Fear Factor
No fun time for jail inmates this Divali 
Overcrowding may lead to fights, feel authorities
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 6
There would be no fun time for central jail inmates on Divali this year. Thanks to the jail overcrowding, the authorities have decided not to organise any cultural programme on the occasion in order to avoid any fight among the inmates.

During the past some years, the jail authorities used to make special arrangement of cultural programmes for the inmates. Showcasing the hidden talent, the inmates used to present cultural items to entertain one another on the special day.

However, talking to The Tribune, jail superintendent Dilraj Singh said no such programme would be organised this time as the number of inmates had reached almost triple of the jail capacity. Further there are some groups of criminals which may create a law and order problem if any such programme was organised in the overcrowding jail, he added.

To a query, he said the relatives and friends of inmates living outside the city would be allowed to meet them from 12 noon to 3 pm on Thursday, a day before Divali, for giving them sweets and other eatables. Usually, the relatives are allowed to meet the inmates from 9 am to 12 noon and from 3 pm to 5 pm on working days.

According to jail sources, the number of jail inmates has touched 1494, probably all-time high, on Tuesday against its capacity of just 525. The jail, which has been in the news for controversial deaths, recovery of mobile phones and smack, has been facing a severe problem of overcrowding for past some months.

Usually more than double of its capacity have been lodged in the jail for the past several months. Due to overcrowding, the inmates are packed in barracks. As a result, they are forced to live in unhygienic conditions. Interestingly, a considerable number of them are undertrial prisoners in different cases, including petty crimes.

The number of inmates had reached almost triple of its capacity because as much as 1,400 inmates were recorded in the jail several months back, the jail sources said, adding that about 175 inmates were shifted to Ludhiana jail to get some respite after getting permission from Director-General (DGP) Prisons Mohammad Izhar Alam in June. But even the shifting of these inmates to Ludhiana jail could not provide much relief.

The state government is already apprised of the problem and it has decided to build a new jail for Jalandhar and Kapurthala at Theh Kanjla village in Subhanpur on the Jalandhar-Amritsar highway.

While the proposed jail will have the capacity of lodging 3,000 inmates, its construction was yet to start. It may take several years for the jail to be completed. Till then, there is dire need to shift a large number of inmates from Jalandhar central jail to other jails of the state to redress the problem of overcrowding.



Time to ‘gift’ your heart away
Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 6
The November air is a pleasant mix of the aromas of the approaching winter and the hot action preceding the festival of lights. Beautiful Indian apparels have been bought, houses have been whitewashed, the men have gone through every single bit of the advertisement of the oh-so-festive offers of their favourite digital gadgets, while women have done their best to dress up their houses for the occasion. With the “D-day” just two days away, all are waiting for the festivities to reach the zenith. But one of the most loved and hated things that still needs doing is exchange of gifts.

The religious sentiments are still intact but now Divali is much more than just a religious celebration; it is a brand, a thriving business. Every year there’s a new rage of the season to be given away as a gift. This year too there are a few things that are doing rounds of the market. Recently, a glimpse of what could be the coolest candidates of this year's Divali gifts was had in an exhibition “festive moments” held in Hotel Raddisson on November 3 and 4. Organised by sisters Reeti Singh and Nikku Sehgal, it was a treat for Divali shoppers. Though everything from clothes to jewellery was available, the cherished gift items for the season seemed to be centre table accessories.

Rimple Arora, who was exhibiting candles and Turkish nazarliks, said, "We are getting a good crowd but people bargain a lot, which is a bit of a problem." Talking about the perfumed candles on sale, she said, "These are a rage with the people. They keep the senses cool and calm." Floaters, wax bowls in the form of troughs and water lilies, candles in flavoured as oceanic grease, vanilla, green apple, cinnamon and lilly and crooked candles with stands were available.

Talking about the nazarliks, she said, "These are basically a Turkish concept. Known as evil eyes, they are very good as gifts because they are meant to ward off evil."

Kavita from Elements (Chandigarh) had a complete range of cushion covers available in velvet and silk, with embellishments, cut work and patchwork. She also had on display candleholders, trays and vases. "These are available in cutdana, nalkiworks and wood-and-bone work", she said. Nidhi, an entrepreneur dealing in garments, said, "These days people are going in for clothes as gifts too and it is not necessary that Indian couture is the only thing on festivals, western wear with laces, ribbons and other finishings are very much in for Divali."

Nikku Sehgal, one of the organisers of the event, said, "Most of the people who have come this time are new. Candles, diyas and Divali gifts rule the roost this season."



‘Algoza’, ‘chimta’ struggle for identity
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Narayan Das Verma playing ‘chimta’
Narayan Das Verma playing ‘chimta’

Jalandhar, November 6
Once an indispensable part of the Punjabi folk music, the traditional instruments now are sinking into oblivion. With digital wave sweeping the music industry, instruments like “algoza” and “chimta” are restricted to a few stage performances during youth festivals these days.

For learning these instruments one does not need to remember “sargam”, but has to develop a feel of rhythm. On one occasion they were reasons for the powerful performances of great Punjabi singers Gurmeet Bawa and late Narinder Biba.

“Algoza” player from Hoshiarpur Kuldeep Singh said, “This traditional instrument was generally used to tell folk tales of Soni, Mahival and Mirza, Sahiban. But in today’s arena one would prefer to watch movie rather than listening to these tales.”

Talking about the instrument, he revealed, “algoza” consists of two flutes with “paranda” or strings attached to their bottoms. In order to play it one has to inhale air from the nose and the inhaled air is divided into two parts, half is send to lungs and the remaining is blown in the flute.

The flute generally has five to seven holes. “If one wishes to take out sound of a girl, then we close first two holes and for boys one needs a little hoarse voice so all the holes are kept open. Its tough to play it because you have to exhale air continuously to flute without any break,” says 60-year-old Kuldeep who had been playing instrument when he was 20. He said he gots Rs 1,000 for playing it for five to six days during youth festivals.

Similarly, “chimta” player Narayan Das Verma said, “You can see people playing this instrument on kirtans or stage shows. People hardly use these instruments in their social functions. But when I perform different acts on it audience really gets thrilled.”

“You can play this instrumental either vertically or horizontally, but I love to play it vertically. The instrument consists of three parts, ‘patti’, ‘chaini’ and ‘kara’. Following rhythm of ‘dhol’ or harmonium is the key to play ‘chimta’,” says this 50-year-old chap, who runs a cloth shop in Kapurthala.

Talking about his passion, he said he started playing “chimta” when he was eight years old and since then he never looked back. He claimed that he could play “chimta” 500 times continuously without break.

Restricting the skill to play these traditional instruments only to elders would be wrong as even young blood is entering the league. Bhupinder Singh, a 19-year-old “algoza” player says, “My father and forefathers use to play it and I learnt it from my family. I enjoy playing it, but still not sure whether would adopt it as career.” Bhupinder is presently continuing his graduation from DAV College, Amritsar.



An inheritance of loss
Aparna Banerji/Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 6
An old saying has it that we are all made of clay and are going to merge into it one day. Maybe, this is the very reason that we are taught to respect our “dharti ki mitti”. But it seems such respect is only confined to patriotic poetry and the distant teachings of our ancestors.

The locality of potters, known as “Ghumiaran da mohalla”, in Preet Nagar here is having a hard time making ends meet at Divali. A locality which earlier had about 10 to 12 families of potters is now reduced to just one. Ram Chandar, one of the five brothers of the family, says, “We got this business as an inheritance to our families. Our ancestors worked on this land and used to make earthenware every Divali and on prominent festivals, but it seems difficult for us to pursue this profession anymore.” 

The family needs black “chikni mitti” for making pottery, but it is an irony that they can get only one trolley of clay these days due to receding deposits of the clay in the area. It is impossible to do pottery with any other kind of clay since it has sand mixed in it. “There’s a slump in the market. There are many villages of potters in the region but we are the only locality (rather family) in Jalandhar who are left to carry on with this profession. Potters from the villages of Amritsar and Kapurthala have many takers but a very few for us. In fact, sometimes we have to buy earthenware from other people and re-sell to keep the funds flowing.

During other months we sometimes even have to take to scrap-dealing,” he says. 

The land to put up the “aava” or “bhatti” to bake “diyas” is also very scant and the members of the house in which the “aava” is put have to leave their houses for some time due to the immense amount of smoke that it releases. 

The families have five cement “chakks” (potter’s wheels) each on which they dexterously make “diyas” and other earthenware. 

“We make more money during the fasting season as compared to Divali. We are able to make approximately two lakh ‘diyas’," says Chander. “If we want to get them painted we have to pay an extra 45 paise,” says Kaladevi, the widow of one of the brothers Roshan Lal.“We are the last generation which is going to do this work. Our sons don't do pottery and prefer working in factories instead,” rues Chander. 

Gobind lal, one of the brothers, shows us the earthenware and tells us what the different items are called “chakri”, “ghara”, “jhajjar”, “tauri”, “karhna”, “chaati”, “gulak”, “hatri”, the list goes on but he is not sure whether the precious lineage of the Ghumiars of Jalandhar will go on forever.



Development schemes to continue: CM
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, November 6
No development scheme would be stopped in mid way at any cost. This was stated by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal after attending the bhog ceremony of late Puran Singh, father of chief parliamentary secretary Sarwan Singh Phillaur at Chuck Des Raj village in Phillaur subdivision this afternoon.

Answering a question, Badal said the elections of all municipal committees would be held on schedule. When asked about any differences between the SAD and the BJP, the Chief Minister denied it and claimed that there were no differences between the two alliance partners at any stage. When his attention was drawn toward controversial issue like urban power tariff hike, Badal said no issue would be left unsolved as both the parties were working in a cordial atmosphere.

He said the SAD-BJP government was working sincerely for the overall development of the state.

The Chief Minister announced one instalment of DA to the government employees on Divali.

He presented over 3.5 lakh employees of the state with a Divali gift directing release of a 6 per cent ADA instalment with effect from July 1, 2007, on the central pattern. He said the decision would also benefit the pensioners and they would be paid 6 per cent ADA cash. Badal said the amount of the ADA arrears would be credited to the GPF accounts of the employees.

Earlier addressing a large gathering, Badal announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the village and said the government had come out with attractive development plans for urban and rural areas. He disclosed that the World Bank had offered to develop a scheme of Rs 1 crore for the development of such villages whose residents contributed 5 per cent from their own sources.

Akali leaders Sukhbir Singh Badal, Bikram Singh Majithia, Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Kuldip Singh Wadhala, Mohan Lal MLA, Charanjit Singh Atwal, Upinderjit Kaur, Ajit Singh Kohar, Sarabjit Singh Makkar, Nand Lal, Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Sikandar Singh Maluka, K.D. Bhandhari MLA, CPM leader Mangat Ram Pasla and Congress leaders Tirlochan Singh Soond and Gurwinder Singh Atwal also spoke on the occasion.

Cops prevent scribes

During the visit of Chief Minister, two police officials forcefully tried to prevent a few senior journalists from talking to the Parkash Singh Badal, who without noticing the police officials, had brief talk with the media. Though police officials went on interrupting the talk, the CM talked politely.

Earlier a team from Doordarshan Jalandhar was prevented to enter the place of the event and the public relations joint director intervened and asked the police officials not to harass the team. It was only then that the team was allowed to enter. SP CM Security Rajpaul Singh and district police chief Arpit Shukla asked the PR officials why they had brought in the Press.



Rs 5 crore released for development
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, November 6
The Punjab health minister has released Rs 5,22,04,700 for a number of development works to be carried out in different parts of the district. The minister released the amount while presiding over a meeting of the district planning and development board on Monday.

The minister, who is also the chairperson of the board, welcomed 18 new members of the board earlier. After releasing the amount, the minister asked the heads of different departments to submit utilisation certificates to the board after spending the amount for the required purposes.



Free artificial limbs camp on Nov 11
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 6
The Rotary Club Jalandhar West will organise a free camp to provide artificial limbs to the needy at New Ruby Hospital in Lajpat Nagar here on Nov 11 from 9 am to 2 pm.

District governor of the club Dr SPS Grover stated in a press release that patients suffering from amputations of lower limbs would be provided limbs free of cost at the camp. Measurements would be taken on the same day, whereas supply would be made after a fortnight, he added. The camp is being organised by the club with the help of a donor, Raj Aggarwal from the USA, and the Jaipur Foot Handicap Centre at Ambala.



Pension through banks: Union flays govt
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 6
The Pendu Mazdoor Union has flayed the decision of the government to disburse old-age pension through banks. Union president Tarsem Peter has termed the decision as arbitrary and contrary to the poll promises made by the ruling alliance. He appealed to the government to look into the problems of the elderly and redress them at the earliest.

On one hand, they are promising that the panchayats would be given more powers and, on the other, they had ordered the disbursal of pension through banks, he pointed out. The decision had added to the problems of the elderly as they had to spend money to travel to towns and cities to get a meagre amount, he rued. This, he said, was an attempt by the government to curtail functioning of the panchayats. Earlier, the amount was received by the sarpanch and disbursed among the beneficiaries in the village itself, he added. 

It was a big relief for those whose movement was restricted, he added. Earlier experiences have shown that the bank staff created unnecessary hurdles and asked the elderly to come again. This resulted in multiple visits to the banks and in some cases the travelling expenses were more than the received amount, he said.Peter alleged that the government was bankrupt and could not pay for many schemes. 

Not a single penny had been released for paying the beneficiaries of the old-age, widow pensions, handicapped and shagun schemes, he added. Since the social welfare department had not got any money for the shagun scheme they could not get poor girls married off under the scheme. The patwaris were asking for bribes to issue income certificates in villages, he alleged. Similarly, the handicapped Dalits too were feeling the pinch, he said.



Chhatt Puja
Holiday rush delays ride back home
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 6
With only nine days left for the “Chhatt puja” in Bihar, hundreds of natives working here as labourers are having a hard time trying to go back in the holiday rush. While some are forced to travel without ticket, failing to get reservations, many others can be seen standing in long queues to return the tickets and get tickets for trains arriving later. 

Hundreds of passengers could not board the two Bihar-bound trains, 5210-DN Amritsar-Saharasa Jansewa Express and 5708-DN Amritsar-Katihar Amarpali Express, due to an extraordinary rush in these trains today. Long queues were seen at the railway ticket window for getting a refund for the tickets by those who could not board the trains. Many tried to get tickets for the trains arriving later. 

Passengers Hari Pal and Ram Das said they tried to board the Jansewa Express but passengers did not open the doors for them to get in. This despite the fact that the railway authorities had stopped the train for 14 minutes and railway police officials too tried to help them board the train. 



Young World
Students, teachers donate blood
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 6
As many as 80 persons, including students and teachers, donated blood at the annual blood donation camp organised by Banarsi Dass Arya Girls College in association with the civil hospital, Jalandhar. College principal Sarita Verma inaugurated the camp. The camp was conducted under the guidance of Dr Gagandeep Singh.


A number of competitions were organised by the Satyug Darshan Sangeet Kala Kendra at Lions Bhavan. Police DAV Public School bagged the overall trophy by winning the classical dance by Somati Vij, semi-classical dance by Raj Kiran and bhangra. The school students stood second in group song, solo instrumental (tabla) by Sandeep and sitar by Veenu. The school also won group song competition and stood runners-up in paper reading and bhangra contests organised by the Child Welfare Council.

Bal mela

A bal mela was organised in Seth Hukam Chand SD Public Secondary School here on Tuesday. Children presented Rajasthani dance. Other games like horse race, blind puzzle and lucky dip were also held. Mayor Rakesh Rathore gave away prizes to the winners.


Students of the Lovely Institute of Law have secured the top two positions in the examination of LLB (fourth semester) declared recently by Guru Nanak Dev University. Sandy Kahlon with 83.6 per cent marks, Raswir Kaur with 79.2 per cent and Amisha Jain with 78.8 per cent marks have stood first, second and fourth in the university, respectively. Similarly, Harneet Kaur and Ankit Mahindru got the first and second positions in the LLB (eighth semester) examination of Guru Nanak Dev University by securing 77.2 and 74.8 per cent marks. Pallvi and Seema scored 74 per cent marks and shared the third position.

Campus placement

A team of three officers from the Navy, headed by Cdr R.K. Yadav, visited the DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology (DAVIET) here to conduct a campus placement of students under the university entrance scheme. Nearly 100 final year and pre-final year students of DAVIET and other engineering colleges of Punjab appeared for the interview. The students short-listed by the committee would be eligible to appear in the final round by the SSB later this year.

New principal

Junesh Kackria has succeeded P.P. Sharma and taken over as principal of Hans Raj Mahila Mahavidyalaya. Earlier she was at the BBK DAV College for Women at Amritsar.

Kala Utsav

A two-day Kala Utsav-2007 concluded in Lala Jagat Narain DAV Model School on Sunday. As many as 39 schools participated in competitions. Local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia and HMV College principal P.P. Sharma were the chief guests. Innocent Hearts School of Green Model Town got the overall runners-up trophy and bagged the first positions in the geet/ghazal and folk song contests.

Inter-house matches

Students of Mayor World School competed in various inter-house matches. Girls of grades VI and IX and boys of grades VI and VII of Shakespeare house won the throwball and soccer marches, respectively. Boys of grades VIII and IX of Wordsworth house won the volleyball match.

On-flight exposure

As many as 62 students of Frankfinn Institute of Airhostess Training got the on-flight exposure on Jet Airways flight for an hour at the height of above 30,000 feet. The flight took off from Amritsar airport. The students were given tips on experience of on-flight service, safety measures, announcement and emergency demonstrations.



Phone problem

I am the user of Airtel mobile phone number 9815300789. I got the miss-call alert facility and am paying the required charges. Under this facility I was supposed to get a message of detail of calls which I missed. But for the past about six months I have not been getting any message. I also faced another problem. On October 23, 2007, I had to go to New Delhi. Airtel deactivated the roaming facility on my phone without any intimation. I had to face a lot of hardship in the absence of no-roaming facility. When I approached the company on my return from Delhi on October 25 the customer care official admitted the fault and assured me that the roaming facility had been restored. I also got a mail from Airtel confirming the same. I had to go to Delhi again on November 1 but the roaming facility was denied again without any information.

Anuj Anand, 34, Jagjit park, Kapurthala

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