Friday, March 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Populist compulsion to the fore
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman, Finance Commission, Punjab, a colleague of Dr Manmohan Singh and champion of liberalisation, seems to have succumbed to populist pressures.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Punjab Economy — Challenges Ahead,’ here yesterday he said, “Despite the fact that the state government is on the brink of bankruptcy, the Congress Government will continue to provide free electricity to the farm sector. We will also try to provide additional subsidies worth Rs 1,200 crore to the public as promised in our manifesto. I understand that the best and only the way to solve the financial crisis in the power sector, is to privatise it, but I cannot push the agenda as I have won the election by promising free power supply to farmers as well as Scheduled Castes. However, I will try to convince my electorate about the need for reforms”.

He added, “We would like to provide world-class infrastructure to attract at least Rs 10,000 crore worth of investment by big companies, as we do not have funds. We know that the economic growth rate and per capita income growth rate have declined over the past few years in the state, but we cannot raise taxes on the industry, as most of the units have become sick due to non-payment of the Rs 500-crore capital subsidy over the past decade.”

He failed to assure the gathering, as to how would the government put the economy back on the rails. However, Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia, Director and Chief Executive, Indian Council for International Economic Relations (ICRIER), who put forward the reforms agenda, disagreed with him, saying that the government would have to downsize as well as speed up reforms, especially by charging for electricity and irrigation supplies.

Earlier, in her keynote address, she said, “Punjab needs to create an ancillary set-up with the large scale sector and create climate for setting up food processing, auto component, pharmaceutical, and units and health care services.”

Cautioning the government against providing free power to SCs, she said,” with PSEB losses at Rs 1,000 crores, power sector reforms are essential.

The seminar was organised by the Ludhiana Management Association. Among others, Mr S.P. Oswal, Chairman, Vardhman group of industries, Mr Rajinder Gupta, President, LMA, Mr V.K. Goyal, Secretary, LMA participated.



PSEB demand for Rs 76,509 quashed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 28
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has quashed a demand by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for Rs 76,509 from Ms Kuldip Kaur, a resident of New Shivaji Nagar. The forum further directed the PSEB to restore the electricity connection of the consumer within 10 days. The forum has also directed the respondent to pay an interest on the amount deposited against the demand at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from date of deposit till actual payment.

According to the compliant, the electricity meter installed at the residence of the consumer was changed in April, 2001. The representative of the consumer, Mr S.S. Sarna, stated before the forum that after changing the meter, the board official took it away without proper packing and sealing.

Mr Sarna stated that a demand for Rs 76,509 was raised by PSEB after few months of changing of meter. When the consumer enquired about the demand, she was told by board officials that the meter was recording consumption of power lower by 50 per cent. According to the laboratory report, the current coil had been made short and it was a case of theft of power, he added.

Mr Sarna stated that the consumer never tempered with the meter and could not deposit the bill. It was pleaded that demand had been wrongfully raised and was liable to be quashed.

The PSEB pleaded that the consumer could not file the complaint as the matter could be decided only by the Dispute Settlement Committee in view of law laid down in case of PSEB v/s Ashwani Kumar. The respondent maintained that the meter was removed through Meter Change Order (MCO) on April 19, 2001 and was sent to the ME Laboratory.

The PSEB explained that on checking the meter, the seals were found tempered with and the current coil was made short. Moreover, it was recording consumption of power lower by 50 per cent, it added. The respondent stated that being a case of measured theft, the demand was raised and later on when the consumer did not deposit the amount it was included in the electricity bill.

The respondent pleaded that the demand had been rightly raised and the complaint was liable to be dismissed.

The forum observed that there was no mention in the ME Laboratory report that the consumer or her representative was present at the time of checking of the meter, which was mandatory. Moreover, there was no evidence that the meter was packed and sealed after replacing it with the new one, which was necessary as per PSEB rules. The forum held that the demand had been raised against the rules and was liable to be quashed. 



City Scan
Rich in literature, but poor in art

Watch the canvas from the unit of person or family, village or town, city or metro. It is a continuation of imagery. Some images stick. A composition of economic, social and cultural forces make strong and sharp images. Some places, through persistent imagery, graduate to earn one symbol or the other. Our medieval metros carry heritage of symbology. These names project images on mind’s eye: Delhi, Agra, Lucknow or Benaras. Nearer home Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala and Sirhind unfold cultural history. Ludhiana has no music gharana, no glory of architecture, no formal school for painting or an art gallery, no theatre of excellence. It is the men of letters who fill the gap. The galaxy of writers earn it a literary face. Parallel to Green Revolution, there is evolution of literature.

We have literary resurgence. We are proud of tradition of poetry from Sahir to Surjit Patar. In painting Harkrishan Lall to Savi, a legacy continues despite odds. In the field of fiction we have a rich crop, past as well as contemporary. Kulwant Singh Virk, Hari Singh Dilbar, Karamjit Kussa etc, broke new grounds. Hamdardvir Naushehrvi (Samrala), Ninder Gill, Avtar Singh Hansra (Kamalpura) and a few more are carrying forward the progressive tradition. From S.H. Manto (Papraudi) to Kewal Dheer stand legends of Urdu afsana. Once Amritsar-Preet Nagar was the centre of Punjabi novel, it partly shifted to Barnala due to O.P. Gasso and Ram Sarup Ankhi. Patiala, Chandigarh, Delhi and Jalandhar make contribution as seats of authors. It is Ludhiana which contributes richly in quality and heavily in quantity. We restrict fiction to novel only.

K.K. Birla Foundation established the Saraswati Samman. It is to India, what Nobel Prize (Literature) is to the entire world. The latest was awarded to a noted novelist, Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana, for her novel ‘Katha Karo Urvashi’. She is a Patiala-based author, but a bright daughter of Ludhiana. She was born at Rabbon village, near Malaudh. For generations the family lived there. The said novel reconstruction three generations of Rabbon. It stills time.

Ludhiana-based novelists have enriched the genre in their own ways. Sohan Singh Seetal wrote more than a dozen popular novels. He was professionally an expert narrator. He won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1974 for his novel ‘Jug Badal Giya’.

The repeat was done by the serious scholar and academician, Niranjan Tasneem. He has authored a dozen of books of merit. He makes successful experiments in technique and form. No wonder, he won Akademi award for his novel ‘Gwache Arth’ in 1999.

The novelists of the city provide an interesting study themselves also. Professional teachers have easier way to literature. The academics of postgraduate departments or universities are nearly whole-timers in literary and critical pursuits. Prof S. S. Narula is one of the pioneers of the Punjabi novel. He does not write for recognition, he never competes. He beats. He stands apart. His contribution to the Punjabi novel is part of its evolution. Three generations have read him as text. Dr Amarjit Singh, better known as Gorki, is a prolific novelist. He has revealed the potential of writing an epic in prose. He has authored a dozen of books in fiction.

Shah Chaman hailing from Kotkapura is now city-based. He made debut with ‘Zakhmi Gulab’ (1989) and added two more. His latest is ‘Jwala Mukhi’. He imaginatively characterises through significant dialogue. Brevity is his tool. He saves paper and ink to effect.

Karamjit Singh Aujla is qualified engineer who retired as company executive. He has written half a dozen novels. ‘Chhevaan Tey Satvaan Darya’ was chosen for a film. His latest ‘Ooch-Neech’ won the critical notice.

Devinder Sekha deals in hosiery, but finds time to read, think and observe. He maintains communication as well as story-interest through dialogue and suspense. He seeks to a strike balance between idealism and sentimentalism. He has sincerity and readability. Dr Balbir Singh Shah is a practising doctor. He is emotionally involved in novel. Jaswant Singh Aman is a bank officer. He writes with equal facility in Punjabi and English. Mittar Sen Meet is a police officer in the legal branch. As insider, he has written much-discussed novels ‘Tafteesh’, ‘Katehra’. G.S. Mann (Hindi) and M.L. Sood (English) are city-based novelists. It may be relevant to recall that Sant Singh Sekhon (‘Lahoo-Mitti’ fame novelist) hailed from Dakha.



Punjab cops delighted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
The Punjab police is overjoyed at the several welfare schemes and grants announced by the state government for their benefit. While the officer rank is happy at the recreation of 18 posts of SP and 32 of DSP, the non-gazetted officers (NGOs) are jubiliated at the free bus travel facility and scholarships for the families of the martyrs as well as for the provision of special grant for the marriage of the girls belonging to the martyr’s family.

‘‘The morale of the force has been lifted. We feel we are being cared for’’, said constable Kuldip Singh posted in the city. He said the police personnel were always under financial pressure as “our salaries have not been increased much all these years”. He said the free bus travel would benefit them a lot as they had to travel far and wide for the official discharge of their duty and had to spent money from their pockets.

Paramjit Singh, another constable, said thanks to the schemes for the martyrs’ families, “we can take on criminals more confidently as we know our families will be at least financially safe.”

The gazetted officers are delighted, especially at the creation of posts of SPs and DSP. Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, senior vice-president, and Mr Harman Bir Singh Gill, vice-president, respectively, of the Punjab Police Services Officers Association, said the creation of the posts would clear way for the posting of several officers awaiting an active assignment as well as helping the rapid promotions of other officers who were eligible for the last several years.



Educating adolescents necessary

Adolescence education is necessary for teenagers. Adolescence is that period of growth during which there is transition from childhood to maturity. It is a complex but vital period bringing bodily and mental changes. The onset of the first menstrual period (menarche) may occur at any time during adolescence and it does not always coincide with sexual maturity. With this period of physical growth and sexual maturity, emotional changes occur and these changes in an individual are important for a balanced mental state until the approach of menopause.

The changes occurring in different parts of the body during this period are complex and depend on several factors besides the influence of endocrine system. It has been observed in animal experiments that the rate of growth is not constant under the same endocrine conditions. First and the most important is the genetic factor, while psychological and somatic developments vary in individuals of the same parents because their capacity for growth has been to a great extent genetically predetermined. Other important factors are nutrition during childhood, prolonged illness before and during adolescence, and to some extent climactic conditions. The frequency of genital under-development that is observed in adult females from the lower strata of society in India is probably related to malnutrition during childhood or adolescence, retarding normal development.

The changes during adolescence are:

* Genital

* Secondary sex characters

* Skeletal growth

* Psychological

First, in genital changes, Labia majora becomes dome shaped and a pad of fat called the mons, pubis is deposited above the labia in middle line. The vagina increases both in length and width. The uterus and cervix show marked alterations. During childhood the cervix is longer than the body of the uterus but during adolescence the ratio is reversed and by the age of 16 the body is longer than the cervix. The endometrium shows proliferate changes under the influence of oestrongens at the time of menarche. The menstrual cycles are unovulatory and in absence of corpus lutetium, secretory response of the endometrium is absent. The cervical epithelium of childhood is also influenced and racemose glands appear in the endocervix.

In secondary sex characters, scanty growth of hair appears first on labia majora and as adolescence progresses characteristic feminine type of pubic hair and axillary hair appear. The luxuriant growth of hair on the head is also characteristic. Breast changes are also characteristic and begin to appear early. At about the age of 10 the flat nipple area of childhood is raised into a small cone with the areola at the apex. Gradually, the cone increases in size and becomes more elevated. The development of acini is influenced by progesterone when ovulatory type of menstrual cycles are established.

In skeletal growth, there is rapid increase in weight, and the height increased with the widening of hips and deposition of fat in the glue teal region.

The skeletal growth of the pelvis is characteristic and the development of male or female type depends on oestrogen-androgen ratio.

In psychological changes, change-over from the childhood psychology to the newly experienced physiological impulses and emotions is a complex process. A properly guided adolescent girl will, in time, approach to womanhood without any menstrual disturbances and will control her impulses and emotions throughout the active period of her life in a practical and balanced form. Properly and timely knowledge is must for girls. Girls should take good diet and should be careful about personal hygiene.

Environment is a prime factor affecting the onset of adolescence. The environment in which man leads his life is made up of physical and nutritional conditions with social and cultural influences. The physical environment like temperature, light and attitude etc. regulate physiological alterations. Nutritional environment is also the controlling parameter of puberty.

Proper guidance form the parents will considerably help girls to approach womanhood with confidence. During adolescence period, in any complaint, should consult your family doctor. You should not use any medicine by yourself.

Dr Anil Dheer



Spreading book culture
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 28
National Book Trust in association with the Punjabi Sahit Academy organised a two-day National Seminar on “A review of Punjabi Literature after Independence”.

Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh, Head Sheikh Farid Chair, presided over the seminar on the second day. He observed: “Movement for libraries in villages should be intensified. Books make real medium of awakening and lead to better life. Culture can be best served by book culture.”

He further saisd Punjabi language was robust and its literature was healthy and dynamic. The language of research papers should be made more intelligible and simple. Mr Ram Sarup Ankhi and Mr Prem Singh Bajaj also spoke.

Mr Misradeep Bhatia, in charge Punjab Department of NBT, announced that a book fair will be organised at Punjabi Bhavan in October-November. Various scholars, including Dr Jagbir Singh (Delhi University), Dr Harbhajan Singh Bhatia (GND varsity), Prof Ved Agnihotri, Dr Sarbjeet Singh and Dr Sukhdev Singh, read out papers.

Mr A.S. Pooni, president, Punjabi Sahit Academy, stressed upon the need for clarifying of terms, precision of literary tools, necessity of translation, etc.



YC reacts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
The District Youth Congress president, Mr Parminder Mehta, today criticised the district and police administrations for according VIP treatment to the controversial godman Chandraswamy. He pointed out, while Chandraswamy was facing trial in a number of criminal cases he was being accorded a status of a VIP in Ludhiana.

He warned that Chandraswamy was trying to set up his base in Ludhiana and pointed out that he had been patronising criminals like Babloo Shrivastava.

Mr Mehta urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to order an inquiry into providing him a heavy police contingent as escort. He said the government should also identify the people associated with him and monitor their activities lest they become threat to the peace and security of the city.



Lala Kanwar Lal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 28
A meeting of the Silk Traders Association was held here today to condole the death of Lala Kanwar Lal Gupta, a leading silk trader of the city. Mr Gupta, passed away recently after a prolonged illness. The members while mourning his death, recalled his contribution to the silk trade in the city. Mr Gupta had established a large network of silk trade across the region.



Migrant stabbed, robbed of Rs 800
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 28
A migrant labourer, Rajinder Kumar, was stabbed and robbed of Rs 800 near the Dhuri lines last night.

According to information, the migrant was on his way back to his house in Islam Ganj when he was attacked. He has been admitted to the Civil Hospital.

Case registered: The Basti Jodhewal police has registered a case of beating under Sections 452, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Subhash Jain, Manager, SR Woollen Mills, Bajra village, against Ashok Jain of New Delhi and Kimti Lal of Ludhiana. The complainant had alleged that the accused forced their way into his house and threatened him of dire consequences.

Cop threatened: The Focal Point police has registered a case under Sections 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of a constable, Mr Kuldip Kumar, against some unknown accused, who beat up the cop on Tuesday near the Metro Tyre factory.

Assault cases: The Model Town police has registered a case of beating on the statement of Mr Nachhattar Singh, a resident of Dugri village, against Nirmal Singh and Balbir Singh, both residents of the same village. The complainant had alleged that the accused intercepted him, beat him up and threatened him on Tuesday.

The Division No. 2 police station has registered a case under Sections 323, 341 and 506 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Ram Rattan Chopra, a resident of Janak Puri, against Kishori Lal, a resident of Miller Ganj. The complainant had alleged that the accused beat him up on Tuesday.

The Salem Tabri police station on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506, 147 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Rajneesh Kumar, a resident of Salem Tabri, against Raj Kumar, Pardip Kumar and four others. The complainant had alleged that when his father was going somewhere on Wednesday night, the accused intercepted him and beat him up.

The Shimla Puri police station has registered a case on the statement of Shiela, a resident of New Shimla Puri, under Sections 341, 323 and 34 of the IPC against Rajan and others. The woman had complained that the accused had assaulted her son, Vicky, on Tuesday.

The Sarabha Nagar police, on the statement of Mr Sadhu Ram, a resident of New Valmik Colony, has registered a case under Sections 379, 506 and 34 of the IPC against Desa, Bobby and Nannu of the same locality. The complainant had alleged that the accused stole his amplifier and when he asked them about it the accused started threatening him.

The police has also registered a similar case on the statement of Mr Nirmal Singh, a resident of Preet Nagar, against Raju and others under Sections 341, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

Fraud case: The Division No. 8 police station has registered a case of fraud and intimidation under Sections 406, 420 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Ms. Sarla Devi, a resident of Mohalla Rajinder Nagar, against Sulochna, a resident of Kundan Puri. The complainant had alleged that the accused misappropriated Rs 50,000 of a finance committee which actually belonged to her. When she demanded her money, the accused allegedly threatened her also.

Rape bid: The Civil Lines police station has registered a case under Sections 356 and 354 of the IPC on the statement of Poonam, a resident of New Model Town, against Ram and others. The woman had alleged that the accused tried to rape her and snatched away her gold chain.

Liquor seized: The Kotwali police has arrested Harish Kumar, a resident of Vishwakarnma Colony, Kwality chowk, and seized 12 bottles of illicit liquor from his possession. In another case, the Model Town police on Tuesday arrested Avtar Singh, a resident of Abdullapur Basti, and Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Mohalla Manohar Nagar, and seized 12 bottles of illicit liquor each from their possession. All accused have been booked under the Excise Act.

In-laws booked: The Koom Kalan police station has registered a case of alleged harassment for dowry on the statement of Ms Gurcharan Kaur, a resident of Kanecha village, against her husband , Balwinder Singh, mother-in-law, Amarjit Kaur, father-in-law, Gurnam Singh, brother-in-law, Gurpreet Singh, and sister-in-law, Baljit Kaur, under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC. The complainant had alleged that the accused had been harassing her mentally and physically and demanding more dowry. However, no arrest has been made so far.

Poppy husk seized:
The police has seized poppy husk from the fields of Jaswinder Singh, a local resident. He has been arrested under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Truck driver booked: truck driver has been booked on charge of blocking traffic at Sahnewal on Tuesday.

According to the police, the driver, Mudik Ram of Madhya Pradesh, has been booked under Sections 283 of the IPC.



Event management catching on in Punjab

The market of event management — handling of stage shows, launch of products, road shows, entertainment programmes and theme-based parties has picked up over the past few years in the state. After Delhi and Chandigarh, Ludhiana is fast emerging as a big centre for organising events in addition to Amritsar and Jalandhar.

Mr M. Afzal, Director of a Delhi-based management company, says, ‘‘The event management companies have been so far concentrated in Delhi and Chandigarh, but after studying the market of Punjab and particularly Ludhiana and Amritsar, we have found a tremendous potential of this business here.

The company has specially opened its branch office here to look after the business in the state. We expect to get a business worth Rs 2.5 to Rs 3 crore in the next one year from the state, about 50 per cent of our total business in North India.’’

He says that Punjab is attracting a number of Indian and multinational companies which are in their initial plans of growth. These companies desire professional handling of their total marketing campaign, including road shows, high-profile celebrity performance, business seminars, product launches and presentations. Interestingly, handling of New Year programme of good club in the city , he says, may fetch anything from Rs 30 to Rs 40 lakh for a single night, which could not be even imagined in Delhi.

Ms Alice Guram, who is managing another event management company, says,‘‘The high per capita income in the state, attitude of the people to spend lavishly and role of NRI income have contributed to the growth of this specialised market. During the past three-four years, we have succeeded to persuade companies like Bharti Telecom, Zee TV, Ceat Tyres and Rado Watches to launch their products in Ludhiana and Amritsar. The market is expanding at an exponential rate.’’

She, however, laments that lack of professional companies in the field is affecting the growth of business. She says,‘‘ There are some unprofessional advertising companies here, who promise free PR services provided the companies give them advertising business, thus affecting the whole business.’’

A business associate of an event management company claims, ‘‘Despite all odds the professional companies are providing all services to their clients. We take care of all needs of organisers like arranging for a celebrity, organising stage or media coverage. The outsiders cannot compete with us due to trust and cost factors.’’

The insiders say that the total annual market of event managements in the state is in the range of Rs 40 crore to Rs 50 crore annually. At present, the local companies have only 30 to 40 per cent share of the total market, and Delhi-based companies are directly handling the business of corporate houses like Hero, Avon and Vardhman. However, the market trend, says Alice, is changing. The companies now prefer local event management companies, who are able to provide a better and qualitative service at a competitive price.



Lack of awareness stunts e-business
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 28
Lack of awareness among consumers in the city towards the advantages of e-business, their hesitation in using credit cards on the Internet for making purchases, uncertainty regarding delivery as well as quality of products and low penetration of personal computers are the major factors contributing to poor growth of e-business in city.

These are the findings of a study conducted by the first year students of MBA course at the Punjab College of Technical Education under the guidance of Mr Sandhir Sharma, faculty member. The study involved 100 entrepreneurs (small, medium and large) and 500 consumers comprising businessmen, servicemen, professionals and students.

The study revealed that 46 per cent of the entrepreneurs used the Internet for business purposes, 36 per cent for only advertisements and publicity, 12 per cent for seeking information and remaining six per cent for personal reasons. Most of the entrepreneurs said wider reach, low cost and time saving were the major factors that made them use the Internet as an effective channel to enhance their business. They were of the view that 60 per cent of the entrepreneurs could have the benefit of more choice, time saving, easy access and convenience with E-business.

On the other hand, the students found that only 25 per cent of the consumers tend to make purchases on the Net. Further they agreed that advertisements on the Net were very attractive and informative but not sufficient to force them make purchases.

Interestingly, the study revealed that 46 per cent of consumers were uncertain regarding the delivery of products ordered on the Net, 45 per cent were unsure of quality they would get and 29 per cent did not want to use credit card on the Internet for security reasons. Therefore, majority of the consumers used the Internet for e-mail and only 28 per cent for information and purchases. 


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