L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Unsigned Class V certificates issued
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 14
Nearly 44 students of Florence Public School, Hargobind Nagar, who appeared in Class V examination as private candidates last year, have received unstamped detailed marks certificates from the State Council of Education, Research and Training (SCERT).

The certificates for 2003, dispatched to the students, are without a signature or a stamp of the District Education Officer (elementary) and the Block Primary Education Officer (BPEO). Overwriting in the marks of all subjects of the students has also been done. The marks, originally written, have been cleared with white fluid and overwriting done on the same patch. This has raised suspicion in the mind of the students, staff and the Principal over the genuineness of the certificates. Even the grand total of marks has been mentioned as 450 instead of 550, which probably could be a printing error.

When contacted, Ms Harvinder Kaur, DEO (elementary), said the mistake was brought to her notice yesterday and she would check it up with her predecessor, Mr Bachitar Singh, and the BPEO of the area. She said as many as 50,000 students were issued certificates every year and such a lapse was quite possible. She said she would look into the matter tomorrow and make sure that the students were issued fresh certificates soon.



Colours of Baisakhi
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 14
Baptism ceremonies, kirtans and kathas, followed by chhabeels and guru ka langars marked Baisakhi celebrations at all gurdwaras here today.

At Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran, over 80 persons were baptised. After the bhog of Akhand Sahib, Bhai Tarbalbir Singh, Bhai Nirmal Singh and Bhai Hari Singh, ragi jathas from Golden Temple, performed a kirtan. Bhai Charan Singh Hira of New Delhi, Bhai Satnam Singh of Kapurthala, Bhai Davinder Singh of Sohana village and Bhai Satinder Pal Singh of Akhand Kirtani Jatha also enthralled the sangat with hymns from gurbani.

Giani Dharamvir Singh, Head Granthi of the gurdwara, highlighted the Sikh history and the significance of the Baisakhi, as he presented katha. Bhai Pritpal Singh, president of the gurdwara managing committee, released a cassette of Bhai Satinder Pal Singh titled ‘Hum lavo apan pali’. As part of the Baisakhi celebrations, the gurdwara will also organise a kavishri darbar in which dhaddi jathas of Bhai Daya Singh Dilbar and Bhai Kanwal Singh of Baddowal will recite kavishri pertaining to the life of Guru Gobind Singh and foundation of the Khalsa Panth.

Nearly 200 persons were baptised at a ceremony organised at Gurdwara Alamgir Sahib, Gill Road. A kirtan was performed by Bhai Harnek Singh of Gurdwara Manjhi Sahib. A dhaddi jatha enthralled the devotees with recitation of kavishri and vaars. A jatha, led by Bibi Jaspreet Kaur, from Mohali also performed a kirtan.

The programme was organised by a managing committee represented by Jathedar Gurdev Singh Sanghowal, member of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Bibi Kuldip Kaur and Bibi Harbans Kaur. A chhabeel was organised outside the gurdwara. A langar was also organised.

A programme was also organised at Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, BRS Nagar. Bhai Hardev Singh presented a katha on the principals of the Khalsa panth

Several ragi jathas performed kirtan at Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Sarabha Nagar. A baptism ceremony was also held. Giani Swaran Singh Sudan, Head Granthi, delivered a katha on the origin of the Khalsa.

At Gurdwara Shaheedan (Pheruman), Dholewal, Bhai Karnail Singh, Bhai Jagroop Singh, Bhai Thakur Singh, Bhai Charan Singh of Paonta Sahib, Bhai Gurdev Singh Nimana and students of Government Senior Secondary School sung hymns from the gurbani. A katha was presented by Bai Bachitar Singh Parwana and Bhai Kirpal Singh Chandan of Sikh Missionary College.

Sri Guru Ravidass Mandir Parbandhak Committee also celebrated Baisakhi at Ravidass Chowk, Salem Tabri. The devotees recited path of Sukhmani Sahib and Baramah, following which Giana Ram Pal Singh Dula and Bhai Prem Singh performed kirtan. A langar was held.

The Ahluwalia Sabha celebrated Baisakhi at Gurdwara Sultan-ul-Quam Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. After the bhog of Akhand Path Sahib, a kirtan darbar was held and guru ka langar was served.



Hero heart centre CEO goes on leave
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 14
Mr Narinder Singh, CEO of the Hero-DMC Heart Institute, has proceeded on a long leave following differences with the management. He has proceeded on the leave from April 1, according to sources.

The sources said that the CEO was not getting on well with doctors of the heart institute and also with the institute’s management. He was brought in the institute two years ago to run the administration on professional lines at a hefty salary. But the experiment of the management had reportedly failed. On expiry of his leave, Mr Narinder Singh may be ‘retired honorably’, said the sources.

Meanwhile the management of the DMC which runs the Hero DMC Heart Institute has decided to extend the benefits given, to the DMC Hospital employees to the heart institute employees.

The daily out patient visits to the Hero-DMC Heart Institute had touched between 100 and 110 and bypass surgeries to 30 every month. More than 30 angioplasties were being done in the heart centre. The daily income of the heart institute had crossed Rs 5 lakh, according to the sources.



Protests mar surgical update
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 14
A four-day National Surgical Update 2004 by the International College of Surgeons (India section) started at Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation amidst protests by nurses and para-medical staff of the hospital. The agitating workers protested at the main gate for more than three hours against the alleged termination of some employees by the management.

Dr Satish Jain, Medical Director of the hospital, said there were a handful of disgruntled elements in the union who wanted to create obstacles in the smooth functioning of the hospital. “The conference of surgeons starts today and they want it to be a failure so they started protest dharnas today itself. We had discussed everything with them in detail in the past. The president and vice-president of the hospital management have assured them that their demands would be taken care of. Despite that, the employees held the dharna,” said Dr Jain.



Missing woman found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
A 70-year-old woman, who had gone missing from the Bus Stand here on April 5, was found unconscious in a field in Kamalpura village near Raikot town two days ago.

The relatives of the woman, Gurmail Kaur, a resident of Deep Nagar here, got to know about her only yesterday. A Sudhar village based family friend had spotted her picture in missing persons columns of a vernacular daily.

The woman was allegedly drugged and looted of valuables, cash jewellery. Her relative Kuldip Singh, found her with injuries all over including scratch marks on the neck. The woman is yet to regain consciousness.

Kuldip Singh said an NRI couple, Manjit Kaur and Jaspal Singh, had saved her. They arranged for her treatment and gave her photo in the newspaper.

Gurmail Kaur was returning from Ropar on April 5 and had Rs 2500 cash with her. The Canadian couple had found a couple of empty bottles of Phensydil lying near her in the fields.

The local police is yet to register an FIR in the case.



Rallies mark Ambedkar Jayanti
Our Correspondent

Functionaries of the Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj offer floral tributes to Dr B.R. Ambedkar on his 113th birth anniversary at a function in Valmiki Bhavan in Ludhiana on Wednesday.
Functionaries of the Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj offer floral tributes to Dr B.R. Ambedkar on his 113th birth anniversary at a function in Valmiki Bhavan in Ludhiana on Wednesday. — IV

Ludhiana, April 14
The 113th birth anniversary of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar was observed with fervour by various social, political and religious organisations here today holding scooter rallies, prayer meetings and other functions.

Activists of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Valmiki Dharam Yudh Morcha held a cycle and motorcycle rally. It commenced from main office of the party in Bindra Colony, behind New Sabzi Mandi, and passed through Shiv Puri, Partap Bazar, Chaura Bazar, Clock Tower Chowk, Mata Rani Chowk before culminating at Jalandhar Bypass Chowk.

The president of north mandal of the party, Mr Deepak Charan, and the vice-president, Mr Naresh Thapar, called upon the party ranks to follow in the foot steps of Dr Ambedkar for social and economic uplift of the Dalit. Prominent among others present at the occasion were Mr Om Parkash Chauhan, Mr Vijay Manchanda, Mr Manjit Puri, Mr Deepak Sahota, Mr Dogar Mal Gill and Mr Manga.

The Bharatiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj (BVDS) organised a function at Valmiki Bhavan on Chandigarh Road. Functionaries of the body, including its National Coordinator, Mr Vijay Danav, Mr Lakshman Dravid, showered flowers at the portrait of Dr Ambedkar. The leaders emphasised the need for education, awareness and empowerment of the Dalit so that they could work towards ending disparities and class divide in the country.

At a function organised by the All-India Safai Mazdoor Congress, its vice-president, Mr Kala Hans, paid rich tributes to Dr Ambedkar, who, he said, had devoted his entire life for the welfare of the Dalit.

The Lok Bhalai Party chief and a candidate for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, paid tributes to Dr Ambedkar at a party function at Jalandhar Bypass Chowk. He stressed the need for ridding the political system of criminals and corrupt elements.

Mr Baldev Singh Teja, chairman of the SC/ST Cell of District Youth Congress, paid floral tributes to Dr Ambedkar describing him as ‘messiah’ of the Dalit at a function held in Lal Quarters in Basti Abdullapur here. Congress activists, led by PPCC secretary Parminder Mehta, organised a scooter rally in the city from New Subhash Nagar to Jalandhar Bypass Chowk where the statue of the great visionary was garlanded.

At separate functions organised here, the Dr B.R. Ambedkar Youth Federation, the Guru Kirpa Sewa Mission Charitable Trust, the Dr Ambedkar Mission Employees Federation and the Punjab Samaj Sewak Sangh paid rich tributes to Dr Ambedkar on and asked the people to follow the message of truth, equality and secularism given by the Father of the Constitution.



Dhillon meets Punjabi singers; clarifies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, president, All-India Youth Akali Dal and the Akali-BJP candidate from Ludhiana parliamentary constituency, today met Punjabi singers, comedians, lok gayaks and kalakars to clarify about a recent controversy attributed to him .

A spokesperson of the singers said that the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere. The meeting was attended among others by Surinder Shinda, chairman, Lok Gyak Kala Manch, Jaswant Shandeela, president, Panjabi Kalakar Manch, Hakim, Bakhtariwala, Pardeep Alam, general secretary, Lok Gyak Manch, Bibi Sukhwant Kaur Sukhi and Sukh Chamkeela.

Hakim Bhakhtariwala, while speaking about their stand as reported in local press on April 11 said that they had their own problems and they hoped that who so ever won, would try to solve these problems. He also said that if no candidate took up their problems they would boycott the coming election altogether. Surinder Shinda, Jaswant Shandeela and Bibi Sukhwant Sukhi also said that they had nothing against Mr Dhillon.

Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, while addressing a press conference later said that he was a true soldier of Akali party and in Akali party lok gyaks and folk artistes had been getting due respect right from the days of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh. Guru Gobind Singh used to honour 52 scholars and singers at Poanta Sahib.

He said he too had the highest regards for the artistes.



Lalji Tandon’s prosecution sought
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 14
Former president of the District Congress Committee (Urban) Krishan Kumar Bawa today demanded that senior BJP leader Lalji Tandon should be arrested and prosecuted for causing the death of 2 persons in a stampede during the distribution of free sarees at his birthday celebrations in Lucknow.

In a statement here, Mr Bawa called for an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the next of relatives of the deceased and exemplary action against others who were responsible for the mishap. He charged the BJP with exploitation of the poor and violation of the Model Code of Conduct which prohibited any kind of allurement to win over voters.

Mr Bawa said that the BJP had been exploiting religious sentiments of the people in the name of Ram temple at Ayodhya. He also attacked SAD leadership, for taking up issues of Punjab and Punjabis when out of power.



Tiwari’s roots are in Punjab, says mother
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, April 14
Mrs Amrit Kaur, mother of Congress candidate for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat Manish Tiwari, said at her native village of Daburjee last evening that her son was not an ‘outsider’ rather he was very much the son of the soil of Punjab.

Addressing party workers and residents of adjoining villages, she refuted the propaganda by the political opponents of the Congress over Mr Tiwari’s connection with Punjab. She said Daburjee village was Tiwari’s maternal village and his close relatives reside at villages like Maksoodra, Lalton Kalan, Majara, Kakowal, Jagri and Siarh. She asserted, “My son is in no way an outsider as he has received his early education from this place. He has deep roots in the place and his maternal grandfather had remained an elected representative from the district many a times.”

Mr Tiwari is very much aware of the problems and difficulties being faced by his people and being in close connection, shall leave no stone unturned to work for their welfare and benefits. She apprised the villagers of the policies ad programmes of the party. She appealed to the electorate to vote for her son as he was one out of them and would strive to improve their lot through every possible effort.

Addressing the villagers, Mr Bant Singh Daburjee, senior vice-president of Doraha Nagar Council, said only the Congress had the capability to take the nation towards the path of progress and usher it in a new era of peace and prosperity by bringing in better policies and following novel techniques.

Mr Gurmit Singh Bhari, former political secretary, exhorted that if the Congress had the capacity to root out corruption during its regime, it could easily tackle any other such problem that proved beneficial for the public. He said the time had come to threw out the Akalis and vote for the Congress to strengthen the hands of Ms Sonia Gandhi at the Centre. Mrs Amrit Kaur was given Rs 21,000 by the senior Congress leader, Mr Bant Singh Daburjee.

Mr Krishan Lal Gupta, Mr Harjinder Singh Jagowal, Mr Rajinder Singh, former sarpanch, Mr Gurdeep Singh, councillor, Adarsh Pal Bector, councillor, Mr Jasminder Singh, councillor, Mr Surinder Sood, councillor, Mr Gurnam Singh, Mr Rajinder Gahir were present among party workers and the villagers of the area.



Cong candidate seeks votes in Ludhiana East
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
The Congress candidate from the Ludhiana Parliamentary constituency, Mr Manish Tiwari, today did a padyatra of the Ludhiana East Assembly segment. He was accompanied by local municipal councillors and Congress leaders. A spokesman for the party claimed that Mr Tiwari received a warm response. People stopped him frequently, offering him flowers and wishing him success.

Mr Tiwari promised that he would try his best to come up to the expectations of the voters. He said the Congress had a long history of sacrifices for the freedom of the country. Even after Independence, Congress leaders like Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had sacrificed their lives for safeguarding the unity and integrity of the country, he said.

Earlier in the day, Mr Tiwari went to the historic Alamgir Gurdwara, near here. He was accompanied by the Minister of State for Jails, Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, and other local leaders. After paying obeisance at the gurdwara, he went around villages. He claimed that the Congress could provide good leadership to country as it had nationwide presence among all sections of the society and warned people to beware of communal and divisive forces.

Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura, a senior Congress leader of the Kila Raipur Assembly segment, said that Mr Tiwari would visit Jodhan, Mohi, Sarabha Pakhowal, Rachhin, Narangwal, Dehlon, Rurka, Sihar, Kilaraipur and Chhapar villages on April 17.



Kidwai to visit city today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
Congress General Secretary Mohsina Kidwai, who is also in charge of Punjab affairs, will visit the city tomorrow to take stock of the situation. She is scheduled to address a workers meeting at the local party office in the afternoon.

The visit assumes significance in view of the reports that some party legislators were not actively campaigning for Mr Tiwari. Significantly enough some senior leaders who are also ministers have so far showed their symbolic presence only and have not been actively associating themselves with the campaigning.

Ms Kidwai is likely to impress upon the sitting legislators and ministers that they should make sure that Mr Tiwari gets as much votes from their Assembly segments as they got themselves during the Assembly elections. Any poor performance might invite party wrath.

Ms Kidwai’s visit is likely to give a further fillip to the party’s campaign. Highly placed party sources said the high command was perturbed over the indifferent attitude of some legislators and senior party leaders. The legislators, ministers, former MPs and MLAs are likely to be told that there is no alternative to Mr Tiwari’s victory and the party will not entertain any excuses.

Meanwhile, Mr Oscar Fernandez has appointed Mr Pawan Garg as the party observer for the Lok Sabha poll in the state. Mr Garg, who is campaigning here for Mr Tewari, has been asked to keep a close watch on the activities of all party functionaries and report the same to the party high command.



Ramoowalia claims direct contest with SAD
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 14
“The mounting response of the electorate to the party’s door-to-door election campaign has now turned the electoral battle in to a direct contest between the Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) and the SAD, claimed the party chief and candidate for Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat, Mr B.S. Ramoowalia, while maintaining that the Congress candidate, Mr Manish Tiwari, was seemingly on a losing plank.

Addressing election meetings in several city localities, Mr Ramoowalia said that the LBP’s success in winning over wider sections of the society, especially the females, who accounted for 47 per cent of total voters, had obviously tilted scales in the favour of the party.

Quoting reports reaching the party headquarter here, he further observed that the SAD candidate, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, was allegedly deploying ‘hired’ personnel in various wards of Ludhiana city and rural areas of the constituency. He was also doling out perks in kind and cash. The LBP, on the other hand, had committed teams of campaigners, who, led by former Congress heavy weight, Mr Mohan Lal Mohini, had already made deep inroads into as many as 20 city wards including Ward number 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 15, 29, 30, 31, 32, 36, 37, 47, 51, 56, 64, 67 and 69, while intensive campaigning was under way in the other wards as well.

Meanwhile, the Istri Shakti wing of LBP and Mr Ramoowalia, condoled deaths of 22 women and injuries to several others at the stampede in Lucknow on April 12, which occurred during the free sari distribution ceremony organised by BJP campaigners. Terming this incident as political exploitation of poor women, the LBP demanded accountability and action against guilty persons while urging the state and Central Governments to provide compensation of Rs 8 lakh to each bereaved family and Rs 2 lakh to the injured persons in addition to medical treatment, free of cost.



Teach us to live
N.S. Tasneem

Ludhiana, April 12
With the publication of “Khamoshi di Awaz” (The sound of silence) in 1998, Amar Jyoti had arrived on the scene. Earlier her collections of poems, such as “Maruthhal vich turde pair” (1985), “Mainu Sita na Kaho” (1988) and “Daropadi ton Durga” (1990), had made their mark in no uncertain terms. In 1990, she left Chandigarh, where she had been editing “Pankharian”, a Punjabi monthly for children. In 1994 she switched over from Radio Voice of Asia, Amsterdam, to Radio Indian Times to present programmes regarding Indian literature and culture. She pays occasional visits to Punjab.

Her poems are the voice of the woman of today. She is ever in quest of the meanings of her life and the role she is destined to play in this world. Like Sassi, the legendary heroine of a folk romance, she is walking bare-foot on the parched sand. In Punnu, of course, she can find the ultimate fulfilment of her desires. She has covered long distances and it is well-nigh impossible for her to bear the pangs of separation any more -

It is difficult for me to drink

the poison of the blisters of my feet

that are always roving in the desert of my mind.

Amar Jyoti is conscious of the fact that woman always gets lost in the labyrinths of relationships, but she has no identity of her own. In her parental home, she is paraya dhan (Another person’s property), whereas in the house of her in-laws she is begaani dhi (Someone else’s daughter). As a result she regards herself as a rootless person, without any permanent address. In the poem “Swaal bina Jawaab” (A question without an answer), the poetess says -

He asked me my home address

I replied; What do I know?’

He asked if I were a gypsy.

‘No’ I replied again

‘In exile?’




‘Who are you then?’

‘A woman, merely.’

This feeling of rootlessness is further enhanced in an alien land. The language one speaks, the dress one wears and the food one cooks appear incongruous in foreign surroundings. At such places the pain of being a woman becomes even more acute because she is viewed there as a curio. Strange inquisitive looks peruse her face and she recoils more and more into the shell of her misery. She has a bitter realisation that in her own country she was considered at least the property of someone, whereas in a foreign country, she is regarded as the property of no one. In the poem, “Be-watan” (In exile), she says -

You cannot open your lips

You cannot shout aloud

You cannot rollick in the street

You cannot enjoy a hearty laugh

The meanings of a guffaw

have been lost even to us

How can our children know about it?

In the course of her musings about the fate of woman in the past ages, Amar Jyoti dwells deeply on the plight of Sassi whose footprints, she feels, have been imprinted on the surface of her mind. Then she is reminded of Daropadi who was insulted in the Hastinapur court. She was the victim of rapacity and lust. Would that Daropadi had assumed the form of the goddess Durga and avenged the wrong-doings meted out to her. In the poem “Mannat” (A Wish), the poetess says -

My pen wants the earth

spared of more ravages

at the hands of its masters.

On its part

the earth should desist

from playing

the role of Daropadi

and reincarnate itself

into Durga.

Amar Jyoti is not a sentimental poet, nor is she the victim of the phobia of male chauvinism. She is down to earth in her approach to life and love. She is the one whose innocent dreams have been shattered on the anvil of bitter experiences. Her longings for leading a life of her liking are not the outcome of narcissism. Rather, she wants to share the joys of life with men on equal footing. Indeed her refined sensibilities can weave a palpable design when she is face to face with the image of true love -

You have entered my life

in such a manner

as has enwrapped me

in the cloak of

silken feelings.

She demands of Bulhe Shah to grant her the gift of sincere feelings and honest living -

O’ Bulhe Shah!

You scoffed at the shams of your age.

Now teach us to live

With dignity and honour.



Readers Write
Some memories of Lahore

A visit to Lahore before Partition used to give a sense of pride to a person. It was a city of learning fashion, aristocracy and above all a city of intellectuals. A person graduating from a Lahore college was considered superior to those from district colleges.

Lahore had a medical college, a fine arts college, a law college and degree colleges.

Anarkali Bazar was the best shopping centre for the elite. There were a number of prestigious shops where one went for shopping with pleasure. Among those Raja Brothers, Jankidass and sons were wellknown names. There was Chat Pat Restaurant. Roasted fish was its speciality. and in front of it was a milk shop. There used to be always customers waiting for their turn for a glass of “three pao” lassi. On one side of Anarkali was the book market. On the other side the bazar led to the Mall. Among the famous hotels were Flaty Hotel and Standard Hotel. Those days one could enjoy a bottle of Golden Eagle Beer at the standard Hotel for Rs 2/ which an orchestra played nice music.

A little ahead of Standard was Regal Cinema where English movies used to be shown. Still farther was the zoo and Company Bagh. The garden had a hillock named Shimla Hill perhaps. There was the Montgomery Hall with a big and well-trimmed lawn in front of it. On the left of the Mall was the Assembly Hall. Mcleod Road was wellknown for a cluster of cinema houses. I still remember Capital Cinema, where noorjahan’s famous film “Anmol Ghari” was shown. Her haunting song”Awaz de Kahan hai” is still remembered by the oldies. A little away from this cinema house was Pancholi Picture Studio, which produced a number of Punjabi pictures. Innocent looking Karan Diwan, hero of film “Rattan” was a graduate from Lahore. His picture ran for over a year in a Lahore cinema.

S.L. Katyal

Medical allowance

Following in the footsteps of the Akali-BJP government, headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Capt Amarinder Singh’s government has been increasing salaries, pensions, allowances, perks and other facilities of ministers, MLAs and former MLAs while denying justice to the employees. The latest instance pertains to medical allowance

Many years ago, it was decided that all employees would get Rs 250 for month as medical allowance for expenses as outdoor patients except those suffering form chronic diseases like cancer and TB. A fixed medical allowance system was introduced as the earlier system was being abused on a big scale to draw huge amounts of money by submitting false medical bills. The culprits were a section of the VIPs and employees on the one hand and a section of doctors on the other, acting in collusion. Now, succumbing to the pressure of the VIPs, the Congress government has restored the old system for them only when, at best, some increase in medical allowance for all, including all sections of employees, would have been the right thing in view of the increase in prices of medicines.

On March 16, 2004, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha passed a Bill making it the responsibility of the state government to pay income tax on the salaries of the MLAs while ministers, parliamentary secretaries, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the Leader of the Opposition have been enjoying this perk already. Significantly, the recommendations of the pay commission to refund/reimburse income tax paid by pensioners has not been accepted. I feel that no one should get the amount paid as income tax reimbursed form the government treasury.

Yet another example of a gross and totally unjustified discrimination related to former MLA pensioners. While former MLAs get increases at the rate of 5 per cent, 10 per cent and 15 per cent of their basic pension on attaining the age of 65, 75 and 80, respectively, government pensioners are given their benefit only at the first two stages. This discrimination needs to be corrected needed immediately.

What is of utmost importance is to reverse the growing tendency of politicians to consider politics as the most profitable profession because it gives them the power to loot the state exchequers. The way in which a large number of non-Left politicians are changing parties for getting the ticket to fight elections to the Lok Sabha is one of the clear indications of a great danger to our public life and the country unless selfless youths, committed to serve the country and its common people with a progressive a secular outlook, enter public life. An effective law to confiscate properties acquired with the help of ill-gotten money must also be enacted in addition to the present anti-corruption laws.

Satya Pal Dang

Inflated bills

It is to the embarrassment of citizens of Ludhiana that many of them are receiving bills for water and sewerage and property tax to which the already paid dues are added. To add to their woes, these undated bills payable up to 31.3.2004 without penalty are delivered only two or three days before the last date of payment. To get rid of such a problem one might be tempted to approach the functionary concerned of the Municipal Corporation for getting the job done out of turn which may lead to malpractice.

In this era of computerisation, one fails to understand why these wrong bills are delivered when all account is available on finger tips in a moment. High-ups in the corporation owe an explanation to the citizens. The due date for the payment of bills without penalty be extended by a month for allowing them to get their bills rectified.

V. P. Chopra

Non-Nato ally status

Whosoever ruled the USA, whether it was Mr Bill Clinton or it’s present President George W. Bush, country’s interests are kept above all. We have been claiming that the USA is our ally but every time it has been proved otherwise. The USA has been preferring Pakistan to India in every field. During war with Pakistan, the USA favoured Pakistan and supplied military arsenal and hardware to Pakistan. In peace times too, the USA has been supplying military hardwares to Pakistan. Military action against Taliban regime in Afghanistan offered Pakistan a better status due to its strategic position vis a vis Afghanistan. Right from partition we have been at logger heads with Pakistan over Kashmir and we are still rivals in every field whether it is game, sports etc. When our Parliament House was attacked by terrorists from Pakistan, we cut off our diplomatic channels. We did tough taking that unless cross-border infiltration of terrorists stopped and hard-core criminals taking refuge in Pakistan were handed over to us we won’t sit on the negotiable table. It was despite pressure from several countries, including the USA. After waiting for a long period, our PM offered unilateral ceasefire in J&K to which response of Pakistan was also positive. Again there was a proposal in the field of sports to normalise the relations and cricket diplomacy was initiated. No doubt there is some thaw in people-to-people relations. Now look at the USA. Recently Mr Powel, Secretary of States Visited our country first and did not give any hint that Pakistan would be given a non-NATO-ally status . Our reaction towards this US gesture to Pakistan was lukewarm. It was only after a few days when there was a hue and cry in the media that our government protested. Now we too are being offered the status. Does it not mean that we don’t get preference from the USA whether it is trade or military hardware supply. Should we have a fresh look at relations with the USA?

K.L. Chitkara

Promotion denied

“According to office order no. AMLAA/CS/30(5)/673 dated 29.8.2003 of the Registrar Cooperative Societies Punjab, my name in the seniority list of Sub-Inspectors of 1.3.2966, 1.3.1970 was at serial no. 844, 358, respectively, and of Mr Amir Singh Bajaj at serial no. 867 and 372. In the seniority list of Inspectors as on 1.3.2974 and 31.3.1989, I was at serial no. 556 and 280, respectively. Whereas Mr Amir Singh Bajaj was at serial no. 584 and 300-A. Mr Amir Singh Bajaj is junior to me. But he was awarded a national promotion of Assistant Registrar from 20.76.1993 whereas I was ignored Moreover he got pay of Inspector Cadre from 2.12.1968. My repeated written requests made to the higher authorities form 13.7.2001 have not been fruitful so for. Will the Financial Commission of Punjab, Cooperative Department, Mini Secretariat, Sector -9, Chandigarh. look into the whole matter and order for my national promotion as Assistant Registrar and fix my pay from 2.12.1968 equal to the said person as early as possible.

Harnaik Singh



Frothy soaps satisfy little
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 14
“How come the serial makers think that the audience is bereft of any intelligence? How else can they make us believe that Parvati’s face in “Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki”, badly burnt, is all healed up and a different face is created through plastic surgery only in a week. “Impossible,” says Mr Jaspal, a shopkeeper in Caliber Plaza.

Moreover a young girl, Monalika, gets pregnant and everybody in the family thinks her to be some kind of a heroine. Nobody admonishes her and the incident is stretched to so many episodes that men at least find it revolting. Somehow, the womenfolk of the house are hooked to these serials much to our dismay, he adds.

Every serial shows either men or women having extramarital affairs. The children are also getting affected by these and are uncertain about their parents remaining together. “Mummy, does my papa keep another woman in some other country? Will you leave him if you find that there is another woman in papa’s life?” asked Jeetu, a teenager, from his mother after watching soaps on different channels. Sudha, his mother, was so stunned at these questions that she lost her voice for some time. It slowly dawned on her that her son’s insecurities were the result of watching serials wherein they glamorise adultery.

On Star TV, practically all serials starting with letter K have the ‘other woman’ playing a predominant role. Men indulge in adultery without any qualms or so it seems from these serials. Ms Geetu Chaudhry, a school teacher, says,” I am shocked at the way the women are portrayed in these serials. They are projected as horribly conniving women who seem to have nothing on their mind except to have their ‘men’, on whom they have set eyes, by hook or by crook. To get their men, they will go to any length. It is terrible to see characterisation of women in such negative shades. Such serials definitely send negative vibes. We do not feel relaxed, but are rather irritated to see women portrayed in poor light.”

Serials on other channels like Zee, Sony, etc also telecast soaps that harp on one theme, i.e. women going about in a ruthless manner to achieve their ‘goals’. These women, in mostly well-educated, do not relate to real life. It does not matter whether they are housewives or working women; their one aim is to humiliate other women.

“Komolikas, Ramolas, Pallavis, Payals, Renukas have such demonic smiles and horrible expressions and ruthless thoughts and the way they are out to ruin other women is repulsive,” says Manjit Singh.

Dr Vijay Singh says, “I will never allow such serials to be watched by anyone in my family. After a hard day’s work, we want relaxation and not tension. Moreover such serials do not teach us any good values and they are so long drawn out. We like to watch serials that have an element of comedy so that one feels relaxed. At least one TV channel has taken a right step in this direction.”

Dr Ravinder Kala, a psychologist, says, “I have known families that are addicted to such serials to such an extent that they put everything else on hold. In the serials, they show women doing things that reflect behaviour displaying hidden reflexes. Such serials take the women viewers to a different kind of a world which is far removed from reality and hence the emotional dependence on these serials. The negative roles are a projection of the serial maker about how society views women. They are trying to put certain labels on women. The serial makers should look first into their own psyche as to why they are making serials depicting women in a negative light”.

“Even viewers should be more aware , more realistic and should be able to view these serials as just having a gossip value. In fact, for young girls there is another lurking danger. Awe-struck by glamour, young girls may consider these women as role models, with whom they may identify themselves and show similar behaviour when they are grown up. Such negative portrayals are not good for the psyche of growing girls and these serials should be reviewed by a regulatory body,” says Dr A. Kala.



Management tussle comes into the open
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April14
Tussle among office-bearers of the local A. S. High School Trust and Management Society came into the open today when two office-bearers of the management levelled allegations and counter-allegations against each other at separate press conferences here today. President of the management, Mr J.S. Lotey, said action would be taken against Principal of the A.S. Modern School who had supplied answer sheets of some students of plus one to an office-bearer of the management. On the other hand, Mr Vijay Sharma, general secretary of the management, said the answer sheets were taken into custody following a telephonic message of the president who told him that these needed to be rechecked by some other source to satisfy the parents who had complained to the president and the general secretary alleging partiality in marking.

Mr J. S. Lotey said Mr Sharma had misbehaved with the Principal. He alleged Mr Sharma had misused his powers by taking answer sheets to his residence on February 21. He also alleged that Mr Sharma had not renewed the vote of Mr Jassal due to his personal enmity.

Meanwhile, Mr Sharma said Mr Lotey had become frustrated because he had come to know that he was going to be removed from the presidentship of the management. He was levelling baseless allegations. As so far the misbehaviour with the Principal was concerned, the discussion at a meeting was not misbehaviour, he added. Mr Rajesh Dally, a member of the management, also alleged that at some meetings, the president instigated him to insult the Principal.



Show of exotic thorny plants from April 17

THE National Cactus and Succulent Society of India (NCSSI) is all set to woo lovers of exotic thorny plants during the 27th annual show beginning April 17.

The show will be held at Lajpat Rai Bhavan, and about 50 cactii and other succulent plant lovers from Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali, Patiala, Malerkotla, Hoshiarpur and Delhi are expected to showcase their plants, informs Brig C.S. Bewli, General Secretary of the NCSSI.

The exotic beauty of thorny plants attracts the onlooker and one falls in love with them at the first sight. All these plants are alien to Indian soil; they come from arid regions of American, West Asia, Africa and Madagascar. These plants have been made to acclimatise to the local environmental conditions and scores of their lovers are cultivating these plants successfully, says Mr R.K. Verma, a succulent plant lover. TNS



Reliance Infocom dealers protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
A number of dealers of Reliance Infocom today alleged that they were taken for a ride by the company as they had not been paid any commission for the customers they enrolled for the past one and a half year. However, a company spokesman claimed that the company had been paying commission to the “channel partners” according to the agreed terms and conditions.

For the past four days, the dealers have been holding a demonstration in front of the Reliance Infocom office demanding that they be paid commission at the earliest failing which they may be forced to take legal action against the company. They claimed that after getting the company thousands of subscribers for past 18 months, they had not been paid any commission.

The agitated dealers said they had served an ultimatum to the company till April 22 after which they would not register fresh subscribers. Besides, they may go ahead with legal action as the company had failed to redress their grievances so far. A local dealer said he had been in touch with company officials for about a year and every day he was told that he would soon get the commission. But so far he had not got a penny. When he enquired from fellow dealers, he found that everyone had met the same fate.

It is learnt that the company has withheld the commission of dealers as a number of subscribers went “missing” apparently after having furnished fictitious details in the application form. The company is learnt to have suffered huge losses on this count. Now it wants to trace such subscribers through the dealers only. That is why the commission was being withheld, it was learnt.

But the dealers have been questioning the logic of the stand. They pointed out that they had just been registering new subscribers and the documents and other proofs were verified by the company itself. Only then a customer’s number would be activated. The dealers claimed that on an average each dealer was to get about Rs 5 lakh from the company which was being delayed and denied.

Reliance Infocom maintained that the company was in constant touch with the dealers and negotiations were on. The spokesman said, whatever best could be done would definitely be done as per the legal contract that had mutually been agreed upon among the dealers and the company.



Straw pads for coolers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 14
The heat has come in too soon and the temperatures have shot up in rather a short time. The mercury is almost touching 400C and the people are trying to grapple with the heat. The first thing they turn to is changing the straw pads of coolers as last year’s pads have become dirty with dust.

The adept workers making straw pads are bringing truckloads of straw cooler pads from Chandigarh. The most common sight in Ludhiana these days is the sight of people selling desert cooler pads. They can be seen making the pads.

A housewife says, “The cooler pads have to be changed every year as due to constant absorption of water, the pads become discoloured. Moreover, they lose the ability to soak water. So we have to change the pads every year. We bless these people, who make these pads and are conducting a brisk business in different parts of the city. We have to haggle a bit, but it is fun.”

Bishnu says, “Cooler pad business is a seasonal one. So the entire family gets busy in making the pads. We require bamboo strips to give support. First, we have to invest our own money to buy the raw material. At times we have to pay interest on the lump sum of money we pick up. Many families are involved in making these pads. After making the water cooler pads in hundreds , we bring them to Ludhiana and the people spread out in different localities to sell these. They are priced quite reasonably, yet people want discount. They can go and pay a big price in big stores, but just because we are sitting on the streets, and are very vulnerable. Since we have to feed ourselves have to sell at reduced prices at times.”

But the fact remains that these cooler pad makers, indeed, bring cool air and comfort in the lives of people by chilling the air of coolers.



CICU elections likely to be stormy
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
The forthcoming elections to the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), scheduled to be held on April 23, may prove to be a stormy affair in view of some opposition in the industrial circles against the incumbent office-bearers. Taking the lead, the Fastener Manufacturers Association of India has decided to field its chairman, Mr Mohinder Paul Jain, for the post of the president.

The CICU was once considered to be the apex industrial body of Ludhiana with almost each industrial and commercial unit being its member. Its president, Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, seldom faced any resistance of opposition to his candidature. The CICU enjoyed a cordial relationship with former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. But it did not have the same equation with the new regime.

However, due to falling health, Mr Pradhan became less active. The CICU also lost its direction leaving the field open for other organisations. Mr Pradhan continues to enjoy a lot of respect among the industry and has always been vocal in espousing the cause of the industry. That is the reason why he never faced any problem in getting elected to the post.

But the things may not be as smooth as these used to be.



Phase VIII units demand infrastructure
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 14
Owners of units in the Focal Point Phase VIII, here have flayed the Punjab Government and the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) for not fulfilling the promise of building infrastructure and other facilities in the industrial pocket.

A meeting of the Focal Point Phase VIII Industrial Association, held here today with Mr Chhaber Singh in the chair, expressed its concern over indiscriminate dumping waste and ash in the entire area.

An appropriate site should be demarcated for dyeing units and work on common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) for electroplating and dyeing units, should be speeded up, the association further demanded.

The uncertainty over the period from which house tax was to be levied on Phase VIII units had led to accrual of arrears and interest thereon. The association also demanded streets with lights and a security cover in the area.


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