L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Burns units all geared up
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Burns units of different hospitals have geared up to meet any kind of eventuality on Diwali. Special teams of doctors have been deployed to attend to burn patients. Senior Medical Officer of the Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital said: "We have two Emergency Medical Officers on duty, Dr Navjot Kaur and Dr Inderjeet Bagga. As per the instructions of the Deputy Commissioner, Rajat Aggarwal, we have also deployed a team of four specialists for the day. These include skin specialist Gita, eye specialist Ripudaman Kaur, general surgeon Suresh Kaushal."

Dr Navjot Kaur, who will be on duty from 8 pm (November 3) to 8am (November 4), said: "This is the second time that I am on special duty during Diwali night. Of course, my family will miss me but I don't mind as it is part of my duty."

However, the trauma centre of the CMCH is well equipped for catering to all types of injuries on Diwali. Dr Kanwal Maseeh, Medical Superintendent at the CMCH, said: "Our trauma centre is always well equipped. But, keeping in view the high number of burn injuries during Diwali night, skin and eye specialists will also be there round the clock."

At the DMCH, the Disaster Management Task Force, headed by Dr Sanjeev Uppal, Head of Plastic Surgery Department, has deputed a specialised team of doctors who would attending to any types of burn injuries."

Although there is no burn unit at SPS Apollo Hospital, Dr Kapil Chib, Medical Superintendent, said, "We have enough arrangements for minor burn injuries. In major burn cases, we stabilise patients and refer them to the hospitals having proper facilities."

Help a call away

Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital, Ludhiana: 0161-2610502

Christian Medical College and Hospital: 0161-260026

Dayanand Medical College and Hospital: 98155 55100

SPS Apollo Hospital: 0161-25352535, 6617100

For expectant mothers

Dr Vineeta Munjal, Gynaecologist, Obstetrician and Infertility Specialist, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, said the pregnant woman, if exposed to high intensity fireworks, can sustain irreversible side-effects.

* Even pre-term labour pains start due to exposure to high intensity sounds.

* Problems like jaundice and even death of the baby in the womb can occur if there is any injury to blood vessels.

* Women in the second and third trimesters should avoid exposure to fireworks, which produce very loud noise.

* In case of any doubt, blood analysis for detection of foetal cells in the mother's blood is essential to have a favourable prognosis.

DOs and Don’ts:

* Always burst crackers in an open space. Always do this in the presence of elders.

* Wear tight clothes, preferably made of cotton.

* Keep a bucket full of water nearby.

* Keep 'rockets' in a relatively big sized heavy bottle and the tip should face upwards.

* 'Anars' should be lit with a sparkle (phuljhari) and do not bend over the 'anars'.

* Never explode crackers in hand.

* Store crackers in a metal container with a lid.

* Never try to explode crackers by putting empty cans over them.

* Always keep sparkles away from the body.

* In case of a fire, pour water on yourself and if you are alone, then lie down on the ground and roll sideways. Pour water on the burnt surface till burning sensation is gone.


Cracker dealers feel heat of Green Diwali drives
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Awareness created by schools and NGOs on eco-friendly Diwali is being looked as a major factor in the "overall recession" in the cracker market. If the dealers of crackers are to be believed the cracker sales are down by about 80 per cent this year.
In the absense of buyers, cracker dealers fear losses this Diwali. Photo: Inderjeet Verma
In the absense of buyers, cracker dealers fear losses this Diwali. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ashok Thapar, a wholesale cracker dealer, said earlier children used to come with their parents to buy crackers in bulk and they would go for expensive crackers. "But this time, there is no such scene. There is an overall recession in the market. Children themselves are staying away from crackers. Even if their parents tell them to buy crackers of their choice, children prefer to buy a few crackers. Now, they do not pressurise their parents to buy expensive crackers," said Thapar.

The dealers in the wholesale market maintain that there were about 78 shops in the designated market and each shopkeeper had a stock worth about Rs 20 lakh. "But there is no buyer. There were times when one or two days before Diwali, we had no stocks," said Karan, a salesman at a cracker dealer's shop.

As if it was not enough, the government has also banned cracker chains, carrying 1000 and 500 crackers, this time. Apart from that, Chinese crackers are dominating the market because they are cheaper than the local ones.

Principal of GMT School Amrjit Dhaliwal said it was high time and as responsible citizens, we need to lay stress on a green Diwali as pollution was taking a toll on people and environment.



Police beefs up security
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
To prevent any untoward incident during Diwali, the police today beefed up security in and around the city.

An anti-sabotage squad was seen carrying out search operations at the local bus stand, railway station and the crowded markets of the city in the afternoon.

Apart from that, the police visited hotels and guest houses to verify their visitors’ lists.

The DCP, Harsh Bansal said: “All hoteliers have been issued instructions not to register any visitor without taking his/her identity proof. Besides, special forces have been deputed at the busy market places and other crowded areas to check the activities of mischievous elements”.



Shun challaning, manage traffic on Diwali, cops told
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
This Diwali, residents will get respite from traffic challans as ACP (Traffic) Deepal Hilori has given clear instruction to the traffic police to abstain from challaning vehicles and to manage traffic effectively instead.

"Traffic management is on the top of out priority list. Already, the rate of challans has dropped by 50 per cent. On an average, we issue nearly 500 challans per day but for the past one week the rate has dropped to 250 challans a day," said Hilori.

The ACP appreciated the efforts of the traffic volunteers who are helping the traffic police in managing traffic in Chaura Bazar and Ghumar Mandi. He has requested the residents to use two-wheelers or go for carpooling to lessen traffic in the city on Diwali.

"Currently, we are observing an opposite trend. The city roads are not capable of accommodating so many vehicles. Suppose, if there are four cars in a family, its members will use all four cars for shopping instead of using one vehicle. If the city residents do not want to face traffic snarls, then they should also act responsibly," said Hilori. 



Property tax: MC richer by Rs 4 crore
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Exactly after one month since property tax was implemented in the city, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation finally has some reason to cheer. The civic body has managed to collect more than Rs 4 crore as property tax in the last one month, which is also probably the highest collection by any municipal corporation in the state.

The Ludhiana MC had started the process of property tax collection from October 2 and since then several city residents have deposited their property tax.

If any city resident files his property tax return before November 30, he would get 10 per cent rebate.

Since this tax is based on a self-assessment method, residents can themselves calculate their property tax. The MC officials would also help the public in assessing tax. For further information, they can log on to the MC website, www.mcludhiana.gov.in.

Speaking to The Tribune, MC Additional Commissioner Isha Kalia said the collection of more than Rs 4 crore is certainly an achievement for the MC. "Very soon we will have surplus funds, which will be utilised for the overall development of the city. I appeal to the residents to file their property tax returns before November 30 if they want to avail themselves of 10 per cent rebate," she said.

The residents can inquire about the tax and its calculation on helpline number 97800-22410. Those who fail to pay their tax by November 30 will not be given 10 per cent rebate up to December 31. After December 31, they would have to pay tax with 25 per cent penalty and those who would not clear the tax amount by March 31, 2014, would be liable to pay 50 per cent penalty and 18 per cent interest.

Properties exempted from tax

* Religious places, cremation grounds, cow sheds, historical buildings, registered charitable institutions (those which are already exempted from income tax under 1961 Act), government schools and colleges, government hospitals and land being used for agriculture.

* Freedom fighters who are getting pension from the Centre or the state government.

* BPL families

* Widows would get an annual rebate of ~5,000 in their total property tax. Physically challenged (who get benefit under section 80 U of 1961, income tax) would also get the same rebate.



PPCB to monitor pollution levels
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The Punjab Pollution Control Board will be keeping a strict vigil on the level of pollution in the city on Diwali. The department has been monitoring noise pollution for the last four days.

When fireworks will light up the skylines of the city, devices installed in major areas of the city will be monitoring the pollution caused during the festival. As part of its annual exercise, the department has made arrangements to monitor the air and noise pollution levels during the festival. The level of noise pollution will be checked by a DV meter while that of air pollution will be recorded with filter papers.

The authorities have divided the city into three major zones, commercial, residential and sensitive. The sensitive zones include hospitals, educational institutions and religious places.

Harbir Singh, a senior official from the department, said like every year, the board has installed pollution-monitoring devices in residential, commercial and sensitive zones.

RSPM concentration highest in city

According to the last year's data with the PPCB, the concentration of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) in the main cities of Punjab has declined. The residential areas of Ludhiana topped in terms of RSPM concentration last Diwali. The RSPM concentration in Ludhiana was 365 microgram per cubic metre, much higher than the permissible limit of 100 µg/m3. Against the permissible limit of 55 decibels, the noise pollution level in residential areas of different Punjab cities in the past two years had varied between 75 db and 90 db.



Health teams raid sweets shops
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, November 2
Keeping in view the reports of use of adulterated “khoya” in preparation of sweets in various parts of the country, a team of Health Department officials conducted raids in various areas of Jagraon today. The team members visited several sweets shops of Jagraon.

The Health Department team led by senior doctor Arun Gupta examined several sweet shops where sweets and other eatables were being prepared. The team members first visited the sweet shops near local bus stand. The team members examined various sweets prepared by the shopkeepers.

Following this, the health department team visited a famous sweet shop situated on Tehsil Road, Jagraon and examined the preparation of eatables in the shop. But the team members did not find any wrongdoing there as the sweets were prepared in a hygienic way. However, the team instructed the shop owners to maintain proper hygiene while preparing the eatables.

Later on, the team members visited several other shops located on Raikot Road, College Road, Railway Road, Old Grain Market, Subhash Gate and other areas of the town. At couple of shops the team found stale sweets which were destroyed on the spot by the officials. The officials instructed the workers to bear gloves while preparing sweets and other eatables. The team members also asked the shopkeepers to sell only the fresh sweets to the people.

The team also examined the fruits being sold by the roadside vendors at Old Sabzi Mandi Road. The officials destroyed a large number of rotten fruits and vegetables during the occasion. The vendors were warned to sell only fresh fruits and maintain hygiene in their surroundings.

SMO Jagraon Civil Hospital Karanveer Goel said the health department would continue to conduct such kind of raids. "The instructions have been issued to the shopkeepers to maintain complete hygiene while preparing the sweets and other eatables. We have also asked the shopkeepers to provide gloves to their workers who prepare sweets." he said.

"We would not allow anybody to sell unhygienic eatables and play with the health of the consumers. If any shopkeeper is found selling eatables in unhygienic conditions, a strict action would be taken against him," he added. 



20 new cases of dengue reported
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Although weather has changed but dengue cases are still on rise. Today as many as 20 new cases of dengue have been reported from the city hospitals. Out of these 14 are from city, 5 from rural areas of Ludhiana district and 1 from Jalandhar.

By now 1,159 patients of dengue have been admitted in different hospitals of the city. These include 704 from Ludhiana district, 335 from other districts and 120 from states.

District Epidemilogist Dr Anil verma said,"Team of health department found dengue larva in 3 drums (1in Mushtaq Ganj and 2 in Pataka market) during a drive. We held 6 group meetings with residents and told them all the preventive measures about needed to avoid dengue."

The information of the same was given to sanitary inspector of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. Pamphlets were distributed. Spray of pyrethrum was done in and around the houses of dengue patients. 



Suvidha centre staff feel neglected
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The Employees working at the Suvidha Centre have expressed their grievances against the state government for not providing them their dues.

Jarnail ingh, an employee at Suvidha Centre, said while employees working in other government departments were getting bonus and other Diwali benefits but nothing was being given to the employees of Suvidha Centre. The employees said the employees working in Suvidha Centre for past three or more years had to be regularised by the government but those working under Sukhmani Sewa Society were not regularised even after serving for more than seven years. Though notifications of regularisation were issued by various departments but these were never implemented. 



Lakkar bridge project stuck in red tape
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The completion of the Lakkar Bridge project doesn’t seems to be in sight anytime soon as the railways department has failed to get clearance for installation of concrete girders on the Lakkar bridge project. Earlier on October 19, the railways department had claimed that it would be able to get the necessary permission within a week, but still they yet have to obtain clearance.

Whenever such construction activity is to be carried on the railway tracks, the department requires a clearance from Commissioner (railway safety), New Delhi.

Earlier, the railways department had planned to erect concrete girders on around 35-metres portion of the Lakkar Bridge on October 19. But the contractor could not complete the construction as he failed to get the necessary clearance.

On that day, the contractor had rued that due to this goof up by the railways, he has suffered loss of more than Rs 10 lakh as he had hired additional equipment and specialised manpower for this work.

For ensuring the construction is completed on time, some officers from the Public Works Department also held a meeting with Deputy Chief Engineer of Railways in Chandigarh today.

It is learnt that some construction activity is already going on platform number 6 of the Ludhiana Railway Station and if the contractor is to erect girders on the Lakkar bridge portion, the rail traffic of platform number 4 would be shut down.

“Maybe that is why, the railways department first plans to complete the construction activity on platform number 6 and then go ahead with the Lakkar bridge project. And it is likely that rail traffic on platform number 6 would resume in next 15 days. Till that time we don’t think railways would be able to get the necessary permission,” informed a senior PWD officer, requesting anonymity.

Rising cost of the project

The sloppy handling of the Lakkar bridge project by the staff of the municipal corporation, the Punjab Public Works Department and the Northern Railway has resulted in a four-fold increase in cost compared to what was originally envisaged. When the project was initiated, its cost was estimated at Rs 13 crore, a figure that has now increased to about Rs 58 crore. 



Just another day for city fire-fighters
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
While the festival of lights, brings joy and happiness to everybody to celebrate, the fire brigade personnel of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation have to remain vigilant and in the highest degree of preparedness till the next morning in order to bring incidents of fire under control.

These officials will remain stationed at their respective fire stations on Diwali night.

But the fire brigade officials always put up a brave face and say that remaining on duty, especially on Diwali night, is a part of their job.

“Every Diwali, I remain on duty and my family supports me for that. They also know that my job requires me to remain toes the most during the festival because several fire incidents take place in the city due to fire crackers,” said a fireman.

Another fireman said the residents should celebrate Diwali responsibly. “Sometimes, people burst crackers in such a manner which leads to fire incidents. They should understand that when they would be enjoying with their families, we would be on duty,” he said.

A driver said when he joined the department, he knew that his job required utmost devotion towards city residents. “For the residents, Diwali means joy and festivities, but for us, it’s just like another day on duty. But Diwali also means that we have to perform our duty really well so that people can remain safe," he said.

Telephone numbers of fire stations

* Central Fire Station, near Luxmi Cinema: 101, 0161-2743111.

* Sunder Nagar Fire Station: 0161-2621651.

* Gill Road Fire Station: 0161-2531600.

* Focal Point Fire Station: 0161-2670101.

* Haibowal Fire Station: 0161-2305111. 



No fire brigade in Mandi Ahmedgarh, Payal
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh/ Payal, November 2
Residents of the region are prone to any fire mishap during Diwali, as the successive governments have failed to establish a fire brigade at any of the localities.

Although, the civil administration has earmarked special areas for the sale of crackers, none of the shopkeepers has come forward to organise vends at designated places.

As majority of the shopkeepers have set up godowns outside the limits of civic bodies, the authorities have failed to take action against them. Some of the godowns are situated at discrete places which will be almost inaccessible in case of rescue operations if required.

Regrettably none of the shopkeepers or have bothered to make any required preventive and remedial arrangements to douse accidental fire.

But the administration is claiming to have made ‘sufficient’ arrangements to meet any exigency.

Officials at civic body offices claimed that the meagre paraphernalia available with the organisations were updated for emergency use. Attempts made by the civic bodies to set up a fire brigade at Ahmedgarh had proved futile.

“Though we had initiated the process of having a fire brigade yet it did not bear any fruit due to technical reasons," said former president of the Municipal Council, Ravinder Puri, maintaining that management of Shryans Industries Limited had been lending their fire brigade in case of need during past years.

Indu Puri, president of the Nagar Panchayat, Malaudh, said staff of the civic body had been directed to get water tanks ready to meet any emergency.

Dr Rajesh Garg, an ophthalmologist at the Ahmedgarh Civil Hospital, said sufficient arrangements had been made to handle cases of eye injuries, caused due to bursting of crackers.



Shopkeepers fear losses in Jagraon
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, November 2
With low turnout of people in the local markets on the occasion of Diwali, the shopkeepers of Jagraon area fear financial loses. The shopkeepers claim that they have done little business this year during this festival season compared to that of the previous years.

"I had invested 1.50 lakh rupees in crackers. But the their sale has not picked up yet. I may suffer heavy financial losses if the sale does not pick up," said Kapil Kumar, a vendor who has put on stall of crackers at local Grain Market. The delay in paddy procurement and release of the payment to the farmers as well as the labourers are considered the main reason behind the slump in sales.



Discoloured paddy: Farmers await relaxation in procurement norms
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, November 2
Paddy with more discoloured content is still heaped up at the grain markets. As a result, the already persisting problem of accumulation has aggravated all the more.

“Discoloured paddy up to 3 per cent is acceptable. But the one freshly gutting the mandis is discoloured to a greater extent. The one that arrived initially had fortunately escaped the fury of nature but the present one is badly discoloured and may be unfit for human consumption as well,” said president of the Artiya Association SP Verma.

“The team from the centre visited the mandi last week and took the samples to report back till Monday,” said a former chairman of the Market Committee, Doraha, Sarabjit Singh. “But whatever is the situation, the farmers have no other option but to bring it to the market. The centre has to pay adequate compensation or relax the condition of 3 per cent discolouration. No other solution to the present crisis can be sought. But if nature has refused to stand with the farmers, at least the government should support them in the hour of need. If maximum grain, arriving in the mandis, is of a similar category, then what is the government waiting for?” he asked. Chairman Mandi Board, Ajmer Lakhowal, said: “Procurement is in no way less as compared to the past years. I have myself visited a number of mandis also and found that if the centre relaxes the conditions for the discoloured paddy the procurement can be more than normal. 



Little Pihu is same in her real life too, says mom
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Cute and carefree, as the character 'Pihu' she played in 'Bade Acche Lagte Hain', little Amrita Mukherji is the same bubbly girl in real life. Candid and childlike, she said she doesn't want to become an actor when she grows up. She was here as a brand ambassador for Tru Milk for an exhibition organised at a city hotel.

Her mother, Mrinmoyee Mukherji, said she is very candid and childlike in everyday life. She said she bagged the role of 'Pihu' because of her natural spontaneity.

"We were at a mall when the auditions were Balaji Telefilms were going on. She just auditioned there and she was selected as she fitted very well with the role for the way she naturally is,” said her mother. She added that earlier, Amrita was shooting for three days a week. But now, she is shooting only for four days in a month. “We don't want Amrita to feel stressed, lose her natural bubbliness and her health should not suffer. In this way, her studies also don't get affected,” she said. “It is just that she naturally enjoys the acting so it is natural,” she said.



MC staff brace for post Diwali garbage
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation’s health and sanitation branch has asked its staff to pull up its socks for November 4, the day after Diwali as there would be litter all around.

Over the years, it has been observed that the morning next to Diwali, almost all city roads are full of litter from bursting of crackers. Piles of waste from crackers is a common sight which leave several city residents fuming.

So to make sure that the streets are swept properly the next morning, the MC officials have asked the staff to make sure all streets are litter free.

Dr Rajwinder Kaur, a research fellow in Punjab Agricultural University, suggested that the residents should celebrate Diwali responsibly.

“It has been observed that whenever people burst crackers, they simply throw away waste on the streets, which presents a very unpleasant picture of the entire area. Residents can simply throw away the waste in dustbins or collect it in polythene bags and later hand it over to the sweepers,” she said.

Another resident rued that people burst crackers on Diwali night but don’t bother to get the area cleaned the next morning.

“Ironically, in most of the cases, the litter is strewn in front of their own houses,” said the resident.

AS Sekhon, MC Joint Commissioner, and head of health and sanitation branch, stated that he has asked all his staff to sweep all the streets on November 4. “All we want is that the city should present a clean picture,” he said. 



Celebrations incomplete without tradition, say residents
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Markets are crowded and abuzz with activity. Commotion and cacophony reigns supreme amid the traffic snarl-ups. But in the middle of the chaos, is the sweet celebration, as the joy, smiles and elation precede the festival of lights. Everyone seems to be busy and smiling for making the best of tomorrow-Diwali-they wait for throughout the year.

The festival that brings joy of meeting loved ones, exchanging sweet greetings during the day and lighting up the night with lights, candles and diyas is finally here, said Sunil, a resident as he smiles.

Traditional things reign the markets. "No matter how many things one may buy, without the traditional things and rituals, you don't truly feel you are celebrating the festival," said Neeraj Diwan, a resident.

Candles, including floating candles, of various colours, shapes and varieties are all being bought by people in the markets.

The lanterns, symbolic of light along the newer shapes, sizes and designers adorned the markets. The traditional red 'gadvadas' were selling alongside the newer types of lanterns. Many new types of hanging lamps, including Thai and other types were lamps now adorn the lamps.

Different rangoli colours were also adorned the markets. “Thanks to rangoli competitions in schools and colleges, this beautiful tradition of rangoli colours has been flourishing. I learnt rangoli for competing in youth festival, and it stands me in good stead every year during this time of the year," says Ipshita, another resident.

The traditional sugar toys are sacred for their use in Diwali prayers, these are as much a delicacy for their sugary sweet taste. "These are very interesting. We used to have these in childhood. But we have started buying these again to make our children taste and enjoy the tradition," said Kiran, a resident.



Traditional sweets, Diwali inseparable
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
While the chocolates and pastries seemed to have temporarily overtaken traditional sweets on many occasions but Diwali has still managed to retain its traditional flavour with "mithai". Diwali and mithai are inseparable and one cannot detach sweets completely from the Diwali platter.

Markets are flooded with rich, nutty sweets made with contemporary flavours like orange, kiwi and more. With only one day left, people are making a beeline for sweets packaged in attractive boxes.

Gopal Sharma, owner of a sweetmeat shop at Brindaban Road, said with the passage of time, chocolates and dry fruit may have taken over the traditional sweets. But you cannot ignore sweets (mithai) on Diwali. "Sweets are like a tradition on Diwali," he added.

Fusion sweets is the flavour this season, which includes exotic fruits, chocolates and coffee flavours. With people going health conscious, sweetmeat owners are also cashing in the idea by preparing mithai with kiwi, orange, rose and mango flavour.

“You eat chocolates all year round, but during Diwali, traditional sweets bring in an additional festive mood.” With sweets getting funkier each year, it's no surprise that the first choice for gifting also happens to be sweets boxes instead of chocolate/cookie boxes,” said Nisha Rana, a city resident.

Sweets also top the list when it comes to corporate gifting. An entrepreneur, Akahay Shah said, “No matter how modern you are, gifting sweets to clients during Diwali is a tradition you can't change.”



Demand for lotus rises
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News service

Ludhiana November 2
Lotus flowers are selling in large numbers on the eve of Diwali across the city. National flower hardly sells throughout the year, but this time of the season, the demand for the Lotus rises as it is considered auspicious on Diwali.

Residents were seen purchasing the flowers in the morning. "It is said that Lakshmi, the goddess of money, rides on Lotus. So during the worship of the goddess, Lotus is offered for prayers and is especially used as a ritual and the worshipping,” said Kundan Bansal, a resident Civil Lines.

The sale was available at various places in the city, including near Durga Mata Mandir, Civil Lines and various florists said that all their stock of flowers was sold before noon.

The flowers that are generally available between Rs 2 to Rs 5 during the rest of the year, were selling for Rs 30 and above due to the festival season.

Imported Lotus flowers from Thailand were also available in the city. These were available for Rs 80 and above. The lotus flowers in the market have also been brought from Kolkata.

Some residents buy the flowers not only for worship, but also for decorative purposes on the festive occasion. "After offering prayers, I keep more lotus flowers in the water bowl and along side I keep floating candles. The flower looks fascinating," says Sakshi, a resident. "Without the lotus flowers, Diwali is incomplete," she added. 



Car sales up by 25 per cent on Dhanteras amid ‘recession’
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Though the ‘cash-rich’ residents in Ludhiana are giving a reason that because of overall recession in the market, Diwali has been a very low-key affair this season yet even during the "recession" phase, the sale of luxury cars in the city has witnessed about 25 per cent growth in just one day-Dhanteras, which was celebrated yesterday.

While for an average middle class man, the shops of utensils, remained the best option to buy something for their homes, the la' creme society preferred adding luxury cars to their fleet to celebrate the auspicious occasion.

Starting from simple small cars to expensive luxury brands, the residents brought the vehicles to their homes.

Commenting on good sales, Rishi Dada from Dada Motors said Dhanteras witnessed 25 per cent growth this time, while last year, it was 20 per cent.

“Residents purchased good number of cars ranging from Jaguar to Tata, Nissan, Mahindra etc. Yesterday, we were able to sell five Jaguars and each car costs about Rs 50 lakh on an average,” said Rishi Dada.

Another car dealer, Ajay Sandhu, from Sandhu Automobiles said this year, the sales were amazing. “We are up by about 10 per cent as compared to that of the last year. On the day of Dhanteras, we delivered 40 cars to residents and the popular cars included Swift, Swift Dezire and Alto. Being an auspicious day, buyers prefer to get vehicles on this particular day only," said Sandhu.

Similarly, Radiant Toyota dealers got good business here yesterday. The Group General Manager for Toyota, Dr Rajiv Aggarwal, told The Tribune that as compared to last year, the sales were up by 25 per cent this Dhanteras. "We delivered about 35 cars yesterday. Innova, Toyota Altis and Etios remained the favourites amongst the buyers, said Aggarwal.

Jasmit Singh (name changed), an industrialist said he wanted to purchase a luxury car for long. But he was not able to make up which car to choose. "Since it was Dhanteras, I bought a new Volvo, worth Rs 40 lakh," said Singh.



Ludhiana scan

Diwali celebrations

Members of Ludhiana Round Table under the chairmanship of Nalin Mahajan celebrated Diwali with the less privileged and physically handicapped children at Balaji Bal Ashram, Pakhowal Road. Stationery items, sweets, candles, crackers were distributed and bicycles sponsored by Hippo cycles were also gifted to the kids of the ashram.

Heavenly Palace - a senior citizens home run under the DBC Trust with its chairman Anil Monga, celebrated Diwali with senior citizens here today. The home has been running at Doraha and has been providing comfortable arrangements to senior citizens at an affordable price so that they lead the remaining years of their lives in healthy and enjoyable surroundings. Home organised a Laxmi Pooja and joyous festival for the residents where they were catered to food of their liking ---and games like passing the parcel and tambola were organized. Neelam Arora, a resident, appreciated the efforts and thanked Col HN Kaushal, DGM, for organising such an event for them.

The inmates of Heavenly Home in Ludhiana take part in the Diwali celebrations on Saturday. A Tribune PhotographDiwali was celebrated at Lodhi Club last evening. A music band and a feast were arranged for the celebrations of the festival. Club building was illuminated with lights. A fireworks show was also arranged on the occasion. Club members exchanged greetings on the occasion.

The inmates of Heavenly Home in Ludhiana take part in the Diwali celebrations on Saturday. A Tribune Photograph

Ban on hookah bars

Deputy Commissioner Rajat Aggarwal, under Section 144 of the IPC, has banned the hookah-bars in the district. DC said such bars, operational in the district were serving tobacco molasses containing nicotine, are highly injurious to health, to people who were still minors. It is banned in the length and breadth of the district, covering Municipal Corporation limits, nagar panchayats and councils. He said those found guilty will be strictly punished. He said the orders were issued keeping in mind the general health and goodwill of the public. — TNS



Eve-teasing victim commits suicide
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The festival celebrations turned sour for a family after a 19-year- old girl, who was being stalked and teased by a youth of the locality, committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan at her house in Bank Colony, near Basti Jodhewal, here today.

The police has registered a case against the youth, identified as Bablu, under section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the IPC and launched a massive manhunt to nab him.

The victim's father said Bablu was harassing his daughter. He said he did not raise the issue due the fear of social embarrassment.

This emboldened the youth and he started stalking the girl to the school. The girl's parents were forced to pull her out of the school. She was in Class XI. The abandoning of studies drove the girl into depression.

Today, when her family had gone to market, she hanged herself from a ceiling fan. When the family returned home, they found her hanging. Soon, neighbours gathered at their house and someone informed the police.

Later, the family told the police how the girl was being teased by the youth.

Meanwhile, the boy's family claimed that the girl and the boy were in love and the girl committed suicide as her family was opposed to their relationship. 



Raids on to nab clerk
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
With the arrest of three persons in a fake registry gang has alarmed a section of industrialists, who have made money by taking multiple loans against properties.

The police sources said some of the leading business houses of the city are thriving on the tactic.

A man’s name, who owns a prime shopping centre, located at Ghumar Mandi has also figured among persons who had benefitted by taking multiple loans. The officials are conducting raids to arrest the property owner.

“Detecting such frauds is difficult. These incidents come to light only when the land owners fail to pay the loan installments," said Sumit Sood SHO Division No 7.

In the meantime, more such cases have been reported from other parts of the city.

Today, the Haibowal police has registered a case of fraud against seven persons, including a woman, for formulating a fake registry of land and selling it further.

The accused have been identified as Jaspinder Kaur, Harpreet Singh, Hardeep Singh, Sunny, Kawaljit Singh, Amandeep Singh and Balwinder Singh.

A case has been registered on the complaint of Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Karnail Singh Nagar near Pakhowal Road.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP-IV), Swapan Sharma, said efforts were on to nab Balbir Singh, a clerk at the office of Sub-Registrar (East). He has not ruled out the involvement of other employees of revenue department in the gang.

The police had yesterday arrested Rajiv Aggarwal, Kamal Krishan Jaiswal and Gurinder Singh, alias Gaggi, for running the fake registry racket along with revenue department employee Balbir Singh.aThe accused were booked under Sections 420, 465, 467,471, 406, 474, 475, 476, 166, 167, 120-B of the IPC.

Modus Operandi

The accused used to procure land registries of NRIs and photocopy these. Thereafter, they would make fake stamps of the Revenue Department, forge the signature of the official concerned and register the document in their name. The gang then destroyed the old registry. Similarly, they would help businessmen in taking multiple loans on the same registry. 



Crime scene

Three booked in assault case

The city police has booked two persons in a case of attempt to murder for allegedly robbing and assaulting a youth with sharp-edged weapons near Upkar Nagar while the latter was returning home. The accused have been identified as Amrinderpal Singh and Pratap, alias Pankaj. A case has been registered on Ravi’s complaint. Ravi said the incident took place on October 28 when he was returning home along with his friend Darshan Singh.

Youth booked

The city police has booked a youth for indulging in eve-teasing and thrashing a girl's father who had raised objection. The accused has been identified as Ajay Kumar, a resident of Guru Nanak Nagar in Division No 7. The complainant said Ajay used to hurl nasty comments at his daughter and when he objected, Ajay assaulted him.

Travel agent booked

A travel agent has been booked for duping a city resident for Rs 10 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad. The accused has been identified as Gurinderpal Singh Kahlon. The complainant, Sukhjit Singh, a resident Leel village said Gurinderpal took Rs 10 lakh from him on the pretext of sending him abroad. But neither had he sent Sukhjit abroad nor did Kahlon returned the money. — TNS



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