L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Condition of roads deplorable
Damaged railings, potholes pose threat to motorists
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 5
The observance of Road Safety Week by the police has become meaningless for residents of the Malwa-belt here, as the condition of almost all roads is pitiable. Even the alternative routes being taken up by the commuters are equally risky. Poor visibility due to thick fog has further increased the risk factor these days.
A virtual deathtrap on the Raikot-Jodhan road near Ahmedgarh.
A virtual deathtrap on the Raikot-Jodhan road near Ahmedgarh. Photo by the writer

All roads connecting nearby localities and towns are in a critical condition. The condition of the link roads, which had been waiting repairs for long, is also deplorable.

Most of the roads and bridges here have become virtual deathtraps for want of repair but the authorities concerned continue to be indifferent towards their upkeep. Many accidents have already been reported in the area.

Drivers find it difficult to negotiate turns at the Jagera bridge and the Kaind bridge. Many lives have been lost in accidents on these bridges.

The old Jagera bridge, which had been declared unsafe, is still open for traffic. Though the old bridge at Kaind has been closed for traffic, blockades erected by the authorities concerned are positioned dangerously. Similarly, the turns on the roads at Pohir, Dehlon, Sarinh and Gill villages are also accident-prone.

Railings of many small and big bridges on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, Malerkotla-Raikot road, Raikot-Pakhowal road, and on the other link roads are damaged. Small bridges near Raikot town and Jartoli village have no railings at all.

Though the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road has been repaired, the condition of the link roads was bad. At places, these roads have potholes bigger than the size of tyres of heavy vehicles making it difficult for drivers to manage their vehicles through these pits.

Situation is graver on the roads along the river banks. Eroded sides and obstructing trees pose threat to occupants of the vehicles plying on these roads.

Moreover, outsiders find the alternate routes to be cumbersome as they have to enquire the route many times before reaching their destination.

The problem has been aggravated by the diversion of heavy vehicles carrying goods from neighbouring states to Punjab. To avoid the tax authorities and check barriers, drivers prefer the tough terrain. The increase in the number of private vehicles and school buses has added burden to the already stressed roads. 



‘Micro-enterprises need boost’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
The Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India has urged the Centre to take measures to boost the development of the micro-enterprises in the state.

"The issues concerning micro-enterprises are quite distinct from those of small and medium enterprises. That is why special measures like easy access to finance, a separate bill and a special package for these units are needed," said Mr Joginder Kumar, President of the association.

The representatives of the association also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his recent visit to Amritsar and apprised him of these issues. Mr Kumar said," The working group on the 11th five-year plan has been constituted and its meetings are being conducted. We apprehend that the focus of the government has shifted more towards small and medium enterprises. We feel that micro-enterprises need special attention."

He further said there was a need for a separate minister of the state for micro-enterprises and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) should be renamed Micro Enterprises and Development Bank of India so that easy finance is available to units falling under this category.

Mentioning the Third Census of Small-Scale Industries conducted by the Government of India, Mr Kumar said it revealed that over 99 per cent of manufacturing units were tiny and were now called micro-enterprises. "Though the upper ceiling of the investment in plant and machinery for these units is Rs 25 lakh, over 98 per cent of these have investments less than Rs 2 lakh. Their contribution towards employment, on the other hand, is over 28 million and they account for nearly 40 per cent of the industrial production. However, most of these units are non-viable because of pricing and design factors."

Industry said inadequate, delayed and costly credit, absence of proper marketing facilities, high tax rates, inadequate facilities for skilled development and need for technological upgradation, design development and product innovation facilities were factors which were making these units uncompetitive.



Religious fervour marks Gurpurb
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 5
The birth anniversary of the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, was celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety in the city today. Scores of devotees, including women and children, paid obeisance at gurudwaras in all parts of the city, attended kirtan recital by renowned dhadi and kirtani jathas and partook of Guru Ka Langar.

At Gurdwara Kalgidhar Singh Sabha, a gurmat samagam and kirtan darbar was organised since early morning which continued till past midnight. Several dhadi and kirtani jathas recited Gurbani and kirtan all through the day in the presence of a large number of devotees.

Amrit Sanchar, kirtan darbar and poetical symposium marked Gurpurb celebrations at Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran. Devotees lit candles, paid obeisance at the gurudwara and participated in Guru Ka Langar which continued throughout the day. Ragi jathas of Bhai Tarlochan Singh, Bhai Gurmej Singh, Bhai Kirpal Singh, Bhai Amolak Singh and Bibi Baljeet Kaur Khalsa recited kirtan at Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Model Town Extension after bhog of Sri Akhand Path earlier in the day.

At a religious 'kavi darbar' prominent Punjabi poets, including Mr Nirmal Singh Dhaliwal, Mr Karamjit Singh Noor, Mr Rajinder Singh Josh and Mr Jai Singh Parwana, focused on the life of Guru Gobind Singh through their poems.

Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, president, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, who also heads the managing committee of Gurdwara Model Town Extension, in his message to the Sikh community, stressed the need for inculcating 'Panthic' discipline among the youth and achieving unity among the members of community so that Sikhism could be promoted and people could pursue the path shown by the great Gurus.



Councillors keen on fighting Assembly poll
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
With elections for the next Legislative Assembly round the corner, certain councillors and their relatives are also staking their claims to contest the poll on the basis of various development projects undertaken by them in their respective wards.

Mr Gurpreet Bassi, alias Gogi, husband of Ms Sukhchain Bassi, councillor of ward number 47, has decided to claim a ticket from the Ludhiana West Assembly segment and to give competition to sitting MLA and Cabinet Minister Harnam Dass Johar.

Mr Gogi said he had already filed his papers for the ticket at Congress Bhawan in Chandigarh. ‘‘It all depends on the party's decision. But I have let them know that if they need a young candidate, I am ready to jump into the fray. ’’

Another contender from the same segment is Ms Amrit Varsha Rampal, councillor of ward number 41. Claiming herself to be the only woman, who would ‘‘win’’ a seat in Assembly from Ludhiana, Ms Rampal also lists a number of development works completed in her ward during her tenure. Interestingly both councillors are Congress leaders and are competing with a senior Congress leader, Mr Johar, who already claims to reach out to maximum number of people through his Suvidha Centre opened at his residence amidst allegations of misusing public offices by running a parallel administration.

Speculations have it that even city Mayor Nahar Singh Gill has also become a strong contender of Congress ticket from the West segment after eyeing Rural constituency for some time.

Another councillor, Mr Parvin Bansal, who is also the leader of the Opposition in Municipal Corporation, is also a claimant for BJP ticket from Ludhiana East. Though the BJP has a senior leader, Mr Satpal Gosain, who has been a strong claimant of the ticket from this segment, supporters of Mr Bansal are putting a view across that the BJP should look for young faces now.

His supporters claim that the BJP must field a candidate who can put up a fight against the propaganda of development by sitting Congress MLA of the area. Many senior leaders of the BJP have already put in a word for him to the party high command, sources said.' Being leader of the Opposition in the MC house, I have always been taking up public issues. People have faith in me, as they, irrespective of wards and segments, have been coming to me with their problems. ’’ said Mr Bansal.



‘Candidates should not use unfair means’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 5
Ex-MLA Jagdev Singh Jassowal was honoured by the Dharmik Ekta Welfare Society at a function held by the society here today.

Mr Jassowal said the candidates should stay aboveboard and should not use unfair means during elections.

The candidates should think of religious integeration and should refrain from indulging in unethical means.

Mr Jassowal has been an ambassodor of the Punjabi culture for decades and was honoured with a shawl and a citation for promoting the Punjabi culture.

Darshan Singh Ahuja welcomed the guests and children performed amazing feats of gatkas. 



Warm send-off to vet varsity’s VC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Founder Vice-Chancellor of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) D.B. Bains was given a warm sendoff by staff and faculty of the university here today.

Mr Bains, who is also Financial Commissioner, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries, is credited with giving a firm and strong initial start to the university’s functioning.

He was instrumental in establishing the veterinary university in Punjab as it was with his constant efforts that the institution came into existence.

Addressing those present, Mr Bains wished them all success.

He also said the development of such institutions demanded proficient legal framework, sufficient funds, human resources and good infrastructure.

He assured of all support from the Punjab Government to the developing university, besides his personal patronage.

He also stressed the need for competent veterinaries in the state besides private and public sector undertakings.

Earlier, Dr S.K. Jand, Dean, Postgraduate Studies, welcomed the guests, while Dr O.S. Parmar, Director, Extension Education, highlighted the contributions of the outgoing Vice-Chancellor.

Dr V.K. Taneja, new Vice-Chancellor, lauded the efforts of his predecessor and highlighted the contributions made by him. He assured that the efforts made would help in developing the university a model institute for further replication in other states of the country as well as other developing nations.

Further, he assured that the veterinaries produced from the university would meet the demand of industry and public sector.

Dr A.S. Nanda, Director of Research, proposed a vote of thanks.

Dr S.S. Singh, Dean, College of Veterinary Sciences, coordinated the function.

Those present included Dr K.S. Sandhu, Director, Students Welfare, head of departments and Mr O.P. Kumar, Comptroller.



Ved Prachar Mandal meeting
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 5
A meeting of the Ved Prachar Mandal was held here today under the supervision of Acharya Ved Prakash Shastri and Ms Kalra.

The meeting was attended by its district president Roshan Lal Arya, Dr Narottam Moudgil, Ved Prakash Mahajan, Bala Gambhir and other members.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Arya said the mandal had organised 70 Vedic declamation contests in 55 schools last year.

In Vedic group songs, 300 students of 20 schools had participated.

The mandal was also carrying out programmes to spread the message of Vedas in schools and it was getting a good response.

It was decided to start four new branches of the mandal. The mandal also decided to protest against the imparting of sex education in education institutes.

The members said sex education being imparted in western countries had shown disastrous results there.

Sex education should not be imparted to young people as it shattered all inhibitions among them and often resulted in unwanted pregnancies and increased the chances of spread of AIDS.

According to Vedic laws, students should be given instructions to stay single and abstain from sex, they said.



At the Crossroads
Farewell to classics

On the New Year, a friend of mine advised me to stop reading books at this age and concentrate on writing factual or fictional stories.

I heard some alarm bells ring in my mind on this suggestion and looked lovingly at a collection of books ensconced in a bookshelf placed by my pillow.

The bulk of my books had already been consigned to a room upstairs where I would frequent to verify the veracity of quotations used in any of my articles.

Otherwise, those books had been enjoying restful days after hectic activities of a lifetime. My own books, numbering 30, had also been keeping them company all these years. I had seldom read these books after their publication.

Now the time had come to part with the dear ones, standing erect or reclining in the bookshelf. Before I could have a look at the books in English, Urdu and Punjabi, my eyes fell on some Persian classics that had always helped me restore the equipoise of my mind after a tiresome day or a frustrating event.

The first one to catch my attention was “Diwan-e-Hafiz”. I pulled it out of the bookshelf. Hafiz Shirazi (1325-1368) had enriched Persian ghazal in such a manner that it had remained the darling of the discerning readers, the world over, during the following centuries.

I had been his admirer since my college days, as his ghazals had been included in the syllabus for the subject of Persian for FA as well as BA examinations.

Later, I acquired his “Diwan” for reading at leisure, way back in 1951.

Hafiz Shirazi once tried to give away Samarcand and Bukhara for the “Hinduish” mole on the cheek of his beloved: “Bkhale Hinduash Bakhsham Samarcand-o-Bukhara ra”.

But the couplet in which he advises fellow human beings to be “indulgent” to friends and “considerate” to enemies is unsurpassable in the pithiness of its meaning.

Next I picked up “Gulistan” by another poet of Shiraz, Sheikh Saadi (1333-1435).

It, of course, had a companion volume “Bostan”, which incidentally is not my favourite. In “Gulistan” the poet narrates tales of antiquity in prose but these are interspersed with poetic compositions that point out a moral.

He tells the story of a needy person who goes to someone for succour. But he returns without seeking his help. His friend asks him the reason for doing so. He replies that he has sacrificed the other person’s bounty over his dour face.

Sheikh Saadi sums up the moral in a couplet:

“For patronage you should approach a cheerful person. It will gladden your heart, which is a reward in itself.”

The book that I noticed next was “Rubaiyat” by Omar Khayyam (1050-1132) who was born in Khurasan.

He is with Hafiz Shirazi in praise of the good things of life. He wants to make the best of the time at his disposal because the future is uncertain.

Edward Fitzgerald rendered Omar Khayyam’s “Rubaiyat” into English in four versions during his lifetime (1809-1883).

To read the poet in original Persian is a treat in itself. His love for wine has been interpreted in many ways but he is forthright when he says:

“Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of spring

Your winter-garment of repentance fling

The bird of time has but a little way

To flutter - and the bird is on the wing”

Indecisive I had been with these three books in my hand and had not the courage to pick up the “Muthnavi” by Maulana Rumi (1207-1273) that had been tested on the anvil of centuries.

Perhaps I had made a wrong start. Still I wondered if it was possible at any stage of a person’s life to stop reading altogether so as to devote all the time to writing.

— N.S. Tasneem



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