L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Govt warned against ignoring Sikh farmers
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 8
Sikh organisations at home and abroad have warned the Union Government against ignoring the interests of their community in Uttranchal and eviction of Punjabi and Sikh farmers from 1,200 acres of farmland declared surplus following a Supreme Court order.

Some of them have apprehended exploitation of the situation by separatist forces in case sentiments of a particular community continued to be hurt.

Apprehending threat to the peace and integrity of the border state, Dr Harjinder Walia, general secretary of the Global Punjabi Foundation, Patiala, has appealed to the leaders of various political parties to sink their difference and impress upon the Union Government and the Uttranchal Government to protect the rights of Punjabis and Sikh farmers who had been evicted from their farmland following a Supreme Court orders.

Warning the government against apathy, Dr Walia said: “Hardly had the Sikhs come in terms with the system after the 1984 genocide. The present events have shattered their faith in the system.

We apprehend that some separatist forces might exploit the situation in case the government failed to assuage the sentiments of Sikhs.”

Dr Walia said the foundation had already conveyed the apprehension to Prime Minister and Ms Sonia Gandhi, President, AICC.

Meanwhile, Ontario Sikhs Gurdwara Council, an apex body of Sikh organisations of Canada, has threatened to launch a worldwide movement by knocking at the doors of international organisations, including UN, in case the Indian Government failed to protect the fundamental rights of their brethren settled in their own country.

Referring to information received from his associates in Canada, Mr Harbans Singh Jandali, president of the council, said that the NRI Sikhs, settled in various countries including Canada and western America, were pained over the incident.

“The brazenness with which the Uttranchal government acted has reinforced our belief that our brethren continue to be treated as second grade citizens in India. It is ridiculous that members of a minority community that always took initiative in rehabilitation of human beings globally are been treated like slaves,” he pointed out while talking to this correspondent on telephone.

Mr Jandali said he had taken up the issue with Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, a former Union Agricultural Minister and TN Governor. Mr Barnala had assured him that he would be taking up the issue with his counterpart in Uttranchal.

Urging Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to personally intervene in the matter and protect the desertion of farmers, Mr Jandali, who had come here to supervise the rescue operations for rehabilitation of October 8 quake in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan, threatened that they would seek intervention of international organizations including UN if justice was not done.



Development issues get more
coverage in Tribune: report

Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 8
Content analysis of The Tribune, conducted over a certain period, has shown that the constituents of the establishment have been giving more consideration to manifestations of developmental journalism, said Dr Harjinder Singh Walia, Head, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Punjabi University, Patiala.

Referring to the conclusion derived from a content analysis undertaken during a fortnight commencing from August 8, 2005, Dr Walia said more than 7 per cent of total print area of the newspaper, including magazine sections and supplements, had been devoted to highlighting developmental issues concerning society at large.

“Though the comparative study was yet to be concluded, the present conclusion reflects that the policy makers of the publishing group have been focusing more on the developmental journalism,” commented Dr Walia. While the education sector pocketed the largest share, family planning lagged behind other issues.

Elaborating on the breakup of the conclusion, Dr Walia said 17 items regarding education appeared in the sample papers that came out to be around 14.40 per cent of total developmental coverage. Environment awareness came next with total items covering 12.5 per cent of area covered for developmental stories. Economic development with 12.40 per cent of leveled coverage carried 19 items reflecting issues related with money matters.

The agriculture sector, the backbone of Indian economy appeared on 8.6 per cent area captured by developmental section. The beneficiaries from weaker sections were advantaged by six items, one capturing front page and another a letter to editor. This came out to be 9.90 per cent of the coverage under consideration.

Nine items on issues relating women appeared on various pages of the newspaper during the earmarked period. This claimed 8.9 per cent area of the total of the developmental items. Eight items on crime against women, supplemented with one dowry case were also published.

In all seven items, including a page one story and a feature on power sector claimed 8.50 per cent of the coverage meant for developmental journalism. Science and technology appeared on 8.8 per cent with total of eight items. Besides 5 per cent coverage on national integration and an editorial on employment, covering 3.90 per cent significant weightage had been given for women empowerment, railways and social development showed the study. 



Freezing cold despite blazing sun
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
It has been after a long time that the minimum temperature in Ludhiana went below zero degree centigrade. Hosiery manufacturers, who rue the shrinking of the winter all these years, are already cheered up, but not all the citizens.

People seem to have been taken aback by the intense cold which has gone below zero. The severe cold winds that are blowing continuously have made the movement outside quite difficult. People have started preferring to stay indoors.

Interestingly, the sun continues to shine during the daytime but that hardly brings any relief in terms of temperature.

Mr Arvind Kumar disclosed that for the first time during last several years he felt “the intense cold that was intolerable”. He said “usually the winters are tolerable, but this time it has been too harsh”.

It is the students who are facing the difficult times. Since most of the schools have already reopened after the Christmas and New Year holidays, the children have to brave this chill in the morning hours to reach their schools. However, there is no provision for the administration to order the closure of the schools in the face of the harsh winter.

While the attendance in the offices and schools has been almost normal, but it is learnt that most of the government offices and also the business establishments do not get sufficient visitors.

The number of customers coming to the banks has also come down due to severe cold. The usual hustle and bustle in the markets is also missing and people have been preferring to sit indoors.

The weather experts disclosed that with the hills having a good snowfall, the icy cold winds are likely to blow and bring down the temperature. There may not be any immediate relief from the severe cold. They said, the weather was also likely to remain dry during the coming days.



Rousing reception to guests from across the border
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
It was a special occasion for the city with nearly 25 guests from across the border arriving here to a rousing reception. Leaders from different parties forgot their ideological differences for some time and gathered at the Satluj Club to greet the guests.

The Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, said it was a momentous occasion for everybody when people from two parts of Punjab came and sat together. Mr Atwal represents SAD.

Representatives of the Congress like the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawer, and the city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, were also present to greet the guests. Obviously the occasion was quite an apolitical one.

Everybody seemed to forget everything. The bitterness seemed to be a thing of the past as Tehmina Daulatana, one of the members of the Pakistan National Assembly, remarked, “Bitterness of the past needed to be forgotten.”

Her stand was corroborated by Prof Zia u Rehman of Faislabad Agricultural University. He said the past mistakes should not be repeated and if these were repeated these would become a liability. It was a sentiment of peace and fraternity that flowed all through the proceedings.

Right from their arrival in the city till their departure, the consistent theme remained “let bygones be the bygones”.

Mr Satnam Manak, Coordinator of SAFMA, Punjab (India), said a lot could be shared by the people of the two countries in general and the two Punjab’s in particular. He gave brief background of the SAFMA agenda and said it was an initiative of the people who wanted to leave a legacy of peace for the future generations.

The delegates from Pakistan and their counterparts in India made a strong case for relaxing the visa regime for the people of the two countries.

They said the journalists from the South Asian countries should have free access to all countries in the region. Moreover, they said, unless and until the visa regimes were not relaxed by the two countries, the peace process would not move ahead at the desired speed.

Once the people of the two countries started visiting each other, a lot of misgivings created over a period of 60 years would automatically vanish and there would be no alternative left other than peace. For this, they said, it was urgent to relax the visa regimes on both sides.



Associations hail SAARC decision
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
Mr K.S. Budhiraja, senior vice-president, Punjab Monoblock and Submersible Pumps Dealer Association and vice-president, Punjab Ball Bearing Distributors Association, have welcomed the steps taken by SAARC countries to open trade between the SAARC countries. In a press statement here today, Mr Budhiraja said this would help to boost trade between India and Pakistan. It would also raise production and sales of India Textile Mills (ring frame/components), agriculture industry (submersible pumps and motors) and automotive components such as ball bearings and needle roller bearings.

"India and Pakistan have also declared their nuclear installations to each other. This shows that this time both countries are sincere towards peace in the region. Both countries are also showing interest for cooperation in Railways etc", said Mr Budhiraja.

He also congratulated the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Pakistan President, Mr Pervez Musharaff, for joining hands for development of the region and especially India and Pakistan. He expressed his happiness that the governments of both countries were moving forward on the right path.



Job show on TV
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
Naukri.com in association with CNBC TV 18 will present the first-ever job show live on TV. The job show — India’s first televised job hunt-hosted by Mr Sunil Alagh — will provide chance to win some of the hottest jobs in the market today.

Aviva Life Insurance, Flextronics Software Systems, LG Electronics, Impetus Technologies, DNA, Yes Bank, Denstu are a few of the companies amongst others who have come on board and will partner in the job show to recruit the best talent.

The job show has been launched with an idea to provide aspiring applicants a chance to win their dream job while being watched by millions of people around the country. It is planned as a 26-episode show and will be on air from February 2006 onwards every Saturday with a repeat show on Sunday afternoon.



Ludhiana Calling

A city resident was in for a big surprise when after tendering documents for renewal of an arms license at the ‘suvidha’ counter in Mini Secretariat here, the receipt clerk asked for a contact number where the status of his application could be communicated. Taking it as a mere formality, he gave out his cell number but still under the belief that he would have to make many rounds of the office before his renewed arms license was given to him. Unlike what normally happens in the government offices, the applicant received an ‘SMS’ on the date given to him for collecting the license which said that his application was being processed. After another couple of days, he received yet another SMS intimating him that his license had been renewed and could be collected on any working day.

Strange bedfellows

This year the winters have been awfully fierce. People find themselves shivering in their warm beds and at times a hot water bottle or blowers and warmth of heaters provide the much desired warmth and one stops shivering. But what about thousands of homeless people, who have to sleep out in the open even when mercury dips down below freezing point. Not only human beings, but the animals too feel the cold. Dogs and a sleeping man have found a way of getting warmth by getting close to each other and sharing the body heat.

Roadside players

On every Sunday sitting by the busy Deepak Cinema Road, a few grey haired men are absorbed in playing a card game ‘sweep.’ Weather does not bother them, as they carry on with their ritual of playing cards. Even when there is a traffic jam on Deepak Road, and vehicles of all sorts are honking away and there is a lot of ruckus, none of them lift their eyes from cards to see what is happening around. They keep playing the game oblivious of their surroundings. What concentration! Wonder whether they concentrate as much as in their jobs too.

The “kissing hero”

The other day, a number of families were having dinner at the dining hall of Sutlej club. Many couples were accompanied with their small kids. The channels were being surfed by one of the members and kids were enjoying watching their favourite stars on the big screen of projection TV. Suddenly, Emran Hashmi’s movie ‘Jawani-Diwani’s’ trailer was beamed. A small girl excitedly pulled her mom’s sweater and screamed “Mummy gandi picture wale uncle, wohi sari aunties ko kissi karne wale”. The members could not control their laughter on the new title given to the star.

Dengue season?

If one goes by the public interest advertisements inserted by the Health Department in some of the leading newspapers, the threat of dengue looms large. While the medical experts maintain that the ‘tiger’ mosquito, responsible for outbreak of dengue, can not survive at the prevailing low temperature, the department, apparently, thinks otherwise. Through these ads, the people have been advised to take due precautions to avoid mosquito bites and check breeding of mosquitoes. In all probability, the department appears to have come out of its slumber a couple of months late since it was during September to November that quite a few districts in the state were in the grip of dengue and a number of human lives were also lost to this disease. — Sentinel



Sale of tobacco items goes on near schools
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 8
Most educational institutions of Sangrur and Ludhiana districts have failed to implement the orders of the district administration regarding the provisions of the cigarettes and other tobacco products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.

What to talk of sensitisation of students against smoking and consumption of tobacco products, these institutes did not bother to display notices warning traders against display and sale of these products.

Contrary to the provisions of the Act, most educational institutes have some hidden spot of smoking the banned products.

The DCs of both districts had directed the heads of all educational institutes to ensure that cigarettes and other tobacco products were not being displayed or sold within a 100-yard radius of their institutes.

Though they had asked them to display notice boards on their institutes regarding ban on the sale of these products, yet no such board was seen displayed in any institute of this area.

According to the Act, an owner or manager or any person in charge of the affairs of educational institutions should display a board outside the premises stating that the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in an area within 100 yards of the institute was strictly prohibited and that it was an offence punishable with fine up to Rs 200.

A quick visit to the area revealed that most educational institutes had at least one sale point where cigarettes or the other tobacco products were being sold openly.

There were some institutes that had a cigarette vendor adjoining the boundary wall of the institute but no school or college was found displaying the required board.

Besides flouting the rules, these organisations ignored the recommendations of the World Health Organisation also which urged the member states to resort to legislation and other effective measures for protecting their citizens from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke and other harms.

Inquiries from these revealed that most of them were not aware of the consequences of the disobeyance of the law.

They considered a fine of Rs 200 to be a minor punishment in comparison to the income from their customers.

It was reported that teachers of some institutes usually asked their students to bring cigarettes for them from nearby shops thus violating the rules themselves.



Kidney patient needs help
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
Life has become a nightmare for Rajni, a 28-year-old woman and mother of
three-year-old child in the city. She was admitted to CMCH here in June, 2005. The woman was diagnosed to have chronic kidney disease and has been on haemodialysis since then.

Coming from a poor family, her husband is a labourer in a hosiery, earning around Rs 3,000 per month. He is also physically challenged. Even her married brother, with a family of four, is not in a position to lend any assistance to her sister.

According to Dr Basant Pawar, Professor and Head, Department of Nephrology, CMCH, Rajni requires life-long treatment of bi-weekly haemodialysis or else renal transplantation for her chronic kidney disease, which she cannot afford.

Those who wish to help Rajni can contact the Medical Superintendent’s Office in CMCH, Ludhiana. All payments should be made in favour of Christian Medical College and Hospital with ‘Treatment of Rajni’ written on the back of cheques or drafts.



Johar distributes blankets among poor
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
Mr Harnam Dass, Education Minister, said during the current year, Rs 100 crore would be spent on upgrading the living standards of economically weaker and Scheduled Caste people. Mr Johar had distributed 250 blankets among poor people in Model Town here today. Later addressing the gathering, he said he aimed at distributing 1,000 blankets and he had been able to donate 500 blankets as yet.

Mr Johar said the backward and Scheduled Caste people having two daughters, would be able to avail benefits of the Kanya Jagriti scheme. The Ashirwaad Scheme for their marriages had also been started. Every year, Rs 24 crore would be spent to benefit 40,000 families.

Mr Johar further said the Punjab Government would also provide books and education to 14 lakh children of backward classes and scheduled tribes free of cost and Rs 12 crore would be spent on their education.

To provide potable water, sewerage, the Municipal Vikas Fund of Rs 999 crore had been set up. The children living in slums and between 4 and 14 year age groups were going to be admitted to special schools being set up in their localities where they would be motivated to continue their education, he said.



Senior citizens honoured at Lohri function
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
The Civil City Welfare Society, celebrated Lohri here yesterday with great joy. The celebrations went on till late night. The Lohri function was inaugurated by Mr Kanwal Jit Singh, Director RK Colony. He presented Rs 10,000 to the society for development works.

Mr Rajiv Katna, councillor of Ward No. 3, presided over the function.

Several competitions and game shows were organised for women and children.

Mr Satpal Thaman and Ms Reshma Thaman were presented with senior citizen award. Two newly married couples were given mementoes besides honouring the persons who had constructed new houses. Mehak was felicitated on her first Lohri.

Everybody danced to Punjabi folk song beats.



Hike likely in plywood prices
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
Prices of plywood and plyboard will be increased by 5 per cent in the region with immediate effect due to steep rise in the cost of wood, face vaneer, chemicals and other inputs like power, labour and overheads.

After a meeting of Punjab Plywood Manufacturers Association here yesterday, Mr Inderjit Singh Sohal, president, and Mr Ashok Juneja, Secretary-General announced that due to the increased cost of production of plywood and plyboard, it had become imperative to hike the prices by a minimum of 5 per cent to save the industry from losses and subsequent closure of plywood units.

The functionaries of the association further said that the increase in sale price was an ad hoc measure and the situation would be assessed in the next couple of days. If the prevailing trend of increase in the cost of inputs continued, a further hike of 5 per cent would be effected from January 20.

Mr Naresh Tiwari, President, North India Plywood Manufacturers Association, who also attended the meeting, informed that plywood and plyboard manufacturers in Haryana had already jacked up the prices by 10 per cent. The prices of plywood and plyboard in other regions of the country had also witnessed an upward swing, he added.

New office-bearers of the association were also elected unanimously during the meeting, according to Mr Juneja.


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