L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


More words on memorial, no work
Tribune News Service

Sarabha (Ludhiana), November 16
Yet another martyrdom day and yet more assurances! This continues to be the fate of Kartar Singh Sarabha Memorial which has become a victim of government apathy.

While Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister, ate a humble pie yesterday for not being able to do much for the memorial during his tenure, Mr H.S. Hanspal, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, while speaking on the martyrdom day of the Ghadar fame martyr, at Sarabha, sought to soothe the wounds of the villagers by making a fresh promise that he would use his office to release pending grants for the memorial.

He promised to expedite the procedure to release a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the development of Sarabha village as well as for the Kartar Singh Sarabha Sports Club already announced by an MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, last year.

Mr Hanspal promised that the work on it would start soon as the government would release some amount to the Public Works Department (Provincial) which had been preserving the memorial for the past two years.

While the visit of Mr Hanspal appeased the anger of the villagers, who had been accusing the Congress of being “indifferent” towards recognising the contribution of the martyr by not completing the work on his native house, it failed to make them happy. They said they were hopeful that the representative of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, would get something done for the stalled preservation work.

Mr Hanspal asked the villagers to constitute a committee to work for the preservation of the memorial and to inform him about the status of the project. He said he would impress upon the state government to start the work on the memorial on priority.

The proposed memorial, which is the native house of the martyr, has always been in the news due to the slow pace of work on it. A cousin of the martyr, Bibi Jagdish Kaur, had been agitating against the respective state governments demanding the completion of work on the memorial.

The 100-year-old woman had threatened to observe a fast in front of the house of the Chief Minister if the work was not started on it. Even yesterday she had gone to the extent of saying that she would renounce the title “Punjab Mata” bestowed upon her by the Badal government. She had said angrily that the government was not bothered to recognise the contribution of the martyr.

Bibi Jagdish Kaur, who is suffering from uterine cancer, had sent SOS calls to the state government also. She had been alleging that just after the new government was sworn in, the remaining grant to the memorial was never released. She said she was shocked to see the behaviour of the Congress government.

The work on the memorial was started by the Akali government in 2000 after a lot of agitation by Bibi Jagdish Kaur. A grant of Rs 101 lakh was announced for the same and Rs 40 lakh were released in three instalments. Later, not even a single penny was released.

The house, which was declared a protected monument by Archaeological Department of Punjab in 1998, stands abandoned for want of repairs. The Bibi had been running from pillar to post to get the house of her brother, where he was born and brought up, converted into a memorial. She claimed that she had donated the house to the government and requested every Chief Minister to raise a memorial on it. 



Rights panel orders probe into thrashing by policemen
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 16
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has directed the SSP, Ludhiana, to probe allegations levelled against two policemen of the Basti Jodhewal police station by a resident of Hargobind Nagar village, near Chhapar.

The complainant had alleged that the policemen had beaten up his son and left him half-dead, but no action was taken against them despite repeated complaints.

According to the order passed by Justice R. L. Anand, member of the commission, Krishan Dev, a mill worker had filed a complaint with the commission levelling serious allegations against the policemen. They had inflicted injuries on his head and snatched cash and jewellery worth Rs 25,000. The victim had to be hospitalised for a long period and complainant spent a huge sum on his treatment.

Mr Krishan Dev, said his son, Pardeep Kumar, used to operate an auto-rickshaw at Ludhiana. He was intercepted by two policemen near ‘peer dargah’, Ludhiana, and asked to give them Rs 200 for operating auto-rickshaw at late night.

On his refusal, they inflicted injuries on his head and snatched cash and ornaments worth Rs 25,000. He was taken to the Civil Hospital by a passerby and then shifted to private hospitals one after another where he remained in coma for months, together, he added.

Mr Krishan Dev said, “When we took Pardeep to the police station in February, 2003, he recognised one of the assailants, but staff present there helped him run away.”

Complainant also approached Mr Mohamad Mustafa, then DIG of Ludhiana, who ordered an inquiry into the incident but it bore no fruit.

Complainant had spent more than Rs 3.5 lakh the victims treatment, yet he is unable to walk properly. He had demanded compensation, and stern action against accused. He said he had been called to Ludhiana twice to submit a statement.

The policemen posted at the police station on the fateful night had not yet been paraded for identification of accused by the victim, he added.

Mr Narinder Pal Singh SSP, Ludhiana, showed ignorance about the fate of the probe ordered by Mr Mustafa. Investigating officer is supposed to submit his report before December 16, the next date of hearing at the office of the commission at Chandigarh.



Harassed, disabled man runs PCO in open
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Even after various promises by officials concerned for providing him a place to set up a PCO in the new building of the district courts complex, this physically challenged man continues to move from pillar to post to get a place to keep his kitchen fire burning.

For the past three months Mr Lalji Singh, a 40-year-old man, has been waiting for the fulfilment of promises but to no avail.

The shifting of the district courts from the old building has spelled doom for him. He had been running a PCO in the old building for the past 20 years and now after the shifting there is no place for him in the new building.

Things have come to such a pass that he has started his PCO near the parking lot of the new building. His office comprises a chair and a table besides a telephone apparatus. But every now and then he is displaced by officials. “I have put the table with the help of some strangers. When officials ask me to go away I seek help for moving the table and the chair.”

“I have to do something to earn my livelihood. Now I am earning Rs 50 everyday which is not enough for the bread and butter of my family. I have been meeting the Deputy Commissioner also and he has promised that he would do something for me.”

He added that the chilly wind after the rain today was causing problems for him in the open. “My leg had gone numb today. I cannot sit for very long on the chair but what to do?”

The other PCO owners, who had a kiosk in old building had been allotted cabins in the new building at sixth floor but as he cannot climb the stairs he has been seeking a place on the ground floor of the building.

He wants a small place where he can put his xerox machine and install telephones but nobody came for his help.

He was allowed to put up a kiosk on the ground floor of the building but protests by the xerox operators located on the sixth floor on the plea that he affected their business forced the authorities to ask him to leave the place. Since then he has been meeting various officials of district administration for the allotment of a kiosk but his requests have been falling on deaf ears.

Mr Lalji Singh was allotted a kiosk in the Old Courts Complex in 1982 by the then Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana, Mr Ravi Sawhney.

“I am ready to pay them the rent also. I just want an allotment even after paying the money. If other persons have been given a place why can’t they help a physically challenged man who is shouldering the responsibility of his family?” he asks. 



Punjab Roadways earns passenger's goodwill
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 16
Contrary to their reputation of being rude and discourteous, the staff of the Punjab Roadways, Jalandhar Depot No. II, has earned the goodwill of a passenger who had returned from the USA.

On November 5, Dr G.S. Nijjar, a retired Dean, College of Agriculture, PAU, who is now settled in Cholang village in Jalandhar, returned from the USA at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. Since the direct bus service from the airport to Jalandhar had been discontinued so he came to the ISBT at Delhi and boarded a bus for Jalandhar. After settling in the bus he found that his bag was missing and informed bus conductor about the same. However, the conductor expressed his ignorance and the bus was brought back to the ISBT. Dr Nijjar got down of the bus and went to the police post and got a FIR registered. The bag contained important documents including his passport, a Green Card and an identity card.

He returned to Jalandhar by another bus after lodging the FIR in Delhi. Meanwhile, during checking, the bag was found lying in the bus which Dr Nijjar had deserted in Delhi.

To his pleasant surprise and great relief as he reached Jalandhar he was told his bag had been found and was lying in the office of the Punjab Roadways Jalandhar Bus Depot No. II. Dr Nijjar went to the depot and was received by Mr Satish Kumar, Mr Niranjandas and the driver, Mr Gurmakh Singh. They returned the bag to him.

Touched by the courtesy Dr Nijjar offered a reward of Rs 500 to the bus conductor but he refused to accept the money. The officials of the depot maintained that it was their duty to look after the passengers and their belongings. Dr Nijjar thanked them and left for his village.



Let winds of peace blow

Why don’t winds of change for the better arrive? When faced with this question, an optimist turns sentimental. A realist is led to pessimism. Pessimists become ruthless critics, even cynics. Some others morbid. Fortunately, rare pre-winter showers are washing away the dust. Prayers for better Indo-Pak relations seem to be answered.

That the English winter is bitter, is a physical fact. It has made the race optimist. “If winter comes can spring be far behind,” they say. The arrival of Pakstani intellectuals and artistes is a prelude to a better understanding. That Ms Madiha Gauhar arrives to stage “Bullah” is a welcome step. All peace loving people welcome the artistes of Ajoka, a leading Lahore-based theatre group.

Art is universal by its nature, contents and appeal. The spring of Indo-Pak fraternal neighbourhood is not far. That Sikhs go for pilgrimage to Nankana Sahib and other historic shrines is good. A regular bus service should be started for the pilgrims. Hindus must also visit their shrines as Muslims come to Sirhind, Delhi, Ajmer, Lucknow and Hyderabad.

We watch the Wagah border ceremonies. The gates are opened and closed. Let it go on, keeping the mental windows open.

People in Pakistan genuinely want to visit certain cities of India. Naturally, more so those born here. To many, it is a land of their ancestors. An eminent poet of Pakistan, Ahmed Rahi, desired to breathe his last at Amritsar. There are, equally, any number of persons anxiously desperate to see certain places in Pakistan.

Let everyone of us do his or her bit. Our leaders and government are doing their job. The press is playing a responsible role. People want genuine peace.

All problems, including Kashmir, can be discussed and solved. Cricket is symbolic of friendship.

Physical gates and mental windows must be opened.

M.S. Cheema



Army ex-chief envisions ‘Quality India’
Our Correspondent

A former Chief of Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, addresses a meeting of the Ludhiana Management Association
A former Chief of Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, addresses a meeting of the Ludhiana Management Association in Ludhiana on Saturday. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, November 16
“Our country should be politically mature, economically sound, technologically advanced, diplomatically adroit and militarily prepared to deal with any situation,” said Gen V.P. Malik, a former Chief of the Army Staff, while addressing the members of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) here last evening.

Emphasising the need of education in achieving the objective of “Quality India”, he said the country had the world’s largest pool of technical manpower. However, it also had the world’s largest number of illiterate people. The country needed to refocus its attention on removing illiteracy, thereby involving the entire population in the process of nation building in a more meaningful manner, he maintained.

He observed that according to World Bank estimates, India would become the world’s largest populated country in this century. “This will adversely affect the quality of life. The pressure of providing basic amenities will be enormous. Therefore, the biggest challenge before us is population control. This can be done by education, women empowerment, increased productivity and social restructuring,” he said.

Stressing the key role being played by technology in the fast changing global scenario, the former Army chief observed that the country would have to keep abreast with the latest technology. On the need for quality leadership, he said the first and foremost thing required to build a “quality India” was quality leadership in all spheres of activities. He said it was up to the leadership to generate the necessary enthusiasm to work up a momentum to carry forward our respective organisations.

Earlier, while introducing the subject, Mr V.K. Goyal, the general secretary of the LMA, said during the past year, the country exported computer software worth $ 9.7 billion and this was made possible by around 50,000 software engineers, who constitute mere .005 per cent of our population. This meant that only a miniscule percentage of our population contributed to almost 10 per cent of our total exports.

Mr Goyal said the time had come when we have to go for radical attitudinal changes towards life and work. “All of us need to adopt ‘Quality India’ brand in our thoughts and deeds and this has to be done with patience and conviction.”

Mr Anil Kumar, the vice- president of the LMA, in his presidential address, said if we wish to build “Quality India”, we should start with ourselves. The meeting was attended by more than 400 industrialists, entrepreneurs, bankers, professionals, academicians, military officers and students.



Good response to Healthy Child Contest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 16
The Ludhiana Citizens Health Council has organised a Healthy Child Contest here. A colourful cultural programme was also presented during the contest, which was held at Atam Devki Niketan, DD Jain College of Education, Kidwai Nagar. This stated by the organising committee head, Mr A.S. Panesar. He said the show had evoked a good response. The results are:

Age group 2-3 years: Sajal Thaman 1, Maridul Arora 2 and Karan Aggarwal 3.

Age groups 3-4 years: Mausleen Sethi 1, Muskan Puri 2 and Shreya Mehna 3. Age group 4-5 years: Palveen Bagga 1, Mohika Bansal 2 and Sahil 3. The winners in the cultural contest are : Vocal Music: Navneet Kaur 1, Gurpreet Kaur Virdi 2 and Raghu 3.

Solo: Madhur Seerat 1, Mohika Bansal 2 and Aastha Aggarwal 3.

Winners in cultural items are: Jain Public School (Rangila Punjab) 1, DAV Public School (Giddha) 2 and Nankana Sahib Public School (Choreography) 3. A writing competition was organised in which the themes are : HIV-AIDS, girl child and drug abuse.

The winners in the 10-14 years category are: Gurinder Preet Kaur of Guru Nanak International School 1, Swati Jain of Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School 2 and Manrpreet Kaur Malhotra of Nankana Sahib Public School 3. The prizes in 14-18 years category are: Roop Khangura of BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School 1, Maninder Kaur Bharaj of Guru Nanak International School 2 and Nidhi Kundra of BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School 3.

The prizes in the above 18 years category are: Navjot 1, Varinder 2 and Preeti 3.

The guest of honour was Mr Om Parkash, Director, Social Security, Women and Child Development.



Tributes paid to Jaswant Kaur
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Rich tributes were paid to Bibi Jaswant Kaur at a condolence meeting held here today. A renowned educationist and Leftist leader, Bibi Jaswant Kaur died in the city earlier this week. Wife of Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, also a Leftist leader, Bibi Jaswant Kaur had actively participated in the freedom movement.

Notable among those who addressed the big gathering were Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, Punjab, Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala, president, SD (Democratic), Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, general secretary of SAD. 



Though costlier, gold sells
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, November 16
Despite gold prices being at an all-time high in the past nine months, the buying of the precious metal is continuing, thanks to the wedding season. 24-carat gold is available for more than Rs 5,900 for 10 grams.

The hike is attributed to the rise of its price in the international market. Earlier, the price was in the range of Rs 5,700.

A visit to a leading showroom of jewellery showed a large number of customers busy buying ornaments. The same showroom in September was deserted.

Mr Manak Chand Jain of Nikka Mal Jewellers says that there was no reason for rise in prices of gold in the domestic market. It was only because of buying in the international market that the prices had risen.

Mr Asim Nagpal of Tanishq showroom also has a similar viewpoint. He says that foreign banks have lot of reserves and they are busy buying gold.

The decrease in the value of the American dollar is another factor for the rise in the prices of gold.

Jewellers claim that the demand for gold has risen by 25 per cent during the past one month.

The demand for gold jewellery started picking up from the middle of October and would continue till middle of December. There will be a slump for one month and again in January the demand will rise, they said.

The lowering of rate of interest by the banks has also resulted in more buying of gold as they still feel ‘gold is the best bet’ for the rainy days.

Enquiries further show that a large number of people are going in for the diamond jewellery. A good quality diamond is available from Rs 10,000 to 15,000 per carat and a little low quality diamond, dark in colour, is available between Rs 6,000 and Rs 7,000 per carat. Rich people have craze for solitaire which is sold from Rs 40,000 to Rs 2 lakh for half to one-and-a-half carat. Some solitaire even cost Rs 10 lakh, Mr Jain said.

Asked about the purity or genuineness of the diamonds, Mr Jain says grading is done by a Mumbai-based organisation — International Gemological Institute.

Contrary to earlier apprehension that diamond has no resale value, the jewellers maintain that diamond has a better resale value and there is 7 per cent to 8 per cent increase in the prices of the same every year, according to Mr Nagpal.

People prefer to exchange old gold jewellery with new ones, Mr Nagpal said. If the institutional buying of gold continues for sometime in the international market, the prices will rise further, the jewellers predict.


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