L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Kila Raipur games in controversy
PETA slaps notice on organisers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 13
The annual rural Olympics, to be held at Kila Raipur this weekend, has run into a controversy with an animal rights organisation, People for Ethical Treatment to Animals (PETA), raising an objection to the use of animals in sports.

The PETA has served a legal notice on the organisers, threatening legal action if the animals are forced to participate in the events. It said: “Holding events like animal races and fights are clearly contrary to provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.”

Ms Anuradha Sawhney, a PETA representative, said the organisation had succeeded in persuading sponsoring companies to pull out of this event and it was only due to their perusal that Western Union would not participate in the games till PETA gives a no objection certificate to the event. The games are scheduled to be held from February 17 to 19.

“Animals are treated inhumanely and illegally and forced to race and run at speeds completely unnatural to them, causing a lot of damage to their health and oftentimes incurring fatal injuries,” the PETA has written to the Chief Minister, the Animal Husbandry Department and senior officials of the state and the district.

“Bulls, horses and dogs are flogged and made to run faster as part of various races. During the past animal activists have documented drugging of bulls, biting of tails by riders and inserting of objects in anuses of bulls to make them run faster. Last year, a young bull fell in a pit during racing and was maimed,” said the notice.

Upon learning such cruelties, PETA informed the sponsors of the cruelties involved and the illegality of the games and also served notices on the organisers, government officials and marketing agencies for organising and supporting “illegal” activities.

“Companies like Western Union, Hindustan Lever Limited, Escorts, Castrol and Impact Communications have withdrawn their support for this event,” claimed Ms Sawhney.

She added that Mr Anil Kapur, Managing Director, Western Union, who was the main sponsor, had withdrawn its sponsorship from the event.

Besides, Ms Nidhi Singh of Impact Communications, the main marketing agency that was supporting the event, has written to PETA that: “We regret our earlier association with the event. We confirm that we will not associate ourselves with this event in any way.”

Referring to a case of Ms Jignasha Patel v/s the State of Maharashtra and others, the notice claimed that it was held by the High Court of Maharashtra (Aurangabad Bench) that holding events like animal races and fights are clearly contrary to the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

This is not for the first time that the rural Olympics has run into a controversy. In 2000, the local chapter of PFA had also protested against organising the animal sports. Following the protests, the then Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana had asked the SSP to prevent the violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.



Valentine’s excitement grips city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 13
Valentine’s Day fever is in the air as the whole city seems to be pulsating with excitement and activity in anticipation of this day. But pink, not red seems to be the colour of Valentine’s Day this year. Traditionally red is the colour associated with Valentine’s Day. Besides this several other new things are being tried this year.

Mr Amit of Footloose, a dance institute, has taught a new dance called ‘‘Street Dance’’ free to about 60 young girls and boys. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, he said,‘‘I have devised this dance as it gives a lot of fun and pleasure to the dancing couples. Street Dance is a mix of Hip-Hop and Jazz. I thought I would conduct free classes so that on Valentine’s Day the youngsters can enjoy. I had not publicised free coaching, and so I was really surprised to see the huge turnout of both boys and girls. I am happy that these young people will enjoy dancing on Valentine’s Day’’.

Many florists shops have also sprung up overnight in view of the huge demand for flowers. Some enterprising persons have put up tents along busy roads and can be seen selling flowers and bouquets. This is a surely a new development this year. Earlier, pandals were erected during Divali to sell sweets and crackers but it is definitely a new sight to see multi-hued flowers brightening the otherwise desolate roadsides.

Floral arches and welcome gates decked up with red and white coloured drapery and with red and white ballons have also been erected in front of shops selling Valentine’s Day cards and gifts. Different mobile companies are sending Valentine’s Day messages too.

The mobile owners are being inundated with messages. Confectionary shops are doing roaring business selling different varieties of chocolates packed attractively. Both Indian and imported chocolates are selling like hot cakes.



Party time as Valentine’s Day draws close
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, February 13
Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love in different ways, a day to give vent to your pent up emotions, brings with it a reason to party. The young people are agog with excitement, planning their outfits as the party time draws close.

The party animals are spending much of their time and money thinking of hosting a different party. The party has to be planned so that the dress codes, the ambience, music, drinks, food all give out a whiff of romance. Red roses are seen everywhere — in the hair, in bouquets, on walls — all are welcome.

Style and originality is the mantra. “Valentine is a day of celebration for one and all, be it lovers, married couples, or whoever cares to celebrate it”, says chirpy Neha, a Symbiosis Management Stream student.

She adds, “My parent’s marriage anniversary falls on this day itself, so I have a great time partying out with friends and family. I especially like to pamper my loved ones on this particular day.

I buy gifts for all who are close to my heart, wish them, and write small thoughtful notes to tell these people how much they mean to me. I flood my whole house with red and white balloons, create an ambience of love all around, go out with my family for dinner. As for the outfit, I prefer a sleek, understated look, but put on big earrings or a colourful scarf.

This time I have just bought myself a pair of drop earrings as they are replacing the chandelier earrings. There’s something about these danglers that’s so simple yet so sexy”.

A vibrant Manisha, a college student quips, “Being with friends is always fun, but then on this special day, it’s party time. We all bunk classes pack ourselves in one car and there we go…our geri time begins. We prefer not going out for open parties as we aren’t very sure of the kind of crowd coming over there. But then, this year we have arranged a small party at one of our friend’s place. It’s an all girl’s party, after all who needs guys to create tensions in life.

Our dress colour code for that special day is obviously red as well as burnt orange. They are hot colours this season. It is a season where everybody is showing off wee bit of tummies and belly buttons and low-cut jeans are the flavour of the season.

The biggest advantage of the low-rise look is, it visually lengthens the torso and has a slimming effect. And, by picking a short or long top, one can control the amount of skin they bare”.

Voila, a dynamic city-based fashion designer, says, “I have a great circle of friends and we are all party freaks. One of my friends has arranged a private party at Las Vegas on February 12.

It’s going to be a big bash where all guys and gals in blacks and reds will hang out. We all have decided to wear black evening gowns with red stoles and black stilettos. For a fresh romantic look, a pink lip gloss with brown undertones will do for me. And the finishing stroke is to energise oneself this day as the right attitude is very important”.

If the girls have planned bashes, are the boys behind? Vikas has decided on spiked hair, but many of the boys have grown long hair and are going to tie them in pony tails or even plait them. During day time the boys are going to wear nice sweat shirts with pair of jeans and nice sporty shoes.

Ranvir says, “Big chunky watches are in. During the day time we will offer girlfriends red roses and take them out to a coffee place while at night we are going to wear club wear, which means formal trousers, jackets and may be coloured hair and formal dinner with our dates”. 



Sena activists to film couples celebrating V-Day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 13
Activists of Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) have planned to instal video cameras at various places in the city on the occasion of Valentine’s Day tomorrow.
This was claimed here by the office-bearers of the Sena, who said that they would prepare videos of youths celebrating Valentine’s Day tomorrow and pass on the footage to district administration demanding action against them.

The Shiv Sainiks were protesting against the concept of celebrating Valentine’s Day in local Sarabha Nagar market here today.

Addressing a rally in the market, Mr Neeraj Verma, an office-bearer said they would oppose the celebration of the day and would not allow the youth to drift away from Indian values.

He said they would not even allow the shops and card galleries to sell items related to Valentine’s Day. They would even go to restaurants and other shops and stop people from celebrating the day.



Timely help can save this 6-year-old
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 13
Six-year-old Sarwan, son of a migrant worker from Bihar, is fighting for his life after an almost fatal head injury. But given the seriousness of his condition it seems that he would not be able to continue his fight in the absence of help from kind-hearted Ludhianvis.

Paltan Sharma, father of the boy, lives with his wife and five children in a rented accommodation near Shingar Cinema in the city. On February 2, when he was at work, Sarwan, fell from the roof of the double-storeyed house while playing with his siblings.

The unconscious child was rushed to Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), where an urgent CT scan was done. The CT scan revealed a big blood clot in the brain. A life saving surgery was performed immediately and the clot was removed. The child is well on his way to recovery but still needs ICU care for survival.

According to Paltan, he had just Rs 50 with him when he brought Sarwan to the hospital. ‘‘The doctors and staff of the hospital have been very kind and operated on my son and saved his life. But I can not afford his treatment and expensive ICU care. I earn Rs 70 a day and that is not enough even for my large family.’’

An inconsolable Paltan says that since the fateful day he has not been able to go to work regularly and it was very difficult for him to get any money to continue the treatment of his son. ‘‘Doctors say that he will not get well if we take him home and stop his treatment. God only can save my only son now,” he said in a dejected tone.

The CMCH medical superintendent said all those who wish to bring back the smile to Sarwan’s face can contact his office or the Department of Neuro Surgery, CMCH, Ludhiana. All payments should be made in the favour of Christian Medical College and Hospital with ‘‘Treatment of Sarwan’’ written on back of cheques or drafts.



DC directs SSP to register rape case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 13
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, today directed the Jagraon police to register an FIRon the alleged Dalit woman's rape in Birmi village, which was allegedly covered up by the police and village panchayat.

Directing the SSP, Jagraon, Mr R.K. Jaiswal, to immediately register a case. Mr Verma asked him to entrust the investigation into the case with a senior officer and take strict action as per the law in the matter. Simultaneously, Mr Verma has asked him to take deterrent action against officials who had failed to act in the matter.

The action follows news reports in the section of the media highlighting the plight of the Dalit woman, who was allegedly raped by her landlord some days ago. She and her husband had complained to the police but the cops allegedly refused to register a case.

The village panchayat and the accused had allegedly forcibly effected a compromise by promising to pay Rs 25,000 to the victim.

Mr Verma asked the Senior Superintendent of Police to order intensive police patrolling in the area and take effective steps to provide protection to witnesses.

The DC also asked Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development)-cum-Additional District Magistrate, Ludhiana, to inquire and report whether affidavits, as alleged in the papers, were attested by the Executive Magistrate concerned.

He also deputed Mr M.S. Jaggi, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Ludhiana (West) ,to visit the village and to meet the victim. 



Dalit’s death: NGO seeks action
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 13
Official apathy towards handling of accidental cases on railway tracks claimed the life of a Dalit youth who could have been saved had the authorities shown genuine concern for his life. The youth with a severed leg and ruptured skull had shuttled between one place and the other for hours instead of being taken to a suitable hospital near the accident site.

All India Mazlis--e-- Ahrar, an NGO, the volunteers of which had tried to rescue the youth, has demanded a probe into the sequence of events leading to the death and a stern action against the railway and health officials.

According to Mr Muhammad Yaseen, general secretary of the state body, and Mr Rajman Ali, secretary, local unit, Jagjiwan Singh (18), who was injured near Gill railway station on railway track on Saturday, had lost his life allegedly due to official apathy.

The 6 LJH Dn train, Rajman Ali was traveling by, on Saturday had stopped between Gill and Kilaraipur railway station. The staff of the train and the passengers on getting down found a youth, later identified as Jagjiwan Singh, son of Balbir Singh of Kilaraipur, injured seriously. Besides having a severed leg he suffered head injuries.

Rajman was shocked to observe that none, including the staff accompanying the train and the residents of nearby villages, bothered to handle the injured sympathetically. "Though we were of the opinion that the injured should be shifted to a nearest hospital at Ludhiana, the staff insisted that he would be first taken to GRP chowki at Ahmedgarh," wondered Rajman. He alleged that Jagjiwan had been shifted to a compartment like nonliving goods. He had to use his handkerchief and a newspaper to cover the open wounds of the injured.

As the railway staff had to perform certain formalities at Kilaraipur station, the train took unusual time to reach Ahmedgarh station. "Against the claims made by authorities at Kilaraipur station, no ambulance had been called at Ahmedgarh station also. "When the authorities could not provide an ambulance, I brought a mule-cart from the town and took the profusely bleeding injured to the local civil hospital where apathy awaited us again," narrated Mr Rajman. The Ahrar volunteer alleged that no doctor was available at the local hospital.



Akalis, too, as divided as Congress
State of political parties
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, February 13
The Shiromani Akali Dal's Ludhiana unit is also sharply divided and the local leaders remain busy in having a tug of war. They do not leave any stone unturned to humiliate one another. Out of 12 Vidhan Sabha segments of Ludhiana district, four are held by the Akali Dal and the Congress has its hold over eight seats.

The district Akali Dal (Urban) of what is known as city Akali Jatha of Ludhiana is divided into many groups. Earlier there were three main groups ---Amarjit Bhatia group, Hira Singh Gabria group and Avtar Singh Makkar group. Now Bhatia and Gabria groups have joined hands but there has been a new alignment in the city jatha as Mr Avtar Singh Makkar before his selection as president of the SGPC had joined hands with Jagdish Garcha and Sharanjit Singh Dhillon group. Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha is the sitting Akali Dal legislator from Kilaraipur while Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon was elected to the Lok Sabha in the 2004 elections. Both Mr Garcha and Mr Dhillon are staunch supporters and followers of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal. The elevation of Mr Makkar as president of the SGPC has given him an edge over these local leaders.

During the SAD-BJP Government in Punjab and after the separation of Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra from Parkash Singh Badal in 1999, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar acted as president of the city Akali Jatha.

During this period Mr Avtar Singh Makkar and Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, who is now vice president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, were at loggerheads and all efforts to bring unity between the two groups failed. After the rapprochement between Mr Badal and Jathedar Tohra, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia and Mr Hira Singh joined hands against the Jat group which is headed by Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Jagdish Singh Garcha as they brought in one office-bearer of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann's Akali Dal (Amritsar ) , Mr Simarjit Singh Bains.

Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, who was a loyalist of Jathedar Tohra and was a minister in the SAD-BJP Government, has kept himself away from the local bickerings and is maintaining close rapport with Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal. In fact Mr Grewal and Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, another Tohra loyalist, are the main leaders who brought unity between Mr Badal and Jathedar Tohra. Mr Badal is also keeping Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal close to him and has inducted him in the political affairs committee of the Akali Dal. Mr Gabria has also been inducted in the political affairs committee of the Akali Dal.

Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, a veteran Akali leader who was once the backbone of the Shiromani Akali Dal, also lives in Ludhiana but he does not take much interest in the local politics. He and his sons are having their say in the Raikot Vidhan Sabha segment. Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi, son of Mr Talwandi who represents Raikot segment in the Vidhan Sabha, has organised two big rallies in the district.

Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha represents Kila Raipur and is certain to be given the ticket this time too. He is very close to the father-son duo. Mr Mann Singh Garcha, younger brother of Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, is also keen on contesting the election to the Vidhan Sabha this time. He is seeking ticket from Payal constituency. But Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh, a loyalist of Captain Kanwaljit Singh, had contested from this seat in 2002 against Mr Tej Parkash Singh of the Congress. He is again active this year and is in the fray for the Akali ticket.



BKU to launch stir against wheat import
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 13
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has decided to launch a mass agitation in the state to block the government’s move to import wheat and seek an increase in the support price of wheat to Rs 900 per quintal. In the first phase of the agitation, the BKU would organise district level dharnas on February 22 and memoranda would be submitted to respective Deputy Commissioners for acceptance of demands of the farmers.

Stating this here today, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president and Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, secretary general of BKU, reiterated their stand that the decision to import five lakh tonnes of wheat was unwarranted and detrimental to farmers of northern states. The deficit wheat stock in certain states could be well made up from within the country.

The BKU leaders further pointed out that the time table drawn for arrival of imported wheat to the country would have an adverse impact on the wheat producing farmers of Punjab, Haryana and other states in northern India. As per the agreement for import of wheat, these consignments were scheduled to arrive in India in the second week of April whereas the fresh wheat crop in northern states invariably hit the market in the beginning of April. ‘‘The union strongly opposed the import of wheat and BKU activists will block the unloading of wheat consignments on Indian ports.’’

According to Mr Lakhowal, a delegation of farm bodies led by the national president of BKU, Mr Mohinder Singh Tikait, would soon meet the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to apprise him of the repercussions of the decision of importing wheat. The farmers’ representatives would attempt to prevail upon the government to revoke the decision. He made it clear that if the government failed to see reason and the decision to import wheat was not scrapped immediately then the BKU would intensify the agitation with a state level kisan panchayat at Chandigarh on March 7.

The BKU would also continue to put pressure on the government for acceptance of its demand for linking support prices of farm produce to wholesale price index and appropriate hike in the purchase price of all crops.



Chain fast by protesting Railway staff
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 13
Activists of the Uttariya Railway Mazdoor Union (URMU) continued their chain fast against the repressive policies of Northern Railway authorities for the third day here today with seven workers resorting to hunger strike.

Addressing the protesting workers, the URMU functionaries, including Mr Manohar Parashar, organising secretary, Mr Sukhjinder Singh, branch president and branch secretary Mr Raman Malhotra, said because of the indifferent attitude of the senior railway officials of Ferozepore Division, the employees were being forced to intensify their agitation.

Trade union leaders alleged that the Railway authorities were flouting established norms and rules while preparing duty roster for parcel office and further the payment relating to carriage and wagon staff of container depot here were being directed to Delhi division despite the matter being taken up with the higher officials repeatedly.

The URMU functionaries maintained that the agitation will continue till the agitating employees got justice.

Among those who joined the chain fast today were Mr Manjit Singh, Mr Dalip Kumar, Mr Balkar Kumar, Mr R.J Walia, Mr Pardeep Sharma, Mr Jaswant Singh and Mr Ram Dayal.



Ravidas Jayanti celebrated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 13
Guru Ravidas jayanti was celebrated here today with fervour. Special prayers were offered during the day. Various shobha yatras by different organisations were also taken out in different parts of the city. Thousands of people, including women and children participated in these yatras.

With the state government already having announced a holiday today, all educational institutions and government offices also remained closed. Markets along the shobha yatra route wore a festive look and people had set up special food and water counters to offer to the devotees.

Cutting across their ideological inclinations, leaders of various political parties greeted people.

KHANNA: The birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas was celebrated at Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Model Town, here. Bhai Narinder Singh Hajoori of Darbar Sahib performed kirtan and langar was distributed among devotees.

Mandi Ahmedgarh : The birth anniversary of Bhagat Ravidass was celebrated in the town and surrounding villages. The main function was held at Gurdwara Bhagat Ravidass, Jandali road. Akhand path and kirtan was organised in different gurdwaras. Langar was also served to devotees.

Kirtan, recitation of poems and lectures on the life and the philosophy of Bhagat Ravidass marked the occasion. Mr Ajit Singh Chanduraian, member SGPC, and Mr Jatinder Bhola, president of the local civic body, announced various developmental projects in the areas inhabited by Dalits.

Various organisations, including The Kalgidhar Federation, Sukhmani Seva Society and Baba Budha Parchar Trust participated in the celebrations.

The anniversary was also celebrated at Bhagat Ravidass Dharamsala, Jagera road, Pohir road and Amarpura. 



Rotarians attend seminar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 13
“Leaders are mostly born but people can inculcate leadership qualities. Leaders do not claim that they are leaders, but they are like light houses and guide to others,” said Mr N.K. Arora, ex-Chief Secretary, Punjab, addressing Rotarians. The Rotary International District had organised a district leadership training seminar here yesterday at Hotel Majestic Park Plaza.

Mr Arora said an ideal leader stood between the group and higher management in the chain of command and adopted an open-door policy and was accessible to its members.

Host club president Dr A.S. Bindra said the Rotary Club needed dynamic leaders. A leader had the ability to influence a group of people towards the achievements of a goal.

The important Rotarians that attended the function were district governor (rtn) S.P. Sethi, counsellor PDG, (rtn) Mr Gurcharan Singh, district trainer, PDG, Mr G.S. Bawa, host club secretary, Mr S.P. Karkara, (rnt) and seminar chairman, Mr Sanjiv Sethi (rtn).



Ration distribution function
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 13
Gyan Sthal Mandir, Subhani Building, held 102nd ration distribution function for 777 needy women here yesterday. On this occasion, a marriage of poor girl was performed. President Mr Jagdish Bajaj welcomed the guests.

Mr Harish Dhanda, Chairman, Bar Association, Chandigarh and Haryana said the government needed to undertake such works. He appreciated Gyan Sthal Mandir for reaching out to the poor and needy.

Senior Medical Officer, Ms Manjit Kaur, said in future every worker of the Civil Hospital would donate Re 1 towards this noble cause. Ms Sunil Gupta, director, SP Cortex Export Private Limited, donated Rs 1 lakh for the construction of a new hall in the temple and gave Rs 21,000 for the marriage of the poor girl and said every month she would donate Rs 3,000 towards widow pension. Mr Kimiti Lal Jain, an industrialist, also donated Rs 1 lakh for the construction of the hall.

Mr Jagdish Bajaj said they would give free copies, fees, bags to 1,100 students in the new session beginning from April.



“Shift industrial units from residential areas”
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 13
The Environmental and Welfare Association has demanded that the small-scale industries should be shifted from residential areas as these are creating problems for residents.

Mr Sher Singh, president of the association, in a statement today resented the announcement by small industries that they were not willing to shift from the residential areas.

Referring to a hammering unit on the Gill Road, Mr Sher Singh said the noise and vibration caused by this unit had made the life of residents a hell. He added that many building had developed cracks due to constant hammering in the unit.



Unscheduled power cuts plague industry
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 13
The local industry is feeling the heat of prolonged unscheduled power cuts. Even as the electricity board has not declared official cuts for industry, unscheduled cuts ranging between one and four hours are being imposed in several areas.

"There seems to be no end to unscheduled cuts. Power problem has been adding to industry's woes for a long time now and despite several pleas, nothing concrete has happened so far," said Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

As a result of unscheduled cuts, several industries like induction and furnace and electroplating suffer heavy losses. The processes followed in these industries are such that once the power supply is suspended, the process has to be re-started.

Not only on account of losses in production, industrialists suffer as they have to pay wages to labourers engaged during this time. "When we do not know when power would be off, we cannot even adjust workers accordingly. The result is that we have to pay them whether any production takes place or not," said an industrialist.

Industrialists say that cuts in winters were least expected. "Summers are bad always. This time even winters proved to be no good. If the situation continues, industry would be forced to move out."

The situation in residential areas is no better with cuts of three-four hours being imposed on an average in most of the areas.

Industry associations say they have held meetings and submitted memorandums to the government and the department umpteen number of times but to no avail. Irked with the government, industrialists also said that the "Congress Government would have to face the consequences of ignoring industry the way it has".


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