L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

All set for today’s grand show
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana November 13
For Congress workers, if not for everybody, all roads in Ludhiana seem to be leading towards the Chandigarh Road, opposite Vardhaman Spinning and General Mills, the venue of the party's rally that will finally mark the beginning of the party's poll campaign for the forthcoming Assembly elections.

If organisers of the rally are to be believed, a few thousand, big and small, vehicles will ferry workers from across the state to the rally venue indicating an imminent traffic chaos along the roads in and around the city tomorrow. Although the administration has made adequate arrangements for the diversion of the traffic to avoid rush along the Chandigarh Road, people have little faith and hope about the smooth flow of traffic. Better avoid a journey tomorrow to or from Ludhiana. (see accompanying box).

The Minister for Panchayats and Rural Development, Mr Lal Singh, has been camping here for the past several days to supervise the arrangement. The Media Advisor to the Chief Minister, Mr Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, arrived here today with his team of officials for the proper media arrangements. The rally is being shown live on Doordarshan and Punjab Today. The Congress party is learnt to have bought the time slot for the live telecast of the rally from Doordarshan, to avoid any controversy.

All city roads have been colourfully decorated. Congress flags are flying everywhere. Even the vehicles, including the two-wheelers and three-wheelers, have started waving Congress flags two days ahead of the rally. While the entire city has been painted in Congress colours, the particular venue in front of Vardhaman Mills is presenting a festive look as if some grand fair is being organised there.

The organisers of the party have not disclosed as yet about the Central leaders likely to address the rally. They have been maintaining that the Chief Minister would be the main speaker. Besides, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, would also be there. The party wants to assert that it can mobilise lakhs of people, as it hopes to, of its own without using the name of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, or any other star campaigner.

Obviously aimed at as a counter-move to the Shiromani Akali Dal Chandigarh rally of October 16, a lot of attention is being given to the media management. That is why the organisers have ensured that it is telecast live on at least two channels. Besides, the local channels have also been engaged for live coverage. Arrangements have been made for at least 200 journalists from Ludhiana and outside as well.

Despite the fact that it is going to be purely a political show organised by the Congress, the entire official machinery is being put to use with the Deputy Commissioner, Senior Superintendents of Police (from several police districts), District Public Relation Officers and others put on job for the smooth conduct of the programme. The officials are claimed to be on job according to the protocol since, Chief Minister would be coming, irrespective of the fact whether he address a political or apolitical function.

Traffic diversion for November 14

In view of the Congress rally tomorrow, the district police has decided to divert traffic coming from different directions. This includes the traffic from the Jalandhar Road to Chandigarh will move through the Jalandhar byepass, Tajpur Road, Kanda, Police Colony Road and then on the Chandigarh Road.

From the Jalandhar Road to the Delhi Road, heavy vehicles will move through the Jalandhar byepass, Dholewal Chowk and Sherpur Chowk.

From Jalandhar to the Ferozepur Raod, heavy vehicles will move along Ladowal, Noorpur, Hamran and Mullanpur, while light vehicles will move along the elevated road to the Jagaraon Bridge and towards Bharat Nagar Chowk.

The same route will be followed for the return journey along these roads.



Walls, roundabouts, poles continue to be defaced with poll posters
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 13
While the Prime Minister's visit might leave the city sparkling clean due to a massive cleanliness drive, residents will have a difficult time in removing numerous posters related to the Congress rally that have been pasted literally in every nook and corner of the city, defacing public property.

The posters inviting residents to attend tomorrow's rally on the Chandigarh road bear pictures of AICC president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, AICC general secretary Manish Tiwari, Punjab Pradesh Congress chief Shamsher Singh Dullo, minister Lal Singh and a local Congress leader, Mr Pawan Dewan.

Workers of a local leader spent the night literally on the roads in order to paste the posters making his presence in Congress circles felt. Many workers were seen putting bills well past midnight. By morning the signboards, walls, roundabouts, electricity poles, advertisement poles and everything had posters about the rally. It seems that the leader did not want his workers to miss an inch of space where a bill could not be stuck.

Not only posters, but roundabouts on the entire stretch of the Ferozepore Road had colourful flags and flickers in view of the PM's visit.

‘‘It is disgusting that the leaders who existed only in papers throughout the past five years, suddenly have been shown on the posters. A leader is known by the public works he does, but here they want to be highlighted through their pictures that deface public property,’’ said Mr S.S. Chana, a senior citizen and a crusader against garbage and pollution in the city.

He added that while it took just two penultimate days of the PM's visit to deface the entire city, it would take more than a fortnight to clean it. ‘‘Is it fair for the leaders to follow such practices? Can they be allowed to hold people for ransom?’’ he asked.

The overzealous leaders did not care a bit while getting bills pasted on even signboards and other boards providing important information to people. ‘‘I got rid of such posters by scratching the wall myself. But the top layer of wall paint too has gone. What to do? ’’ asked a resident.

He said under provisions of the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1997, the defacement of public property invites strict punishment for violators. But he was so disgusted with the way the legal system works, he preferred to clean the wall himself.

‘‘Most of the people prefer to spend a little money to undo the defacement rather than lodge a complaint. Even those who did lodge protests in the past drew flak. Nothing is going to happen if we lodge a complaint. Moreover, we will invite the ire of the workers of the political party,’’ says Mr Pritpal Singh, a city resident.

What the law says

According to the provisions of the law, no one can put up posters, banners, slogans, etc without the written permission of the owner of the building, whether private or public. The party, association, body, candidate or person is liable to be prosecuted and proceeded against under the law.

Under the Defacement of Public Property Act, the defacement of the properties included interfering with the appearance or beauty, damaging, disfiguring, spoiling or injuring in any other way, whatsoever, and the property included any land, building, hut, structure, wall, tree, fence, post, pole or any other installations. Similarly, fixing of posters on power and telephone poles or putting up banners on poles on the roadsides was punishable under the provisions of the Act.

Violations under the said Act are cognizable, punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to 6 months or with fine up to Rs 1,000 or with both. Under provision of Section 3 of the Act, the government was competent to take such steps as may be necessary for erasing any writing, removing any defacement or any mark from any property.



Journal to foster better police, public ties
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 13
Claiming that the Darpan, monthly journal launched recently by the Punjab Police, will felicitate proximity of the uniformed force with the public. This was stated by Mr Rachhpal Singh Hara, DSP, Malerkotla, at a function organised at Bhogiwal village, near here, today. He urged office-bearers of various social and educational organisations to read the journal and have first hand information about the working of the police. He solicited contributions from the public also.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Hara said the journal would serve as a bridge between the police and the public and both sections would benefit from each other. He pointed out that after going through the crime stories published in the magazine the individuals would come to know about the consequences of deeds.

Mr Darshan Singh, SHO, Sadar, and Mr Hardeep Singh, SHO, Sadar Malerkotla, also spoke on the occasion.



BJP leader flays Vikas Yatra

Ludhiana, November 13
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Rajya Sabha member Lala Lajpat Rai today criticised the Vikas Yatra being taken out by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in the state.

He said it was a paradox that the Vikas Yatra was being taken out in areas where there was practically no 'vikas' (development). — TNS



Vegetable prices start declining
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 13
Vegetable prices, after continually remaining very high during and even after the festive season, have finally begun looking downwards. Thanks to improved local supply, a decline of 35-40 per cent in the prices of most vegetables in the wholesale market has taken place in the past few days. According to traders, the downward trend will continue till the beginning of the next month at least.

"As supply from the Malerkotla side has begun, rates are declining," said Mr Amarbir Singh, general secretary, Punjab State Fruit and Vegetable Commission Agents Association.

In wholesale markets, green peas that were priced at a high of Rs 35-40 per kg about a week ago, are now available for Rs 10-12 per kg. Rates of other vegetables like cauliflower and capsicum too have declined. While carrot is priced at around Rs 7-8 per kg, radish is available for Rs 1-1.50, capsicum for Rs 12-13 and onions between Rs 6.50 and Rs 7 per kg in wholesale markets. Potatoes retained the previous rate of around Rs 13-14 per kg while lemons are available for Rs 11-14 per kg and cucumber for Rs 4-5 per kg.

In the retail market, however, the decline is not as steep and shopkeepers say it will take a couple of days for prices to reduce further.

"Rates are coming down. It is a big relief because this time even after Divali, prices did not come down. Vegetables had become unaffordable and the situation was particularly bad as even pulses are quite highly priced. However, even as the decline is not much, rates have certainly reduced. I am only hoping that prices come down by another 30-40 per cent in a few days as there is a lot of variety available in winters and this is the best time to have veggies," said Ms Shalini Khanna, a home maker in the Civil Lines.

Rates remained high even during the post-festive season on account of the reduced supply. However, now that local supply has begun, prices are coming back to normal. "At least till the beginning of the next month, when marriages begin, prices are likely to continue reducing. They can ,however, increase during the wedding season," said Mr Singh.



SHO suspended
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 13
The SSP, Ludhiana, Mr A.S. Rai, yesterday suspended SHO of Division No. 4 Surinder Pal Singh on the charge of trying to outrage the modesty of a nurse in a hospital on Saturday night.

The SHO had allegedly entered Kapur Hospital in a drunken state and tried to outrage the modesty of a nurse on duty on Saturday night. The nurse and other employees managed to save themselves. The SHO fled when confronted.

A senior police officer told The Tribune that the nurse had complained to the SSP yesterday. The SHO was suspended after it was established that he had gone to the hospital.

He, however, said he had gone to the hospital in pursuit of a boy and a girl, who were loitering around. He had stopped them at a place but they fled. His explanation was not convincing enough to the senior officials, who ordered his suspension yesterday.



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