Tuesday, December 11, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Admn to hold inquiry
Allotment of booths to riot victims
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 10
The district administration has maintained that the allotment of booths and other sites to the '84 riot victims were strictly made in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the state government. Further, certain irregularities, brought to the notice of the administration, were being inquired into and suitable action would be taken under the rules to ensure that the concessions were not availed of by ineligible persons.

According to Ms Anita Darshi, Assistant Commissioner (Grievances) and member of the subcommittee on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner, to screen the applicants for allotment of booths, in all 1,033 applications were received for allotment of booths. Out of these, 643 applicants appeared for interview and 312 were found eligible for allotment of booths.

She told Ludhiana Tribune that the list of prospective allottees was sent to the committee, formed by the state government and as directed by the government, objections, if any, were called for through a public notice inserted in leading newspapers. The office of the Deputy Commissioner here had received 13 objections, of which 10 were withdrawn by the persons concerned by furnishing affidavits. On the basis of objections lodged with the district administration, an inquiry was initiated and four allotments were stayed for further probe to ascertain the genuineness.

Ms Darshi further claimed that no application for allotment of booths or grant of any other facility was entertained from riot victims who did not possess the red card. The complaint filed by Mr Surinder Singh, alleging certain irregularities and allotment of booths to ineligible persons, though received after the stipulated period for lodging written objections, was being looked into and the necessary action will be taken on the basis of the findings of the inquiry.

Meanwhile, Mr Surjit Singh, president, Danga Peerit Welfare Society, has charged in a press release that some mischievous elements were making attempts to create hurdles in the way of granting due facilities to riot victims. "These persons are not riot victims themselves, nor do they possess red cards."

He further alleged that Mr Surjit Singh, a former vice-president of the society, had levelled false and unfounded allegations just because he had failed to secure allotment of booths to all of his friends and relatives, numbering 10 in all since some of them were ineligible for the allotments.

Mr Surjit Singh further pointed out that the holding of a ration depot would not be eligibility for allotment of shops and booths, simply because ration depot was no longer a profitable business. The society had taken up with the state government to modify this condition and a positive response was expected, he added.



Rights panels oppose POTO
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 10
Activists of the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) and the Human Rights and Democracy Forum (HRDF) held a procession and staged a demonstration at the Mini Secretariat here today to protest against the promulgation of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO). They also burnt the effigy of POTO. The protest coincided with International Human Rights Day being observed the worldover today.

The activists submitted a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to the Deputy Commissioner. The memorandum, copies of which were released to the media, said that many provisions of the law were violative of the fundamental rights. It pointed out that POTO did not define terrorism or a terrorist, but only a terrorist act. It said that the definition was so wide and had tendency to be misused.

The IHRO Chairperson, Mr D.S. Gill, and the HRDF Chairperson, Mr Jaspal Singh Dhillon, pointed out that even the National Human Rights Commission had said that POTO provisions had “substantially taken care of under the existing laws”.

Pointing out to different flaws in the ordinance, the memorandum stated that the “POTO Bill challenges the right to liberty and security of person, the right to fair trial, the right to freedom of expression, the right to association, the right not be subjected to torture and the right to redress and all rights contained in the international convention on civil and political rights to which India is a party”.

The memorandum while expressing apprehensions that this may be used against the minorities, urged the Prime Minister to rise above partisan considerations and “shrug off minorities’ apprehensions of discrimination”. Mr Gill and Mr Dhillon said it reminded of TADA which had been introduced for containing terrorism and had proved quite ineffective as the conviction rate was not more than 2 per cent.



Mann flays Badal’s ‘surrender’ on POTO
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 10
Senior leaders of the Panthic Morcha and president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, and the party general secretary, Mr Charan Singh Lohara, today criticised the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for his “meek surrender” to the BJP by extending his support to the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO).

In a joint statement issued here today, Mr Mann and Mr Lohara claimed, “Mr Badal’s surrender to the Centre, particularly the BJP, betrays his helplessness and desperation that he cannot take any of his own decisions”. The Akali leaders observed, “Mr Badal did not even dare to question certain controversial clauses in the ordinance which have been opposed even by the Congress”.

They claimed that the Panthic Morcha had already declared a war on the government, which had failed to safeguard the interests of the people in general and those of the Panth in particular.



Exploitation of workers: YC threatens agitation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 10
The District Youth Congress (DYC) has expressed serious concern over increasing exploitation of workers in the private sector and has threatened to launch an agitation if the government fails to come to the rescue of the working class.

Addressing a meeting of the industrial workers in Ganesh Nagar, Mr Sabhajit Pandey, Chairman of the Labour Cell of the DYC, lamented that more than 80 per cent industrial units were virtually treating their workers, most of them migrants, in an inhuman manner with worst working conditions. The workers were made to work for anything between eight to 16 hours on meagre wages.

Mr Pandey charged the government with deliberately closing its eyes towards the pathetic plight of the industrial workers. The slackness on the part of the Labour Department officials had emboldened the factory owners who were violating all labour laws with impunity. He said the government and the district administration should not overlook the contribution of the workers in the industrial economy and prosperity of the state, and should come forward to dispense justice to them.

Prominent among others present in the meeting were Mr Uttam Kumar, Mr Ram Parvesh, Mr Yogendra Gupta, Mr Dalip Kumar and Mr Mann Singh Jaiswal.

Meanwhile, the DYC senior vice-president, Mr Sarbjit Singh Bunty, and general secretary, Mr G.S. Arora, have in a joint statement condemned the harassment and indiscriminate challaning of three-wheeler operators by the traffic police in the city. They said the three-wheeler operators were being persecuted on various pretexts, allegedly under pressure from the administration and the mini-bus operators.

They urged the district authorities and the senior officials of traffic police to formulate a policy with regard to plying of three-wheelers, keeping in view the needs of local transportation and traffic conditions so that the three-wheeler operators were saved from unnecessary harassment and could earn their livelihood.



Admn, Army meticulous about marriage palaces
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 10
Better late than never. The district administration and the local Army authorities seem to be taking the issue of marriage palaces too seriously to allow any laxity. Both have been maintaining a close liaison for some time to ensure that the court orders on the issue are not violated.

In a recent communication to the local administration, Col R.S. Dhillon, Commandant of 17 Field Ammunition Depot, Badhowal, Ludhiana, brought to its notice the reported construction work started on a demolished marriage palace. The administration reportedly gave green signal to the Army authorities to act on its own. The Army officials picked up five labourers working at the palace.

It may be recalled that four marriage palaces were demolished by the district administration in June. These palaces were among many other disputed structures falling within the radius of 1000 yards of 17 FAD. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered the removal of all the disputed structures, which include some marriage palaces and hundreds of residential houses.

Other marriage palace owners, who were also facing demolitions, approached the Supreme Court which ordered status quo. This came as great relief to those whose palaces were already standing. Taking the cue, the owner of one of the demolished marriage palaces reportedly started cleaning the palace premises for "private" functions. They also erected a wall that had been demolished by the administration.

This was taken note of the Army which reported the matter to the local administration. The administration also stood by the Army. After the Army detained the five labourers, the district administration threatened the palace owner of contempt of court proceedings in case they did not remove the wall they had erected. The palace owners quietly removed the wall although they had been claiming that they had not erected it after the apex court ordered the status quo.

The owners of the demolished marriage palaces have been arguing that only they have been made to suffer. They questioned the Army action asking, "does the status quo mean that we cannot remove the debris that has been lying there for months together". However, the administration and Army officials have been maintaining that it was not as simple as the palace owners were trying to project it. They apprehended that the palace owners may start organising functions on the premises which may go against court orders.

Some officials, who were earlier posted here and have since been transferred, are already faced with an inquiry for their alleged complicity with the palace owners. The incumbent officers do not seem to be prepared to take any risk and can go to any extent in ensuring the status quo.



Substandard fertilisers may hit wheat crop
BKU plans to gherao minister
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 10
The failure of samples of Oswal’s DAP fertiliser on a large-scale in the state, currently supplied by the Markfed through cooperative societies, has created fear among farmers about its adverse impact on the wheat crop. Officials of the Department of Agriculture and Markfed are reportedly trying to hush up the matter, but farmers’ bodies have decided to take up the matter at the state level.

Officials in the Department of Agriculture here disclosed that the large number of samples of Oswal’s DAP fertilisers, taken from cooperative societies, have failed. They said the samples had also failed in Faridkot and other districts in the state. Dr Gurcharan Singh Rajajung, Chief Agriculture Officer, disclosed that they had so far taken 266 samples of fertilisers from various dealers and societies in the district, against a target of 400 samples. Though the report of the tests were still to come in most of the cases, six samples had been already found of substandard quality. The other officials said out of six failed samples, five were of the Oswal group.

They disclosed that they had been asked by higher officials not to take the samples of this particular brand, as it may reveal a large-scale scandal in the purchase of DAP fertiliser by the Markfed officials. One of the officials, on the condition of anonymity, alleged, “The plant of the Oswal group, situated in Orissa, was reportedly flooded resulting in the deterioration of the fertiliser. But the company has succeeded in pushing the substandard material through Markfed. Most of the private dealers are avoiding to sell the company’s fertiliser.’’

Dr Bhagwan Singh, ADO (Enforcement) in the department, disclosed that they had also taken 266 samples of pesticides, insecticides and weedicides against a target of 310 samples. The samples of two Delhi-based companies, Anu products and HPM were also found of substandard quality.

The experts in Punjab Agricultural University here have also warned the farmers to be cautious against the flooding of spurious fertilisers and pesticides in the market. Dr V. K. Nayyar, Head of the Department of Soils, said: “We have found in most of the cases that the percentage of magnese was 20-22 per cent against the desired level of 30 per cent in the magnese sulphate fertiliser. The farmers should purchase fertilisers and other inputs from authorised dealers and that too after the tests of samples by the university. There is greater chance of adulteration in the DAP fertiliser.”

Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, state president, Bharati Kisan Union, has asked the state government to check the spurious fertilisers in the market. He admitted that the union was getting reports about the spurious fertiliser supplied by some commission agents and societies in different parts of the state.

He said, “We are already going to gherao Mr Ajit Singh, Union Agriculture Minister, on December 18 to press upon him to compensate the farmers, who have suffered heavily in the cotton belt due to the use of spurious pesticides on the recommendations of the Agriculture Department.”

The Chairman and MD of Markfed were not available for comments, and other officials were not ready to make any comments. However, one of the officials said, “There was nothing unusual in the failing of some samples. The company is always ready to compensate for the failed samples.”



December exams postponed till Jan
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, December 10
While the Punjab Government seems unperturbed over the protest rallies being organised by teachers from aided and unaided colleges of the state, the joint action committee of the principals, members of college managements, teachers and non-teaching employees have decided to extend their strike till December 20 and further postpone the examinations till January.

With the city colleges remaining closed since the past 23 days and are likely to remain shut for another 10 days, academic work seems to be seriously hit here. The situation has caused much contention among students as the date sheet for the half-yearly examination, already set twice, has been cancelled for the time being. Earlier, they were given a date sheet on November 18 before the 15-day break was announced in view of the National Games. The examination were postponed again last Monday due to a call of a week-long strike by the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union.

Hundreds of teachers, principals, members of managing committee and non-teaching employees had gone to Chandigarh to participate in a protest rally today, while few principals and teachers who stayed back informed that they had unanimously taken a decision to keep the colleges closed. They said until the 18 arrested teachers were released, they could not plan to reopen the colleges.

The teachers and principals said a joint action committee had held a meeting yesterday evening at Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, and decided to further intensify their struggle until their demands were implemented. The four major demands of the joint action committee include implementation of the pension-cum-gratuity scheme, covering of posts after 1981, enhancement of grant-in-aid to colleges and covering of unaided colleges in the scheme.

While the teachers and principals are adamant on keeping the colleges closed, they also seemed worried about its effect on the students. Ms Harmit Kaur, Principal, Ramgarhia Girls’ College, Millerganj, said: ‘‘It has almost been a month since the colleges were closed. The break has hit the academic schedule seriously and it may be very difficult to compensate for the time lost.’’

She said: ‘‘But there is no alternative to get the demands fulfilled. The colleges cannot continue with Rs 72 crore grant while the total requirement is close to Rs 97 crore. The college managements will either have to resort to underpayment to staff or increase the fee levied for the students. But again none of the two chances can be taken. Therefore, there was a need to continue with the agitation.’’



SOS homes come to the rescue of orphaned kids
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, December 10
SOS Homes care for abandoned and orphaned children all across the country. Many orphans have found warmth and security of real home at homes run by the SOS organisation. Many of its residents have received good education, got married, raised their families and come back to pay back their debts by working in SOS organisations.

Whatever their circumstances… helpless…abandoned…homeless…with no one to call their own, when unfortunate children come to a SOS Children’s Village, they are brought up in an environment of a natural family.

The SOS Children’s Village, Rajpura, is situated in the heart of Rajpura town with easy accessibility to required educational, health and market facilities. It is the very first SOS Children’s Village in the state of Punjab and has been established in response to a great need to provide care to children who were orphaned and left homeless due to the earlier disturbed conditions in the state. The Punjab Government donated 7 acres for its construction and the Children’s Village came into being in 1996. Thirtyone children came home with their SOS mothers to live in five family homes. The complex is aesthetically designed in red brick with beautiful landscaping and many open green areas. Today there are 153 children at home in 14 family homes. Children attend local schools. An in-house kindergarten takes care of pre-school education and prepares children for formal schooling.

Fulfilling dreams for children since 1964, SOS is a non-profit, non-government, voluntary organisation committed to the care of children — orphaned or homeless. Its activities are financed through individuals, donations from companies, land gifts and sponsorships of children. The first SOS Children’s Village in India was built at Greenfields, Faridabad, in 1964. Today, there are 200,000 children whose lives are being transformed by 33 Children’s Villages and 122 allied projects like kindergartens, medical/social centres, Hermann Gmeiner Schools, youth houses and vocational training centres spread across the country.

Every child grows up with a family at SOS Children’s Villages. It is believed at SOS that only the love of a caring mother, a family and home can help a child grow up as a self-reliant and contributing member of society. It is this love and understanding which is given in abundant measure to every child who comes home to a SOS Children’s Village. The foundation of a SOS Village is the family home. Each home is cared for by a loving mother, who looks after the emotional needs and well-being of her children, boys and girls of different ages — bonding them into a family.

Every SOS village has 10 to 20 family homes. The SOS family unit consists of nine or 10 children, who share their lives as brothers and sisters and grow together, in the care of their mother like in any family. Children attend local schools and keep in close contact with their neighbourhood.

Over the years, children of SOS have grown up to become engineers, teachers, doctors, nurses, chartered accountants and journalists. Many have joined the Services, while others are successfully self-employed. A whole generation has grown up into responsible citizens and is taking independent charge of their lives. SOS looks forward to our second and third generation of children with a lot of hope and joy.

SOS Children’s Villages of India has always moved to answer the call of the child in need in many natural and man made disasters. Be it the gas tragedy in Bhopal, earthquakes in Latur and Uttarkashi, terrorism in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, the cyclone in Orissa — children have been the worst sufferers, many losing their homes and families. At all these places, SOS-India not only provided emergency relief work but later established SOS Children’s Villages which provide model childcare services on a permanent basis.

After the Gujarat earthquake SOS-India set up 25 Balwadis (child relief centres) across Bhuj, Rapar, Anjar and Bhachau to provide day-care facilities and a supplementary diet to many children. These could reach out to almost 2000 children, bringing a lot of relief to parents and relatives of children in the months immediately following the earthquake.

There are many ways in which you can help a child at a SOS Children’s Village. To sponsor a child and become part of the family one can just contribute Rs 500/- per month or Rs 6000/- annually per child. Here we will identify a specific child needing your support and send you photographs of the child along with all relevant details. SOS gives regular information from the concerned Children’s Village on how the sponsored child is growing up. One can then correspond with and spend time with the child at the Children’s Village. Should one wish to contribute towards the education of a child or a group of children through the SOS Educational Fund, your contribution would be just Rs 1200/- per year per child.

All donations to SOS Children’s Villages of India are 100% tax exempt under Section 35 AC of the Income Tax Act, 1961.



Record participation in Lekhak Sabha poll
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 10
The elections for 12 posts of the Kendri Lekhak Sabha were held last night at Punjabi Bhavan. This premier Punjabi literary organisation constitutes 93 literary organisations from the lower level. The Lekhak Sabha has a total strength of 2309 members and is the largest organisation of Punjabi writers. The members are not only from India but from abroad also.

According to the returning officer for the poll, Principal Prem Singh Bajaj, a record number of writers had participated in the electoral process. As many as 1206 members had come to elect the new president, secretary, vice-president and the results were declared past mid-night.

Unfortunately, the elections were marred by bogus polling, alleged the outgoing president, Dr Jagtar Singh. He suspected that more than 100 bogus votes were polled. It was seen that several people were turned away from the venue as they were caugh polling bogus votes. Jaswant Zafar and Dr Gurnam, manning the voting booth, caught one person red-handed when he was trying to cast a bogus vote in the name of R.S. Bal.

Many members had to return disappointed without casting their votes when they discovered that their votes had already been cast. Some impersonators were caught when they could not spell their address. Dr Jagtar Singh, about to relinquish his post of president, was upset at the unsavory development. He said: “It is total anarchy.” He was of the opinion that the trend of voting showed that nobody seemed to be bothered about art and literature. He was said that the organisation that he had presided over did not have writers as its members.

Dr S. Tarsem was locked in a straight contest with Dr Gursharan Singh for the post of president. Eventually, Dr S. Tarsem was elected president for two years.

Prof Avtar Singh Jaura defeated his opponent Dr Anoop Singh and was elected general secretary. He secured 670 votes as against his opponent who could manage 553 votes. Mr Karnail Singh Nijjar was elected senior vice-president. He defeated his opponent Mr Harmeet Vidyarathi by polling 651 votes as against Harmeet’s 570 votes.

The women’s wing of writers had separate elections for the posts of president and secretary. Mrs Sudarshan Walia was elected president. She defeated her rival, Dr Baljeet Kaur by almost 100 votes. Walia had polled 631 votes whereas Baljeet had 521 members voting for her. For the post of reserve secretary, Biba Kulwant Kaur, won by a narrow margin over her rival Dr Pritpal Kaur. Kulwant and Pritpal had won 611 and 596 votes respectively.

Dr Sarabjit Singh, Rajinder Bhogal, Ram Lal Premi, and Mahinderjit Singh Grewal were elected secretaries of the organisation. Dr Tarsem’s candidates had won elections for 8 posts out of the elections held for 12 posts.



‘It is humour that keeps us intact in jampacked Ludhiana’

LUDHIANA is one of the greatest producers of noise. It is strictly local production for local consumption. No exports yet. If you so desire, you can record and play back in a sanctuary of silence for full effect. When one travels around the world, one comes across a good number of persons feeling homesick. Enough with the pop music. If some futuristic video-film maker, having sound-recording system, were to record scenes of jam-packed crowds with high density noise of this metro of ours, the films will sell immediately like hot cakes. The fact is that Punjabis are bi-polar. Adventure takes them out, homesickness makes them look backwards. Such films will have a telling effect on the terribly home-sick. We have to devise ways and means to survive amidst high density population and highpitch noise. Ludhiana is indeed a miracle of survival. One inbuilt device in a Punjabi is his sense of humour. Humour is a natural cushion in the choking scenario of tragedies. Not amazingly, the city and the area around has persons with zest for living and a strong sense of humour. Shakespeare never visited Punjab. However, he knew the psyche of injured lions. Humour is an essential bi-product of tragedy. Persons sensitive to pain, seek relief in creating humour or responding to it. The comic relief is necessitated by tragedy. We have our full quota of sorrow. We have some provision of compensation by our persons of humour and laughter, besides those of high degree of wit, and a few with wisdom.

Humour is not the sole monopoly of a certain class. Laughter is heard even at unexpected quarters. Jokes are cracked by a vast range of persons from commoners to experts.

Com Kanwals’s Boot House in good old times was visited by poets Ajaib Chitarkar, Bakhshi Ram Kaushal, Surjan Singh Mauj Raj, Dular and many more. There, Harjit Singh Sandhu, advocate, one of the finest walking-talking city wits, seriously once complained: “Com get back these boots or provide a new set of palm leather strips (patawas).” “Bhai Bir, Harjit, I sell shoes only.” “Then tell me, should I go to Lahore Book Shop for patawas?” Once later, Sandhu asked Com: “Either arrange for space for rest till late evening or provide me transport to reach home.” Com called a rickshawpuller. Sandhu asked Com to pay him Rs 10 in advance. Com settled with the man for Rs 8. At once Harjit shouted publicly at Com? “Now, look here, you owe me Rs 2 I will collect next time.”

Once Com was talking about bad old days when he used to walk from his village Dhandra, 8 km from the Clock Tower. “Don’t worry any more about the distance, Com, the Clock Tower will remain where it is. The city, however, will reach your village.” Harjit Singh Sandhu soothed the bruised memory of his friend.

Earlier, Sandhu as a student was asked by friends to disturb a lecturer while teaching . The professor said, “Light plus light is darkness.” “No sir, it is blindness.” “How do you say?” Prof Mohan Singh, cornering him, asked: “Simple, sir, sound plus sound is not silence, it is deafness.” The professor remarked: “You, Roll No. 223, are a new Newton.” “Sir, at my arrival, declare the period closed.” The professor, appreciating ready wit, did so.

Harjit Sandhu was sitting in the Bar Room where a colleague was appreciating some one for his health, calling him a “body-builder”. “Body-building is not any special achievement, it is one more profession. G.T. Road by its sides has a hundred body-builders from Amritsar to Ambala written in bold letters!” Sandhu was passing through a jostling crowd and a tall and lean man with heavy spectacles lost his walking balance and picked up a quarrel with a school boy. Harjit intervened? “Drop your spectacles on his head, he will get the punishment. You will also have the eye-sight re-examined.” It made a rarely dramatic situation. Once a lanky, a spindle of a man, was annoyed with someone. He had a licensed pistol. It created a street-scene, a nukad-natak. Harjit Sandhu intervened?” Do not fire, you will get involved in murder case. You just spit at the man, he will die of TB slowly.”

A distant relative overstayed with him. A close neighbour noticed a stray dog in Sandhu’s compound. The man enquired: “Sandhu sahib, what is the name of you new pet?” “It is not a pet dog, it is a visitor. I have one more in my bedroom, even his name I do not know.” Sandhu later added: “The stray dog, meanwhile, left, but the earlier visitor heard that but stayed on,” Harjit put it? “Dogs have a horse sense, man rarely has a sense of humour.” Despite its noise, Harjit Singh Sandhu loves Ludhiana, like most of us.

M.S. Cheema



Dullo for clean admn in Punjab
Our Correspondent

Amloh, December 10
“The money sent by the Central Government for old-age pensions, scholarships to students, free travel concession to women above 60 years and similar other schemes are being diverted towards sangat darshan programmes by the state government. Besides, loans from cooperative societies are not being given to the people.” This was stated by Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, MP, while addressing a Congress rally here yesterday. The rally was organised by Mr Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, former state minister.

Mr Dullo said every section of society was tired of the current government. This was evident from the huge gatherings at Congress meetings at Ropar, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Sirhind, Amloh, Dehlon and Issru, he added. Terming the feud among various Akali parties as fight for money, Mr Dullo said both Mr Badal and Mr Tohra wanted to have their control over Rs 300 crore allotted by the Centre for the celebrations of 300th anniversary of Khalsa. He alleged that the Badal family was collecting money for appointment and transfer of officials. The MP promised that the Congress would ensure development of all the constituencies without discrimination. He added that after coming to power, the Congress government would register cases against persons found involved in corruption, favouritism, nepotism and other nefarious activities.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Harbans Lal, MLA, said in spite of the fact that the Chief Minister had used government machinery to get his son elected as an MP, people had defeated him and voted for Mr Jagmeet Singh. He added that Fatehgarh Sahib had seen a lot of development after the Congress MP was elected.

Mr Ramesh Singla, general secretary, PPCC, said around 95 per cent of farmers had become loan defaulters due to wrong policies of the government. Poverty and unemployment would make the youth restless, he said.

Among others who spoke on the occasion were Mr Harinder Singh Bhambri, district president, Youth Congress; Mr Ved Hari Krishan, former president, District Congress Committee; Mr Jagmeet Bawas and Mr Lal Singh Tohra, members of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee; Mr Gurdev Singh Amloh and Mr Gurdev Singh Khanian, district vice-presidents of the Congress.



Language policy of govt flayed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 10
Prominent Punjabi writer S. Tarsem criticised the Punjab Government’s languages policy. He was addressing a meeting of writers convened by the Sirjandhara and the Punjabi Sahit Sabhyacharak Manch, Punjab, in Punjabi Bhavan.

Dr Tarsem said the present Punjab state was formed on the basis of language and it was ironical that the Punjabi language had not been given due status by the government.

On the contrary, the party which advocated for this language, had started English in government schools from the very beginning (1st standard). Dr Tarsem criticised the electronic media and radio for not propagating Punjabi literature and culture in their programmes.

He demanded that more time should be given to the Punjabi programme on TV channels and radio stations from Jalandhar.

While expressing his views, Prof Avtar Jaura said: “We are also responsible for the critical condition of our mother tongue”. He advised the writer organisations to take the support of common people for demands of promoting the use of the mother tongue.

Prof M.S. Cheema advised the Punjabi writers to imbibe quality in their literary works. Prof N.S. Tasneem, presiding over the function, appreciated the steps taken by Dr Tarsem and Prof Jaura to solve the problems of mother tongue.

As the office-bearers of the Kendari Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Mr Kulwant Jagraon, convener Aujla and Mohinderdeep Grewal, lamented over the apathetic attitude of the Punjabis towards their language. They said: “We are going away from our cultural roots and losing the identities of our basic culture and language.”

On the occasion, Mr Swaranjit Kaur Grewal, Gurcharan Kaur Cheema, Amarjit Kaur Naaz, Dr Kulwinder Kaur and Mr Mukhtiar Mittar also presented their views. All said the use and study of Punjabi language should be encouraged by all Punjabis.



SSF resents failure to solve problems of youth
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 10
The Sikh Students Federation (Mehta) would meet the Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and submit a memorandum to focus on the increasing problems of the youth and students. The demand for declaring Amritsar as a “holy city” would also be taken up with the government at the appropriate level.

Addressing a meeting of the SSF activists at Circuit House here, SSF president Gurcharan Singh Grewal said that there was widespread resentment among the Sikh community in general and federation workers in particular over the failure of the government to declare Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib and Damdama Sahib as holy cities. The SSF would impress upon the government to announce this decision without any further delay.

He said that the problems of students and youth like hike in tuition fee, lack of employment opportunities and grant of unemployment allowance were being neglected, leading to a sense of frustration and uncertainty among them. While the government, headed by Mr Badal, had granted several concessions to farmers, trading community, Dalits and employees, the problems of youth and students, remained unattended. “The SSF earnestly wants the government to make serious and earnest attempts to effectively solve the problem of over eight lakh youth to enable them channelise their energy for constructive purposes.

The meeting also discussed in detail the ensuing assembly elections and the working of the SAD-BJP government during the past four and half years.

Besides senior functionaries of the SSF and the district presidents, the meeting was attended by Mr Kulwant Singh Kamal, Mr Sarbjit Singh, Mr Paramjit Singh Dharam Singh Wala, Mr Surinder Singh Sultanwind, Mr Paramjit Singh Khalsa, Mr Sishpal Singh Mirankot, Mr Sukhjinder Singh Jota, Mr Major Singh, Mr Mandip Singh, Mr Gurjit Singh Gaggi, Mr Bhupinder Singh Naogoke, Mr Jagdish Singh Disha, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Khalsa, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Lali, Mr Gurminder Singh Roby, Mr Charanjit Singh, Mr Ranjit Singh Dolewal, Mr Joginder Singh Pappu Kahnewala, Mr Pritam Singh Kadarwala, Mr Santokh Singh Ropar, Mr Jaspal Singh Ferozepur, Mr Mohinder Pal Singh Kala, Mr Balwant Singh Chahal, Mr Bhupinder Singh Nimana, Mr Mahal Singh Dhadria, Mr Amritpal Singh Billa, Mr Gurminder singh Walia, Mr Baj Singh, Mr Harpal Singh Jagraon and Mr Charanjit Singh.



29 workers laid off
Our Correspondent

Khamano, December 10
The local panchayat has terminated the services of 29 clerks and sewadars who were working on ad-hoc basis. These employees, at a meeting held here today, urged the government to direct the MC to reinstate them. However, the officials in the MC disclosed that their services have been terminated due to lack of financial resources due to the abolition of octroi.



14 bags of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 10
The Jagraon police yesterday seized 14 bags of poppy husk weighing 315 kg and valued at Rs 1.40 lakh from a truck intercepted by a police party, according to a press release issued by the police today.

The release said that the police party was heading towards a village in a Gypsy when it saw a truck coming from the opposite direction. On spotting the police party, the truck driver stopped the vehicle. While one of the occupants of the truck fled, the other was nabbed by the police party. The arrested person, Daljit Singh, son of Banta Singh, a resident of Rauwal, told that the name of the absconding person was Surjit Singh, a resident of Sherpur Kalan.

Both the consignment and the truck have been taken into custody and a case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered.

The press release further stated that the Dakha police had solved a case of theft and recovered the items stolen by the accused. Amninder Singh, alias Babbu, who was arrested on December 7, had stolen a camera and Rs 400 from the house of Gurmit Singh on the night of August 20 last and also stolen a billing computer from a PCO and a telephone set from Mullanpur on the night of August 13. Both the camera and the telephone set have been recovered from the accused.



Woman alleges torture by in-laws
Our Correspondent

Doraha, December 10
A woman of Qila Raipur village in Ludhiana district has alleged physical and mental torture by her in-laws because “she failed to cater to their endless demands for dowry”. Pawandeep Kaur, wife of Jasjiwan Singh, complained that she was turned out of the house, and asked to spend the rest of her life at her parents’ house at Somal Kheri village. According to the complainant, she had got married about six years ago, and had two children.

A case has been registered at the Payal police station against her husband, father-in-law Ranjit Singh, mother-in-law Harbans Kaur and sister-in-law Rajinder Kaur.


Case registered: The police has registered a case under Sections 334, 506, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC, on the complaint of Sukhdev Singh of Jallajan village. He has alleged that his sister was subjected to physical and mental torture by her in-laws, who belong to Tibba village. He added that continuous harassment forced her to come back to her parents’ house. Enraged over this, her in-laws came to Jallajan and beat the complainant. Consequently, he had to be admitted to the Civil Hospital, Khanna, in an injured state.

700 kg opium recovered: The police has recovered 700 kg of opium from Prahalad Singh of Ramgarh village. In another case, 1.5 kg of opium was recovered from Ajit Kumar near Sahibana village. A case has been registered at the Sahnewal police station under Sections 18, 61 and 85.

Case of fraud registered: A case of fraud has been registered against Tarlok Lal, Paramjit Singh and Sarabjit Singh under Sections 420 and 34 of the IPC on the complaint of Darshan Singh of Tibba village. He alleged that the accused had taken money from his son, promising to send him abroad, but failed to keep his word.


2 gamblers booked: Acting on a tip-off, the CIA arrested Jagwant Singh of Gulchaman Gali, near Kamal Chowk, and Vicky Chand of Mohalla Balocha, near Sherpur railway crossing, while they were alluring people to invest money in gambling and recovered Rs 360 and Rs 350, respectively, from them. Both have been booked under the Gambling Act.

Thief arrested: The Dakha police arrested Amninder Singh alias Babbu of Jang Pur, who was allegedly involved in two theft cases in August. He is accused of stealing Rs 400 and a camera from the house of Gurmit Singh at Bura Patti on August 20 night, and a computer and telephone set from a PCO at Mandi Mullanpur on August 24. The police has recovered the stolen camera and telephone set from him.


Beaten up: A case of beating and threatening under Sections 452, 323, 325, 506, 427 and 34 of the IPC was registered at Sarabha Nagar police station yesterday on the complaint of Mr Bikram Grover, son of Mr Raj Kumar, a resident of Jassian Chowk, Haibowal, against Harpreet Singh, son of Mr Paramjit Singh, a resident of Haibowal. The complainant alleged that the accused forcibly entered his house and attacked him. In the process, the accused also damaged his scooter and threatened him with serious consequences.

Accident: The Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 279, 338 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Karnail Singh, son of Mr Hardev Singh, a resident of Mohalla Satguru Nagar, Shimla Puri, against an unknown driver of a Tata Sumo vehicle, who allegedly hit the complainant's scooter near Guru Nanak Engineering College yesterday while he was on his way from Gill village to his house. The driver of the Tata Sumo fled. As a result of the accident, Karnail Singh has been admitted to the CMC Hospital.

Liquor seized: The Division No 6 police yesterday seized 10 bottles of illicit liquor from Anil Kumar, alias Kaka, a resident of Ram Nagar, Tibba Road, falling under Jodhewal police station who was arrested and booked under Section 61 of the Excise Act. The police of Division No 1 recovered 10 bottles of illicit liquor from Kaka Singh, son of Mr Jagir Singh, a resident of Kailash Nagar, Pakhowal Road, during special checking yesterday and booked him under Sections 61,1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

Gamblers held: The Jodhewal police yesterday arrested Paramjit Singh, alias Pamma, son of Mr Tara Singh, a resident of Mohalla Guru Nanak Nagar, Salem Tabri, and Madan Lal, son of Mr Bihari Lal, a resident of Ittanwala Chowk, Shimla Puri, while they were gambling. A set of playing cards and Rs 300 were recovered from the duo who have been booked under Section 13 of the Gambling Act.



Car bazar dealer booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 10
The Sarabha Nagar police has booked a car bazar dealer of Model Town for selling somebody's car and not making any payment to him. As the complainant, Mr Inder Pal Singh, son of Mr Avtar Singh, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, alleged that instead of making any payment, Vinod Sood, who runs his business at Gurdeep Car Bazar, threatened him with dire consequences if he persisted with his attempts to get any money for his Tata Sierra of 1996 make. Mr Singh alleged that the dealer had played a fraud on him.

A case under Sections 406, 420 and 506 of the IPC has been registered against the accused and investigation is on.



Old garments as good as new
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 10
High prices today do not leave much scope for buying new clothes for marriages or other festive occasions. But there is always a chance for a man with limited means to outfit himself in clothes, the likes of which are not found in India. These second-hand garments come from foreign countries and land in New Delhi from where they reach this city.

A family in Ludhiana is engaged in this business which is run in an obscure street of a crowded bazaar. There is no sign board, but those who need, find their way to the place. The younger members of the family procure the clothes from Delhi. The family is also in the dry cleaning business, and that has proved an advantage. But the first step is to do the repair work, such as fixing the buttons, and stitching seams where these have come open. This task is performed by the women members of the family. The men do the dry cleaning to give the garments a neat look. Yet another member is continuously steam pressing the clothes. At the end of all this, the clothes look dandy and as good as new.

The amazing variety of coats in stripes, tweeds, velvet and corduroy, elegantly cut and finely stitched hung in a rack look inviting. And these coats are to be had for Rs 200 each. A person was delighted to fit into a tweed coat which he could wear for his wedding. Seeing his smart image in the mirror, Bhiku, a daily wage-earner, could not believe the transformation of this personality. The by-standers said spontaneously, ‘Raju ban gaya Gentleman’.

Not only coats, shirts are sold at Rs 50 to 100 each. Wind cheaters, and foam and fur lined jackets are priced at Rs 100 each. Smart dresses for children are for Rs 50 each. Trousers of different colours and materials are in plenty. A member of the family said it was a laborious task to make a selection from tons of clothes. They do not like to buy by weight and selected clothes are expensive but good. In previous years, he said, their business was good but now more people were going for new clothes. But since they do not have to employ outside labour, they are able to make enough for the upkeep of the family. However, their shop still remains popular as a source of ready-made clothes — a kind of poor man’s botique.



Fashion comes full circle
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 10
The fashion always comes full circle as evidenced by the current trend in sarees, lehngas, salwar suits, parallel suits and miscellaneous dresses on display in the big showrooms and boutiques of the city.

Most of the embroidery work popular in the 60s and even earlier is back with a vengeance. The heavily embroidered sequined multi-coloured work and gold and silver intricate work of gota and ‘patti work’ are in vogue.

The fabrics are not what they used to be. Silks, which were out in the last decade, have made a comeback. The fabrics that are being widely used are tissue crepe, Swedish crepe, laser georgette, Chevas Regal (a brand of classic and exclusive whisky) that has a velvety look in lovely colours. The crepe with silver and gold lines shimmers at night and is used for evening parties. The other winter fabrics that are being widely used are pashmina and toosh fabrics. The very name suggests that these are heavy-weight fabrics suitable for winters. The woollen suits heavily embroidered or with designer borders and matching shawls with borders are also the in thing.

A boutique owner said, “The shararas and ghararas which Muslim women wore in 50s are back in fashion. These are heavily embroidered. Designer sarees are the rage with “trendy” ladies. Moreover, the ready-to-wear sarees with long tops also have made a comeback. The lehngas have also appeared in their new avtar. The modern-day ghagra is partially a lehnga and partially a saree, embellished with sequence, stones and thread work. Lehngas have also been westernised to some extent to make it more in tune for the young girls. The width is narrow and the back has pleats to give it a contemporary shape. The fish tail dress for slim girls accentuates their figures. The dress gets tight from knees and flares out like a fish tail.

Karuna, who runs a boutique, says,” The sarees are also undergoing a change. The ‘Patli Sarees’ have a different pattern on the pleats, a still different design on the pallu and the blouse is of totally different fabric and colour. This kind of a saree makes a very definite fashion statement.

More than sarees, blouses have undergone a dramatic change. Unlike the staid, simple blouses of the past, the blouses reveal more and conceal less. They have a very thin strappy top with cut sleeve, or halternecks, or very thin straps at the back.

The salwar suits or churidars are heavily embroidered at the bottoms. College girls wear heavily pleated Patiala salwars. Bell bottoms with slits on sides and wide flared pants at the bottom are back in fashion. The emphasis is on heavy embroidery using sequins so that they shimmer and wink in lights.

The colours in demand are orange, egg yellow, magenta, turquoise and purple. English pastel colours in brighter hues like lilacs and grey mixed with blue to make it bright are being preferred.

“The eves of the city are going for simpler cuts and lines”, said Rashmi who often models for local fashion shows.



Furniture showroom

Pinacle Industries Limited, in a joint venture with Saporiti Italia, opened its first showroom in the city, which will house the trendiest home furniture range with the latest Italian design. Mr R.D. Gupta, GM, Sales and Marketing, Pinacle Industries, said, “The furniture available here would be completely eco-friendly, and termite-free as there would be no use of wood. The entire range of sofas, sofa-cum-beds, chairs, beds and recliners are made of specially treated non-deformable steel structures.” TNS


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