Sunday, January 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


LPG shortage ‘not real’
Local distributors ‘keeping large reserves’
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Recurring losses suffered by some of the local distributors of the LPG on account of free supply are to blame for the current “artificial shortage” that has resulted in panic stocking of gas cylinders by subscribers registered with three top suppliers in Ludhiana. In the past few days, the city has witnessed long queues outside the agencies concerned, with citizens booking for all empty cylinders at house.

While there has been an increase in the number of gadgets and vehicles run on the LPG, a large chunk of domestic gas connections are used by owners of hotels and dhabas here. However, the supply from the Indian Oil Corporation and other companies is much more than the projected demand, leaving no room for panic.

Sources said local authorities were to blame for the situation, since the orders curbing the free supply of cylinders have, now, made it mandatory for all subscribers to book their requirement with the agencies concerned. With every household, on an average, having two to six connections, the situation can be well imagined.

“This unnecessary stocking has affected the supply situation, which is, otherwise, healthy” sources said.

Mr C. S. Ahuja, president of the Ludhiana Cooking Gas Consumers Association, said certain distributors, who had been affected by the free supply scenario, had connived with the officials concerned to alter the situation to their benefit. “ They gave the people an impression that the LPG was in short supply and could only be available through prior booking.

“This artificial situation is far removed from the ground reality. The city has about 45 distributors who receive 60 loads (18,000 cylinders) each day, While 40 loads (12,000 cylinders) are received from the IOC, the rest is supplied by the HP and the BP. The actual requirement of the city is only about 13,000 cylinders a day, so no one should panic and free supply should not be curbed,” he said.

Mr Ahuja said he had written to the Union Petroleum Minister, Mr Ram Naik, in this regard some days ago. The minister said the country had not been facing any shortage of the LPG. Though its supply has been subsidised by the government for some reasons, there was no cause for alarm. “The rumours of an increase in the price too are unfounded,” he said.

Regarding the benefits of the free supply, Mr Ahuja said delivery boys would go about hawking the refills and anyone could get a cylinder at his or her doorstep, without booking. “When a distributorship was cancelled here some time ago, the consumers of that area did not face any problem. I have been receiving frantic calls from consumers who want to know where to book the cylinders; such has been the effect of the move to suspend free supply,” he said.

He alleged that the distributors too were trying to keep a large reserve to pocket the Rs 5 per cylinder subsidy given to consumers, if the refill was collected from the godowns of the distributors. “Many agencies have appointed sub agents to hawk the cylinders, who charge money depending on how urgent is the need. Against a price of Rs 245, these agents sell each cylinder at Rs 300, “he said.

Admitting that there had been numerous instances of overcharging by delivery boys and underweight cylinders, he also said these things can easily be tackled by the authorities concerned. He said: “We have urged the District Food and Supplies Controller (DFSC) to ensure that all the deliveries are made by authorised boys and delivery carts should bear the names of the distributors prominently. The boys should have consumer name date and delivery number for all supplies,” he said.

Mr Ahuja said, to tackle the problem of underweight cylinders, the authorities concerned should carry out regular weighing drives. He also said it was sad that the suggestion of affixing tamper-proof seals on the LPG cylinders had not found favour with the oil companies.



Lohri celebrated

Ludhiana: The Gayatri Ladies Club celebrated Lohri festival at Basant Resorts here on Saturday. The members had made a huge bon-fire for getting respite from the chilling cold. The club members were dressed in traditional outfits to celebrate the occasion. They presented Giddha and sang Punjabi songs to make the celebrations more lively. Giddha was choreographed by Ms Ravneet Kaur, a club member. The participants were Ms Aman, Ms Gunjan, Ms Shweta, Ms Rimpy and others. The function was organised under the guidance of club president Vipin Mahajan and secretary Bindu Aggarwal. OC



10-yr-old pitted against odds
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, January 11
Ten-year-old Chaman Kumar may be too young to carry that weight. Yet he keeps carrying it on his fragile shoulders. For the circumstances have left him with no other option. His mother is dead while his father has lost both his legs in an accident.

His innocent face and tender appearance seems to conceal the maturity of this child, who starts his day at 10 a.m. and works till late in the evening. Even the biting cold has failed to dampen his spirits to work. He sells incense sticks going from door to door, moving in offices, business establishments and everywhere he thinks he can sell these and make a living. And he earns about Rs 100 during the day and hands it over to his grandmother who takes care of the family.

Chaman Kumar, who carries a bag full of incense sticks says, “My mother died a few years back. She had some disease and the family had no money for her treatment. We are two brothers and one sister. Both are younger to me. I used to study in third standard when my father lost his legs in a train accident. My father used to do cycle parts business. Nobody asks me to do this work, but I have no other option. My daadi is very old, she has to look after my sister also”.

The family lives in Anand Nagar, Khanna. Recently, one of the families adopted Chaman Kumar’s younger brother. The boy comes daily from Khanna by bus because he sees “no good business” there. “I visit offices, houses and markets. By the grace of God, I sell all my stuff but at times, I fail to sell even one box. It depends on luck. Because of so much cold, I try to finish my work before its too dark. My grandmother starts worrying if I reach late at home”, says Chaman innocently .

This correspondent spoke to one of his relatives in Dugri, who confirmed all the facts and said that a few days back, his father had left home to find some work. “Rakesh, his father has come to Ludhiana to restart his cycle parts business. Chaman is a matured child to his age. His grandmother and other family members had visited many social organisations, clubs seeking financial help but to no avail. The burden of the family has come to this 10 year-old child but he is not shattered”, claimed Ajay Kumar, one of his cousins in Dugri, who runs a confectionary shop. 



And now child pimps?
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, January 11
An acquittance of mine, who happened to visit a newly inhabited colony on the Rahon road last week, was astounded when a young lad, not into the teens even, came running to him and made an indecent proposal.

However, it did not take long before the man realised that he was dealing with a child pimp anxious to make a fast buck. The boy obviously belonged to a migrant family living in the colony. Though the man did not avail the services of the little pimp, he was told that he could amuse himself for as little as Rs 100 any time when he wanted to.

Prostitution is assuming alarming proportions in the city with the introduction of child pimps and more areas on the outskirts of the city catering to the needs of ‘pleasure-seekers’.

Reliable sources in the police confided that prostitution was no longer limited to areas like the Shimla Puri and the Dhakka colonies in various parts of the city. Several colonies which have come up in the recent past on both sides of the Rahon road were earning notoriety as new hubs of prostitution.

The increase in the business can be gauged from the increase in the number of pimps who are always on the lookout to hook clients. These pimps, instead of working clandestinely, are now making open approaches to advertise their services. They hang around outside cinema halls showing sleazy movies and accost prospective customers with their proposals. A majority of their targets are the migrants who form bulk of such cinema crowds.

Police sources confide that prostitution was being carried out in the city by influential ladies under the guise of running a paying guest accommodation for working girls and women in their homes. For example, in Moti Nagar falling under the Focal Point police station, a working women’s hostel is being run by a lady whose husband reportedly left home a couple of years ago since the woman would not mend her ways in spite of his repeated attempts. The police says that in spite of their knowledge, it was unable to proceed against the lady in the absence of a specific complaint.

Investigations by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the trade was also being practiced at a number of other such paying guest accommodations and private hostels in other posh and not-so-posh localities of the city.

The trade is flourishing leaps and bounds due to the nexus in certain cases between prostitutes and cops concerned. Rackets are also being run in which unsuspecting victims are relieved of all the money on their persons at the time of the raid. There is no other way to buy freedom from the law.


CMC celebrates golden jubilee
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 11
Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) celebrated its golden jubilee of starting the MBBS course in the institute here today. Before 1953, the students used to pass out bearing LSMF degree. The year-long jubilee celebrations began today. The chief guest on the occasion was Dr S.N.Tiwari, Civil Surgeon. He spoke about the help extended by the CMCH in improving the community health. “Since the day the institute was established by Dr Edith Brown, the CMCH has always been the pride of Punjab. It is still popular as the Brown hospital among the surrounding villages of Ludhiana, where Dr Brown had spent most of her life improving the health services of the people mainly women”, said Dr Tiwari. In the times of natural calamities in Gujarat, a team of the CMCH students and faculty were among the first to reach.

Celebrations would continue the whole year with events like workshops, scientific seminars, seminar on medical ethics. Today’s celebrations started with the service of thanksgiving in the college assembly hall with a chorus singing by the dental college students followed by the invocation song by the paramedical student. Thanksgiving prayer was offered by Dr Silas Charles, Director, CMCH. The main message was delivered by Bishop Anand Chandu Lal, former Moderator of Church of Northern India.



Punjab has sugar for neighbours ... if 
Centre allows it
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, January 11
“The Punjab cooperative sugar mills have accumulated huge stocks of sugar and urged the Centre to release this to the neighbouring states. The Punjab Government has also offered to manufacture alcohol for the Centre, provided marketing and minimum support price is ensured,” said Dr B.C. Gupta, Financial Commissioner (Cooperatives) Punjab, here today.

According to Dr Gupta, Punjab has sugar stock to the tune of 28 lakh quintals, worth Rs 400 crore and all 14 cooperative sugar mills have started crushing sugarcane in the state. By March-end, the state will have sugar stock worth Rs 500 crore.

Dr Gupta said, the Centre had decided to use ethal for blending petrol and the state had been pressing it to ensure marketing, as Punjab could supply a huge quantity of ethal to the Centre. However, if tenders are floated for it, Punjab will not, be able to compete with states like Maharashtra, and UP, that have a huge sugarcane industry. Punjab’s ethal demand would be 30,000 kl.

“Brazil has been blending petrol with 20 per cent ethal, said Dr Gupta. Dr Gupta said, “If Punjab had a guaranteed market for ethal, it would make changes in the Punjab sugar mills. Only two sugar mills — Budhewal (Ludhiana) and Nawanshahr — are running in profit. Punjab owed Rs 79 crore to sugarcane growers of the state,” he said.

In Punjab, sugarcane price was a fixed flat rate of Rs 100 per quintal, whereas, in Maharashtra, it was an MSP of Rs 65 per quintal, linked to the recovery of sugar. Sugar recovery in Punjab, this year, was 9.5 per cent against 9.4 per cent last year. The sugarcane crop was also better this year.

Dr Gupta held discussions with the Vice-Chancellor of the PAU, Dr K.S. Aulakh, on research in sugarbeat crop, that could give a recovery of 13 per cent. The PAU had started experiments on it this year, Dr Aulakh told Dr Gupta.

The Punjab Markfed had exported 18.5 lakh tonnes of wheat and 1 lakh tonnes of basmati this year. The Centre, Dr Gupta said, had also made four agri-export zones for wheat, rice, potato and honey.

Dr Gupta said Punjab could not sell sugar in open market without the permission of the Centre. Moreover, the prices in open market were lower than the levy-sugar price, which was Rs 1,278.57 per quintal. Punjab had urged the Centre to issue permits to Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir to get sugar from the Punjab quota.



Punjabi food festival at Park Plaza
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Majestic Park Plaza organised a Punjabi food festival which started yesterday and will continue till January 24. The venue is hotel’s Indian speciality restaurant, Lodi Ruwaiyat. For the festival, Lodi Ruwaiyat will be open for Lunch and Dinner.

According to chef Sudhanshu after the success of the Hyderabadi, Kashmiri and Thai food festivals, the plaza organised Punjabi food to festival on the occasion of Lonri.

The decor of the hotel has been done like a typical village in the heartland of Punjab. The murals depicting the rural scenes, the ‘manji’ bedecked with the ‘phulkari’, the ‘moorhas’, ‘charkhas' and ‘surahi’ all add to the ethnic beauty.

Mr Sudhanshu has created an array of delicious dishes like kesar-pisteywali lassi pedha de naal, saffron flavoured yogurt shake garnished with khoya pedha, cholliye the khubhwali seekh kebab crafted from fresh green gram, mushrooms and almonds grilled in the tandoor; amritsari kofta, creamy potato kofta, stuffed with dried plums packed with almonds; Ranjit shahi paneer, batons of paneer served on a bed of paneer bhurjee, cooked in fresh tomato puree; harra chholiya the vadhian, green gram and traditional Punjabi lentil dumpling cooked in tomato gravy prepared in coriander and pepper.

The tandoori lobster, lobster marinated in royal cumin-enriched cream cheddar and garlic, glazed in tandoor; masaledar bataere - Japanese quaila stuffed with a filling cooked on dum in a rich saffron; raunagreen seekhan, seekh of minced duet of chicken and lamb with flavours of coriander, mint, cardamom and mace; badam te gur da halwa, a traditional winter dessert of almonds and jaggery, meweywala malai purha semolina flour and khoya pancakes stuffed with pistachio almonds and mishri dipped in saffron syrup and served with malai, are the main temptations 



YC seeks vigilance probe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
The District Youth Congress president, Mr Parminder Mehta, today said that the issue of the allotment of land adjoining Laxmi cinema to a builder be handed over to the vigilance organisation for investigation. In a letter to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Mehta said that the Congress leaders had already taken up the matter with the government. He criticised the opposition parties like the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal for “shedding crocodile tears” as it was during their government that the land was sold to the builder at a throwaway price.



Youth Congress rally today
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 11
Youth Congress (YC) workers at a meeting held at the residence of Mr Makhan Singh, vice-president at Tohra village in the Amloh constituency, gave the final touch for participation of 1,500 workers of this area in the Youth Congress rally in Delhi on Sunday.

Special buses from Bhadson have been provided for the purpose, said Mr Jaswinder Singh Randhawa in a press release today. 



Financier held on charge of fraud
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 11
The Division Number 6 police has arrested a city-based financier for allegedly duping people of their money by way of bogus lucky schemes. The accused had been eluding the police after a case was registered against him on October 30 last year in which the complainant had alleged that Bhupinder Rocky had lured him into a lucky scheme on a promise that he would give him a new scooter after the payment of three monthly instalments of Rs 1,000 each. But the accused did not keep his promise even after getting four instalments. On suspecting the intentions of the financier, the complainant asked Bhupinder to return his money at which the father of the accused told him that the lucky scheme had been abandoned. If he wanted his money back, he should bring the receipts issued to him. The complainant had further stated that when he took the receipts to the accused and asked for money, they snatched the receipts from him, tore them up and refused to return money.

Body of newborn found: The Model Town police has registered a case under Section 318 of the IPC against unknown persons on the complaint of a tea vendor near the Dugri bridge on the Sidhwan Canal in connection with the body of a newly-born baby girl, which was found from near the bridge on Friday morning. According to information, the body had reportedly been thrown from a running train into the canal but it fell on the bridge itself.

Woman booked: The police has registered a case against a housewife living in Sarabha Nagar on the complaint of her nine-year-old maid, who was allegedly confined and beaten up for 10 days by the former to extract a confession about a theft.

According to the statement of Satta, the maid, who has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Ms Manjit Kaur, her employer, accused her of stealing Rs 25,000 from her house and in order to extract a confession from her subjected her to beating sessions during which she lost one of her teeth. After the beating, Ms Manjit Kaur would confine her to a bathroom. She beat Satta up her for 10 days before releasing her.

Factory burgled: In a sensational burglary in a factory at Hargobind Pura in the small hours of Friday, the criminals allegedly decamped with Rs 4.38 lakh and several drafts and cheques after breaking open several locks on the main shutter and the safe, the alarm system of which was incapacitated by them.

According to information , one of the neighbours, who got up around 2.15 am, noticed the broken shutters of the factory. The police pressed into service a dog squad and a fingerprint team, which lifted some prints from the office of the factory owner, Mr Vijay Jindal, where the burglars spent most of their time. The siren of the alarm system which was on the top of the building was found dismantled and lying on an adjoining roof. To gain access to the office, the burglars broke open a glass pane after which they busted both safes lying in the cash room and took away the contents. Blood was also splattered all over the scene of the crime .It is being assumed that one of the burglars got injured by a glass splinter. The Division Number 7 police has registered a case.

Fraud alleged: The Division Number 4 police has registered a case of alleged fraud under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Surinder Singh, a resident of Hargobind Nagar in Haibowal, against Amarjit Singh, Tirlochan Singh and Sant Ram Mahant, residents of Fatehgarh mohalla. The complainant had alleged that he had purchased a plot from the accused after making full payment for it. But the accused neither got the plot transferred in his name nor returned his money, he added.

Beating case registered: The Model Town police has booked seven persons in an alleged case of beating on the complaint of Mr Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Dr Ambedkar Nagar. The accused are Fukna, Madan Lal and Darmu, all brothers, Meha, wife of Fukna, another woman named Geha and her two sons, Kailash and Ramesh. The complainant has alleged that the accused had beaten him up resulting in injuries to him.

Dowry case: The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Sections 406,498-A and 323 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Janak Rani, a resident of Basant Nagar, against her husband Surinder Kumar, Satya, Sonu and Vijay, other members of her in-laws’ family, who live on the Daba Road. The woman had complained that she was married seven years ago and her husband and other in-laws had been tormenting her for more dowry ever since then. The accused also often beat her up to press their dowry demands, she added.

Death in accident: The Division Number 2 police has registered a case under sections 279, 337, 427 and 304-A of the IPC against the driver of truck for hitting a scooterist, Deepak Gupta, a resident of Jassian Road on the Jagraon bride, who died on the spot.

Gamblers held: The Model Town police arrested Bhog Bahadur and Ram Bahadur while they were gambling in the locality and the Sadar police, on a tip-off, raided a gambling den and arrested Pappu, a resident of Dhandari Kalan, and Gurdip Singh, a resident of Bhattian village. All accused have been booked under the Gambling Act.

Excise cases: The Kotwali police has arrested Budh, a resident of Humbran village, while the Civil Lines police has arrested Hem Raj, a resident of Ghumar Mandi, and Sham Lal, who lives in a slum near the Jagraon bridge, and booked them under sections 61,1 and 14 of the Excise Act. Illicit liquor was also seized from their possession.

The Sahnewal police arrested a truck driver while he was drinking at a dhaba on the Chandigarh Road and the Basti Jodhewal police arrested Karnail Singh, a resident of Rode village, while he was allegedly drinking at a public place.

Beggar held: The Division Number 2 police has arrested a beggar and booked him on the charge of begging and jamming the traffic as well.

Pistol seized: The local police arrested two motorcyclists and seized a loaded pistol from one of them at a naka near Bridge Canal Bardeke, here on Saturday. Gurcharan Singh, alias Gheela of Several in Faridkot and Kuljit Singh of Hissowal, PS Sudhar, were arrested and booked under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.



Scope for hosiery goods in US
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Against the cynicism prevailing in the industrial circles over the Chinese ‘invasion’ of various goods in various international markets, there is still some hope for the hosiery manufacturers of the city, particularly in the US markets. Some Ludhiana manufacturers are already there and are doing a good business.

Disclosing this here today, Mr Gyan Chand Dhawan, former chairman of the Hosiery Exporters Association and the managing director of the York Hosiery, said that a number of units in Ludhiana had received orders from US suppliers and it would not be long before the Indian manufactured products, more so the hosiery, flooded the American markets.

However, he cautioned, there was still a great scope for improving the quality of the products. He pointed out that if the Indian products were now being preferred over the Chinese, it was just because their (the Chinese) quality was not coming up to the expectations of the American consumers. “Indian products have still greater acceptability”, he revealed, after his return from the USA.

Mr Dhawan also exports hosiery goods to the USA which have been received very well over there. There are some other industrial houses which are also supplying their products to different American stores. This has paved the way for others also and opened up greater opportunities for the local exporters.

But in Ludhiana there are some handicaps also. The problem of raw materials and the skilled labour is still there. Against this, Delhi has come up as one of the important centres of hosiery production and most of it is exported. “Delhi products are being accepted with great credibility”, he disclosed.

He suggested that Ludhiana exporters needed to focus on quality of the products. “We can score over the Chinese in terms of quality and it is not that we cannot produce quality products”, he said, while adding there was no need for panic. He pointed out, some Ludhiana exporters were doing pretty well there and a few have already settled there and established flourishing business.


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