Wednesday, February 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Winds, rain hit wheat crop
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
Anxiety is writ large on the faces of the farmers in the district as wheat crop on hundreds of acres of area was damaged due to strong winds and heavy showers that have lashed the region since yesterday.

The farmers who had sown early varieties of wheat had to bear the brunt of the adverse weather conditions the most as their crops faced the maximum lodging. The district is experiencing rain since last evening. Farmers are apprehensive that if the inclement weather continued for some more days then the crop the may face major damage. The day temperature had plummeted due to the elusive sun and the night temperatures were also recording a dip.

A survey by Ludhiana Tribune of various villages in the district revealed that around 50 per cent farmers had gone for the advance crop and were facing damage due to the windy weather.

The farmers of various villages, including Jandiali, Chotti Jandiali, Rachin, Meherna Kalan, Khera, Lehra, Pohir, Rangian, Latala, Burundi and Dhulkot, were worried about their crops. Mr Mohinder Singh, a farmer of Jhmata village, said 50 per cent of his crop had lodged due to winds and if the weather continued like this all his crop would be damaged.

Dr S.S. Hundal, a Professor in Department of Agrometerology, said the farmers, especially the ones who had grown early sown varieties, would be facing damage. He said the district had experienced 30 mm of rain within the past two days. Stating the rain at this time was good for the timely wheat crop the meteorological expert said the strong winds that were blowing in the region were affecting the crop adversely.

Dr Hundal added that the early sown wheat plants were having the formation of ears that made the tip of the plant quite heavy. The tender stems of the plant can not carry the weight of the ears due to strong winds and bend leading to phenomenon known as lodging. He added that the plants with bent stems could not yield grains thus leading to cent per cent damage.

He advised the farmers not to irrigate the crop during the cloudy and windy weather. He added that in case of lodging the farmers could not do anything except irrigate the crop carefully during the cloudy weather. He advised the farmers to drain the water from the fields of other crops also. He forecasted light to moderate rains in most parts of the state for the next 24 hours. 



Students rush for guess papers
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, February 18
A considerable number of city students appearing in the middle examination being conducted by the Punjab School Education Board are consulting guess papers before their exams.

It is not just any guess paper that the students would go in for. “Shanti” guess papers, being printed locally, are selling the most. So much so that these papers come to the market just a day before the examination and go out of stock within a few hours.

Students spend their precious time looking for guess papers at the bookstores in Model Town, Model Gram and Sarabha Nagar.

Pointing out the reason behind it, students said 80 to 90 per cent of the three question-papers they had attempted had questions common with those from these guess papers.

Even today— heavy downpour notwithstanding— most of the shopkeepers in the Books Market sold all guess papers they had got.

Mr Ajay Kumar of Jain Book Shop said most of the buyers were keen to buy Shanti guess papers.

These papers have become common with many teachers as well as principals. They, too, firmly believe that if the students go prepared with the questions given in these guess papers, they can good marks.

It is learnt that the papers are being printed by a group of teachers from some local schools who probably have links with the paper-setters or printers of the board.

Ms Sadhna Sharma, Principal of Sanatan Vidya Mandir, said she had observed that almost all students brought guess papers when they came to take their exam in the morning.

The Principal of Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School said he knew that most of his students were consulting these papers and cramming those questions mentioned in these papers, but he neither encouraged nor discouraged the students from doing so. “The question-paper might contain expected questions on a given day, but it might not be so in the next paper, ” he said.



Cop demands bribe, gets caught

The constable who was allegedly nabbed by security guards of the DMC hospital for allegedly demanding bribe
The constable who was allegedly nabbed by security guards of the DMC hospital for allegedly demanding bribe from a patient in Ludhiana on Tuesday.

Ludhiana, February 18
Ugly scenes took place at DMC Hospital here this evening when relatives of a patient and activists of the hospital employees union caught a Punjab police constable for allegedly demanding Rs 40,000 from a patient to settle a police case.

The constable identified as Dharminder Singh, posted with the Division No. 8 police station was in the detention of the public in a general store near the hospital till the filing of this report. The constable was in a pitiable condition. He was weeping uncontrollably and begging his captors to call the police. DMC union activists and the patient’s relatives said they called the reporters first so that the police may not help the accused.

According to Mr Jaswinder Singh, a Sarpanch of Saidpur village in Gurdaspur district, a married woman, Amarjit Kaur, was admitted to DMC hospital with burn injuries. He claimed there was no dowry angle behind the case and the in-laws as well as the parents of the girl were jointly attending on her.

However, a local cop, Dharminder Singh, came there and demanded Rs 40,000 and threatened to report that the woman was burnt for dowry. The family discussed the matter with some senior police officers in Gurdaspur and laid a trap for the cop.



Infant restored to mother

Ludhiana, February 18
A 10-day-old infant was reunited with his unwed mother amidst highly emotional scenes. The 20-year-old girl, a resident of Jagadhri in Haryana had given birth to the baby boy some 10 days ago. Her father, Mr Ganesh Dass, upset at the birth had handed over the boy to one of his relatives, a resident of Ludhiana.

His relative in turn had handed over the boy to one of his neighbours who had entrusted his responsibility to his relative, a childless couple in Nawanshahar. The trouble had arisen when Ganesh’s relative alleged to the Salim Tabri police that the boy was sold off by his neighbour who had accepted the boy willingly at that time. His neighbour was, however, denied this. TNS




A local resident died of a heart attack allegedly after he was issued a water bill for Rs 5,000 by the Municipal Corporation last week. His family members said he died in the evening following an argument with MC officials who he felt had served upon him an inflated bill. He could not believe his eyes when he got the bill. His son said he started worrying about the payment of the bill. A resident of the area, incensed at the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation said, ‘The MC has the distinction of being the richest local body in the state. Now, it has got another feather in the cap, driving people to death.’’

Happy parents

The bad performance of the Indian cricket team in the last match at Centurion Park against Australia burnt the hearts of many a cricket fan, but it provided a sigh of relief to the parents of students who have to appear in the board exams. The children were giving more time to cricket than to the studies. The bad performance of the team has made them resume their studies. A parent quipped, “The slaughtering of Indian team by Australia has come as a blessing. Even the word cricket puts off my children”.

Clear message

The district police has given a clear message that no one would be spared for violating traffic rules. Of late the police has challaned not only general public vehicle but those of the police and the press also. A few days ago, a press photographer was challaned after being chased by a police gypsy sent by the SSP. A police officer was also made to suffer the humiliation. The SSP saw his car with black films and ordered a challan. This was preceded by an onslaught on ‘kakas’ of the city, who being Industrialists’ son roam in the city in flashy cars with black films. They were specially targeted on Valentine’s Day.

Helmets on arms

The police is not sparing women two-wheeler drivers has forced them to don the ‘abhorable’ helmet. But the girls have taken a cue from the boys. They also carry helmets in their arms. Like boys they put on the helmet as and when they spot a cop or approach a police nakka. Otherwise the gals do not allow the ‘iron hat’ to cover the beauty of their hair.

No ‘Paala Udant’

‘Aayee Basant Paala Udant’ goes an old adage. But the vagaries of nature have sought to negate it this year. Even though about two weeks have passed after Basant Panchami the winter is still on. After a respite from chill for a few days, the sun came out. Incessant rain accompanied with strong breeze played spoilsport forcing people to wear jackets and pullovers. Weather experts have been working overtime to predict changes.

Real gainers

Valentine Day came and went. Much hoopla was created by commercial organisations to make it a big show. At the end of the day “these” bodies were the real gainers. The greeting card sellers and the florists had a great day. They danced all their way to banks. But the celebrations were shared by a new department. The traffic police made a record number of challans of youths for violating traffic rules. Most of them were challaned for not wearing a helmet. A group of girls caught by a police party were heard pleading, ‘‘ How can we wear helmets on Valentine Day?. We are supposed to be seen , you know’’. The traffic police said the number of challans issued on this single day were more than issued in over two weeks.!

Honest gesture

There are very few people around who believe in honest dealings, especially when it pertains to instances related with money. However, when a person shows a gesture, he certainly deserves some appreciation. Mr Avtar Singh Deol, Superintendent Director Students' Welfare, Punjab Agricultural University, went to the PAU post office to get his maturity amount of Rs 20,228 for an NSS. Inadvertently, he was paid Rs 30,228. Mr Deol’s conscience made him return Rs 10,000 to the post office.

Tail piece

Seen written on the rear of a car, ‘‘I wish there were a Ctrl Z command for the Indian cricket team.’’

— Sentinel



Punjab Cong workers make waves
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
For the Congress leaders in Ludhiana, like in other parts of the state, all roads lead to Himachal Pradesh. Right from the Minister of State for Printing and Stationery, Mr Rakesh Pandey, local MLA, Mr Surinder Dawer, the District Congress Committee president, Mr K K Bawa and the senior vice president of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Pawan Dewan, most of the Ludhiana leaders are currently busy in Himachal Pradesh.

Different leaders have been assigned different constituencies. Given the active role assumed by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the local leaders are leaving no stone unturned to prove their best and score some points over BJP leaders.

Mr Pandey is camping in Hamirpur, Mr Dawer and Mr Dewan have been deputed to Nalagarh and Mr Bawa has been asked to campaign in Solan. The leaders had reached Himachal Pradesh in view of the scheduled visit of the Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, which was later cancelled.

Not only the leaders but also several party workers are camping in Himachal Pradesh. Mr Pandey disclosed that there was a massive wave in favour of the Congress in Himachal Pradesh. The Punjab Congress has contributed its mite to create the wave. He said this role of the Punjab workers was being recognised in every quarter.

Mr Dawer said that the issue of corruption raised by Capt Amarinder has been received well by the people of Himachal Pradesh. He observed that people were realising how they had been cheated by the Dhumal government all these years. He disclosed that the people in Himachal Pradesh had started drawing parallels between Punjab and Himachal and it was bound to be a repeat of Punjab there.

Similarly, Mr Dewan and Mr Bawa claimed that the BJP had stooped low to rake up some non-issues. They claimed that after two months the BJP government in Gujarat had raised the issue of Congress leaders’ campaign. They said, it would not be of any help to the BJP. Rather it would boomerang on the party, they claimed.



Charges for amenities: YC seeks relief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 18
The District Youth Congress has urged the administration to waive interest on the arrears of water and sewerage bills and streamline the process of bill despatch.
In a memorandum submitted to the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, the party has pointed out that there was widespread resentment over hefty bills, including past arrears and interest for water supply, sewerage and house tax. The Corporation was resorting to the attachment of property for the recovery of dues, it said.

DYC president Parminder Mehta recalled a unanimous resolution adopted by the corporation for extending the facility of interest-free payment of house tax and water supply arrears and urged the Mayor to get the mandatory approval to the proposal from the state government.

Mr Mehta drew the attention of the Corporation authorities towards late delivery and non-delivery of bills and alleged failure on the part of Corporation employees to make proper entries of payments made by the residents. “It has become a common practice for the Corporation staff to add past arrears in current bills even when the payments have been made. The affected people are put to unnecessary harassment for getting the bills corrected on production of old receipts,” he said, adding that the Corporation ought to put its own house in order before contemplating drastic measures for the recovery of arrears.

Stressing the need for the revamp of the entire operations for issuing bills and receipt of payments, the DYC alleged that in many cases the residents were receiving more than one bills for the same property or water and sewerage connections and their pleas in this regard had evoked no response from the concerned officials.

Copies of the memorandum were also sent to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Minister for Local Bodies, Choudhry Jagjit Singh.



AIYD to burn effigies of ‘tainted’ ministers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 18
Taking strong exception to allegations of immoral activities against two Punjab ministers and subsequent registration of a criminal case by Gujarat police against them, the All India Youth Akali Dal today observed that the Congress Government had forfeited the right to remain in power and should quit immediately on moral grounds.

Addressing a meeting of party activists at Gurdwara Model Town Extension, the AIYD Chief, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, announced that the party would burn effigies of the accused ministers in all district headquarters in the state on February 19 to mobilise public opinion against the 'shameful' activities of the ruling party functionaries.

Mr Dhillon made scathing attacks on the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, whom he charged with throwing all ethics and norms to the winds and giving a clean chit to his Cabinet colleagues even as the Gujarat police had registered a case against them for their alleged involvement in the sex scandal. "Under the Congress regime, there seems to be a virtual race on between the political leadership and bureaucracy to indulge in immoral activities."

Prominent among those present in the meeting were Mr Jatinder Pal Singh Saluja, Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang, Mr Harjinder Singh Lati, Mr Sukhjinder Singh Jaura, Mr Avtar Singh Malla, Mr Manpreet Singh Mani, Mr Ikbal Singh Gill, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Dua, Mr Inder Mohan Singh Kadian, Mr Balbir Singh Mann, Mr Maninderpal Singh Sunny, Mr Karnail Singh Zeerakh and Mr Kulwant Singh Sahnewal.



Civic poll buzz picks up
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, February18
With the issuance of notification of elections to the Mandi Gobindgarh municipal council on March 9 next month, activities among various political parties, sitting councillors and prospective Independent candidates have gathered momentum.

The Congress this time has decided to go it alone, said Dr Sikander Singh, President DCC, Fatehgarh Sahib. He said applications of party nominees had been invited up to February 20 and the decision would be taken by February 22 by the committee consisting of its chairman, Mr Brij Lal Goyal, and other members, including Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, MP, Dr Harbans Lal, Forest Minister, and Mr Sadhu Singh, MLA, besides the district president.

A large number of Independents are expected to try their luck in these elections. The newcomers are busy exposing the working of the past councillors.

The outgoing council chief, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Bhambri, and vice-president, Mr Dharam Paul, are from SAD-BJP combine, respectively, but the expected participation of young blood in the election arena may cast its influence on the results.

The council is divided into 19 wards. In the last 1998 election, total number of votes was 39,500 with about three per cent increase this time. Keeping in view the past experience, though no political party has declared its party nominees, indirect activities have picked pace and the parties will have to avoid a split before the announcement of respective candidates to contest the election on their symbols.

In the outgoing council, Mr Bal Mukand Aggarwal, a stalwart of BJP, was elected president of the council but due to internal wrangling in the BJP, he was dislodged through a no-confidence motion.

In the meantime, Ms Madhu Bansal, an Independent councillor, with the support of Independents and dissident members, was elected vice-president. After her term, Mr Dharm Paul (BJP), vice-president, took over as president.

Mr Bal Mukand approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Again the election to the President was fixed. Thereafter, due to the split in the BJP, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Bhambri of the SAD was elected, who completed the remaining term as president.

Fatehgarh Sahib: Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Electoral Officer, said that the elections to the Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib Municipal Council could not held as the delimitation of wards in these councils had just been completed and notification in this regard had just been issued. He said out of 28 wards, now the council had been divided into 17 wards and thus 11 wards had been merged. He said door-to-door enumeration of new votes in these wards had been started from February 17 and draft electoral rolls would be completed by February 24. He said Ward No. 1 had been reserved for SC woman, Ward No. 2,11 and 14 had been reserved for SC candidates, ward no. 4,7,10,13 and 16 had been reserved for the women category, ward no. 3,5,6,8,9,12 and 15 had been for the General category, where as Ward no 17 would be reserved for the BC candidate.

He said the State Elections Commission vide his notification dated February 14 announced the elections. He said as per the notification the nominations would start from February 27, scrutiny would be done on February 28, withdrawal of nominations would be on March 1 and the elections would be held on March 9. He said the polling would take place from 8 am to 4 pm.

Respective SDMs have been appointed as returning officers and instructions had been issued to conduct free and fair poll. He said returning officers would be the overall in charge of their respective council. 



Body found

Ludhiana, February 18
An unidentified body was brought here by the police in the civil hospital for post-mortem examination. Major Singh, Sevadar of Gurdwara Nanaksar Sahib, informed the police about the body lying in the waiting hall of the gurdwara. 



Winter clearance sales pull many
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, February 18
City residents seem to have been having a gala time these days as products ranging from designer wear, accessories to footwear are being sold at throwaway prices at various showrooms in the city. To draw clients’ attention towards them, showroom owners are even offering discounts up to 60 per cent on some of the items. Consequently, Ludhianvis are making a beeline for these sales to get things of their choice at more than affordable rates.

The sales are on at Chaura Bazaar, Ghumar Mandi, Mall Road, Field Ganj, Dandi Swami Chowk and various factory outlets. Products like designer clothes, including designer sarees, suit-dupattas, lehngas, bridal wear, accessories, jackets, woollens, jeans, shawls, pullovers, gent suits, etc. are available at throwaway prices. Manoj, a salesman at a leading department store at Mall Road, said though the concept of sales was quite old, it had picked up in the recent years. He said: “These sales should be organised on regular basis. The stocks can be easily cleared and there is no need to dump the products for the next season. The money comes to circulation again. If the sales are genuine, they definitely benefit the customers.”

The sales are organised for people of different sections of the society. At one place, a wide range of purses is on offer for just Rs 65 each. The salesman at the sale said the actual price of each purse was between Rs 300 and Rs 800, but to clear the stock, various varieties of purses were available at throwaway prices.

Up to 50 per cent winter discount is being offered on items like curtain cloth, tapestry, bed-sheets, bed-covers, pillows, accessories, cushions, towels etc. Customers can avail themselves of more than 30 per cent off on lingerie, cosmetics and even imported jewellery. Ms Veena Handa, one of clients, said, “It’s not easy to buy gold ornaments these days. But Indian women have a passion for gold. We can even get gold plated kundan jewellery at reasonable rates.”

Ms Kajal Sharma, another customer, however said the sales were nothing but a marketing gimmick. “These showroom owners are familiar with the pulse of city residents,” she said.

Besides, readymade items and hosiery products, branded footwear items are available at 50 per cent rebate. The sales are on even on footwear. Leading brands are offering 50 per cent off on ladies, gent and kids footwear.



Committee for uniform duty on yarns
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 18
The National Committee on Textile of the CII has recommended to the Central Government that all duties on the cotton yarn, synthetic yarn, blended yarn and fabrics should be made uniform as suggested by the N.K. Singh Committee set up by the Prime Minister.

Mr S P Oswal, Chairman of the National Textile Committee told this reporter in an interview here today that the N K Singh Committee was set up last year by the Prime Minister for the promotion of textile industries. The Finance Minister while presenting the central budget last year had implemented some of the recommendations of the N K Singh Committee and there were certain anomalies which needed to be removed.

The N.K. Singh Committee had recommended that the basic central excise duty should be brought to 8 per cent from 16 per cent on all processes. The CII Committee has again recommended that the merit rate of 8 per cent excise duty is justified because of the textiles being a basic necessity, current low level of profitability in the industry, high potential of earning foreign exchange and generating large scale sustainable employment.

Welcoming the implementations of VAT chain, the committee points out that for successful implementation of VAT it is essential that all processes involved in the production of textile products be included in VAT except handlooms and genuine hand processors.

The present rate of excise duty on cotton yarn is 8 per cent and it should be retained at this rate. However, the prevailing excise duty on blended yarn which is 16 per cent should be brought down to 8 per cent. Similarly the present duty on man-made yarn which is 16 per cent should be reduced to 8 per cent . The duty on woollen yarn should also be reduced to 8 per cent from 16 per cent.

The committee points out that there is no excise duty on sewing thread if the annual turnover is less than Rs 1 crore and excise duty as applicable to cotton/synthetic and blended sewing thread is levied if the turn over is more than one crore. The committee has felt that the exemption given to units having turn over up to Rs 1 crore should be withdrawn and a uniform rate of 8 per cent excise duty should be imposed irrespective of the turnover. This exemption is being misused, the committee felt.

Mr Oswal says the TUF (technology upgradation fund) scheme expired in 2004 and it should be allowed to continue for another five years. He said a rest maturing fund should also be created to help the marginally viable units which had borrowed at higher rate of interest which renders them high cost should be allowed to swap with lower rate.

The committee has also recommended that an import duty of 5 per cent should be levied from 10 per cent on import of cotton.

Mr Oswal explains that due to higher handling charges and 10 per cent import duty, the cost imported cotton to the Indian spinners is higher than the international prices of cotton by 10-20 per cent.

With the falling international prices of textile products, preferential trade policies of major importing countries benefiting India’s competitors like Pakistan, Bangladesh and others in cotton textiles and virtual deflation in domestic prices of textile products during the last seven years had exerted immense pressure on Indian textile producers, particularly cotton yarn exporters.

Mr Oswal felt that with the implementation of bold policy India would be able to achieve $ 34 textile exports by 2010. Without the implementation of proposed changes in policies, the exports could stagnate at used $ 10 billion or even declines with the removal of quantitative restrictions by the major importing countries in 2005. The rapid growth of garment sector would help unify textile value chain, he emphasised. The revenue would increase from 3200 crore to Rs 7000 crore by 2010, he claimed.


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