L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Devotees queue up to worship girls
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 5
While devotees of Durga fasted during Navratras , many of them had put in extra effort to collect pre- pubescent girls for the Kanjak ritual .

The householder worships eight girls representing the manifestations of Durga.

The high rate of female foeticide is showing results .

A few years earlier there were enough girls in the neighbourhood. Now the people are finding it difficult to find the girls for Ashtami poojan," says elderly Madan.

Abdul, a driver, says, "My two -year- old daughter is sought after by the neighbours from the morning. She returns around noon carrying plates full of puris and channa, a few currency notes in her little hands . She gets baffled by the sudden attention , while her brother feels left out. But for want of girls, some devotees also make him sit along with the kanjaks as there is shortage of girls."

Clients of a grocer in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar left their addresses and phone numbers with him for they wanted him to call them up when the girls for kanjak pooja would be available . The girls were booked for 9 or 10 houses.

Rajni and her sisters ,whose mother works as domestic help,said," We are happy today as we have been invited to seven houses each. Never have we had so much to eat. But looking at the heaps of puris that have piled up, we do not feel hungry anymore , but thank God they will not get spoiled and we can eat them tomorrow. The householders who do not allow us to come inside, invited us into their homes and even washed our feet. We feel very happy today ,but sad, for our mother took away all the money."



Lakhowal, Rajewal unions may merge
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Two main farmers’ organisations of Punjab — the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) and the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) — are likely to merge together after 18 years of their split. The two organisations have already announced a joint programme to protest against the wheat import in the country from April 10 by boycotting government mandis.

Following some differences, the BKU had split in Punjab — one headed by Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, known as BKU (Lakhowal) and another headed by Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann, known as BKU (Rajewal). The Rajewal group is named after its general secretary, Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal.

Although there are a number of farmers’ organisations in Punjab, some of these affiliated to Left organisations and other political parties. The BKU (Lakhowal) and the BKU (Rajewal) have maintained their apolitical character during all these years and concentrated on the farmers’ issues only.

With the Union Government deciding to import wheat particularly at a time when the fresh wheat stocks were arriving in the grain markets and there were already huge stocks lying in the godowns, the two organisations decided to chalk out a joint programme. This reportedly further facilitated the way for the merger of the two organisations.

Leaders of both the factions confirmed that negotiations were going on and there was all likelihood of a merger. The leaders maintained that since both the organisations had kept the farmers’ interest paramount there was no reason as why they should go separately. Both these organisations have always remained at the forefront of agitations involving the farmers’ problems.

The two organisations have been holding that there was no logic in importing the wheat at this stage. They said they would call for the boycott of the grain markets by all farmers. They pointed out that once the government had decided to import wheat from abroad there was no reason for the farmers to sell wheat in the government-managed grain markets.



CPI dharna against price rise
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
The district unit of the CPI staged a dharna in front of the Mini-Secretariat here today. The CPI condemned government’s failure to control rise in prices of essential commodities and essential services. Thousand of activists from different parts of the district participated in the dharna.

Dr Joginder Dyal, member, Central Executive Committee, CPI, while addressing the dharna said the prices of essential commodities of daily use like pulses, flour and other things had skyrocketed.

“The rise in the rates of electricity, water supply and sewerage is hitting hard the people from lower-income strata and industry as well. The education and health services are being treated as business with the government completely shedding off its responsibility towards providing these services to the common man.”

He criticised the decision of the state government to hand over these services to the Zila Parishads and also the move to hand over the government medical college to societies.

“It is an irony that when the essential items are becoming expensive, the government in this Budget has reduced the prices of ice creams, soft drinks and cars,” he observed.

Mr Kartar Singh Bowani, district secretary, said: “The policies of liberalisation and privatisation under the diktat of the World Trade Organisation are adding to the woes of toiling people. Workers are being denied security of services, labour laws are being amended in the favour of the employers making life of workers even more miserable. Whereas the subsidy to the poor, including the farmers, is being gradually taken away, the rich are being given heavy subsidy in the form of low interest rates and other facilities. Even the bank loans taken by them are being waived off and declared as non-performing assets, adversely affecting the exchequer.”

Mr Ramesh Rattan, city secretary, said people’s movements against such policies of the government were being suppressed through force. He regretted that in a state like Punjab farmers are forced to commit suicides.

Dr Arun Mitra, assistant secretary, decried the recent Indo-US nuclear treaty, which, he observed, would add to the arms race in the region. The electricity produced through nuclear power plants would be twice more expensive than the one produced by coal and thrice more expensive than produced from gas.



Swar Miya held with 3.5 kg ganja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
The drug smuggling has become so profitable in the city that smugglers were bringing booty at cheap rates from Nepal.

The drug peddlers cross borders of several states in the country by hoodwinking the police and conveniently land in the city.

The drug peddling from far-off place was exposed with the arrest of “smuggler” Swar Miya, who was earlier arrested a number of times under the NDPC Act.

Giving details of the crime, SI Balbir Singh Tiwana, in charge, CIA-II, said the accused had earlier evaded arrest several times.

He was arrested here yesterday. The police seized 3.5 kg of ganja from his possession.

Mr Tiwana claimed that the “smuggler” and other members of his gang used to buy the booty at a price of Rs 300 per kg. By the time the booty reaches Ludhiana, the drug fetches them over Rs 3,000 per kg.

The accused belong to Batiya district in Bihar. During interrogation he revealed that he and several others transport the drug to Punjab.

Meanwhile, in another success, the CIA-II has also arrested a mobile thief. The alleged accused has been identified as Jolly Kumar, a resident of Qila Mohalla here. The accused had stolen mobile phones from different parts of the city, the police said. Six stolen mobile sets have been recovered from his possession.



Eight farmers injured in mishap
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Eight farmers were injured when an autorickshaw in which they were traveling collided with a truck at Jhabewal village, near Samrala, today.

The farmers were coming to Ludhiana to participate in a dharna to be staged in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office. The call for the dharna was given by various farmers’ unions, demanding increase in the minimum support price for wheat.

While five injured, Surjeet Singh, Pritam Singh, Parkash Chand, Charan Singh and Raghbir Singh, were admitted to the Ludhiana Civil Hospital, others, including Malkiat Singh and Piara Singh, were admitted to a hospital in Samrala.

Doctors said the farmers would be discharged tomorrow.

Meanwhile, some farmers staged a dharna here and demanded that the MSP should be increased.



SBI strike continues for third day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Business to the tune of crores of rupees was effected and customers kept complaining as the strike by State Bank of India (SBI) employees continued on the third day today. Not only did business transactions come to a halt, but pensioners, salaried employees and government departments too suffered as a result.

“It is quite shocking that nothing concrete is being done even as lakhs of people are being affected. We are not able to issue cheques, clearances are pending and there is hardly any receipt of payments,” said Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary, United Cycle and parts Manufacturers Association.

According to estimates, the daily volume of transactions in the city alone through the bank is around Rs 800 to 900 crore. As a result of the strike, the volume of transactions has been reduced to almost one-third of this amount.

Besides, several government departments, which have to deposit their collection proceeds daily in the bank, are not able to do so. Such departments are being forced to arrange for extra security.

Even as the bank stated that its customers can withdraw money from ATMs of other banks and it would not levy charges on account of that, the problem for customers who do not hold ATM cards continues.

“The strike has upset our life. We are not able to meet urgent expenses like depositing school fee, rent, monthly bills etc. It is our own money and we are feeling helpless,” said Mahesh, a resident.

Bank employees, meanwhile, remained determined on their stand and blamed the government for the situation. “We are aware that our customers are suffering. But it is only because we were left with no other option. The fault lies entirely with the government,” maintained Mr Vijay Kalia, deputy general secretary, All-India State Bank Officers Association.

The employees are demanding a review of pension sealing and the federations have also demanded an overhauling of the super-annuation scheme.



Scared of socialising? Seek professional advice
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 5
''A phobia is basically a fear. We all have fears about things such as heights and spiders. But, for most of us, they do not interfere with the way we lead our lives. These fears are only called phobias when they interfere with things we would otherwise enjoy or do easily. Many of us get worried before meeting new people, but we find that once we are with them, we can cope and even enjoy the situation. However, some of us become very anxious about these situations. At best, we cannot enjoy them and, at worst, we may have to avoid them altogether.''

This condition, says Dr Paramjit Singh Khurana, Consultant Neuro-Psychiatrist and Drug De-addiction Specialist at Guru Teg Bahadu Charitable Hospital here, is what the medical professionals term as social phobia. About one to two in a hundred men and two to three in a hundred women suffer from this problem which can be categorised in two types.

Those afflicted with general social phobia will tend to worry about becoming the centre of attention anywhere they find them with other people. The victims will feel that everybody is looking at them and noticing what they are doing. They might fear being introduced to other people and even worry about eating or drinking in public. It may be difficult for such persons to go into shops or restaurants. Some of them will feel so embarrassed about undressing in public that they will be scared of going to the beach.

The patients often find it difficult to confront their boss or colleagues, even when they really ought to. Parties are likely to be particularly difficult. Many of such persons will hesitate slightly before going into a room full of people. It can be tempting to use alcohol to help cope, starting to drink before going to a pub or party, so that one can loosen up and relax enough to actually enjoy it, remarks Dr Khurana

The other type of problem---specific social phobia--- is a particular condition that affects people who have to be the centre of attention as part of their way of life. It may affect anybody who has to perform or speak in front of other people. Generally, salespersons, actors, musicians, teachers, or union representatives may all suffer from it. In spite of this, it does not seem to cause problems for them in ordinary social situations.

"If you do suffer from social phobia, you may find that you can mix and socialise with other people without any problems. However, when you have to get up and talk or perform in front of others, you become very anxious, perhaps stammering or even 'drying up' completely. It can affect even people who are experienced at speaking in public and do it regularly. At its worst, it can make it impossible for the sufferer to speak in public at all, even to ask a question."

According to Dr Khurana, people experiencing both of these types of social phobia have many of the same physical symptoms. They may get a very dry mouth, sweat a lot, experience palpitations (the feeling that the heart is beating very fast and or irregularly) and want to pass water or open your bowels. Other people may be able to see some of the signs of this anxiety, such as blushing, stammering, shaking and trembling. Sometimes, the affected person may breathe too fast, which can lead to feelings of numbness or pins and needles in the fingers and toes. This can, in itself, be quite alarming and can make the anxiety even worse.

The sad part of such a condition, adds Dr Khurana, is that many sufferers cope by arranging their lives around their symptoms. This means that they (and their families) have to miss out on many things they might otherwise enjoy.

They can't visit their children's school, can't do the shopping or go to the dentist.

In his advice to patients of social phobia, he recommends that psychological treatment such as social skills training helps to make people feel more relaxed and confident in company. 



Install shunt capacitors, PSEB tells farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
The usage of shunt capacitors by farmers alone would result in an annual saving to the tune of Rs 55 crore on transmission and distribution losses in the state. Even as the installation of capacitors is must while taking a new connection, the number of farmers who have installed the capacitors is negligible.

The PSEB, which has found through a study that the installation of the capacitors can lead to a substantial reduction in line losses, is now stressing on the need to use the capacitors. The energy thus saved can be made available for other uses like supply to tubewells, which ultimately benefits the agriculture sector.

The board, which is also planning to write to the government to take an initiative in this regard, has estimated an initial investment of Rs 60 crore for this purpose.

“Though the usage of the capacitors is mandatory, the fact is that users are unwilling to incur expenditure to install them. Hence, we are planning to ask the government to take the initiative in this regard,” said Mr D.B. Arora, Chief Engineer (Central Zone), while addressing mediapersons here today.

The study, for which nine distribution transformers feeding 102 AP connections were selected, observed that the low-tension line losses reduced by three per cent, whereas an improvement of 10-15 volts was observed in voltage profile of low-tension line and 20 per cent reduction in the loading of distribution transformer occurred. The observations also indicate that such improvements would give a long-term benefit to farmers and reduce the damage rate of distribution transformers apart from increasing transformer life.

The study was conducted by a team of West and Sub-urban circle officers. Mr Arora said energy meters were installed on the premises of tubewell consumers to record energy consumed and on the distribution transformers to record energy pumped.

Special arrangement was made to determine the capacity of low-tension shunt capacitor required to bring power factor of motor near utility. Low-tension line losses before and after installing capacitors were calculated thus.

Urging the farmers to install low-tension capacitors, he said it would result in 3 per cent reduction in losses, which would save a huge amount of energy that can be available for supply to tubewells.



Congress ‘empties’ govt bank to fill vote bank
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 5
Leaders of Congress party disbursed grants worth Rs 554 lakh for the development of 82 villages falling under the Kilaraipur Assembly segment of Ludhiana district, a stronghold of the SAD, at a rally organised at Latala village today.

The rally has been interpreted as declaration of electioneering move of the Congress from the native village of an NRI who is considered to be close to the chief minister of the state and the president of the AIICC.

Terming the disbursement of government funds through defeated candidates as a mockery of the democracy, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, MLA of the constituency, accused the bureaucracy of playing to the tunes of a millionaire.

Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura, a senior Congress leader and in charge of Kilaraipur constituency, disbursed grants to the office-bearers of various civic bodies and social organisations of 82 villages at the rally attended by thousands of activists of the party.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Khangura claimed that it was for the first time that the state government had sanctioned huge grants for multidimensional development of the tituency that had since been ignored. “Though larger number of people voted in favour of SAD candidate during past elections, Capt Amrinder Singh has sanctioned the grants”, said Mr Khangura. He claimed that grants worth Rs 400 lakh would be disturbed at a function to be organised shortly.

Others who spoke on the occasion include Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, Mr Harpal Singh Sangowal, Mr Manmohan Singh Narangwal, Mr Maha Singh Rurka, Mr Parminder Singh Latala and Mr Raj Singh Jand.

It is notable that Latala, the native village of Mr Khangura and headquarters of the constituency, got maximum grant worth more than Rs 20 lakh. Chhapar, Mini Chhapar, Gujjarwal, Jodhan, Dehlon, Narangwal, Phallewal, Ranguwal, Sahauli and Mullanpur are among the villages that received more than Rs 10 lakh each.

Mr Garcha, meanwhile, said, “It is for the first time ever that the authorities have ignored the recommendations of the democratically elected representatives. But the people of the constituency will not fall prey to the tactics and will give mandate on their own coming elections”.



Stories told at Rampur Sabha
Our Correspondent

Doraha, April 5
The Punjabi Writers Association of Rampur organised a story recitation function at the library of the sabha.

Those stories included ‘Bhairavi’ by Desraj Kaali, ‘Sharnarthi’ by Surinder Rampuri, ‘Jilban’ by Gurdial Dalal, ‘Virasat’ by Gulzar Mohammad Goria and ‘Duhathar’ by Ajaib Singh.

A detailed discussion was held about these stories. The discussion was initiated by Mr Teluram Kohara and elaborated upon by Mr Harnek Rampuri, Mr Jasvir Jhajj, Mr Harcharan Mangat, Mr Sompal Heera, Mr Gagandeep Sharma and Mr Jivan Rampuri.

In his presidential address, Mr Ranjit Raahi said, “Contemporary Punjabi story writing is second to none and the stories presented in this literary function bear testimony to this fact.” He added that the association has always taken the initiative to groom and encourage young talent in different fields of literature . Later, a ‘Kavi Darbar’ was organised in which more than twenty poets took part.



Ram Navami function held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
Ved Prachar Mandal celebrated Ram Navami in SD Secondary School, Haridev temple here today. The chief organisers were Mr Roshan Lal Arya, secretary-general of the mandal and principal of the school, Ms Asha Chopra.

The chief guest of the function, Mr Rajesh Kashyap lit the traditional lamp and inaugurated the function. Swami Brahmvesh said in his discourse that in Vedic tradition, Navratras play a very important role.

He said that it is our sacred duty to protect the environment and for that we should perform maximum number of yajnas.

Mr Arya said that we should follow the teachings of the Ramayana.



PPCC secretary praises Sonia
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) secretary and director of Punjab Pollution Control Board, Mr Ramesh Joshi, has congratulated Mrs Sonia Gandhi for setting up a tradition by quitting her seat in the Lok Sabha.

In a letter addressed to the Mrs Gandhi, the PPCC secretary said that the gesture shown by her should be an eye-opener for crooked politicians, who were out to befool the masses by raising issues for their own political motives.



Hutch launches mobile shop
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Hutch today announced the launch of a ‘mobile Hutch shop’ with a view to provide convenience and online customer service to Punjab’s rural subscribers at their doorstep. The company said that the shop would travel to Derabassi, Zirakpur, Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sirhind, Khanna, Samrala, Kurali and Kharar on a weekly basis.

Mr Arun Kapoor, CEO, Hutchison Essar, Punjab, said these shops, parked at key locations across Punjab, would enable bill payment, activation of post paid connections, sale of pre-paid SIM cards and recharge coupons, service-activation and de-activation, change in post-paid plans etc.



Wedding exhibition from April 7
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
To infuse the latest style and grandeur to conventional weddings of Ludhiana, Sunstar Expositions Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, will organise a mega wedding exhibition under the name “Wedding in Style 2006”, first of its kind to be held in the city at Hotel Maharaja Regency from April 7 to 10.

According to Mr Anil Bali, Mr DP Singh and Mr Vikas Narang, organisers of the show, the exhibitions will change the definition of grand weddings. A similar exhibition was held in Chandigarh from January 5 to 8.

The exhibition will offer the best of jewellery, bridal wear, trousseau, furniture, footwear, fashion accessories, food, wedding planning, and photography collected from various places to make the best collection.

Arranging wedding is a tough task in today’s hectic and busy life of rich and elite class the society of a splendid city like Ludhiana, said Mr Bali, adding that the exhibition aims at providing splendour to the weddings in the city.

The exhibition is being sponsored by The Tribune.


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