L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Interim Budget
Jaswant ignored small sector, says chamber chief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
Terming the interim Budget presented in the Lok Sabha by the Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, today as “populist and election oriented”, the local industry said it had not much to offer. The industrial representatives said they did not expect anything better as the interim Budget was aimed at strengthening the vote banks”.

Mr P.D. Sharma, President, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the industry, particularly the small scale sector and the light engineering sector, was expecting a cut in the import duty on common steel. He said the small scale sector was intrigued as why the Finance Minister had not given any concession steel on common steel .

Mr Sharma pointed out that the Finance Minister had brought down the custom duty on special steel from 20 to 10 per cent, while for the common steel it continued to remain 20 per cent.

He said the Finance Minister had not made any mention in his interim Budget about the primary lending rates (PLD) for the small scale sector as assured by the Minister of State for Small Industries. He said the minister had assured them that these rates would be changed from January 1 this year. Similar views were expressed by Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan and Mr Avtar Singh, President, and the General Secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings. They pointed out that in view of the ensuing Lok Sabha election, the Finance Minister had given sops to the trade and industry except the engineering industry which fall in the small scale sector”.

They criticised the Finance Minister for the “stepmotherly treatment” towards the small scale sector and for failing to contain the rising steel prices. They urged the Prime Minister, the Steel Minister and the Finance Minister to come to the rescue of the small scale sector.

Mr V.K. Goyal, Chief Executive, Vardhman Spinning Mills ,said that there was nothing significant in the interim Budget. He said it was a populist Budget with an eye on coming elections.He said the merging of the 50 per cent DA with the basic pay would put additional burden on the state exchequer. 



Tribune Impact
Disabled PCO owner finally gets a footing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
A physically challenged PCO owner, who was displaced after the district courts were shifted to the new courts complex, has finally been given a space to set up his PCO in the new building.

The plight of Mr Lalji Singh, PCO owner, was highlighted by The Tribune in these columns a number of times. He was allowed to put up a table on the second floor of the new courts complex, where he has put a call meter to run his business.

An elated Lalji Singh, a 40-year-old physically challenged man ,said he was grateful to Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, and the President of the District Bar Association, Mr B.K. Goyal and a judge who were instrumental in getting him a place that would enable him to keep his kitchen fire burning.

‘‘Now my daughters would be able to continue their study in the school. I had not paid their fee for the last many months. Atleast now they would not be thrown out,’’ said Mr Lalji while sitting on his chair in his PCO.

He said that soon he would be installing his photostat machine on another table and this would allow him to earn his livelihood comfortably. But, he said, other photostat operators in the building did not allowed him to do so as it affected their business.

For the last six months, Lalji was moving from pillar to post to secure his livelihood. Various officials had been promising him that he would be relocated but to no avail. The shifting of the district courts from the old building had spelled doom for him. He had been running a PCO in the old building for the last 20 years and there was no place for him in the new building.

Two months ago, he started running his PCO near the parking lot of the new building. But he was told to remove his goods.

Other PCO owners, who had a kiosk in the old building had been allotted cabins in the new building at sixth floor. But he could not climb upstairs due to his handicap and was seeking a place on the ground floor only.

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 was affecting their business forced the authorities to ask him to leave the place. Lalji was allotted a kiosk in the Old Courts Complex in 1982 by the then Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana, Mr Ravi Sawhney.



A journey down the memory lane
Tribune News Service

Mr N.S. Nanda and his son Devinder Bir Singh with the marble slabs carrying the names of their ancestors
Mr N.S. Nanda and his son Devinder Bir Singh with the marble slabs carrying the names of their ancestors. — Photo by IV 

Ludhiana, February 3
It was a nostalgic journey down the memory lane for Mr N.S. Nanda, a Ludhiana hotelier, when he visited Darkhali Khurd, his native village in Rawalpindi district, Pakistan.

Mr Nanda said he went back to the village after 57 years, but nothing seemed to have changed as far as warmth and attitude of residents was concerned. To his pleasant surprise, Raja Mohammad, a villager who used to work for his father, gave him two marble slabs, bearing the names of his father, uncle, grandfather and great grandfather.

Mr Nanda said during the partition, their newly constructed house was ransacked by rioters. Although Raja Mohammad could not do anything to save the house, he managed to salvage two marble slabs, apparently used as name plates.

Mr Nanda said Raja Mohammad, who was now more than 80 years old, wanted that the marble slabs could be returned to their rightful owner, but could not trace him. However, when Mr Nanda, who had gone to Pakistan to attend the World Punjabi Conference, went to his native village, Raja Mohammad gave him the slabs, relieved as if he was repaying a great debt. A grateful Mr Nanda did not know as how to compensate the old man. He offered him Rs 5,000, but the old man refused.

At the time of the partition, Mr Nanda said Darkhali Khurd was a very prosperous village, having a population belonging to different communities. Though all non-Muslims fled the village, local Muslims were always protective. Mr Nanda said his family was given shelter by a Muslim neighbour till they were sent to the Waha refugee camp.

Summing up his experiences in Pakistan, Mr Nanda said there appeared to be a feel-good factor among the people.

The people there were warm and felt that the language could serve as a bond between the two countries, he added. 



BSNL staff observe ‘grant IDA day’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
BSNL employees of the Ludhiana Telecom district held a rally in front of the office of GMT, Ludhiana, in response to the call given by its headquarters to observe the day as ‘grant IDA day’.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Balbir Singh, circle secretary, BSNL Employees Union, condemned the delaying tactics of the BSNL authorities in granting IDA for which two instalments were due from October 1, 2003.

He called upon members to be ready for further action if the IDA was not released. He said the branch secretaries, district secretaries, and circle secretaries would send telegrams to the Minister of Telecommunications and CMD, BSNL, demanding the immediate release of the IDA.

Mr Balwinder Singh said the union would be participating in the nationwide one-day strike on February 24 against the anti-workers’ policies of the government. He demanded that the pension to the employees should be continued. The leaders of the BSNL Employees Union, who addressed the rally, included Mr Nikka Singh, Assistant circle secretary, Mr Avtar Singh Jhandey, Assistant district secretary, Mr Mohinder Pal Chaudhry, Assistant district secretary, Mr Kirpal Ram, branch secretary, Mr Shingara Singh, Assistant circle cashier, Mr Jaswant Singh, branch secretary, Mr Daulat Singh, Mr Ramesh Lal, branch secretary, Mr Amarjit Chander, district cashier, Mr Yogesh Kumar, branch secretary, Mr Parmjit Singh, district vice-president and Mr Amar Singh, branch secretary.



Mobile phone subscribers flay hike in tariff
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
Confusion prevails among the mobile phone users in the district over the increased tariff. Subscribers have complained that while the cell operators had increased the rates upto 50 per cent, especially on the long distance calls, TRAI had flayed the cell companies for “unjustified” hike in the tariff.

This has left thousands of mobile users in lurch. Mr Amit Sondhi, a Spice mobile user said: “Most of my business dealings are done through phone. I have to call frequently at Delhi and Rajasthan. But this sudden hike in tariff has come as a jolt to me. The post paid cell-to-cell rates have been increased to Rs 2.99 per minute from Rs 1.99 (distance above 200 km). TRAI should intervene to relieve the subscribers”, said Mr Sondhi.

Another mobile user, Mr Kuldeep Singh, said: “The companies are maintaining that the hike is a result of an access deficit charge (ADC) imposed by TRAI. This charge is to be paid by cell companies to the BSNL, especially in the STD category.

As per the new rates,for pre-paid customers, the cell to cell STD charges are expected to increase to Rs 2.99 from Rs 2.40 for all distances. According to sources, the hike in charges for cell to fixed line STD would range from 25 to 50 per cent depending on the distance. Some of the cell operators have already implemented the new rates while some others are expecting to follow suit soon.

Mr Harsh, an Airtel user, said TRAI had condemned the cell operators for increasing tariff. “Rather than blaming the operators, TRAI as well as the cell operators should sort out the problem among themselves rather than putting unnecessary burden on customers. 




ALTHOUGH there are no reports of Avian Influenza (bird flue) affecting the local chicken in any way, yet the scare created is so much that people prefer to keep away from chicken. While at most parties, dinners and cocktails chicken has been stopped to be served, at those where it continues to be served it remains untouched. Ludhianvis are voracious meat-eaters. To be specific, voracious chicken eaters as white meat is believed to carry less calories and less weight. In a recent party, while the organisers had intelligently served chicken, the bowl remained untouched. Usually, chicken is the most sought after dish at such parties. But now it is the least sought. That is what fear can do...work wonders.

Meeting its own nemesis

A controversial infertility clinic in Ludhiana, claiming to cure infertility among couples, is fighting a lonely battle for survival. The controversial clinic is infamous among the medical fraternity for its unabashed advertisement which is against the medical ethics. Nothing could deter it from advertising and misleading the public. Now it has started feeling the heat with another clinic of almost the same name coming up in the vicinity. Desperate to ensure that the clients it lures do reach the right destiny, it has started issuing advertisements of a different sort, advising the clients to check up the photographs of the attending doctors with the board inside the clinic as it believes that it is better known by the photographs of its doctors than the results.

No newspaper day

The absence of a newspaper on the day after Republic Day when most newspaper offices are closed is similar to the withdrawal symptoms of a drug addict. The very people who curse the newspaper for publishing all sorts of news have pangs due to the absence of the newspaper. Many of them are so desperate that they call up newspaper offices to enquire whether the newspaper was published or not, or whether the hawker played some mischief. All such people should note that Holi, too, is just a month away and they will have to do without the newspaper on that day too.

Feel good factor

Everyone is talking about the feel good factor theory propounded by the Bharatiya Janata Party. But what a large number of people do not understand and ask is what exactly this feel good factor is? The BJP leadership may have its explanation, but what the common man in Ludhiana thinks about the meaning of the feel good factor is “do not worry about anything, feel good about everything in life and leave your worries and problems to God”. The feel good factor has inadvertently improved the image of the right wing Hindu party which people feel has brought religion and politics on a common platform.

Crackers and cracks

Next time you go for dinner with your family, park your car carefully. A city doctor has learnt his lesson the hard way. When the family of the doctor returned after dinner they realised that the rear windscreen of the car was missing. Careful examination revealed that it was not a case of theft, but a fire cracker burst by a marriage party in the compound of the hotel had landed on the windscreen smashing it completely. The nearly half a kilo exhausted fire cracker could have easily killed someone had it hit a person directly. With no penalty on violators in such cases, city residents have to just rely on lady luck to keep them away from such hazards.

Dicey weather

The weather has been playing tricky games with residents this week. From hot summery days to cold winter nights, people have seen it all. Many people who had begun to tuck away their heaters and hot blowers have had to take them out again. Weather gods continue to play games with the people by giving them bright sunshine accompanied by chilly winds. Hopefully, the weather conditions should settle down later this month, but not many are happy with the prospects of a hot summer sans electricity.

No one cares

The traffic hazard at the Domoria Bridge continues to haunt the city residents travelling between the old and the new parts of the city. Though the traffic police has tried several experiments to regulate traffic, they give up after a few days. Resultantly, people not so confident with their driving, shudder to think about driving here. With no practical solution to improve traffic conditions in the offing, perhaps some volunteers may like to take over the task of the traffic police to reduce traffic congestion, at least during peak hours.

Sun windows

Ludhianvis are known to flaunt their riches. Swanky cars and latest fashions are always the first to reach here. Sun windows in cars has become the latest craze in the city. In no time almost every second car in the city cab be seen supporting these windows. Though there practical use is always subject to scrutiny, locals especially youths are just happy flaunting them. Just a few months ago Aloy wheels were a craze here. It was discontinued when it had adverse effects on the cars.


The city residents have scant respect for ambulances. No matter how hard the sirens or the horns of the ambulance are blown, Ludhianvis rarely give way to these vehicles. It is common knowledge that the vehicles always run in emergency. It is the question of someone’s life . Yet, people refuse to leave way for the ambulance. A journalist recently accompanied a sick relative to a hospital in an ambulance. He was shocked to find that the ambulance driver had to come to a screeching halt several times as people refused to get a side. This caused loss of valuable time. Fortunately, the traffic cops helped the ambulance wade through the streams of vehicles and pedestrians and the sick person got medical aid in time.

Speed-brakers or back-breakers?

In the absence of any scrutiny speed brakers are coming up almost everywhere on the road. Caring too hoots for the inconvenience caused to the drivers, residents are getting the speed-brakers constructed almost at any place they desire. Under the rules, speed-brakers have to be built on a road which enters a sensitive zone, like a turn, roundabout, schools, hospitals or some offices. However, one can see speed-brakers even in narrow lanes where traffic generally moves at a slow pace. The argument given is that the residents want to save their children from speedy vehicles. But at the same time the speed-brakers are without proper specifications. These cause the vehicles to lose balance and they ram into walls or hedges at the boundary of a house. Innumerable incidents have happened in the past but no lessons have been learnt.


Photo by Pardeep TewariBad weather conditions had forced the organisers of Rural Olympics at Kila Raipur village to postpone the much-awaited annual event. While the spectators, who had swarmed the village, had to go back disappointed, the participants of various events were cursing the weather gods. They had come with full preparation and at the last minute the weather gods spelt doom for them. ‘‘Now we will have to practice one again. You tend to lose interest when you prepare the second time as if you have got a compartment in exams,’’ said a participant, who had come to take part in a bullock-cart race.

No court, hospital

A father-son duo was waiting for their turn in a local court the other day. They waited and waited but the respondent did not turn up till the evening. The Judge concerned gave them another date. While both, presenting a picture of abject poverty, were going back to their village, the man’s son sadly said that the entire day was wasted. The old man said,‘‘I have been making rounds of these courts for more than 15 years ago. I have grayed over the years but the case has not reached to a logical conclusion. That is why people pray to god that they should never need to go to a court or a hospital.’’


A bus conductor of a long-route bus heard telling loudly to passengers in the bus, “Passwale te policewale na baithe hon ji,’’ (Policemen and passengers possessing pass are not allowed).




Needy women get financial aid
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
The Punjab Nishkam Sewa Dal provided financial assistance and distributed ration among widows and other destitute women at its first camp organised at Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir, Shahpur road, here on Monday. In his blessing for the noble cause, Swami Devvrat Devi observed that selfless service to the humanity was service to the God in real sense.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, president, District Congress Committee (Urban), said Indians had a tradition of lending a helping hand to the fellow human being dating back to centuries and in particular, the glorious Punjabi heritage and culture was full of sacrifices for the sake of the helpless and oppressed people. Mr Sushil Parashar, member, All-India Congress Committee, lauded the initiative taken by the samiti to come to the rescue of the needy and destitute women. Both Mr Sharma and Mr Parashar assured their full help for this cause.

According to the functionaries of the samiti, monthly camps would be organised on regular basis in which financial assistance and ration would be provided to 51 women every month.

At another function, organised by Sri Guru Nanak Garib Nawaz Sewa Society at the Rahon road, ration and clothes were distributed among poor women and children. Mr Hira Singh Gabria, former MLA and chief guest at the function, exhorted the people to extend all possible help to the weaker sections. He also announced a financial grant of Rs 50,000 to the society, which would be utilised for development works in the locality. Bhai Surjit Singh Bajra, mukh sewadar of the society, said besides continuing to distribute clothes and ration among the weaker sections, the society would also hold medical camps and arrange mass marriages of poor girls.



Pensioners hail merger of DA with basic pay
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
The Government Pensioners Association (GPA) has hailed the announcement made by the Union Finance Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, while presenting the interim Budget for the year 2004-2005, for the merger of 50 per cent dearness allowance (DA) with basic pay. The move will benefit more than one crore Central government employees, including defence personnel and pensioners.

In a statement issued here today, the additional general secretary of the association, Mr Yash Pal Ghai, said the decision was in line with recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission had been a pending demand of the employees and the pensioners.



Rath yatra in memory of Jain saint

Ludhiana, February 3
The All-India Vijay Vallabh Swargarohan Ardh Shatabdi Mahotsava Mahasamiti would organise a rath yatra to mark the 50th death anniversary of great Jain saint Shrimad Vijay Vallabh Surishwar, which would commence from the city on February 6.

A ‘bhajan sandhya’ would be held on the premises of SAN Jain Senior Secondary School to pay homage to the visionary saint on February 5.

Giving details, Mr Rajinder Pal Jain, general secretary of the samiti, said in a press release here today that the Surishwar ji Maharaj preached religious harmony and use of swadeshi throughout his life. OC



Amarinder-Elahi talks hailed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Parvez Elahi have opened a new chapter by discussing common issues for the two Punjabs, said Mr K. K. Bawa, a former Chairman of Housefed, Punjab, adding that this would not only bring prosperity to the two countries but also strengthen cultural ties. Mr Bawa said the Congress would win at least 10 seats from Punjab in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.



Man found murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 3
Close on the heels of the gruesome murder of an unidentified man near fish market yesterday, another unidentified man was found brutally murdered at Focal Point today.

The police sources said the man seemed to be a migrant labourer and was probably murdered because of a love affair. The man was apparently strangulated to death after being hit on the head by an iron rod. Sources said the man could have been caught with some woman and murdered by her relatives. 



New range of refrigerators
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 3
Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Ltd launched a new range of refrigerators here yesterday.
Addressing a news conference before the trade partners meet, Mr Jyoti S. Das, Regional Sales Manager (appliances division) for Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pardesh and Jammu and Kashmir said the new range would cater to needs of all sections of consumers.

He said the company was repositioning competition by launching models in 180 litre and 215 litre capacities. In the near future, stainless steel finish models would also be launched.


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