L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Sale of adulterated sweets unabated
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 30
Don’t get fancy ideas over a box of beautifully packed sweets bearing the name of a reputed ‘halwai’ shop or a well laid out dish in a roadside eatery, or even for that matter, a good restaurant in an upmarket commercial area in the city.

A piece of mouth watering sweet or a lavish dish one might consume after paying a hefty price, can in fact, turn out to be a grave health hazard if the unrestrained adulteration, poor hygienic conditions of the kitchens and workshops, along with lack of other basic public health safety measures prevailing in the city, are any indication.

With the festive season at its peak and the hoards of sweet sellers here about to rake in tonnes of money on Divali which is just two days away, the danger to the health of people due to the consumption of adulterated and poor quality sweets, confectionary and other food items, has also increased in the same proportions.

If sources in the sweet selling trade are to be believed, the haul of 3.5 tonnes of ‘khoya’ seized a couple of days back, is not even the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Even the conservative estimates of sale of sweets during the festivities around Divali in the city, are put at several hundred tonnes, with the preparation of different varieties of sweets and confectionary items commencing a fortnight before.

Doctors in various hospitals here point out that due to a long gap between the preparation of sweets and their consumption, coupled with poor quality of inputs and unhygienic conditions prevailing in most of the workshops of ‘halwais’, the consumption of such food items can lead to serious gastric disorders and, at times, even cancer of the intestines.

Officials of the Health Department, as well as the civic body, as is their wont, continue to pay just lip service to the task of enforcement and regulation, assigned to them while those wreaking havoc on the health of people keep making money at the expense of unsuspecting customers.

A majority of the people from different walks of life whom Ludhiana Tribune talked to on this subject were of the opinion that the so-called procedure of sample taking from sweet shops and other eating joints was a mere eye wash. “The officials responsible for keeping a check on food adulteration seem to be in league with the defaulters. If that was not the case, why do they target only small venders while the big shark continue to thrive,” they wondered.



Delhi blasts ‘crime against humanity’
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, October 30
Cutting across the party and ideological lines, leaders from different political parties today condemned the serial bomb blasts in Delhi which left over 60 persons dead and over 200 others injured. They demanded strict action against the culprits saying such people did not deserve any mercy. Describing it as a crime against humanity, they said the guilty, terror, should not be spared. Activists of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staged a demonstration and burnt an effigy of Pakistan against the bomb blasts.

Condemning the blasts, former minister and general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, said it was a cowardly act and no civilised society would permit such incidents. He observed, that the perpetrators of such heinous crimes should be dealt with firmly. He maintained that such acts could not deter the resolve of a society to fight terrorism. He expressed sympathies with the bereaved families.

Senior BJP leader and former MP Lala Lajpat Rai, said terrorists had targeted the innocents. “That’s what they are capable of”, he observed, while adding that this was an effort by the defeated and disgusted people who resort to hit-and-run methods. He regretted that the enthusiastic shoppers who were busy with their Divali and Id shopping were made target by the merchants of death.

Parliamentary Secretary and Ludhiana east Legislator Mr Surinder also condemned the terrorist attacks in Delhi and expressed sympathies with the bereaved families. He expressed the hope that people of the country in general and Delhi in particular would face this hour of crisis with courage.

Leaders of the CPI also condemned the killing of innocents in bomb blasts. Mr Karta Singh Bowani and Dr Arun Mitra in a joint statement said this was an act of anti-national forces with a view to spreading communal tension at a time when the festivals like Divali and Id were approaching. “People in country should maintain communal harmony and brotherhood at this hour and thwart the designs of anti-national forces”, said Dr Arun Mitra.

Mr Rajat Sood, joint secretary ABVP said widespread terrorism in India needed to be curbed immediately. This was possible if leaders from all political parties joined hands. He alleged that Pakistan was lending support to terrorism by giving formal training to terrorists. “Youngsters in India should come forward to tackle such problems on their own”, said Mr Sood.

Mr Yogesh Diwan state general secretary of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front also condemned the serial blasts and demanded strict action against the guilty.



Blasts no damper on festive spirit
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, October 30
Ludhianvis seem to be totally caught up with the festival spirit as they swarmed the local markets to make last minute purchases for the festival of lights, nothwithstanding the serial bomb blasts in Delhi last evening.

Such was the rush that all main shopping areas in the city were flooded with people. Families could be seen going from store to store to buy items like sweets and gifts for their near and dear ones.

The sense of fear in a wake of the Delhi blasts seemed distant although a red alert has been sounded in the region.

One could witness a sea of humanity in the traditional shopping market places like Chaura Bazaar and Gur Mandi.

In view of the rush, the entry of all kinds of vehicles was banned by the police today in many shopping areas.

The residents of such areas could be seen grumbling as they had to walk long a distance but then the festive spirit caught on. Only pedestrians were allowed to enter the market areas on the Mall, Sarabha Nagar, Ghumar Mandi in the Civil Lines also remained crowded with the shoppers and out of bounds for vehicles.

Not wanting to leave anything to chance, a strick check was maintained on the movement of people. Police personnel were present in large numbers in and around the main shopping areas and important city intersections.

An extra vigil was being kept at the Grain Market near the Jalandhar byepass, the venue of the large scale crackers market.

Meanwhile, people have decorated their houses and business premises with colourful lights. During a round of the city, one could see the buildings illuminated tastefully with different kinds of lights. However, the sale of crackers is reported to be not so brisk as in the previous years. 



Courts closed for four days
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 30
The district courts will remain closed from November 1 to 4 for Divali. However, to handle urgent cases one Additional Sessions Judge and a Judicial Magistrate will remain available.

As per the instructions of the District and Sessions Judge, Mr Harbans Lal, on November 1, Mr S.P. Bhangrh, Additional District and Sessions Judge, on November 2, Mr Gurbir Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, on 3, Mr Satvinder Singh, Additional Sessions Judge and on November 4, Mr Sanjeev Berry, Additional Sessions Judge, will be on duty and handle cases pertaining to Sessions Courts.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr K.S. Cheema has assigned the duty work to Magistrates. As per the duty roaster issued by him, Mr Sangeet Pal Singh will be on duty on November 1, Mr Jaspal Verma on November 2, Ms Gurdarshan Kaur on November 3 and Mr J.S. Marok (JMIC) on November 4. 



Passing Thru

Johar Ali Khan
Johar Ali Khan, a violin player

At what age did you begin to learn violin and from whom?

I started learning at the age of five from my father. Music runs in my blood as my grandfather Ali Baksh was the founder of the Patiala Gharana. My family has produced a great number of musicians like Ustad Amanat Ali, Asad Amanat Ali Khan and Hamid Ali Khan. All my four brothers are musicians. Ajmal Ali is tabla player whereas Nazakat Ali is music composer. My other two brothers Nadeem Ali is a singer whereas Asif Ali besides being a singer, is also a tabla player.

What are your views about fusion?

I think fusion is excellent as it gives musicians to interact with each other and become familiar with other kinds of music. I have formed a band called Sargam. The band is the fusion of modern and traditional music instruments/ musical orchestra and light classical, Bollywood, popular Jazz, Punjabi and Hindi songs.

Could you highlight some of your achievements?

I have been associated with many groups and artistes of global music and have been creating thematic music with artistes and groups of international repute.

— Asha Ahuja



Ludhiana Calling

During the past few years, festive season has always seen a lot of adulteration in food, particularly the sweets. Recently, the district administration seized huge quantity of spurious khoya used in the manufacture of sweets. This is not for the first time that spurious khoya has found its way into the city. With great demand for sweets on Divali, the spurious khoya finds easy and unsuspecting buyers. This has led to people starting shying away from the sweets. Instead, they would prefer dry fruits as the shelf life of the dry fruits is always longer than the sweets. The halwais in the city, including some leading ones, have reported considerable fall in the sales of the sweets. Although there are some credible and trusted halwais, yet the people have started thinking twice before ordering any sweets, lest their Divali turns sour.

‘Disastrous’ management

The Municipal Corporation and the Health Department have time and again failed to do their job well and rise to the occasion as far as taking timely preventive steps against outbreak of diseases in the city is concerned. It was just a month ago that several localities were in the grip of severe gastroenteritis, caused by pathetic insanitary conditions and contamination of drinking water. The city population was just about to get over the shock of the gastro affliction when dengue, a mosquito-caused high grade fever, has struck with full force. As usual, the departments concerned, despite much publicised awareness and education drives, failed to take necessary steps to check breeding of mosquito and throwing hundreds of city residents in the jaws of life threatening disease.

Chinese lights

China has always been feared by the manufacturers here. Be it the fabric or the machine tools, the Chinese goods come cheaper to India as compared to those manufactured locally. When it comes to prices people here prefer cheaper ones even if means little compromise with the quality. These days, with Diwali only a day away, the Chinese lights have flooded the city. These lights have come in a wide variety and people have been liking these. Rather, people have been preferring these over the traditional candles used for the illumination.

Commuters suffers

With Divali just a whisker away, the traffic snarls in almost all streets are driving commuters bonkers. What amazes people is that the Municipal Corporation is allowing the shopkeepers to dig the roads to erect tents and then cover half the road by putting tables with their goods. But steps should be taken to smoothen the flow of traffic. The roads are jampacked with shopkeepers spreading their wares. People are sitting on roadside and selling small knick knacks. The situation worsens in the evenings when it is office time.

Washing dirty linen...

Functionaries of the Youth Congress are once again at it. Allegations are flying thick and high and charges are being traded between leadership of the district unit of the party and a vice president of state body, who was unceremoniously removed from the district presidentship recently. The reigning president and his close supporters are up in arms over appointment of a district-level office-bearer by the said state unit leader, a vice-president of the Punjab Youth Congress, in gross violation of the constitution and without the authority to do so. Consequently, the ‘heavy weight’ YC leader, who has been in the news, but for all the wrong reasons, have been hurled with charges of blackmailing cracker dealers, being a police tout and even working for liquor smugglers.

Showcasing talent

Divali brings forth the talented artisans of our country to the fore. One can see colourful toys in the markets . This poor artisan may not be able to make both ends meet but he keeps his craftsmanship alive. Similarly, the potters making mud lamps and others making idols of Lakshmi showcase their talent. We must salute these unkown artisans with magic in their fingers for keeping our crafts alive.

— Sentinel



Ambedkar Ekta Mission holds sammelan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 30
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, today claimed that only the Congress had watched the interest of the Dalits and downtrodden classes of society. He was presiding over the Valmiki sammelan organised by the Dr Ambedkar Ekta Mission, Punjab, here.

Assuring that the Congress would always ensure the people economic and social development, he said, other parties had always exploited them.

He appreciated the efforts of the mission in mobilising the Dalits and bringing awareness among them.

He appealed them to avail the facilities and benefits the government was providing to the weaker and downtrodden sections of society.

Addressing the function, the parliamentary secretary, Mr Surinder Dawer said the Congress had taken several welfare measures for the Dalits. He said, the government had accorded top priority to the uplift of the Dalits in the state.

Among others present on the occasion included the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, former MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, Kala Hans and others.



Ex-Services League writes to UK Govt on grants
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 30
The Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, has impressed upon the Ministry of Defence of the British Government to reconsider its decision of not to pay ex gratia to those Indian soldiers who had fought for the British Government in the World War II.

The Ministry of Defence of the British Government had informed Lt-Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (retd), President of the Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, that the Indian soldiers who fought in the World War II were not entitled to ex gratia grants.

The ministry in its letter maintained, “The great majority of those who served in the old Indian Army during the World War II are not eligible for payment under the UK’s ex gratia payment scheme. Neither does the scheme apply to former prisoners of war (UK nationals or otherwise) from other theatres in the World War II or from other conflicts.”

While pleading for the reconsideration of the decision, Col Dhillon has written to the UK Government, “The fact is ex gratia payment has been made by the UK Government but on a selective basis. Our plea throughout has been that transfer of power to India and Pakistan took place more than two years after the war had ended. We strongly feel that the United Kingdom was morally bound to project matter concerning any agreements with the belligerent powers inclusively and not exclusively. To exclude the Indian armed forces and leave them in the lap of the governments was not at all fair.”

Col Dhillon has stated, “I have no hesitation in revealing that some front rank leaders during the war and after that very much tried to politically exploit the Army. There were many instances when soldiers in many cantonments went wayward till the C-in-C General Auckenleck cautioned such leaders not to mislead such a fine army and also the leaders concerned realised their suicidal adventure. I also do not hesitate to state that the new governments granted lucrative pensions and concessions to the INA personnel leaving the demobilised millions of veterans to fend for themselves without pension and die in penury.”



One arrested for assault
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 30
Gurpreet Singh Gora, Charanjit Singh Mithoo, Manjinder Singh, Amarjit Singh, Jaswinder Singh Kaka and Yadwinder Singh of Swaddi Khurd have been booked for allegedly assaulting Inderjit Singh of Kothe Khazooran in the area of Agwar Gujjran here under Sections 341, 323, 324, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC. The police has arrested Jaswinder Singh, the others have absconded.

1 held for poppy husk: Surinder Singh Saini of Mandiani has been arrested at Ramgarh Bhullar and 15 kgs of poppy husk recovered from him. A case under Sections 15, 25, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered.


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