L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Admn targets polluting auto-rickshaws
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
Cracking the whip on pollution levels in the city, the district administration has decided to target auto-rickshaws, which are the biggest source of air pollution in the city. As per a conservative estimate, there are around 20,000 to 25,000 auto-rickshaws plying on city roads, out of which only 6,000 have the valid permit.

To deal with the problem and weed out the illegally plying vehicles, the District Transport Department decided to issue a sticker to all auto-rickshaws which comply with the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act and have all their documents in order.

The owners of all auto-rickshaws have been directed to report to this office on all working days from November 11 to November 21 along with the registration certificate, permit, tax receipt, licence and pollution-under-control certificates of their vehicles. Sources said they plan to take off more than 10, 000 vehicles off the roads during the exercise.

Besides the pollution angle, it was also felt that the checking of autos by the traffic police and the department officials often causes to traffic jams on the busy roads.

Incidentally, Ludhiana is the first major city in this region where there is no public transport system and the population is more than 25 lakh. The city has developed in such a way that the roads are radial and converge into the old city, leading to traffic chaos. The plan for a ring road in the city has remained on paper only.

Putting an official stamp on Ludhiana being the most-polluted city after Delhi in the northern region, the authorities say that the level of pollution, especially air, had crossed all danger marks.

The statistics come close on heels of a declaration by the Centre Government recently that Ludhiana figures among the 27 most-polluted cities in the country.

According to figures got by Ludhiana Tribune, the suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the city is between 500 to 600 microgram, while the permissible limit is only 200 microgram. This data was procured from the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

The data regarding the presence of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen is also not less alarming. Both pollutants are equivalent to 80 microgram, while other cities in the state do not have more than 10 to 12 micrograms of these pollutants.

Besides pollution, overloading has become a common practice in this industrial hub for transporting goods on three-wheeler carriers.

In the old city area where roads are too narrow to transport goods on trucks, heavy vehicles and three-wheelers are used to supply articles in bulk as a large number of wholesalers have shops there.

According to the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) 1988, every commercial vehicle has specified weight limits as per the engine capacity of the vehicles. Moreover, as per the Act, goods carried in the vehicle should not exceed the weight limit passed by the State Transport Authority. 



Chinese economy sets agenda for Indian industry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
"The fear of cost competitiveness of Chinese products appears to be exaggerated. Not only can India hold on its own but has superior advantage in many crucial areas. Some of the important policy initiatives required for it to emerge as a global manufacturing power house are introduction of VAT at the rate below 15 per cent, flexible labour policy and de-reservation of industries in the small-scale sector. The industry on its part needs to upgrade technology, drive down costs, scale up and leverage on its managerial and technical skills. The language advantage, good quality high education and well-developed financial sectors are factors, which would buttress Indian industrial dynamism. The cultural and political underpinnings like plurality, freedom of movement and expression of dissent would provide long-term stability and social equilibrium."

These upbeat remarks were made by Mr Prafull Anubhai, a leading management consultant and Chief Executive of Arohi Consultants Ltd, Ahmedabad, while addressing members of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) at a seminar on “Competitiveness of Indian industry vis-a-vis China” here yesterday.

Commenting on the Chinese economy, Mr Anubhai said it was about 60 per cent larger than the Indian economy and it was driven by manufacturing sector. The share of the manufacturing sector in the Chinese economy was 35 per cent against 16 per cent in India. One major difference was the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) since almost 60 per cent of the Chinese exports of manufactured goods was associated with the FDI.

About high growth rates in China, he observed that Chinese growth had been driven both by domestic and export demand. Domestic consumption in many sectors had been far higher than in India. Quoting examples he said, "Chinese consumption of steel is five times that of India, CTV six times and air-conditioners 20 times. This has been mainly due to lower prices. In products like CTV, ceiling fans and computers, the prices are lower by more than 25 to30 per cent. The same holds true for the export sector. Thus, China dominates in items of mass production. Higher Chinese productivity appears to be associated with flexible labour laws and scale efficiencies due to standardised production. For example, in apparel making Chinese production per worker is 35 against 22 in India, for shoe making 11against three and 53 fans against 35."

Talking of Indian industry, he remarked that the Indian production had higher quality and greater product diversity. This was due to the bias against size and imports in India in the era of Nehruvian economics until 1991. Indian industry like IT, which was untouched by heavy handed regulations and was driven by high skills, had far outperformed over its Chinese counter part. The same went true of other industries like pharmaceuticals, high quality textiles, auto components, two wheelers etc.

Earlier introducing the subject, Mr V.K Goyal, general secretary, LMA, said the geographical and size proximity were the only things that made India and China two seemingly comparable countries. But the comparison ended there only. A decade ago, India and China had roughly the same GDP. But at US $ 440, India’s current GDP per capita at present was only half that of China’s and was growing at less than 6 percent a year, compared with China’s close to 10 per cent. In the year 2000 alone, China attracted a FDI of US $ 40 billion whereas India’s aggregate FDI for the period spanning 1991 to 2000 stood at only half than sum.

Mr Anil Kumar, vice- president, LMA, in his presidential remarks termed the China’s development strategy as pragmatic. They were not spreading their resources but were rather concentrating on development efforts in a few coastal cities and encouraging the formation of clusters. These regions had achieved a fairly high degree of affluence, and were emerging as attractive investment destinations. “India needs to learn four basic lessons from China. First of all, to formulate policies which focus on higher growth. Second is to learn how to implement the policies with perfect execution, third is to pay due importance to the scale of operations and the fourthly how to attract greater foreign investment by facilitating the relocation of industries from around the world in India.”

The seminar was attended by more than 330 industrialists, management professionals, entrepreneurs, bankers, academicians and student members of the association.



Factory worker stripped, beaten up
Tribune News Service

Bhag Raj SharmaLudhiana, October 31
A migrant factory worker has fractured his arm after he was allegedly stripped and beaten by some employees of the factory after he refused to work at the contractor’s house.

Bhag Raj Sharma, alias Bhagirath, who had been working in Guddu Dyeing in Mundian Kalan, was allegedly beaten by his contractor when he refused to work in his house. He was allegedly stripped and beaten up mercilessly with rods due to which he broke his right arm on October 23. He was admitted to a local hospital where he was operated upon.

Narrating his tale, Bhag Raj said he had gone to the factory on the morning of October 23 where his contactor asked him to do some work at his house. He refused as he said that he was employed for the factory job. He was allegedly forced to quit the job and his dues were paid to him. He added that when he had left for home, he was called by the Manager to restart working as the contractor had ‘‘forgiven’’ him. He went to the factory where he was allegedly beaten up with an iron rod.

He has complained to the Division No 6 police but no case has been registered so far. 



Dengue threat looms large
MC turns blind eye to insanitary conditions
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
Persons suffering from dengue fever are on the rise and majority of the victims are residents of localities where sanitary conditions are very poor. Insanitary conditions prevail in large number of localities of the city like Salem Tabri, Shimla Puri, Haibowal Kalan. A large number of residents of Ashok Nagar and New Ashok Nagar are in the grip of this fever.

A visit to these localities revealed many migrant labourers have left for their native places, leaving the factory owners in the lurch, due to the fear of this disease. The factory owners in the area are facing the labour problem as many of the workers, due to poor health, are unable to attend to their work. Mr Bhatia, a factory owner of the area, said due to dengue threat in the area many of his workers were absent.

Mr Mahendra Sharma, a factory worker in that area, says, “This year a lot of my fellow workers are in grip of this fever. The municipal corporation has neither done any fogging nor done any cleaning of the drains. With the results mosquitoes have made our lives miserable. We poor people cannot afford to buy expensive capsules that doctors prescribe. Two capsules cost Rs 25 and those who are sick have to eat for many days. It takes them three weeks to recover. So they lose money for those three weeks as they are unable to work and have to spend so much more on medicines. With the result, the workers are under a lot of debt. Physical weakness coupled with financial tension is driving them crazy.”

Another worker, Anemaka from Bihar, said many of his colleagues had spent Rs 3,000 on medication and still did not get well. He said, “When they were earning Rs 1,500 in a month, they had to take money on loan to pay for treatment.

Santosh, another worker, said a lot of people in Ashok Nagar were suffering only due to insanitary conditions but the municipal corporation was doing nothing.



Principals asked to take lead in eradicating dengue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
As part of the campaign to check the spread of dengue in the city, the district administration today distributed 30,000 pamphlets containing information regarding preventive measures and information about the life cycle of Aedes mosquito, precautions and symptoms of dengue among the principals of the schools in the city. These pamphlets would be distributed among students to create awareness about the disease.

These pamphlets were distributed at a special meeting of principals and officers concerned under the chairmanship of Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, with a view to involving the students in the campaign.

Addressing the meeting, the Deputy Commissioner said dengue cases were also being reported from posh localities along with other colonies. He asked the people to clear the breeding spots of mosquitoes i.e. coolers, pots and pits, etc. in their houses and keep the surroundings clean.

The principals were asked to tell the students to wear full-sleeve shirts and trousers and educate them about the preventive measures and to eradicate the breeding of mosquitoes. He said the students should also be asked to further create awareness in their families and get the feedback regarding the implementation of preventive measures.

The mosquitoes that cause dengue bite during the day time in the arms or legs. The district administration had put in place many fumigation machines to fumigate the different parts of the city and publicised the schedule in more than 70 localities of the city. The fumigation would be carried out thrice in every locality after a gap of one week each. The principals were asked to get information through the students regarding the operation in their localities. In case of failure on part of the designated team to fumigate as per the schedule, the principals were asked to inform the three nominated officers.

The principals assured that they would educate the students positively during the morning assembly for around 10 minutes daily and would further ask the class teachers to ensure the transmission of message to their families.

Mr S.N. Tiwari, Civil Surgeon, said the prevailing symptoms of dengue were severe pain, low blood pressure and vomiting. He appealed the people to immediately get the patient tested for dengue in case symptoms appear so that the treatment could be started at the initial stage.

Meanwhile, 96 new patients suspected with dengue were admitted to local DMC Hospital from various parts of the northern region.



MC House meeting postponed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
The general House meeting of the Municipal Corporation which was to be held here today after a gap of nearly four months has once again been postponed indefinitely.
A brief notice pasted on the main gate of the MC headquarters said that on the verbal orders of the city Mayor, the house meeting fixed for October 31 had been postponed. Fresh dates and time for the meeting would be announced later, it added.

A large number of councillors from the ruling Congress as well as other parties, including the SAD-B and the BJP, who were unaware that the meeting had been called off, reached the MC office at the stipulated time. Many of them were seen fuming and fretting over the failure of the civic authorities to intimate them regarding the postponement of the meeting.

Some SAD and BJP councillors claimed that the meeting had been deliberately put off at the eleventh hour by the political leadership in the MC, as it was afraid of facing the wrath of the opposition councillors over several crucial issues.

It may be mentioned that the councillors belonging to the main opposition parties in the MC, the SAD-B and the BJP had been holding hectic parleys since afternoon yesterday in a bid to evolve an effective strategy to attack the ruling party on various matters of public interest.

The simmering discontent among some of the ruling party councillors against the leadership had also manifested itself, as certain groups of Congress councillors had also held meetings during the past few days to find out ways to express their dissent in the house.



DC administers oath of rededication
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, October 31
To observe the death anniversary of former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi as the rededication day, a function was organised at Mini Secretariat here today. Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, presided over the function and administered the oath of rededication toward the country to the participants.

Paying tributes to Indira Gandhi, the Deputy Commissioner said she was a far sighted leader, who lead the country to the new heights at the international level. He said she had also made substantial contribution for the strengthening of peace in the entire world.

The Deputy Commissioner said she had made great sacrifice for the unity and integrity of the country and the people of India would continue to seek inspiration from her in the future. He appealed to the people to pledge to rededicate themselves for the national integration and preserve the units of the country.

Among others who were present on this occasion included Mr Prem Chand SDM East, Mr M.S. Jaggi, Assistant Commissioner (G), Mr M.S. Sandhu. DTO, Mr A.K. Sharma, Deputy Director Small Savings, Mr Surinder Kumar, District Programme Officer. Such functions were also held at all the subdivision headquarters, where the concerned SDMs administered the oath of rededication among the participants.

A similar function was also held at Rajguru Nagar in which Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, president of the association of the terrorism-affected. He said Indira Gandhi had worked a lot to improve the financial state of the country. He said she presented many problems of the country at the international levels. Others present included Prof Jeewan Dass Bawa, Mr Surinder Pal Cheema, Mr Gurbhej Chhabra, Mr Harchand Singh Dhir and Mr Dharamvir.

The District Congress Committee also organised a function in its bhavan near Clock Tower. Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Higher Education, presided over the function. Addressing the gathering, he urged the members to follow the footsteps of former Prime Minister. He said during her leadership, the Congress had emerged as the most powerful party. He said rising to the post of the PM, she had worked for the welfare of the common man. Others present included Mr Ashwini Sharma, Mr Parminder Mehta, Mr Brij Mohan Sharma and Mr Sukhwinder Bittu. 



Scanty staff: Post office sees long queues
Bhushan Sood

Amloh, October 31
With a motive to build public opinion in privatisation of public sector institutions, the Union and state governments have made a policy of reducing the staff in government offices by abolishing the posts of employees on their superannuation. No fresh recruitment is made against the vacant posts and the worst sufferer of this policy is the public.

The deterioration in postal services has caused much hardships to the public. The public has to wait for long hours standing in queues at Amloh post office for their turn. The higher postal authorities are busy in cutting expenditure at the cost of precious time of the public which has over burdened its staff. The staff has to work for over time for the satisfaction of the customers and they have not been paid any thing for the over time.

The post office at Amloh was established before Independence when the population of the town was around 2,000. One postman was appointed at that time. Now the population has grown 20 times and many educational institutions and offices have come up. So the work load of the postman has increased manifold. He has to deliver around 4,000 telephone bills. Whenever the postman proceeds on leave, another postman is sent on deputation for leave arrangement, who is not well acquainted with the people of the town. Many letters are missed which included appointment letters, interview letters or roll numbers of the students. On many requests made by the public to the Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Patiala, or to the Union Minister have failed to bring any positive results.

One sub-postmaster and only one clerk have to deal with work of many seats simultaneously and they have to face the public wrath as the latter has to wait for their turn for a long time. The only clerk in the post office has to handle the booking of money orders, registered letters, receipt of telephone bills which are time bound, operation of monthly income scheme pass books by making entries into the registers and the pass books of the account holders. Savings bank accounts, PPF accounts, sale of national saving certificates (NSC), Kisan Vikas Patars besides the sale of postal stamps.

The post office has been running in a rented private one-room building which has no toilets or drinking water facilities for the public. A single clerk in the post office had issued 517 phone tariff receipts to the subscriber in a single day besides attending other duties. Public annoyance and some mistakes are natural with the over burdened staff. It is the duty of a public welfare state to look after the difficulties faced by the public.



A walk with a mission
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
A retired railway employee will undertake a ‘rashtra chetna padyatra’ to sensitise the people to the ills plaguing the country and the need for countering them at the earliest.

The 66-year-old Manjit Rai Bhardwaj will undertake the yatra from November 4 and aims to cover all states. Although no cut-off date has been fixed for completing this laudable effort, yet the journey of more than 30,000 km will take at least three years.

Talking to TNS, Mr Bhardwaj said he was moved by the reports of the increasing incidents of communal violence and the rising crime graph in the country. “I felt that I had to do something and decided that a chetna yatra was the best option. This is not to claim that it will change the outlook of the people but then someone has to do something. But I am of the view that if I am able to reach out to a few people and they take a pledge to help their fellow brethren, my mission will be successful”, he added.

Unfortunately, he has not found any sponsors for this effort despite doing the rounds of several social organisations and industrial houses. Unable to convince them of his efforts, he has now decided to foot the bill from his own finances. His family members have encouraged him to go ahead with his plans.

The Punjab Pradesh Panthers Party has extended support to him and will make efforts to contact their units across the country. The unit has also expressed their anguish over the way the Central Government, the Punjab Government and the local administration ignored and belittled his efforts. No aid or help has come from any government or semi-government agencies which are busy promoting greater unity among the masses.

The unit has demanded provision of security to Mr Bhardwaj in disturbed areas and arrangements for his stay at night and food during the yatra. Besides this, arrangements for his medical check-up and medicines during the journey period.



Govt ignores human rights panel’s recommendation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
Showing scant respect for the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, the state government has ignored its recommendation of posting a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) outside this district “to provide relief” to a local industrialist’s family from his alleged harassment and has retained him here.

In a police reshuffle effected last evening, the government has shifted him to the post of DSP (city-I) from the position of DSP (city-II). It was at this post that he was alleged involved, along with a local police Inspector, in the harassing city industrialist Shammi Kapoor and his relatives .

The Commission had, in orders passed on October 17 last, strongly recommended the transfer of the cops outside the district to “protect” the industrialist and his family members from the alleged fear of the cops.

Human right laws expert-cum-social activist Charanjit Bakshi says that not implementing the orders amounts to contempt of court. He said under Section 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993, the Commission can recommend any action, after an inquiry, and ask for action taken report.

A division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, headed by Justice R S Mongia (now retired as Chief Justice), had said that the orders of the PSHRC must be given due respect and adhered to.

It says that the word “recommendation” in the PSHRC orders interpreted in the light of the constitution of the commission means that the government listens to the Commission and if this is not the case, the purpose of having such a body is defeated. The High Court has also observed in several cases that the recommendation of the PSHRC should be given respect.

The inquiry officer, Mr J.R. Singla, Additional District and Sessions Judge (retd), had stated in his report that the cops, DSP Gurjit Singh and Inspector Devinder Kumar, former SHO Division No. 8 (Kailash Police Station) in connivance with the city businessman Narinder Kapoor, had falsely implicated the industrialist Shammi Kappor in a fraud case and tortured his relatives, forcing them to pay huge money to the cops and the businessman.

Mr B.C. Rajput, Member (PSHRC), had in orders dated October 17, 2003 , said that the Commission upholds the request of the complainant regarding the transfer of the cops as they have threatened him (Shammi Kapoor) with dire consequences and were interfering with the inquiry in the case.



Rotarians asked to encourage eye donation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
Dr Ramesh, Director, Punarjot Eye Bank of Punjab, delivered a talk on the “Role of Rotarians in eye donation” here yesterday at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club Ludhiana North. He requested the Rotarians to spread awareness about eye donation amongst the masses.

Talking to the Rotarians, he said there were around 3 million blind people in India and amongst them 10 lakh were children. Around 8 million people died every year while only 22,000 eyes were donated last year, out of which only 352 eye transplants were carried out in Punjab. He explained the process of preservation of eyes and transplantation. He said if people donated their eyes, the problem of blindness could be tackled effectively.

Dr S.S. Johl, while appreciating the information given by Dr Ramesh, pledged his eyes and body for medical purposes. Dr S.S. Johl also donated a sum of Rs 50,000 for educational scholarships to the Rotary Club. He had received the amount yesterday from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital for his lecture on “Medical Education and Health System”.

Ms Amrita Singh, president Rotract Club, Government College for Women, also attended the meeting and promised to motivate students to donate their eyes. Fifty donor pledge forms were handed over to Dr Ramesh by Mr R.S. Behal, secretary. Mr R.S. Vij introduced the guest speaker and Dr S.S. Johl proposed the vote of thanks.



CPM denies reports
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
The CPM has denied the alleged reports published in the name of the party in which it has been said that it is supporting the doctors who are involved in a kidney scandal. While stating that it had nothing to do with such misleading statements, it demanded stern legal action against such anti-social doctors and also called for their social boycott.

In a press statement, the state committee member and the district committee secretary of the CPM, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon, said that the CPM was a responsible national party and could not lend support to such deceit and exploitation of poor people. It declares its total support to the oppressed people, who have been made victims by such traders in the garb of doctors.



National meet on disability

Ludhiana, October 31
The Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre for Blind/Disabled, Haibowal Road, in association with the All India Confederation of the Blind and the Rehabilitation Council of India-North Zone will hold a national conference on “Escap Extended Decade of the Disabled” on November 1 and 2 at the Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre (VRTC), Haibowal.

Around 150 delegates from all over India will participate in the conference. The Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Mr A. Raja, will inaugurate the conference. OC



Insurance co. targets common man
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
“United India Insurance Company, a public sector insurance company, is trying to undertake a paradigm shift by reaching out to the common man. Efforts are being made to provide insurance safeguards in the form of universal health insurance, mediclaim, personal accident, janta personal accident, householder policy, shopkeeper insurance, cattle insurance and vehicles insurance to the common man.”

Stating this, Mr V. Ramasaami, General Manager of the company, claimed that the company was aiming at an increase in the business by more than 30 per cent and had also embarked upon aggressive marketing, particularly in universal health insurance — a policy launched recently by the Prime Minister.

Mr Ramasaami, along with an AGM, Mr S. Sundaresan, is on a visit to the regional office of the company in the city. He held a series of meetings with the SDMs/DMs of the company to emphasise upon them the importance of necessity of insurance for the common man.

The Regional Manager of the company, Mr R.S. Singhal, said the company was second largest insurance company in the country. The market share of the company in the city was highest among all other players in the field and according to current indications the region was set to achieve a premium turnover of Rs 100 crore this year.



Biz clip

LAUNCHED: The Honda Siel Cars India has launched the new Honda City 1.5 version vehicle here today .The car is available for display and demonstration at Prestige Honda showroom. It is beautifully designed car with a futuristic built. This is available in both manual and automatic transmission. The new Honda City is fitted with advance technology like IDS engine, which assures good mileage and low maintenance. The car is available in seven colours. OC


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