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Ludhianvis give rousing welcome to palki
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
It was a tumultuous welcome accorded to the golden palki with hundreds and thousands of people paying their obeisance to the palki after it reached here early in the morning. The palki, which is on its way to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan from Delhi, reached about 12 hours late. However, that did not discourage the devotees who kept on waiting at Gurdwara Shaheedan at Dolewal Chowk in the city to have a glimpse of it.

They kept shouting “Bole so Nihal, Sat Sri Akal”. And when the palki finally arrived, there was a tumult, just short of stampede, with thousands of hands being raised in prayer. For a while, it looked like there was no end to the long procession of people, buses, cars and two-wheelers. It was an unending multitude of people spread out all across roads, streets and every bit of available vacant space.

The palki was at the head of a long convoy of about 200 buses and about a thousand cars. According to Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, about 50 lakh people have already paid their obeisance to the palki so far on its way from Delhi to Ludhiana. Another 50 lakh would pay their obeisance on its way to Amritsar. The palki would cross the Wagah border for Nankana Sahib with about 1,800 devotees.

Against the scheduled stay of four hours in Ludhiana, it took over eight hours for the palki to cross the city. With devotees thronging the palki from everywhere, it literally moved at a snail’s pace. Thousands of people vied with each other trying to elbow each other aside to reach the palki and feel it. Men and women, young and old, everyone tried to touch the palki and be blessed. For they deserved the blessings as they had kept on waiting for hours together and the wait proved to be worth it.

Leaders from the Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president, Mr Avtar Singh, were conspicuous by their absence. Mr Avtar Singh was stated to be in Delhi. However, that did not seem to have any impact on the ordinary workers of the party who actively participated in the nagar kirtan that brought the city to a virtual halt for the entire day.

After entering the city along the G.T. Road from Sherpur Chowk, the palki had its first stopover at Gurdwara Shaheedan, Dolewal Chowk. Devotees were offered refreshments there. It was scheduled to reach there at about 10 pm yesterday, but instead reached here at around 9 am today. From there it went around the city passing through various gurdwaras Ramgarhia Council Vishwakarma Chowk, the Khalsa College for Women, Gujjar Khan Campus, Gurdwara Dukhniwaran, Gurdwara Kalgidhar, Field Ganj, Clock Tower, New and Old Sabzi Mandi and finally the Jallandhar bypass.

All along the route people had set up langar, tea stalls and chhabeel for devotees.



Azad gets aid for earthquake victims
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, takes the salute during a guard of honour presented to him during his visit to Ludhiana on Monday
The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, takes the salute during a guard of honour presented to him during his visit to Ludhiana on Monday. — Photo by Sayeed Ahmed

Ludhiana, November 28
Leading Ludhiana industrialists and others today contributed about Rs 30 lakh for the relief of the earthquake-hit in Jammu and Kashmir. Representatives of leading industrial houses, including the Hero Group, the Avon Group, the Vardhaman Group, Oswals and others today met the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, and personally handed over him the relief cheques. Those who met Mr Azad included Mr Om Prakash Munjal of Hero Cycles, Mr Omkar Singh Pahwa from Avon Cycles and Mr Chetan Pahwa from Avery Cycles.

Expressing gratitude to the people of Punjab in general and Ludhiana in particular, Mr Azad said he was grateful. He said while the entire country had come to the aid of the quake victims, people of Punjab and Haryana had been more than generous. He said he wanted to thank the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, and his Haryana counterpart, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and would personally meet them in Chandigarh.

He said massive loss to life and property had taken place in various parts of the state, including Poonch, Tanghdar and Uri. He said in the first phase, his priority was to provide immediate relief to the people. In the second phase, people of the earthquake-hit areas would be rehabilitated. He expressed satisfaction over the aid people had been coming forward with.

Mr Azad recalled his association with Punjab, particularly Ludhiana. He was here at the invitation of the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, whom he described as a long-time friend. In fact, the Mayor had arranged for at meeting with leading industrialists. He disclosed that during the days of militancy, he alongwith leaders like the late Beant Singh and the late Satpal Prashar, had spent a lot of time. He said, “My colleagues laid down their lives for ensuring peace in the state”.

He had a long interaction with local leaders who had gathered at the Circuit House. The Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawer, MLA, Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha, the Housefed Chairman, Mr K.K. Bawa, Mr Rajinder Basant, the senior vice-president, Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, were among those who received him there. Besides, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Narinderpal Singh, the Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, the SDM, Mr M.S. Jaggi, and other senior officials in the district administration were also present on the occasion.

Earlier, during a press conference in the committee room of the Circuit House, Mr Azad changed his seat to provide a better view to photographers and other cameramen. This followed an altercation between an industrialist, and a cameraman, as the latter was allegedly blocking the Chief Minister’s view. When Mr Azad saw it, he rose from his seat and placed himself at another end of the round table which provided a “better view” to both photographers and industrialists.

This made Mr Munjal praise Mr Azad’s managerial skills in his own poetic style. Mr Munjal said, “I am sure you will prove your skills in a similar manner in Jammu and Kashmir as well”.



Azad promises security to Ontario delegates
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
Mr Gulam Nabi Azad, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, has assured security and cooperation to the volunteers of the Ontario Sikh Gurdwara Council, a body of Sikh religious organisations of Canada delegates of which left for Poonch to launch relief operation for victims of October 8 earthquake, today.

Talking to a delegation of the council led by Mr Harbans Singh Jandali at local Circuit House, Mr Azad appreciated the role of Sikh sangat of Canada that had raised Guru Nanak Relief Fund worth Rs four crore. He assured to making necessary arrangements after discussing the matter with the authorities in External Affairs Ministry of the Union Government.

“As it involves many technicalities at the international level, we will discuss the matter at secretarial level and invite you for further coordination,” Mr Azad said to Mr Jandali.

He assured that his government would provide security to the volunteers of the council and would extend all help that might be sought by them from time to time.



Marriage season din drowns SC ruling
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
Marriage season is on its peak and city residents, especially those living in close vicinity of marriage palaces, are having a difficult time.
The ruling of the Supreme Court banning the use of loudspeakers, vehicular horns and bursting of crackers between 10 pm and 6 am near residential areas is being flouted with impunity.

While the residents are having sleepless nights, the enforcement authorities are yet to wake up from their slumber.

As a number of marriages are being solemnised in the city almost everyday, crackers are burst and music is played at high pitch well past midnight. Only last night, when a number of such ceremonies were organised, firecrackers and loud music was heard in even those localities where there was no marriage palace in the neighbourhood.

Some residents claimed that they made calls on phone number 100 to the police, but nobody listened to them. The marriage parties continued to cause inconvenience to people irrespective of their being elderly or sick.

This had been happening despite the fact that the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, in his letter to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, had claimed that they had enforced the ban on the use of loudspeakers in the district and all officials concerned were taking action against those violating the SC ruling.

A survey by a Ludhiana Tribune team revealed that usually the marriage processions were taken out in the evening especially after 10 pm. Members of these parties burst crackers and play music. Interestingly, many officials of district administration and the police also attend many weddings in the city and the apex court’s ban is thrown to the winds in their presence and residents are left to spend their night amidst maddening noise.

“When marriage season is on, we cannot sleep at nights. Everyday we dread to spend the night in our house as loudspeakers blare till small hours in the morning and members of marriage parties burst crackers throughout the night.

“Later on, due to parking problem, they blow horns in the middle of nights. What can we do? we can only suffer in silence as our complaints have fallen on deaf ears,” said Dr B.S. Ghuman, a PAU professor and resident of Piccadilly Park, near Silver Oak Gardens.

“Things have come to such a pass that people in the neighbourhood cannot sleep as long as marriage season is on. While it is a happy occasion for those who attend these parties, we dread these functions. We have requested the owners to do something to help us, but to no avail,” he added.

Dr Ghuman had been spearheading a campaign against the marriage palaces but it has failed to bear any fruit. “Recently, a senior police official organised the wedding of his son in a marriage palace. Those living near that palace complained that it was the noisiest night of their life. When the law enforcers become lawbreakers, how can anybody help society?” he asked.

Sick of moving from pillar to post, where various inquiries by various officials did not yield much, Dr Ghuman has now complained to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission. Sometime ago, a former Superintendent of Police, Mr R.K. Jaiswal, had conducted an inquiry into his complaints and the pollution had stopped for sometime. Later, however, everything came back to square one, he claimed.



Woman poisoned for dowry: IHRO
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) has claimed that a local woman and lecturer in a college at Mohali was allegedly poisoned by her “greedy” in-laws.
Amandeep Kaur, daughter of a PAU professor, Dr B. S. Joia, was allegedly done to death on November 4 under mysterious circumstances.

While they have been booked for dowry death under Section 34-B of the IPC, the Ropar police was not arresting them, Mr D.S. Gill, chairperson, IHRO, stated this here today.

He condemned the inaction of the Ropar police in arresting the main accused, adding, “The Ropar SSP, Mr S.S. Virk, is dilly-dallying on the matter despite the fact that the National Commission on Women chairperson, Ms Girja Vyas, has asked the state DGP to arrest the accused immediately.”

According to an IHRO team of women activists, comprising Ms Inderjit Kaur, Ms Harminder Kaur Jassal and Ms Sarbjot Kaur, which is monitoring the case, Ajit Pal Singh, husband of the deceased, has been arrested. Her father-in-law, Charanjit Singh Bhangu, is admitted to a Mohali hospital thus evading arrest. Main accused Jyoti, Ajit Pal’s sister, and Harinder Kaur, mother-in-law, are being shielded by their relatives.

“The police connivance with the accused and their inaction in arresting them is alarming and intriguing that causes much concern to the parental family of the deceased and the PAU faculty. This attitude of the police also raises suspicion about the role of the Ropar police,” added the IHRO activists.

The IHRO chairperson, Mr Gill, has written a letter to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, urging him to take interest in the matter and ramp up the police into the job as the father of the deceased has left no stone unturned in approaching them, but all in vain.



IT Dept set to achieve target of Rs 1,150 cr
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
The Ludhiana Commissionerate of Income Tax is all set to notch up the targeted collection of Rs 1,150 crore by way of direct taxes during the current financial year as against Rs 800 crore during the previous year.
During the last seven months (till October 31), the department had netted income tax to the tune of Rs 361 cr. This was around 25 percent higher than the tax collection during the corresponding period during last year.

Addressing a news conference in the Aay Kar Bhavan here today, the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (CCIT), Mr S.J.S. Pall, said although the revenue collection till now was little more than 30 per cent of the target, the department was confident to reach the figure of 1,150 cr since only one instalment of tax from out of three had been received from the non-corporate sector, which yielded around two-thirds of the total revenue.

On steps being initiated by the department to unearth concealed income and step up the revenue collection, he said during the current financial year, as many as 72 survey operations had been conducted in the Ludhiana Commissionerate area and an estimated Rs 21 crore of unaccounted income was unearthed. It had led to the creation of additional tax liability of Rs 8 cr towards the assessees concerned.

Mr Pall, who would relinquish his charge on November 30 on achieving the age of superannuation, explained in details several other administrative measures taken by him after he took over the office on January 20 this year. These measures were aimed at motivating the staff to perform better and produce desired results, he said.

Ranges I, VI and VIII in Ludhiana were converted into model ranges during the period to provide better working conditions to the staff, equip the offices with computers and proper furniture and improve record maintenance.

The conference hall in the IT headquarters here was extensively renovated and foundation stone of a multipurpose hall laid. In addition, work for beautification and better maintenance of the office complex and the IT Colony was also undertaken.



Judge for awareness on free legal aid
Mahesh Sharma

Kuldeep Karir
Kuldeep Karir

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 28
The leaders of various social organisations should awaken special sections of society and make them aware about the free legal aid available at various courts. This is the view of the Civil Judge (Senior Division) and Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority, Jalandhar, Mr Kuldeep Karir.

Mr Karir was talking to the Ludhiana Tribune on the occasion of Legal Literacy Month. He said non-conventional legal procedures saved both time and money of people.

To avoid unnecessary litigation, a person should avail himself of services of Lok Adalats and pre-litigation arbitration, the awards of which were equivalent to decree of the court, he said.

“As Lok Adalats and pre-litigation Lok Adalats, introduced recently, provided more speedy remedy to both appellant and the defendant, it was in the interest of weaker sections and members of special classes that they should avail themselves of the services of these non-conventional legal procedures.”

These adalats settle marital issues, money transaction disputes and accident claim cases. One could avail oneself of these services even before filing a suit, thus saving money to be spent on the fee of their counsel.

The Judge said special sections of society could avail themselves of free legal aid in case litigation was inevitable. Competent counsels from respective panels of various courts were available for persons whose annual income was less than Rs 30,000. For women and minor children, and members of SCs and STs there was no income bar. The aid was available in labour disputes and for undertrials.

Since the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987, was implemented on November 9, 1995, the government decided to celebrate one month from this date as Legal Literacy Month, the Judge added. 



SSP’s advice to public
Mahesh Sharma

R.K. Jaiswal
R.K. Jaiswal

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 28
The top police official of Jagraon has urged the residents of the area to avoid transferring money or goods brought by their NRI relatives or friends to unknown persons as these might be used for subversive activities by militant outfit.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SSP, Jagraon, said easy availability of money, ammunition and communication supported the swelling network of Babbar Khalsa International, a militant outfit, three activists of which were nabbed by the Jagraon police when they were planning to kill Baba Bhaniara for his anti-Sikh activities and Member of Parliament Jagdish Tytler for his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots near a railway bridge in Aligarh village, near Jagraon, a week ago.

Mr Jaiswal claimed that the main activists of the militant organisation worked so tactfully that even the facilitators did not know the consequences of the act done by them.

“As more prosperous NRIs have been helping their relatives and friends by sending huge amounts of money in routine, nobody could smell that the amount thus transferred through them would be used for anti-national activities,” he said, adding that terrorists had received money in similar ways a number of times.

The more sociable nature of Punjabis also facilitated the transfer of arms and ammunition. “It was not a difficult job for an arms smuggler to take lift in heavy vehicles like trucks and oil tankers plying between Rajasthan and Punjab, thus making arms and ammunition available to terrorists at desired place.”

The terrorists have discovered foolproof methods to communicate with their counterparts in Pakistan through conference systems via India-friendly nations. “Though various state agencies keep a watch on calls made to Pakistan through PCOs, the ISD services provided by mobile companies have rendered the procedure futile.”

The top police official hoped that the subversive activities of terrorists would be curbed completely with an extra alertness on the part of the police and public. 



City women prefer Indian cosmetics, finds study
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
Within a short span of the last three-four years, the use of cosmetics by Indian consumers has increased significantly. With the demand for cosmetics on the rise and the opening up of the market to foreign companies, many of the world’s popular cosmetic brands have entered the Indian market and some more have set their sights on India. But Lakme remains popular amongst city women, reveals Pallavi, an MBA student of Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE), in her recently conducted study ‘’on Cosmetics and City Women.’’

In her study, she said that women knew about international brands like Revlon, Oriflame, L’Oreal, Avon, Aviance and others entering Indian market but awareness level of Lakme among city women was at the top i.e. 28 per cent followed by Oriflame 21%, Revlon, L’Oreal, Avon and Aviance 10%, 15%, 12% and 8%, respectively.

Total 100 respondents were taken to know the favourite cosmetic brand and reasons for the choice. The occupation profile was made on three categories—-service class, housewife and student. It was found that maximum number of housewives used Lakme skin care products. Among students, the most popular brand was L’Oreal and working women also said that they used more of Lakme range of skin care products.

Out of 100, 54 respondents said that they were consistent in usage of skin care brand. Rest 46 per cent respondents changed their brand of skin care products.Out of 54, 23 per cent of respondents used same brand of skin care products because they were habitual.Value for money was the reason given by 19 per cent of the respondents. Rest of the respondents said that they did not like other brands.

While purchasing cosmetics, price remained the most important factor, followed by quality.Ingredients were considered third most important factor by the respondents and women considered brand name at number fourth in preference chart.



Thousands attend gurmat samagam
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 28
The concluding day of the annual gurmat samagam saw thousands of devotees pay obeisance to Guru Granth Sahib and enrich their lives with the blissful rendering of Gurbani kirtan and gurmat vichar by spiritual and religious intellectuals from all over the world.

In the morning, after the bhog of 21 akhand path (continuous recitation), Baba Jaswant Singh, while addressing the sangat, said Gurbani was God’s own diction and by imbibing the values enshrined in it, by being kind to others and leading a virtuous life, one could attain salvation. “All the worries and sorrows are vanished as one sacrifices his or her ego on the altar of spiritualism.”

Bhai Devinder Singh Sodhi, Bhai Maninder Singh Srinâgar Wale, Bhai Joginder Singh Riar and Bhai Malkit Sing Komal performed kirtan in the morning diwans.

In the evening, the kirtan darbar commenced with shabad kirtan being performed by Bhai Manjit Singh, Bhai Gurmeet Singh Pathankotwale, Bhai Harbans Singh Jagadhariwale, Bhai Onkar Singh, Bhai Ranjit Singh Chandan and Kaka Diwakar Sharma Delhiwale.

Many prominent saints, Sikh philosophers and other religious dignitaries, including Mr Avtar Singh, president, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Jathedar Trilochan Singh from Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Giani Puran Singh, Baba Dia Singh, Sursinghwale, and Head Granthi of Darbar Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh participated in the samagam.

In addition, many eminent NRI devotees representing Gurdwàra Gurupanth Prakash, Leicester, UK, Gurdwara Guru Amardas, Sôuthall, UK, and the Istri Satsangh Sabha, as also from Canada, Dubai, Norway and Derbi, had especially come to be a part of this blissful event .

A free dental and medical check-up and treatment camp, being organised by Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College and Hospital, continued on the third day also where hundreds of patients availed of free dental treatment and medicines.



Demutualisation process of LSE near completion
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
Following the approval and notification of its demutualisation scheme by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Ludhiana Stock Exchange Association has approved the amendments to its existing memorandum and articles of association.

With this, the LSE Association gets converted into an organisation “for profit” from a “non-profit organisation”. Apart from other changes, the name of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange Association would also be changed to Ludhiana Stock Exchange Limited.

An extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of the association was held here on Saturday to approve the amendments. “Another meeting of the board would be conducted in a week or so and within 15 days the process would be completed,” said Mr H.S. Sidhu, executive director, LSE Association.

The completion of the process implies that brokers would off-load their shares to the extent of 51 per cent within one year. The representation of broker directors on governing board would also reduce from six to three and the shareholders of exchange would also have representation on the governing board in the post-demutualisation scenario, said Ms Pooja M Kohli, company secretary of LSE Association.

The scheme, which was drafted in accordance with the Securities Laws (amendment) Ordinance, 2004, on Corporatisation and Demutualisation of the Stock Exchanges, was approved by the LSE’s board of directors in August this year.

After demutualisation, which means segregation of ownership, management and trading functions, a stock exchange is required to adopt new memorandum and articles of association. While owners would be separate, the exchange would now be managed by professional managers.

“As the LSE gets demutualised, we are looking forward to many more opportunities in terms of further investment and greater autonomy in decisions,” said Mr Sidhu.

He said now that the LSE would become a “for profit” organisation, its actions would be directed towards fulfilling its profit motive along with ensuring investors’ protection.

The governing body of the LSE would be reconstituted now and the board of directors would have only one-fourth of the representation on it instead of the one-half that is being currently enjoyed by them.

“A member of the exchange, who is registered as a stockbroker before the due date, becomes a trading member on the due date, and a member who is not registered as a stockbroker before due date, will become a trading member on being registered as a stockbroker under the SEBI regulations withing three months from the due date,” said officials.

The exchange will ensure that at least 51 per cent of its shares are held by the public other than shareholders having trading rights in accordance with the Securities Contract (Regulations) Act, 1956. The exchange, upon demutualisation, will not use its assets and reserves or proceeds from disposal of its assets for any purpose other than discharging its current liabilities or business operations.



People on gold selling spree
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
The festive season this time has witnessed an expected trend in gold trade here. Instead of purchasing gold, people are selling their old gold or getting the same exchanged for the purpose of gifting in marriages.

As prices of the yellow metal have scaled an all time high, demand has reduced by 50-60 per cent. “People do not want to buy gold due to excessively high prices. This time instead of purchasing gold, people are coming to us to sell the yellow metal or to get it exchanged,” said Mr Vipin Kumar Dhanda of Prem Jewellers.

The prevailing rate of gold is approximately Rs 7,500 per 10 grams for 24-carat whereas it is Rs 7,200 for 22-carat. Current rates are an appreciation of more than Rs 1,000 (per 10 grams) in a span of less than a month.

As a result of this steep rise, the festive and marriage season have failed to create demand for bullion.

“It has never been so bad. First we waited for Navratras, but people did not buy as this time the Navratras were not considered auspicious. But after Navratras, even as the marriage season has begun, people simply seem to be delaying their decision to purchase as prices are on the higher side,” said Mr Anand Prakash Sikri, president, Ludhiana Jewellers Association.

City jewellers say that in comparison to last year, the demand this time is only 30-40 per cent. Though customers are coming to sell or get their gold exchanged, jewellers are finding a tough time dealing with this trend reversal, too, due to paucity of cash.

“Owing to decline in demand, cash is not sufficient, which is why it is not possible to repurchase gold.”

Reduced demand for gold, surprisingly, has not even resulted in any increase in demand for diamond or platinum jewellery.

“Of the total customers, only 5 to 10 per cent can afford diamonds or platinum. Again that section of customers are those who remain unaffected by an increase, which is why there has been no shifting of demand either,” Mr Dhanda said.

For returns-conscious investors, however, it is a good time. “Investment advisers had been recommending purchasing gold for the past two months. I followed the advice and have managed to reap a return of more than 10 per cent within a month, something that is almost unachievable in any other form of investment,” said Mr Rajesh Sharma.

Investment advisers expect prices to rise further as physical demand in China, West Asia and even in India is set to rise. “Even now gold would be a good investment, though those who purchased it around two months ago would have reaped the maximum benefit,” said Mr Ashwani Kumar, an investment adviser.


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