Monday, December 3, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Back to normal after National Games
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
It is back to normal in Ludhiana after record 10,000 players and 3,000 accompanying officials who had descended on the city to participate in the XXXI National Games, left after the Games concluded here yesterday on a colourful note amidst cheer and applause by over 25,000 people who had crammed into the Guru Nanak Stadium beyond its capacity.

And for the organisers it was a no small job. While for the viewers it was a grand spectacle to watch, but for officials of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation and the District Sports Office, there was more to follow. First, they had to give a colourful look to the stadium. And the presence of 25,000 people at a single place at a single time leaves a lot to be done later. They have cleared the stadium which is looking as clean today, as it was during the concluding ceremony.

Routine sports activities like training, jogging and running have already started in the stadium. However, thousands of small lamps and buntings put up for decoration will remain there for some more time. Bhola Ram, a sweeper of the Municipal Corporation, who has been on duty in the stadium for the last more than 20 days, said, he felt relieved only today after a hectic schedule. “Not a small bit of dirt was to be seen anywhere”, he disclosed, while claiming how difficult it was to maintain the ground for all these days.

According to sources in the local administration more than 200 officials were specially deputed for the maintenance of the stadium and to ensure its cleanliness. Since the administration had not allowed anything inside the stadium, by and large it remained clean and not much was to be done. “Despite that, it is no simple job to clear the stadium after a mega event”, remarked an official of the Sports Department.

The sports officials working in the field said, while for others this was a holiday on account of it being Sunday today, but for them there was no such relief. One official remarked jokingly, “we were told to clear all the things before the morning, lest some akhbarwallahs (newsmen) click some photographs and negate the impact of such a great event”. He argued further, “Had it not been clean and clear today, you would have taken a couple of pictures and published it in your newspaper”.

Although routine sports activities have already started, more so due to it being a Sunday today, yet the stadium presents a relatively desolate look when compared to previous two weeks during which various sports events were held here. During the past three days, at least one lakh people visited the stadium, first to watch the semi final and final matches of the football and handball and then for the colourful closing day ceremony. Now there are only some die-hard sportspersons, morning walkers and joggers who can be seen in the stadium.



Powergrid begins drive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
Powergrid has launched a consumer awareness programmes in the region to make public opinion about power reforms.

As a part of the awareness drive, it would hold public meetings, seminars, road shows and other programmes, said Mr S.N. Taneja, deputy general manager, Powergrid, Moga.

He said the Union Power Ministry had fixed a target to increase power generation by about 1 lakh MW by 2012 in the country. A blue print ‘Mission: 2012 Power for All’ has been prepared, which includes a policy of Accelerated Power Development Programme (APDP) to make each distribution centre a profit-making unit and to promote private sector participation.

He said if power reforms were implemented at all levels, revenue thus earned would not only make power sector strong, but would also contribute in the growth of other sectors like health, education etc, which would result in socio-economic transformation of the country. He said per capita power consumption in our country was approximately 350 units per year whereas it was 30 times more in developed countries. There was a great need and scope to invest in the power sector, he said.

Mr Taneja said,‘‘ In the first phase, 60 distribution centres have been identified across the country which will be developed as model centres. These would be strengthened by reducing T&D losses to 15 per cent, by improving revenue realisation and strengthening the system to meet future load growth. In the second phase (2002-07), the remaining 350 centres will be upgraded.’’



Is Punjab ready to meet SC deadline 
Identification of BPL families
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
The Supreme Court in a significant decision announced on November 28, has asked all state governments to complete the identification of beneficiaries under the below poverty line ( BPL ) families by January 1, so that they could be provided benefits under centrally-sponsored schemes. The Chief Secretaries of the states have been made responsible for the task.

The Punjab government is said to have already completed the survey. According to Mr Sumit Kumar, Additional Director, Special Component Plan at Chandigarh,‘‘ The Department of Local Government and the Department of Rural Development and Panchayats recently completed the survey. There are 8.71 lakh BPL families in the state.’’ The state government would provide that data in the court and there was no problem for us, he added.

Senior academicians of the state have, however, raised doubts about the authenticity of the survey. Prof Sucha Singh Gill, a senior economist at Punjabi University, Patiala, said: ‘‘The identification of the BPL families was made in 1985 by conducting camps at villages and mohallas all over the state. The village panchayats were involved in this exercise. There are no reports of conducting any such survey in any part of the state. No independent agency has been given any such project during the past five years.’’

However, Mr Kumar claimed that the survey was completed by field officials of rural development and panchayats in the rural area and by employees of the local government in the urban areas. He claimed that all those families were covered whose annual income was below Rs 20,000. Housing conditions, number of earners and assets were the other parameters. Interestingly, officials at the district headquarters have expressed ignorance about any such survey.

Professor Gill said according to the National Sample Survey (NSS) conducted in 1993-94 the percentage of BPL families in the state was around 7 per cent —six per cent in the rural areas and nine per cent in the urban areas. However, the poverty has certainly increased during the past five years. While welcoming the intervention of the apex court, he said,‘‘ It is right step and should be welcomed by all right-minded people. Now the state government should hold an independent survey to quantify the BPL families.’’

Economists say that there is a need to develop the state-level criteria for the BPL families as the concept of poverty is relative. The poverty line followed in Bihar cannot be imposed in Punjab, a relatively rich state. They said the reported figures had been derived by just extrapolating the figures of the past survey conducted in 1985. The economy of the state had drastically changed over the past decade, so the extrapolation was not the right method.



Move on alternative octroi opposed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal has opposed the reported move of the state Cabinet to impose alternative octroi in the form of surcharge on sales tax after abolishing the octroi. In a memorandum sent to the Chief Minister, the mandal has asked him to check the bureaucrats from imposing any new tax on the industry and trade.

Mr Amrit Lal Jain, president of the mandal, said, “According to reports appearing in the newspapers, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon has mentioned that there is a suggestion from the Shakar Committee report to levy on sales tax and self-assessment tax on Punjab traders registered under the Punjab General Sales Tax.”

He said on the one hand the government was planing to implement VAT from April 1, 2002, on the other hand it was trying to impose new taxes on the trade. He reminded the CM about the meeting held in Chandigarh on September 13 in which he had agreed to their demand. Mr Jain said the CM had advised the officials not to press for cess on sales tax and asked them to look in to other proposals later.

Mr Jain also pointed out that due to delay in issuing notification to reduce sales tax on yarn, the state was losing revenue. The Rajasthan and Gujarat governments were already charging concessional rates of 2 per cent on the consumption of yarn by the fabrics and textiles manufacturers. The Punjab Government should also give this facility of 2 per cent ST on yarn instead of 4 per cent. He urged the state government to issue a notification in this regard at the earliest.

The mandal has also appealed to the Centre to abolish Central Sales Tax and C forms in the current session of Parliament otherwise VAT may not succeed. Mr Jain claimed that only 12 states had agreed to introduce the VAT system. He appealed to the CM to stress upon the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, to introduce the VAT system all over the country on a single date and also abolish Central Sales Tax.

Among others, Mr Pyare Lal Seth, Baba Ajit Singh, Mr Pratap Chand Bhutani, Mr Sunil Mehra, Mr Sunil Prabhakar, Mr Mohinder Aggarwal, Mr Kasturi Lal Mittal, Mr Prem Mehra, Mr Tarsem Kumar Jain, Mr Nirmal Das Malhotra, Mr G.S. Bedi, Mr O.P. Gupta, Mr Subhash Singla, Mr Varinder Rattan, Mr Ravi Passi, Mr Subhash Tuli, Mr Ashok Kumar Juneja and Mr Vaneet Handa also participated at the meeting called for to finalise the memorandum submitted to the CM.



Pulse polio campaign launched in Ludhiana district
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 2
A pulse polio camp (under the polio free India campaign) was inaugurated today at the Civil Hospital by Mr Satpal Gossain.

According to a press note, over 4,93,000 children upto five years (in the district) would be given polio drops under this campaign. The Health Department has organised 1,968 polio pulse posts for providing drops to the children.

A similar camp at Salem Area Dispensary, Sabzi Mandi was inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K.Sandhu. Mr Sandhu also announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh to the dispensary.

The camp at Bhagwan Nagar Dispensary was inaugurated by the Municipal Commissioner, Mr R.L. Kalsia and Mayor Mr Apinder Singh Grewal.

Among others present on the occasion were Dr Rajinder Kaur, Civil Surgeon; Dr Neelam Bassi, District Family Welfare Officer; Dr Tarlok Nath, Assistant Civil Surgeon and Mr Satish Sachdeva, Deputy District Mass Media Officer.

The Punjab National Bank organised a pulse polio camp at Civil Hospital, at Ahmedgarh near here. Assistant civil surgeon (ACS), Sangrur, SMO, Fatehgarh Sahib, supervised the camp and various booths in the area. The camp was termed as very successful by the ACS and SMO, as a large number of people came here with small children for the pulse polio drops.

Hospital authorities, thanked Mr B.B. Goyal, branch manager and his staff for their whole-hearted support to the programme.

Pulse polio drops were given to children by the Health Department Punjab here in a slum area dispensary, Model Town and other parts of the city.

The whole campaign was carried on under the supervision of SMO Dr Dharampal Saini in Model Town. Gurjeet Kaur and Geeta, both UNICEF activists, told Ludhiana Tribune that they helped in tracing the children in the slum area, Model Town , Guru Nanak Mohalla, Bazigar Basti etc. Till noon around 100 children were given polio drops at the Model Town Dispensary.

More than 16,000 children were administered pulse polio drops at 125-odd booths of the area here. According to Mr Ramesh Gupta, President Rotary Club, Ahmedgarh, around 6,000 children of the town and surrounding villages were administered these drops at 26 centres. The State Bank of Patiala, Grain Market branch, Punjab National Bank and other organisations also extended their cooperation to the authorities of Civil Hospital.

Student volunteers of MGMC Senior Secondary School and Sacred Soul Public School went door to door to ensure maximum vaccination. Dr Karnail Singh, Dr Narinder Gupta, Dr Krishan Pilani, Mr V.P. Gupta, Manager SBOP and Dr B.S. Bedi were among others who monitored the progress of immunisation camp.

According to Mr Sanjiv Puri, president Nagar Council, Malaudh, general secretary, district Congress committee, 10,480 children were immunised against the deadly disease at 100 booths spread in the villages of block Maloudh. Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, cabinet minister inaugurated various camps in the area. Dr Vijay Kakkria, SO, Malaudh, monitored the progress of immunisation.



Workers allege non-payment of salary
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
About 250 employees of Arihant Industries, a company manufacturing suiting and dress material, are waiting for their salary, bonus, and payments for overtime for the past over four months. The management has reportedly warned the workers not to go to the press, otherwise they will have to face severe repercussions including court cases.

The office-bearers of the Arihant Industries Workers Union, Rahon Road, Mattewara, have alleged, ‘‘The management had signed an agreement with us on September 2 and had agreed to clear the payment of wages in phases, pending since May. Wages for May to July period were paid on September 22, 29 and October 24. However, the management declined to make the payment for the month of August on November 13 thus violating the agreement.’’

They said workers were surprised, when they saw a notice put on the notice board mentioning that they had gone on an illegal strike, so they would not be paid any wages. However, there was no strike. The management, when asked, also admitted that no worker had gone on strike for the past many months.

Mr K.L. Jain, chairman and managing director of the company, said, ‘‘The company is regularly paying wages to the workers and there is no conflict between the management and workers. Some union leaders are trying to blackmail the company, but I have strictly warned them not to approach the press, otherwise I would file defamation cases against them.’’

When specifically asked, whether the factory was operational, he answered in the affirmative. However, the union leaders alleged they had not received any wages for the period from August to November. The management had not paid bonus for the past year and even the payment for overtime was pending.

Denying these allegations, Mr Jain said,‘‘ The company is restructuring its plant, however, we have not defaulted in the matter of paying wages to workers.’’ Regarding the agreement signed between the workers' union and the management, he expressed his ignorance and said, ‘‘ I am not aware of the day-to-day functioning of the factory.’’

The management has, however, denied all these allegations. The union has threatened the management to make payments, otherwise they would be forced to launch an agitation. They have planned to meet the Deputy Commissioner and have appealed to the Labour Department to intervene.



BKU to gherao Ajit Singh on December 18
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
The Punjab unit of BKU will gherao the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh, on December 18 at his Delhi office, to press upon its demands. The union is demanding Rs 15,000 per acre compensation to the farmers, who have lost upto 60 per cent of their cotton crop because of spurious pesticides. The union has also demanded action against the dealers, and some agricultural department officials, who sold the pesticides, resulting in heavy financial losses, said Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president, BKU, here today.

In a press note released here, Prof Manjit Singh Quadian, general secretary, BKU, said, ‘‘The union has already succeeded in forcing the state government to order an assessment survey of the losses of the cotton crop, transfer of four senior officials and to take samples of pesticides from the alleged dealers involved in the sale of sub-standard pesticides. Now we will try to convince the Union Agriculture Ministry to announce compensation for the sufferers.’’

He disclosed that the state level leadership of the BKU was forced to take the command of the district level dharna on November 20, held by the Ferozepore unit of BKU against the State Agriculture Department at Abohar, since October 3.Thousands of farmers from all districts participated in the dharna from November 20 to November 28. Consequently, an agreement was signed between the union leaders and Mr Gurdial Singh Khaira, joint director, Department of Agriculture.’’

According to the agreement, said Prof Quadian, four senior officials of the department, including Mr Jagga, Mr Ramsarup, Mr Dhamija and Mr Sukhdev Singh were transferred to far away places. So the union has decided to call off the dharna, he added.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Mahesri, press secretary, BKU, pointed out that since the remaining demands were concerned with the Central government, therefore the union had decided to gherao the office of the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh, on December 18.

Mr Mahesri also disclosed that a special meeting of the union had been called on December 10 to finalise the preparations for the gherao. Thousands of farmers are expected to participate in this protest. The union also thanked the farmers for participating in the dharna at Abohar, and appealed to them to participate in the gherao in Delhi.



Badungar’s car hits truck
Our Correspondent

Doraha, December 2
The Ambassador car, by which Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, the newly-appointed SGPC chief was travelling, bumped into a truck at Barmalipur Chowk, near here, on Saturday evening.

The car (PB-10-AS-0007) was coming from Jalandhar and going towards Patiala when the truck (PCM-9951) moving ahead of it turned to its right without any prior indication. As a result of this, the car bumped into the truck, and got damaged from one side. However, nobody was hurt in the accident. An FIR in this regard has been lodged at the Payal police station under Sections 279 and 427 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Nirmaljit Singh, who was driving the car. The truck driver, Dilip Singh of Batala, is reported to have absconded.



No headway in looting case
Our Correspondent

Khanna, December 2
Two clean-shaven persons looted Rs two lakh from the Grain Market here on November 24. The police has, however, failed to make any headway into the case. The police has released a computerised sketch of the suspect in this case to the media. In the meanwhile, the police has been raiding a number of places to nab the accused.



Congress leaders optimistic of win 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 2
Several Congress leaders today claimed that the party was bound to win the next elections as the people of Punjab had lost all faith in the Akali-BJP government. They alleged that the government was indulging in corruption and nepotism and people were desperately looking for an alternative.

Addressing a well-attended public rally at Dhelon by the District Congress Committee Ludhiana (rural) near here today, the leader of the Congress Legislature Party in Punjab, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, lambasted the government for its various acts of omission and commission.

Mr Singh levelled various charges on the government saying, it had failed the expectations of the people. He said, while the people of urban areas were already disappointed with the government, even the farmers had been let down by this government.

Speaking on the occasion, the general secretary of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) Mr Nahar Singh Gill alleged that the government had not done anything for the people during all these years and was now offering sops with an eye on the elections. He criticised the government for abolishing octroi at such a late stage, when it was left only with a few months in power. Mr Gill promised that the Congress would provide a “neat and clean” administration under the leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh.

Senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, said that only the Congress could provide a better alternative. He apprehended that in case the Akali-BJP government is allowed to continue, it would spell disaster in the state. He exhorted people not to forget the great sacrifice of Mr Beant Singh, who had laid down his life for peace and normalcy in the state.

The DCC president Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, under whose leadership the rally was organised alleged that farmers were the worst snuffers in this regime. He pointed out, although the government claimed to be the guardian of the farmers’ interests, it had betrayed them the most. Mr Lapran claimed that hundreds of farmers had committed suicide as they could not pay their debts.

Secretary PCC, Mr K.K. Bawa urged the people to ensure that this government was shown the exit for a better and prosperous Punjab. Former minister, Mr Lal Singh claimed that the Congress wave had already started and the ruling alliance had been feeling panicky as their exit was imminent.



Curb female foeticide’ 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 2
“If the unethical practice of female foeticide is not curbed immediately then the result will be an increase in the number of AIDS patients, homosexuality and prostitution”, said Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary to the Government of Punjab, who was the chief guest on the first conference on population education on “Female Foeticide-update on its causes and prevention”, held at D.D. Jain College of Education for Women, here yesterday.

Mr Kashyap said female foeticide was an assault on morality and to an extent science was to be blamed for it. The concept of pre-diagnostic technique was started in the developed countries to know if there was any deformity in the baby, any incurable ailment existed or there was any threat to the mother. These “safety devices” (techniques) were hailed in the developed countries but unfortunately this research was put in an unethical way in India, said Mr Kashyap.

Mr Kashyap said that sex-ratio in Punjab had declined drastically. It came down from 875 to 793 (according to the latest census). It was very unfortunate to learn that people in the state considered daughters to be a life-long burden on parents. “Rather girls should be given training of karate so that they can become more bold and brave and fight their own battle”, said Mr Kashyap.

The Principal Secretary further stressed the collective need to find the causes and measures to stop foeticide. The role of doctors, families, priests, older generations and society should be thoroughly discussed and enforcement of laws, that can stop it, was needed.

Mr Kashyap suggested that in the age of computers, a strong data base was needed to know how many tests were done by the doctors and how many abortions were conducted, the reasons why these abortions were conducted. He said an effective monitoring was needed to curb the evil of female foeticide. The help of media, electronic and print both could be very helpful to bring awareness among the masses. The role of woman should be highlighted. People should know that she was not the reproductive part but the productive part of the society. said Mr Kashyap.



Dogs have their day
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, December 2
Anxious owners of the ‘participants’ were seen pampering their beautiful canine of different varieties. The proud owners and their helpers were monitoring their movements and trying to keep them in good humour at the ‘Dog Show’ organised by Ludhiana Kennel Club at Police Line, Ludhiana, this morning. Inderpal Singh Dhaliwal, General Secretary of Ludhiana Kennel Club, said that their club was associated with Kennel Club of India, Chennai. All the dogs that were participating in that show were registered with KCI, which means that the certificates of their pedigree were with the KCI.

There were 16 and 17 all breed championships, which meant that there were twin arenas where dog shows were being held with more than 300 odd dogs participating. Some were dressed in ribbons to make them look attractive. The growling of dogs could be heard when the rivals confronted each other. The atmosphere was a relaxed one for the spectators.

There were dogs in the toy group like Miniature Pinscher, Pomeranian, Pug, Pekingese and in utility group Dalmations, Lhasa Apso in the under-working group, Boxers, Tibetan Mastiff, Neopilitian Mastiff, Great Dane, Doberman, German Shepherd Dog and many others in ring number one. In the second ring, there were working group dogs and gun group dogs, utility group and terriers and toy group.

Gaurav Singh had entered his Poodle Miniature mother and the puppy. He said, “The mother has come from Russia and the pup was bought from here for Rs 10,000. The mother has won the best of the breed and ‘Challenge Certificate’, which means that no dog can challenge him. If my dog wins the Certificate next year also, then he will remain unchallenged. These dogs need a lot of grooming.” To prove his point a little boy was seen brushing the coats of the winners.

Another dog breeder, Geetika Reikhy, had entered six dongs for different categories. She had entered two Laboradors, two Golden Retrievers, one Great Dane and one German Shepherd. Similarly, people had come from all over North India for attending the Dog Show and were rightly proud of their handsome canines.

The judges were Partha Sekhar Chatterji from Kolkata and Mr Ramadhar Pandey from Lucknow. The show was inaugurated by Mr D.R. Bhatti, ADGP (IPS) and S.R.S. Gill, IG, Patiala Range, presided over the function. The president P.S. Gill, IG, Jalandhar and vice-president Sunil Sood informed that Mr H.S. Sidhu (IPS), SSP, Ludhiana, will give away the prizes and will be accompanied by Ashok Singh Garcha.


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