L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Pirated CDs of ‘Khalsa’ seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
The police today conducted simultaneous raids on several shops selling pirated CDs of film ‘Khalsa’.

The Director of the film, Mangal Dhillon, accompanied the raiding teams at several places. About a hundred CDs were seized during the raids.

Surprisingly Dhillon is yet to bring out the CDs of the movie, although it had been made six years ago. The authorised CDs of the movie were likely to be released in April.

Addressing a press conference after the raids, Dhillon expressed gratitude to the SSP, Ludhiana, Mr Narinderpal Singh, the SP-D, Mr Gurpreet Singh Tur, and the DSP, Mr Mohan Lal, for their cooperation in conducting raids on the outlets selling the pirated CDs. He regretted that the mission he had taken up was being sabotaged by vested interests who had made CDs of his movie.

He said he had been receiving phone calls from different parts of the country and abroad that they had seen his movie on CD. He said he wanted to know from where did the CDs come as he had not brought these out, nor had he sold the rights to anyone.

He alleged that a Jalandhar-based firm had been involved in making pirated CDs of movies. He said the shopkeepers, who were selling the pirated CDs at Bhadaur House, had told him and the police that they had purchased CDs from that firm.

The noted film and television artiste said he was pained to find that some people were trying to sabotage the noble mission he had taken up. Since the movie was not commercial, there was no income from its sales, he said.

“We raise money through sponsorship during public screening of the movie,” he said. If people started seeing movie on the CD, they would not be interested in watching it during public screening, he added. He said if he was not able to raise money, he would not be able to complete his other projects on Sikh religion.

He appealed to the people to ensure that they did not buy the pirated CDs since it would harm his mission. He said he would be bringing out the authorised CD within a month and people could make out which one was the original and which one was pirated.



He feels blessed to have presented Sikhism rationally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
Noted theatre and film personality Mangal Dhillon feels that he is the “blessed and the chosen one” for having been able to present to the world the Sikh religion in most rational and scientific way.

Taking a seven-year sabbatical from the active film and television career, Dhillon took up the first missionary venture, “Khalsa”, a film on Sikh religion and history, in 1999. However, he regretted that the mission was being sabotaged by some pirates who had brought out the film on CDs. He himself accompanied the raiding police teams in different areas and seized quite a number of these.

He has screened the film about a thousand times since and has been present in each and every show. He said since it was not a commercial film, it could not be screened in theatres. But special shows were organised. The money was raised through sponsorships only.

He said he did not bring out the CDs of the movie for all these years as he wanted to create a movement by way of screening it in public to create a sense of belonging so that the viewers could identify themselves with the film and the mission behind it, that is the Sikhism which is no different from humanism.

Talking to The Tribune here today he said: “actually Khalsa is not a commercial movie...it is a missionary movie aimed at interpreting the Sikh religion not only to the Sikhs but also to the entire world”.

He regretted that his mission was sabotaged by some persons who wanted to make money by selling pirated CDs of his movie. Dhillon was to bring out the authorised CDs of the movie in April.

Dhillon, who took a sabbath from the commercial films and television serials in 1995 to make films on Sikh history, has already done four films and is bringing out three others. He is to bring out “The Inseparable:A Sikh and his Turban” to present the case of the Sikhs about turban in France. He said the film would be released in Paris and would help to convince the French, who are most liberal, the importance of turban for a Sikh. He said after completing his mission with the Sikh history he would be returning to the commercial movies and serials.

After the “Khalsa” he brought out, “Parkash tau Parkash Tak” based on the 24-hour services at the Darbar Sahib and the “Parkash Guru Granth Sahib”. While “The Inseparables” will be brought out sometime next month, he is making three more films ‘Toshkhana-Sri Darbar Sahib”on the precious artefacts of the Darbar sahib, “An American Tribute to Sikhism” and “Saka Sirhind” on the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas. 



Shops being constructed in violation of bylaws
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 23
The violation of building bylaws continues with impunity in the city and the powerful lobby of builders is carrying out construction of commercial complexes, shops and other buildings without even slightest hesitation or fear of law.

That the builders, enjoying support of top politicians and certain corrupt employees in the building branch of the Municipal Corporation, function at will, with the enforcement staff of the civic body looking the other way, is evident from the ongoing construction of a massive block of around 70 shops in Pavittar Nagar in Haibowal locality here.

Residents in the locality pointed out that the work on the foundations of the complex was completed sometime back and a part of the outer walls of the shops had also been constructed.

Though the pace of construction work was slow at present, it could, perhaps, be attributed to the response from prospective buyers. The builder could complete the structure within no time once all or at least a substantial part of the shops were sold or rented out.

On being asked whether the building branch of the MC had taken any notice of the illegal construction or any attempt had been made to demolish the structure, the residents said they were not aware of any such move and whatever had conspired between the builder and the MC officials was understandably being kept under wraps.

Not that the officials concerned of the civic body were unaware of the construction of these shops. More than two weeks ago, responding to a complaint by area residents, a senior MC official had claimed that if it was found that building norms were being violated, the incomplete structure would be pulled down. However, till this day, no action had been taken.

Sources in the MC said the construction of any commercial building, shown as residential in the Town Planning Scheme of the particular area, was unlawful and violative of the building bylaws.

It was further learnt that the civic body had moved a case for dropping the said TP scheme with the state government sometime back, but the government did not accede to the request and all building activity in the locality had to adhere to the scheme.

It would be pertinent to note that only recently, the state government had removed Congress councillor Sat Pal Puri (Ward No. 66) from his office and one of the reasons for his disqualification to hold office was the construction of shops in the area covered under the Town Planning Scheme.



Traders vow to intensify stir against VAT
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 23
After a nationwide strike on February 21 against unilateral introduction of value- added tax (VAT) in Punjab and elsewhere, the bodies of trading community have vowed to intensify their stir against the new tax regime in the coming days.

Addressing a meeting of shopkeepers and traders here today, Mr Sunil Mehra, state general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, observed that the Congress governments, both at the Centre, and in Punjab seemed to be bent upon disturbing the business community by bringing in arbitrary and unimaginative taxation measures.

Other speakers, including Baba Ajit Singh, chairman, Mr Kasturi Lal Mittal, president, and Mr Jatinder Singh Galhotra, vice- president of the mandal, said if the government could read the writing on the wall, it should have moved without any further delay to scrap, or defer for the time being, VAT so that the trade and industry could continue with their business rather than wasting time and energy on agitating against the new tax law.

The leaders made it clear that if the government persisted with its attitude, the traders would be left with no other choice than to intensify their agitation. The protests could be in the form of demonstrations, dharnas and protest marches. After a proposed all -India rally of traders at Delhi on March 9, the business community would go ahead with an indefinite strike from March 30 if the government failed to relent by that time.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Mr Tulsi Das Jaitwani, vice president of the Akhil Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal, who also heads a faction of the Punjab Beopar Mandal, has said that members of trade and industry had expressed complete solidarity during the nationwide strike on February 21 to express their protest against VAT. He said according to information received from the central leadership of the body, barring a few exceptions, all 28 states and seven union territories had joined the ‘bandh’



10-yr RI under NDPS Act
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 23
The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Baldev Singh Sodhi, has sentenced Gurmail Singh of Sunet village to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment for possessing a large quantity of opium. A fine of Rs 1 lakh was also imposed on the accused.

''The people like the convict supply intoxicants and play with the health and future of others. Such henious offences should be curbed with a heavy hand," remarked the judge while declining the plea of leniency by the accused.

The court held that the prosecution had proved the guilt of the accused beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. The convict would have to undergo one more year of sentence if he failed to pay the fine.

The accused was booked under Sections 18,61 and 85 of the NDPS Act in 2001. A police party present on the canal bridge of Sunet village saw the accused carrying a plastic bag in his hand. On seeing the police, the accused turned back. Upon suspicion, the police stopped him. Thereafter, a DSP was called on the spot and a search was conducted. Opium wrapped in glazed paper was recovered from the bag.

However, during trial the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed false implication. He pleaded that no such intoxicant was recovered from him.



One caretaker for 48 Bal Bhavan inmates
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, February 23
Children at Red Cross Bal Bhavan are a neglected lot in the absence of a proper gate, security or caretaker at night.

There are about 48 inmates in the bhavan. Out of these, 15 are deaf and dumb, two are orphans and the remaining comprise leprosy-afflicted children and those from poor families.

To look after them, there is a cook-cum-warden, an in charge, a washerman and a safai karamchari. The duty of the in charge-cum-caretaker, Mr Vimlesh Srivastava, gets over by noon. After that, the children are left with the warden and a caretaker, who is over 80 years old.

One of these workers said there was no security for these children. Recently, the sewers and gate bell had been broken by some anti-social elements. Sometimes, men stood near the backwall of the bhavan to harass young girls by making indecent gestures and remarks. "Being a woman, I cannot do anything if someone forcibly took away any of these children. There is no watchman, no security and no supervisor here," a worker said.

One of the girls said during the day, they did not feel threatened as the children played and studied and senior citizens sat basked in the sun "but we get scared during the night. At times, we hear people blowing whistles, hooting and shouting," she said.

Mr Srivastava confirmed these incidents and said they had brought it to the notice of the authorities.

The authorities have kept another caretaker for these children, who is in her 80s. “No doubt she is loving and caring but being old, she cannot take care of 50 children,” one of the inmates said.

The rooms emitted foul smell and no safai karamchari was visible when this correspondent visited the bhavan. Only one person was there to take care of everything and it was difficult to manage the children.

Mr S.P.Malik, secretary of the Red Cross, said they were aware of the situation and would try to find a solution. 



Students protest against ‘Shabd’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
The Punjab Agricultural University Students Association today protested against “mockery” of Sikhs in the recently released Hindi film, “Shabd ”.

Students gathered on the university campus in the morning, holding placards. They raised slogans against the director of the film and the censor board. They demanded that all religions should be given due respect while making a film and also issued a warning in this regard that such films would not be tolerated in future.

The Sikh Students Federation also condemned the film. The federation said it would not allow the screening of “anti-religious” films. It also staged protests in other cities of the state also. 



Plots for Apparel Park yet to be allotted
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
Plots for the Rs 350-crore project of Apparel Park, that is being envisaged as a milestone in the development of apparel industry, are yet to be allotted, thanks to the government delay in sanctions.While the Punjab Apparel Park Ltd (PAPL) had expected government clearances last year itself and had said plots would be allotted before the end of 2004, it has now begun infrastructural development on its own and is still waiting for the government to issue funds for the project.

"The development process has already begun and we will certainly meet the deadline. Though the government has not sanctioned funds for the project so far, and we are waiting for several clearances like stamp duty waiver, we have already begun infrastructural development and have spent Rs 10 crore on our own," said Mr Sanjeev Gupta, managing director, PAPL.

He said construction of boundry wall, road and building has already been started.

The idea to build up the apparel park was to provide boost to the apparel industry. This park promises to provide the industry with world class infrastructure, which would involve an investment of nearly Rs 40 crore.

While infrastructural development would take around a year, the estimated time to establish a factory after a plot is allotted is also one year, which means that for the apparel park to be fully functional it could take almost two more years. Industry experts feel the park should have come up by now considering the fact that quota regime has ended and the local industry is facing challenges in the form of global competition.

The Apparel Park proposes to provide every essential facility for the apparel industry to function. For Ludhiana, which has nearly 10,000 units, including exporters, brand manufacturers and low-value-high-volume manufacturers in this industry, this would mean an end to the problems of this industry, which has been facing a tough time owing to fragmented operational environment. The industry has a skill base of over 3 lakh skilled workers. Owing to the concentration of the industry, Ludhiana was selected as the destination for the apparel park.

The park would have an internal road network and linkages with road, rail and air networks, apart from a common captive power plant for its occupants. Besides, there would be support facilities like a commercial complex, a business centre, a conference hall and an exhibition centre for buyer-seller meets. Provisions would also be made for recreational facilities like a club house, restaurant etc.

According to the plan, the park will have an environment-friendly water management system, avenue plantations, sewage and effluent carrying pipelines and a common effluent treatment plant, which will relieve the units from concerns of environmental issues.

A joint venture of Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation Ltd. (PSIEC) and Apparel Exporters Association of Ludhiana (APPEAL), the apparel park is expected to generate an employment of over 25,000 apart from adding an additional US $ 200 million to India's exports, the proposal says.

"Though we are waiting for several clearances from the government, we should take things positively as these clearances are now expected any day. It is not likely to take very long and the coming up of the park would benefit the industry" Mr Gupta asserted.



Akalis to submit memo to MC before Bains’ protest
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
In an apparent bid to preempt the show of the district youth wing president of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal, Mr Simranjit Singh Bains, the senior Akali leadership of the district comprising the party vice-president, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, and the district president, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, will be submitting a memorandum to the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, tomorrow, ahead of his (Mr Bain's) demonstration.

Mr Bains, the newly inducted district youth wing president of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal, who is also a councillor in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, appears to have bitten more than he could chew. Immediately after he defected from the Shiromani Akali Dal-Amritsar, he was appointed the president of the youth wing of the SAD-B, much to the chagrin of several leaders who had a long association with the party.

Recently he got entangled in a controversy involving the construction of an illegal and unauthorised structure, which was demolished by the Municipal Corporation authorities. Mr Bains took it personally and launched a campaign against the MC officials. He even held a couple of press conferences accusing the MC of high-handedness. In the course of events he announced a dharna outside the residence of the MC Commissioner on February 25.

Mr Bains, who has already antagonised the senior Akali leaders who owe long time allegiance to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has now been finding himself alone now. Even the leader of the SAD-B in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, Mr Harbhajan Singh Dang has reportedly refused to support the dharna being proposed by Mr Bains. Most of the party leadership has been holding that it was a personal grievance of Mr Bains, for which he was trying to "misuse" the party platform.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has also distanced itself from the dharna planned by Mr Bains. The leader of the BJP in the MC, Mr Praveen Bansal, has been maintaining that as long as the SAD-B does not intimate the BJP officially, the BJP councillors may not be able to attend the dharna. He said although the BJP does have an alliance with the SAD-B, but it will need the party's (SAD-B) formal nod to attend the dharna.

Mr Bains has already created rivals in the district unit of the SAD-B, with most of the urban supporters of the party fearing that he was trying to grab their space (in the party). The urban unit of the party has traditionally been dominated by the urban Sikhs, while Mr Bains represents the dominant rural Sikhs in the party.

The urban Sikhs have unanimously closed in their ranks against Mr Bains. Obviously they will not like to do anything that will strengthen Mr Bains. Rather they will try to ensure that the dharna is not successful. The urban leaders have not been taking too kindly to the too much activism of Mr Bains, who is reportedly enjoying the support of several rural-based (read Jat) Sikhs within the party.



Bus permit seekers resent delay
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
Aspirants for bus permits under the Sonia Gandhi Golden Rozgar Bus Service have expressed their resentment against private bus operators, who they allege are responsible for the delay in granting them the special route permits by the Director of Transport, Punjab.

Under the much-publicised scheme, the Transport Department had offered 250 buses to various categories of unemployed youth, including schedule castes, backward classes, ex-servicemen and terrorist-affected victims. The department received over 1,000 applications for buses.

Mr Paramjit Singh Ranu, president of the Sonia Gandhi Golden Rozgar Yojana Applicants Association, today said that some bus operators were holding Punjab to ransom and did not want that the scheme should succeed.

Mr Ranu alleged that a senior Akali leader who was also a transporter was trying to pre-empt the efforts of Capt Amarinder Singh to provide employment as promised in the Congress manifesto.

He said he would lead a delegation to Mrs Gandhi and explain to her how the private bus operators were being allowed to run illegal operations on routes earmarked for the state transport undertakings.

He claimed that due to the non-availability of the required buses in the fleet, the state transport undertaking is not able to operate bus services on the sanctioned routes and as a result the private operators operate their bus services on those routes.

This was one of the main reasons that the private operators were resenting the move of the state transport undertakings and the leasing/hiring of private buses.



Construct missing link of Dugri bypass, urge
citizens’ bodies

Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 23
The Citizens For Public Causes (CFPC) and the Ludhiana Citizen Council (LCC) have urged the state government to construct the missing link of bypass road from Pakhowal Road to Urban Estate Phase III, Dugri, and linking with the G T Road.

In a statement here today, Mr Jiwan Dhawan, president, and Mr Virinder Bhakoo, general secretary of the CFPC, said by constructing the missing link, major traffic flow from the Ferozepur road to the G T Road would flow through the bypass, thereby reducing the traffic congestion within the city.

They said the state government had already issued a notification for acquiring the land for the construction of the road on the missing link with a total length of 0.78 km. But the period of the said notification would lapse within the next one month if the award was not announced immediately.

Mr Darshan Arora, chairman, and Mr Ashok Juneja, secretary general of LCC have demanded that the said link was necessary due to heavy rush and traffic, which was increasing every day on the city roads. According to them, the land acquisition notification was issued under emergency case considering the importance of this link about two years back.

But no serious efforts were being made to give effect to the acquisition of the notified land. They demanded from the government to complete the formality without any further delay so that the main bye pass road from the Ferozepur road to the G T Road could become operational immediately.



Shun vulgarity in music videos, says Pammi Bai
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
Pammi Bai has acquainted the world with Punjabi "sabhyachar" and has emerged as a trendsetter on the Punjabi music scene. He was in the city today to promote his new album, "Nachde Punjabi."

He said "Nachde Punjabi" was a step towards strenghtening Indo-Pak friendship. He hoped that his songs would bring people on both sides of the border closer.

Lamenting the present phase in Punjabi music, he said nudity and vulgarity were not part of Punjabi culture and such videos were giving a wrong impression of Punjabi culture to people across the globe.

He alleged that multinational companies were "working towards finishing Punjabi talent and some singers were being exploited by producers."

He said songs with vulgar music videos were spoiling the new generation and if the trend continued the younger lot would not understand the real Punjabi culture. "Vulgarity has dominated Punjabi music videos to such an extent that today one cannot watch them with ones family," he said, adding that only people could check vulgarity in videos by rejecting them.

Pammi Bai said new singers wanted fame overnight and were ready to take any shortcut to achieve their goals.

He said his aim was to divert the new generation from western culture to Punjabi culture. He said he would continue to work towards making people aware of Punjabi culture.

He admitted that budding artistes faced problems in releasing their first album but at the same time said a good singer could not be ignored for long.

Meanwhile, the senior vice-president of Punjabi Sahitya Akademi, Mr Gurbhajan Singh Gill, said Pammi Bhai had checked the decline in the value system in Punjab and his songs reflected the real Punjabi life.



Workers’ dharna: management seeks police help
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
The dharna by workers of the Farm Parts Company continued for the third day here today. The workers alleged compulsory retrenchment by the management and said the factory owners had barred them from entering factory premises.

"The high-handedness of the management crossed all barriers when it sought police help against us," the workers said.

The Moulder and Steel Workers Union, under whose banner the workers are protesting, met SP City R.K. Jaiswal today. Mr Vijaynarayan, a union leader, said the SP had assured them that the workers would be given a just treatment.

The union said the workers of the factory would hold a rally on February 25.

Over 125 workers have been protesting against the alleged compulsory retrenchment of workers. They had presented a charter of demands to the Labour Inspector last week.

The union members urged the Labour Department and the administration to get the matter resolved at the earliest and said they would intensify their struggle if the workers were not taken back by the management.



Nagar kirtan held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
On the eve of the parkash utsav of Guru Ravidass, a nagar kirtan was held at Bilaspur village, the native village of late Beant Singh, former Chief Minister of Punjab. Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, MLA and ex-minister, Punjab, and other prominent leaders of the area participated in the nagar kirtan, which passed through all prominent lanes of the village reciting Gurbani.

Mr Dakha, while paying tributes to Guru Ravidass, said the great guru had strived hard to bring about equality in the society. He said the Gurbani was still relevant for a caste free society.

Elaborating the plans of the Punjab Government for the welfare of the weaker sections, Mr Dakha said the Congress had always implemented effective plans for the uplift of the Scheduled Castes and weaker sections of the society. He claimed that the government had created a corpus fund of Rs 450 crores to ensure the regular pensions for the old age people, widows and dependant children and launched a new scheme “Ashirwad” to give Shagun of Rs 6,100 for marriages of two daughters of Scheduled Castes families and poor widows.

Mr Harbans Singh, Sarpanch of the village, also paid tributes.



Kirtan darbar at Gurdwara Nanaksar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
The Sarb Hind Darbar-e-Khalsa organised a kirtan darbar at Gurdwara Nanaksar, Samrala Chowk, here yesterday.

Bhai Harjinder Singh of Srinagar, Bhai Joginder Singh Riar, Bhai Ranjit Singh Chandan and Bhai Jaswant Singh performed kirtan. The stage was managed by Mr Bhagwan Singh Johal.

Head Granthi, Darbar Sahib, Giani Gurbachan Singh participated in the programme.

Mr Kirpal Singh, Jathedar Pritpal Singh, Head Granthi, Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib, Bhai Amarjit Singh Chawla, member, PPSC, Jathedar Heera Singh Gabria, ex-MLA, Bhai Gurcharan Singh Grewal, head, All-India Sikh Students Federation, and Thekedar Kamalinder Singh, member, SGPC, were also present on the occasion.

Bhai Jaswinder Singh and Bhai Darshan Singh felicitated Guriqbal Singh, Giani Gurbachan Singh and Darshan Kumar, proprieter, T-Series.



Industry recommends textile cluster
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
Infrastructural development, which includes purchase of land on the outskirts of the city, is a must for the development of the local textile industry. This was recommended by various textile industry associations at a meeting of the district-level committee for the development of textile cluster in Ludhiana held at Punjab and Sind Bank here today.

Over 20 associations of textile, knitwear, shawls, wool and dyeing industries attended the meeting. It was presided over by the district manager of Punjab and Sind Bank, Mr Jeet Singh.

The representatives of the associations recommended that the state government and the Centre, industry departments and banks should be involved in the development of the textile industry. They suggested that banks should earmark sufficient funds to promote the concept of cluster development. They also emphasised the need for providing basic amenities at the place where the cluster was to be developed. Industry associations also agreed to make contributions towards the project.

Assistant Director, Small Industries and Development Institute, S.S. Bedi also attended the meeting.



Register trade unions, demands CITU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has threatened to intensify struggle if the government fails to register trade unions.

The state unit president of CITU said today that workers were being exploited and were not being given their due rights.



Biz Clips

Videocon range: Videocon has launched a range of Plasma TV, DVD players, home theatre system and automatic washing machines. The range comprises 20 products. Mr Sunil Mehta, vice-president (sales), said. OC

Skin clinic: Kaya Skin Clinic was launched here on Wednesday. The services include ‘skinsciption’ — an in-depth analysis and a treatment plan customised to suit each skin type besides glycolic peels, skin brightening and polishing, permanent hair reduction, pigmentation and acne scar reduction, face and eye rejuvenation. OC


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