L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Show parking sites, commercial units told
Police notice to 500
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
Stung by the traffic congestion caused after the opening of multiplexes in the city, the police has slammed notices on nearly 500 commercial establishments on Mall Road, Ferozepore Road and Malhar Road, asking them to explain what parking provisions they had for the customers.

The police, meanwhile, plans to ban parking of vehicles on the roads which are witnessing traffic jams regularly.

The problem has worsened to such an extent that the four-lane roads appear like a narrow street due to the rows of cars parked on the roads.

SSP R.K.Jaiswal said the commercial establishments, including shops, showrooms, restaurants, offices, multiplexes and hotels, were supposed to have specified their parking arrangements while seeking clearance of the construction from the district administration.

However, as the scene on the road reflects, most of the establishments have either not provision for vehicles or it was quite limited. For instance, Flamez Multiplex has space for the parking for 125-odd cars, whereas, with four PVR cinemas, the estimated requirement is of more than 500 cars.

The police has already declared the road area outside the Multiplex as a “tow away zone”. Similar action may be ordered on the entire stretch of the three roads.

Jaiswal said the Ferozepore road, which leads to the DMC and CMC hospitals, is treated as the lifeline of the Malwa region. “A patient caught in the traffic jam may lose vital time for survival.”

Moreover, traffic congestion on these roads is putting maximum pressure on the police force for regulating the movement of the vehicles. With most of the staff deployed here only, the cops have not much at hand to tackle problems in other parts of the city.

Interestingly, the police woke up to the problem only when the situation deteriorated. The department could not anticipate the trouble when the commercial establishments, especially the malls and multiplexes, were coming up or were at planning stage.



Buildings flouting norms get the go-ahead
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The Flamez Mall that opened up along the Malhar Road has once again raised the question as to how the building plan of the Mall was approved without taking note of the parking space mandatory for such huge buildings. In fact most of the buildings in the city, particularly the high-rise ones, flout the norms with impunity. The opening of the Mall has already led to frequent traffic jams along the Malhar Road as most of the vehicles remain parked outside.

The Flamez is not the only mall that has not kept sufficient parking space; all the big buildings in the city fail to adhere to the parking specifications. This has obviously been done in connivance with officials of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, which monitors and regulates the construction of buildings and adherence to proper building plans. This connivance needs to be probed and it will not be surprising if the scandal runs into crores of rupees.

The Flamez Mall is learnt to have parking space for about 110 vehicles only. Compared to this, the seating capacity in the theatres inside the mall is said to be one thousand. Plus the rush at the business outlets which number more than a hundred within the Mall. The vehicles are parked either along the road or in the residential areas of Gurdev Nagar and some even in Sarabha Nagar.

The Flamez alone is not to be blamed for the chaos on the Malhar Road. It has only complicated an already existing problem further. The traffic congestion starts from Arti Chowk onwards. First it started with the Ansal Plaza. Then came Khushi Ram and Sons along with Vishal Mega Mart across the road. The Welcome Palace and the Basant Food Joint were already there. Flamez completes the list.

Although allegations are being levelled against the Flamez Mall that it managed to get a lot of concessions right from the beginning during the previous Congress regime, the other commercial buildings like the Basant Food Joint have practically no parking space. Basant Joint was also constructed during the previous regime after the old structure was gutted in a mysterious fire.

According to building bylaws and regulations, there should be at least 50 per cent space of the total plot area left for the parking. But that regulation is to be taken into consideration along with the size of the building. Because the purpose of earmarking the parking areas is to keep it commensurate to the total size of the building. While the Flamez has kept an entire basement for parking, which is not at all sufficient given the size of the building, the Basant Food Joint has none. The vehicles are straightway parked on the road. Similarly Welcome Palace also has no parking space. And it remains the venue of most of the business and industrial exhibitions thronged by hundreds of people.

Residents of the area are fuming that the Mall is yet to operationalise fully as most of the shopping outlets are yet to be rented. Once it becomes fully operational, it will create a lot of problems for the residents. The rush of vehicles is bound to spill over to the neighbouring areas. 



Slaughterhouse Waste
MC seeks tenders for Budda Nullah
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The Ludhiana municipal corporation has finally woken up to the thought of treating its slaughterhouse waste that is drained directly into the sewers, ultimately emptying into the Budda Nullah.

With a lot of hullabaloo being created to clean the Budda Nullah, also known as the river of sorrows, the MC has called for tenders for lifting and disposing of the waste.

The MC has invited companies who would be competent enough to lift and dispose off the slaughterhouse waste in their own biomedical waste treatment plant as per the rules. The tenders would open on August 24 in the office of the joint commissioner (G).

The MC had been, for years together, washing blood of animals into the drains. Besides, it had also been under fire for throwing sewers into the nullah but it had always passed its blame on the industry, holding it largely responsible for the mess in the nullah.

It had, in the past, enforced stringent laws for various hospitals handling biomedical waste, but it did not care to make any arrangements for discharging the blood and other body fluids of the slaughtered animals. The floors continue to be washed everyday after slaughtering is complete and the waste is discharged down the drain that finally opens into the Budda Nullah.

The nullah recharges ground water in many villages, lining the water body, and villagers use the underground water for drinking purposes. Moreover, the nullah finally merges into the Sutlej river which is a source of water for Harike wetlands, from where the fish is supplied to many far off places.

Besides this, the local body had invited the ire of not only the Pollution Control Board but the Wildlife Department also.

The officials of the department said the local body was flouting the Wildlife Protection Act, under which, waste that can be detrimental for the health of the wild animals, could not be thrown into any water body.



Relief for Teachers
Now on, only teaching duty
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Good news for government schoolteachers in the state. From now onwards, they will not be asked to perform non-educational duties by the state government. According to a recent notification, the chief secretary, Government of Punjab has asked all the deputy commissioners and other concerned authorities to put a ban on government teachers to perform anything other than educational duties. The notification has brought a sigh of relief to the government teachers, who were struggling to get it implemented for long.

Piara Singh Dhillon, president, Government Primary Teachers Association, talking to Ludhiana Tribune said it was a long-pending demand of teachers for their benefit as well as for the welfare of students.

He said though they had not received the copy of the notification, but the sources in the department had told that chief secretary had issued the orders to all the district heads recently.

Karan Raj Gill of Primary/Elementary Sikhya Bachao Front, Punjab said they hoped that the order was strictly implemented by all deputy commissioners. He said the relief had come to teachers of primary, middle and high schools in the state.



Radio wave hits CDs, cassettes
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The growing popularity of the radio among city residents has hit the sales of audio CDs and cassettes. As FM channels, that air songs from various eras and cater to the choice of music lovers, become favourites of many, music stores in the city wear a deserted look. According to estimates, a 50 per cent decline in sales has been recorded during the last few months.

“Audio sales have been badly affected. Ever since people here have got to hear FM channels, they are opting for it,” said Dimple Singla, who runs an audio store in Ghumar Mandi.

High popularity of radio channels is being attributed to their interactive nature and music that caters to people from various age groups. “Instead of carrying all those CDs or cassettes in my car, all I have to do now is to tune in to one of the channels. It is not only interesting but also saves money. Besides, if I do not like songs on one channel, I have the option to switch to another one,” said Inder Singh, a resident.

An assessment of market further revealed that the sale of audio cassettes in particular has almost come to a halt. “If people have to buy music, they opt for CDs these days. None buys cassettes these days. The number of songs that one can store in a CD is much higher, quality is better and now CDs are quite affordable too,” said Sandeep, who works at a shop in Chaura Bazaar.

Another change in trend is preferences for music. The loud, jarring music has been replaced by soulful numbers. It is ghazals and soft numbers that are finding favours with people these days.

“The sale of remix songs had suddenly increased. But it appears that people have got bored with loud music. These days it is soft music like Jagjit Singh’s ghazals that are finding more takers.”



Ludhiana Calling

High disposable incomes are not only attracting companies to provide their services in the city, but also a large number of exhibitors. The city, where an exhibition used to be an occasional affair, is now home to such events on a regular basis. From jewellery expos to lifestyle and wedding exhibitions, there seems to be no end. This despite the fact that city residents treat most of these events as good options to spend time out rather than indulging in real purchase.

Reel vs real models

Unlike earlier times, when reel life stars and models were not considered real life models, the scenario has undergone a sea change. Not only corporates, even schools and colleges invite stars and seek publicity from them. The result is heavy attendance at institutes during these “eventful” days. Poor parents are only left to contribute for these visits and witness their children being passed on values they may not be happy to subscribe to.

No end to beggars

Beggars continue to trouble Ludhianvis, particularly on traffic signals, where it’s quite risky for the children engaged in this activity. However, the traffic police does not seem to be serious in checking this activity.

Poster menace

Even as the municipal corporation elections took place a couple of weeks ago, posters of politicians continue to “adorn” several walls and pillars in the city (see pic). A resident, while pointing out the same, remarked: "Only if something like this had happened prior to elections, these politicians would have been quick to make an issue out of it. They do not seem to mind it now that power has already been transferred to them."

— Sentinel



Khalsa panel demands arrest of dera chief
March passes off peacefully
Tribune News Service

Dakha (Ludhiana), August 19
Upping its ante against Sirsa cult, the Khalsa Action Committee (KAC), a coalition of Sikh religious, social and political bodies, today organised the eighth of its 10 Khalsa marches through a score of villages in Ludhiana district with its leadership demanding immediate arrest of Sirsa dera chief Gurmit Ram Rahim and warning of dire consequences in case such a step was not taken.

Starting from Gurdwara Sahib at Ayali village on the outskirts of the city, the march saw the participation of hundreds of villagers who were shouting anti-dera slogans and condemning the governments for “going slow” on the issue.

Speaking to mediapersons, the convener of the group, Bhai Mokham Singh, said it was “shameless that the state governments of Haryana, Punjab and the central government were in deep slumber and were granting full liberty to the dera chief to execute his homicidal plans”. He warned the central as well as the state governments “not to play with fire” by supporting and patronising the dera head. He said the KAC would step up its activities and campaign against the dera to ensure that his arrest did take place on August 31 and there was no further delay.

Kanwarpal Singh, the spokesperson for the Khalsa Action Committee, said after mobilising the masses against Sirsa cult, the committee would now focus on the anti-Sikh activities of Aushotosh, another cult head having his headquarters in Nurmahal. He said the next Khalsa March would be held in the area of Nurmahal on September 9 to “expose the misdeeds” of Aushotosh, who, like Gurmeet Ram Rahim, was also practising living guruship, which is in stark contrast to the Sikh philosophy and principles. He said the KAC had been expanded with the induction of seven new members.

Former diplomat and member of the committee, Harinder Singh Khalsa, while addressing the gathering of Sikhs, accused Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of adopting double standards on the issue. He said by setting up a chair in the name of "Satguru" Ram Singh in GNDU, Badal has encouraged the concept of guruship. He took exception that the present Akali government was only interested in garnering its vote bank rather than serving the people of the state.

Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib, president of the Dal Khalsa, in his speech sought a thorough probe into all activities of the dera and demanded a search and seize operation of all deras of the Sirsa cult.

Former Jathedar of Akal Takht, Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, appealed to all right-thinking people across the country to exert pressure on the Haryana and Panjab governments to take action. Freedom of expression and freedom to religion of choice does not mean that anyone can defame, debunk and abuse another person’s religion. It was the need of the hour for saner elements of society to act before it is too late, he said.

Surinderpal Singh, Baba Buta Singh (both KAC members) and Sarbjit Singh Ghuman also participated in the march.



Govt yet to honour word on memorial
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 19
Residents of Saharanmajra village near here are upset over the role of successive governments and the IAF authorities who, according to them, have been ignoring the “supreme sacrifice” of late Flying Officer Kuldeep Singh Johal.

Johal had laid down his life while trying to save lives of residents of at least four villages 37 years ago.

Instead of fulfilling their promise to erect a befitting memorial to perpetuate the memory of Johal, the state and IAF authorities failed to lay even a single brick to raise a memorial on a piece of plot donated by a widow of the village.

Residents of this village in Kilaraipur constituency in Ludhiana district have been remembering Johal for the last 37 years but a befitting memorial promised by the IAF authorities and senior Congress and SAD leaders to perpetuate his memory is yet to see the light of the day.

Johal had chosen to get charred to death in a crashing plane instead of ejecting from it to save the villagers of Saharanmajra on August 21, 1970.

Since then the villagers unfailingly commemorate his supreme sacrifice. They organised an Akhand Path in his memory at the village gurdwara today. The bhog of the ongoing path will be organised on Tuesday. But the organisers are upset that the authorities, despite their promises, have made no effort to erect the memorial.



Government oppressing minorities, says SAD (A)
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The local unit of the SAD (A) has welcomed the release of party president Simranjit Singh Mann on allegedly “trumped up” charges which were a crude attempt by the government to stifle political dissent in the state.

Ajit Singh Sandhu, district president of the party, said Mann was holding a peaceful protest in front of a statue of a "tyrant" and that nowhere in the world is one arrested for doing so. The arrest was a violation of our fundamental rights, he pointed out.

He said his party would hold a rally on August 22 at Sunam in which the death sentences awarded to Jagtar Hawara and Balwant Singh and Mohammad Afzal would also be condemned. This was yet another attempt by the government to oppress the minorities in the country, he added.

They would also flay the publication of a cartoon of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale by a national magazine. Any attempt to project the Sant in poor light was tantamount to playing with the sentiments of Sikhs, he said.

He said the government had spared no effort to put Mann and others through great hardship. No relaxations were given to even ailing colleagues, he added.

Sandhu said SAD acting chief Sukhbir Badal had crossed all limits while targeting his opponents. Torture was the preferred tool and the police was a willing accomplice. The large-scale human rights violations in the civic polls has exposed all the pretences of the government to the contrary, he alleged.

He also appealed to all like-minded individuals to take part in the rally and express their solidarity with those who were opposing the oppressive regime. 



Kanak-Dal Scheme
Badal has ‘kept’ his promise

Khamano, August 19
Local MLA Jagjivan Singh Khirnia inaugurated the kanak-dal scheme at Manderan village here today.

On the occasion, he said the Akali-BJP government, under chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, had fulfilled the promise that it had made during the elections — providing kanak-dal to the poor of Punjab.

He said the Akali government always kept its words and did not befool people like the Congress. He informed that those who had been left out, would soon be brought under this scheme after proper verification and the names of the ineligible persons would be struck off the lists. He also said that development works would start soon in Khamano.

DFSO, Khamano, Rakesh Kumar, who was also present on the occasion, said about 5,400 needy persons had been identified in Khamano block and Sanghol.

A total of 42 ration depots and six societies were already distributing wheat and dal in Khamano. He said they had received some complaints from five villages and officials were verifying them.

Sarpanch of the village, Parminder Singh, said 62 needy persons had been provided with wheat and dal under the scheme in Manderan village.

Sarwan Singh, Ram Lubhaya, Rajinder Singh, kisan leader Roop Chand Farour, former sarpanch Surjit Singh Mansurpur, Dalbir Singh, former Sarpanch of Khamano Khurd, youth Akali leaders Balamjit Singh Princi, Parmjit Singh Bhangu and Gurdeep Singh Ghuman were also present on the occasion. — OC



Syal brings laurels to city
Tribune News Service

Evening Storm, a photograph of Rakesh Syal that won the second prize in an online contest.
Evening Storm, a photograph of Rakesh Syal that won the second prize in an online contest.

Ludhiana, August 19
Rakesh Syal, a seasoned photographer, has brought laurels to the city by winning a second place for month of April in the prestigious photography contest sponsored by BetterPhoto.com, the site’s founder, Jim Miotke, announced on Thursday.

More than 23,500 entries were submitted to the online photography contest, which attracted contestants from around the world and featured 10 separate categories.

Syal's stunning image, ‘An evening storm’, garnered top honors after being submitted in the Elements of Design category. The avid photographers can have access to all of the winning images at BetterPhoto.com's contest page http://www.betterphoto.com/contest/winners f0704.asp.

The contest is conducted each month. Syal had sent his photograph in category, nature and landscapes, but entries can be sent under different categories like animals, people, elements of design, digital darkroom, travel and place, flowers, details and macro, catch-all.

"A panel of professional photographers judge the contest. Besides it’s free, popular photo contest. BetterPhoto.com also offers a variety of services like digital camera reviews, online photo courses, free newsletters, a discussion forum, web sites for photographers, question and answer section, photo galleries and more. Photographers can enter this month's contest and learn more about photography at: www.BetterPhoto.com," said Syal.



Aromatic rakhis are a rage this year
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 19
With the festival of Raksha Bandhan round the corner, womenfolk can be spotted buying rakhis of varied kinds. Even though traditional rakhis continue to find favour with many, innovative rakhis are now becoming a rage with a considerable number of the young and old alike.

This year it is the scented rakhis that have caught the fancy of the majority of people. These rakhis are selling like hot cakes across the city, a fact that proves their popularity.

These aromatic rakhis promise to leave a lingering fragrance long after being tied and will surely sweeten the special brother-sister bond in an innovative way.

Sakshi Dutt, a college student told Ludhiana Tribune, “This year scented rakhis caught my attention and I got one for my brother in Australia instantly. The large variety of rakhis available in the market is really mind boggling.”

Ravinder Singh of Celebrations, Ghumar Mandi, says, “We have more than 2000 varieties of rakhis. There is a lot of choice for young children. Musical rakhis are a great favourite with them. Besides, rakhis with cult figures namely, Harry Potter, Spider Man, Batman, are a super hit.

For grown ups, there are the usual traditional rakhis in mauli, cloves, cardomoms, coconuts etc. We also have stone work and kundan rakhis from Jaipur and large varieties from Kolkatta, Mumbai and Delhi. The range starts from Rs 15 onwards.”

In the narrow street of Gurmandi, a wholesale market, rakhis of all hues and colours are on display. Chaman Lal, a shopkeeper says, “We have been doing brisk business as most of the shopkeepers of the district buy rakhis from us.”



Maintain the bridge

I want to highlight the pathetic condition under the elevated bridge from Chand Cinema to Jagraon bridge. The administration has made great efforts by constructing the bridge for the convenience of the residents of Ludhiana.

However, the area under the bridge is in real bad shape as unauthorised foot path shops selling multiple products is a frequent sight as is the sight of people using the place as a urinal. Beggars and anti-social elements have been using this place to take shelter and stray animals can be seen roaming about freely.

We request the concerned officials to look into the matter. Proper maintenance work should be carried out at the bridge and efforts should be made to keep it in good condition as a lot of money and time had gone into its construction. We must together work towards its upkeep by taking the right step at the right time.

Ashok Gupta/Rajesh Gupta, Ludhiana

Readers are invited to mail letters (not more than 200 words) at "ludhiana@tribunemail.com" or post the same to The Tribune, 1, 2 Improvement Trust Building, Badaur House, Clock Tower, Ludhiana.



Chinese cycles jam wheels of local brands
K S Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The bicycle industry in Ludhiana has been hit hard with the entry of Chinese cycles in the market. Major bicycle manufacturers, including some from Ludhiana, have started getting components from the Chinese and selling the same under their own brand name.

Ludhiana is the biggest supplier of cycle parts in the country.

The Chinese bicycles and cycle parts are cheap compared with the components manufactured in Ludhiana. Industry sources say there is at least a difference of 30 per cent in the prices of chinese goods and those made in India. The king bicycle manufactured by the chinese is popular in the Indian market as it costs between Rs 600-Rs 800 per bicycle, whereas the locally manufactured bicycle for kids costs between Rs 800-Rs 1,000 per bicycle.

Some leading bicycle manufacturers have opened offices in China. They make bulk purchase of Chinese cycle parts and bicycles and sell the same under their own brand name.

The Chinese are resorting to mass production of these components. As a result, local manufacturers have had to incur heavy losses. The export of bicycles and cycle parts has also fallen.

According to Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, the export of bicycles and cycle parts has fallen from Rs 950 crore to Rs 750 crore this year.

He says the standard size men’s bicycle manufactured by the Chinese has not caught the fancy of Indian users because of low quality.

Otherwise too, the quality of the Chinese goods is poor compared with the Indian goods, he asserts. But due to the difference in the price, the Chinese goods are in demand.

Avtar Singh wants the union government to impose anti-dumping duty on the Chinese cycle parts to save the industry. The steel prices continue to be high and engineering industries continue to suffer.



Tata ‘boon’ for state economy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
Decision of the Tata group to set up a manufacturing facility in Punjab is a positive signal for the state's economy, said auto parts manufacturers association.

It said Tata's project of manufacturing its Rs 1 lakh car in Punjab would highly benefit industry here. Gurpargat Singh Kahlon, president of the association, said the move would be particularly beneficial for auto parts manufacturers in the state and would prove a boon for the development of ancillary units here.



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