L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Teachers threaten to intensify agitation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 17
Punjab State-Aided School Teachers and Other Employees Union have decided to intensify their ongoing agitation by continuing with their indefinite strike.

Mr Manohar Lal Chopra, chief adviser of the union, said the teachers and other employees had a meeting today in which it was decided that if the government failed to restore the pensionary benefits to the teachers on a par with other state government employees by December 19, they would start the second phase of their protest i.e. courting arrest.

“If nothing will be done after that, we will hold a black flag demonstration at the venue of the Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to Amritsar,” said Mr Chopra.

The teaching and non-teaching staff of aided schools have been on strike for more than 12 days.

On asking about the fate of approximately 5 lakh students studying in 484 aided schools in Punjab, Mr O.P.Arora, Principal, Nauria Mal Jain School, said they would reschedule the whole thing. “We are hopeful that the government will understand the whole issue and act accordingly.

We will not let the students suffer. There will be no winter break and classes will be held on Sundays too. For these extra classes students will not be charged anything,” he assured.



Dawar supports striking teachers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
“A nation is known by its teachers.” This was stated by Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, in a press note issued here today. He said he was morally supporting the teachers of private aided schools.

He further said he would speak to Capt Amarinder Singh and try to resolve the impasse. The teachers want restoration of pension and have been urging the government to fill the vacancies, but to no avail. Mr Dawar has assured the teachers that he would do his best to resolve the problem.



Japji Khera crowned Miss World Punjaban
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
Punjabi damsel from Australia Japji Khera is Miss World Punjaban 2006 while Patiala beauty Manjosh Bhullar is the first runners-up and Harpreet Hanjra from Ludhiana is the second runners-up.

The grand finale of the eagerly awaited beauty pageant on Punjabi culture Miss World Punjaban 2006 was held at GRD Academy here last evening.

Rythem Arora of Jalandhar was given the title of Best Dance Performer while Best Smile Award was bagged by Harsimrat Kaur. The live coverage of the whole event was presented by ETC Channel Punjabi. Sabhyacharak Sath, Punjab, an organization of Punjabi culture had organised the pageant depicting Punjabi culture.

Mr Jasmer Singh Dhatt, founder chairman of the organisation, said that every year, thousands of people throughout world, watched this event. The winners of Miss World Punjaban 2006 were honoured with a golden crown of Punjabi culture known as Saggi Phul along with phulkaris, bughties and traditional ornaments.

The winner of the event also bagged a special tour to Australia sponsored by the Australian Chapter of Sabhyacharak Sath, Punjab. Televisions from Bestavision were gifted to the winners.



ADMA rejects new draft rules for ayurvedic drug makers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
The Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturers Association (ADMA) has rejected the draft rules proposed for the ayurvedic drug manufacturers in the country terming them as arbitrary and dictatorial.

Mr Ranjit Puranik, general secretary of the body, questioned the motive behind the new dictatorial draft of rules pertaining to ayurvedic drugs manufacturing, hurriedly put forth by non-technical heads of the department of AYUSH without consulting the Ayurvedic, Sidha, Unani Technical Advisory Board (ASUDTAB) or the representatives of the industry.

Addressing a gathering of ayurvedic manufacturers, attending a one-day national workshop held here yesterday on the update on new notifications and moving towards a qualitative approach, Mr Puranik was sharing his views on the issues related with the new notification (GSR 652E) that made the registration of already approved formulations, mandatory for the ayurvedic drug industry.

National president of ADMA Pramod Sharma said that despite the 5,000-year-old origin of this world's oldest science of healing, the ayurvedic drug industry, was still in a nascent stage of evolution in its own country. The new rules formulated might have a long-term negative effect on the progress of this sector, he apprehended.

Ayurvedacharya Pradeep Nagrath, former vice-president of ADMA, said that since the intentions of the lawmakers were not clear pertaining to new hasty notifications, the association, while grossly rejecting all sections of the new rules, had also started gearing up to face the outcome. Understanding the need of the hour to nurse this industry, ADMA had launched a comprehensive drive for technical workshops and seminars at the national level with an objective of educating and updating the small and cottage sector of ayurvedic drug manufacturers and help them grow to a strong sunrise segment.

Welcoming the delegates from different parts of Punjab and neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, Regional Secretary (North) of ADMA Rajesh Thapar asked the government to take measures to assist this industry. The first step in this direction should be exemption of ayurvedic drug manufacturers from VAT and excise duty.

The workshop, attended by more than 160 ayurvedic drug manufacturers, concentrated upon understanding and repercussions of the new notifications as also various amendments pertaining to heavy metal contents, shelf life, labeling systems and approved drugs' centralized registration. The participants discussed steps and modalities for achieving qualitative standards and latest technologies for promotion of ayurvedic drugs and formulations.

The highlight of this workshop was a thought- provoking presentation made by an ayurvedic practitioner, Dr Dheeraj Malhotra of Amritsar, who refuted the adversely propagated ill-effects of heavy metals on the human body, citing the excerpts from published western medical literature. He presented various equations that the so-called heavy metals were not heavy on the human body and stated that heavy metals containing ayurvedic medicines were completely safe to be used.

ADMA's Punjab state chairman Raj Kumar Passi was honoured with LifeTime Achievement Award.



Move on migrants’ registration opposed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
Senior Bhartiya Janata Party leader and former Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Kalraj Mishra today opposed the move of the local administration to register and identify the migrants coming to this place from states like UP and Bihar.

Mr Mishra, who was here to preside over a function organised by the Owadh Youth Forum, an organisation of youths from Uttar Pradesh, said this was against the spirit of national integrity.

He regretted that all crime was attributed to the migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. He said the people here must not ignore the contribution from the migrants in the state’s development.

He said the best thing would be to prepare voter identity cards of these people. He said singling out someone for suspicious motives was unethical, wrong and humiliating, particularly for the people who had left everything to earn bread and butter.

The BJP leader asserted that his party was certain to form the government in Uttranchal and Uttar Pradesh, which would go to polls in next few months. He said his party was comfortably placed in Punjab as well and the alliance was firm with the Shiromani Akali Dal.



Cong misusing official machinery: Kanwaljit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
Apprehending that the Congress may get some mileage from the Prime Minister’s Punjab visit, the Shiromani Akali Dal has alleged that it amounted to misuse of constitutional authority.

Addressing a press conference here today, SAD secretary-general Kanwaljit Singh pointed out that the Prime Minister was scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the Halwara international airport, though the Union Cabinet had not approved it. He said this was aimed at befooling the people.

He alleged that the Congress was misusing the official machinery. He stated that funds to the tune of crores of rupees from the state exchequer were being used to finance the advertisement campaign of the Congress.

Referring to the Chief Minister’s announcement to provide wheat flour at Rs 2 per kg and dal at Rs 20 per kg, the former Finance Minister said who had stopped him (the Chief Minister) to provide these things at this rate all these years. “Why did he wake up just now,” the SAD leader asked. He claimed that the Vikas Yatra of the Chief Minister had proved to be a failure. The former Finance Minister also criticised the government for distributing development funds in an arbitrary manner.



SPG supervises security at Halwara
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
A team of the Special Protection Group (SPG) today oversaw security arrangements at Halwara. This has led to speculation that Dr Manmohan Singh will lay the foundation stone of the controversy-hit international airport project near the Air Force base here.

Police sources revealed that the SPG team in the wake of the intimation made to them by the Prime Minister Office that Dr Manmohan Singh could visit the base during his tour of Punjab on December 19 and 20.



Ludhiana Calling

Sycophancy has become the hallmark of our political culture. Recent examples being the birthday celebrations of Congress president, Sonia Gandhi on December 9 and that of Mr Parkash Singh Badal on December 8. Politics that ideally should have been driven by commitment to certain principles seems to be defined in terms of the loyalty (read sycophancy) towards a particular leader. The leaders are made to be demigods, if not more than the Gods. This was shamelessly proved on December 8 and 9. There have been birthday bashes of leaders like Mayawati and Jayalalitha earlier also, but that is no justification. While on the birthday of Mr Badal lakhs of people (most of them migrant labourers) were mobilised to celebrate the birthday, a number of functions were organised to celebrate the birthday of Ms Sonia Gandhi, who was described as the “Goddess of sacrifice, renunciation, selflessness”. It is regretful that even senior leaders compete to out-manoeuvre each other to exhibit loyalty and devotion to the leader, while they damn care about the masses.

Posing as animals

With many animal rights organisations working overtime to stop the exploitation of animals, the “behrupias” have started dressing up as one in order to get alms from people. Though this community is expert in make-up, they find it tough to dress up as animals as the hair and skin is not easily available. The community does not moan the shortage. Instead it tries to educate the masses on conservation of forests and protection of animals so that the coming generation may not see them only in form of “behrupias.”

“Drama yatra”

Politicians are blindly trying to ape the Vikas Yatra of Capt Amarinder Singh for attracting votes for the coming legislative elections. One such yatra held recently proved to be quite a farce. In his zeal to claim more votes, a particular politician announced that he would be covering 33 municipal wards of the city in one day. By the evening he covered it but through a whirlwind tour with no contact with the masses. At many places people who had lined up to air their grievances did not even get time to see the face of the politician.

Colonial hangover

The city police head office at the mini-secretariat reminds one of the colonial days. Police officials have separate entry to the building where as the commoners i.e. the complainants or litigants have to reach their offices after making a round of the entire corridor. It is only here that we find two entry points.

Selective action

The local administration drew praise this week for booking 22 dairy owners on the charge of polluting Barrewal drain. The step was welcomed but smacked of double standards. Though a major part of the drain had gone missing due to encroachments by colonisers, it still acts as a natural drainage of excess water. The dairy owners had made an outlet of the sewage. One wonders why the same action has not been taken against the industrialists who have been polluting Buddha Nullah for several decades.

Folk dances

Folk dances have been reduced to cheap ways to attract business. A number of showrooms selling products, folk art, handicrafts of a tribe or state have started hiring folk artists to attract customers. These artists are made to dance outside the showrooms or pavements or even the roadside to attract customers. It seems the organisations formed by the government to preserve the folk dances have failed to provide them proper livelihood due to which they are forced to sell their art like this. (see picture)

Sutlej bridge

The bridge over the Sutlej river on the Ludhiana- Jalandhar highway is crumbling, The slabs on the footpath have disappeared, making this dangerous to walk on. Even the bridge has developed pot-holes. Despite the media outcry over the dismal condition of the bridge, the state government or the national highway authority has not woken up.

Cricket craze

No matter how much the Indian cricket team is battered in matches, there is no let up in the cricket craze in the city. Any open space in the city, be it on the road, pavements, parks, parking lots, market corridors, is being used as cricket ground. On weekends hordes of youngsters are seen trying to do a Dhoni or a Tendulkar on the streets. Even though Asian Games were on , the youngsters seem to be ignorant of these.

Pass seekers

With festive season just round the corner various hotels, clubs and event organisers have already announced massive celebrations plans. They are roping in acclaimed artist’s, singers and dance troups. This has put bureaucrats, police officials and the mediapersons under pressure of arranging passes. While the officials put their low-rank employees on the job, mediapersons are getting phone call, requesting for passes.

Contributed by Vimal Sumbly, Jupinderjit Singh and Kanchan Vasdev



Sidhu should retire from politics: Cong leader
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee legal cell’s Chairman. Mr Dharamjit Singh Khera, has demanded the retirement of Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, a former MP from politics.

He strongly criticised the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal for projecting an accused as a Hero.

He also criticised the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal for projecting Mr Sidhu as a winner soldier of war.

He had ruined a family by taking life of one of their family members. Even in several interviews, the accused had even admitted that it was a mistake.



Politics, passion keep poets going
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
Rahat Indoori is probably one of the few best living Urdu poets in the country. And he lives by his reputation. That probably explains the reason as to why the Pandey Auditorium at the Nehru Sidhant Kender, remained crammed to capacity, right till the end. Because Indoori was the last to present his poems and provide a grand poetic ending to the an international mushaira, Jashn-e-Sahir 2006, organised by the Adeeb International in memory of Sahir Ludhianvi, here last night.

There were other eminent and brilliant poets from across the subcontinent, like Ata-ul-Haq Qasmi from Pakistan, Saghar Khayami, Iftikhar Naseem from the USA, Faiyyaz Faroouqi, Senior Superintendent of Police, Khana, and others, who enthralled the audience with the wit and satire that touched all aspects of contemporary life ranging from politics to the vanishing clothes of Malika Sherawat.

When someone reminded Indoori of elections being held in Punjab in less than three months from now, he retorted, 'sarhad kay donoo tarraf tanaav hai kya, poochho to zara chunao hai kya', making the entire audience cheer. But that was not the only couplet that moved the audience. His entire presentation was lively and blissful.

Saghar Khayami, a septuagenarian poet from UP, was full of wit and humour. He had recently been to Pakistan, where he said, he got teeth implant with the help of Pakistan Home Minister. He remarked there could not be greater example of friendship than his own as he was carrying an "Indian tongue with Pakistani teeth". The youthful spirit continued to live in the aging poet who said he could not resist a comment on Malika Sherawat's clothes, saying, "yeh garaiban hai ya roshan daan hai".

The mushaira had another revelation about the Khanna SSP, Mr MF Farouqi, who turned out to be a great poet with lot of depth of thought and brilliant presentation. His poetry spelt out his youthful and forceful sprit, that was best reflected in the couplets, "paanay ko Khuda sirf, harram jaana chahiye, aye Sheikh tera yeh bhi bharam jaana chahiye, uss mein ubaal aayay na ghar zulm dekh karr, apni ragoon mein fir lahoo jamm jana chahiye".

There were other poets like Ifitikhar Nasim, Riaz Haans, Uzair Ahmad (both from Pakistan), Noor Jahan Sarwat, Sohail Lucknavi, Ashok Sohail, Anna Dehalvi, Malikzada Javed and Nashir Naqvi, who also compared the mushaira.

Earlier, Sahir Award was presented to Pakistani poet, Ata-ul Haq Qasmi. Javed Akhtar was also to receive the award. However, he could not make it to the mushaira.

Dr Kewal Dheer, who has been organising the mushaira regularly for all these years, thanked the audience and the participating poets for responding to the invitation overwhelmingly.



Let us keep poetry and politics away from each other, says Pak poet
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
Eminent poet from Pakistan, Ata-ul-Haq-Qasmi, believes that politics and poetry were two separate things and these must be kept separate. Mr Qasmi said that he was here to strengthen relationship between the two countries through shayari (poetry). The renowned Pakistani poet was here to participate in the 34th Jashn-e-Sahir annual international mushaira.

Talking to The Tribune, he said it was a positive development that people of the two countries had started coming closer. He said the intellectuals, like the artists had a constructive role in spreading the message of love and trust. At the same time, he said even the governments of the two countries were now building confidence among each other which was a welcome development.

Mr Qasmi, besides being an eminent poet, is a well known playwright and a diplomat. He has served as Pakistan's Ambassador to Norway and Thailand. He is a leading columnist as well. He said, the Pakistani society was undergoing great change. The women were as liberal as their counterparts in India. "Be it journalism, Administrative Services, Air Force, Medicine or any other field, women were shining like stars", he said.

When asked why people in both countries still possessed ill feelings for each other, Mr Qasmi said that it was not easy to forget the past. "It will take some time. When people of European countries can come together, why not we?. By retaining our own identities, we should spread the message of love, peace and brotherhood", said Mr Qasmi.

Mr Qasmi has written eminent plays like Haveli, Shabdeg, Har Fun Maula and Khwaja and Son. His other publications include Rozn-e-diwar se, Attaiyay, Jurm-e-Zareefi and Khand-e-Mukarrar. His achievements include Sitar-a-Imtiaz by the President of Pakistan in 1998, and Pride of Performance in 1992.



Swami Shradanand’s martyrdom day observed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
The 80th martyrdom of Swami Shradanand was organised by the district Arya Sabha at Arya Senior Secondary School, Old grain market, here today. Yajnas were performed to mark the occasion while girls of Janata College sang bhajan. Swami Acharya Ramanand from Shimla threw light on the life of Swami Shradanand.

The function was attended by Ms Rajesh, Mr Ravi Mahajan, Dr Vijay Sarin, Mr Sushil Moudgil, Mr Rajinder, etc.



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