Sunday, January 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Record sale of Tricolour leads to shortage
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 25
A record sale of the Tricolour in the past week has led to a shortage on the eve of Republic Day here. With the amended Flag Code allowing everyone to hoist the National Flag, the local Khadi Bhandar at Chaura Bazar, only agency here authorised to sell the Tricolour, has recorded an unprecedented sale this year.

However, the unprepared Khadi Bhandar has almost run out of flags. Many citizens had to return empty-handed from the shop today, as it had no flags for them.

“About 100 persons have gone back disappointed within three hours. We have sought more flags from Sutlej Khadi Mandal of Nakodar, our suppliers. The flags will be arriving any minute now,” said Mr Manjeet of Khadi Bhandar. While, earlier, only schools, colleges and government offices bought the Tricolour, this time, commoners are thronging this showroom. We have already sold hundreds of flags, still, people want more.

I never knew there was so much patriotic spirit among the masses. The sales always pick up before Republic Day and Independence Day, but this time the sales have been all-time high. We dedicate it to the amended code,” said Mr Manjeet.

Sales in the other city shops have also picked up consequently over the last fortnight.

The amended code has been well received by the Ludhianvis, who are happy that the court has provided everyone with freedom to hoist the Tricolour on all days. “Mr Navin Jindal, who had moved the Supreme Court, demanding the right to hoist the Tricolour, has done a good job, said a Ludhianvi.

The flags available at Khadi Bhandar are priced at between Rs 60 and Rs 596. The flags of various sizes come with the price tags of Rs 60, Rs 90, Rs 170 and Rs 596. The dealer said, if the sales continued to rise Khadi Udyog may increase the production of the National Flag.

Mr Ashwani Kumar of Rajit Paints had to return, as Khadi Bhandar had run out of flags. “I wanted to hoist it in my office, but they don’t have any. They are closed tomorrow, so, now, I don’t know what to do,” he said.



Tipsy caller sends cops on wild-goose chase
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 25
A tipsy caller from the Kochhar market sent the local police and mediapersons in a tizzy late last night when he gave “information” that a minor child had been abducted from the main market by car-borne and gun-wielding persons.

The police swung into action and sounded a red alert. Exit points of the city were sealed by setting up special police barriers. A team of the police station of the area concerned, headed by senior officers rushed to the market to inquire about the abduction.

Police officers also requested some mediapersons, seeking details of the incident, not to report it as kidnappers had harmed children in the past after such incidents had been reported by the Press.

After two hours of investigation, the police could not find any person who said his child had been kidnapped from the market.

The shopkeepers also stated that no such incident had happened in the market.

The police then inquired from several residents of the area and adjoining colonies but found that all children were safe in their houses. By this time, the police was almost convinced that it was a hoax call. However, the police sent messages to all police stations to inquire if any child had been abducted from any area.

The answer was in the negative. The police finally stopped the search at about midnight, fully sure that the caller had taken them for a ride. 



Was it a case of suicide?
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, January 25
Is it a strategic move on the part of the police to state that the death of a 65-year-old woman suffering from paralysis that occurred due to burn injuries yesterday was a case of suicide?

Going by the way the Shimla Puri police is handling the case registered under Section 174 of the Cr. P.C., one can say that the police is ruling out any kind of foul play behind the incident in which the charred body of the old lady was discovered in her bed in the morning by her husband.

Mr Karnail Singh, the husband of the deceased, has stated to the police that when he got up at 5.30 am as usual and went to the room of his wife, he found that the quilt covering her had been burnt down. When he turned the burnt quilt to look beneath, he saw her charred body. He also stated that his wife had been ailing for a long time and had recently fell a prey to paralysis as well. The police has also claimed that the deceased had been suffering from acute depression because of her illness.

But certain questions are raising serious doubts about the suicide theory being propounded by the police.

Like, is it possible for a quilt and a human body to be burnt to charcoal without any resident of the house smelling anything ? Because the smell of burning cloth is a peculiar one and as such easily identifiable.

Besides the husband of the deceased, both of her sons were also reportedly present in the house.

The other question is also intriguing. Would an old and depressed patient suffering from paralysis be able to set herself afire and then cover herself with a quilt and remain lying in a sleeping posture without uttering a cry? Impossible, you may say.

But going by the police theory of suicide, one would say that the woman set fire to herself and then went to sleep peacefully, and the lady was brave enough not to utter a cry or fall over the bed or even disturb the quilt while she was burning.

But no matter how bizarre and absurd appears the suicide story, the police, for the time being, is stuck on its stand.



Deafening noise, crumbling houses
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 25
Hundreds of inhabitants of New Madhopuri are having sleepless nights, as a dyeing unit in the vicinity is causing heavy air and noise pollution, besides posing a threat to the small houses in the area.

The unit belongs to a hosiery dealer who dyes the yarn in the factory by using heavy-duty machines that cause noise and air pollution. The vibrations cause cracks in the houses.

In spite of various complaints to the district administration and the Pollution Control Board, no action has been taken against the unit owner. Persons of the area said they were living in a virtual hell, as they constantly had to listen to the loud sound and feel the vibrations when the machines were in operation. Persons living in small houses feared that, due to the constant vibrations, the houses could collapse anytime.

Mr Ashok Kumar Puri, one such person, said everyone in the area was sick of listening to the ear piercing noises and inhaling thick smoke with the air. The problem was grave in streets 18, 19 and 20. Another man of the area said he was a heart patient and the continuous noise produced by the unit was bad for him. He said there were many like him, who were suffering from diseases, but could get no rest in their houses, as these buildings were constantly shuddering.

Many houses had developed cracks and the foundations had become weak due to the constant vibration. Running from pillar to post had sowed nothing for the families living here.



BJP’s signature campaign against terrorism
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 25
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its youth wing, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) launched a signature campaign against terrorism at its party headquarters here today. Mr Manjit Singh Rai, state president of the BJYM, affixed his signature on a 20-metre piece of cloth to formally launch the campaign.

The different mandal units of the party had brought banners to the party office on which the office-bearers and other party activists put their signatures to raise a united voice against terrorism.

Later addressing a meeting of the office-bearers of party units in the city, Mr Rai said that the signature campaign aimed at mobilising global public opinion against terrorism, had commenced on January 14 with the blessings of the Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd). As part of this exercise, the BJYM was organising an international youth conference in New Delhi on February 10 and 11, in which representatives from 70 to 80 countries would take part.

Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, district president, BJP, Mr Ramesh Sharma, Mr Kamal Chatley, Mr Rajneesh Dhiman, Mr Sanjay Kapoor, Mr Jiwan Gupta, district president, BJYM, Mr Surinder Kapila, Mr Aman Kumra, Mr Satvir Garg, Mr Sarbjit Singh, Mr Sanjeev Malhotra and Mr Bharat Bhushan Sharma, among others, attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, Mr Jiwan Gupta, district chief of the BJYM, has announced the nomination of Mr Satvir Garg as vice-president, of Mr Bharat Bhushan Sharma and Mr Sanjeev Malhotra as general secretaries of district unit, of Mr Avinash Sharma as president of the south mandal and of Mr Vinay Mittal as general secretary of west mandal. These appointments were duly approved by Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, district president, BJP, and Mr Manjit Singh Rai, state president BJYM, according to Mr Gupta.



Shiv Sena activists pay tributes to martyrs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 25
Activists of the Shiv Sena, led by its district president Rajiv Tandon, paid tributes to martyrs and other national leaders by bathing their statues in milk and water from the Ganges. The statues of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, main architect of the Indian Constitution, martyrs Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru and Kartar Singh Sarabha were cleaned and washed before floral tributes were paid to them.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Tandon lamented that the statues of martyrs and other leaders, put up in the city at various places were not being properly looked after which was a disrespect to these great sons of the motherland. “These leaders and martyrs are remembered only on the occasion of their anniversaries and forgotten thereafter.” He said the martyrs were the assets of a nation and the people who forget them or do not show due respect to them were ungrateful.

Mr Tandon and other functionaries of the party urged the government to fulfill its commitment of providing relief, including jobs and the agencies of petrol and cooking gas, to the next of kin of Kargil martyrs and other members of paramilitary forces who had laid down their lives in the fight against terrorism.

The Shiv Sena asked the Punjab Government to take necessary steps to convert the ancestral house of Sukhdev in a memorial and dedicate it to the people as had been promised by successive state governments. It also asked the district administration to impose a total ban on ‘vulgar’ dances during the celebration of national festivals like Republic Day and Independence Day.

Prominent among those present at the function were Mr Amar Takkar, Mr Dharmendra Khera, Mr Raj Kumar Agnihotri, Mr Sanjeev Ghai, Mr Pawan Gaba, Mr Parkash Khatri, Mr Om Parkash Saini, Mr Arun Bunty, Mr Shakti Dabi, Mr Parminder Singh, Mr B.R. Bhardwaj, Mr Ashwani Mahajan, Mr Ashok Sapra, Dr Sanjay Sharma, Mr Bajrangi Pathak, Mr Ravi Shankar Tiwari, Mr Madan Lal Munna, Mr Jai Raj and Mr Vinod Kumar.



Urban Estate residents cry for amenities
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 25
The Urban Estate Dugri locality in the city is a classic example of apathy and neglect on the part of the civic administration with nothing worthwhile being done to improve the infrastructure and civic services in the area. The colony was developed by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) and transferred to the municipal corporation about two years ago for maintenance.

The main road, as well as streets in the colony, are in a pathetic state with depressions, potholes and ditches, which often cause fatal accidents and pose a risk to vehicles carrying schoolchildren. The promised repair of the road and the streets have not been carried out, much to the irritation of residents.

According to Mr Kuldeep Singh Kareer, general secretary of the Residents Association, senior civic officials had repeatedly given assurance that a major repair of the road and the streets would be undertaken, but nothing had materialised so far. A former MC Commissioner, Mr R.L. Kalsia, going a step further, had told the residents during a meeting that a sum of Rs 50 lakh had been earmarked for the repair and the work would commence soon.

“The residents of the area had high hopes from the present MC Commissioner, who had outlined an ambitious programme of reconditioning of all major city roads, internal roads and streets in a phased manner a few months back. The said work was to be completed by December, 2002,” he said.

The residents lamented that rampant encroachments, all along the main road, parking places, footpaths and crossings had made the life of the residents miserable. With no enforcement, the offenders had become aggressive and at times the residents objecting to encroachments on public places were threatened and even assaulted. The lack of maintenance of parks had led to a situation where the people choose to stay away while stray animals, like dogs and pigs, abound these places.

Added Mr Kareer, “The colony lacked public conveniences altogether and the area between LIG flats and the graveyard needed to be designated for an ‘apni mandi’ to discourage the practice of venders and ‘farriwalas’ squatting at all places and obstructing vehicular traffic and the movement of the people.

“We can only wish that the civic administration shows a little consideration for thousands of hapless residents of the colony and undertakes the repair of road and the streets, besides bringing about improvement in civic services. In the meantime, we can just keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best,” they said.



Bitter-sweet days of winter

Ludhiana, January 25
SIPPING coffee or tea one turns philosophical , more so in winter. The warmth of the quilt and munching of dry fruits provide a temporary relief from the harsh realities of life. One may be tempted to listen to music or open a book of poems. “God made the country man made the town” sounds delightfully poetic. But bitter realities of life raise questions. The cynic is always ready to ask questions, winter or summer.

Some say, “The entire country-side in the northern region is shivering.” The cold is taking a heavy toll. Winter is a brute let loose! Living beings of all sorts long for sunshine. All seek warmth. Poetry or no poetry, imagery or reality, this is a fact. Clever persons trade upon the misery and innocence of the common folk. “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” The optimist and the pessimist debate over the merits of fanciful fact or factual fancy.

Reality is different. Winter chills. It kills. Who bothers? We tend to escape reality. Man, indeed, made the town. More of them made cities. Many times more made metros. It is the collective human labour, in thought and action, that goes into the making of a village or town, city or metro. Wisely, the terms were coined : civil and civic. Culture and civilisation are most meaningful words. Ironically, the import of these words is missed. Man is a maker of town, indeed. In action, he is a breaker also. Mankind is collectively unkind to suffering.

The common sense of the common folk around the world evolved folk wisdom in the realm of seasons. Consequently, many sayings and proverbs highlight attitudes and values. A Polish proverb says, “Spring is a virgin. Summer a mother. Autumn a widow. Winter a stepmother.” The inference is open to criticism. One is free to accept or reject it. The Indian summer is different while the current winter has similarity to the Polish one.

Not to be ignored is the Bard. His universal appeal is unquestionable. None can miss the import of his words. None would doubt his intention. Shakespeare experienced the extremes of the British weather. He chose April and December to convey the contrast between young men and women: “Men are April when they woo, December when they wed.” For clarity and effect he adds,” Maids are May when they are maids.”

Predictably, the first half of December and the second half of January are not suitable for marriages. City marriage palaces went through a lean period. Commerce, to an extent, decides what is bitter and not so bitter. But winter is winter, both bitter and sweet. The winter winds chill the spine. Fog is depressing. A danger to persons on the wheels. Currently, winter is a dreadful monster. Children shiver. Old folks tremble. Death looks closer.

Many Ludhianvis have practically applied the proverb — Iron cuts iron. Beating the bitterness of the winter with the matching bitterness of daru — desi or valaiti — is a way out.

In winter fall a number of festivals. Divali and Christmas, Lohri and Maghi. A spell of sweets. Bitter and sweet are facts. Life goes on year by year, season by season, day by day. Poetry and history, philosophy and psychology should be read side by side. Who would shed tears over those who fell victim to the devilish winter?

M.S. Cheema



2 killed in road mishaps
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 25
Jaswant Singh (35), resident of Kishanpura village near Malaud, died on the spot when he was overrun by a speeding Tata-407 truck near the Transport Nagar on Thursday night. The deceased, who had come to the town in connection with some business, was going on foot when death struck him. The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC against the unidentified truck driver and sent the body for an autopsy to the Civil Hospital. An unidentified youth in his mid-twenties was run over by a speeding vehicle while he was trying to cross the Chandigarh road on Thursday night. The accident took place outside the Bhartiya Vidya Mandir. A case has been registered.

Robbery bid: The Focal Point police has registered a case under Sections 458, 381, 511 and 120 of the IPC on the statement of the shift in charge of a factory in Phase 7, against five persons who had allegedly tried to commit robbery in the factory on Thursday, but on spotting the staff in the factory, they fled away. One of the accused has been identified as Manu Kumar.

Gang busted: The local police has claimed to have busted a gang of thieves with the arrest of Ramandeep Singh of Mai Zina, Jagraon, Thana Singh of Kothe Khanjoora and Jasbir Singh of Indra Colony, Jagraon. According to information, the police conducted a raid near Aligarh drain where the property of Lala Morari Lal is situated and found the above three planning to commit a theft. Jasbir Singh was arrested with a .12 bore pistol and three cartridges, while a spring knife was seized from Thana Singh.

Challaned: The police booked Sukhdarshan Singh of Morinda for using a pressure horn while driving a truck, here today. He was stopped by a havaldar, near aerodrome, and challaned for using the horn.



Man stabs estranged wife
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 25
A man caused quite a commotion on a road in Joshi Nagar falling under the Haibowal police station here yesterday evening when he stabbed his estranged wife after stopping her on the way.

According to information, the couple that got married about eight years ago has two children. The woman had been working as a housemaid to rear up the children. Around 4.30 pm when the woman, Ms Gogi, was going on her cycle to her house, her estranged husband, Jeet, a painter by profession, intercepted her on the road in Joshi Nagar. An altercation started between them. Jeet drew out a knife and started stabbing the woman in a fit of rage.



Woman booked for selling daughter
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 25
In a shocking incident, a minor girl was allegedly sold by her mother at Chitti Colony, near Bhattian village. The Salem Tabri police has registered a case against Kashmir Kaur, the mother of the girl who was sold and allegedly married off forcibly. The victim, Sarabjit Kaur, herself complained to the police against her mother.

In her complaint to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Sarabjit had alleged that her mother had sold her for money and married her off. The police has registered a case. The girl accused her mother of forcing her to marry despite knowing well that she did not want to do so.



Industrialists flay Exim policy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 25
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has accused the Punjab Government of deceiving industrialists and traders of the state by introducing the Exim Forms “without giving a due thought to related issues”.

Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber, said: “When the Punjab Government decided to introduce the Exim Form in October 2002, all industrialists of Punjab opposed it. The matter was also discussed in the State Cabinet. According to reports, the Cabinet was overwhelmingly in favour of not introducing the Exim Form”.

Mr Sharma said industrialists were was upset over this decision, as corruption will increase with the introduction of the Exim Form. Dispatch of goods was, now, in the hands of officials and so were receipts. Punjab is highly dependent on the other states for procuring industrial inputs and intermediates. The new policy will cause a delay in the receipts of imports and production. Industry in Punjab is already passing through a bad phase.

The chamber president also said, at the sales-tax barriers at the railway station, the quantity noted was much less than the actual. The introduction of the Exim Form would harm the honest taxpayers and benefit officials. Industrialists were planning to launch an agitation on the issue.



Safari launches new range of bicycles
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 25
The Safari group, a cycle manufacturer, has achieved a new high of producing 6,000 bicycles per day. The only cycle manufacturer in India to win the International Quality Award from Europe consecutively — in 2000 from Paris (France) and in 2001 from Geneva (Switzerland) — has launched 12 new models for most age groups, according to a company spokesperson.

The 12 new models are Invader, Spider, Ridge, Prestige, Racer, Hi-Bird Dream, Hi-Bird Shakti Plus, American Boy, Volcano, Dream Girl, Zest and Lovy.

The company spokesperson said that right from its inception the company’s focus had been on research and development and rolling out the latest designs while economising on cost with improved production techniques. Overall object of the company, he said, was to provide the bicycle user of India a means of transportation which was ultimately economical than the bus travel.



SBI branch holds depositors’ meet
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 25
The railway station branch of the State Bank of India organised a depositors’ meet here on Saturday. Branch Manager Vipan Jangwal highlighted various deposit schemes to the customers, such as savings bank, recurring deposit, term deposits, special term deposits, state bank cards, ATM-cum-debit cards, housing loans education loans, personal loans for purchase of durable consumer items such as TV, refrigerator, computers, etc. and loans against mortgage of property.

The function was presided over by Mr R.R. Sharma, Chief Manager, zonal office (Punjab), regional-I, Ludhiana. State Bank of India Staff Association chairman Shiv Kumar Gupta, secretary Rakesh Thapar and secretary K.K. Khullar welcomed customers and depositors and assured them of their full co-operation in rendering best customer service.

Mr R.R. Sharma awarded the Best Depositors Award to M/s Sugal and Damani (sole selling agent of Punjab Government lotteries), which was received by Mr Ravinder Gupta, Accounts Manager of the firm, which has deposits in the railway station Branch.

Many dignitaries, depositors and customers, including Mr Ashwani Saggi, senior vice-president of the All-India Railway Ticket Checking Staff Association, Mr Sundar Lal Mehta, Mr K.L. Malhotra, vice-president of the Railway Pensioners’ Association, Mr Ranjit Singh Chouhan, Mr Sushil Malhotra and Mr P.C. Sharma conveyed their thanks to the bank authorities for endeavouring to improve customer service. They, however, stated that the bank building was on the first floor and it was difficult for old-age pensioners to climb the stairs. Moreover, drinking water was not available, toilets were locked due to non supply of water, sewerage chamber at the main entrance of the bank is usually found overflown. They said either basic amenities should be provided in the building or it should be relocated. Many depositors also suggested that the pass-book updating counter should be opened for full working days so that pass books were updated on the same day as that of the transactions.

The Branch Manager assured customers to keep the pass-book counter open for full days. The staff will also assist the customers in filling in forms, vouchers, etc. Regarding the bank’s premises, the Branch Manager assured that the zonal office was considering the matter and a decision would be taken at the earliest.


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