Monday, February 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Councillor-contractor nexus thrives under wraps
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 3
The issue of unholy alliance between councillors and contractors in the Municipal Corporation here refuses to die down, despite best efforts by the civic administration to keep it under wraps. In blatant violation of the enlistment rules for the contractors as well as a code of conduct for the councillors, many relatives of the councillors, belonging to almost all major political parties, were working as contractors and obviously enjoying undue favours.

It was mandatory for all contractors, desirous of enlisting with the MC, to submit an affidavit that they had no blood relations with any of the civic employees or officials or elected representatives. Similarly, all candidates, contesting civic polls, were required to submit a similar affidavit that none of their blood relations was working as a contractor with the MC. However, the fact remains that the mandatory requirements were being flouted with impunity with the civic top brass choosing to look the other way.

The issue of councillor-contractor relationship was again raised in a memorandum, submitted by the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray), Punjab, in which it was alleged that an MC contractor, who happened to be the son of a woman BJP councillor, was undertaking development works on behalf of the civic body in the constituency of her mother with eyes on the next elections. Ironically, the husband of this particular councillor, was a retired employee of the MC. In support of its charge, the complainant had also attached a photo copy of a work order, issued by the MC officials in the name of the contractor concerned.

In fact, the matter of blood relations of councillors, working as contractors with the MC had been raised several times in the General House. At least twice the House had resolved to submit a list of such contractor-councillor relationship, on the floor of the house. One of the Akali Dal councillors, Giani Baldev Singh, who had raised the issue more than once, had also lodged a protest in one of the general house meetings in the middle of last year, alleging that a similar resolution, adopted earlier, had been pushed to the backburner by the MC administration, which apprehended that any action in this regard would simply lead to many a skeletons tumbling out of its cupboards.

Not that the government was not aware of the goings on. Sources said that sometime last year, the Directorate, Local Government, Punjab, had sent new guidelines to the MC administration with regard to enlisted contractors and those to be enlisted in future. A new performa was introduced to bring to light the relationship of contractors, if any, with the councillors or MC officials. However, under pressure from the elected representatives, who could not afford such exposure, the move was shelved and the new performa failed to see the light of the day.

Interestingly, except for only a few councillors, who had no stakes as far as relationship with contractors was concerned, most of the elected representatives, cutting across party lines, choose to shy away from this crucial issue. In the process, this nexus was putting a big drain on the civic body funds and occasionally holding the non-cooperating MC officials to ransom with the kind of political influence, wielded by the councillors.


5 injured in car-train collision
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
In an accident at the unmanned level crossing near Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, a train rammed into a car injuring five persons travelling in it, late last evening.

Unmindful of a train coming from the Ferozepore side, the car was crossing the tracks when the accident occurred. The car after being hit by the train dashed against a pillar, which fell on two persons sitting near by. They received multiple injuries and were hospitalised along with the three persons travelling in the car.

The car passengers suffered multiple fractures but their condition was reported to be out of danger. The injured were admitted to Gurdev Hospital. Three of the injured have been identified as Ranjit Kaur, her daughter, Harman, and son, Balraj.

The driver of the train as well as the passengers, however, escaped unhurt. Eyewitnesses said a major tragedy was averted as the driver of the train slowed the speed of the train in anticipation and applied the brakes in time.

According to the residents of the area, accidents at that site are very common. Till date around 30 such accidents have been reported. The residents have demanded many a time that the crossing should be manned as it acted as a way for the residents of Tharike village. But nothing has been done so far. According to them many school buses also cross the track during daytime.

The residents also said the presence of an octroi post and a tree made it impossible for drivers to see the train coming from Ferozepore side. They demanded the shifting of octroi post.

One of the residents said that the area was better known as ‘boli dharti’ (deaf land). So the noise of approaching train could not be heard.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, visited the site of the accident today along with officials of the Railways and Traffic police. According to a press note issued by the district administration, the Railway officials informed the DC that a proposal to set up a permanent manned level crossing near the Lodhi Club was already under construction.

Mr Sandhu assured that the octroi post located near the crossing would be shifted shortly.


Jeweller robbed of cash, jewellery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
Four unidentified persons snatched a bag containing cash and jewellery worth over Rs 15,000 at gunpoint from a jeweller near the railway station parking stand in Rakh Bagh last evening. Sources close to the jeweller said the panic-stricken man was harassed more by the attitude of some cops of Kailash Nagar police station who accused him of making a false complaint.

Om Parkash, the jeweller having business in Amritsar and Ludhiana, used to travel to Amritsar daily and return by the evening train. He boarded a rickshaw from the railway station and had travelled a small distance only, when four persons travelling in a white Maruti car signalled him to stop. The persons ordered him to give them the bag lest he would be shot. The man had no option but to obey the directions.

As the car sped away, the man raised the alarm and called SP City-II Parmod Ban on his mobile. Later, officials of Kailash Nagar police station reached the site and conducted investigations. However, some policeperson began rigorous questioning of the victim, accusing him of making a false complaint. Police sources said they doubted the crime incident as the area was not deserted enough for such a crime.

According to some eye-witnesses, the police even dilly-dallied on registering an FIR into the case. It was only after the intervention of some senior officers again that a case was registered into the incident.

According to the FIR, the snatched bag contained Rs 12,000 cash and some gold bangles, besides important documents and some receipts. A number of jewellers reached the site and expressed concern and lack of police security in the area.


Sushma harps on peace, development
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ms Sushma Swaraj, can be as clear and articulate in Punjabi as she is in Hindi. This is what she proved here during a series of public meetings organised in support of the Akali-BJP alliance candidates. A master and articulate orator, she scored a point in Punjabi as well.

Ms Swaraj who addressed a series of well-attended public rallies at various places in support of Mr Bagh Singh Mallah in Jagaron and some other places, including Ludhiana Rural, East and North harped on the tunes of communal brotherhood, peace and development in the state under the Akali-BJP government.

While admitting that peace had returned to Punjab during the regime of the Congress led by late Beant Singh, she said that the sense of fear prevailing among people, particularly in rural areas, could only be removed after the Akali-BJP government took over.

Making a fervent appeal for voting the alliance to power once again, she said, “Earlier we asked for votes for development, now we are asking for votes because we have launched the state on a prosperous path of progress and development”. Not just that, she claimed that the Akali-BJP alliance symbolised the traditional relationship between the two major communities of the state. She blamed the Congress for sowing the seeds of fear and hatred in Punjab.

Ms Swaraj received repeated applause from the public as she continued to speak in chaste Punjabi. She claimed that only the Akali-BJP government in the state and the BJP-led government at the Centre could guarantee permanent peace and development. She pointed out that the BJP-led government at the Centre had granted massive relief to the people of Punjab breaking all records. While she spoke on minimum support price and free power to farmers in rural areas, she stressed the abolition of octroi in urban areas.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Pran Bhatia, the alliance candidate from the Ludhiana (North) claimed that the alliance was set for victory in the state.


65,000 cops put on poll duty
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, February 3
As many as 65,000 police personnel will be deployed on duty from February 12 to 14 to organise smooth and fair elections in Punjab. These include 9,000 personnel of the paramilitary forces (PMF) as the state has been allocated 100 companies of the PMF.

The Punjab Government had sought 300 companies of the paramilitary forces to maintain law and order and organise free and fair elections in the state. The Centre was likely to give another five companies of the paramilitary forces in the next few days, according to official sources of the Punjab government.

Out of the 100 companies of the paramilitary forces, 30 each were of the Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force. Besides, SPOs and Home Guards would also be on duty on the election day.

Punjab had about 10,500 polling booths in the state. Out of these 3,600 were sensitive booths. This time there were only two types of polling booths — normal and sensitive booths — whereas in 1992 and 1997 there were three types of polling booths — normal, sensitive and very sensitive, respectively.

Besides, the senior police officers of the state had also been put on election duties in the state to ensure free and fair elections and maintain peace.

The companies of the Central forces had been sent to the districts to perform vigil duties along with the Punjab police personnel.

The Punjab police had provided 3,500 to 4,000 personnel of the Punjab Police and SPOs and Home Guards as security guards to the candidates contesting elections, the sources added.

Meanwhile, the district police authorities had been directed to intensify the police patrolling.


Medicine factory burgled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
Some unidentified burglars broke into a factory manufacturing ayurvedic medicines on Jassian road in Haibowal, last night.

The burglary came to notice today morning when some factory workers went there for work. The exact amount of loss was being ascertained, but according to the factory owners, the burglars decamped with some cash and medicines worth about Rs 5 lakh.

The police was suspecting business rivalry as one of the possible motives behind the burglary as thieves generally take away cash and valuable things, but in this case, they concentrated on medicines, especially ‘Herbalone-top’ capsules. As many as 17 cases of these capsules were stolen.

Workers of the Pentavax India who reached the factory today morning were shocked to find the inner room ransacked. They immediately informed the owners. Senior police officials also reached the factory and inspected the place.


Voter indifference worries parties
Corner meetings replace big rallies
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
Prevailing election mood can be best described in one word - indifference. The lack of colour and interest has never before been so pronounced in the past, as it is this time. There is hardly any traditional activity to indicate that the electioneering is on and polling is just round the corner. However, more than the lack of visible signs of electioneering it is the total lack of interest of the voting public that has become a cause of concern for the political parties and their candidates forcing them to adopt a door-to-door campaign.

“Other than those who read newspapers, there are very few people who even know the names of all candidates in the poll fray”, says Mr Ranjit Singh, a supporter of Mr Surinder Dawar, Congress candidate from Ludhiana. As a result, the candidates have resorted to walking for miles together each day making personal appeal to voters on their doorstep.

The direct outcome of this indifference is that the ruling alliance as well as others have drastically changed their poll strategy. It is small corner meetings as opposed to big party rallies earlier.

During his visit to Ludhiana city, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal addressed public meetings at places like Feroze Gandhi market that can barely house a thousand persons as compared to political rallies in Guru Nanak Stadium during previous elections.

The decision of organisers of rallies of the BJP and the Lok Jan Shakti party to host rallies of national leaders like Mrs Sushma Swaraj and Mr Ram Bilas Paswan in the congested Ghanta Ghar area is due to similar reasons. The place can barely accommodate a couple of hundred persons after forcibly bringing all traffic to a halt. “All this amounts to holding people forcibly without their own will to listen to politicians”, says Mr Kundan Lal, a shopkeeper in the area. Disgruntled with politicians for making false promises was the main reason for people’s indifference.

Visibly too the towns in the district bear a near normal look. But what is conspicuous by its absence during these elections are the banners, posters, buntings, etc. Besides an occasional loudspeaker-bearing three wheeler asking people to vote for a particular candidate, there is nothing to suggest that it is election time. The festivities associated with the elections are no longer visible and the strong party affiliations are gone. The only people associated with the politicians are the ones who have some commercial interest or have political compulsions. What has further heightened the indifference is the large-scale dissidence among political parties. This has disillusioned the common man. Clearly the politicians are fighting for their own selfish interests. None of them is a nationalist or a statesman, they are merely petty politicians who would perpetuate corruption for personal gains”, says Mr Davinder Singh, a college lecturer, who sees degradation in moral values among politicians as the main reason for this aloofness among voters.

The gap between the politicians and the voters has widened significantly over the years with the former becoming inaccessible once elected. Supporting this theory Mr Satnam Singh, a businessman says “Once elected it is almost impossible to reach an MLA or a minister for some work. The only access to them is though their touts who do nothing without charging for the work, so why should anyone waste time in a futile exercise like polls”.

This has become a cause of serious concern for the political parties and their candidates as they feel that this may adversely affect voter turnout on February 13 thereby upsetting their electoral mathematics. An all-out effort is now being made in the district to lure voters and attract them by freebies such as liquor and other intoxicants, besides late evening entertainment by female singers in some selected areas of stiffly-contested constituencies.

The vigil by the Electoral observers and some deaths from illicit liquor has further dampened the already low spirits. Besides, the absence of any clear wave has also made the political parties and candidates cautious in spending their money, making the current election scene dull and mundane. The only silver lining in the electoral scene now appears to be the proposed arrival of cine stars like Hema Malani, Vinod Khanna and other models.


Leaders make hectic rounds of constituencies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
The Vishwakarma Samaj Party, Punjab, has decided to extend support to the Congress-CPI combine candidates in the Assembly poll. At a meeting held under the chairmanship of Mr Gurbachan Singh, the party president, Mr Kulwinder Singh Virdi, observed that only the Congress could improve the situation of backward sections.

Other speakers lambasted the SAD-BJP government for its failure to provide any relief or concessions to ancestors of Lord Vishwakarma. Prominent industrialists, including Mr Jagdish Singh Lotey, Mr M.S. Bhogal, Mr Jagdev Singh Dahela, Mr Sukhdev Singh Capital, Mr Ghanshyam Singh Lotey, Mr Dharam Pal, Mr Kaptan Singh Ashat, Mr Varinder Singh Goga, Mr Manjit Singh, Mr Surjit Singh, Mr Sohan Singh, Mr Harbans Singh Panesar and Mr Sadhu Singh Gharial also attended the meeting.

The Panthic Morcha nominee from Ludhiana Rural seat, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, has claimed that welfare societies of more than 18 colonies in ward no. 6 and several other social and religious bodies had extended their support to him. Addressing a meeting after opening an election office at Noorwala Road, Mr Gabria sought the support of the electorate for his re-election so that the development works, undertaken by him in the constituency, could continue.

The district unit Youth Congress chief, Mr Parminder Mehta, along with other party activists, addressed a series of election meetings in the Ludhiana Rural and the Ludhiana West Assembly segments to mobilise voters in favour of the Congress candidates, Mr Malkiat Singh Beermi and Mr Harnam Das Johar, respectively.

Speaking at meetings at Manjit Nagar, Mall Road, Model Gram, Ghumar Mandi, Sekhewal, Noorwala Road and New Subhash Nagar, he charged the ruling alliance with attempts to raise the bogey of terrorism to draw political mileage. He demanded that the inquiry of a bomb blast at Hoshiarpur should be entrusted to the CBI. Mr Mehta termed the heavy burden of taxes on urban population and rampant corruption at all levels as the only ‘contribution’ of the government.

The Congress nominee from Ludhiana North, Mr Rakesh Pandey, has lodged a complaint with the Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, alleging that the BJP district unit president, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi and Lala Lajpat Rai, member of Rajya Sabha, had pressurised the Director, Aided Schools, Punjab, to de-recognise the new managing committee of Arya Girls Senior Secondary School, Purana Bazar, in the city and further that the DEO, who was appointed the drawing and disbursement officer, had been directed not to make payment of salaries to the members of staff solely due to political reasons.

Mr Harnam Das Johar, Congress candidate from Ludhiana West segment, while addressing more than a dozen election meetings in the constituency, observed that a sweeping victory for the party in the Assembly elections was a foregone conclusion. “The party was committed to rationalise the tax burden on trade and industry, tackle the menace of unemployment and to take effective measures to improve the health of agricultural economy.

Several trade bodies, including the Chaura Bazar Shopkeepers Association, the Kamla Nehru Market Association, the Dugri Road Shopkeepers Association, the Nishkam Sewa Sangh, the Youth Club, Model Town Extension and the Naujawan Sabha, New Model Town had extended their support to the Congress and were actively involved in the electioneering process, Mr Johar claimed.

Although being locked in a fierce intra-party faction fighting, which took a violent turn on Friday, the SAD nominee from Ludhiana West, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, claimed that following the rallies addressed by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and a former Delhi Chief Minister, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, his election campaign had received a boost.

The All-India Shiromani Inquilabi Dal, political wing of the All-India Kamboj Maha Sabha, Punjab has announced its support to several candidates, contesting the Assembly elections. The party president, Mr Jagir Singh Ratanpal, said in a press release here that the party had appealed to members of the Kamboj community to cast their votes in favour of Mr Abdul Shakoor Thind (Independent) from Ludhiana Rural seat, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bulara (Panthic Morcha) from Ludhiana West, Mr Hans Raj Josan from Jalalabad, Mr Lal Singh from Dakala, Dr Mukhtiar Singh Dhanju from Amritsar South, Mr Ajit Singh from Nur Mahal, Mr Karnail Singh Jodhpuri from Lohian and Mr Khushwant Singh from the Ferozepore Cantonment.

Mr Ishar Singh Meharban, Congress nominee from Koom Kalan, was weighed against coins at Katani Kalan, Kot Gangu Rai and Upplan villages by his supporters. At Laton Joga village, he was weighed against ‘ladoos’. Speaking at several villages, Mr Ishar Singh focused on the anti-people policies of the government and problems like corruption, unemployment and rising prices, which the government had failed to address.


CPI-ML (Liberation) cautions against WTO
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
The Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (Liberation) has opposed the World Trade Regime and said that it would spell doom for Indian farmers, who were not in a position to compete with farmers of developed countries. He said the WTO would introduce unfair competition and the Indian farmers would be at a great loss.

Addressing a rally in Fauji Colony in support of the party candidate from Ludhiana (Rural), Mr Sunder Lala, the CPI-ML (Liberation) general secretary, Mr Deepankar Bhatacharya, regretted that the Akali government, which claimed itself to be the guardian of the interests of farmers, was party to the Government of India accepting the WTO regime.

Mr Bhatacharya also opposed giving Punjab waters to Haryana more than what was due to that state. He said the governments should ensure that the rights of farmers are not denied.

The CPI-ML (Liberation) leader also demanded waiving off the loans of small farmers. He said thousands of farmers were under debt liabilities and many of them had committed suicide for the same reason.

Mr Bhatacharya also demanded that the migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar be treated with honour and dignity. He condemned the attempts by certain vested interests to segregate and alienate them.


Dawer accuses Gosain of land-grab
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
The Congress candidate from the Ludhiana East, Mr Surinder Dawer, has accused his rival and the Assembly Deputy Speaker, Mr Satpal Gosain, of using his influence to get the Waqf land allotted in his name. He claimed that he had documentary evidence to prove his point.

Addressing a rally near Dugri rail line here yesterday, Mr Dawer disclosed that the Punjab Government had decided to allot about 1,700 square feet of land to Rajasthani community. The land which is worth crores of rupees is located near the Civil Hospital. Mr Dawer, however, alleged that instead of getting it transferred to the Rajasthani community he had got it issued in the name of a close relative. Mr Dawer said this had led to resentment among the Rajasthani people living in the area.

The Congress candidate claimed that there was a massive wave in support of his party and claimed that he was going to win with a massive margin. He ridiculed the claims of Mr Gosain that he was going to retain the seat this time. ‘‘I will explode the myth of his invincibility’’, he asserted.

Mr Dawer alleged that Mr Gosain had also been patronising the mafia responsible for the transportation of cows to different parts of the country. He revealed that Mr Gosain had issued a letter in the name of a cow- transporter, Mr Maqsood Ahmad, mentioning that he did not possess a transport permit, so he should not be harassed anywhere since he was known to him.

The Congress candidate cited several instances alleging that Mr Gosain’s supporters, particularly his personal assistant Mr Nitu had let loose a reign of terror in the area and had allegedly grabbed the house of a widow.

He said, even Mr Gosain’s supporters were trying to interfere in the process of making voter-identity cards. However, he appreciated the prompt and timely action taken by the Deputy Commissioner. He said, he was satisfied with the functioning of the local officers as far as their conduct to deal with election process was concerned.


Urban Estate residents back Birmi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
Residents of Urban Estate, Dugri, today assured their support to the common candidate of the Indian National Congress and the Communist Party of India, Mr Malkit Singh Birmi, from the Ludhiana (Rural) constituency in the Punjab Assembly elections. The supporters of Mr Birmi also presented him a cash of Rs 11,000. This was claimed by Mr S.K. Gupta, general secretary, Urban Estate Welfare Association, here today.

Mr Birmi inaugurated his election office under Block Congress Committee No. 12 in Urban Estate. Mr Mohinder Singh Kalyan, former member of Parliament, presided over the inauguration ceremony.

Mr B.R. Kaushal, president of the Punjab State Pensioners Confederation, Dr Shiv Gupta, general secretary of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Mr Sunder Lal Mehta, secretary of the Labour Cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, while addressing the audience, offered their support to Mr Birmi and other Congress candidates throughout Punjab. Mr Kaushal said that the support came in view of the promises of the Congress on the implementation of the demands of pensioners, workers, government employees and private factory workers in its election manifesto.

Mr Birmi and Mr Kalyan, while addressing the audience, condemned the Akali-BJP government in Punjab for the deteriorating law and order situation, decrease in per-capita income, closure of factories due to recession, increasing unemployment amongst the workers, increasing cases of suicide amongst farmers, atrocities on the scheduled Castes and other backward classes, corruption in offering of direct recruitment and transfers, etc.

“All the sections of society are annoyed with the Akali-BJP regime and now they wanted change in the government so that due relief is provided to the public. Agriculturists are not getting regular supply of electricity, big farmers have been benefited by exemption of electricity charges, no relief has been given to the urban citizens in payment of sewerage, water supply, etc. The traders, shopkeepers, businessmen, and industrialists are compelled to close their business activities. No development is being made in the state.


Is Bhatia on way out?
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
If the sequence of events during the last three days is any indication, Mr Amarjeet Singh Bhatia, vice-president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, appears to be on his way out of the party.

Having lost the ticket nomination to his arch rival and the acting district president, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, he had never been disappointed to the degree he feels today.

On February 2, unbelievable happened with Mr Bhatia when police conducted raids on his and his supporters’ residences. Two of his supporters, including a leading businessman of the city, Mr Tejinder Singh Dang, were arrested after being manhandled.

The police personnel allegedly ransacked the houses they raided, probably to convey a message to him. Only a month ago, before he started inviting the wrath of the party president, Mr Bhatia ruled the roost in the city enjoying considerable clout in the local administration. Ironically, Mr Bhatia is accusing the administration of conniving with Mr Makkar to “humiliate” him.

Mr Bhatia was reportedly upset with the attitude of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who is said to have asked him (Mr Bhatia) in no ambiguous terms that he should support and work for Mr Makkar.

Mr Badal reportedly did not entertain any of his pleas, not even getting the two cases registered against him and his nephew withdrawn.

Surprisingly, after the criminal cases were registered against Mr Bhatia and his supporters, none of the Akali leaders including Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, for whom he was campaigning in Ludhiana Rural or Mr Jagdev Singh Tajpuri came to inquire about the situation, leaving him alone to fight his battle.


Campaigning gets artistic flavour
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, February 3
With Assembly elections round the corner, political leaders are not hesitating to taking the help of artistes, comedians and singers of repute to attract public to their meetings. Violating the model code, BJP and Congress candidates are making use of ‘singing’ and ‘dancing’ girls at the start of their meetings to attract public.

The ruling Akali Dal has roped in popular Punjabi folk singer Kuldip Manak. His popularity is a great crowd-puller. Once the crowd gathers, speakers go on with their speeches. Congress is not far behind. It has roped in singer Mohamad Siddique. He is singing in praise of the Congress. His newly released cassette tells about the plans of the Congress. The cassette is doing more for the popularity of the party than the speeches made by its speakers put together. Rajesh Khanna, the fading superstar, will also be as usual canvassing for the Congress.

Hema Malini and Vinod Khanna will be actively participating in BJP’s election campaign. Local comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi has been a great crowd-puller. His sense of humour is good and timing excellent. His cassettes are doing well on ETC and Lashkara Channels for Akalis and the BJP. He lists achievements of the SAD-BJP regime in a pleasing way. The Akali Dal is reportedly trying to bring into its fold, Hans Raj Hans, but so far he has refrained from canvassing for any political party.


Not-so-mature viewers of adult movies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
In what can be best described as promotion of unethical practices and immorality among the youth, most cinema houses in the city are screening adult movies. All this goes on right under the nose of the district administration, which permits obscenity and perversity under the pretext that the movies have been cleared by the Film Censor Board.

Most of these films carry shots from pornographic movies, which are incorporated after the censor board clearance and have no thematic relevance to the story of the film.

It is alleged that not only the titles of these movies like “Kamini aur Kam Dev”, Biwi ka Yaar”, “Kamina Pati”, “Rakhail Number 1” are vulgar but they actually have no relevance to the story. There are allegations that once the movie gets a clearance certificate, additional alterations are done and X-rated clippings are attached to the movie in a way to satisfy the lust of cinegoer.

Young boys from schools and colleges, labourers and people from lower strata of society usually are among the audience at these theatres. A student of class IX, on condition of anonymity, said he regularly watched such movies. “We bunk three periods and watch the movies. These kinds of films can not be watched in homes because of restrictions”, he added.

Sita Prasad, a rickshaw-puller said,”These movies are the best source of entertainment for people like me who stay away from their home. I enjoy watching these movies”.

It may be mentioned that earlier also many “porno prints” had been seized during certain raids.

One of the cinema owners who did not wish to be quoted said these movies were crowd-pulling.”Due to the taxes imposed by the government, we have been forced to screen such movies. We have no other way”, he said.

It is alleged that there is a nexus between the district administration, the police and cinema owners, due to which screening of such movies goes on unabated. One of the sources alleged that the administration and police officials refuse to act against the guilty for “obvious reasons”.

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