Fiscal meltdown casts shadow on Divali
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
The global financial meltdown has cast its shadow on the Divali celebrations in a big way. Even after a day before this festival, markets have failed to attract customers. A majority of the markets have been wearing a virtually deserted look as sales have failed to pick up.

Receiving poor response from customers, a few shopkeepers have decorated their establishments. The traders apprehended that the customers will flood markets on Divali, especially since it was the third festival that fell in October after Dasehra and Karva Chauth. A survey by a Tribune team revealed that there was hardly any purchasers for Divali gifts in bulk. The customers were seen purchasing household goods even a day before Divali.

Newly-wed couples were, however, seen enthusiastic about shopping in different city markets. China-made flower vases and containers were in demand in Model Town gift shops.


“The financial meltdown has virtually spoiled Divali celebrations. Customers were almost 10 times lesser in number this year. Earlier, I used to decorate my shop nearly five days before the festival but this time there is no business,” claimed Amarjit Singh, a Model Town shopkeeper. Palwinder Kaur, a resident of BSF Colony, pointed out that it was not easy for a common man to spend generously on four festivals - Dasehra, Karva Chauth, Divali and the coming Bhaiya Dooj - in one month.

gift-shop owner Gurdeep Singh was of the view that recession in the international market had played a major role in making Divali glum.

“The customer who earlier used to purchase in bulk is scared of the recession in the market and does not want to spend much this time,” he said.


Sweets made of “khoya” have failed to get their space in sweetmeat shops as the health department has come up with a heavy hand on traders involved in supplying spurious “khoya” in different parts of the district.

The sweetmeat shops were least preferred by buyers, as a result of which there was no flow of customers. Stalls and shops selling dry fruits gathered the crowd but that too was lesser as compared to the previous year.

Health officials claim to have tried its best in curtailing the malpractices by the traders. District health officer Dr Raman Trehan said that special teams were constituted to conduct raids on suspected areas of the arrival of spurious “khoya”. Special teams were pressed to nab traders carrying big consignments of dairy products, especially at railway stations, claimed Dr Trehan. He revealed that only 1 quintal of “khoya” had been seized at the railway station as yet. The consignment was being transported in the Shalimar Express from Muzaffarnagar to Jalandhar with RS code on it. The “khoya” is still in the possession of the railway authorities which had been waiting for its owner to come forward for its release, claimed Dr Trehan.

Security arrangements

The police claims to have made elaborate security arrangements for avoiding any untoward incident in the city during the festival of lights.

SP (headquarters) Satinder Singh claimed that teams had been constituted for special searches at various strategic points. Special emphasis had been laid at railway stations, bus stands, markets and other places where public gathered in large numbers.

Bomb-defusing squads had been told to remain vigilant to meet any urgency. Extra forces had been deployed in sensitive areas in the city, towns and villages throughout the district. Dog squads had also been pressed into service in sensitive areas.

Fire brigade

In the wake of Divali, employees of the fire brigade have been asked not to avail any leave. The department is not taking any chances, claimed divisional fire officer of Jalandhar Kashmir Singh.

He said 16 fire engines had been prepared to tackle any fire incident. The firemen have been asked to be alert round the clock. Fire engines with crew had been deployed at Chowk Maqsudan and Burlton Park. The strength of employees had already been doubled at all fire substations.

The multipurpose vehicle, which only the Jalandhar fire brigade has in the state, has also been kept ready. The municipal corporation has been asked to provide 24-hour water supply on Divali so that there would not be any shortage of water in case of any emergency.



People gear up for the festival of lights
Kusum Arora
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
With Divali celebrations, the festive season reaches its peak. An occasion to express solidarity in diversity, Divali brings with it joy, hopes and aspirations.

There is great apprehension and excitement in the air regarding the festival. Different sections of society have geared up for the festival in their own special way.

With Dhanteras celebrations on Sunday, people, especially the women, had a gala time shopping for crockery, utensils and other household atricles.

Puts in Harshdeep Singh, a shopkeeper, “This is one day when people virtually soak in the festive mood and prefer buying different things for their homes as a shagun before the festival.”

If the shops in the market are full with sweets and crackers, then there are others which are decorated with artificial flowers as well. Says Deepak Kumar, a shopkeeper in Model Town, “As the real fervour of Divali comes with the lighting of diyas, therefore, it is the designer candles in various colours and fragrances which are more in demand these days. Apart from this, traditional and ethnic designer pieces and flowers for decoration are also in vogue this festive season.”

And for those who have not gone to their respective homes on Divali, it is a time to share some light moments with their friends.

The Tribune spoke to some Kashmiri students from CT Institutions who would be celebrating Divali in the hostel with their friends.

Siana Yusuf, a student of MBA-III semester, said, “It is for the first time that I would be witnessing Divali at such a large scale. In Kashmir we celebrate Id with the same gusto. But it would be my pleasure to join my Hindu friends during the festival to enjoy it to the hilt.”

Another Kashmiri student from the same institution, Junaid Andraibi, too expressed similar feelings for the festival and said, “We are a group of eight friends in the hostel who would celebrate Divali together. We have bought crackers and gone for shopping as well. Since our examinations are approaching in the first week of November, I prefer to stay in the hostel and make good use of the time.”

But there are others for whom Divali is no less than a big celebration, especially for NRIs, homecoming for them is a big occasion to cheer.

Says Kartar Singh, a US-based NRI, who came to India a week ago, “Coming home to celebrate a festival like Divali with near and dear ones holds a lot of significance. It is after many years that I have come back to India during this festival. Though we have been celebrating Divali in the USA as well, the joy of celebrating it with the family here is something different.”

But in the midst of the celebrations, though there is a slight slump in the market due to the dwindling economy, for the Kumhar families (‘diya’ makers), this is the peak season of the year for them to earn something. “We wait eagerly for this time of the year. Since ‘diyas’ are an integral part of the celebrations, we work overtime to earn some profit.



Slum dwellers will have to wait for pucca houses
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
A Rs 42.4-crore integrated housing slum development scheme of the central government, under which the municipal corporation was to provide pucca houses to more than 2,300 slum dwellers, has been put off as of now.

While the scheme was at its initial stages, the average cost of construction of a house was pegged at Rs 1.26 lakh but now it has escalated by over 80 per cent, raising concern over the allocation of funds for the purpose.

The execution of the scheme would have begun had the problem not cropped up, said officials who had even earmarked 11 slum areas which were to be developed in the first stage. Mayor Rakesh Rathour said, “We have engaged our consultants on working out cost reduction. We cannot reduce the number of houses and their size nor can compromise on quality or even disturb the norms.

It surely will be a tough job to reduce the costs under these conditions but our idea is to bring the cost down to as much extent as possible from the present amount of Rs 2.3 lakh per house through some alternative ways.”

More cost straightaway meant more share by the MC,” opined SE (B&R) Kulwinder Singh. As part of the government of India plan, almost 80 per cent of the grant for the purpose was to come from the Centre.

The state was to spend 10 per cent. The remaining 10 per cent was to be shared by the municipal corporation and the beneficiaries themselves.

Under the scheme, the slum-dwellers were also to get houses with kitchens, toilets, proper sewerage, roads and streetlight system.

It was to be executed in two phases, each covering 11 slums at a cost of Rs 11.35 crore and Rs 30.05 crore, respectively. The first phase was to include slums in Kot Sadiq, Gurbachan Nagar, Khurla Kingra, Arjun Nagar, Navi Abadi Santokhpura, Qazi Mandi, Basti Peer Dad, Abadi Jallowali, Neevan Avtar Nagar, Sabowal and Santoshi Nagar.

No new sites were to be allotted under the plan. The slum-dwellers were to get provisions in the area that they have already been occupying. Most of the sites that had been approved for development included those of the MC or those which are private with no claimant for the past more than 50 years.

Almost all the slums currently have a provision for drinking water with grants received from MLAs but many lack proper sewerage, covered kitchens, toilets and streetlights.



Warrants against railways for non-compliance of order
Similar action in two other cases

Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum today issued conditional warrants in three cases for non-compliance of its orders.

The forum presided over by Surinder Mittal issued conditional warrants against the Railways for attachment of Rs 53,000 as pay order for non-compliance of the order passed by it on April 30 this year. The case pertains to a complaint filed by D.K. Sarpal, a senior citizen and advocate based at Basti Guzan.

The forum had directed the chairman of the railways board, the chief reservation supervisor, Guwahati, and the station superintendent there to pay up Rs 50,000 as compensation and Rs 3,000 as cost of litigation to the complainant and his wife for the refusal of the Railways to change their boarding station.

The elderly couple was made to travel 1,122 km extra from Guwahati to Dibrugarh and back to board a train during their tour to east India. They had to travel in a non-AC sleeper, pay Rs 366 for tickets and Rs 1,000 for stay in a hotel.

The forum today also issued conditional warrants against Kulbushan Jain of the Mother Mary School of Nursing, Training and Para-Medical Sciences, Gurjaipal Nagar, for November 28 for execution of orders passed in January this year. The case pertains to an order passed by the forum on a complaint filed by Anuradha of Kangra, a GNM course passout.

A fresh application was filed by the complainant calling for execution of order for depositing all original documents (including those of matriculation and class XII) retained by them at the time of admission, security refund of Rs 3,000 with 9 per cent rate of interest from the date of getting certificate/degree till realisation (now amounting to Rs 11,890), Rs 5,000 as compensation and Rs 2,000 as cost of litigation.

In another case filed by Sandeep Singh Deol of Lajpat Nagar, the forum issued conditional warrants against Nandan Biometrix, Hyderabad, and Diverse Agro, Tagore Nagar, for November 17. The forum had asked the opposite parties to pay up Rs 1 lakh as compensation for loss of crop of “safed musli”, the seeds of which were allegedly supplied by the companies on a buy-back contract.

The complainant had said that he had purchased seeds on a payment of Rs 4.68 lakh. He said that the wet tubers of the plant were to be taken by the owners for Rs 200 per kg (or Rs 1,000 for dry tubers). He said that he had also taken implements for Rs 32,000. He alleged that he had sown the seeds only to find 17 per cent germination and barely 55 per cent on re-germination within gaps. He alleged that the crop failed, for he only managed 219 kg of yield from three acres of land fetching him barely Rs 43,800.

Company officials replied to the notice saying that there was no buy-back contract and denied the allegation of poor quality seed. The forum observed that since sowing was done more on experimental bases, the entire burden was not to be borne by the respondents. While calling for Rs 1 lakh as compensation, it had also maintained that Rs 4 lakh had already been paid by them as compensation.



Young World
Students celebrate Divali with underprivileged
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
KMV College, Jalandhar, celebrated Divali at Old-Age Home. The principal and staff of the college, along with the NSS wing, celebrated Divali at Apahij Ashram run by Apahij Sahaik Samiti on October 24. They interacted with the inmates of the ashram and distributed sweets, fruits and candles as a responsibility towards the underprivileged people.

Similarly, the St. Soldier Educational Society, Kapurthala Road celebrated Divali on October 25 at Pingla Ghar situated on Gulab Devi Road. Vice-chairman of the society Sangeeta Chopra distributed sweets, crackers and fruits among the orphans and disabled people and lighted “diyas” as well.

The HMV College, Jalandhar, celebrated Divali in the college hostel on October 24. Punjab minister for transport Master Mohan Lal inaugurated the festival. On this occasion students decorated the hostel and the college premises with “diyas” and presented a cultural programme.

Manav Sehyog School, Shahpur, Jalandhar, celebrated Divali on October 25. A special assembly was held in which students presented a play and recited poems.

Divali celebrations were also held at Police DAV Public School, Jalandhar. On this occasion the students of Manasi House presented a cultural programme in which they gave a social message of donating some money to the poor and needy.

Divali celebrations were held in Smart Kids Playway School, Tagore Nagar. The school was decorated with designer diyas, candles, rangoli and lights. Kids came dressed up in traditional attire. Principal Navpreet Kaur explained the importance of the festival.

Quiz contest

The winners of “Food safety and quality” quiz contest with principal and teachers at Shiv Jyoti School in Jalandhar
The winners of “Food safety and quality” quiz contest with principal and teachers at Shiv Jyoti School in Jalandhar. — A Tribune photograph

On the directions of the Central Board of Education (CBSE), a quiz contest on “Food safety and quality” was organised for the students of class I to V of Shiv Jyoti School here last week.

The activity in charge, Sarita Kapoor, said different houses of the school participated with enthusiasm in the contest. The Jagriti house emerged winner in the contest. The school principal, Vibha Sharda, informed the students about the importance of safe food and its quality. Educational adviser Krishna Jyoti blessed the winner students.

Freshers’ party

A party to welcome freshers was organised under the name of “Ji aayan nu” at St Soldier Law College on Friday. Students of LLB (III and V) presented a cultural programme. Students came on the ramp in modelling round and showed their talent. Deepti, Prabhjot, Mandeep, Kammay, Pratik, Narinderjit, Sarabjit and Ranjit performed to some Punjabi numbers. They also presented giddha and a skit. Pratik was declaired “Mr Fresher” and Deepkiran “Miss Fresher”. Chairman Anil Chopra and college principal Jyotsna honoured the students.

Talent hunt

The information technology group of computer science department of the Prem Chand Markanda SD College for Women, Jalandhar, organised a talent hunt on October 25. The students participated in collage making, power point presentation, ad-mad show and quiz.

Manisha and Neha stood first in collage making, Neha and Neha Bhagat in power point presentation and Preeti and Priyanka stood first in the ad-mad show. In the quiz show the Scanner Team was declared first.

Apeejay toppers

Students of bachelor of performing arts-II (music vocal) of the Apeejay College of Fine Arts brought laurels to their institution by bagging top positions in the Guru Nanak Dev University examinationa. Ravinder Kumar stood first by scoring 82.7 per cent marks followed by Amit Kumar Sharma with 79.3 per cent and Charandeep Singh with 77.8 per cent marks.



Village pond encroached upon
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
An aged man, Harbhajan Singh, resident of Khambra village, alleged that some persons had encroached upon the land of village pond in connivance with the panchayat.

Talking to The Tribune, Harbhajan Singh said he had been running from pillar to post to get the encroachment removed from the village pond, meant for drainage of sewage of the village, for the past several months but to no avail.

Showing documents and receipts of telegrams, he said he had met different officials and sent telegrams to the deputy commissioner, block development and panchayat officer, Jalandhar east, and sarpanch in this regard but no action was taken to remove the encroachments so far.

Harbhajan Singh, who is hard of hearing, said he had sent separate telegrams to the DC and sarpanch on October 12 in order to draw their attention again toward the encroachment.

The aged man said some persons had broken the drain in front of his plot a few months with which the sewage water started accumulating in his plot. The influential encroachers of the pond land wanted to teach him a lesson and the drain was broken to create trouble for him, he alleged.

After getting complaint from Harbhajan Singh, BDPO and block engineer Gurdeep Singh visited the site in July and found that the drain had been broken.

Following which, the BDPO wrote a letter to the Khambra village sarpanch to get the drain repaired. The BDPO also wrote another letter to the Lambra SHO asking him to initiate legal action against the persons who had broken the drain constructed by the panchayat.



Four-laning of Jalandhar road next month: DC

Kapurthala, October 27
The work on the four-laning of the Kapurthala-Jalandhar road will start next month as Rs 9.54 crore has been sanctioned under the central road funds. This was disclosed by deputy commissioner J.M. Balamurugan in a press conference here.

He said a bridge over the railway crossing at Wadala Kalan had also been sanctioned and Rs 36 crore would be spent on it.

Narrating the various development projects under taken by the government, the DC said the government had sanctioned Rs 7 crore for the construction of a bridge at Kanjali to save the Kanjali wetland. The drainage department had floated tenders and the work would be started next month.

He said that discharge of fresh water into the Kali Bein from the Mukerian hydel channel would be increased from 120 cusecs to 500 cusecs to make the rivulet perennial.

He said desilting on a 12-km-long stretch from the Kanjali picnic spot to Subhanpur was going on a war footing as four draglines had completed more than 50 per cent of the desilting work.

He said an approach road would also be constructed from Subhanpur to the Kanjali picnic spot for the convenience of tourists to visit the spot.

The deputy commissioner said Shalimar Garden, Kamara Bagh, Moorish Mosque and Kanjali picnic spot would also be developed to attract tourists for the economic growth of the town.

He said a team from the United Nations world tourism organisation is conducting a survey of the town under a plan of tourist destination and submit its report to the government in the first week of November. — PTI



Gurta Gaddi Divas
AIR holds ‘Sarb Hind Trilingual Kavi Darbar’
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
To celebrate the tercentenary of the Gurta Gaddi Divas of Sri Guru Granth Sahib with devotion, the All-India Radio, Jalandhar, organised “Sarb Hind Trilingual Kavi Darbar - Mahima Sri Guru Granth Sahib Di” in the main studio of the Doordarshan Centre here on Saturday night.

During the two hour-long event, which started at 9 pm, eminent Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu poets mesmerised the audience with their devotional poems, songs and nazams.

Sahitya Akademy Award winner Surjit Patar, Sukhwinder Amrit, Harbhajan Gill and Lakhwinder Johal recited poetry in Punjabi. Dr Madhumohini Upadhyay, Dr Shankuntla Srivastava, Dr Som Thakur, Dr Lakshmi Shankar Vajpayee and Wahid Ali Wahid presented their poetic recitations in Hindi.

Dr Rajesh Reddy, Prof Bhupender Aziz Parihar, Sardar Panchhi and M.F. Farooqi kept the audience spell bound with their Urdu poetry in the praise of the Guru.

Surjit Pattar conducted the stage, whereas Mandip Kaur and Paramjit Singh of AIR, Jalandhar, anchored the darbar. The show was broadcast/telecast live on the AIR and DD, Jalandhar.

Those present on the occasion included director (programme), AIR, New Delhi, Dr Amrit Lal Pal, assistant station director, AIR, Suman Pal, and senior director, DD, Dr Daljit Singh. Eminent literary personalities and poetry lover of the city enjoyed the kavi darbar with the audience.



2 booked in gangrape case

Phagwara, October 27
A 40-year-old married woman has filed an FIR against her two neighbours alleging that they gangraped her in Nanak Nagari, Chaheru.

The woman, mother of three children, alleged that on the night of October 18 she was returning from a religious place when two of her neighbours, identified as Ashok Kumar and Vijay Kumar, engaged her in a conversation in front of their house and later pushed her in, gagged her and raped her.

Later, the father of one of the accused Vijay tried to persuade the woman’s family, which belongs to a backward community, to reach a compromise. However, the victim lodged the complaint in Sadar police, Phagwara, on Saturday.

The police has registered a case against the two youths who were at large. — UNI



One nabbed with intoxicating capsules

Phagwara, October 27
The police here nabbed Sajjan Kumar of Nandachaur village falling under Balachaur police station with 640 intoxicating capsules. Phagwara DSP H.P.H. Khakh stated that Sajjan Kumar was nabbed following interrogation of Surjit Singh of Banga who had been caught with 53 intoxicating injections about nine days back.

The 640 capsules seized from Sajjan Kumar’s possession included 400 Provodex and 240 Spasmo Proxyvon capsules. An FIR under sections 22/61/85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against him at Sadar police station in this regard. — TNS



Workshop held
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
The department of physiotherapy of the Apeejay College of Fine Arts organised a two-day workshop on “Integrated taping techniques in sports and orthopaedic conditions” on October 24 and 25. Associate rofessor of the Faridabad Institute of Technology Dr Shaji John was the resource person for the workshop. The first day comprised explanation of objectives and principles and role of taping techniques in various conditions like strain and thoracic dysfunction, etc. On the second day head of physiotherapy department Dr Manu presented the highlights of the workshop.



Pensioners await DA instalments

Jalandhar, October 27
Members of the Punjab Aided Schools Pensioners Association have raised their voice against the state government for not giving them the benefit of 6 per cent enhanced instalment of DA from January 1. Association president Sudershan Sharma and general secretary M.S. Sagoo said 3,795 pensioners from 484 government aided schools of the state who retired on or before May 31, 2003, and were drawing pension as per the Pension Act, 1992, were entitled to receive this benefit. — TNS



Bangles, clothes given to 41 brides

Jalandhar, October 27
Mass marriage of 41 girls of needy families is being organised at Manak village, near Lohian, on November 2.Village sarpanch Surinder Kaur Dhillon and Phagwara DSP Kulwinder Singh Thiara on Sunday distributed bangles, clothes, “kaleere”, mehndi and some other items among these would-be brides. — TNS



Off changed

Phagwara, October 27
The Punjab State Electricity Board has changed the schedule of weekly industrial off from Sunday to Wednesday. Senior executive engineer Sanjeev Kumar told newspersons that now all industrial units would remain closed from 8 am on every Wednesday to 8 am on every Thursday. — UNI



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