L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Husband strangulates wife to death
Scene enacted to make it look like an accident
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

The accident drama enacted by the accused in Mamta murder case
The accident drama enacted by the accused in Mamta murder case. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, July 8
A resident of Qila Mohallah here almost enacted a perfect murder of his young wife but was outdone by simple medical science which he overlooked while cooking up the drama. He did not even bother about the future of their two minor daughters and hoped he would get away with it.

The man, Rajinder Singh alias Sunny who runs a men’s saloon took her wife, Mamta, aged 25, from her maternal parents house in Islam Gunj late last night, allegedly strangulated her to death with a piece of cloth in his car and then rammed the vehicle into a transformer to show it as an accident near Daresi ground.

He got admitted in DMC hospital complaining of blunt injuries suffered in the accident while claiming that his ‘dear’ wife died in the accident.

However, the routine procedure of the autopsy of the body besides the tell-tale sign of suffocation marks over her neck exposed the real cause of her death. Without wasting any time, the Division No 4 police has booked Rajinder Singh under section 302 of the IPC for the alleged murder of his wife.

SI Kuldip Singh, Additional SHO of the police station said initially everyone, including the parents of the woman, thought she died in the accident. The police was, however, baffled that the accident was not so big as to cause woman’s death that to when the injuries sustained by the man were as that grievous.

During investigation the police found that the man was harassing his wife for dowry for the last several months. The accused had also recently started an orchestra. His wife was objecting to his closeness to certain dancers.

The woman’s parents had buckled under his demands and fulfilled most of his wishes. However, they could not arrange a new car allegedly demanded by him.

Rajinder sent Mamta to her parent’s house with their two daughters — three-year-old Manu and one-year-old Chetna. He reached the house last night at about 10 pm and begged forgiveness. He took Mamta for a drive in his car and allegedly strangulated her before banging the car in a transformer.

At about 2.00 am, he called up the woman’s parents to inform them about the accident. He was admitted to DMC at that time. The anxious parents were already searching for them.

SHO Kuldip Singh said the woman’s father Somnath and other relatives have given statements about the dowry harassment of the deceased woman. He said the FIR has been registered on the basis of the statement of Somnath only.

Post-mortem examination was conducted by a board of doctors in civil hospital taking into account the tricky case. It has been confirmed that the woman was strangulated to death with her dupatta, police sources said.

Rajinder Singh is still admitted in the DMC hospital. He has not been formally arrested so far but the police was guarding him.



Lives of school students at risk
Building has partially collapsed roofs 
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, July 8
Partially collapsed roofs, broken walls, damaged floors, heaps of debris, no toilets, no potable water and no doors. Anyone and everyone can walk in. This sums up the condition of Government Elementary School in Kutcha number 16 in Prem Nagar in the heart of probably the richest city in state, which is incidentally the hometown of state Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar.

Thanks to an ongoing battle over possession of the building, let off by owner of a Janj Ghar to the Education Department, education for as many as 79 students has become a battle of sorts. Unfortunately, just to strengthen its claim for the possession of land, the Education Department is risking the lives of these innocent kids.

Forced to sit on a partially bricklined and mud floor dotted with heaps of sand and roofs threatening to give away, these students are suffering due to official apathy and lackadaisical attitude of the state education department that boasts of recently launched and much-hyped Sarv Sikhia Abhiyan.

Students of class VII sit in a room whose half portion of roof had come crashing down some time ago. The rain forces the teachers to send them home. The rest of the portion can collapse anytime. Similar is the condition of the classroom of primary students, where the wooden logs supporting the roof seem unable to bear the burden anymore. These have already been partially consumed.

To answer a nature’s call, the students have to compete with shopkeepers and certain goons, who frequently barge in the school to use their toilets. Incidentally, the toilets are just concrete structures, without doors and with debris lying on the floor.

‘‘We cannot stop the shopkeepers and other elements, who purposely barge in to misbehave with girls on the pretext of using toilets. We cannot help it.’’ said a teacher, who did not want to be quoted.

She added that there is no toilet for three female teachers. They have to rush to the house of one of their staff members nearby for using it. There is no water supply to the school and no electricity too. Some time ago, following protests by parents, the department had asked the students to shift to a high school nearby but the students were shown the door on the plea that there was no space for them.

‘‘We feel scared due to the collapsing roofs. Any untoward incident can take place anytime. But nobody cares. At times, parents stop sending their wards to school. They say they would prefer their lives to studies. But they are good students and fare well every year. This year also the school showed cent percent result in primary examination. So we leave no stone unturned to convince the parents,’’ said a teacher praying anonymity. She even did not allow The Tribune photographer to click pictures saying there were orders which prohibited taking picture.

The school is in the possession of state education department Since 1934. It was rented by Mitter Sabha to the school at a price of Rs 270 per month. Now the sabha has moved the court and the matter is yet to be decided.

Ms Harvinder Kaur, DEO, Elementary, when contacted, said she would shift the students to some other school building within a day or two. She added she was working for the welfare of students and wanted them to shift to a safer place. 



Mourners vandalise school building
Tribune News Service

Dixit’s mother being consoled by relatives
Dixit’s mother being consoled by relatives.

Ludhiana, July 8
People accompanying the procession carrying the body of Dixit Dhanda for cremation turned violent this afternoon when they vent their ire on the building of his school, Bharatiya Vidya Mandir, near the Rose Garden, by writing slogans against the management on walls, breaking flower pots and hurling stones at the building. Dixit was allegedly drowned in a canal near Sunder Nagar here 20 days ago.

Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the cremation with highly emotive relatives blaming the school management for Dixit’s death. A procession reached BVM school and wrote slogans on school walls against the management.

Mr Ashok Dhanda, father of Dixit, brought his son’s body home last evening. The Sunder Nagar police managed to recover the body from a canal a few days ago. The relatives had kept their anger subdued all these days, but could not control it any longer at the time of the cremation.

Though a large number of cops accompanied the procession, they did not use force against those persons who damaged the school building. The slogans on the school walls demanded that the murderers of Dixit be identified and arrested immediately.

The school management has been denying the charges. They had claimed that Dixit had accidentally fallen into the canal, where he had gone despite the warnings of the school Principal.



Defence road to be recarpeted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
There is finally some relief for the commuters on Barnala road, connecting Mullanpur with Raikot, with the Punjab Works Department (PWD) taking up the project of recarpeting the road, which was waiting for repairs for the last many years.

Announcing this here today, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma today claimed that the repair and reconstruction work on Mullanpur-Raikot defence road which touches the strategically important Air Force Station, Halwara will be started within 3-4 days.

He added that a stretch of 32.89 km including 1.74 km long Raikot bypass would be recarpeted at a cost of Rs 14.6 crores. The project would be completed within a year. Stating that this was a very important road and the repair work would bring major relief to the public, Mr Verma said that this was a long-pending demand of the residents.

The residents of Raikot area have been fighting a battle of sorts for the repair of road. They had given representations to the Deputy Commissioner to get it repaired as they were having a number of problems for the last many years. Even the officials of Air Force Station in Halwara had been writing to the district chief to get the road repaired as they needed the road the most. But all this had been falling on deaf ears for the last many years.

Even during the visit of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to the city, only a patchwork on the road was done to make it motorable as he had to travel by road, The residents were disappointed as that time as PWD had quoted financial crunch as the reason for not repairing the road.

While announcing the project, Mr Verma further said that repair and construction of link roads in the district was in full swing. He said that there were around 4000 km of link roads in the district. Out of these about 2700 km of roads were being maintained by P.W.D. and remaining by Punjab Mandi Board.

Out of these about 170 km of roads were last repaired in year 1995-96. These roads were taken up for repair again in the current year under phase IV of the repair plan and all the 170 km have been repaired and pre-mix carpet has been laid on them.

Further, there were 695 km of roads, which were last repaired in year 1996-97. Out of these 600 km of roads have been repaired in the current year under phase V of repair and reconstruction plan. Similarly, 300 km of roads have been repaired in the current year under phase VI of repair and construction plan. These roads were last repaired in year 1997-98. The work of the reconstruction of repair of roads of phase V & VI was likely to be completed within two months.

He also said the work on repair and reconstruction of the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road had already started in which 22 km long stretch of this road would be recarpeted.

Mr Verma appealed to people and villagers in particular to maintain the berms of the road adjoining their lands. He said if the berms were shortened, the life of the road was reduced. So it was in the interest of the villagers to maintain proper road berms.



ATMs give sleepless nights to residents
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
Frequent snags in ATM machines of banks are giving city residents sleepless nights. An increasing number of complaints about excess debit on withdrawals are being received. While banks describe it as a technical snag, which, according to them, is automatically rectified, there are cases where the amount so debited has not been credited even after 10 days. What is more, banks concerned also refuse to own the responsibility in such cases.

Parminder Singh, a businessman, who has an account with a public sector bank in Bharat Nagar, had a taste of “technical snag” on June 27, when he withdrew Rs 10,000 using another bank’s ATM in Fountain Chowk. However, the amount was debited twice and even till the filing of this report, that is, more than a week, the amount that was wrongly debited has not been credited to his account.

“Not only have I been suffering mental harassment, the bank refuses to take the responsibility. Now even till today, the adjustment has not been done,” he rues. He said: “Even the mini-statement that I took, gave wrong facts. It mentioned the withdrawal on June 28 and the amount has been debited twice.” Now, all Mr Singh can do is wait.

In another case, Mr Dilbagh Singh, a government official, who has an account with a public sector bank in Jagraon, withdrew Rs 2,000 on June 26. However, the ATM transaction showed a withdrawal of Rs 2,000 twice on the same date.

When he contacted bank officials, he was told it was a technical error that would be automatically rectified once the system was in place.

Dilbagh Singh’s woes were not to end. Not only has the amount not been credited so far, he made another withdrawal of Rs 15,000 on July 5, and again the transaction showed the withdrawal twice on the same date, leaving him with Rs 17,000 less without any fault of his.

“They have told me that the network is in Mumbai and if there is an error it would be corrected. But they have refused to take any responsibility for the mistake and I am left to suffer only for the fault of having a bank account,” he said.

“These are technical snags that cannot be completely done away with. It is not a routine feature but it could happen once in a while,” a bank official said.

On the time that it could take to rectify the error, the official said, “Ordinarily, it gets corrected within a few days only, but sometimes, it could take even one month as the problem occurs due to system failure. It takes time to detect it since the system runs from Mumbai.”

While such transaction errors are discouraging bank customers to use ATMs, which banks vigorously promote, banks do not appear to have a clue on ways to have a foolproof system.

“We agree that customers are harassed due to such faults, but nothing can be done,” the official stated.



BKU seeks free power for all farmers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 8
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta) has called upon the Punjab government to provide the facility of free power and water for all farmers irrespective of their land-holdings. It has also demanded free domestic power supply up to 150 units for small farmers and farm workers in rural areas.

In a joint statement here today, the functionaries of the BKU Mr Darshan Singh Koohli and Mr Saudagar Singh Ghudani have criticised the government proposal to provide free power supply to small farmers from the month of August 2005. They said the government should not discriminate between different sections of farmers and free power should be made available for the entire farm sector on Haryana pattern as was promised by the ruling Congress party at the time of assembly elections in the state.

The BKU leaders further asked the government to remit accumulated farm loans so that the farmers could rid themselves of the debt burden and also to slash the rate of interest.



Morcha accuses CM of doublespeak
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 8
Mr Charan Singh Saraba, general secretary, government School Teachers Union, Punjab, and state committee member of the Anti-Privatisation Adhyapak Morcha, Punjab, in a press note issued here today, thanked those teachers who participated and supported the dharna held at Mini Secretariat yesterday despite the downpour.

Mr Sarabha said hundreds of teachers condemned in one voice the irrational arguments given by the Chief Minister regarding the rate of dropouts and the level of education in government schools, when he never uttered a word regarding the regular appointment of teachers against 30,000 vacant posts. It was a pity that the Punjab Government spoke of quality education without providing teachers and required infrastructure. “Punjab is the first state in which India is following such a retrograde policy towards school education.”

He appealed to the state government to learn from other states like Haryana, which had taken over the contract of all schools handed over to the local bodies by the Chautala government. The Delhi government had decided to recruit 4,000 teachers solely to check the dropout rate. Tamil Nadu had decided to give free text books to students of government schools up to 12th standard.

Commenting on the statement of the Punjab Education Minister to start appointment of teachers, he said the morcha appreciated the step, but would continue its agitation until the demand for regular appointments was met and posts advertised.

He said the morcha would hold administration in Chandigarh on July 26.



People furious at cable TV services
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 8
Even as the district administration continues to drag its feet in regulating the operations of cable TV companies and cable TV operators in the mega city in the absence of clearly defined powers, the residents are virtually being held to ransom by a majority of the cable TV operators.

Amidst strong resentment, and at times, angry demonstrations by the affected city residents against poor service, whimsical overcharging and grossly different monthly subscription being charged by the cable TV operators, people find it beyond themselves to cope with the situation as no one appears to be alive to their plight.

Information gathered by Ludhiana Tribune reveals that depending on the economic status and standard of living of the residents in a particular locality, the cable TV operators charge anything between Rs 150 and Rs 350 as monthly subscription for a connection. In terms of service, rectification of faults or poor signal or beaming the desired TV channels, almost without exception the cable TV operators fare poorly.

Cable TV customers complain that there have been numerous instances when suddenly some particular channels go off the air for days together, some new ones are added without any demand by them, transmission remains suspended for hours together during power failure or other reasons and inordinate delay is caused in rectification of faults.

In particular, the city residents are sore over the non-availability of any legal or administrative mechanism, which could be brought into action against the excesses and highhandedness of the cable network companies and cable TV operators. They also resent the dilly dallying attitude of the government in giving effect to the proposed regulatory legislation on cable TV charges and evolving a system in which the subscribers would have the choice of different packages of channels and pay only for that particular channels.

Not that the cable TV operators or cable network companies are not aware of the brewing discontent among the customers in the city over variation in monthly subscription and service. But they seem to be taking advantage of the lack of enforcement and regulatory mechanism. Moreover, the two major players in the cable TV network business have reportedly entered into a tacit agreement, which left little or no scope of poaching into each other’s territory, and as a result giving no alternative choice to the dissatisfied subscribers.

The deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, told Ludhiana Tribune that though the administration was aware of the problems being faced by the city population on account of gross variation in monthly subscription for cable TV connections and other irregularities. However, the issue had been got thoroughly examined and as of now, the district administration had no regulatory powers over cable TV operators.

The only avenue before public for redressal of their grievances of overcharging and deficiency in service were the consumer courts, he added.



Villagers resent lack of telephonic link with police
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, July 8
Towns people and residents of several of villages falling under the Sahnewal jurisdiction seem to be haunted by the fear of miscreants striking at their place or they meeting with an accident in the absence of a direct telephonic link with the police.

Pointing out at the problem, the residents complain, “It seems to have become a routine. The Police Department suddenly wakes up one fine day pays the dues and get telephone connection restored. But this phone is again disconnected due to non-payment of dues after a couple of months.” The number (2847631), which usually remains temporarily withdrawn has become a ‘permanent source’ of discomfiture to the residents.

“Why the Police Department does not understand its responsibility” complains a villager of Kohara. “Whom we are to approach in case of an emergency? As police officials are transferred from time to time, it is difficult to keep a record of their cell numbers, which may not be available at the time of need,” he added.

The villagers, especially on the periphery, are forced to spend sleepless nights. “In the absence of a working telephone link with the police we are in the constant danger of being attacked, looted or even killed by criminals”, another villager of Ramgarh complains.

According to Mr Jasminder Sandhu, Chairman, Market Committee, Sahnewal, “Due to the increase in the number of migrants, the fear of robbers striking at various places has increased manifold. What is the police for if in case of need people are rendered entirely helpless? If the mobile phone number of the in charge of police station is with the sarpanch of the village; should we call up the sarpanch first. Who in turn shall contact the police in case of an emergency.”

Similarly, Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu, council chief, says, “If people are not safe in their houses, what more security can be expected from the police. The non-availability of a direct phone number speaks of the indifferent attitude of the Police Department.”

Mr Devinder Kumar, SHO, Sahnewal police station, says, “We too are helpless in this matter. We too suffer a lot of inconvenience in the absence of a permanent telephone connection. The dues are not being paid due to the shortage of funds and there seems to be no immediate solution.”



Johar listens to public grievances
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
Scores of people today turned up at the residence of the Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, with various grievances. Mr Johar said, he was perturbed over the problems being faced by the general public and assured them that these would be solved at the earliest. He said with the recent rains a number of areas in the city had been inundated and he had taken stock of the situation. He said he had already talked to the officials concerned for providing remedial and relief measures.

The minister, who returned from the holy Amarnath yatra, agreed that a number of problems prevailed in the city. He said he had issued strict instructions to the all officials to ensure that the public grievances were addressed at the earliest. He asserted that all the officials were being made accountable for everything they did. The minister said the problems of the general public were being accorded the top priority everywhere in the state.

Mr Johar said during his Amarnath yatra he also attended a meeting of the Education Ministers of six northern states at Srinagar, which was presided over by the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Mr Arjun Singh. He said the meeting deliberated upon the comparative approaches to the education adopted by the six states. He disclosed that the meeting was very fruitful as it provided the ministers a chance to learn about different systems and approaches being adopted in different states.

He observed that the situation appeared to be improving in the Kashmir valley.

He said he had seen lot of tourists from outside the valley and there was no space in the hotels and houseboats. Even the people of Kashmir were very friendly as they wanted the tourists to come to that place as it helped their economy. There was no threat perception or sense of insecurity anywhere and everybody roamed about freely in the Srinagar city, he said.

Mr Johar disclosed that he met Ms Mehbooba Mufti, the president of the ruling People’s Democratic Party and the daughter of the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohd Sayeed. He also met the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Mangat Ram Sharma. He said he offered the cooperation of his government to J&K in every possible manner, whether in curbing militancy or other ways. Mr Johar pointed out a lot of common things to be shared by the two states of Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, which would be mutually beneficial to both.



Srinagar attracts city residents
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, July 8
The increasing number of city residents visiting Srinagar seems to be an indication that normalcy is returning to the disturbed valley, may be at a slow pace. Tourists, who were reluctant to visit the place earlier, are opting for the same over other hill stations. People dealing in tours and travels have confirmed the fact that Srinagar remained the centre of attraction among residents this year.

The valley has attracted hundreds of local residents in the last few months. After visiting the beautiful valley, people feel that militants posed no threat to the tourists. Mr Varinder, a resident of Khanna, who returned from Srinagar recently after spending over 10 days with his family, said they did not face any problem in the “disturbed” valley.

“We enjoyed every minute of our stay in Kashmir. The place is so beautiful that words can not express the feelings. After spending six days, we extended our tour to a few days more”, he said.

Mr C.V.K. John, another resident, said though Kashmir had lost its identity but the beauty remained the same. Even the localities (Kashmiris) had understood that their economy had suffered heavily in the absence of tourists. With tourists started visiting the valley again, their business had started reviving.

“We were told by localities that militants targeted police, army and politicians only. The tourists were welcomed and safe. After seeing the rush of tourists, I had to believe their words”, said Mr John.

Many Amarnath yatris, too, halted at the place to enjoy nature’s beauty. Ms V.Malhotra, another Green Park resident, said the family members did not want to miss the golden chance this year. “Kashmiris are warm-hearted and the Kashmiri food served at the hotel was excellent. The government was trying hard to promote tourism by offering many facilities to tourists. Not only Srinagar, tourists have been travelling to Pehlgam, Gulmarg, Khilnmarg, Sonmarg etc. Tourists could be seen on a shopping-spree till late hours”, said Ms Malhotra.

The Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar summed it the best. Mr Johar, who returned from a week-long tour of the valley including the holy cave of Shri Amarnath, remarked, “The paradise (as Kashmir is called) seems to have been regained”. He was referring to the congenial atmosphere that has returned to the valley. He said people were very cooperative and there was “huge” rush of tourists to the valley.



Doorstep postal services in more areas from July 11
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 8
After encouraging response to the endeavour of the Department of Posts in providing door step services for sale of postal stamps, stationery and booking of speed post and registered articles in some of the post offices here, the service was now being extended to several more post offices from July 11.

Elaborating the concept of mobile postal services, Ms Manisha Badal, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices (SSPO), Ludhiana Postal Division, remarked that in the changed scenario, the department had persistently been coming out with several innovative and value-added services to cater to the needs of the customers.

She said the scheme for providing doorstep postal services was launched in October 2004 as a pilot project with the inspiration and motivation of Mr L.K. Puri, Chief Postmaster General Punjab, which evoked a huge response. In the three delivery post offices of the city at Miller Ganj, Dhandari Kalan and Basant Avenue, where the scheme was started, the postmen had been able to sell stamps and stationery worth nearly Rs 9 lakh, besides booking around 10,000 registered letters and over 200 speed post articles during a period of 9 months.

From next Monday, the scheme was being extended to all delivery post offices in the city, which included Ludhiana HO, PAU, Model Town, Basti Jodhewal, Central Post Office, GNE College, and Focal Point post offices. Mr Badal said the postmen were the most important human resources of the Department of Posts since they shared a personal rapport with each and every household and were considered like a family member.

Further, the postmen also had a vast knowledge of each and every locality, each and every address and this knowledge of the postmen was also being used for the verification of addresses by BSNL and other mobile companies. “More and more private companies, government institutions and departments are now coming to the Department of Posts for their various requirements since the vast infrastructure of the department has a customised business package for each company and department according to its particular requirements.”



Flood situation improves
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
With the water level in the Sutlej receding, the flood-like situation in the villages along the river has improved. As there have been no rains since yesterday the water level in the river has came down considerably. All villagers living along the bank of the river have returned home.

The water flow in the Sutlej recorded at the Phillaur railway bridge at 1 p.m today was 28,000 cusecs. The water level is likely to go up further as 24,300 cusecs of water was being released from Ropar. It will take about 12 hours more to reach Ludhiana. But the flood control officials said the additional inflow of 24,300 cusecs would not make much difference as the river had a capacity of 2.5 lakh cusecs.

There had been no inflow in the Sutlej from its tributaries like Budki, Siswan and Sagaraon during the last few days. The officials maintained that the threat of floods was almost over.



MC poll process launched
Our Correspondent

Amloh, July 8
According to new delimitation of wards of municipal council Amloh, Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM, Amloh, has launched a campaign for enrolment of voters for the election of municipal council, Amloh.

Director, Local Government, Punjab, has sent a copy of notification dated June 28 to the state election commission (SEC). In compliance of the notification, the state election commission under election Rules 9 has supplied necessary voter forms to the concerned offices, said Mr Hans to mediapersons here today.

SEC has fixed the enrolment programme for voters as under:

Enrolment of voters: July 7 to July 14. Preparation of menuscript & printing of electoral rolls: July 15 to July 19. Draft publication of electoral roles: July 20. Claims & objections: July 27. Decision of claims and objections: August 3 and final publication of electoral rolls: August 5.

The term of present municipal council expires on July 17. The seat of the council chief is reserved for Scheduled Caste candidate.



At the Crossroads
The twosome of poetic literature

The other day I was reading the poems of Faiz Ahmed Faiz in my free hours. This reminded me of my college days, during the mid-forties, when I recited the poems of Faiz and Sahir in the tutorial group meetings. Both the poets were dear to my heart in those days of my adolescence. Even today when I look back, these two Urdu poets loom large, after Mir and Ghalib, on the horizon of my consciousness. I wonder how could Faiz and Sahir cling to my memory so tenaciously during the past six decades.

Likewise, when I think of the Persian poets, who had been the part of the syllabi for my school and college examinations, the names of Sheikh Sa’di and Hafiz Shirazi crop up instantly in my mind. These two poets have no rivals, although Rumi, Jami, Urfi, Naziri, Khaqani, Khajvi Kirmani and a host of others have secured for themselves exalted places in the annals of Persian poetry. Still Sa’di and Hafiz occupy my mind in an irresistible manner and I go back to them even now in my ‘vacant and pensive moods’. Poetry has much to do with the melancholy moments of human existence as joy is transitory whereas sadness leaves a lasting impact on the mind.

In the realm of English poetry, my mind has been occupied with the poetic creations of John Keats and Robert Browning. Not that the other poets appeal to me less. I would say, in the parlance of William Shakespeare, that Keats and Browning have influenced me more. Of course, it appears to be blasphemous to single out these two 19th century poets, ignoring Chaucer, Shakespeare (a class apart), Milton, Wordsworth, Tennyson, T.S. Eliot and Stephen Spender, to name a few. But the heart has its own reasons which the intellect cannot dictate.

Nearer home, the Punjabi poets have woven magic strands around my senses in a gripping manner. With due apology to the modern poets, such as Bhai Vir Singh, Mohan Singh, Amrita Pritam, Prabhjot Kaur, Misha, Jagtar and others, I feel drawn to the poetic canopy of Shiv Kumar and Surjit Patar. Both these poets touch the innermost chords of the heart and the reader or listener is left spellbound.

The poetic diction of Shiv and Patar is at once classical and original. It is classical in the sense that these poets are conscious of mythical undertones and folklorist overtones in their poetic creations. Original they are in investing new meanings to the oft-used words as their placement in a particular context enhances their effectiveness. Moreover, the musicality of their verses coincides with the harmony of ideas and sensibilities inherent in them.

Indeed, I am not unmindful of the contribution of the stalwarts like Waris Shah, Bulhe Shah, Qadir Yar, Prof. Puran Singh and others. It is perhaps the contemporaneity that pulls the strings of the heart, whereas the mind is involved with the issues of perennial interest. No doubt Shiv and Patar as well as Faiz and Sahir come in the category of my contemporaries but that is not all. There is something in their works that has a lasting value.

Likewise, the ghazals of Sa’di and Hafiz seem to be the products of the heart that craves for aesthetic satisfaction in all times. Keats and Browning are still eager to project their ideas and feelings on the minds of the readers without any inhibition. There is no pontification or didactic approach to exhibit their uprightness. To me, even the Greek poetess Sappho (7th century BC) is my contemporary as I find the echo of my own feelings in her poetic compositions.

— N.S. Tasneem



Meena Bazaar a nightmare for commuters
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, July 8
The narrow Meena Bazaar, which runs parallel to the Chaura Bazaar, continues to be a nightmare for commuters and shoppers because of its perpetual congestion, courtesy extensions made by shopkeepers and the absence of any rules regulating the entry of wheel carts and four-wheeled transport vehicles.

The long bazaar, which houses wholesale and retail shops of all kinds, is visited by hundreds of retail shopkeepers from the city as well as outside on a daily basis who want to buy wholesale quantities of toffees, sugar candies and a host of other eatables like bhujia and so on. Almost all shops dealing in such merchandise have extended counters which further narrow down the bazaar.

Till a couple of years ago, the bazaar used to have a couple of vertical iron girders at both ends to discourage the entry of ‘over-sized’ vehicles that might prove to be traffic bottlenecks. But the girders are no more there now as a result of which four-wheeled transport tempos are entering the bazaar to either unload or load goodies at various wholesale shops. Similarly, there are no regulations governing the entry of hand driven wheel carts.

As the bazaar is located right in the middle of a residential area, it used not only by retail shopkeepers and shoppers but also by the residents of adjoining localities to commute through. 



Kisan bodies plan protests
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
Five Kisan organisations namely Kul Hind Kirti Kisan Sabha, Jamhoor Kisan Sabha Punjab, Punjab Kisan Sabha, BIKU (Ekta-Sidhupur) and Khetibari Vikas Front, will hold protest demonstrations at various sub-divisional headquarters of Raikot, Payal, Samrala, Khanna, Jagraon and Ludhiana from July 14, 15, 16, 18, 19 and 20.

According to a press release, a joint meeting of these organisations was held here today to chalk out the plan of action.

The demonstrations are being held in support of various demands like the withdrawal in the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel and electricity and free power to the farmers for their tubewells.

Farmer are also demanding that all the loans of the debt-ridden farmers be waived. The farmers are also demanding sufficient and remunerative prices for the paddy and other crops.



Vegetable prices soar due to rains
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 8
Prices of vegetables are soaring due to short supply owing to the heavy rains in Punjab and its neighbouring states. And if the rainy trend continues in the days to come vegetables would be out of the reach of the common man.

Vegetables like capsicum, arbi and gourd, which had been selling for about Rs 5 a kilo until a few days ago are now available at prices between Rs 15 and Rs 25 per kilo. Peas, carrots, cauliflower of both types, potatoes and francebeans which are imported from Himachal, are also arriving in short supply in the local sabzi mandi.

Similarly, vegetables coming to the city from Jammu and Kashmir are also in short supply. Supplies by local farmers of radish etc. are also suffering due to the incessant rains in many parts of Punjab.

According to sources, the city his witnessed a shortage of about 35 per cent in total vegetable supplies to the local vegetable market. Garlic, which used to arrive here from Gujarat, is also in short supply and selling at Rs 20 a kilo.

The following are the prices (per kilo) prevailing in local sabzi mandi on Friday morning.

Lady finger — Rs 10, peas — Rs 25, brinjals — Rs 10, potatoes — Rs 10 carrot — Rs 20, radish — Rs 5, kheera — Rs 10, Arbi — Rs 15, lemon — Rs 15, capsicum — Rs 20, Jamuns are selling at Rs 40 a kg, gourd — Rs 10.



New team of Rotary North installed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 8
Installation ceremony of Rotary Club of Ludhiana North was held at Basant Resorts here yesterday. Rotary presidential collar was passed on to Rtn. Jatinder Chawla for serving as President of Rotary Club Ludhiana North for the year 2005- 06. PDG Rtn. Suresh Chaudhry decorated Rtn. Jatinder Chawla with Presidential collar. Jatinder Chawla announced his team as under :-

Vice-president — Rtn. Rajan Narang and Rtn. Emmanuel; secretary — Rtn. Er. P.S. Behal; joint secretary — Rtn. Amanjot Singh; finance secretary (treasurer) — Rtn. Jatinder Parkash Lamba; sargeant-at-arms — Rtn. D.R. Chadha; auditor — Rtn. B.S. Chhabra; and editor — Rtn. R.N. Sehgal, advisor — Rtn Dr S.S. Johal.

Directors are: Rtn. Gurjit Singh (IPP), Rtn. S.P. Singh Dua (club services), Rtn. H.L. Goel (community services), Rtn. Ashok Jain (international services), Rtn. Manmohan Singh (rotary foundation), Rtn. H,S. Sachdeva (vocational services), Rtn. Ranvir Vij (youth services), Rtn. Tulsi Das Jaitwani (yoga services), Rtn. Charanjit Singh (internet services) and Rtn. J.S. Sangha (special committees).

He also detailed about the projects being taken by the club during the coming year, which will include literacy promotion, education scholarships, health awareness, water management and sanitation, pulse polio eradication, adoption of school, blood donation and tree plantation etc.



Suvidha camp
Our Correspondent

Samrala, July 8
Under the community policying programme Suvidha camp was held here today in the local Saahi Palace, under the presidentship of Mr Jasvir Singh, DSP Samrala, in which Mr Prag Jain DIG Ludhiana and Mr Naunuhal Singh, SSP Khanna was also present.

Mr Prag Jain and Mr Naunihal Singh took deep interest in the camp and appreciated in way of working of the local police.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Jain, said disputes regarding money transactions, travel agents and dowry were solved on the spot. As many as 28 cases were solved out of 40. He appreciated the role of Khanna police chief for arranging thikri pehra during night time in villages.

Mr Jain appealed in the people of the police district Khanna to give co-operation to police and also assured full justice to them.



Case registered for assault
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 8
A man is alleged to have been assaulted by 5 persons, for having illicit relations with their married women .
According to press release issued by Mr. Rajiv Ahir, SSP, Sukhdev Singh, his wife Mohinder Kaur, Avtar Singh Taril, Kaddu and Neka all of Manuke, assaulted and threatened Sukhwinder Singh (24) of Chak Bhaika police station.

Local police has registered a case under Section 323, 342, 506, 148, 149 of the IPc. Illicit relations are alleged to be the reason behind the assault.

The injured has been admitted in the Civil Hospital Jagraon.



PNB begins ‘dawn to dusk’ banking
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
Mr Harwant Singh, General Manager, Punjab National Bank (PNB), Punjab zone, inaugurated the dawn to dusk banking, (8.00 am to 8 pm) at the Sarabha Nagar branch of the bank here today.

Mr Harwant Singh said the new service would help bank’s customers to conduct their banking transactions early in the morning or late than the usual banking hours in the evening, as per their convenience. He said customers of the other 21 branches of the PNB in Ludhiana City, which are inter-connected under the Core Banking Solution (CBS), could also avail of the facilities at this branch, besides customers of all CBS branches in the country.

The bank would start more such innovative banking activities in future for the convenience of public.

He said the bank considered technology as a key driver in business development and was making continuous efforts to upgrade technology. The bank had already attained 100 per cent computerisation of its branches.

Mr Harwant Singh said the number of inter-connected branches under the CBS would go up to 2,000 by March, 2006.

Mr. K.C. Salota, Deputy General Manager, Mr K.L. Miglani, Deputy Zonal Manager, Mr R.K. Sharma, Senior Regional Manager, Mr. Anil Sama, Chief Manager, and senior officers from the bank and customers were also present on the occasion.


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