singh, president, Democratic Teachers Front, Punjab, Joginder Singh, district secretary and a score of other persons under sections 283 and 188 of the IPC for sitting on the road outside the DC office and disrupting traffic yesterday.

Two booked: Kuldip Singh, a resident of Raikot, was injured when he was allegedly attacked by Joginder Singh and Surjit Singh. The police has registered a case under Sections 307, 506, 324 and 34, IPC, against them.

Three injured: Three occupants of a car (PB-10A-0075) were injured in an accident near Sherpur Chowk here on Thursday. The injured have been identified as Manmohan Attraye, his wife, Usha and Amir Singh of Jodhewal Basti village and admitted to the Civil Hospital.



3 women arrested 
Our Correspondent

Khanna, December 6
The police has arrested three women chain snatchers and registered a case against them here yesterday.

According to Mr Ishwar Singh SSP, Khanna, Mrs Balbir Kaur, a resident of Gali 1 Master Colony, Mandi Gobindgarh, had come to Khanna to meet her daughter and son-in-law. While returning she was waiting for a bus at local bus stand. In the meantime three or four women came and one of them pushed her and the other snatched her gold chain. She raised a noise and her brother, son-in-law and some other travellers nabbed these women on-the-spot and handed them over to the police.

The women were identified as Palo, wife of Babu r/o Ram Patti, Bhadson village, Gurdev Kaur w/o Jarnail SIngh r/o Jalana Distt. Sangrur and Paramjit Kaur alias Pammi w/o Nirmal Singh r/o Bagria distt. Sangrur. The police has registered a case under Sections 356 and 34 IPC in this connection.



Mojpura, Asia’s biggest shawl market 
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, December 6
Come winter and the woollies are out. The most convenient of all the warm clothing's are shawls. Be it a housewife, a working woman, or a teenaged girl, shawls can be worn to give warmth and also draped stylishly to make a fashion statement. The Mojpura Bazaar, the biggest market of shawls in Asia, has more than a thousand variety of designs and myriad colour combination in the bazaar is close to Subhani building.

A visit to the market revealed that while some sellers had well-designed showrooms and were whole sellers, others were retailers and stocked their piles of shawls in small shops where hardly two to three customers could get in.

Not only did the narrow road have countless shopkeepers selling shawls , but the extremely narrow bylanes had big showrooms and small shops as well. Vijay Malhotra, who has been in the shawl trade for decades, told this correspondent that the market has shawls priced at as low as Rs 30 to Rs 700 for semipashmina shawls. The basic fibre used is acrylic, which is manufactured locally. The fibre is then made into a fabric and dyed locally . The plain coloured shawls have all the colours of rainbow ranging from indigo to red, green, and flamboyant colours of bright sunshine yellow and rich shades of maroon. The cashmilon fabric can be dyed in any colour.

The shawls that are hand woven mostly have Kullu border designs. A weaver can get ready on an average two or three shawls whereas on power loom nine to 10 shawls can be readied. So obviously the hand woven shawls are higher priced.

The amazing number of weaves in the shawl can be ‘jacquard,, jamavars, checks, stripes, plain shawls with jacquard border. Then there are shawls embroidered by Kashmiris and have been embroidered in Kantha stitch. Some shawls are in fabulous prints. The printed shawls enjoy great popularity with the local buyers. The shawls have tie and dye prints of Rajasthan.

Vijay Malhotra says that the margin of profit is very low for the manufacturers since the competition is fierce. Moreover, the business is seasonal and does not last for more than two to three months. Rest of the time, they themselves are the designers and planners of the colour combinations and sale strategies.

There are no middle-men or agents in their business. Buyers from different states come directly to them. Traders from Himachal Pradesh like to buy checks, mostly in red and black as well as white and black combination. People of Bimaru states prefer shawls that are between the price ranges Rs 30 to Rs 80. They prefer bright shades like purple, with contrasting borders of, mustard, green and orange.

Delhities and Haraynavis prefer sedate colours and shawls a little more pricy. Amrit, another shopkeeper says that mostly all types of shawls are purchased by the traders, for these days people everywhere have a preference for varied shades and designs. A shawl that has made its entry this year and is hugely popular is called acrylic polo fleece. It comes woven or in prints or embossed. Very few shopkeepers stock semi-pashmina shawls.

Some beautifully woollen shawls come from Amritsar. They are priced at Rs 300 to Rs. 400 and are delicately embroidered. The ‘lois’ for men in cashmilon are available but the choice is limited. Most of the shopkeepers said that the sales have not been brisk due to recession. The season has picked up after Diwali only. Inspite of the biggest market in Asia, the sanitation of the market was in deplorable state. Mounds of muck were piled up in the market. Though cars did not enter the market, rickshaws and two wheelers carried the muck under the tyres. Moreover, there were frequent traffic blocks as a lot of consignments had to be carried to and fro.

Ludhiana Tribune talked to the Secretary of the Supreme Market Association, Mr Madan Lal Vohra who in term expressed his helplessness. How can employ ‘safai karamcharis’ and then ask people to contribute money for their payment. The Municipal Corporation should be responsible for the sanitary problems of the market.”

It was amazing to find out that there were no toilet worth its name. Traders who had to stay the entire day had to use the toilets of nearby ‘dharamshalas’ or other buildings. There were no drinking water arrangements. The most horrifying was a lack of fire fighting arrangements. Shopkeepers were indifferent to this aspect.

Amit Jain Shawls says that their price starts where the upper limit of majority of shawls available in Mojpura ends. The yarn is Australian Merino. They use colours according to the fashion statements. Their designs and quality are far superior. Ludhiana offers shawls to suit all the pockets , for all the classes.



Apex chamber team meets FM
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 6
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has brought to the notice of the Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, difficulties being faced by industry pertaining to central excise, Modvat and credit limits by banks under the RBI guidelines.

A delegation of the chamber led by Mr P.D. Sharma, president, met the Finance Minister in Delhi on December 4. Mr Lajpat Rai, member, Rajya Sabha and Mr Buta Singh, MP, were present when the delegation met the Finance Minister.

The delegation demanded that the law on transaction value under which the industry had to pay central excise plus 15 per cent additional duty on the cost of the product if the same was sold to a relative of the firm should be withdrawn. This was highly improper and the industry could not bear this burden. The minister was also informed the industry was asked to pay the excise duty in cash and get Modvat later. This was causing a lot of financial problems for the industry, it was pointed out.

The delegation apprised the Finance Minister about the stringent rule of the RBI under which any unit could be declared as NPA on slight irregularity and the bank credit limits were not enhanced or renewed by whimsical bank officials. The industry was at the mercy of the banks. Mr Sinha promised to look into the problems of the industry sympathetically.


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