L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Govt will fulfil poll promises: Dullo
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 16
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) President, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, today maintained that the Congress government in Punjab would fulfil all its promises made in the manifesto during the elections. He further claimed that the farmers had already been provided free power for tube wells while the Schedule Caste families had been exempted from paying power bills upto 200 units for domestic use.

Mr Dullo was addressing a function after inaugurating a free medical check -up camp organised by the Amar Jyoti Youth Club at New Janta Nagar here. More than 300 patients were examined by the doctors at the camp and free medicines were provided to them.

Elaborating several welfare schemes launched by the government for weaker sections, he said the government was laying special emphasis on the upliftment of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled tribes. Several measures had been initiated for the development in SC colonies in different parts of the state.

Claiming that the government was genuinely concerned over the problems of unemployed youth, he said problems of employees would be sorted out soon. The government was in the process of starting recruitment in different departments for vacant posts so as to provide employment to educated youth. Mr Dullo expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, for the announcement of sufficient funds for the infrastructure development of the state, and particularly for development of Ludhiana city during his recent visit to Punjab.

The PPCC chief assured the industry and trade that their genuine problems would also be solved at the earliest while indicating that a strong case had been put up by the ruling party before the Prime Minister for allowing tax rebate at par with other neighbouring states of Himachal Pardesh and Jammu and Kashmir . He claimed that the state government had conceded the demand for the exemption of VAT on shawls and blankets in Punjab.

Addressing the function, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, Punjab, said the government was taking necessary steps to upgrade the infrastructure in schools. Sufficient funds for this purpose had been provided during the current financial year. A sum of Rs 6 crore had been spent in this district alone, through village- level Development and Education Committees, based upon the representatives of different sections of people in the villages. Further, the government had earmarked funds amounting to Rs 4 crore for the development of sports in the schools. He announce a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the Amar Jyoti Youth Club.

Mr Malkit Singh Dakha, MLA, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, and Mr Jagmohan Sharma, President DCC (U), were also present at the occasion.



Potters busy making diyas for Divali
D. B. Chopra

Ludhiana, October 16
With just two weeks left for Divali, city-based potters have their hands full. A visit to Qilla Mohalla reveals that the potter families living in the locality were busy making diyas of various shapes as also piggy banks which sell like hot cakes at roadside fairs held near various city temples.

Jani Ram, perhaps the oldest potter in the city, was busy on his mechanised wheel, moulding ordinary diyas while other members of his large family were also doing one chore or the other. The old potter sounds a bit philosophical when he says that it was more a labour of love than a profitable occupation to make small earthen diyas which do not bring in any substantial returns. "But I make these for Divali, though I prefer making piggy banks which bring in good returns", he adds.

Because ordinary diyas do not fetch much, Panna Lal, a potter living in Chander Nagar, has started making colourful diyas which are more attractive and more expensive. Some potters in Qila Mohalla also make artistic diya stands.



Police inaction blunts drive against quacks
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 16
Even as the health authorities here have gone in an overdrive to deal with quacks in the district, the ongoing drive is yet to achieve the desired results just because the police, for reasons best known to it, is still dragging its feet in bringing the culprits to book.

According to Dr Rajinder Kaur, Civil Surgeon, the department had already submitted lists of more than 120 unregistered practitioners, carrying out medical practice in different parts of the district in gross violation of relevant laws. “Through separate letters addressed to the SSP between September 27 and October 7, 2005 the police was asked to register cases against the law-breakers under Section 15 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.”

Out of the unqualified and unregistered medical practitioners, identified by the health department, largest number (68) were reported to be operating in Sahnewal block, followed by 22 in Pakhowal block. Rest of them were running clinics in different localities in the city and on the periphery. Sources in the health department maintained that feeling the heat of the crackdown, a large number of quacks had either closed down their clinics while some others had submitted sworn affidavits saying they would discontinue the practice.

Inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune from police sources revealed that except for booking almost one dozen quacks, whose clinics were raided in the last week of Sept following the death of four children due to wrong medication given by a quack in Prem Nagar locality, the police had not registered any more cases so far against those carrying out unlawful practice.

While the health authorities claim that their task was just to identify the quacks and taking action against them for the violation of law was the responsibility of the police, the law enforcement agency still appeared indecisive. Different police officers, under whose jurisdiction the identified quacks were operating, advanced their own whimsical reasons for failure to act against the unregistered practitioners. ‘The matter is being examined’ or ‘legal opinion is being obtained’ were cited as reasons for delay in acting against the quacks.

However, insiders claim that the situation had come as a god-send opportunity for certain low rung police officials who were building pressure on the quacks to make some easy money. The failure of police authorities to register FIRs against the defaulting persons till now gave further credence to these allegations.

Meanwhile, residents strongly felt that only a concerted and collective action on the part of the health department and the police could curb quackery.



Cycle manufacturers all set for elections
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 16
Campaigning has intensified for the elections to the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association Ludhiana, scheduled on October 22. With Mr Joginder Kumar parting ways with his associate G.L. Pahwa and deciding to contest for the post of the president against the latter the election to the association promises to be keen and close.

Both groups claim to have an edge over the other. Mr Pahwa is the incumbent president of the association.

The Pahwa group has been claiming the credit for making the government not to force out the industrial units from residential areas.

On the other hand, Mr G.S. Chawla, who belongs to the Joginder Kumar group holds that there were only two groups in the association. One led by himself and another by Mr Joginder Kumar. He said, “after both of us joined hands together, there is no doubt about our sweeping the elections”.

The association has 1,808 members and is claimed to be the largest association of any group of manufacturers in Asia.



Passing Thru

Anju Gupta
Anju Gupta, Delhi-based artist.

What is Tanjore Art basically ?

Tanjore Art originated in the 18th century in a small town, Tanjore, in Tamil Nadu. The theme of Tanjore paintings revolves around gods and goddesses. The paintings are done on a canvas cloth stretched over a wooden plank. Then layers of paste, which is made from glue and limestone, are moulded and applied to create a three- dimensional effect. Then the paintings are crafted with relief work trimmed with 24-carat gold foils and studded with semi-precious stones.

How long have you been making these exotic paintings?

I learned the art at a week-long South Indian workshop way back in 1996 and ever since then I have been painting.

How is the response to your first solo two-day exhibition in the city at the Sutlej Club?

Very encouraging, I would say. I have got a number of orders from visitors.

How much does an average Tanjore painting cost?

A painting measuring 2 ft by 2.5 ft, duly framed, costs around Rs 8,000, which is not actually much keeping in view the pure gold work and an average of 80 hours of manual work which go into the making of a painting.

— D.B.Chopra



Ludhiana Calling

Increased penetration of media is giving ample opportunities to artistes. Auditions and talent hunt shows by various television channels and companies have become quite frequent. While big cities have no dearth of training schools in acting, music and even anchoring, artistes in city complain of lack of such facilities. For the industrial town, this only shows a lack of interest in the arts. Industry houses need to take the lead.

Gifts galore

Unlike earlier when you discovered the wide variety of gifts available in market only when you went to shop, companies have made things easier for people. The entire month has one or the other product launch, specifically meant for the festive season. So one gets to hear and read about launches of celebration ranges from dry fruits, household items, watches to clothes, decorative items and even pens.

Bank woes

Privatisation might have made customer the king, but in the banking sector, the euphoria seems to be ending. Customers complain of poor treatment in private sector banks. Among frequent complaints is the arrogant attitude of executives as they want to discourage people from visiting branches and promote their online banking services. High charges on or the other pretext are also adding to customer woes.

Ban processions

With great regularity big long procession on each and every religious functions are being taken out through the walled city and areas around it. A procession was taken out on Ferozepore Road on Saturday. The city came to a standstill during the period of the procession. The business of traders suffers, commuters suffer as there is an enormous delay in reaching home, patients get stuck on roads, the nerves of drivers are frayed. The processions are getting longer and tedious. It is high time the Administration banned all such processions.

End of tunnel

The criss-cross wrinkled face. Eyes squinted to have a better view, reflecting sorrow of a life time, helplessness, fear of future and insecurities are generally written on the faces of old people. They are scared to make their presence felt and shrivel up at a harsh word or tone. They are waiting for death but that too, is not at their bidding. Eight per cent of India's population is in the category of senior citizens but they are living pathetic lives. It is time the government and NGOs came forward to their help as they have the right to live in dignity.

— Sentinel



New alignments in Akali Jatha
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 16
New alignments are taking place in the Akali Jatha (city-Badal) and dissensions have taken place among the three top leaders of the jatha. A group of the city Akali Jatha led by Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, who is vice-president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, has joined hands with the group led by Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha and Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, MP and president, youth wing.

The latest development in the city Akali Jatha has come about after a meeting held between Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha and Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon with the intervention of Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla, member, Punjab Public Service Commission.

The Garcha-Dhillon group has been trying to wean away Mr Makkar from the Hira Singh Gabria-Amarjit Singh Bhatia group for the past few months. After the separation of late Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, three local leaders — Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia and Mr Hira Singh Gabria — had been working against one another. While Mr Gabria was associated with the Tohra faction, the other two leaders had their loyalty with Mr Badal. After the unity of the Akali Dal led by Mr Badal and Mr Tohra, Mr Hira Singh Gabria was made the president of the city Akali Jatha as agreed between the two stalwarts. Before the separation of the two senior Akali leaders, Mr Gabria was the president of the city Akali Jatha and Mr Makkar continued to act as the acting jathedar of the city jatha. Mr Bhatia was also opposed to Mr Makkar. But later they all joined hands and managed to get their hold on the city Akali Jatha.

The group led by Mr Garcha and Mr Dhillon tried its best to break them but did not succeed and they brought in Mr Simarjit Singh Bains, as president, district youth wing, and also managed to win over some workers the Akali Dal (Amritsar). At the same time, this group continued to work on Mr Makkar to win him over.

Finally, the Garcha-Dhillon nexus succeeded with the help of Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla.



Rly inquiry service not satisfactory
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, October 16
It is around 12 noon. Outside the inquiry window at the local railway station there are standing half a dozen men peering inside and looking patiently and expectantly at the two empty chairs. Soon their patience gives way to despair as one by one, they leave the window to make way for others who want to make an inquiry about the arrival or departure time of various train.

After quite a while, a woman officer comes and occupies one of the empty chairs and begins speaking into the phone unaware of the cluster of people milling outside the inquiry window. While the woman officer is still talking on the phone , a young boy walks into the cabin, raising the hopes of the small crowd at the window. As the boy gestures emphatically that he has nothing to do with their inquiries, the crowd starts thinning once again.

The railway inquiry system at the Ludhiana railway station remains a primitive one, not withstanding the tall claims of computerisation and modernisation by the Railways. When one dials 131 — the country-wide number for railway enquiry — nine out of 10 times, there is no response. City residents, who try to access 131 from their mobiles, are not successful since the number is accessible only through a BSNL phone.

Mr G.D. Agnihotri, Chief Reservation Supervisor, told Ludhiana Tribune that the poor service at 131 was due to the fact that there were four telephone lines for this number but only one attendant, as a result of which most of the time, people were disappointed.

Citing the example of Chandigarh and Delhi railway stations, Mr Agnihotri revealed that things were much easier for the callers there as a caller would be immediately notified that he was in the queue for his query. Such a facility should also be installed here, he opined.

However, one can ring up 132 for a constant, computerised update on the arrival and departure of all trains. The information starts pouring soon after one dials this number but it would not answer any specific questions. The other inquiry number — 133 — is for inquiries regarding reservations. This service is somewhat better. When asked if there were any landline telephones for inquiry, Mr Agnihotri replied in the negative.



N-power expensive, unsafe: experts
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 16
"Nuclear power is neither safe, nor economical and it cannot be the answer to India's future energy needs," concluded a seminar of health experts, peace activists and scholars, organised by the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) at Dumra Auditorium of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital here last evening.

The key speaker at the seminar, Prafull Bidwai, noted columnist, observed that electricity generation by the nuclear route was offered as a 'magic bullet' by the then US President Eisenhower in his 1953 'Atoms for Peace' speech. Nuclear power was projected as abundant, environmentally safe and 'too cheap to meter'.

Contrary to claims, it had turned out to be extremely limited in utility, difficult to manage, unacceptably hazardous and too expensive to hook to a meter. All worldwide forecasts of the expansion of nuclear power had proved exaggerated by a factor of 100. "Nuclear power accounts for just 16 per cent of the world's electricity generation, which in turn is only one-third of its energy consumption. Its global contribution is shrinking as more and more reactors get shut down in western Europe and the USA."

Chiding the Indian Government's love for nuclear power plants, Bidwai remarked that in India, the share of nuclear power in electricity was under 3 per cent. In spite of the thousands of crores of rupees spent on the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) each year, India's nuclear capacity was only 3,300 MW. By contrast, wind power, a safe renewable source, contributed 3,600 MW in capacity, that too without subsidies or hazards.

"Moreover, the DAE has a shocking safety record and has exposed hundreds of workers to radiation doses in excess of the maximum permissible limits. India's nuclear installations have witnessed a number of serious accidents, including fires and radiation leaks. There is no independent regulation for safety and environmental soundness. India's nuclear plants are among the world's most polluted. Not only this, the DAE has missed every single target for power generation and is badly mismanaged."

He further alleged that nuclear power everywhere was 30 to 100 per cent more expensive than electricity from fossil fuels like coal, oil, gas or renewable sources. Then how could it be cheaper in India, he asked. India could not sustain nuclear power generation on the basis of indigenous resources since its uranium reserves were not able to even support 8,000 MW of normal fission reactors. On the other hand, potential for renewable sources was over 100,000 MW.

Bidwai was of the opinion that nuclear power would perpetuate India's dependence on external sources, while at the same time carrying high environmental and occupational health risks. Such a situation could never be in public interest. A number of renewable alternatives were available which were safe, decentralised, and far more appropriate to the nation's needs.

Dr P. K. Gupta, Director of the School of Energy, Punjab Agricultural University, explained the benefits of renewable non-conventional energy resources like wind, solar and biomass.

Dr L.S. Chawla, President, IDPD, was skeptical about whether nuclear energy for peaceful purpose would really be peaceful always. Dr Arun Mitra expressed apprehensions about extensive damage the nuclear plants could cause, in the event of a natural calamity.

The seminar forcefully demanded a serious debate on this crucial aspect.



Row over damage to ad board
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 16
An advertisement company partner accused a member of the District Grievance Redressal Committee of getting an advertisement board of the company damaged through some goons on the Jagraon bridge this morning.

Mr Raman Pathak, owner of Gorgeous Advertisers, has in a complaint to the Chief Minister of Punjab, Punjab State Human Rights Commission, Director-General of Police, SSP of Ludhiana and SHO Division No 5 police station alleged that at about 5.30 am today, five persons who came on motor cycles and a scooter and were armed with hockey sticks, iron rods and knives damaged the board.

He claimed that the company had posted some persons to keep a watch on the board as the accused wanted to use that space for his business. The persons, however, could not do anything due to the sharp-edged weapons brandished by the accused.

He claimed that Mr Vicky Sharma owner of Jannat Beauty Parlour and member of the District Grievances Redressal Committee, had scripted the attack.

Mr Vicky Sharma, however, denied the allegations. He said he and the complainant had some problem in the past, but it had been sorted out.

Police sources said Division No 5 police had received the complaint and was investigating the matter. 



Stress laid on communal harmony
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, October 16
To commemorate the 112th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s world famous Chicago Address (in the world parliament of religions in 1893 at Chicago, USA), the Swami Vivekananda Study Circle organised a Sarv Dharam Conference here today.

Speakers of different religions were invited to share their views on the topic ‘Apne dharam mein dusre dharmon ke prati samman ki bhawana’. Mr CS, Talwar, PCS, was the chief guest.

Various speakers, including Mr Sarbjit Singh (Sikhism), Mr Hira Lal Jain (Jainism), Mr J.C. Joshi (Hinduism), Mufti Fuzail-ur-Rehman (Islam) and Rev Fr Danial (Christianity) expressed their views on the theme.

Among the others present were Mr T.S. Bakshi, Dr A.K. Jain, Mr Satish Soi, Mr D.P. Grover, Mr Vinay Sofat, Mr Vijay Asdhir, Mr Sanjeev Dawar, Mr P.R. Talwar, Ms Usha Gambhir, Sarita, Mr Sunil Garg, Mr S.K. Aggarwal, Ms Vishu Arora, Mr Vijay Kaushal, Dr J.P. Singh and Dr Arun Kaushal.

The Swami Vivekananda Study Circle, with its headquarters at Ludhiana endeavours to promote the ideas and ideals of the Swami to enable the youngsters to imbibe the spirit of love and compassion, spirituality, positive patriotism, broad outlook, strength and self-confidence.

The circle has its branches at Bathinda, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Batala, Chandigarh, Guniana Mandi, Nawanshahr and Rampura Phul.



Discourses by Swami Paramanand Giri
Our Correspondent

Swami Paramanand Ludhiana, October 16
Swami Paramanand explained the “art of living peacefully” to his disciples while serving discourses at Gill Chowk, Gill Road, here, today.
He explained vedanta's complex subjects in a simple and logical way that city residents flocked to attend his lectures.

The swami says desires are the main cause of human sufferings. To fulfill these desires and to maintain false position are the underlying reasons of men remaining restless and under stress. After self-realisation only or “atam bodh”, one becomes enlightened and is relieved from sorrows. The satsang will continue at the same venue till October 18.



Mystery shrouds boy's death

Ludhiana, October 16
Mystery shrouds the death of a minor boy whose body was found in a vacant plot near the 33-foot road in Mundian today morning.
The body of Ashish, aged 8, son of migrant labourer Ram Chowdhry, was found dead under mysterious circumstances by a passerby. As news of his body spread, his parents and neighbhours who were already searching for him came there and identified him.

Initially, it was thought that some snake could have bit him. The boy's body had turned blue. However, later on close examination, the police found some injuries on the body too, which suggested murder. — TNS



Small Savings’ agents exhorted to get collections
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 16
The Director, Small Savings, Punjab, Mr Chander Shekher Talwar, today exhorted the agents to strive hard to generate maximum collections under different schemes of Small Savings so that the fixed target of Rs 4,200 crores for the current year could be achieved.

Mr Talwar was addressing a meeting of Small Saving agents, organised to review the progress of various schemes at Bachat Bhavan here today. Around 200 agents participated.

He said during last year collections amounting to Rs 3,600 crore under Small Saving Schemes were made and the state had got funds of around Rs 2,700 crore out of the total collections for development projects. He said money invested in the Small Saving Schemes was of dual benefit, as on one hand it earned good interest and attractive prizes for the investors and on the other hand it ensured sufficient funds for the development of the state.

Mr Talwar informed that the 30th Lucky Coupon Scheme had started on October 1 and would close on March 31, 2006, and a draw for the prizes would be taken out at a state-level function after the close of the scheme.

Mr A. K. Sharma, Deputy Director, Small Savings, said the district had been maintaining top position in net collection for the past more than two decades.

He said there were more than 3,000 Small Saving agents in the district, who were always putting in hard work to maintain top position.


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