L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rain hits traffic on city-Chandigarh road
Samrala villages inundated n Sirhind canal overflows
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Sirhind canal overflows in Dhande village, flooding fields after heavy rains in Ludhiana district.
Sirhind canal overflows in Dhande village, flooding fields after heavy rains in Ludhiana district. Photos: Gurminder Grewal

Khamano, July 4
Life came to a standstill and traffic remained disrupted on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road for over two hours as flood-like situation prevailed in the area following heavy rain in the town and surrounding areas, resulting in overflowing of the Sirhind canal at Dhande village, near Neelon, here today.

Hundreds of acres of freshly sown paddy was affected due to the flooding.

The administration was caught off-guard as the heavy rain threw life out of gear.

People living in nearby villages tried to prevent flooding in their villages and fields by breaching roads. The rain started around 8 am and continued till 3 pm.

Flood-like situation prevailed in Dhande, Ranwan, Poonian, Garhi Tarkhana, Khokhra, Urna, Todarpur, Raipur, Chandiala and several other villages falling in Samrala and Khamano sub-divisions.

The Sirhind canal that passes through the area overflowed near Dhande village, flooding several villages of the Bet area. The rainwater entered the Machhiwara’s dana mandi where maize crop worth lakhs of rupees was destroyed.

Also, power supply was disrupted as rainwater entered the power grid at Ghulal and Shamshpur.

After repeated attempts by residents of the area, the district administration woke up and contacted the chief engineer, canals.

After his intervention, the flow of water was reduced in the Sirhind canal, giving some respite to residents of nearby villages. A drain passing trough the villages also overflowed at over 25 places, posing a danger to lives of residents of the area. Traffic on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road remained disrupted due to heavy flow of water near Dabbi Bazar, Samrala. Several vehicles were stalled due to the flooding.

Commuters had a tough time reaching their destinations as they had to make detours. Some even had to turn away as they failed to cross Samrala from both sides of Ludhiana and Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, BKU president Balbir Singh Rajewal flayed the administration for not making adequate measures to check flooding. He demanded special “girdawri” for farmers. Ludhiana ADC (D) Davinder Singh later visited Todarpur and Dhande villages to take stock of the situation.


BJP bandh likely to hit normal life today
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 4
Today’s call for a nationwide ‘bandh’ (protest stoppage) on July 5 against the price rise, in particular the hike in fuel prices, given by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is expected to throw normal life in the people out of gear.

With both coalition partners in the Punjab government - SAD(B) and BJP, who are also constituents of the NDA - coming out in support of the ‘bandh’ call, the daylong strike has virtually become a government-sponsored protest. Without being specific, senior leaders of the two parties said here today the ‘bandh’ would be complete to protest against skyrocketing prices of essential food items and the increase in prices of petrol, diesel and LPG cooking gas.

There was a definite indication from SAD-BJP leaders that not only would shops, commercial establishments, industrial units, banks, private and government offices be closed but vehicular traffic on roads, including private and government buses, as also trains will not be permitted to run.

On the face of it, district officials find themselves in a tricky situation. With the ‘bandh’ call having been given by the NDA and endorsed by the state government’s alliance partners, the administration is exercising extreme caution in dealing with the proposed agitation.

"We’ll cross the bridge when we reach it," said a senior district official when asked whether work in government offices would be affected or not and the steps taken to deal with any situation arising from the ‘bandh’.

After a series of meetings here during the last two days, Punjab Minister for Jails & Tourism Hira Singh Gabria, who also heads the district ‘akali jatha’, said extending total support to the ‘bandh’ was a “party-level decision” that would be “carried out in letter and spirit”. While maintaining the protest would be peaceful, he sought “cooperation” of the public, trade and commercial organisations and industry to make it a success.

BJP leaders Sat Pal Gosain, deputy speaker of the Punjab assembly, and Rajiv Katna, the party’s district president, who also attended the meetings, claimed the protest was aimed at forcing the government to curb inflation and roll back prices of petroleum products so as to provide relief to the common man who was being “crushed” under the burden of high prices.

At another meeting, convened at the house of the BJP councillors’ group leader, Gurdeep Singh Neetu, the party’s ranks discussed the strategy for the ‘bandh’ with representatives of several functionaries of trade and industrial associations. The BJP leaders claimed trade and industry would observe a complete ‘bandh’ on Monday to lodge their protest against the UPA government’s failure to curb inflation.


Protest a sham, says Cong

Congress MP from Ludhiana and national spokesman of the All India Congress Committee, Manish Tewari, has termed the NDA’s call for a ‘Bharat bandh’ as a "pakhand" (fraud). Talking to The Tribune over the phone, he said: “The NDA should first tell the country as to why it was protesting against the dismantling of administered price mechanism (of petroleum products) which they (NDA) had themselves introduced in 2002. Not only this, when the Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulation Act was passed in 2006 to appoint a regulator for free market prices of oil products, the NDA had supported the bill in both the houses of parliament. The NDA is just resorting to cheap gimmickry. Why does the alliance (NDA) have \different yardsticks - when they are in power and when in opposition?"



Confusion over reopening of schools
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Amid a call for ‘bharat bandh’ given by the SAD-BJP alliance, confusion prevailed among parents and students over reopening of schools tomorrow after the summer break.

While Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari informed that educational institutions would function normally, a number of schools have declared a holiday tomorrow. The schools were scheduled to reopen tomorrow after summer vacations.

However, there are some schools which have not passed any information to the students or their parents, leading to a lot of confusion among the latter.

“We have got no message from the school about tomorrow even though we have been trying to get in touch with the authorities. We do not know if we should send the kids to schools or not,” wondered PK Sharma, a parent.



Beauty quotient: Adolescents in fast-forward mode
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
From manicures to hair styling, wearing make-up to laser surgery, city's adolescents will do anything to look good. The desire to look and feel good is so strong that the brat pack is not willing to let time run its own course. They don't just want to grow up fast. They want to grow up into beautiful damsels and handsome hunks.

In their pursuit to look hot, they are helped by their overambitious parents. The urge to look good is fast-forwarding the process of growing up in the hunt for the body beautiful, resulting in premature loss of childhood.

Teens and pre-teens today are coolly reaching for nearly every adult trick in the book to look their shiny best. Thus, visiting beauty clinics and parlours for skin treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, threading, hair styling is no longer adults' domain. Even the little ones as young as six today, want a groomed and fitter look. They are no longer happy being cute.

"I get my legs waxed regularly. Apart from giving me confidence, it saves me from the condemning stares from the boys in my class, who often make fun of hairy girls," said a 13-year-old girl on condition of anonymity.

She revealed that many of her friends went in for regular waxing and threading. "For parties and functions, they also go in for make-up, nail painting and hair styling," she said.

Another 14-year-old, who studies in Class VIII, revealed that she goes to a beauty salon regularly to get a full body waxed so she can wear her skimpy outfits. She has experimented with hair extensions and now wants to sport a tattoo - "a permanent one" she tells you.

And it's not just girls who want to look good. Boys are as much conscious of their styles now, which explain as to why little boys are seen sporting trendy hair styles, gelled look, ear studs, fashion jewellery and even tattoos.

Confirming this, Indra Ahluwalia, director, Chain of Grace Beauty Clinics, says, "Children these days are very conscious about the way they look. From skin treatments, face cleansing, waxing, threading to hair styling, colouring and hair extensions, acne treatment; you name it and they want it."

She said children as young as five are today found in beauty parlours, demanding a "creative" hair do for a family function while finding a 12-year-old asking for a wax isn't really surprising anymore.

"If done keeping in view the hygiene factor in mind and to save the child from social harassment, treatments like unwanted hair removal are acceptable. But if done purely for beauty enhancement, then such things at such an young age are harmful, both, for the child's growth and psyche," she remarks.

But it is not just children who want to be primped and polished to perfection. Many parents go out of their way to give their kids a leg-up in the looks department. And if nature has been unkind, they don't hesitate to resort to art. In fact, experts say they regularly get requests from parents to correct "flaws" in their children's appearances which forces them to make weird demands at beauty parlours. 



Man kills brother
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Profane love once again claimed an innocent life when a man killed his own brother after falling in love with his sister-in-law.

Nadeem killed his elder brother Harish Kumar (25) when the victim got to know of the illicit relations between his wife Mohumata and his brother. The accused committed the crime in connivance with his accomplice Mohammad Rashid after Harish raised objections over the relations.

The incident, that took place on June 22, was cracked this Friday. Giving details, police officials informed that the victim's elder brother Bhoora had lodged a complaint on June 22 that Harish was lying dead near a garbage dump at Tibba Road.

Harish, a jacket trader, was a resident of Guru Gobind Singh Nagar. Bhoora had gone to visit Harish at around 7.30 pm on the fateful evening when Harish got a call from an unknown person seeking to see him over some business matter. The caller had asked Harish to meet him at Gopal Nagar Chowk.

Immediately after the call, Harish left for the meeting. When he failed to return home even after a considerable time, Bhoora tried to contact him but his mobile phone was switched off. He then lodged a search for Harish in areas surrounding Gopal Nagar Chowk and found him lying dead with grievous injury marks on his head and back.

A case was registered at the Basti Jodhewal police station under Sections 302 at the behest of Bhoora. Police officials informed that the phone records of Harish were looked into carefully following which the accused were nabbed from their residence in Shakti Nagar on July 2.

"During interrogation, Nadeem revealed that he had killed his brother Harish after the latter got to know of his illicit relations with his wife. He also revealed that he was helped by Mohammad Rashid in the crime," said Inspector Jaswinder Singh.

Mohammad Rashid is the brother-in-law of Bhoora, he said and both the accuased hailed from Uttar Pradesh and had been living at Shakti Nagar.



4 bookies held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Four bookies were held here late last evening following a tip off. Cash worth Rs 2.17 lakh, 13 mobile phone sets and a laptop were recovered from the accused.

Accused, Harvinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh alias Tony, Jay Arora, Harminder Singh, were held from Dugri Road.

According to police officials, the accused were betting on the ongoing FIFA World Cup. "Last night, the four were betting on the Argentina-Germany tie," said ADCP Sushil Kumar, adding that the accused had been involved in gambling and betting since a long time.

A case under Sections 13, 3A, of the Gambling Act and Sections 420 and 120B of the IPC was registered at the Model Town police station. Meanwhile, the accused were sent to police remand for a day today.



22-yr-old youth found dead
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
A resident of Ambedkar Nagar was found dead at his residence this morning.

Rakesh Kumar (22), who worked at a junk dealer’s shop in the vicinity, was living with his father, brother and sister.

Divulging details, ADCP Sushil Kumar said, “On receiving the information, a police party reached the spot.”

The body bore strangulation marks, he added.

Sources said, father of the deceased conceded that Rakesh’s character was shady.

The body was sent for an autopsy. A case has been registered in this connection.



Rain throws life out of gear
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 4
Heavy rain threw normal life out of gear besides flooding government offices, including the local municipal council office and the police station, here today.

The flooded roads and compounds of the government buildings, including the Town Hall, exposed the inadequacy of the authorities to check flooding, especially in the low-lying areas.

None of the officials of the civic body were at the disposal of the residents as they kept on calling councillors for help as their localities were filled with rainwater.

However, the civic body chief claimed to have strengthened the sewerage system to cope with the future situation.

Normal life came to a halt in the morning when heavy rain flooded the low-lying areas, including the railway road, Jawahar Nagar, Mahavir Road, Dehliz Road, Gandhi Chowk, the Bhagat Singh Chowk areas, police station and the municipal council office.

The rainwater entered some houses located in Guru Nanak Colony and the Jawahar Nagar areas. Owners of these houses had to drain off the water with the help of buckets. Disposal pumps were pressed into service to drain rainwater out of school compounds, including MGMN Senior Secondary School. The councillors of the affected wards were seen consoling residents of their respective areas. The situation also forced residents to wade through knee-deep waters at certain places to reach their respective destinations.

A large number of two-wheelers were seen stranded on inundated roads. People preferred hiring rickshaws to taking their vehicles back home after attending functions in the afternoon.

Admitting laxity on part of the officials concerned, the councillors led by Bimal Kumar Sharma and Ravinder Puri regretted that the authorities had failed to take the required steps to fight the situation

However, president of the council Usha Sood claimed that the authorities had tried their best to tackle the situation.

"Beside pressing into service the disposal pumps available with the office, we deputed men to clear blockades in the drainage system," she said.



Delights residents, worries farmers
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Much to the relief from sweltering heat, mild rains today brought cheers to the city residents. According to weather experts, thunderstorms with heavy rainfall in some parts of the region are expected to bring more relief from the severe summers in the next 2-3 days.

City residents have welcomed the showers wholeheartedly. Right from the morning, little children were seen dancing and playing on streets in the rain.

However, water-logging in several villages has worried farmers, who feel if it rained heavily, the crops will get damaged. Balbir Singh Rajewal from Bharti Kisan Union (Rajewal) told The Tribune that in many villages, including Neelon, Palmajra, Shamspur, Sihala, Rajewal, the farmers were a worried lot because of faulty drainage systems.

“It is being raining here for the past 6-7 hours and water got logged due to faulty drainage system. If fields are not cleared then the stagnant water will damage the standing crops of all the vegetables and paddy as well. Though farmers are waiting for rains, water should not become stagnant in fields,” said Rajewal.

Residents of Urban Estate, Dugri, also felt that rains would create problems for them. Gurjeet Kaur, a resident of Phase I, Dugri, said sewerage pipes were being laid in Kandhari Chowk due to which the road was all dug. “I had to clean the floors of my house throughout the day today as there was too much mud. Authorities must finish with laying of pipes at the earliest,” said Gurjeet Kaur.



Lax MC takes Dugri residents for a bumpy ride
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

The municipal corporation hasn’t inspired much confidence in the residents, as more often than not, the work on the construction of roads initiated in the past has been left midway
The municipal corporation hasn’t inspired much confidence in the residents, as more often than not, the work on the construction of roads initiated in the past has been left midway

Ludhiana, July 4
Even after paying a handsome Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000 per sq yd, basic amenities like metalled roads, functional streetlights, etc. still elude residents of Dugri, Phases I and II.

With monsoon round the corner, residents are getting anxious about the poor health of roads in the area. And, the municipal corporation hasn’t inspired much confidence in the residents, as more often than not, the work on the construction of roads initiated in the past has been left midway.

If a patch of road is carpeted in one part, it takes months to recarpet patch in another part, rue residents.

“The civic body either doesn’t make payments to contractors on time or finds their work unsatisfactory. Each time a work begins in the area, our expectations go up, hoping that all roads will become smooth. However, after some days the workers simply vanish, leaving the work midway,” regrets Kuldeep Singh Kreer, general secretary of the MIG Welfare Society, Dugri, Phase II.

The residents complain that all roads leading to Dugri, Phases I and II, are strewn with potholes, giving a bumpy ride to commuters.

“The rainy season is fast approaching and we will face a lot of difficulty because of bad roads. Water gets accumulated on roads, increasing the risk of mishaps at night. We have the right to get basic amenities,” asserts Naveen Sharma, another resident, adding that the roads inside the MIG welfare society have been constructed recently after a wait for almost 13 years.

HC Salaria, executive engineer, B&R, says the sanction for works of some areas comes late as compared to others.

Under the first phase, roads near the LIC office, Durga Mata Temple, opposite Sat Pal Mittal school have been constructed.

The remaining works have already been approved by the finance and contracts committee of the municipal corporation.

“The remaining roads will be constructed within four months. In areas where sewerage is being laid, the work on roads will have to wait,” says Salaria.



BRS Nagar
Tubewell fault leaves residents parched
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Despite municipal corporation officials’ claims of about three tubewells in the Bhai Randhir Singh (BRS) Nagar area being nonfunctional due to a snag in electricity supply, the senior Powercom executive engineer (Aggar Nagar division), MP Singh, asserted the utility had not received any complaint from the MC.

The fault in power supply to the tubewells may be anywhere. About 500 households in blocks B and C of the city’s post locality have not been getting water for the past 24 hours. In the absence of regular supply the residents had to go out to get a few buckets of water.

Sore over the apathetic attitude of the area’s tubewell operator, one of the residents, GS Maan, a retired senior engineer, said the residents were making the rounds at the tubewells to ascertain where exactly the fault lay. “However, nobody bothered to tell us the truth. The tubewell operator told us there was some technical snag in the electricity supply due to which the tubewells were not working. He said the problem would be solved once the Powercom staff rectified the snag".

Maan further added that they had to send domestic helpers here and there to get few buckets of water. "There is no problem for those having submersible pumps but not all residents have installed pumps or motors. We are facing lot of inconvenience. Despite lodging our complaint, Civic Body has hardly done anything to provide us relief", said Maan.

The tubewell operator said a problem in the power supply developed at about 8:30 am today. “A complaint had been lodged with the MC junior engineer as well as Powercom. As soon as the fault is rectified we’ll resume water supply from the tubewells", he said.

MP Singh, who was sitting in the complaint centre itself, however maintained Powercom had not received any complaint from the MC regarding the fault in electricity supply. "There’s a problem in G block which will be rectified soon. However, no complaint has been lodged from B and C blocks", he added.

Meanwhile, area councillor Hari Singh Brar said there some problem had developed in the tubewell motor in B block due to which residents were not getting water.

Junior engineer Tarlochan Singh said electricity supply was disrupted in C block and the motor of the tubewell supply water to B block had developed some fault, which could be repaired tomorrow. "Once power supply is resumed residents will get relief. The motor of another tubewell will be repaired tomorrow", he added.



Lit Flats
Commercial activity miffs residents
Structural changes pose threat to building
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 4
In brazen violation of conditions laid down in the sale agreement about land use and throwing building bylaws to the winds, commercial establishments are thriving in the posh HIG flats of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) in Sant Ishar Singh Nagar on the Pakhowal road here.

Certain flat owners in the colony have not only converted their flats, meant purely for residential purpose, into commercial units, thereby creating nuisance for other residents, but also initiated vital structural changes in their flats, which could cause damage to adjoining flats, and even the entire building.

According to area residents, a bakery owner, had first set up the commercial unit in the garage and servant quarter on the ground floor, obtained a commercial power connection allegedly through misrepresenting the facts and thereafter installed heavy machinery for manufacturing bakery products in his flat on the first floor, much to the annoyance of residents in the neighbourhood.

In a complaint lodged with the LIT chairman last week, Vikas Raikhy, owner of flat No. 2 (second floor) alleged that even after protests by area residents, the bakery owner was now making vital structural changes in his flat on the first floor, which is being used as a workshop for bakery products.

“By removing supporting walls of the flat and merging the verandah (porch) to make a bigger hall, the bakery owner is causing threat to adjoining flats and also the one located above his flat in the building, some of which have already developed cracks,” Raikhy said.

Raikhy and other area residents maintained that agreement of sale signed by the owners of the flats and the LIT clearly laid down in clause 4 that the owner could not use the flat for any other purpose other than residence.

The sale agreement also makes it clear that any default or violation of terms and conditions of sale could lead to forfeiture of the dwelling unit by the LIT.

In November, 2008, LIT’s executive officer had written an official letter to the executive engineer, city west division, PSEB (now Powercom), saying that the commercial power connection on the premises was violative of the terms and conditions, which should be immediately disconnected.

However, when asked about the gross violation of change of land use (conversion of residential flat into a bakery and workshop), Lal Singh Tiwana, LIT executive officer, said no change of land use had been permitted in Sant Ishar Singh Nagar HIG flats.

“We will take action as per the rules against the owner of the flat after chairman Ashok Juneja, who is hospitalised after getting injured in an accident, joins duty.”



Daredevilry on Bullet no longer male act
18-year-old village girl rides her passion
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Barging into the male bastion, this 18-year-old medical student from Dakha village, near Mullapur, is catching the attention of commuters on the Ferozepur road these days. For, she weaves through the traffic on her 350 cc Bullet Standard motorcycle — the symbol of macho pride.

Kirandeep Kaur Sekhon commutes from Mullapur to the city every day but what stands her apart from other women motorcycle riders is her daredevilry on the mean machine.

This woman biker is set to exhibit her prowess in the forthcoming rural sports festivals. She is even preparing for auditions of television programmes based on motorcycle stunts.

Kirandeep is the male in the family, says her father Teja Singh Sekhon, a farmer.

“She is the youngest amongst the four daughters and has been nurtured like a male child. She even dresses up like men and is passionate about her ‘kali ghori’ (black motorbike),” says Teja Singh.

The aspiring doctor says: “Why should boys have all the fun? When I was a child, I used to see my cousins and father ride motorcycles. I made up my mind that I would ride motorcycles and not scooters.” Commuters on the Ferozepur road say Kiran is often seen standing atop her motorcycle while riding. Most of the time she rides without keeping her hands on the handle.

Kirandeep started riding motorcycles when she was 14 years old.

“Now she is an expert rider. She commutes from Ferozepur to Ludhiana regularly,” says her mother Amarjeet, who is not aware of her daughter’s intrepid acts.

Kirandeep says her father has always been supportive of her passion for motorbike.

Teja Singh echoes the same sentiments. “Girls are no less than boys. They are in fact better than them. They are caring and affectionate. I am proud of my daughters. Why should I stop them if they are passionate about something.”

Kirandeep is popular amongst her peers because of her passion. Girls often request her to take them for a spin. “She is an expert mechanic too and has fixed our scooters a number of times,” says her friend riding pillion.

Kirandeep says though boys sometimes try to tease her, she takes it in her stride. However, she has not refrained from teaching those who try to cross the line a lesson.

Kirandeep says she loves her motorcycle as it was gifted to her by her brother-in-law.

Word of advice

Kirandeep says she practises her stunts at a playground of her village and wears protective gear to avoid injury. She once met with an accident while practising a stunt and could not ride the bike for nearly a year



China Effect
Bicycle industry to feel the heat
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
City’s bicycle industry may once again face tough competition from China due to the latest amendments made by the neighbouring country. The industry will feel the heat of increase in imports of Chinese bicycles.

China has announced to withdraw VAT benefits on steel exports from July 15. It has done this to protect its domestic steel consuming industry as the prices in domestic steel market were more than the international steel prices and it was affecting the export of Chinese goods.

“This move will be a nightmare for the bicycle industry of Punjab. The Chinese government has withdrawn 9 per cent on HR coils, long steel products and CR coils. Due to this, the domestic steel prices of China will come down and with the decrease in Chinese steel export, there will be a chance for Indian steel producers to increase its exports which will lead to increase in domestic steel prices in India,” Badish K Jindal, chairman of the Punjab chapter of the Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India, stated.

Last month, huge quantities of HR and CR coils were imported to India and Indian companies were forced to reduce the prices by around Rs 4,000 per tonne.

“In the bicycle trade of India, the share of China is around 15 per cent and with the decrease in the Chinese steel prices and increase in Indian steel prices, this could enhance to 30 per cent in the coming months,” he said.

He added that Ludhiana was also facing locational disadvantage and the freight from China to Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata was less compared to Ludhiana. “India should draw a lesson from China and impose anti-dumping duty on bicycle parts,” he stated.

Another industrialist said the prices of steel in India kept fluctuating. With the prices in China going down, traders would move towards the neighbouring country. The government should form a regulatory authority to keep a check on the increasing steel prices, he said.



Want customers! be courteous
Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana/Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 4
Courtesy and rich hospitality have replaced pecuniary elements at various banks in the region.

In a bid to woo customers, managements of almost all nationalised banks have directed their staff to have a pleasant interaction with their clients.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that courtesy and hospitality were fast replacing economic aspects of services being provided by financial organisations, including commercial banks. Customers were shifting their accounts to newly-opened branches of nationalised and private banks.

Old branches with voluminous work were at the receiving end for obvious reason of their failure to provide desired gesture due to staff shortage. Ashok Kumra, a contractor, shifted his account to a newly-opened branch of a private bank on the Chhappar road as he was impressed by the bank’s hospitality. Savi Puri, a young entrepreneur, was happy to open an account at a national bank on the Raekot road.

Staff of the State Bank of India vowed to make their organisation the first choice for financial dealings. 



Mughal themes dominate weddings
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
It seems that Indian weddings in urban areas are no longer a family or community affair. In nouveau riche circles, they have mutated into a big, fat, flamboyant ceremony, with rich Mughal theme ruling the entire show. Be it jewellery, dress or theme for decoration, rich and royal themes have cast their spell on the Indian wedding scene.

Today, a bridegroom dressed as a Mughal emperor, exchanges vows with his bride, who looks stunningly beautiful in a royal wedding outfit painstakingly embroidered with gold and silver threads and resplendent in handcrafted jewellery.

While the family and friends look like aristocratic courtiers, seated on ornate period furniture emblazoned with royal crests, antique crystal chandeliers tinkle in the cool breeze, while outside, gaily caparisoned elephants raise their trunks in a salute to the newly married couple.


Indian lehanga has travelled a long way from Mughal royal courts to wedding pandals. “Even today, the essence of Mughal culture is intact and is depicted in traditional Mughal designs.

Beauty of the royal dress lies in the fine embroidery or zari handwork done on it. The patterns mostly made are of flowers, leaves or the national bird of India, the Peacock,” said Ridhima, a fashion designer from the city. While bridegrooms go in for sherwanis and achkans in stunning golden colours with amazing combinations of pinks and blues. Turbans with ostentatious jewels embedded on them are a rage among bridegrooms.


Apart from regular jewellery pieces like necklaces, earrings, kadas, payals and tikka, brides today go in for exquisite pieces from Mughal era, which include sarpech (feather pin), archer’s ring, arsi (mirror ring), bhor (head jewel) and hansali (choker).

“Starting with the borla (hair pins) to anklets, I will follow the same definition of an ensemble on my D day. I have also got prepared thumb rings with mirror so as to see my face during the ceremony,” said a visibly elated Shiana, who is getting married next week.


People today love to experience the ambience and opulence of the great Mughal emperors. In the Mughal Durbar Style Wedding, beautiful hostesses welcome each guest by sprinkling attar (perfume) and flower petals on them. They honour each guest by performing “aarti”, “tikka” and garlanding ceremonies. Dining tables are groan under the weight of an array of scrumptious Mughal delicacies prepared by highly experienced chefs, served in a manner that truly befits royalty. 



Bandh Call
Panicked residents reschedule journeys
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 4
Panicked over the national bandh call given by the political parties tomorrow to protest against rising inflation, a large number of residents of this region have decided to reschedule their journeys.

Fearing inconvenience, a majority of commuters, including those travelling by bus and private vehicles, left for their areas of workplaces today.

Meanwhile, the police department has called back policemen, who are deputed on special duties and those who had proceeded on leave.

Investigations revealed that the national bandh call had spread panic among those residents, who had planned journey for the day.

Thousands of employees and traders who had been commuting were worried about reaching their destinations in time tomorrow.

SK Sharma, a resident of Jawahar Nagar, who is a government employee and commutes between Ludhiana and Ahmedgarh by public transport, said he had decided to stay with a relative near the workplace.

“When we know that protesters can block traffic at any place and at any time, why should we risk reaching late at the office. Moreover, it is advisable to avoid unsavoury situations,” said Sharma, adding that a large number of employees from Malaudh, Kup, Malerkotla and Dhuri had rescheduled their programme to avoid the last-minute hiccups.

The investigations further revealed that a section of the employees had proceeded on leave tomorrow.



Lawyers’ bodies decry bandh 
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, July 4
“The inflation in the country has undoubtedly broken the backbone of the common man and the Centre Government must bear the blame for failing to control the prices. Public is groaning helplessly under the burden of soaring prices. The lawful ways of protest are not prohibited in democracy and the ‘bandh’ is one of them,” said Surinder Pal, an RTI activist and the president of the Ludhiana-based Progressive Lawyers’ Front.

However, to join the call given by the BJP and other opposition parties in the Centre for all-India bandh on July 5 to protest against inflation, the Akali-BJP combine in Punjab has not even realised the propriety of doing so.

“Have they ever minded their own role in inflation in the state?” asked Kuldeep Singh Khaira, a lawyer and the president of the Vigilant Citizen’s Forum. “If one compares the state taxes on daily-use commodities in Punjab, we find the state government is more responsible for the inflation here,” he added.

He termed the bandh in the state as nothing but a false propaganda of the SAD-BJP alliance to divert attention of people from its misgovernance.

All Akalis do is curse the Congress and pass the buck on the Centre for inflation, floods, draughts or cyclones. A comparison of taxes in Punjab with the surrounding states is enough to bring the truth to surface. Milk, ghee, pulses, vegetables and fruits have become out of reach of the common man. This is despite the fact that most of these things are produced in the state and the Centre Government has no control over their prices or production.

Surinderpal, giving details, said petrol in Punjab is costlier by about Rs 5 to Rs 6 per litre than in Chandigarh and Haryana. Similarly, diesel is costlier by about Rs 4 per litre in Punjab than in Haryana.

Similarly, liquor is costlier in Punjab than in Chandigarh due to higher excise rates. Consequently, people are allured to buy liquor from outside, or some people even indulge in smuggling of liquor into the state, which not only causes loss of revenue to the state, but also creates problems for law-enforcing agencies.

He further added that electricity in Punjab was costlier than other states. Despite heavy rates, the electricity was still not available to people for 24 hours. Business was suffering heavily due to power shortage; industry was constrained to migrate out and the Badals kept on alluring people with hollow promises of making Punjab a “power surplus state”. The octroi on petrol, diesel and electricity has not been abolished despite repeated promises by the ruling alliance leaders.

Advocate Khaira said court fees and stamp duty had been increased manifold recently so much so that the common man could neither make any deal of property nor could he think of approaching court for justice. Stamp duty on most of the transactions/dealings in the state had been increased to about 700 per cent. Similar was the rate of increase in the court fees.

In these circumstances, does the ruling Akali-BJP combine, which is a complete failure on every front, has any moral right to call for a bandh?

The lawyer added that the Congress, the main opposition party in the state, had also miserably failed to play its constructive role in public interest. “Obviously for the reason that it too uses the same tactics to fleece people when it returns to power,” said Khaira.

Surinder Pal and Khaira, speaking on behalf of their organisations, strongly condemned this hypocritical attitude of the ruling parties in the state.



Dept sleeps as residents offer to fix canal banks
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 4
With higher authorities, including the Chief Minister, having failed to awaken canal department officials from slumber for strengthening the eroded banks of the Bathinda branch of the Sirhind canal, along the Karamsar-Kalyan road, residents of the area have sought permission to fill earth in eroded portions.

Last year, followers of Sant Isher Singh Rarewala had undertaken “kar sewa” to fill earth for strengthening the banks in the vicinity of Gurdwara Karamsar Rara Sahib.

Though the volunteers had declared to continue the “kar sewa” for strengthening these further, they had given up the project due to alleged unconcern of the authorities.

Apprehending mishaps due to badly-eroded banks of the Sirhind canal at many places, residents of villages located on the banks have sought permission to fill earth in their respective areas.

Spans between Kalyan bridge and Kanganwal bridge, Jandali railway bridge and Jagera bridge, and Sunna Bridge and Buani village, have been identified as critical areas.

Earlier, the residents, predominantly followers of Sant Isher Singh, had started filling eroded portions with the earth.

While farmers who owned tractors had volunteered to carry the earth from their fields to the canal bank, others had undertaken levelling and compaction job.

According to Bimal Sharma and Ravinder Puri, councillors, the decision to seek permission to start the “kar sewa” was taken after a number of residents brought to their notice that eroded banks were posing threat to the lives of commuters.

“Having failed to impress upon the authorities for getting the banks strengthened, we have decided to make use of our resources to do the needful.

As we cannot undertake filling work, we have written to the authorities for granting permission for the proposed ‘kar sewa’,” they added.

Hundreds of families living in Jandali Khurad, Jandali Kalan, Chhanna, Pohir, Jagera, Butahri, Jhammat and other villages located on the banks of the canal, apprehending threat to their lives and property, had demanded an inquiry into the alleged inaction of the authorities to the SOS calls made by them in the past.

The authorities, instead of taking remedial action, had been misleading the civil works department with regard to the condition of the banks of the canal.

Near Kalyan bridge, Kanganwal bridge, Jandali village, Karamsar village and Gurdwara Rara Sahib, the southern bank lining the canal was eroded badly.

A breach could develop at the place anytime if the water level in the canal rose.

In the past, some devotees, especially elderly, had slipped into water due to eroded bank near the gurdwara.

Expressing ignorance about the demand for the proposed “kar sewa”, Malerkotla SDM Gurlovleen Singh Sidhu said he would take up matter with the authorities in the canal department.



Sand Mining
Contractors to confront mafia
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 4
The local building contractors’ association has sought the support of the labour unions for confronting the sand mafia of the area. Jinder Pal Singh Dhiman, president of the association, said the mafia was accumulating huge wealth by selling the sand in black market about four times (about Rs 8,000) high the actual price about a month ago.

He said it was the state government’s responsibility to sort out the matter on priority basis. He accused the police and the mining department of allowing these people to continue sand mining in the area after getting their cuts. Presently sand is being extracted from the banks of the Satluj and the fields located near Kishangarh, Sidhwan Bet, Bhundri, Humbran and Nurpur Bet.

The association yesterday unanimously decided to lodge its protests by blocking the roads from where the sand mafia is transporting the sand illegally besides getting them booked. The association sought the support of all unions. 



Hire pvt contractors to save money: Councillor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
The municipal corporation has been spending about Rs 98,500 for lifting debris from various parts of the city on one trolley a month. But if the MC hires private contractors to do the same work, a whopping amount of Rs 2.20 crore per year will be saved, which can be used on several other developmental projects.

The corporation has been spending Rs 4,472 per day on trolleys for lifting debris from the city whereas private persons ask for Rs 1,000 to do the same work.

Congress councillor of ward number 29 Sushil Raju Thapar, giving details about huge public money loss, said the driver of a trolley was being paid Rs 16,000 salary a month. There were six other helpers who lifted the debris from several areas and put it in trolleys. These helpers were paid salary of Rs 10,000 each per month.

Besides, diesel worth Rs 12,000 was put in the trolleys and the monthly cost of maintenance of one trolley was Rs 10,000. About Rs 400 were spent on its insurance.

“The total amount spent on one trolley comes out to be about Rs 98,500 (a month). But if we hire services of private persons, they take Rs 500 to lift the debris from several areas (for one round). On an average, MC trolleys make two rounds in a day to lift debris, which means that a private person will not be paid more than Rs 1,000 per day. This implies that MC is wasting huge amount on its trolleys, which can be utilised for other constructive works,” said Thapar.

He further added that apart from the said expenditure, at times the MC had to pay compensation to the kin of those killed in accidents with these trolleys.

Additional Commissioner KP Brar, when contacted, said the decision in this regard would to be taken after thorough discussions. She said, “There cannot be that much of difference. We will see what best we can do. After all we have to take the services of these trolleys, too, on which the MC has spent lakhs of rupees (on purchase).”



One held with habit-forming drugs
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, July 4
The Dakha police today nabbed a youth along with unaccounted habit-forming drugs. During a routine patrolling, SHO Dakha Jangjit Singh nabbed the youth identified as Sanjay Kumar alias Sanju of Shimla Puri, Ludhiana, from near the Railway Crossing of Badhowal village.

He was carrying 140 tablets of various salts, 14 capsules of painkillers and 10 bottles of cough syrups. Drug addicts usually use these drugs.

The accused was going to deliver the medicines to clients in the villages. The Dakha police registered a case against the accused under Sections 22, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.



Two stolen cars recovered, 1 held
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 4
The Jagraon city police today recovered two more cars from a member of the car thieves’ gang that was busted by the Jagraon police on May 31.

The gang, led by Major Singh, had about 24 members forming an inter-state gang and used to procure cars by paying a small amount as the initial payment and after getting it financed on the basis of fake papers took the delivery. Thereafter, the gang members used to vanish in thin air and after fabricating a fake registration number of the car used to sell it in Punjab at nearly half of the market price.

Today on a tip off, SHO Jagraon Sadar Rajwinder Singh, along with SI Sawarn Singh, laid a special naka to nab the car thieves at the drain bridge near Ramgarh Bhullar village near here. The police nabbed Amrik Singh, along with Innova car, and booked him under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC.

The police on the demarcation of Amrik Singh also recovered another luxury Fiat Linea Emotion car (PB-03-E-0428) parked near the drain bridge of Cheemna village near here. Amrik Singh confessed that he had snatched Innova car from its driver, which he had hired from Ambala.

He tricked the driver near Malaud and decamped with the car. He also confessed to have hired the Linea Emotion car from Samrala and decamped with it.



It was a theft, not fraud: Jeweller
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
The owner of Dhir Jewellers today said his salesman had not committed a fraud but had stolen gold chains from his shop and sold them to another jeweller.

Vivek Dhir, the jeweller, said the salesman was nabbed while checking a stock.

He said no customer had complained about the substandard gold. He added that the police had registered a case of theft and not fraud in the matter.

Meanwhile, the police said it was all set to recover the gold chains.



Tennis Meet
8 qualify for main draw
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 4
Kshitij Kamal of Delhi, Digvijay Mehta of HP, Maninder Singh of Haryana, Surya Pavan of Andhra Pradesh, Manav Dhawan of Punjab, Suraj Beniwal of Haryana, Amardeep Singh Jaglan of Haryana and Rishab Dev of Punjab qualified for the main draw of the HTA-AITA Men’s and Women’s Tournament, 2010, which commenced today at the Harvest Tennis Academy.

The first round main draw matches will be played tomorrow.


Third round: Kshitij Kamal (Dli) bt Mandeep Kumar (Chd) 9-8 (7-5); Digvijay Mehta (HP) bt Pranshu Barthwal (UP) 9-3; Maninder Singh (Har) bt Rathindra Kakati 9-5; Surya Pavan (AP) bt Sachin Patil (Pb) 9-1; C Bhargav (AP) bt Vishwanath Savadi (Kar) 9-8 (9-7); Manav Dhawan (Pb) bt Archit Jain (Dli) 9-6; Ravinder Singh bt Harry Jindal (Pb) 9-5; Suraj Beniwal (Har) bt Anshuman Dutta (Asm) 9-3; Gaurav bt Prashantha Priyadarshi (UP) 9-7; Amardeep Singh Jaglan (Har) bt Dhruv Goel (Dli) 9-4; M Lohani Murtaza (TN) bt Rohit Jain (Dli) 9-8 (7-3); Jajbir Singh bt V Pranav (Kar) 9-7; Rishab Dev (Pb) bt Dipanshu Garg (Har) 9-1.

Final round: Kshitij Kamal (Dli) bt Rithvik Anand (TN) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4; Digvijay Mehta (HP) bt Garry Singh Amor (Chd) 6-0, 6-1; Maninder Singh (Har) bt Digvijay Singh Naruka (Chd) 7-6 (13-11), 7-5; Surya Pavan (AP) bt C Bhargav (AP) 6-2, 6-4; Manav Dhawan (Pb) bt Ravinder Singh (Pb) 6-1, 6-1; Suraj Beniwal (Har) bt Gaurav 6-1, 6-3; Amardeep Singh Jaglan (Har) bt M Lohani Murtaza (TN) 6-0, 6-4; Rishab Dev (Pb) bt Jajbir Singh (Pb) 6-3, 6-1.



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