Eateries add to traffic chaos
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Eateries create traffic congestion during evenings in the city .the inconvenience of residents has been compounding as the police hasn’t taken appropriate corrective measures.

A large number of dhabas, restaurants, ice -cream parlours and bars line main roads in busy localities of New Jawahar Nagar, Model Town, Adarash Nagar, Kapurthala Chowk, Income Tax Colony Road, Cool Road, Milap Chowk Road, Bhagat Singh Chowk road. The number of food joints have multiplied during the past three years.

Owners of these food joints, in some cases, have not only been misusing the government land for spreading out their tables, but, they have been using busy roadsides for parking of vehicles of visitors to their outlets. In certain cases, they have even constructed “Pucca” pavements on the Municipal Corporation land for convenience of their customers.

So, much so, that some owners have employed their own traffic guards for trouble- free parking of their customers .

These guards in Khakis resemble Punjab Police officials. Though the district administration has banned use of such uniforms , but its misuse continues .

Major snarl-ups take place in front of ice-cream and juice parlours on the Civil Lines Road, a prominent dhaba near Johl Market on the Income Tax colony road, another well known dhaba on Cool Road, a restraurant in the New Jawahar Nagar locality market, a dhaba near the Gol Market of Model Town market and a restaurant on the road from the Gol Market to the Model Town gurudwara.

In case of Johl Market, the problem has got aggravated as a liquor vend has also come up in front of the dhaba. On the GT road and Nakodar Road traffic snarls are a regular feature during evenings.

Interestingly, the MC authorities have put up a no parking zone board on the GT road , but no official dares to touch a large number of rehriwalas selling pizzas, burgers and chicken soupnear it. Similarly, odd parking in front of a liquor vend and an adjoining dhaba on the BMC chowk adds to traffic chaos .

“This is a perennial problem and nobody seems to be bothered about it. The police and the MC should organize a joint action against people creating traffic jams, rued Dr. Amar Iqbal Singh, a resident of Model Town.

Sukhdev Singh, DSP (Traffic), said it was the duty of the MC to take action against violators in the city area as the traffic police was regulating traffic at main intersections . “We are going to look into the matter. In context of misuse of uniforms, we will check it at the earliest,” said Sukhdev Singh.



Long wait for passport
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

It’s 5 am and still dark. Scores of people from across the region have started forming serpentine queues outside the gates of Regional Passport Office in Jalandhar.

Desperate people from Doaba and Majha start their journey before the wake of the dawn to ensure that their file gets deposited in time. Many come here at night and sleep outside the gates so that they are among the first few in the next day’s queue.

Among the applicants are five-month-old in the lap of their parents and some octogenarians seeking renewal of their passports. Since the gate is yet to open, they bide their time in their cars, on scooters, tea kiosks, on the ground and roadsides.

As soon as the gate opens at 8.30 am, over 200 applicants line up in front of the windows. There is a momentary confusion and some exchange of arguments too.

A police guard at the channel gates near the stairs ensures that inquiry cases move on faster than those applying for the first time. Women and senior citizens too get a preference. The first time applicants are at least 10 times more than the other cases and hundreds of them have to wait downstairs for over an hour before they are allowed to move up.

After 8.30 am, the rush starts increasing even more. Till it is 10am, the office gets at least 15 cases every minute. By and by, the number starts falling.

Upstairs, the hall is jam packed and abuzz with activity.

There are at least three rows each at fresh applicants’ counter, both for men and women. These rows stand in an inverted N-shape. Many standing for over one and a half hours with kids in their arms prefer to squat or sit down in between. The women counter has several recently married girls eager to join their husbands abroad.

The queue at RPO Amarjit Singh’s office is also long. There are two guards at two points to control the rush. The enquiry counter queue has 20 persons. The only counter with a short queue is that of the senior citizens.

Besides, there are three tables near the gate of the hall, all of them covered by 10 to 15 persons.

At one of the tables, a passport office employee is selling out application forms and helping people fill these as well.

At the two other tables, the two employees have been helping people write their applications for getting correction in their passports.

There were many like Balbir Kaur from Khurd village of Nawanshahr whose address had been wrongly mentioned as Kang village.

Besides, the hall had many applicants coming down with their kith and kin. Six-month-old Manroop’s maternal grandmother from Kartarpur took care of her sitting on the stairs as her mother had been queuing up.

Dharam Singh, an uncle of one of the applicants, too sat down on the floor there, wondering, “Why do not they allow submission of applications through post or internet? Won’t this reduce pressure on them?”

Amarjit Singh, RPO, was not available for comments on Monday.

The guard requested this reporter not to meet him as it was his busy hour. He also could not be contacted over the phone as it remained busy the whole day.



Jeweller told to return gold bracelet
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

In a significant judgement, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Pooja Jewellers at Sadar Bazar in Kapurthala to return golden bracelet (kara), weighing 19 grams, to consumer Gurmit Singh of Mand Sangojala village in the district. The president of the forum, A.K. Sharma, its members Sushma Handoo and Sudha Sharma, also directed jeweller Dheeraj Setia to pay damages of Rs 4,000 for mental agony and physical harassment to the consumer along with Rs 500 as litigation costs to the consumer within a month of the receipt of the decision.

In a five-page judgement, the forum observed that non-return of the golden bracelet by Dheeraj Setia to Gurmit Singh constituted not only unfair trade practice but also deficiency in service on his part.

In his complaint filed on August 29 last year, Gurmit Singh stated that he had got prepared a golden bracelet from Pooja Jewellers on January 25 last year.

The complainant stated it had been transpired later on that the bracelet was undersized.

Subsequently, he returned it to Dheeraj Setia on March 25 for correction of the size.

Gurmit Singh further stated in his complaint that Setia had promised to return the bracelet on April 1 after correcting its size but it was not returned on one or the other excuse even after making several visits to the shop. After hearing the pleas of the complainant and the opposite parties, the forum held the jeweller responsible for the deficiency in service.



Just a thought
Night hides Jalandhar’s scars
R. Jaikrishan

The night comes as a blessing. It hides deepening potholes and piling garbage in malarial lanes of Jalandhar.

The day bares people adding stench and going about their business on two- wheelers, three-wheelers and four-wheelers.

Safai karamcharis collect garbage in their carts. As the carts trundle away on rutted roads, plastic plates, saucers and spoons and hand bills of different sizes and colours litter the roadsides. People here are fond of eating well and dressing well. And it shows.

The eateries on carts and other vendors line the pedestrian paths. Roadsides are parking areas of all shops and offices in this old town.

The municipal corporation debates over ways of keeping the town clean and removing traffic bottlenecks. Schemes are drawn, tenders are floated, new contractors engage new labour. Come rain garbage floats in pools of rainwater from Model Town to the Civil Lines area ,but doesn’t touch the official residences of the district civil and police chiefs.

In police lines smart officials and their families have to use official vehicles to leave their places during the rains. As most of its lanes have either clogged open drains or don’t have drains at all.

In lanes small shops are giving way to shopping malls .The Ansals and Reliance have earmarked their business sites. Houses are pulled down for no other reason save for being small and old.

The young abandon their old parents and their wives to make it big in foreign shores. While the old knock at the doors of Red Cross – run old age homes, the wives are forced to live in premature widowhood. The hordes of youth working for banks and pharmaceutical companies hold their business meetings in front of eateries and cigarette vends on stationary carts. Stray dogs bark more after over-eating the leftovers of chicken and fish corners.

No mode of transport has got dated here. The lanes meant for pedestrians and roads meant for tongas and rickshaws are crammed with huge cars.

Goods are carried in bullock carts and rickshaws. Every second of driving on Jalandhar roads tests one’s reflexes.

This, in a way, works as an exercise in problem solving. Every now and then you are called upon to respond to a new speed or parking trouble.

Crossing a traffic light amidst blinding light beams and honks is no mean an achievement for a stickler to rules. Most drivers are self-taught and keep speed under control to avoid head-on collisions. Despite so much of consideration for fellow drivers accidents do happen.

Women prefer to shop for their dresses in bazaars in narrow lanes. Here latest suits hung from shop cornices swing missing the overhanging power supply wires by inches.

To regulate traffic the shopkeepers hire private security personnel. Tongas decorated with movie hoardings and blaring the film songs announce the movie change in cinema houses.

Garish movie posters compete for wall space with posters announcing the arrival of godman or procession on the eve of a religious festival.

The banners, hoardings, welcome arches and paper festoons come up many weeks before the procession.The traffic slows down further. The never- say –die spirit of the people makes them move ahead.



Young World
Degrees conferred on 700 students
Tribune News Service

Hans Raj Mahila Maha Vidyalaya organised its annual convocation on Sunday. Nearly 700 graduate and postgraduate students received degrees from Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, Panjab University.

Twenty-one students, who had topped in the Guru Nanak Dev University examination, were awarded rolls of honour and gold medals.

Principal P.P. Sharma read the annual report. The college had bagged the overall Guru Nanak Dev University championship in the women’s category for the eighth consecutive time, scoring 157 points.

Festival concludes

Utkansh, a three-day all-India inter-college cultural and technical festival, concluded at the Dr B.R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology on Sunday.

The festival encapsulated the spirit from various regions of the country from the rich culture of Punjab to the rustic culture of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and from rock show culture to classical instrumental music.

Contests for paper presentations, antakshri, rangoli, stage play, choreography, fashion show, street play, elocution, dumb charades, rock band show, instrumental fusion, collage making, ad mad show and mock press conference were organised in which students from various colleges participated.

Results: Street play: Rayat Institute of Engineering and Technology, Ropar, (1), NIT, Jalandhar, (2); Rangoli: Karan and Mohit (NITJ) (1) and Amit Kumar and Geetali (NITJ) (2); Fashion show: Ali Haider Rizwi and Diptanu Chaudhary (NITJ) (1) and Kanwalpreet Dhillon of Lovely Institute of Engineering and Technology (LIET) (2); Painting: Sayantan Ray (NITJ) (1) and Pravesh (NIT, Hamirpur); Ad show: Ritika and Shivani (NITJ); Open software: Vaibhav Khanna and Ashutosh Pathak (NITJ) (1) and Vishal (NITJ) (2); and Paper presentation: Anurag Ghosh (NITJ) (1) and Abhishek Chander Bakshi and Vaibhav Varshney (NITJ) (2).

Summer workshop

Eklavya School organised “Spring bonanza” from March 5 to 16 in its campus. Students from different schools took part in various activities, including karate, dance, music, art and craft and computers.

In art and craft, they learnt how to do vegetable painting, thread painting, thumb painting and magic painting. In computer, they did different spelling games, counting games, fun with dots and drawing faces and objects.

In music, they learnt rhymes and songs according to their age level. In dance, they learnt and performed different dance items.



Gearing up for party
Parwinder Blaggan
Tribune News Service

Glittering dresses, eyes lined with kohl, shimmering footwears, scintillating danglers………Oh! The season of the college and school farewell parties is here.

Warding off the examination fever lurking over their heads, the youngsters are gearing up for farewell parties.

Even though the event lasts for a day or rather few hours, but the preparations for the same begin almost a month ago. Both the guests and hosts are out for arranging the latest and trendiest outfits, checking out the accessories and the mobiles. But the youngsters feel the time spent on preparing for the party in the midst of the exam preparation is worth it.

“I have been preparing for my farewell for days now. In fact whenever I take a break from the studies I am planning for the party,” says Ankita, a B.Com final year student at Apeejay College of Fine Arts.

“You want to look your best as this is the last time when all the classmates are together, not to forget the photographs that are clicked for keeps,” said Charu another student of the college.

Apart from the designer dresses that govern the scene the other fad is grabbing the latest gizmo including the mobile phone and a camera. “I have a simple mobile set, but since this occasion demanded everything special and extraordinary, I borrowed this latest touch screen handset from my cousin for the party,” said Jitesh a student. Since it’s a day for show offs, then why keep gizmos away,” he added.



Tough going for roadside artists
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

When we see them showcasing their statues on the roadsides, the situation seems glossy, but the makers of these pieces live in extreme poverty and helplessness.

Residing near the Banga Road in Phagwara, these people from Jodhpur in Rajasthan neither have proper shelters nor basic amenities.

They were forced to shift to the city due to drought-struck situation in Jodhpur.

Mange Lal, a artist, says, “When we came here three years ago from Jodhpur, everything so new and different whether it’s the people, atmosphere, food, or language. However, with the passage of time we have somewhat settled down.”

“We have a temporary hutment. But taking into harsh weather conditions, these huts are not inadequate for a large family. We have no toilets, no running water. The crunch situation leaves our children uneducated. And with unemployment persisting in Rajasthan we can’t even return to hour homeland.”

Showing discontentment over bargaining, Parvati, Mange’s wife, says, “The people bargain because we are poor and in dire need of money but in big showrooms they pay exorbitant prices without a word of protest. When the sale is sluggish then we go to sleep empty stomach.”

Contractors give these families plaster of paris and moulds to make these statues. The designs of statues change according to the season and festivals.

But here also they are exploited by the moneylenders. Their poverty forces them to fall in debt trap.

Usually the whole family is involved in this work. The men make a smooth paste of plaster of paris and put it into moulds and pull out the figures. After this, the entire responsibility of decoration lies with women. With their set of colours, they breathe life into the statues.

“These days we are busy making statues of Radha and lord Krishna. And lord Ganesha is another all-time favourite deity because sale of these statues continue throughout the year.



Crime against women up
Parwinder Blaggan
Tribune News Service

Crime against women has gone up in Jalandhar district.

The district police registered 250 cases in 2005 and 350 cases in 2006.

Dowry cases reached 96 in 2006 from 78 in 2005 and 109 in 2004. However, the cases related to the dowry deaths, under Section 304- B of the Indian Penal Code, came down to five against seven in 2005 and 14 in 2004. According to DSP (Traffic) Sukhdev Singh, in-charge of the women cell, out of the total cases that come to the cell relate to dowry and harassment from in-laws, a number of them reach a compromise.

“It is unfortunate that in today’s society wherein girls are so much educated these type of cases still have a strong foothold. Unfortunately the police cannot do anything in this matter as these are the family related issue. Moreover, such sensitive issues require social awakening from within as these cant be forced upon,” he said. Apart from dowry related cases the second highest crime against women includes kidnapping (Section 363/367 of the IPC). In 2006 92 cases were registered as against 59 in 2005 and 34 in 2004. Rape is the third highest crime with 52 cases registered in 2006.



75 prizes for BSF
Tribune News Service

Flowers of all hues are in full bloom at BSF Headquarters, which bagged 75 prizes, including the first prize in various categories, in the flower show organised by the Jalandhar Cantonment Board.

A walk through the BSF campus gives an impression for one as if he or she is passing through flower-laden Kashmir valley. Fragrance enchants visitors from every nook and corner of the neatly maintained lawns and gardens.

“It is a matter of pride for all of us that our campus fetched more than fifty per cent of the prizes in the show for the cantonment and the city. The garden of our IG has bagged the first prize in the big lawn category. Similarly, the lawn of DIG Mohinder Lal Wasan topped the competition by bagging the overall first prize,” said S.A. Khadir, a senior officer.



Dandiya organised
Tribune News Service

A colourful ‘dandiya’ dance was organised at the Pearls Institute of Dance and Grooming in Model Town, Jalandhar, on Saturday.

It was organised in connection with Navratras with the recitation of ‘mantras’ and with the lighting of a lamp.

Music engulfed the air as participants used the ‘alaap’ of ‘dandies’ (sticks) and danced on the beats.

Gaggun Bedi, director of the institute, said ‘dandiya’ dance was a regular feature of his dance classes, but it had special importance during Navratras. Noted Punjabi Singer Hans Raj Hans was the chief guest.



Ice cream launched
Tribune News Service

SSM Foods has launched Minimelts, an international brand of ice cream, in the city.

According to Prabhpal Pannu of SSM Foods, exciting shapes and various flavours of the ice cream are mouth watering and irresistible. The ice cream has delicious kernels frozen at extremely cold temperatures that allow it to lock in all of the flavor and taste.

“Ordinary ice cream has air whipped into it to enable it to be scooped but this does not have air whipped into it.”



30 patients examined
Tribune News Service

The Chandigarh and Punjab Union of Journalists, Jalandhar unit, organised an ayurvedic free medical check-up camp at Sarvodya Bhavn, Mai Hira Gate, in Jalandhar recently.

During the camp, Dr Suresh and Dr Ajay Sharma examined 30 patients and advised them to take ayurvedic medicines, especially in treating patients suffering from skin disorders and chronic body aches. They advised the patients to improve their lifestyle and eating habits in order to check various diseases, including hypertension, heart problem and diabetes, according to Anil Bhardwaj and Brajesh Kumar Singh, both office-bearers of the union.



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