L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Industrialists do what MC should have
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 16
While the Ludhiana Divisional Forest Department, Municipal Corporation and the Punjab Pollution Control Board have failed to check the felling of trees along the national highway due to the dumping of fly ash by some industry units, activists of the Indian Bicycle Manufacturers Association have taken upon themselves to stop the damage.

The activists caught two persons with a tractor trailer full of fly ash which they were about to dump in the green belt in the Focal Point. Mr R.D. Sharma, general secretary, and Mr Rajnish Ahuja, president, Ludhiana Shed Association, said they along with other activists were keeping an eye on the green belts to prevent dumping. There efforts bore fruit when they caught the tractor last midnight.

Alakh Ram and Dharam Singh were handed over to the police. The association also brought the matter to the notice of the Municipal Corporation.

The Indian Bicycle Manufacturers Association and United Cycle Parts Manufacturing Association recently came out in the open to fight this practice. However, when the administration refused to take effective action on their complaints, the associations decided to take the matter in their own hands.

The dyeing industry is in the centre of the controversy after being accused of dumping the fly ash and causing pollution. It is being held responsible for polluting the Budda nullah.

Mounds of fly ash can be seen in the place of trees in parks or forest area.

Industrialists feel that apart from damaging the environment, the fly ash was also causing health problems. Paint manufacturers were the worst hit as the ash gets mixed with paints and affects the quality.

Other industrialists are also annoyed as the ash settles in machines that are worth crores. “They are saving their money by dumping fly ash on roads and green belts. If fly ash gets into a sophisticated machine, it stops working. We import machines worth thousands of dollars to get good production,’’ Mr R.D. Sharma of the IBMA said, adding that the fly ash was also making its way into manholes and choking sewerage.



'No sitting MLA should be allowed to change constituency'
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 16
Senior Congress leader and secretary of the All-India Congress Committee, Mr Manish Tewari, said here today that no sitting Congress MLA or minister should be allowed to change his or her constituency in the elections. He said, this was quite important to ensure and retain the morale of the cadres.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Tewari observed in case an MLA or minister gets the party nomination it must be from the same constituency he or she is representing. He pointed out, in the last parliamentary elections one candidate changed his constituency which sent a wrong signal to the cadres and the party lost in both constituencies.

Mr Tewari said, there must also be some benchmark set for renominating candidates, including their past performance. He said, like in Madhya Pradesh in 1998 all sitting candidates who had trailed in their Assembly segments in the parliamentary elections by 10,000 or more votes were replaced with fresh faces and most of these seats were won. He said, a similar yardstick could be applied here in Punjab too. "We may relax it to 15,000 or bring it down to 5,000, but some objective criterion needs to be fixed", he observed.

The AICC secretary said, ultimately this issue would boil down to the selection of candidates. "It is the candidate who has to confront the voters and he must be acceptable to the electorate for the winnability", Mr Tewari asserted, while adding, the party must not hesitate in changing the candidates, wherever it felt the need.



Passport adalat clears 600 cases
Jyotika Sood

Chandigarh, December 16
The Regional Passport Office cleared more than 600 pending cases at the second passport adalat held for Ludhiana district here today.

Keeping in mind the inconvenience caused to the public during the last adalat, efforts were made to improve the service this time.

To avoid confusion, applicants had been given a counter number in letters that were sent to them informing them about the adalat.

A counter for fresh cases was put up as several people turned up not knowing that the adalat was only to address grievances of the cases pending with the office.

Almost all cases were cleared by afternoon. Mr Vitul Kumar, Regional Passport Officer, said “We have tried to make the adalat more systematic and visitor friendly this time.”

Officials said around 800 letters were dispatched to the applicants whose cases were pending.

The adalat, however, once again brought to light the problem of touts. “I had paid Rs 1,600 to an agent and he told me to reach the passport office today. I have been waiting for him since morning and he is not even picking up his mobile. I don’t even have the batch number with the help of which I could make an inquiry,” said Prem Lal.



NRI wants to develop native village
Tribune News Service

Sujapur (Ludhiana), December 16
With 50 per cent grant coming from the state government, NRIs have started coming forward to develop native villages. Mr Sukh Dhaliwal, a native of this village and member of the House of Commons in Canada, has come to the village with big promises and was accorded a rousing reception by villagers today.

He wants to initiate a community development project for the village. He plans to build a good drainage system and ensure that the village has potable drinking water, good roads, well-equipped hospital and a school.

He said a number of NRIs were already building model villages across Punjab. However, not many were aware of the grant scheme of the government.

He hoped to get some aid from the Canadian International Development Aid Agency which was providing aid to countries the worldover for the development of infrastructure.

Mr Dhaliwal is a civil engineer and hopes to complete the project in about three years.

He said his party in Canada pursued three main agendas, namely clean environment, social justice and sustainable development. This model, he said, could be adopted here also.

Mr Dhaliwal said once the Indo-US nuclear treaty came into force, there was a greater scope for nuclear cooperation between India and Canada as Canada produced a lot of uranium. He said this would solve India's long-term energy problems and ensure clean environment.



Xmas carnival for a cause
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 16
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Gupta, today inaugurated an Xmas carnival at a hotel here.

After lighting the traditional lamp, he handed over the initial contribution cheque, given by the organisers, Direct Relations, to the Indian Red Cross Society.

The Deputy Commissioner wrote in the visitors’ book: “This exhibition organised by Tahira Kashyap of Direct Relations is a wonderful experience as it is being held to support the Indian Red Cross. On the one hand, it will help the District Red Cross to mobilise more funds and on the other hand it will help young entrepreneurs to demonstrate and exhibit their creativity."

The carnival is a two-day exhibition of lifestyle products. The exhibition showcases an exclusive assortment of designer wear, designer jewellery, antique furniture, artifacts, home furnishings, handicrafts and various other gift items. The exhibitors participating in this exhibition have come from across India and abroad.

There are designers who have come from Pakistan, Kashmir, Nepal, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and various other cities. Besides the exclusive collections, the other attractive features include a special food court and innovative competitions.



Sammelan: Follow Christ’s teachings
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 16
Mr Manish Tewari, a senior Congress leader and secretary of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC), today asked the people to follow the path of sacrifice shown by Jesus Christ. He was addressing a state-level Christmas sammelan organised by the Ludhiana Masihi Welfare Society and the Pastors of Ludiana Churches here today.

Mr Tewari said the Christ had shown light to the world while sacrificing Himself. He said His teachings of love and forgiveness were relevant in the modern time when there was so much violence and hatred around. He congratulated the Christian community of Ludhiana for its spirit of service and dedication to society.

Addressing the function, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, while congratulating the Christian community on the eve of Christmas, said the message of the Christ regarding peace and brotherhood was still relevant. He said the great secular traditions of India had ensured peaceful coexistence of different communities for centuries.

Expressing gratitude to the people for participating in the sammelan, Mr Nathaniel Gill, president of the Ludhiana Masihi Welfare Society and executive member of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, hailed the secular traditions of the country, “more so of the Congress”.

The Christmas message was delivered by Pastor T.J. Simon.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Mr Pawan Dewan, Mr Parminder Mehta and Mr K.K. Bawa.



A poet and gay activist
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 16
Iftikhar Nasim, popularly known as Ifti Nasim, is a Pakistan-born US poet and writer. His poetry is recommended in US colleges. He is a gay rights activist as well.

Ifti has no qualms in admitting that he is a gay. “I was born in an orthodox and conservative society in Pakistan and I had to leave that country for my inclinations which some people, which that society thought were unnatural,” he says.

Being gay is a natural tendency and relevant in the subcontinent. “But most people cannot admit it for obvious reasons,” he says, adding that as the human mind keeps growing, some traditions are bound to change.

Defending gay marriages in America, he says “what is wrong in it?...if people of different sexes can stay together by virtue of marriage why cannot two people belonging to the same sex stay like that.” Even in America, conservative Christians and Jews are opposing gay marriages.

Owing to his “frank admission” about himself, he had to face the wrath of the radicals in Pakistan and leave the country. He is settled in Chicago. “But now I am also accepted in Pakistan where I come to deliver lectures on various issues,” he says.

He is currently in Ludhiana to participate in the Jashan-e-Sahir, an annual mushaira organised by Adeeb International in memory of Urdu poet Sahir Ludhianvi.

Mr Kewal Dheer, organiser of the mushaira, says that Ifti is so particular about it that he would frequently ask about the dates so that he could organise his visit accordingly.



At the Crossroads
Imroz — the artist-turned-poet

The friendship between Amrita Pritam and Inderjit Imroz reminds me of the intimate friendship between Simone de Beauvoir and Jaan-Paul Sartre. Both of them were like orbits with separate identities but illuminating each other with their radiance. In the case of Amrita and Imroz, the same thing happened but with a difference. Imroz never tried to attract the attention of others in regard to his own contribution to art. Their friendship was personal in all respects.

Not many people know that Amrita was a home bird and did not like others to impinge upon her privacy. At times she wanted to meet literary persons, but not at the cost of her personal equation with Imroz.

In 1965 I had my first meeting with Amrita Pritam at her house in Hauz Khas, New Delhi. I had gone there to discuss the themes and characters of her 10 novels which had been published till date. She told me that the Punjabi readers know her as a poet but refrain from talking about her novels, whereas the Hindi readers love her as a novelist. As a result of it, her Punjabi novels first appear in Hindi, in translated form, and later in original Punjabi. During my stay there for about three hours, Imroz brought tea for us twice but did not join us. He took his cup of tea on both occasions and retired to his studio.

Imroz is an artist who shuns holding solo exhibitions as he is averse to publicity. But, in line sketches and calligraphy, he has received laurels from the common readers and the connoisseurs of art.

Perhaps in the fifties he joined the staff of “Shama”, an Urdu monthly, as an artist. In that journal, he used to illustrate poems and short stories with line sketches in an inimitable manner. Later, he took pains in giving artistic touches to a Punjabi monthly “Nagmani”, of which both he and Amrita were owners and editors. In between he did some commercial work, like preparing cover designs for books, mostly Punjabi.

In a gracious manner, he used to present their line portraits to authors. I am lucky that he prepared designs for the titles of some of my books, besides a line portrait of mine.

Amrita’s demise has left Imroz forlorn. He had a purpose even when she had been confined to bed for a long time. Undoubtedly he provided great solace to her at the hour of her need. Now when she is no more by his side, he has imbibed poetic spirit in himself so as to lighten the heaviness of his heart, besides filling up the vacant hours with something worthwhile.

He has come up with a collection of his Punjabi poems entitled “Jashan Jari Hai” that has been admired by discerning readers. Penguin Books has also published a book 'Amrita Imroz - A Love Story”.

He is not loud in the expression of his views, in the same way as he has never been inclined to paint in bold colours. By temperament, he is reticent to talk about himself and his work. He knows that, when the work of an artist or a poet starts speaking, its creator should not disturb. In this collection, he has illustrated his poems, thereby conveying his ideas and sensibilities both in words and sketches.

Imroz is of the view that most of the poetic literature of the world is concerned with unrequited love or unfulfilled love. But in his case, the situation is that of love fully reciprocated. Not mere longings for the loved one but deep understanding and lofty admiration for each other. He is with Majaz Lucknavi who says -

Sab jaam bakaf baithhe hi rahe

Hum pee bhi gaye chalka bhi gaye.

(All remained seated with cups of wine in their hands. But I quaffed it as well as sprinkled it around)

— N.S. Tasneem



Junior Khangura’s political rhetoric
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 16
Welcoming the surrender of a British passport by Mr Jasvir Singh Jassi Khangura, a likely nominee of the Congress from the Kilaraipur Assembly constituency, a large number of activists of the youth wing of the party from 33 villages of Dehlon block extended support to the junior Khangura at rallies held at Dehlon and Kalakh villages near here today.

Claiming to have played a significant role in bringing grants worth more than Rs 80 crore for the development of the area during the present Congress regime, Mr Khangura assured the youth that he, like his father Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura, would leave no stone unturned to continue development works if the party was given another term.

Addressing gatherings at Dehlon and Kalakh villages, the junior Khangura claimed that his family had impressed upon Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, to send grants worth more than Rs 80 crore during the past five years.

"Besides getting roads constructed at a cost of Rs 32 crore, we succeeded in getting drains repaired and new ones constructed at a cost of Rs 18.3 crore. Besides the development works undertaken by the government, massive plans were launched from our own resources," he said, adding that their political opponents could not get the Dehlon-Pakhowal road widened, for which a former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had made a public announcement thrice during his tenure as Chief Minister.

Mr Jassi called upon the youth to shun the practice of going abroad through illegal means and stressed that they should get educated before planning to go in search of greener pastures abroad.

When Mr Jassi announced that he had surrendered his British passport, activists announced full support during the coming elections.

Mr Raghu Nandan Sharma, chairman, Market Committee, Malaudh, Mr Jatinder Laddi, general secretary, District Congress, Mr Ranjit Singh Mangat, general secretary of the state youth wing of the party, and Mr Maha Singh Rurka spoke on the occasion.



Cong ticket: Brahmins want fair deal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 16
The Parshuram Brahmin Sabha, Punjab, has demanded adequate representation in the Congress while choosing the candidates for the forthcoming elections in Punjab.

In a letter addressed to Mr Janardhan Dwivedi, the Congress general secretary and in charge, party affairs, Punjab, the sabha president, Dr B.K. Dat said Brahmins could play a decisive role in 25 Assembly segments in Punjab, which was quite a significant number.

Dr Dat said, the Brahmins were feeling ignored and marginalised under the current regime. He said, the representation of the Brahmins in various government jobs had come down drastically and also the caste- based reservation had almost sealed their chances of getting anywhere.



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