L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Traffic congestion hits business
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 12
Shopkeepers and traders in the prime commercial area of Chaura Bazar and surrounding Clock Tower, Railway Station Road (old GT Road) and Girja Ghar markets are harassed lot due to traffic congestion and encroachments.

Chaura Bazar, which used to attract shoppers not only from the city and its suburbs, but also from far off places in the state during past several years, has fallen victim to unregulated traffic movement and slack enforcement as far as the removal of encroachments are concerned.

So bad is the traffic congestion all along the old GT Road right from Jagraon Bridge to old Sabzi Mandi and from the Clock Tower Chowk right up to the Ghas Mandi Chowk that at times it becomes difficult, even to walk through these markets. This has adverse impact on business in the areas.

The access to this part of the city from across the west of railway line, both from Jagraon Bridge and Domoria Bridge sides, being difficult, and vehicular movement through all these markets simply being a no the shoppers, particularly from elite class of society have slowly but surely shifted to other commercial centres like Mall Road, Ghumar Mandi, Sarabha Nagar and Pakhowal Road, markets, where vehicular access is easier.

The ongoing work on the Elevated Road project from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema on the old GT Road has also compounded the misery of the business community as a good part of the middle of the road on the entire stretch has been cordoned off to raise pillars, which will support the road.

The trading community, which is bearing the brunt of the adverse conditions for quite some time now, strongly feel that the administration (the Traffic police and the Municipal Corporation in this case) will do well to start with restricting movement of mini buses and autorickshaws, to check traffic congestion around the Clock Tower Chowk and the entire stretch of old GT Road.

The shopkeepers, from the Chaura Bazar and Clock Tower Chowk areas, in a signed representation to the civic body chief, have called for immediate and effective measures to bring some semblance of order in the traffic movement in these commercial areas.



Government colony in pathetic condition
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 12
The government colony (CRPF colony) in Urban Estate (Phase I) on Dugri road is in a pathetic condition with most of the houses in a state of utter disrepair and general lack of other amenities and infrastructural facilities like good roads, streetlights, safe drinking water and parks. The colony is inhabited by around 800 serving government employees, to whom the flats have been given on rent.

In a memorandum submitted to the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr H.S. Hanspal, the Government Rented Colony Welfare Association has pointed out that the colony was developed way back in 1983 and was under the occupation of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) till 1996. Since no maintenance work and repairs of the flats were carried out during the intervening period, these were in a poor condition when allotments were made to the government employees after 1996.

According to Mr Vijay Kumar Sharma, president of the association, the employees, now living in these flats, had almost without exception, spent anything between Rs 20,000 and Rs 50,000 for wood work, electrical fixtures and fitting and obtaining power connections at their own level to make these flats worth living. The allottees were contributing 20 per cent of their salary every month towards the rent and 50 per cent of the money thus collected was supposed to be spent towards periodic repairs, which had not been done even once till now as confirmed by the Public Works Department of the Punjab Government.

The association has asked the government that in the wake of heavy expenditure incurred by the employees on these flats, these should be permanently allotted to the occupants at a reasonable price fixed by the administration as a special case. The cost of the flats could be recovered from the allottees in monthly installments, to be deducted from their salaries.

The PPCC chief has been urged to use his good offices to impress upon the government to concede the genuine demand of the employees and also to take up with the PWD to ensure periodic repair and maintenance of the flats during the intervening period.



Voter roll revision from Nov 17
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
The special revision of voter rolls in the district will be carried out from November 17 to December 8, according to Mr Anurag Verma, District Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner.

The exercise for all Assembly constituencies in the district will be undertaken following a directive from the Election Commission. The rolls will be displayed in the registration offices across the district and people can submit their objections and applications for registration during this period. The claims will be settled by January 15 next and the finalised rolls will be published on January 20.

Mr Verma said a special drive would be held on December 6 and 7 so that the maximum number of persons could avail themselves of the benefit. People could approach the staff to be deployed at their respective polling stations and get a receipt for their applications on the spot.

Those wishing to submit their revision, claims and objections would have to submit form 6 and form 7 for registration of name, form 8 for objecting to the inclusion of ineligible persons, form 8-A for rectifying mistakes in entries and forms ID, ECI, EPIC - 004 for getting the faults in the voter cards rectified.

The forms can be taken from the designated officers, besides the office of the electoral officer. These can also be taken from the offices of the nagar panchayat and patwarkhanas between November 17 and December 8.



Electoral rolls to be revised

Amloh, November 12
The first revision of electoral rolls in the Amloh assembly constituency will be held from November 17 to December 12, according to a press note by Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM-Cum-Electoral Registration Officer, Amloh, here today.

Officers for poll duty at all polling stations and booths have been appointed. They will remain present at their respective places of duty from November 17 to December 8 to receive objections and appeals. Fresh votes will be enrolled on Form No.6 of those persons who qualify the age condition as on January 1,2004. OC


Man alleges daughter’s abduction
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 12
Mr Chand Kumar of Bhola Colony, Tajpur Road, has alleged that his minor daughter, missing since October 13 had been actually lured by one of his neighbours and had been sent to Uttar Pradesh with a migrant labourer, who lived in the same street. Even after lodging a complaint with the police, the whereabouts of the girl were still not known.

In a written complaint to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Ludhiana Range, Mr Chand Kumar stated that his 13-year-old daughter Sunita Rani was missing since October 13.

He alleged that Ram Saran of Bootahan village, in Basti district of Uttar Pradesh, who was residing in the same street, in connivance with other neighbours, had abducted his minor daughter.

The complainant alleged that his daughter used to visit Ms Sheela Rani, a neighbour. The accused, Ram Saran, along with Umesh of Belghat, also used to visit Ms Sheela Rani. He said Ram Saran, Umesh, Sheela Rani, Moti Lal and Algo were also missing since then.

He made some enquiries and found that a gang used to lure teenaged girls and get them married in rich families. After solemnising fake marriages, the gang used to force the girls into prostitution, he added.



Relief in the offing for steel consumers
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
At last there is some relief in the offing for the steel consumers, particularly in the small-scale industrial sector. It is learnt that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has taken serious note of the sharp rise in the steel prices because of the alleged cartelisation by the five big manufacturers in the country.

Sources in the local industry revealed that the PMO had convened a special meeting on the issue which was among others attended by the Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister, Mr S. Narayan, Steel Secretary Ms Binoo Sen, Revenue Secretary, Ms Vanita Rain, and Finance Secretary, Mr D.C. Gupta.

The meeting decided to monitor the pricing of the steel by the local manufacturers for at least one month. In case, the steel manufacturers do not keep the prices under control the government may lower the custom duty on the import of steel, a long-pending demand of the small-scale industry.

Right now there is heavy custom duty on the import of steel, which provides an edge to the local steel manufacturers, including the SAIL, Ispat India, Tisco, Essar and Jindals. The big five are allegedly manipulating the prices in such a way that the prices of steel in the international market are less than in the domestic market.

Since steel happens to be the basic raw material for the industry, it has been crying hoarse for last about a year for regulating the steel prices and reducing the custom duty on its import. The meeting reportedly decided to give one-month time to the steel producers lest the government may think to take some stringent measures.

Although the government had relaxed the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) specification for the import of steel, but it did not make any significant difference to the rising steel prices. Now the government is learnt to be contemplating to lower the custom duty on the import of steel, which, in case lowered, shall be applicable from the fourth quarter of this financial year.

The meeting also considered the possibility of reducing the excise duty on steel so that steel for secondary sector can be available at cheaper prices.

Meanwhile, the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, has suggested that the excise duty may also be lowered on sponge iron and imported scrap, besides banning the export of sponge iron.



Workers’ union stages demonstration
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
The Punjab Wool Combers Employees and Workers Union today staged a demonstration against the management for its failure to fulfil its demands in front of the Assistant Labour Commissioner’s office.

The workers alleged that they had not been paid salaries for April, May and October.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Jagdish Chander, joint secretary of the CITU, alleged that a memorandum had been submitted to the management and the Assistant Labour Commissioner two months ago, but no action had been taken so far.

The employees alleged that they had not been paid the bonus for two years, medical allowance and LTA for eight years. Besides, there were several other demands, which the management was reluctant to consider. They claimed that they were left with no option but to stage a demonstration against the management.



Plea to remove corrupt officials
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 12
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee secretary, Mr Parminder Mehta, has supported the plea by Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, Chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), to remove the corrupt elements from the body so that the developmental works can be carried out in the city smoothly.

Mr Garcha maintained that even after a number of trust employees had been nabbed by the Vigilance Bureau on the charges of corruption and amassing of assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, there were at least 15 more such employees in the LIT, with very long periods of posting, who were hindering developmental works.

In a statement here today, Mr Mehta expressed his anguish that even after the newly appointed chairman of the LIT had gone public with his observations and had apprised the minister concerned as well as the senior officers of his practical problems in the day-to-day working, the government had not taken any action.

The PPCC secretary called upon the government to initiate a high-level probe into the amassing of vast properties, including benami assets, by such employees after shifting them from their present place of posting and order a comprehensive reshuffle of the staff in the LIT. The role of certain influential colonisers and some officials of the LIT, who had stood in the way of development of residential and commercial schemes in order to promote their own business interests, also needed to be looked into thoroughly to expose such persons, Mr Mehta remarked.



Hectic electioneering at PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
Hectic electioneering is underway for the election to the Punjab Agricultural University Employees’ Union to be held on November 14.

Mr D.P. Maur of the PAU Employees’ Forum and his team is contesting the election in alliance with the PAU Employees’ Federat-ion (Pillai) along with the PAU Employees Seva Dal. The PAU Employees’ Progressive Front (Annar Group) headed by Mr Avinash Sharma, the Tractor Drivers’ Association and the Drivers and Cleaners Association have already pledged their support to the Maur group.

Mr Maur, a candidate for the post of the president of the union, while addressing the gathering before College of Agricultural Engineering elaborated their main achievements during the past eight years.



Austerity measures at what cost?

WHO is the Municipal Commissioner trying to impress with his austerity measures, highlighted in Ludhiana Tribune on Nov 8, wherein he has claimed to have saved Rs 9 crore during the last financial year? Refuting the allegations made by the councillors, about the tendering process in the corporation, the same Commissioner had, however, claimed a saving of Rs. 28 crore during the last one-and-a-half years in the execution of civic works, sinking of tube wells and other major project.

Being an experienced officer, he would have gone through the financial rules which require every government servant to manage the public funds in such a way as a prudent man would spend his own money. There has to be a limit to the megalomania of a person.

What use is such an austerity which has increased the miseries of the residents? How could he remain oblivious of the media reports and citizen’s feedback, deploring the miserable civic conditions appearing almost daily in the local press? Even during the last week (Nov 5th) the Ludhiana Tribune had carried a report stating that good credit balance is no consolation for the people who do not get regular drinking water, who are often caught in traffic snarls due to non-functional traffic lights, who have to take bumpy rides, thanks to poor condition of roads and much more.

People reeling under the heavy burden of direct and indirect taxes and levies imposed by the government will not longer be satisfied with the misleading press statements and promises about the so -called development works, but go by the ground realities. They have every right to demand high standard of living conditions and pollution free environs in the city.

There has been no maintenance expenditure on parks, the green lungs of the city, for the last 2 years, which would have easily given the corporation a saving of more than Rs 1.50 crores. Similar is the case so far the maintenance of street lights is concerned. Whenever a complaint is lodged, the stock reply one gets is that there are no spares in the stock. Most of the people especially ladies have stopped early morning walks in the parks and roads. While the public is suffering the maintenance staff is idling away their time at public expense.

Needless to add that the beautifully landscaped Leisure Valley created at an investment of Rs 1 crore has rapidly degenerated after the corporation took over its maintenance w.e.f. 1-4-2003, for want of proper upkeep inspite of the fact that more than 400 regular visitors had submitted a written memorandum to the M.C., highlighting the deteriorating conditions of the park, as was reported through these columns on 15-8-2003.

But who cares? While the park is degrading with each passing day, the corporation is busy in saving funds for lending to the cash starved state government. Moreover it is waste of the tax payer’s hard earned money if the assets created are not properly maintained.

S.S. Chana, Ludhiana


In accordance with the Punjab Government letter dated 30.5.1990, the commuted portion of pension in respect of persons who retired voluntarily, is to be restored after 15 years of the commutation of pension or on attaining the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.

For example, if a person retired voluntarily at the age of 45, his commuted portion of pension will be restored at the age of 60. If another person retired voluntarily at the age of 57, his commuted portion of pension will be restored at the age of 70.

Yash Paul Ghai, Ludhiana

Traditional values on the decline

These days the values of life have undergone a drastic change. In the bygone days, people cherished certain set of values such as sincerity, truthfulness, honesty, personal loyalty, friendliness, a sense of brotherhood but above all the fear of God.

If one would give somebody his word, he would adhere to it no matter what. The fear of society (samaj) and peers was a great deterrent to wean away a person from wrong deeds. Parents adhered to self discipline and imposed the same on their offsprings. They kept a keen watch on the activities of their children and would guide them in every sphere of life. They were taught to respect their elders and seek blessings from them in the very beginning. This prepared the children to face hard realities of life in the later years. History is replete with the name of such heroes who were brought up by their parents with such values.

Teachers were held in high esteem, who in turn treated their students as their own children. Teachers used to spot intelligent students from the very start of the session and would mark them for special attention. All sort of help was given to them to achieve results in their studies. The students too were obedient to their teachers and they carried out instructions of the teachers very faithfully.

Now the phenomena has undergone a sea-change. The values of life have been discarded. Man has become totally materialistic. He wants to become rich overnight. He is ready to adopt all sorts of foul means to achieve his aim.

TV, aptly called the idiot box, is the real villain in shaping such distorted thinking. The youth is going wayward. Their exposure to TV is leading man to crime. Some teenagers have committed murders after seeing programmes in TV in which crime is glorified. Life has become very fast and one has no time to stand and stare and ponder over his actions.

The only rescue from this disaster is to coolly meditate over this fast deteriorating situation and think of remedial measures. A strong faith in character building and morality be instilled in the younger generation. Parents have to set their own example. They will have to be role model for the generation . Discipline and values of time are the assets on which nations are built.

S.L. Katyal, Ludhiana

Road development programme

The Municipal Corporation (MC), Ludhiana is launching a road development programme in the city areas (Ludhiana Tribune, 12.10.2003), under which recarpeting of roads, as also widening and strengthening of roads at places, will be done. Long overdue, it is a step forward in the civic amenities. It has been noticed that the road in front of Sacred Heart Convent School, Sarabha Nagar, has gone raised somewhat markedly owing to previous repeated carpeting with bitumen, etc.

The same, therefore, needs to be levelled aligning with the sub bases of the buildings of the school and a residential neighbourhood so that the accumulated rainwater might not enter the premises of the school and the living accommodations and create problems for the school as well as the residents. On its western side, is situated the Leisure Valley Park of the city. Therefore, the stretch of road if relayed with cement concrete keeping its level a little lower than those of confluent entry/exit roads and its sides (berm) planted with ornamental trees and flowering and herbal shrubs, will give an effect or appearance of a valley. These changes will not only enhance the beauty of the landscape of the park but also give a certain relief to people from the most difficult and expensive task of increasing the plinth level of buildings situated on the said road. The Convent School authorities may also consider innovatively beautifying the boundary wall at places.

Dr Gurkirpal Singh, Ludhiana


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