Monday, June 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Gale, rain lash city; many areas flooded early morning
One child electrocuted; extensive damage to property reported
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 4 — The city and the surrounding areas were today hit by a gale that flooded most parts of the city. It also resulted in the death of one child and serious burn injuries to another because of electrocution in Ganeshpuri area and loss of property in various parts of the city.

According to the information available, Sunny and Ram Naresh were electrocuted when an electric cable snapped from a nearby pole and fell on the flooded street. While Sunny (14) died on the spot, Ram Naresh was rushed to the local Christian Medical College and Hospital in a serious condition.

Elsewhere in the city, reports about large-scale damage to property were also received.

In Punjab Agricultural University, the roof projection of the house under the possession of a soil scientist, Dr Josan, gave way and fell on top of his car parked underneath it—crushing it with its weight. Luckily, Dr Josan's son was saved only by a few inches when the projection collapsed.

Life in the city had come to a sudden halt when the rains started around 7.00 a.m. and heavy downpour continued for more than one and a half hour accompanied by high velocity winds. The city resembled a ghost town due to darkness with no power to cope with. Though the city generally comes to life around 8.00 a.m. each day with residents hurrying off to their workplaces, their was almost no activity in the city as late as 9. 30 a.m.

In almost the entire city, electric cables were snapped and most parts of the city were left without power supply for almost three hours. High- speed wind led to uprooting of several trees. At a number of places roads were blocked due these trees.

In localities like Dasmesh Nagar, Janakpuri, Dholewal Chowk, Dhookan Mohalla, parts of Kitchloo Nagar, Nimwala Chowk, Talaab Bazaar, Manju Cinema, New Shivaji Nagar etc, the roads remained flooded even three hours after the rain stopped.

Residents of these areas allege that because of the continuous raising of the level of the roads by the civic body over the years, small drains in these localities were buried underneath and the authorities had not made any provision for the drainage. Where provision for the drainage had been made, the drains were so choked with silt and other rags that the rain water could not be drained resulting in huge losses to the people running small businesses in these areas. Several traders pointed out that when their premises were flooded with rain water each year.

However, the rain showers were were welcomed by a section of people as these not only dispelled the heat wave, but also provided them an opportunity for fun and frolicking, with children splashing about in the rain water and also floating their paper boats.

Several city residents, unmindful of the havoc caused by the rain, also enjoyed sumptuous breakfast of pakoras, purees and halwa while enjoying the weather as was evident from the large queues of vehicles parked outside the shops of various halwais after the rain stopped. Back


Badal loyalists at daggers drawn
From Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, June 4 —The unsavoury violent clash between two groups of Badal loyalists led by Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia and Mr Avtar Singh Makkar which marred the nagar kirtan taken out on the eve of the martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev in the city on Saturday was in fact the culmination of long-drawn-out battle for supremacy and oneupmanship between the two SAD activists.

While firing shots in the air even in the face of gravest provocation during the nagar kirtan to perpetuate the memory of the great Sikh Guru has left a bad taste and is generally being looked down upon by the Sikh masses, the party circles say that the incident, though unprecedented during a religious congregation, was not completely unexpected. Supporters of the two groups have clashed several times on earlier occasions also and the ongoing battle was likely to continue till the SAD leadership decided the issue of presidentship of the District Akali Jatha, once for all, which is the bone of contention between the two factions.

In fact, the Akali ranks in the city have a long history of factionalism and dissensions and the urban unit of the District Akali Jatha have always been divided in two rival camps. Earlier, the local Akali activists were known as Tohra loyalists and Badal loyalists with a continuous tussle to let down each other. Before former President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Gurcharan Singh Tohra parted company with SAD chief Badal, Akali activists owing allegiance to him were in a commanding position with Thekedar Surjan Singh occupying the post of the Senior Vice-President of the party and the District Akali Jatha headed by another of his staunch supporters Mr Hira Singh Gabria.

Interestingly, it was during the presidentship of Mr Gabria that under a compromise formula Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, at that time supported by Mr Bhatia, was nominated the Senior Vice-President of the district unit of the party. But once Mr Tohra and Mr Badal parted company and the former set up his own faction the post of the district jathedar of SAD fell vacant with Mr Gabria, joining the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal formed by Mr Tohra. The two friends (Mr Bhatia and Mr Makkar) turned arch enemies, with both having their eyes on the coveted post of the district jathedar of the ruling party.

In the recent past, both factions have repeatedly approached the party leadership staking their claims to the district jathedar's post, but even after attempts by senior party leaders, including Finance Minister Kanwaljit Singh, party general secretary Balwinder Singh Bhunder and minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan, the issue could not be resolved leading to a brewing tension between the rival camps.

The SAD activists in the city blame the two warring factions for taking to street fighting to achieve their political motives. A senior party leader, visibly upset over the firing incident during the nagar kirtan, said on the condition of anonymity that it was alright to nurse political ambitions but it was altogether a different thing to go to such an extent and bring disrepute to the ruling party led by the Chief Minister himself.

That the fierce infighting in the district unit of SAD had sullied the reputation of the ruling party rather than achieving anything appeared to be the general consensus of a cross section of party ranks and files but at the same time many party activists held the party leadership responsible for bringing the situation to such a pass.

Meanwhile, the police had booked Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia and six others, including two supporters of Mr Makkar for the clash and firing gunshots during the nagar kirtan but no arrest had been made so far.Back


Nehru Rose Garden — a hub of yoga enthusiasts
From A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 4 —Anyone can live a normal, healthy life of 100 years. All that one has to do is to adopt the yogic way of life and do a few yogic asanas every morning.

This simple message sent out by Mr Tulsi Das Jetwani, patron, Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Yoga Sansthan, and Mr Krishan Lal Gupta, president of its Ludhiana unit, has attracted over the years thousands of men, women and children of all castes, creeds and religion to yoga and its almost miraculous cure for some of the common ailments which afflict human beings.

Every morning, hundreds of people in the age group of 5 to 95 gather in the Nehru Rose Garden of Ludhiana to do yogic exercises under the guidance of yoga experts provided by the Bharatiya Yoga Sansthan.

On the first Sunday of every month, yoga enthusiasts from all over Punjab gather at Rose Garden to do mass yoga exercises. “We don’t charge anything from anyone. It is all done on a voluntary basis. At the end of every session, milk is given to the yoga students by way of prasad. Yogic literature is also available on demand. All expenses are borne by the office-bearers and yoga lovers on a contributory basis,” says Mr Gupta in a talk with TNS.

It being the first Sunday of June, Rose Garden this morning was a beehive of activity with hundreds of men, women and children swarming all over the garden to attend the yoga classes. Many of them had come from Malerkotla, Mandi Ahmedgarh, Dehlon and Jagraon. The parking lot outside the Rose Garden was full of vehicles. The attendance at today’s yoga session was estimated by the organisers to be about 1100.

The yoga lovers spread their durries and bedsheets on the green grass in the lawns of the garden under open sky. As a cool morning breeze blew, they began carrying out yogic asanas under the watchful eye of the teachers. Two yoga experts — one woman and a man — sat on raised platforms to demonstrate the asanas to be carried out. A public address system had also been installed to enable the yogic teachers to give instructions to the enthusiasts.

Mr Suresh Chaudhary, Rotary Governor, District 3070, was the chief guest at today’s yoga session, which began at around five in the morning and concluded at 7 a.m. A talk was also given on the benefits and various aspects of the yoga asanas.

According to Mr Gupta, the yoga classes are attracting a large number of people with chronic and even hereditary problems like blood pressure, asthma and diabetes. Tension, stress and pollution is the bane of Ludhiana and a large number of patients suffer from diseases caused by these factors. “I am happy to say that in most cases, they get immediate relief. Yoga has a treatment for all kinds of ailments. Above all, it is a perfect means for body and soul and for the union of soul with God ... Once you start practising yoga, your entire way of life, your way of thinking and even your behaviour undergoes a change. Issues and problems which agitate you and seemed to be a matter of life and death would no longer bother you. It will induce positive thinking, improve your physical well-being and bring you nearer to God. What more can anyone ask?”

The Bharatiya Yoga Sansthan was established in Delhi 36 years ago. It was founded in Punjab by Mr Jetwani about 26 years ago. Since then, it has trained thousands of people in the yogic way of life. Mr Jetwani says that yoga is gaining popularity with each passing day. The younger generation, however, prefers to watch TV or sits in front of computer monitors rather than do so some physical exercise like yoga.

He is, however, encouraged by the fact that there is no dearth of yoga lovers at present. A leading farmer of Ludhiana has offered a 40-acre piece of land in Virk village, about 25 km from here, for the establishment of a yoga university together with a girls college and an old age home. A local industrialist has also offered monetary help for the setting up of a yoga university in Ludhiana.


Government draws plan for IT development
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 4 — The Punjab Government has chalked out a multi-pronged long-term strategy for information technology (IT) infrastructure development to promote both IT industry and human resource development in IT, while at the same time ushering in electronic governance for open and efficient administration through the deployment of information technology.

A paper on IT strategy and action plan of the Punjab Government released by Mr Nirmaljit Singh Kalsi, Director, Technical Education and Industrial Training, Punjab at the computer education awareness workshop for government employees at the PAU here recently listed various committments of the state government to achieve this objective.

Among these are creation of a new department of information system and administrative reforms, making a provision of 1 per cent of total budget amounting to Rs 25 crore for IT implementation, plans to invest more than Rs 100 crores on IT in next 3 years and directing each government department to draw up a five-year strategic information technology action plan.

The projections made in the paper assert that the number of online people throughout the world would reach a staggering 1000 million in the year 2002 from just 100 million in the current year. In the same period, the web servers would increase by 20 times to 100 million, the E-business establishments numbering around 40,000 would cross the one million mark and the Internet economy would register an astonishing growth of 1625 per cent at a whopping 1,300 billion US dollars.

According to the paper, Punjab should have a target share of $ 7 billion from IT related business by the year 2008, out of which 2 billion dollars should be generated by IT services, 1 billion dollars each by software products and and E-business and another 3 billion dollars from IT enabled services. To achieve the targeted share of revenue, the state would require at least 2 lakh trained IT professionals in next 8 years.

In order to promote IT literacy, not only among students of engineering colleges, polytechnics and other professional instituions, but also among school children, particularly in rural areas, the government would lay emphasis on building IT education infrastructure in a phased manner, the paper goes on. While most of the engineering colleges, polytechnics, government and private industrial training institutes (ITIs) and professional colleges were equipped to impart computer education, the government has roped in IT industry leaders like NIIT, Aptech, Tulec to launch computer education in 2500 schools all over the state with private participation. Initially, the scheme would be aimed at making the school children computer literate and thereafter offer industry recognised training courses.

That IT industry would become a major focus area for future industrialisation is evident when Mr Kalsi mentions in the paper that an IT cluster would emerge in Mohali region with SOFTOP (Software town of Punjab), technology corridor, knowledge valley, venture capital opportunities and IT education. In addition, major towns including Ludhiana and Jalandhar would become IT infrastructure development centres.

Five global institutes of science and technology (GIST) being funded and promoted by a group of NRIs (ex-IITians) in India also find a mention in the paper which maintains that Punjab was making a serious bid for at least one such institute of high learning like Stanford, Harvard, MIT etc.

The Punjab delegation which visited Silicon Valley, had strongly pleaded with the promoters for one GIST, each of which would be worth 250 million US dollars, concludes Mr Kalsi in his paper.Back


Harassed NRI vows not to return 
From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 4 —It was not just his business interests here but also a strong love for his motherland that brought NRI Sandeep Gupta from the United Kingdom to this mega city almost twice a year. But a series of unsavoury incidents and alleged harassment by his estranged former business partner has led him to take a vow of not to come to India again.

Mr Sandeep Gupta, a resident of Pudsy, Leeds, alleges that he has been going through a nightmarish experience ever since he arrived in India on April 6 and in spite of the cooperation of the district administration and the city police at the instance of the British High Commission in Delhi, his ordeal in his own motherland seems to be unending.

Narrating his tale of woes to Mr Gupta alleged that his father K.K. Gupta ran a joint hosiery industry with Jaswinder Singh. After the two partners fell out in 1995, his father filed a civil suit claiming rendition of accounts and dissolution of the partnership in 1996.

Mr Gupta alleges that Jaswinder Singh had persisted with them to withdraw the court case but they had refused to relent.

He says when in 1999 his father suffered a paralytic stroke, he him to the UK for better medical treatment. After this Jaswinder got a police case registered against us on charges of cheating and forgery under Sections 406,420 and 120-B of the IPC and got both of us declared as proclaimed offenders in October and also intimated the airport authorities. "Since we were in the UK, we did not know about this and I got a shock when the police arrested me as soon as I landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport and I was told that I had been declared a proclaimed offender by the Ludhiana police a few months ago.

"It later became clear that Jaswinder's game plan was to put pressure on me through this way and get the civil suit filed against him registered," he said.

Mr Gupta was later handed over by the airport authorities to the Ludhiana police. "After being kept in a day's police remand, I was presented in the court of the Ilaqa Magistrate on April 8 and was given 14 days' judicial remand. I also moved a bail application which was rejected. Meanwhile, I contracted gastroenteritis in the jail and the jail authorities informed my lawyer and he got me out on bail on April 15," he said.

He says after coming out on bail he contacted the British High Commission and British counsel Clarie Lawley and First Secretary Angela Slater came here and he presented his case to Senior Superintendent Of Police Kuldeep Sing, who assured full cooperation and entrusted the inquiry to DSP Satish Malhotra, who later absolved him of all charges levelled by the complainant and also moved a local court for the cancellation of the FIR that was registered against him and his father.

He, however, alleges that this was not the end of his woes as the complainant has allegedly resorted to other ways to delay the cancellation of the FIR by moving appeals in other courts in order to delay his departure for the UK and to pressurise him to arrive at an agreement about the withdrawal of the civil case pending against Jaswinder. He also alleges that Jaswinder has also threatened him that he will not be allowed to leave India.

hen contacted, DSP Satish Malhotra confirmed that he had exonerated Sandeep Gupta of all charges in his inquiry and that he had also moved the court for the quashing of the FIR, for which July 7 has been set as the next date of hearing.

Meanwhile, Mr Gupta laments at the faulty system of the administration which got him declared as a proclaimed offender, even though he was never intimated about the case registered against him here in India. "This time around I got the taste of real red-tapism in India and had to suffer so much, not just mentally and physically, but also economically as my business back in the UK suffered because of my continued absence for so long," he explains.

"Even now, though I have been freed from the jail, I am not free in the real sense of the term. I have been separated from my family and friends for a long time and I am eager to go back there and hopefully never to return," he says bitterly.Back


Village to get 24-hour power
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 4 — The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today said that the state government was committed to provide adequate power to meet the needs of both agriculture and industry in the rural and urban areas, respectively, and to achieve this objective, ongoing work on various power generation projects would be accelerated.

The Chief Minister was addressing a largely attended function amidst heavy rain and winds at Bhanaur village, about 12 km from here this morning. Mr Badal, who had earlier inaugurated 24 hour power supply in the village, said that power was the lifeline to sustain not only industry and agriculture, but was an essential part of the daily life of the people.

Keeping in view the need to step up generation, the state government had accorded top priority to expedite the long-pending power projects like Thein Dam and Lehra Mohabat thermal plant. At the same time, the government would ensure that all other existing plants were run to their optimum capacity, he added.

Mr Badal called upon the people to extend their full cooperation to the government in its efforts for the integrated development of the state and to come up to the aspirations of the masses.


Nagar kirtan marks martyrdom day
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 4 — An impressive nagar kirtan was taken out in the city yesterday by the Shaheedi Dal to mark the martyrdom day of fifth Sikh Guru Sri Arjun Dev, which falls on June 5.

The nagar kirtan, led by Panj Piaras started from the Gurdwara Kalgidhar Singh Sabha in the afternoon and passed through the Jail road, G.T. road, Clock Tower, Chaura Bazaar, Ghas Mandi, Division No 3, Baba Than Singh, Khud Mohalla, Old Civil Hospital before concluding at the Gurdwara Kalgidhar.

Large number of Sikh organisations, including the Singh Sabhas, the Sukhmani Sewa Societies, the Istri Satsang Sabhas, the Kalgidhar Naujawan Sewa Societies, the Bir Khalsa Dal, the Youth Wing of Shiromani Akali Dal, the Naamdhari Shabdi Jatha, the Akali Jatha Urban and the Rural Istri Akali Dal, gatka and band parties and school children comprised the largely attended nagar kirtan.

The entire route was decorated with welcome gates and “chhabils” of sweetened cold water were put up to provide some relief to the devotees who were braving the sweltering heat. At many places, shopkeepers had set up stalls to distribute ‘prasad’ to the participants.

A significant feature of the nagar kirtan was the participation of all factions of Skali Dals, irrespective of their political affiliations. 


Confronting physical handicaps with courage
From Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 4 — Fate appears to have been unfair to Avtar Singh Randhawa. Born without arms and with one deformed leg, Avtar may be physically challenged, but mentally he is as strong as any normal person. That is why, he takes pride in owning a house, having a small and beautiful family and in also running his own business at the young age of 32.

May be, a person with lesser will power would have surrendered to destiny. But Avtar proved to be of entirely different stuff. He studied like a normal student in the local Government College. He graduated from here in1992. But his graduation, despite his being handicapped, could not ensure him a government job.

TheTelecommunication Department had introduced a scheme to provide public call office (PCO) licences to physically challenged people. Avtar applied and he was allotted a licence. But his difficulties did not end there. He did not want to employ another person for operating his PCO. He could not afford it. He learnt to operate the telephone with the help of his toes. He already knew how to write with his toes. It was a matter of time that he became familiar with operating the telephone by his toes only. After about seven years in business, he has now comfortably placed. “I earn a respectable livelihood and can also manage to give good education to my daughter”, says a proud Avtar Singh.

This is only one side of Avtar’s personality. For, he is a poet and a singer as well. He has already composed about 100 Punjabi songs, besides having released three audio-cassettes. These have already won the hearts of thousands of music lovers.

Recognising his courage and talent, two industrialist brothers Rakesh Sharma and Bhupinder Sharma of Rakesh Enterprises, sponsored him for a tour to the USA. There he gave public performances among Indian audiences. He earned good amount of money and constructed a house here. His audio cassettes are also selling well.

Besides reflecting his personal agony of being physically challenged, he also composed patriotic songs. One of his songs is “bawahn hundiyan tan kallanwan pa lainda” (I would embrace you if I had got hands) and “Jago veero, utho pehno, Desh te jindadi var do” (Brothers and sisters wake up and lay down your lives for the country), which he composed during the Kargil war.

Avtar’s wife Narinder Kaur has been a source of inspiration for him. In fact, Narinder has supported her husband. She is a postgraduate in Punjabi and is physically fit. Despite that she did not hesitate to marry a person, who was physically challenged. “I did not find anything lacking in Avtar. He provides me with all comforts, what else do I need”, she asks, adding, “I do not think my life would have been more comfortable with another person”.

Avtar and Narinder are a happily married couple. The couple wants to give best possible education to their daughter. While Avtar manages the PCO near Jallandhar bypass, his wife manages the home, besides taking care of their daughter.


Environment Day just as polluted
From Monica Sharma 

LUDHIANA, June 4 — World Environment Day, which will be celebrated tomorrow, promises little for the people here, given the level of pollution around. The pollution is crossing all possible limits.

According to environmental experts, the suspended particulate matter in ambient air should not exceed 200 micrograms per M3 whereas in the city it is around 400 micrograms per M. Though the figure is less than the previous five or six years as it was 600 micrograms per M3, Ludhiana is proving to be the most polluted city in Punjab.

The pollution level in the city has already touched suffocating levels. The maximum pollution in the city is caused by the automobiles, which alone account for 70 per cent of pollution. Remaining 30 per cent pollution is caused by the industrial sector. The latter is, however, controlled to some extent. Pollution is mainly caused by factors like automobiles, industries, bad road conditions, burning of leaves and agriculture residue on the road side by the people.

Pollution is also caused due to ignorance among people and the growing population. Rubber fuel has already been banned by the government but it goes on unabated, with people burning tyres with impunity. This also leads to release of harmful intoxicants.

Other major pollutant is noise which comes out of various industrial units, vehicles and generators. The latter are also causing enormous air pollution in the residential areas in the city. Whereas, according to official sources, for installing a generator one has to take prior permission of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) which in routine is not obtained by the people at large.

The dyeing and electroplating industries are major water polluting agencies. These also pollute the air. Rice-husk, straw, wood and liquid fuels are used by these industries which cause harm to the human body.

There are approximately 346 dyeing industries, 600 electroplating units, 400 cupola furnaces and four arc furnaces in the recognised industrial areas and many other industries in non-recognised areas.

The industrial units are allowed certain limits by the Pollution Control Board to check the pollution of these industries. Arc and induction furnaces have to abide by the 150 miligrams per Nm3. The dyeing industries’ limit of emitting pollution is according to the capacity of the boilers. They have to definitely abide by the limit of the board and control the pollution or they have to shut down the units.

The department concerned checks the pollution through point, line and area sources. Different types of pollution also effect the human body badly. The automobile pollution leads to the release of carbonmonoxide which can have a dangerous effect on the nervous system and reduces oxygen-carrying capacity of the body and also cause irritation to the eyes. Lead emisions in petrol cause harm to children and reduce their memory. Air pollution caused by the industries like arc furnaces and others has fine dust particles which effect the lungs leading to serious problems. The pollution caused by the industries and vehicles also harms the skin and results in allergies.

Environmental degradation is also caused by the felling of trees.The carbondioxide released all over is purified only by the trees which are being cut off rapidly.

Environmental experts suggest various remedial measures to control pollution in the years to come. Planting trees in large numbers can also help. Industries should install air pollution-control devices and affluent-treatment plants.Tree leaves and agriculture residue should not be burnt. The agriculture residue should be buried in low line areas to make manure.The vehicles should get the periodical pollution check done and the auto-rickshaws should be replaced by battery-operated buses as local transport.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr N.S.Manshahia, Environment Engineer, Punjab Pollution Control Board, said the department was trying hard to control pollution from industries and had succeeded to some extent. Pollution could only be controlled to by creating awareness among masses.There would be reduction in pollution load with the help and cooperation of people and industries, he added.


Yeoman’s service by Sikh religious body

Untouched by controversial issues like Nanakshahi Jantri and langar service, Alag-Shabad-Yug, an organisation which distributes Gurmat Literature free of cost with the active cooperation and help of sangat is doing yeoman service to humanity.Sarup Singh Alag, a prominent writer, scholar and orator is the force behind this body. Alag needs no introduction because of his multi-faceted qualities of head and heart. He has already earned respectable position amongst Punjabis and particularly among Sikhs everywhere. Alag retired from the Punjab Government and has earned recognition by representing the country at world-level conferences, seminars and meets in India, England, Canada, Holland, USA and won many awards and recognitions.

On his retirement six years ago, he pledged to publish his own writings from his own resources, distribute them free of cost so that more and more people could read and benefit from them. He founded an organisation, Alga-Shabad-Yug, basing his headquarters at Ludhiana. During its six years of existence, its sub-offices became functional in England and Canada too. People with philanthropistic bent of mind associated with this movement whole-heartedly and with the support and backing of donors and well wishers, the organisation is providing Gurmat Literature in Punjabi, Hindi, English and Bengali languages free of cost.

Presently 22 titles are on the panel of free distribution. His lucid writing style is unique and many readers have developed a great liking for his writings.

During the tercentenary celebrations of the Khalsa, he wrote a book ‘Creation of Khalsa, a turning point’, which was translated by him in Punjabi and Hindi too. Lakhs of its copies were distributed throughout the world. The book was appreciated, which created awareness about the mega event in the most befitting manner.

Other publications of Alag-Shabad-Yug, penned by Alag are also world-class works. Some of them were released by the Prime Minister of Canada in the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. Similarly, Health Minister of England and Bishop of Winchester England released some books of Alag in Southampton, England, last year. His three books were prescribed in A-level courses in UK and one book in the syllabus of B.C. Canada. His books were adjudged “student-friendly”.

Alag-Shabad-Yug Ludhiana has chalked out a comprehensive plan to celebrate centenary celebrations of different events, relating to the Sikhs up to 2008 AD when the devouts of the Guru Granth Sahib would be celebrating tercentenary celebrations of Guru Gaddi Nashini of Guru Granth Sahib — and eternal Guru of human race. Sarup Singh Alag has prepared three books on Harimandir Sahib in Punjabi, Hindi and English, and these books have become so popular that about one dozen editions have been exhausted. Many newspapers have serialised these books on the demand of their readers. These books on Harimandir Sahib present very interesting information.

Other works of Alag are (i) Hair power (ii) Excellence of Sikhism (iii) An introduction to Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Shabad-Yug is doing a unique service to humanity silently but its glow and warmth are being felt throughout the world. Alag has shown the path of ‘Sarbat Da Bhala’ by giving free Gurmat literature in order to provide solace, peace, love and justice to the suffering humanity.

— Anooja.



Dirty colonies cry for ‘strong’ MC action
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 4 — By suspending a few employees and taking some ‘token’ corrective measures in the gastro-affected areas, the task of the local Municipal Corporation seems to be far from over as a number of other dirty colonies exist in the city just waiting for some germ and bacteria to come and breed.

The living condition in such colonies, having pools of sewer water here and there and littered with garbage and waste, deteriorated further with sharp showers today morning . With the rain water inter-mixing with the sewer water and flooding the low-lying areas in certain pockets of the city the threat of spread of diseases especially cholera and other water-borne diseases looms large.

The fear of the residents of the outbreak of diseases in more parts of the city has been compounded by the lack of preventive measures taken by the corporation. One wonders why the measures were not planned in advance as outbreak of water-borne diseases in the city has almost become an annual feature.

Visit Shivaji Nagar,Janak Puri,Tejpur Road,New Kuldeep Nagar, Vishnu Nagar, Janta Colony, Krishna Colony, Baldev Nagar and Ram Park areas in the city to gauge for yourself the dirty living conditions of the residents. In fact these are the areas which provide true picture of Ludhiana, a visitor is often warned of.

Mr Ishar Dass, a resident of Krishna Colony, said the outbreak of gastro-enteritis in the Sherpur area might wake up the corporation from its slumber as all our representations and demands for cleaning the colonies had failed to attract its attention, “ No one has given a heed to our requests for removing the blockades that occur regularly in the colonies sewer system. It has over flown to such an extent that now ponds of sewer water have been formed not only on the inner streets as well as on the main Rahon-Ludhiana road which has broken at various places.”

Mr Tejinder Singh, another resident, said hardly does any sweeper comes to their locality and the garbage remains strewn all around. He said not only does the accumulated garbage emanates pungent smell but serves as excellent breeding ground for all kinds of mosquitoes, germs and flies. He said every year people of their colony and adjoining areas suffer from one illness or the other just because of the lack of proper cleaning by the corporation.

The condition were more or less the same in other colonies listed above. A survey revealed that the biggest breeding ground for germs were the number of open drains criss-crossing through the intricate streets of these old colonies. With residents throwing all kind of garbage, especially the plastic bags freely in them, the drains get blocked and water even enters several low-lying areas.

According to Dr Ravinder Vatsayan, the outbreak of the water-borne diseases in Sherpur Colony, which claimed few lives and left over 600 ill, should be enough to send alarm bells ringing in the Municipal Corporation”. Mind you, this is only the beginning of the disease spreading season and if some immediate corrective and preventive measures are not taken at the earliest then the condition might slip out of control” he warned. According to him today’s showers may accelerate the growth of bacteria and apart from water-borne diseases even skin diseases and viral infections may soon surface.

Mr A.S. Grewal, Mayor, MC, when contacted said they try to cover all areas but due to shortage of staff especially the sweepers, problems have surfaced from certain areas.He assured that the corporation was not sleeping over the matter and have started special campaign for cleaning the affected areas. He said garbage heaps would be removed or sprayed with some insecticide.

The Mayor said in fact the public can play a greater role than to sit back and criticise the authorities.


Deaf and dumb schooled to face world

LUDHIANA, June 4 Hundreds of children with serious speech and hearing impairment have become useful members of society. Thanks to the training given by the school for the deaf being run by the Ludhiana Educational Society, which is rendering yeoman’s service especially to the underprivileged section.

This school which started in 1971 with merely six children now has more than 200 students and 75 of them are hostellers. The school is now drawing children not only from Punjab but also from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal and Maharashtra.

The school authorities do not charge fee from the poor parents. The fee charged from the rest of the parents depend upon their paying capacity.

The school which has its monthly budget crossing Rs 1 lakh is being basically run on donations. These donations pour in from some individuals as well as certain social organisations, says its General Secretary-cum-Principal, Mrs Varsha Kalra.

In the school, the children are taught lip reading and sign language. Speech therapy is also carried out on those who have even slight hearing power. Mr Parbhash Chandra, a teacher, says,”Speech therapy is especially effective on children who join this school at an early age.”

The school is imparting vocational courses in stitching, knitting, embroidery, caning, candle making, jute handicrafts and leather works. Recently, the school has started computer courses for class X students of the school. Interestingly, the computer teacher is a pass-out student from the same school. For recreation, the school students play cricket, table tennis and badminton after the school.

Talking about the achievements of the school, Mrs Kalra proudly remarked,” Two of my students have recently got government job in the Health Department. One of students is successfully running a beauty parlour. Some are even running their business independently.”

Mrs Kalra aims not only to provide proper education to these children but also build confidence in them which is very essential for their development. The hostellers are given opportunity to celebrate all festivals with fervour. Annual function is also held every year but says Mrs.Kalra, “ I make it a point to never indulge in extravaganza. I also do not overuse any donor.”

— By Deepkamal KaurBack


Land grab attempt thwarted
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 4 — The city police has thwarted an attempt to grab land and booked four persons under Sections 452, 447, 448, 511, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

According to the information available, the four accused — Rajinder Singh, Harwinder Singh, Inderjit Singh and Pawan Kumar — tried to forcibly take possession of a building owned by Rajinder Singh in Santpura Mohalla in the wee hours of today.

However, the owner, Rajinder Singh, got to know of this and intimated the police. Within no time, a police party led by DSP Sandeep Goel and ASI Avtaar Singh reached the spot and thwarted the attempt of the accused who, however, ran away from the spot.

It is learnt that the building built on an area of 450 sq yards was bought by the complainant from the four children of Harnam Singh — Avtaar Singh, Gian Singh, Preetam Kaur and Kamaljit Kaur — in June 1972, but he was also fighting a case for the ownership of this property with Preetam Kaur. It may also be noted that the complainant was using this building as a godown for his shop located in Vishwakarma Chowk.

It is also learnt that the four accused in this case were attempting to take forcible possession of the property by claiming that Preetam Kaur had sold the property to them.

Akalis booked for violence

Following the violent clashes and firing between the two groups of Akali Dal led by Mr Avtaar Singh Makkar and Mr Amarjeet Singh Bhatia and during the nagar kirtan here last evening which left five persons injured, the police has registered a case under Sections 307, 392, 148,149 of the IPC and 25,54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

While supporters of both the parties have been booked, Mr Amarjeet Singh Bhatia has also been booked in this regard and though the name of Mr Avtaar Singh Makkar does not figure in the FIR, his son Goldy has been booked.

It may be noted that violent clashes had occurred betweem the two rival factions of the Shiromani Akali Dal around 5.30 p.m. last evening at the crossing near Police Station Division No.5 following a verbal duel between the two groups.Back



Riches raise "Uski sari...meri sari" race

The material progress and technical advances have made our lives more complex and tension-ridden. Numerous ambitions are creating anguish and anxiety in our minds. The demands on physical comfort, material consumption and sensual gratification have alienated us from the elemental qualities of our being. In spite of being at the zenith of material glory, the people are torn apart by conflicting forces. Humanitarian values are gradually eroding. The basic fabric of human society is under great stress.

In view of the above, a glance at what is happening around us in Ludhiana makes us feel depressed and dejected. One of the great delusions of the modern times is the belief that we are more civilised than our ancestors. Such a belief has encouraged a false sense of showmanship in society. This is happening in big way in Ludhiana. Earlier Amritsar was known to be a leading city but now Ludhiana is at the top. Many businessmen have ruined their businesses in false showmanship. They spend like a king in their heyday, forgetting the lean days. They do not make savings to fall on in rainy days. This haphazard attitude ultimately leads to hypertension and depression. When things go out of control, they find themselves in a tunnel which is dark and damp.

Early to bed and early to rise is a proverb that seems to have applied in the good old days only. Today, late night parties is a thing to boast of. Women in Ludhiana are busy in kitty parties which are at times places of gossip and back-biting.

Kids of Ludhiana are very much involved in birthday parties. Birthday celebrations are more evident in Ludhiana than anywhere in Punjab.

We cannot ignore the fact that Ludhiana people are not health conscious. Although the P.A.U., Rose Garden and Rakh Bagh are like a busy shopping mall in the morning and in the evening, where people converge on for long walks, but the eating habits play havoc to their health. The industry developed in such a short span, the feeling of "Uski sari meri sari se safed kyon" gave a boost to self-glorification.

It is high time the Ludhianvis come out of the false notions such as eat, drink and be merry — "Babar ba aish kosh ke aalam dobara naste" and improve the quality of their lives. They are wide awake otherwise and quite resourceful. Their aim should be to lead purposeful lives unrelated to material gains and hollow claims.

— Meenu Parhawk


Bullish, but volatile days ahead
From a Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 4—This week the market opened with a very bearish note and ended not very bullish. The 30-scrip LSE Index opened at 133 on Monday and closed at 141 on Friday.

The BSE Sensex opened at 4083 on Monday and closed at 4453 on Friday. The Index has largely moved in tandem with the Nasdaq composite as in the past three weeks and this trend is unlikely to change in the next week. The basic sentiment of the market is still driven by Nasdaq and any amount of local good news has but a temporary effect.

It is beyond understanding as to why the Indian capital markets follow Nasdaq and for that matter any overseas capital market. In contrast to Nasdaq, with an expectation of, no company is listed on the Indian bourses.

In the overseas market, selling pressure at the counters of nascent companies leads to fall in the market. In contrast, the software companies listed on the Indian bourses are having very strong bottomlines with a very comfortable level of operating margins.

Oswal Chemicals and Fertilizers, an Abhey Oswal Group company, started commercial production of Rs 1,850 crore DAP plant. However, the plant had to be shut down because of accidents injuring workers. Recently, 12 workers were injured when the conveyer belt carrying raw material caught fire. The company has also shown interest in the manufacture of alumna. The plant will be set up near the coast and in the proximity of bauxite ore mines. The company does not want to enter into manufacture of alumna because of high cost of power. It seems that the recent shutdown of the DAP plant is a hiccup and the company would soon streamline its production. The equity shares of the company are likely to firm up in the short to medium term.

During the week, Telco also announced its audited results. Net profits of the company for the year ended March, 2000 was Rs 71 crore with other income of Rs 171 crore. The integrated car project of the company is gobbling up the financial resources of the company. The company has to commit resources for its new version of Indica and its mid-sized car Magna, which is at the drawing-board stage. Just when the earlier version has started bringing money, more resources has to be committed to its upgrades or variants.

Punjab Tractors Limited announced its intention to issue bonus shares. Recently, the share price of the company got hammering with the stock being traded at half the value of it highest price. However, the news of bonus failed to enthuse the investors. The stock continued to trade in the range of Rs 600-635 during the week. The company has a track record of consistent dividend payment with dividend increasing from 80 per cent for the year 1996-97 to 2250per cent for the year 1998-99.

The company had declared 1:1 bonus issue during 1993 and 1996 and the next bonus is in the offing. The company has a small equity base of Rs 20.25 crore and a very comfortable level of reserves at Rs 278 crore.

Hence, the bonus issue is likely to be liberal as in the past.

During the week the Nahar Group of Companies also declared their audited results. Net profits of Nahar Spinning remained the same at around Rs 23 crore.

The company declared 15 per cent final dividend besides 35 per cent interim declared earlier. Nahar Exports showed excellent performance with net profits jumping by 162 per cent from Rs 8 crore to Rs 21 crore. The Company declared dividend of 15 per cent.

The outlook for the next week is bullish but volatile stock market. The decision of SEBI to disallow badla to naked short seller after May 31 will tempt the operators to take long purchase positions. The software and the FMCG sector stocks are likely to be the major gainers.



Small traders fear WTO terms may wipe them out
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 4 — The World Trade Organisation conditions are likely to have an adverse impact on the small-scale industry in the country. Punjab, the home of small-scale industry, may be severely hit.

In a letter addressed to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations has emphasised the need to interpret the various clauses of WTO properly so that the small-scale industry is not hit.

It urged the Chief Minister to ensure that the small industries in Punjab are not subjected to the onslaught of unequal competition from global players which is bound to start according to WTO conditions. The federation said, "Our apprehensions are that the small-scale sector which is already passing through a period of crisis would go down the drain if proper measures to safeguard its growth are not taken by the government."

The federation pointed out that while on the one had the government was trying to impress upon the industry to come up to the level to face the challenge of globalisation under WTO agreement, on the other hand, it was yet to announce measures for facing unequal competition. It said, the government should spell out, how it should help the small industries, the backbone of national economy to overcome such a threat to its existence.

The letter brought to the notice of the Chief Minister the decision of the Union Commerce Ministry to allow the organised sector located in special economic zones to manufacture all the items reserved for the small-scale sector without having to obtain a licence.

The federation sought to clarify the WTO clause on subsidies in regard to developing countries, which it said, prescribes that when the per capita income is less than $ 1000 per annum, such countries are allowed to provide subsidies. However, the subsidies should be phased out when the product reaches export competitiveness of 3.25 per cent share in world trade for two consecutive years.

The federation pointed out that the export from India is much below the required level and also the per capita income was far below that prescribed by the WTO.

The federation urged the government to take the issue of small-the scale industry seriously at all levels to ensure its survival. Otherwise, it can have alarming repercussions like unemployment, which can lead to social unrest and other law and order problems.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |