L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



National road two-way again
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
Even as the traffic police invited kudos by solving the traffic problem in Ghumar Mandi by enforcing one-way traffic, it had to succumb to pressures and discontinue one-way traffic rule on National Road.

Residents had heaved a sigh of relief during the past fortnight after the enforcement of one-way traffic rule in the area. The development had, however, not gone well with shopkeepers,who had protested a week ago by downing shutters.

Sources said the police had to give way to political pressure.They had approached a political leader, who took up the case with the police.

Shopkeepers had alleged that after the enforcement of one-way traffic, their business was affected severely.

They had stated that their customers had stopped coming to their shops as they had to come from Rani Jhansi Road to reach a shop.

The residents had supported the police against the will of shopkeepers.

SSP R.K. Jaiswal denied any political pressure. He said the one-way flow was discontinued at National Road only and another entry was continuing with the rule.

He said the police had to work with consensus on the traffic issue.

Interestingly, on the first day of discontinuing the one-way traffic, a massive traffic jam was reported in the area.

The residents complained to the police and a cop was specially sent to the mandi to take control of the situation.

However, the shopkeepers thanked the police stating that they had listened to their grievances and done the needful. 

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Confiscated machinery vanishes
SP conducts investigation on court directive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
Machinery worth lakhs of rupees, confiscated by the police in 1994, has gone missing from the police custody under mysterious circumstances, prompting a local court to order a probe to trace it.

Taking serious note, chief judicial magistrate has asked the police to find out what happened to the machinery. It added that a criminal case would be registered against the guilty, if the machinery was not traced.

The order of inquiry has come as a hope for industrialist Maninder Singh and his wife Pritpal Kaur, who were struggling for over two-and-a-half years now to get their machinery back.

It was on January 7, 2004, that a court had ordered the material to be released on surety bond ( supardari). But till date, the machinery was not handed over to him. It is a rare case where supardari orders have gone abegging for such a long time.

The machinery was kept in the custody of the Division No 6 police after it was impounded in 1994 from the factory of Maninider Singh in a property dispute case.

When Maninder Singh had gone to the police station armed with the orders in 2005, he was directed towards malkhana at the District Court complex.

His umpteen rounds at the malkhana were of no help. The court orders were not implemented. Maninder Singh in an affidavit submitted to the court also alleged that he was mistreated by a head constable there. He pleaded the court to trace the machinery which was worth Rs 13 lakh.

SP Gurpreet Singh is heading the probe. He said investigation to trace the material or fix the responsibility on erring officials, in case the machinery was untraced, has begun.

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Replenish pension fund, PAU implores Badal
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana September 18
Punjab Agricultural University has written to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal seeking his intervention for replenishing the pension fund of the university.

Against a monthly pension bill of about Rs 2.5 crore, the university has just about Rs 50 lakh in its pension fund, making it impossible to pay to pensioners. The university wants an annual grant of Rs 30 crore "over and above" the grant of Rs 100 crore sanctioned to it by the government.

The university has been pleading with the government for quite some time to provide it funds for the pensioners. In April this year, the university comptroller wrote a detailed note to the financial commissioner, development, Punjab, but no grants have been released. The university decided to approach the Chief Minister and a note was handed over to him when he came here to inaugurate the kisan mela.

Listing the reasons for the massive deficit in the pension fund, the note said the scheme was launched by PAU in 1991 with effect from January, 1986. It was based on the basic premise that the annual subscription of the serving employees would be 10 per cent of the salary and interest accrued on the cumulative subscription of the employees would be sufficient enough to pay pension liability of the retired employees.

The mechanism was considered to be quite viable as the rate of interest was high at over 16 per cent per annum. However, over a period as the interests kept on falling which have now come down to just about 8 per cent, the deficit started surfacing. Besides, there were other factors like the liberalised pension policy of the government, which is followed by the university, upward revision of the pay scales, which has its impact on pension also.

Till 2002 the pension fund was sufficient. But from then onwards, the deficit kept on accumulating. During the years 2003-04, 2004-5, 2005-06 and 2006-07, it was Rs 4.97 crore, Rs 7.7 crore, Rs 15 and Rs 11.47 crore taking the cumulative deficit to Rs 39.14 crore.

According to figures, the pension fund is receiving Rs 50 lakh every month on account of 10 per cent subscription from the employees, while the monthly pension outflow is Rs 2.52 crore, thus a recurring deficit of Rs 2.02 crore every month. By the end of the current financial year, the total deficit in the pension fund will come to about Rs 60 crore.

PAU has also to pay Rs 12 crore to Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University for the pension to be paid to its pensioners. It has not been paid so far as it has no credit in the pension account.

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Autos go off CMCH road
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
In order to remove congestion and avoid jams on the Brown road leading to CMC Hospital, the local police today enforced a diversion plan for the three-wheelers that were identified as the main vehicles contributing to the mess.

The enforcement aims to keep auto-rickshaws away from the CMCH road so that patients and ambulances are not stuck in the jam. The autos usually block the entrance gate of the hospital.

SSP R.K. Jaiswal and SP (Traffic) Roopinder Singh said the autos would not be allowed to move towards CMC Hospital further from Punjab and National Bank on the Brown road.

The officials said the autos would not reach the CMC chowk through Khud Mohalla. The vehicles from the Baba Than Singh chowk have not been restricted. 

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Azad in chains of poverty
But spirited lyricist will let nothing stop him
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana September 18
Sanmukh Singh Azad claims to have penned down hundreds of lyrics for Hindi and Punjabi movies. The list of singers ranges from Noor Jahan, Shamshad Begum and Mohammad Rafi to modern Punjabi singers Hans Raj Hans and Harbhajan Mann.

Those who have sung his songs may have made millions, but Azad lives in penury in Ludhiana. Azad, who claims to be in his eighties, said he began writing in his teens. His love for poetry comes from his mother, who was a poet.

Azad claims to have penned down the famous "Awaz de kanha hai, duniya meri jawan hai" sung by Noor Jahan for “ Anmol Rattan”.He says he had been receiving royalty for this song too. He also claims to have written "Lambi judai, char dinoo ..." sung by Reshma for “ Hero.” He says credit for the song was denied to him as it was claimed to be a folk song.

Azad hase nothing to substantiate his claims."Since I had no name or platform of my own, I would sell the songs to famous lyricists who issued made huge money," he says.

Azad has also been a great folk dancer. He says he had the opportunity to meet eminent people like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and President Nixon.

He has worked with two great lyricists from Ludhiana, Sahir Ludhianvi and Gulshan Bawra. Dharmendra is his close friend.

Last winter, Dharmendra visited him at his Rishi Nagar residence. He took off his jacket and put it on Azad as he was with a shirt alone. Azad lives in anonymity life and residents of the area were dumb-struck to find the Bollywood star calling on him.

He may be living in utter penury. But he has no regrets. "I have no time to die," he says, penning down lyrics even at this age. 

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ASI nabbed with heroin; remanded in police custody
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
An assistant sub-inspector of police was arrested on the charges of possessing heroin worth Rs 75 lakh last evening.

While the accused ASI Paramjit Singh have, during interrogation, claimed that he was not a drug peddler and the heroin was given to him by a deceased cop Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi, the police have begun a separate probe into his life style, property assets and his contacts in the region.

Police sources revealed that Sukhi was a dismissed cop and had died few months ago. His name in the investigation has made cops to investigate deeply into the possible involvement of other cops in the drug smuggling.

ASI Paramjit Singh was booked and arrested under the NDPC Act at Model Town police station. He was posted with the Economic Offences Wing. About 800 gram of heroin has been recovered from him.

The cop is the second person from security agencies caught on the charges of drug peddling. A few days ago, an Army soldier was caught on same charges near Punjab and J and K border.

SSP R K Jaiswal said the cop was being questioned on his alleged links with the smugglers and how wide the net was.

Meanwhile, Judicial magistrate K.S. Sullar today remanded ASI Paramjit Singh in one-day police custody.

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‘Chak De’ girls in town 
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
The charged-up brigade of “Chak De” is quite clear about one thing. That, team work has brought them to where they are. "Prior to this film, none even knew us. The film was about the team and it is the collective effort that people today are recognising us," said Shilpa Shukla, Shubhi Mehta and Arya Menon, three actors of the film, in unison. The trio was here to visit Piramyd Lifestyle store today.

The film has changed their lives and the girls have finally moved on. The three actors of the film, who played Bindiya Naik, Gunjan Lakhani and Gul Iqbal, said they were quite enjoying the attention and were happy being lebelled the "bad girls". The film, that is very much a part of their life, has given a kick to their career as well and these girls already have several projects in their kitty.

"My coming film is ‘Junction’ by Atul Sabharwal," revealed Shilpa, who has been actively pursuing theatre and has also acted in many films.Shubhi, who played Gunjan, said she was quite open to working in Punjabi films and also for television. "I love Punjabi films, know the language and really want to work," she said.

Quite impressed with Shahrukh Khan, the girls said they got to learn a lot from Khan during shooting."Each moment spent with him is a learning experience and one always looks forward to working with him," said Arya.From honing of acting skills to managing survival in the big, bad world of Bollywood, these actors feel content having been part of the movie. "Hockey is a 70 minute game and in Australia, under extreme weather conditions, we used to practice for as long as 12 hours on days. In Mumbai too, we toiled hard. we learnt a lot and are now looking forward to moving on."

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Khanna likely to be made district soon
Tribune News Service

Khanna, September 18
The state government is considering the proposal to convert the Khanna subdivision into a district soon. The matter has been taken up with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal by Ropar MP Sukhdev Singh Libra.

It has been a long-pending demand of locals that Khanna should be converted into a district.

Sources said Badal had asked the MP to submit a written proposal in this regard which was later sent to the department concerned for the completion of modalities. 

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Experts call for checking decline of water table
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
“Water is the most important input not only for farming but also for life. It must be used sensibly and with concern for the sustainability of agriculture. Long-term and short-term strategic planning for averting the crisis about to happen due to depleting underground water in area of intensive agriculture must be developed on an urgent basis otherwise our coming generations will not forgive us.”

This was the clear-cut message emerging from the deliberations made by eminent water scientists of the world gathered at PAU to discuss the water issues on the second day of “International meet on water management for food security and environment quality” today.

Organising secretary Jagtar Dhiman informed that in the five sessions slotted for the second day of the workshop, deliberations by the USA and Indian scientists were held on various themes of the workshop that included water resources issues, water conservation and management, water quality, pollution, innovative irrigation techniques, groundwater recharging, water limiting cropping systems, watershed management, etc.

Speaking on the national priorities for water resources, ICAR assistant director-general P.S. Minhas said multi-pronged approach, including scheduling of canals supply, drip irrigation, cultural practices like zero-tillage, ridge/furrow plantation and delay in rice transplantation, was necessary for conserving water reserves.S.S. Johl, who delivered the keynote address on planning for water resources, emphasised the need for legal enforcement for ensuring the practice of appropriate transplanting dates.

Ramesh Kanwar, who chaired a session on water conservation and management, highlighted the legal provisions operative in the USA. He elaborated the technical details for waste water use for irrigation.

Dr W. Bowen projected videos on the win-win-technology for environment quality vis-à-vis water issues. Dr D. Westfall shared results of field studies on water limited cropping systems that could be extrapolated to Indian conditions after necessary modifications. The need was expressed that rooftop water was a substantial resource that must be harvested and utilised for variety of agricultural use.While sharing the progress of work in these areas at PAU, a need was expressed that there should be a provision for harvesting rainwater in newly constructed roads, buildings and other civil works.

Dr Laj Ahuja emphasised that a systematic approach be followed for tackling these serious issues.Dr Bob Stewarts, a scientist from the USA, expressed contentment that scientists, administrators, farmers and sociologists were feeling concerned for the rational use and reducing wastage of water but expressed that a lot had to be done in this direction.

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‘Ludhianavis love designer jewellery’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
Rupa Vohra, a renowned jewellery designer, is pleasantly surprised with the taste for designer jewellery that city residents have. The designer, who has designed collections for the likes of Mandira Bedi, said she was happy that people here were not reluctant to spend on designer jewellery and looked at it as a mode of expression.

“I had not quite expected people here to be as aware. But they have money and they are willing to pay for things that are unique,” said the designer, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune here today.

Vohra is in the city to conduct a two-day exhibition of her collection named Myrah, which she said was her post-world cup collection. Talking of her designs, she said, “Most designs are an attempt to revive dying art forms like Thewa and Nakkashi.

 Extra care has been taken in detailing. It is not just the outer part of the jewellery item but many designs have intricate work even on the inner side.”

Talking about competition in the field, she said, “For designers, there is no competition. Each design is unique and people buy what is offered to them. The market right now is seriously up and people are purchasing a lot.”

Vohra, who is conducting an exhibition for second time here, added that clients were more inclined to relying on designers if they liked them. “A client continues to buy once they are able to find product that goes well with their personality. In this segment, it is not about the number of customers but the nature of customers that matters.”

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PAU museum witnesses huge rush

Ludhiana, September 18
The Museum of Rural Life at Punjab Agricultural University witnessed a huge rush of visitors during the two-day Kisan Mela recently. Dr N.S. Malhi, director of extension education, PAU, said there was a record sale of tickets worth Rs 20,700 in just two days.

Amarjit Singh, in charge of the museum, said some farmers have offered to provide the historical relics treasured by their ancestors to the museum. It may be noted that most of the articles were procured on donation basis by its founder, Dr M.S.Randhawa. The negotiations will be undertaken with the culture and archeology department of the state to exhibit articles of the 18th century.

Meanwhile, PAU will hold its Kisan Mela at Rauni on September 20. It will be organised by the directorate of extension education, PAU. The financial commissioner, development, R.S.Sandhu will inaugurate the event while Dr M.S.Kang, vice-chancellor, PAU, will preside over the function.

Dr N.S.Malhi said improved seeds, plants and farm literature will be put up for display and sale during the mela. — TNS

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8 booking counters not working
Jostling for purchasing rail tickets
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 18
Thousands of passengers at one of the busiest railway stations in the region here have to virtually fight a battle for purchasing unreserved journey tickets for 120 mail and passenger trains passing through Ludhiana every day, thanks to eight non-functional ticket windows.

The Railways have six booking windows in the old block, two on the entrance from the Civil Lines side and seven in the new booking building, facing the old block. However, at any given time, just four in the old block, one or two on the Civil Lines side and just one in the new building issue non-reserved journey tickets.

The chaos prevailing at the booking windows and serpentine queues of frustrated passengers, particularly during peak hours, has to be seen to be believed. Even though provisions have been made for separate queues for women, senior citizens and physically challenged passengers, more often than not, it is free for all when the passengers push each other, try to jump the queue or at times take the help of police personnel, deployed to maintain order, lest they should miss the train.

Even as no senior railway official was prepared to come on record for not making use of the booking windows, which did exist in the new building on the railway station, and also for not opening all six ticket counters in the old block to cope with the rush at peak hours, inquires made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that staff crunch is the major impediment.

“There are just about 35 persons to attend to the booking windows round the clock in eight-hour shifts. In addition, some of the available staff has to be put on jobs like making concessional and circular journey tickets, paper work relating to the sale of tickets, cash collection and deposit with the bank while also leaving margin for employees on sick or casual leave,” said sources in the railway department.

It is not only the journey tickets, sold to some 15,000 passengers, at an average every day, at the railway station that create a mad rush at the ticket windows, but the railways sell around 8,000 platform tickets every day, which coupled with the journey tickets, add together to generate an annual revenue of a staggering Rs 100 crore from the Ludhiana railway station alone.“Not that we are unaware of the difficulties faced by passengers purchasing spot tickets at the railway station. Recruitment of more staff, being the prerogative of policy-makers, is beyond us. However, in keeping with the prevailing policy of the Railways, we have outsourced the sale of computerised printed journey tickets at some places in different parts of the city recently to enable the passengers buy tickets from an outlet other than the railway station,” said an official requesting not to be identified.

Till such time that the intending railway passengers change their habit of rushing to the railway station at nick of time to buy spot journey tickets and instead move to private outlets which are closer to their places of living or else the railways recruit more staff to make the inoperative booking windows “functional”, the passengers will remain at the receiving end. 

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Protest against affidavit on Ram
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
ctivists of the Bhartiya Valmeki Dharm Samaaj today took out a protest march and burnt the effigy of the central government. They were protesting against the government’s affidavit to the Supreme Court questioning the existence of Ram.

The activists were led by Laxman Dravid, Dev Raj Asur, Ashwani Sahota and Chaudahry Yashpal. They also submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister, seeking a thorough probe into the whole episode.They said, there were hundreds and thousands of valmekis, who are the descendants of Mahirishi Valmeki. The central government had questioned the authenticity of what the Mahrishi had written, which was unacceptable to them, they added.

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Baby’s death: Doctor told to pay Rs 50,000
Rajneesh Lakhanpal 

Ludhiana, September 18 
The District Consumer Redressal Forum has directed a Khanna gynaecologist to pay Rs 50,000 to a woman of the town for negligency in treatment to a woman, whose new-born girl died after six weeks. The forum took special note of treatment records which seemed to have been tampered with.

The forum has directed gynaecologist Dr Raksha Mittal to pay the compensation within a month of the receipt of the order. The forum said the doctor had to pay this for causing mental pain and agony to the consumer, Rajni Chibber.A S Narula, president of the forum and its member, Puja Dewan, pronounced the orders while deciding the complaint filed by Jeevan Chhiber of Khanna. The orders were issued on September 13, a certified copy received here yesterday said.

The forum observed that there was deficiency in services provided by the doctor. The doctor did not attend the patient with “due care”. She did not act in accordance with the practice acceptable by a responsible body of medical skill, added forum.

The consumer forum observed that the doctor failed to check the heart rate of foetus at regular intervals as required. The condition of the baby could not have gone from bad to worse if care been taken by the doctor. The negligence of doctor in such circumstances, could be better imagined than described, remarked the forum.

The minute perusal of graph showing the fetal heart rate depicts that there was some sort of “erasing” in the original graph. It also appeared that after erasing, the photostat copy of a new graph had been produced, says the forum’s order.

The complainant had submitted that her new-born baby’s brain was damaged a lot during devilery at the hospital run by doctor, for want of proper oxygen. Since the inception of pregnancy, her wife was getting treatment from the same doctor.

His wife remained under the supervison of doctor on the day of delivery. The doctor left the hospital. Only the nurses attended her wife. Later, the condition of her wife started worsening. Several times he requested the hospital staff for calling the doctor but doctor came there only after 12pm. Then he was told that due to complications, the caesarean operation was necessary for delivery of the child.

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PSEB engineers condemn manhandling of colleague
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 18
The PSEB Engineers Association has strongly reacted to an incident of manhandling of an engineer by his subordinate staff in the Patiala East division on last Thursday, following an altercation on the outsourcing of field work. The engineers called upon the board management to take action against the erring employees.

An emergent meeting of the association, held here yesterday with Paramjit Singh Gill in the chair, called upon the central executive of the body of PSEB engineers to take up the matter at appropriate levels with the PSEB management and the police so that the employees, responsible for this reprehensible act, were brought to book. The meeting also made a plea for providing legal assistance to the affected engineer, Gurpal Singh, so as to restore the morale of the PSEB engineers working in the field.

The speakers, including Jaswant Singh Zafar, Charanjit Singh Brar and Bhupinder Khosla, said as a result of the PSEB decision to outsource the field work and the employees putting up a stiff resistance to these policies of privatisation, the supervisory staff was facing a tough time.

They said the political interference in the PSEB affairs had adversely affected the efficiency and work culture in this organisation. The members present in the meeting, vowed to abide by any agitational approach, adopted by the central executive of the association, in case the PSEB management failed to take any action against the employees, responsible for assault on the engineer.

Among others, R.S. Grewal, Jaspal Singh Birdi, Sohinderjit Singh, Mandeep Singh, Ishar Singh and PC Gakhar also addressed the meeting.

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BDPO warns sarpanch for poor hygiene in village
Mahesh Sharma 

Mandi Ahmedgarh,September 18
Even two months after receiving warning from the block development officer, Ludhiana, the civic body at Sarinh village in the district has failed to take measures to prevent breeding of vectors for common pathogen and prevent fear of outbreak of certain diseases at the village.

Villagers have now sought intervention of legislator of the area and the deputy commissioner in getting drains constructed in certain parts.

Acting on a representation of residents of the village, sent to the authorities through Gurcharan Singh, member, panchayat samiti, the block development and panchayat officer inspected drains and streets of Sarinh and observed that the panchayat had not taken steps to provide hygienic environment to the villagers.

"Gurnam Singh has noticed that drainage of waste water is not proper in the street and people are facing difficulty in walking through stagnant water. Virtually closed drain has been covered by some residents thus affecting proper disposal. This can result in outbreak of decease. So you are directed to arrange proper disposal in the area," reads a letter written by the BDPO to the sarpanch. Binding the sarpanch to get the work done within seven days of issue of notice, the BDPO warned that he would be responsible for any delinquency of the orders.

In separate letters addressed to Hira Singh Gabria, minister for jails and tourism, and DC, Ludhiana, the residents had accused the head of the civic body of ignoring their demands. He had allegedly failed to utilise grants, including Rs 1 lakh sent by the minister meant for constructing drains and streets in the village.

Observations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that condition of most of streets was bad. Overflowing drains were causing nuisance for the residents, besides serving as breeding place for vectors of many pathogens. The villagers were virtually living in a hell. Protests by the villagers had failed to draw attention of the district administration.

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Free ayurveda camp on Sept 23

Amloh, September 18
Getting inspiration from the eyesight restoration of tenth class student Jagdeep Singh,with Ayurvedic therapy, Dr Raghvir Sukhla has decided to hold a free medical treatment camp here on September 23. He was talking to mediapersons today. — OC

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38 parcels seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
Officials of the excise and taxation department seized 38 parcels containing various items like medicines, readymade garments, gift items and crockery at the local railway station here on Sunday. Official sources said the goods had arrived from New Delhi and the department was investigating the details of the goods.

Meanwhile, department officials, after procuring the details of goods seized a couple of days ago, visited a few factories in the city suspecting them to be involved in tax evasion. However, investigations revealed that the TIN numbers mentioned did not belong to these factories. 

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Bajaj launches motorbike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
The Bajaj Auto unveiled XCD 125 DTS Si, its new motorbike. With the launch of this bike, that is equipped with new Digital Twin Spark Swirl Induction engine, the company aims to upgrade 1000 cc customers with the new product. Bajaj has set a target of selling 20,000 units within this month itself.

Asis K. Swain, regional manager, said at a press conference today, “This bike offers a much superior value proposition in comparison to the ones already available in the market.”

He said the company has more than 50 per cent market share and it expects to increase its share in the motorcycle market with this launch.

Giving details of the features, he said the new bike was equipped with digital speedometer, LED tail lamp, headlamp with twin prismatic pilot lamps and zero maintenance non-contact wheel speed sensor, features that were available only in select top end 150 cc motorcycles so far.

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