L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Muslims threaten to boycott Cong over Ahmadiya issue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
Thousands of Muslims today threatened to boycott the Congress in case one of the ministers in the government, according to them, did not stop supporting the Ahmadiya sect. They also regretted the vicious media campaign at the international level to defame the Muslims and paint them as terrorists. The Muslims also prayed for world peace.

While Id prayers were offered at several places in and around Ludhiana, the main function was held at the historic Jama Masjid, Field Ganj, where the Shahi Imam (of Ludhiana), Maulana Habib-u-Rehman Ludhianvi, led the Id prayers. Religious and political leaders of varied shades attended the celebrations and greeted the Muslims on this holy occasion.

Addressing the congregation, Maulana Habib-u-Rehman criticised a ‘vicious’ and ‘malicious’ campaign launched by the Western media against Islam. He regretted that the Muslims were identified with terrorism. He pointed out that Islam and its Prophet had always preached peace. He said it was wrong to generalise the acts of a select few and defame the entire community.

As usual, the Id celebrations marked the routine anti-Ahmadiya rhetoric with the Muslims shouting slogans against the Ahmadiyas. Whenever anyone raised a slogan against the Ahamadiyas, it got a resounding response with each and every person deploring the sect. The Ahmadiyas have been challenging the basic tenet of Islam which proclaims Prophet Mohammed as the last prophet. In Pakistan, the Ahmadiyas have already been declared non-Muslims.

In Ludhiana, the Majlis Ahrar, a representative body of Muslims, is embroiled in a long-pending dispute with the Ahmadiyas and some of its members are serving jail terms also. The majlis has been demanding that the Ahmadiyas be declared as non-Muslims in India also as they have been challenging the basic principles of Islam.

An unidentified speaker at the congregation alleged that one Congress minister was supporting the Ahmadiyas. He threatened that the entire Muslim community in Punjab would boycott the Congress in case the said minister was not restrained from supporting the Ahmadiyas.

However, he did not name the minister, who was said to be a local belonging to Ludhiana only.

Maulana Habib-u-Rehman said about 1 lakh Muslims offered prayers at the today’s congregation. There were thousands of Muslims in Ludhiana, most of whom come from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Most of them were artisans and worked in the hosiery industry. Although Ludhiana was a Muslim majority town before the Partition, most of them migrated to Pakistan with very few staying back.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Atiq-u-Rehman Ludhianvi, Punjab unit president of the Indian Muslim Council, welcomed the Indo-Pak peace initiative.

He appealed to the governments of the two countries to ensure peace at all costs. He observed that in case India, Pakistan and Bangladesh lived in perfect harmony, it would make the region stronger. He appealed to the people of the country, particularly the Muslims, to ensure peace and progress.



Fraud worth lakhs alleged in coop society
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
A fraud worth several lakhs of rupees is alleged to have been committed in Agriculture Cooperative Service Society at Kadiana Kalan village in the district with the active connivance of some inspecting officials of the Cooperative Department. The president and some of the managing committee members of the society have charged the “conniving” officials with attempts to hush up the matter at the instance of some other office-bearers of the society.

In a complaint to the Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies, the president of the society, Mr Diwan Singh, has alleged that the secretary of the society, Mr Pradip Singh, now under suspension, had misappropriated an estimated amount of around Rs 8 lakh from the society funds. Apprehending criminal charges along with departmental action, the accused person had already deposited a sum of Rs 6.01 lakh in the bank. However, the inspector of the department, attached to the society, had all along been maintaining that no fraud had been committed.

The society president further asserted that the inspector concerned, even though he visited the society office almost on a daily basis, had not even once inspected the account books of the society during the past one year, giving credence to the allegations of his being hand in glove with the guilty persons.

According to Mr Diwan Singh, the inspector with the Cooperative Department had created a split within the managing committee of the society, apparently to cover up his own lapses and to protect the defaulting secretary. He said at the instance of some other office-bearers, the departmental officials had refused to show him the account books and other record of the society, which showed that veiled attempts were being made to sweep the matter under the carpet.

The president of the society has urged the senior officers of the Cooperative Department to order a probe into the irregularities by some other inspector and also to ensure that fresh elections, due in January, were conducted in time.



Gill Road marred by encroachments 
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 26
While the Municipal Corporation has made significant headway in the delivery of civic services and development of infrastructure in the mega city, one vital area — removal of encroachments — has been persistently neglected. A lot is still to be done to effectively address the problem of temporary and permanent encroachments in residential colonies, commercial centres and most of the city roads.

Like all other major roads, Gill Road, right from Vishwakarma Chowk upto Sidhwan Canal Bridge in the city, is under massive encroachments, causing harassment to the residents, motorists and other road users. A state highway between Ludhiana and Malerkotla, the road has a very high volume of vehicular traffic but unlawful occupants on both sides of the road impede the movement of traffic, much to the annoyance of drivers of public transport and private vehicles.

Almost without exception, the shopkeepers have extended their sales counters towards the roadside by constructing verandahs or display counters for merchandise. Quite a few rehris (pushcarts) and even trolleys are parked on the road side to sell fruit and vegetables. Similarly, several unauthorised taxi stands are operating on this section of the road, with a heavy concentration opposite ITI College and PSEB office. In utter disregard for the regulations, the vehicles are parked in the bus shelters and at such places where parking is prohibited by the authorities.

To add to the woes of the residents, the scooter market outlets, dealing in sale and purchase of second hand two wheelers at the mouth of Gill Road on Campa Cola Chowk have been occupying the foot paths on both sides and two-wheelers are parked on the road side as well, to aggravate the traffic conditions. Besides, the traffic lights on Grain Market Chowk play truant and even after persistent demand of the area residents, the traffic lights have not so far been provided at Canal Bridge crossing.

According to Mr Sher Singh, president, Environmental and Welfare Association, the road is good enough in width but there are encroachments, at several points. Being a major commercial centre, the transport vehicles, including slow moving ones, indulge in loading and unloading on the road itself and taxis are parked all along. Indiscriminate parking of vehicles at the Cycle Association Complex, banks and traffic congestion on weigh bridges from Campa Cola Chowk to ITI further worsen the situation. “The condition in the streets in the localities on both sides of Gill Road is no better. In the absence of adequate drainage facilities in the area, the rain water, overflows from choked sewers and accumulates in the streets and also enters houses and other buildings.”

The area residents are sore at the apathy and indifference of the authorities, which over a period, they feel, have made the unlawful settlers bold enough to flout all laws.



Poor amenities irk residents
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
The Residents Welfare Association of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (E- Block), developed by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, are sore at the non-redress of problems pertaining to encroachments, insanitation and bad roads. Officials of the trust have reportedly been turning a deaf ear to the woes of the residents. According to Mr Pran Nath Bhatia, a former councillor and patron of the association, the chairman of the trust had refused to meet the delegation of the residents on the pretext of being busy.

He said a delegation of the residents, had gone to submit a memorandum to the Chairman about the lack of amenities and the growth of jhuggis around the colony, but was told to meet the Executive Officer (EO) instead. The EO told the residents that a meeting was scheduled with the Deputy Commissioner about the problem of encroachments. “However, when we went to meet the Deputy Commissioner and pleaded for a drive against the menace of jhuggis, we were told that no such meeting was on the agenda”, Mr Bhatia said. The Deputy Commissioner, however, promised to initiate steps in this regard.



Narrow escape for bystanders as truck overturns
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
It was a providential escape for over a dozen people when a truck laden with fertilisers overturned near Jalandhar bypass here today. While most of them managed to escape unhurt, three were injured and were taken to hospital.

Eyewitnesses said the truck coming from Jalandhar and going towards Delhi overturned, in front of a tea stall where about a dozen people were having tea.

As they noticed the truck skidding, they rushed for safety. Three of them including the tea stall owner, suffered injuries. There condition is stated to be stable.

The driver and the cleaner of the truck fled the spot. The driver probably lost control of the vehicle. The police has registered a case.



Women second class citizens in Pak, says Madeeha
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
Madeeha Nadeem is truly a woman of substance. For the past 20 years she has staged plays under Ajoka Theatre that has ruffled feathers of many fundamentalists in Pakistan.Ajoka has been part of the struggle for a secular, democratic, just, humane and egalitarian Pakistan for the past 20 years. Few cultural organisations have been able to thrive, even survive, in a climate of hostility and apathy towards performing arts that has existed in Pakistan. Ajoka, however, is an exception. That it has succeeded is due to the husband-wife duo of Shahid Nadeem and Madeeha Nadeem and that speaks volumes of their deep commitment to usher in social change.

Madeeha says, “I have been threatened , mentally tortured, but I have survived and continue to do plays based on “Ismakha”, a collection of plays written by Shahid Nadeem that talk of exploitation of women. She is the director of a play “Bullah,” staged last night at Guru Nanak Bhavan. Introducing her on the stage last night, Mr Surjit Patar, president of Punjabi Sahitya Akademi, said Madeeha should actually be called messiah as she had brought a message of goodwill from the people of Pakistan.

In an exclusive interview with the Ludhiana Tribune, she said, “The social structure in Pakistan is almost similar to that of India as in both countries the norms of a patriarchal society. Women are raped, exploited, burnt for bringing less dowry but the Indian Constitution protects the rights of women whereas in Pakistan, Islamic Rights rule and, according to these women get the status of second class citizens. Islamic laws are detrimental and disadvantageous to women.”

She was anguished at the growing fundamentalism in Pakistan and India and said that extremism should have been nipped in the bud, but they were past that stage. India was a secular state and hence it should specially put down fundamentalist forces with a strong hand.

To bring a message of peace, she said they chose to present the life of Bulle Shah. His was the sane voice that stood for peace in almost the same scenario of religious intolerance today that existed almost 300 years ago. “We are happy to stage “Bullah” in Punjab, as the language is the same and the response to our earlier five shows in Punjab has been mind boggling. To bring peace between Indians and Pakistanis, more and more artistes should be allowed to interact with common people so that misconceptions, fed by politicians, can be removed and relationships can become cordial.”

She said she thought the best way to give a message of peace and religious tolerance was through plays. Thus Ajoka theatre was born. Ajoka is theatre for social change.

She said about two years ago, Pakistan and India were on the threshold of a nuclear confrontation. This hostile stance should be given up. She said the people of two countries should come together and, for this, cultural exchanges were a must. Madeeha said, “During the staging of “Bullah”, I have met important theatre personalities of Punjab like Kewal Dhaliwal in Amritsar, Surjit Patar and Ashwani Chatley in Ludhiana and Neelam Mansingh in Chandigarh Before we go back to Pakistan, I think we will be able to form an association of theatre artistes from both countries that would organise cultural exchange programmes to bring the people of the two countries choser. After all, we share the same heritage.”

“We feel very happy at our visit to Punjab as people have given us a lot of love and respect. We are really overwhelmed by the warmth of reception . It clearly means that people of both countries want to have a better understanding; only politicians are keeping them apart by spewing venom. This must end.”



Cable subscribers allege harassment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
Residents of Sector 32-A, Urban Estate on the Chandigarh road, have charged cable network companies, with forcing them to take connections from an operator of a particular company, whose services were not satisfactory.

In a representative to the Deputy Commissioner, a large number of residents said the area was being served by Siti Cable for over a year but due to unsatisfactory services, the residents had decided to shift to Win Cable. The new operator had been providing reasonably good service but suddenly on November 16, the cable connections in the locality became non-functional.

On making inquiries with the operator and the cable network, the residents were told that Siti Cable and Win Cable had reached an agreement and henceforth the area would be served by Siti Cable. 



Selection of college lecturers

At last the Punjab Public Service Commission has come out with a schedule for the selection of about 540 college lecturers. Interview programme is available on the PPSC website.

The PPSC had invited applications for 266 and 274 posts in 1999 and 2001, respectively. The interviews were held in January/February, 2002, and in all 392 selections were made. But later, the selections were cancelled by the Punjab Government and the PPSC was directed to hold the interview afresh.

According to PPSC schedule, re-interviews will be held from December 8 and only one interview chance will be given to candidates who had applied in 1999 and 2001 as well. The PPSC must be cautious in shortlisting the candidates on the basis of their academic record to be called for interview as well as finalising the result since most of the candidates had applied in 1999 and 2001 as well.

Public Cause, a social service body, which has been pleading for early interviews, expresses satisfaction over the fact that the Punjab Government guidelines for the selection of lectures will be given due weightage. Public Cause has gone through the guidelines which cover all sorts of activities, talents and interests of the candidates. However, the ‘national scholarships’ obtained by a candidate on the basis of marks obtained in BA examination finds no mention in the said guidelines. It disappoints those who have been national scholarship holders.

Yash Paul Ghai, Ludhiana

Election campaign on govt expenditure

Since 55 years it is seen and admitted that elections from village panchayats to assembly and Parliament are based on halla gulla. The result is that honest, intellectual and dignified persons do not join politics. Those who are handicapped financially cannot enter the legisture wings. We find that several scams are coming to light every now and then and the poor or the average man is deceived.

It is suggested that before elections there should be President’s rule and all the ministers and MPs and MLAs should be debarred from campaigning. To curb all these tendencies, the only remedy is to arrange elections on government expenses with nominal charges being collected from the candidates. The government should arrange 20 meetings in a constituency and 50 for MP’s constituency. The candidates should speak from the stage and the public should judge who is talented, dignified and honest and can deliver goods.

Sher Singh, Ludhiana

Developing emotional intelligence

All of us know the value of academic intelligence for success in life. Emotional intelligence is a new concept developed in the last decade. It can be explained as the ability to perceive emotions. It also involves abilities such as being able to motivate oneself in the face of frustrations.

Shally, Sidhwan Khurd, Ludhiana



Gurmat samagam from tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
Devotees from the USA, England, Canada, Japan, the UAE, and other countries and from all over India have started converging for the "annual Gurmat samagam" to be held from November 28 to 30 at Gurdwara Nanaksar, Samrala Bypass Chowk, here. It is being organised by the Baba Jaswant Singh Trust.

According to Mr Kirpal Singh, " The samagam will be inaugurated on November 28 with the initiation of 21 Shri Akhand Path Sahib, followed by Amrit Sanchar on November 29 and recitation of Gurbani and Gurmat Sanchar from November 30 till the morning of December 1. The samagam will be attended by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Giani Tarlochan Singh, Giani Puran Singh, Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, Bhai Harbans Singh, Bhai Balwinder Singh, Rangeela and other spiritual intellectuals from India and abroad”. The devotees can avail themselves of benefit of free dental and medical check-up. 



Easy loans boost vehicle sales
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
Easy finance facility offered by various banks and financial institutions has led to a sharp increase in the sale of vehicles. According to officials of the District Transport Office, the past two years they have seen a phenomenal growth in the number of registrations of vehicles.

They said there had been at least a fourfold increase in the number of vehicles in Ludhiana alone. “All sorts of vehicles are being registered in Ludhiana and owing to the easy availability of finance, the number is increasing every day", a senior official said, adding that it was not only people from the middle class, but even from the low income group that had acquired the capacity to own a vehicle.

He said recently a class IV employee, who had been working with a government department for about 25 years had also got a Maruti car registered in his name. There were several instances where class IV employees had purchased brand new cars.

While the purchase of a fourwheeler needs at least 2 lakh, two-wheelers come much easy and is a matter of a few thousand rupees as down payment.

Mr Ramesh Kumar Garg, a financial consultant pointed, said it was not easy to get a loan from the bank as there were many formalities but now all that is needed is a salary slip and income tax returns. He said there was very low rate of failed instalments where banks or financial institutions had to take the possession of vehicles.



Ashok Leyland posts growth in North
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
Hinduja Group flagship Ashok Leyland’s renewed thrust in the northern market has resulted in high growth volume for the company. Disclosing this here today, Mr R Seshasayee, Managing Director of the company, said with a sale of 5,445 vehicles in the first seven months of the current fiscal, the company’s sales volume in the region had grown by about 56 per cent against the industry growth of 19 per cent. This had improved the company’s market share in the region by 5.2 per cent, he said.

Recognising Punjab’s undisputed status as the trendsetter in transport business in the country, he said the company had launched an aggressive expansion of its marketing infrastructure in the state. The company had five dealerships and seven authorised service centres now, which would be expanded to eight dealerships and 10 authorised service centres by March next, he added.

He said Ashok Leyland’s sales in medium range of vehicles in Punjab had grown by a 86 per cent in the first seven months of the current fiscal. The market share had jumped by 7 per cent during this period, he added.

Through improved market reach and product upgradations, the company aimed to build on this momentum and further improve its market share, according to Mr Seshasayee.

Vehicles in the 4x2, 6x2 and passenger segments, powered by the popular ‘H’ series engines, had become the first choice of operators for many applications, he said. Responding to the market reception all over the country and more particularly in the north, the company planned to power its goods range with ‘H’ series engines in about one year’s time, he said.



Urban people more obese
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
With rapid urbanisation, modernisation and affluence, the prevalence of obesity is increasing in Punjab. Results of a survey carried out by the VLCC have confirmed that the incidence of obesity and related problems in urban areas of Punjab is higher than in the rural areas. The diet of the people in the state is rich in visible as well as invisible fat. However, in the rural areas people spend more hours in physical activity as compared to the urban areas.

Vandana Luthra Curls and Curves (VLCC) obeserved world obesity day here today. The VLCC held a free camp on awareness of adolescent obesity. It covered maximum schools of the city, including Sacred Heart Convent, KVM, DAV, GRD Academy and BCM School. There was a team of doctors, including Dr Yogesh Khana (paediatrician), Dr Pankaj Sharma (gynaecologist), Dr Bhupinder Singh (physician), Dr Shalini Singhal (nutritionist) and others who counselled adolescents and their parents regarding the diets and lifestyles to find out the cause of adolescent obesity.

Special arrangements were made for medical tests like haemoglobin, blood group check up, prolactin test, thyroid check, random sugar at subsidised rates. Around 200 people availed the benefits of the campaign. Doctors appreciated this step of the VLCC towards this particular age group. Talking to mediapersons clinic manager Mrs Vibha Sharma said this was the right age to get awareness about healthy life, as healthy youth are the basis of a healthy nation.


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