Saturday, June 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Punjab industry against any hike in power tariff
Sohal says PSEB losing 3 crore daily, and warns of privatisation
From A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 9 — The Punjab industry has set its face firmly against the move by the state government to order a 15% hike in the power tariff for all categories of consumers in the state.

Representatives of industry here have made it clear that the industry, especially the small-scale units, is passing through a very serious crisis because of continuous recession and opening up of the economy to foreign competition and would, therefore, not be able to bear any more financial burden in the shape of higher power tariff.

Any such increase would sound the death-knell of the small sector which would thus be left with no option but to resort to a statewide agitation, including dharnas, bandhs, resorting to hunger strikes and fast unto death. “This agitation will start from Ludhiana, the industrial hub of the state, and will immediately spread to other districts of state and will also touch the Chandigarh residence of the Chief Minister of Punjab”, says Mr Harish Khanna, President, Industry and Trade Forum and Ludhiana Small-Scale Manufacturers Association.

He argues that whenever the state electricity board finds itself in deep financial crisis, it takes the easiest way out by raising the power tariff, especially on industrial consumers. Paradoxically enough, the frequent hikes in power tariffs have never yielded positive results and the board has always remained mired in similar financial crisis. It goes to show that the real fault lies with the inefficiency, mismanagement of the board, over-staffing, grant of free electricity to agriculture sector and rampant corruption.

As a result of the grant of free electricity to the agriculture sector, the board is incurring a loss of Rs 1800 crore per annum. As per the international standards governing the functioning of the electricity boards, there should be 5 to 8 per cent transmission losses, 5 to 10 per cent distribution losses, to talling 10 to 15 per cent losses, whereas in India various electricity boards are showing 40 to 45 per cent losses. This means that about 30% of the loss is due to theft. The state electricity board should bill approximately 85 per cent of the total electricity generation whereas it is a billing only for 50 to 55 per cent, and there is no account of the balance 30 per cent electricity.

It is estimated that the total power theft in the country is to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore, whereas in Punjab alone it is approximately Rs 600 crore.

The present staff strength of the PSEB is 93,000 but with power reforms in force, this strength should not be more than 50,000 persons.

Board says that it has incurred cash losses to the tune of Rs 950 crore but if the board gives due consideration to the above facts and figures and tries to rectify the situation by reducing transmission and distribution losses, check on power theft etc., reduction in staff strength, the board will immediately start reflecting profits in its books and will not need to raise power tariff for a period of at least three years.

The Punjab State Electricity Board, on the other hand, has warned that it would be left with no alternative but to privatise if immediate steps are not taken to effect a comprehensive hike in the power tariff. The Chairman of the Board, Mr G.S. Sohal, has stated that it is suffering a loss of Rs 3 crore every day because of its low tariff for power supply. In private talk, he is also said to have admitted that the board is overstaffed to the extent of 30,000 employees and corruption is so rampant that if strict action is taken, nearly half the employees will have to be shunted out.

The industry and trade has expressed itself against the privatisation of electricity. Privatisation will mean an increase in power tariff to Rs 5 per unit as against the current rate of Rs 2.25 to 2.75 per unit. It is of the view that the government should immediately form a PSEB Regulatory Authority for which a proposal was mooted by the government a year ago.

Meanwhile, the government constituted a committee to finalise the issue of a hike in power tariff. The representatives of the industry include Mr S.P. Oswal, Mr Harish Khanna, Mr Chanan Singh Matharu, Mr Avinash Arora, Mr Amarjit Goel, Mr Inderjit Singh, Mr R.P. Bhatia and Mr Inder Mohan Singh Grewal.

Our Correspondent adds: Meanwhile, the PSEB Engineers Association has termed the exercise undertaken by the PSEB management and the state government for tariff revision as a mere eyewash and an abject surrender to the influence of industrial lobby and other sections of consumers. Mr M.S. Bajwa,, President, PSEB Engineers’ Association has in a press release issued here today ridiculed the move to hold consultations with the industry and other consumers before revising power rates and pointed out that nowhere in the capital economy the buyers were asked for to fix the price of the commodity nor any commercial organisation would sell its products at a price which was lower than the cost of production.

Mr Bajwa asserted that industrial tariff in Punjab was far less in comparison to other states and there was no reason for the PSEB to charge lower rates for power from the industry, especially when the cost of transportation of coal was the highest for states like Punjab. It was strange that the industry was opposing even the minimum rational tariff revision even after a period of two years as the last revision had taken place in 1998.

Terming the state government move as an encroachment upon the autonomy of the PSEB, the association lamented that on the one hand, the government had forced the PSEB to implement a populist decision of free power supply to the farm sector, on the other, the board could not determine the tariff for other categories of consumers. In the exercise on tariff revision, the hands of PSEB management appeared to be tied down and the real players were the industrial lobby and the state government. It cautioned the government to understand the seriousness of the situation as the power sector was the most pivotal infrastructure in the development of state and any lopsided decision affecting its major policies was bound to adversely affect the overall working of the board.

Mr Bajwa, while focusing on the immediate need for rational tariff revision for all categories of consumers to improve the financial health of PSEB, said that the board was suffering a net loss of Rs.1000 crore per annum on account of factors like free power to agriculture sector and subsidized tariff for domestic, commerical and industrial consumers. The cost of power generation alone was Rs 2.50 per unit and added to wheeling charges, transmission losses, service charges and depreciation, the rational tariff should be around Rs 4.00 per unit whereas the board was charging much less from its consumers.

The association further alleged that a strong lobby of private entrepreneurs, bureaucrats and certain politicians were influencing all decisions on major policies of the PSEB to ensure that this institution was made bankrupt and ultimately sold to private parties as was being done in some other state of the country on the advice of world bank consultants.

Mr Bajwa observed that in shifting its responsibility to rationalise the tariff and improving its financial health to the state government, the PSEB management was taking a weak-kneed stand and abrogating its duties. In case the present adhocism continued with vital matters like tariff revision, the board would not be able to stay afloat and power sector would go to private parties, in which case, the consumers would have to pay the realistic charges and concessions like free or subsidized power would have to be forgone, he added.Back



Fun-loving kids’ brush with the law
From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 9 — A strong urge to zoom around the town in the latest swanky cars — not their own — has landed four city school kids in police custody for repeatedly ‘borrowing’ a car for a few hours each night on charges of theft and for possession of illegal arms.

The anti-goonda staff led by the in charge, Mr. Ranbir Singh today arrested four school-going children — Avtaar Singh, Harpal Singh alias Sonu, Pawan Kumar and Simratpal Singh alias Sunny — during a special naka near the Punjab Agricultural University today. The naka had been laid by the police after they had received specific information about the whereabouts of the children who had allegedly stolen a Maruti Esteem car from Sarabha Nagar on the intervening night of June 4 and 5 and was not returned back this time. The police has also recovered the stolen car and a kamanidar knife from them and booked them under Sections 379, 411 of the IPC and under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

Interestingly, the accused were in the habit of repeatedly stealing the above-mentioned car from outside the house of the owner, where it was parked at around 12:30 a.m. each night and after driving around in the car and showing it off to their friends, who would be playing the night cricket tournaments in Rishi Nagar, the accused would again leave the car back in front of the owner’s house at around 4:30 a.m.

When contacted, the Senior Superintendent Of Police, Mr. Kuldeep Singh, while confirming the incident also informed that the accused had stolen the same car more than 30 times.”The owner of the car, Mr. Arjun Singh, was unaware of this and did not suspect any foul play. Since he was not habitual of checking the petrol in the fuel tank , he did not even notice that the fuel tank was often empty.”

The SSP also informed that the police smelled a rat only when the accused allegedly manhandled another driver on the Ferozepur road at around 1:30 a.m. a few days ago and after the matter was reported to the police and the owner of the car was summoned. But the complainant, Mr. Rishi Kapoor denied that the accused was the car owner or his sons, and so the case was not registered.

It is also learnt that a few days ago the owner of the car also noticed a dent on his car and a broken front bumper, and he grew suspicious. He is also learnt to have made a few inquiries from his neighbours about the dent on his car, but soon consoled himself that his car was hit by a passing vehicle while it was parked near his house.The police informed that this dent on the car was a result of the accident by the boys with a scooterist when they had taken the car during one of the night cricket tournament matches.

It is also learnt the accused had gotten a master key made from someone near Chaura Bazaar, and after trying this key on a few cars — among these one at Kailash Cinema Chowk and a few others at Sarabha Nagar — this key finally fitted into the Esteem parked at Sarabha Nagar and thus began their night escapades in the ‘borrowed ‘ car.

It may also be noted that while Avtaar is a class X student, Harpal has appeared in the class X examination and Pawan Kumar is a XII standard student.

The fourth accused, Simratpal is a student of class VIII. While Avtaar, Harpal and Simratpal are all residents of Z block, Rishi Nagar and studying in the same school, Pawan Kumar is a resident of the P.A.U., 14 type quarters and had been friends for long.

Meanwhile in an exclusive chat with TNS after their arrest today, the brain behind these wild escapades, Avtaar Singh, said that they had begun with this exercise of ‘borrowing’ the car for the simple reason of learning to drive the car.”We had tried our hand at opening a few other cars and using them unsuccessfully before we used this car.

But after driving this car, we liked it so much that we did not try another car and used it around 30 times,” he said innocently. He also informed that all of them learnt driving on this car and clarified that the purpose of the theft was only to have some fun.

Asked if they knew that it was illegal and amounted to theft, they replied in the affirmative. They also informed that a few days ago they had decided not to take the car again, but temptation soon gave way and they could not resist the urge to take the car for a ‘harmless drive’.

They also informed that they would leave home on the pretext that they would be spending the night for studying at each other’s house. Their parents, therefore, would not get suspicious. Back


A typical example of kare koyee, bhare koyee
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 9 — In a classic example of spanking Tom for Jerry’s wrong doings, the Department of Postal Services in the city has been penalised for the last number of years because of the suspect land acquisition acts of the Defence Department.

Each time a person, mostly farmer, approaches a court of law for getting due compensation for his land acquired by the Ministry of Defence, the property of the Postal Department is attached and put up for sale in order to recover the costs. The property of the Defence Department, being of national security concerns, cannot be touched and thus some other department has to bear the price.

But for some strange reasons, it is the property of the Postal Department which had always been attached for the last half a decade or so. As a matter of fact, the judiciary had nothing against the post offices as all the cases have been decided in separate courts. According to legal experts, it had decided to attach the postal property as these buildings were the only one being suggested for attachment and auction by the lawyers arguing the case.

The things have come to such a pass that out of the six owned buildings of the Postal Department, as many as five are attached and under sale. All of these have been attached as the Ministry of Defence has lost a large number of claim cases pertaining to land acquisition near the Dholewal Chowk, Sherpur and Daba village land which has now come a part of the city itself.

The Miller Gunj post office had been attached in 1998, the Model Town branch in 1999 and the old courts post office and the Central Post Office near Ghanta Ghar Chowk even much earlier. The latest to figure in this elite category is the Head Post Office building on the Ferozepore road near the Bharat Nagar chowk.

The Head Post Office, the Miller Gunj and the Model Town Post Office buildings have a slight edge in this dubious distinction category. These offices have been attached earlier also. While the first two were on for sale in 1996 and 1997, respectively, the third one had almost been auctioned a couple of years ago. It has been learnt that the bidders had even deposited the auction money. Had the Centre not provided a last-minute reprieve by paying the claim, the building would have been in private hands today.

Corroborating the findings, Mr M.K. Khan, Senior Superintendent Post Offices of Ludhiana division, said whenever the buildings are attached, an unwarranted harassment of the Postal Department begins. He said the department then takes up the matter with the local Defence Department authorities while at the higher level the Ministry of Communication corresponds with the Ministry of Defence to sort out the matter.

Most of the times the matter has been resolved but not after the post office authorities go through humiliation in the public and sufferings in the legal process or correspondence with the Defence authorities. It has also become a butt of joke as people amusingly keep enquiring from them that when their office was being sold.

On being asked why only Postal Department buildings are being attached, Mr Khan said he himself does not know the real reasons but has gathered that their location on prime lands in the city attracts the litigant and his lawyer who suggest the attachment of the buildings for recovering the dues. He said the attachments is basically a pressure tactics due to which the government was to pay to the litigants. Mr Khan said they have taken up the matter with the Ministry of Communication and hoped that in future the practice might stop.


Badal attends sangat darshan programme
From Our Correspondent

DHAMOT (Ludhiana), June 9 — The shamiana put up on one side of the road along side school building is slowly filling with members of more than 50 panchayats and their respective sarpanches from the Payal assembly segment. Unmindful of the goings on, the population of the village goes about its morning chores with giving cursory glances to speeding vehicles, many of which have red lights atop them.

As a chopper hovers over the fields on the other side of the road, there is a stirring movement all along, the officers come to a stiff attention, the security personnel alertly watch their surroundings and the Akali Dal activists are gently persuaded not to proceed towards the helipad and instead to wait at the entry point of pandal to receive the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who is visiting this village, located 33 km from Ludhiana, to interact with the panchayat members of the area in a ‘sangat darshan’ programme in which he would listen to their problems and take on-the-spot decisions in many cases.

Before coming towards the pandal, the entourage of the Chief Minister, all in ‘white Ambassadors’, proceeds towards the subsidiary health centre of the village where the Chief Minister unveils a stone announcing its upgradation to primary health centre and in no time arrives in the pandal to do the task at hand.

After a brief welcome by Mr Sadhu Singh Ghudani, SAD(B) legislator from Payal, and a speech by Mr Badal, the main agenda for the day is considered. The panchayat members, in groups of 5 or more, come near the stage, explain problems of their respective villages and make demands for development works, an Akali Dal activist announces the name of the department concerned to which the work relates and in many cases the Chief Minister issues straight orders for the officers to execute. If a spot decision cannot be taken or there is some other channel to be cleared, Mr Badal asks the officials to take necessary steps and also advises the panchayat members, not only to follow up the matter but also to keep him (the Chief Minister) posted.

The issues raised by panchayats related to power supply, upgradation of schools or dispensaries, grant of tubewell connections, construction or repair of roads, water supply, mandi facilities encroachments of panchayat lands, water logging and irrigation. At the end of the marathon session, lasting more than four hours, Mr Badal had met delegations of over 50 panchayats with a host of their demands conceded or problems sorted out.

Earlier, in his speech, the Chief Minister dwelt upon issues like “misrule” by the Congress in Centre and Punjab, which led to “discrimination” against the state and the genuine issues like river waters and issue of Chandigarh not being resolved till now, WTO and GATT agreements, which he said had been signed by the then Prime Minister Mr P.V.Narasimha Rao and were now threatening the domestic industry, dairy farming and agriculture, achievements of SAD(B)-BJP government during its three-year tenure and steps taken to provide a clean and transparent governance.

Mr Badal, once again, reiterated that there would be no mid-term elections “The SAD(B)-BJP government would complete its five-year term and would also win the next elections,” he maintained.

He said the burning issue of dairy products, other consumer goods and foodgrains being dumped in the domestic market by the multinational corporations (MNCs) had been taken up with the union government and a decision to impose anti-dumping duty on these items was expected to be taken soon.

Senior district and police officials, including Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K.Sandhu, DIG Police (Ludhiana range) Mr Paramjit Singh Sandhu, SSP Khanna, Mr R.L. Bhagat, civil surgeon Dr Rajinder Kaur, Chief Engineer PSEB Mr A.S. Randhawa, besides senior Akali Dal leader Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, district Akali Jatha (rural) President Mr Daya Singh and members of the SGPC were present at the function.Back


Healing touch with panchkarma
From Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 9 — Ms Prakash Kataria, an India-born Canadian, had been suffering from facial palsy for the past 30 years. She had learnt to live with it, as she had got tired of treatment and medication. But her palsy was cured, thanks to ancient Indian system of natural healing called ‘Panchkarma’.

According to Dr Anil Kapoor, who has taken lead in introducing Panchkarma in Ludhiana — rather Punjab, panchkarma is the oldest and most recognised method of natural healing in ayurveda. It offers a systematic programme of revitalisation of various body organs otherwise rendered paralytic.

Dr Kapoor claims to have treated several patients, mostly with a prolonged facial palsy (paralysis of face). Well-known neurologists and neurosurgeons in Ludhiana have been regularly referring him such cases. The doctor claims to have succeeded in most of the cases. He said despite numerous advances in medical sciences many chronic diseases like arthritis, paralysis still remain incurable. But panchkarma, according to Dr Kapoor, holds hope for such cases.

One of the notable cases Dr Kapoor treated was that of Dr B.R. Kalra, who was suffering from facial palsy for a long time. Dr Kalra is himself a doctor. Dr Kapoor says that the duration of the treatment can vary from patient to patient depending upon the response of the patient to the treatment.

‘Panchkarma’ means ‘five actions’. It involves a complete series of therapeutic actions that are taken to flush out and remove ‘doshas’ from every cell of the body. Diseases arise when there is an imbalance among the three doshas and aim of Panchkarma is to bring about the required equilibrium.

In “Panchkarma”, the patient is first put on ‘poorvkarma’, which includes a series of therapeutic processes like snehna (oleation) and ‘swedana’ (fomentation). This is followed by the Panchkarma. The patient is first put on vamana (emesis). The patient is administered safe herbal emetic drink to induce vomiting in him.

Dr Kapoor has also been practising ‘dhara’, which involves flow and helps in opening the channels of body and mind to facilitate the treatment of the disease. In this technique, liquid medicaments like herbalised oils, milk, ghee and medicines are placed in a bowl hanging at an appropriate height above the body of the patient. The oils are herbalised according to the individual ‘doshas’ (particular illness) and the constitution of the patient.

The oil is then allowed to drop gradually on the forehead of the patient. This is known as ‘shirodhara’ and the treatment directly affects the central nervous system and is profoundly relaxing for mind. ‘Dhara’ has been effective in treating mental stress and related problems like diseases of ear, nose, throat, paralysis, neuralgia, loss of speech and insomnia, alcoholism and even insanity.


People around Budha Nullah face hardships
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 9 — People residing on both sides of the Budha Nullah near Bajwa Nagar and Subhash Nagar are facing hardships due to the non-completion of the 43-feet wide concrete bridge over the nullah.

The construction of the bridge started in November last year and was expected to be completed by the end of April this year. However, to cater to the public need, a temporary bridge was constructed about 250 metres upstream but that too is not easy to cross for the scooterists.

The soil on both embankments of the bridge is giving way under the traffic pressure. The situation may worsen in the coming rainy season.

Mr Raj Malhotra, who runs a hosiery unit in Bajwa Nagar, says that the residents of the trans-nullah localities have to make a detour of nearly a kilometre to carry their dead to the Jeeva Ram Ghat, the oldest shamshan ghat of the city, as they have to use the bridge crossing at Sundar Nagar.

The work on the new bridge is in progress but at a snail’s pace and it may take another four or six months before it is completed, says Mr Malhotra.

This correspondent saw only four workers on the job at the new bridge site

Mr Ramesh Kumar (30), who owns a karyana shop in Bajwa Nagar, says that ever since the demolition of the old narrow bridge about eight months ago, his business has suffered a big setback as there are no customers from across the nullah.

Mr Shiv Kumar (40), who is running a washing unit for hosiery products in Bajwa Nagar, also complains of a steep fall in his business.

Not only business establishments have been affected, school and college students too are undergoing a rigorous routine every day because of the inordinate delay on the part of the Municipal Corporation in completing the new bridge.


Badges given to deaf and dumb students
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, June 9 — Students of School for Deaf and Dumb at Rajpura Road here presented a lively cultural show. The ADC, Mr S.R. Kaler, was the chief guest of the function. About 192 badges were distributed among the students of the school. The badges were donated by Mr Harkrishan Jain. Mr Malik, Secretary, Red Cross, presided over the function.

The school was started in 1971 at Tagore Nagar by the Ludhiana Educational Society. The school is affiliated to the Punjab School Education Board and has classes from nursery to XI. The 200-odd students are taught through lip reading and sign language methods. The school lays emphasis on vocational training for embroidery, jute work, doll making, knitting, tailoring, bookbinding, leather making and candle making according to Ms Suversha Kalra, Principal. The students are also taught computers, photography, cardboard making and handloom. There is also hostel facility for students in the school.


PAU students’ training from June 14
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 9 — Nearly 100 outgoing students of B.Sc. Agriculture (hons.) of the Punjab Agricultural University will work in the villages of the Pakhowal block for a week in order to get firsthand experience of agricultural problems and suggest solutions to farmers according to a press note issued by the university.

The students would also apprise the farmers about the various facilities provided by different organisations like Departments of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Commercial and Cooperative banks.

The students, during their week-long training from June 14 to 21, will also educate the farmers regarding transplantation of paddy, diagnosis of plant protection problems, use of mineral mixture for dairy animals and treatment of grains against stored grain pests. The students will collect soil and water samples and after getting these tested in the university laboratory and on the basis of this report the farmers will be guided about appropriate doses of fertilisers.


Gosain’s scathing attack on MC officials
From Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, June 9 — A virtual war of words has broken out between the mercurial local BJP MLA, Mr Satpal Gosain, and the Municipal Corporation of Ludhiana over the alleged favouritism in the allotment of tenders for various developmental works in the megacity.

Mr Gosain yesterday convened a press conference to level a series of serious allegations of corruption against several top officers of the Municipal Corporation and demanded a CBI enquiry into the functioning of the civic body during the last few years. He also threatened to resort to a chain hunger strike in front of the residence of the MC commissioner here if his demand was not conceded within a fortnight.

Mr Gosain alleged that the tendering process in the MC was highly irregular and facilitated extension of favours to certain selected contractors by the civic body officials. Elaborating further, he claimed that the tender for construction of MC zone-B office building worth Rs 2.5 crore was awarded in an irregular manner allegedly after tampering with the tender documents, and the MC had suffered a financial loss of over Rs.50 lakh in the process.

The BJP legislator, who had a serious brush with the BJP leadership after he failed to make it in the last round of ministerial expansion carried out by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, a few months ago, also remained at loggerheads with the Punjab Local Bodies Minister and senior BJP leader, Mr Balramji Das Tandon. He further charged the civic body with bungling in the purchase of tree guards and bitumen. He said the estimates for purchase of bitumen and tree guards worth several crores were never sent for approval to the Tender Inviting Committee (TIC) and the top officers, allegedly enjoying the patronage of the MC Commissioner Dr S.S. Sandhu, were taking all the decisions in this regard by themselves.

Giving further details of instances when ‘MC officials either colluded with the corrupt elements or chose to look the other way’, Mr Gosain, who was accompanied by a BJP councillor, Mr Pran Bhatia, claimed that a Congress Party councillor, Mr Sat Pal Puri, had constructed 16 shops in New Shiv Puri locality on the land which belonged to the civic body and despite persistent efforts to make the MC swing into action, the officials had failed to respond, which was tantamount to extending tacit support to the erring councillor.

Mr Gosain informed that he had met the Principal Secretary, Local Government Mr N.K. Arora, the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) in the Local Bodies Department, and had drawn their attention towards the goings-on in the Municipal Corporation here, but so far no action appeared to have been taken.

Sources in the Municipal Corporation, however, attribute Mr Gosain’s latest outburst to the failure of his contractor protege, Mr D.P.S. Chadha, to secure a contract for the construction of a development work. The source alleges that Mr Gosain had been calling certain officers of the corporation from time to time and asking them to allot tenders to Mr Chadha whom he introduces has his “close son”. It had been explained to Mr Gosain on more than one occasion that tenders were allotted to contractors on the basis of a definite criteria and could not be subject to the whims and fancies of any individual.

Mr Chadha, the sources allege, is known to be a financier of the legislator. At the press conference addressed by Mr Gosain, those present included Mr Chadha and Mr Pran Bhatia, Municipal Councillor, whose brother is also a government contractor.

When approached for comment, the Congress councillor Mr. Puri, who was alleged to have encroached upon the MC land and had built shops in violation of rules, denied all allegations terming them as “false, baseless and politically motivated.” Talking to The Tribune, he said those levelling unfounded allegations against him were out to malign him because he had quit the BJP before civic elections in protest against their wrong policies. Going a step further, Mr Puri alleged that he had earned the wrath of these people (the BJP legislator and the councillor) because he had refused to give in to their “blackmailing tactics”.



Three dowry cases registered
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 9 — At least three dowry cases were registered at different police stations during the past 24 hours here and around 10 persons booked by the police in these cases.

A case under Section 3 and 4-B of the Dowry Prohibition Act , 1961 and 498/120-B of the IPC has been registered at police station division no.4 on the basis of an application submitted by Sunita against her husband, Ram Chand, and father-in-law, Om Parkash. She has alleged that she was not only subjected to mental and physical torture, but was also turned out of the house by her in-laws.

Another case has been registered on the statement of Paramjit Kaur against her husband, Bhupinder Singh, father-in-law, Surjit Singh, mother-in-law, Kuldeep Kaur, sister-in-law, Baby, and brother-in-law, Manvir Singh. The complainant has alleged that her in-laws were demanding a Maruti car from her parents even though they had been given sufficient dowry at the time of the marriage in 1998.

The third case registered at the Sahnewal police station is on the basis of a statement of Karamjit Kaur against her husband Gurmeet Singh, father-in-law, Balwant Singh, and sister-in-law, Inderjit Kaur, and they have been booked under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC.

Kidnapping: A 15-year-old girl was allegedly abducted by Vishkarma Kishore, an Assamese youth and a worker of Chander Mohan Hoseiry. A case under Sections 363 and 366 has been registered at the police station division no. 4 on the statement of the mother of the girl, Ajit Kaur.

Killed: One person was killed and another seriously injured when a Maruti car hit them near Kirpal Nagar. The deceased was the owner of a rehra and the police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC.

Four arrested: The police has arrested four persons for gambling at a public place and recovered a pack of cards and Rs 2230 from them. The four accused are Dinesh Yadav, Umesh Kumar Yadav, Raju Ram and Ashok Kumar. The police has booked them under Sections 13,3 and 67 of the Gambling Act.Back


Coaching centres or money-making gimmick?

SAHNEWAL (Ludhiana): Educating means serving the humanity at large. It is a sacred mission obligatory for those who undertake it. Education must open vast avenues of conduct and behaviour and bring an over-all development in the general well-being of man. Schools and colleges, the temples of learning, are meant to fulfil this aim. They should serve as means to provide such meaningful ends.

Healthy means are provided to achieve useful ends but at the same time ends can prove dangerous if means are crooked and spoiled. In the world of ‘copycats’ where each and every original today finds its duplicate and where substandard things flourish all the more, the so-called “private coaching centres’ have come into vogue. The meaning of real education is lost somewhere in the humdrum of these coaching centre. They are ever on the increase. They are giving a serious setback to the recognised schools and colleges around. Requiring no basic qualification, a coaching centre is opened anywhere in a village, town or a city. Its main motive is profit. Money is extracted from the students and in some cases even a readymade degree is arranged for them. Unaware of what type of a syllabus is meant for which course, students feel satisfied and easily equate themselves with the ones who have earned the same degree through years of perspiration and perseverance. Such type of students have nothing but ignorance to promote.

To make matters worse, these private coaching centres hamper the growth in personality. Most of them opt for limited subjects and thus provide limited knowledge. No competitive spirit of participation is encouraged. The products of such coaching centres remain reduced to their own shells and the quality of self-confidence, so essential to face the world, remains suppressed. In the world of cut-throat competition the coaching centres are leaving in lurch the future of our country.

Having employed under-qualified staff, the coaching centres have somewhere become money-making agencies. The guardians who are “illiterate and basically of a rural background find these coaching centres to be a convenient source of getting a much-sought after degree. On the other hand, coaching centres belie the faith of aspirant students. The recent fake-degree scandals are mostly the products of these privately-run coaching centres. These anti-social, anti-government and anti-national institutions are flourishing without restraint. In order to adopt work as a profession, proper laws and prior registrations are made. But these coaching centres require no eligibility and no experience on the part of the teacher and anyone can follow it in the form of a successful business.

A recognised institution loses its importance when its place is so conveniently occupied by a coaching centre. A child has a question that keeps on hovering in his mind. He says: “I want a place where I can quench my thirst for knowledge and learning.” The answer is: “The place is surely not a ship where degrees are sold at higher rates. Such type of a place must be a real heaven on earth where true and sincere meaning of life is conducted, and each and every little thing points to “a novel way of life.”

The only way out is to immediately ban the speedy growth of these private coaching centres, to make recognised institutions full-fledged, and above all to make the guardians conscious of the their wards. — Loveleen Singh


Financial crunch hits aviation club
From Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, June 9 — The Ludhiana Aviation Club (LAC), one of the three flying clubs operational in Punjab — the other two being in Patiala and Amritsar, is facing resource crunch and might have to shed its wings if the state government did not come to its rescue with adequate financial assistance.

So acute is the financial crisis that it has no money to buy spares for half of its fleet of six training aircrafts which stand grounded, the salaries of staff have not been paid for the past several months and at times it finds it difficult to buy fuel for the operational fleet with the meagre income generated from imparting flying instructions to trainees.

Set up in 1966, the LAC has an impeccable track record and things were not bad till a couple of years ago. Asked to spell reasons for the rough weather facing the premier flying institutions in this region, Capt S.S. Ahluwalia, Flying Instructor, told Ludhiana Tribune that more than 300 per cent spurt in the prices of aviation fuel since 1998 had hit the club hard and even with an increase in the flying charges, though not in proportion to the rise in the cost of fuel, the flying, at Rs 1700 to Rs 2300 per hour depending upon the kind of aircraft, had become rather expensive, if not prohibitive.

That the flying clubs are perhaps last on the priority list of the state government is borne out of the strange but true fact that the annual grant to the LAC at Rs 1.66 lakh per annum remains the same since inception of the club and the state government subsidy of Rs 250 per flying hour have not been revised during the past more than one decade when the trainees were charged around Rs 700 to Rs 800 per flying hour. “It was only in 1998, that the state government doled out a special grant of Rs 50 lakh to all flying clubs in the state to tide over the financial crises facing these institutions at that time said Captain Ahluwalia.

The LAC has trained hundreds of youth, precisely 158 since 1984 for commercial pilot license (CPL) for which a minimum of 250 flying hours are mandatory. According to Captain Ahluwalia, many of their trainees are working as commercial pilots with Air India, Indian Airlines and other privateirlines, both within the country and abroad. Asked if the high cost of flying needed to obtain a private pilot license (PPL) or CPL was a deterrent for those who wanted to adopt flying as a career, the LAC Flying Instructor, though agreeing that the state government should further sub-sidise the training, pointed out that at the prevailing rates of flying, one had to spend around Rs 6 lakh for 250 hours of flying required for a CPL. “But see the level of salaries of the airline pilots. They start their careers at Rs 30,000 plus and move up the ladder with commanders drawing anything more than Rs 1 lakh per month.”

Even with half the fleet of training aircrafts being airworthy at present, making do with the maintenance and other staff, who have not been paid salaries for months together and the number of trainees diminishing due to hefty increase in the rates of flying, the LAC functionaries, including the Flying Instructor, Captain Ahluwalia, and his colleague — engineer in charge Mr S.K. Sharma, have not lost hope. “In our flying careers, we have to face rough weather and turbulent times and the only thing a pilot has in mind is a three point perfect landing,” observed both of them.


Hosiery market faces deep slump
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, June 9 — There is a deep slump in hosiery market. Most of the manufacturers and traders are worried over the trend. They apprehend that due to the massive over production, the hosiery products could not get required market. Hence most of the units are flooded with huge unsold dumps of the hosiery.

Market sources disclosed that the slump started in the market in the summer season. A good number of manufacturers could not sell the entire product. According to Mr Ajit Kumar Jain, Managing Director, Kay Jain Wears, primarily two things are responsible for the slump in the market. First the massive over production and the second the imports from China and Indonesia.

Hosiery is the bulwark of Ludhiana industry. Ludhiana hosiery is known worldwide. Besides the Ludhiana products also dominated the domestic market within the country. Due to liberalisation the imports have started from Indonesia and China. The products from these two countries are said to be relatively cheap. Hence there is a great demand.

Chinese and Indonesian products are posing a stiff competition to the Ludhiana hosiery products at the international level as well. That is why the exports have also been effected.

A leading manufacturer, refusing to be quoted said, he had slashed the production to 75 per cent. Yet he was having huge unsold stocks. He revealed that the slump was mainly due to the less demand in the domestic market. He said he could manage 75 per cent production only when he was able to maintain the level of exports.

The problem is more serious for the small manufacturers and traders, who limit their supply to the domestic markets only. In the times to come, they are likely to face more competition from China and Indonesia.

The traders and manufacturers are also sore over the approach of the government and the Punjab State Electricity Board. The recent hike in sales tax and the alleged harassment by the PSEB is also cause of concern for the traders.

There is general apprehension in the market that the slump may get carried over to the winter season also. Mr Virender Kumar, alias Biloo a leading manufacturer, disclosed that the money position in the market was too tight to leave any scope for optimism. Even the labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have not been coming this year as they used to.

However, Mr Vinod Thapar, president of the Ludhiana Knitwear Club, is quite optimistic. Although he agreed that due to over production, there was slight slump in the market, but there was no cause for panic. He said the much talked about imports from China and Indonesia were yet to arrive in the Indian markets. And even if there are some (imports), they are negligible. Mr Thapar said, the Ludhiana industry was perfectly geared up against any competition. Moreover, he revealed that the government was likely to impose some non-tariff barriers like dumping duties on such imports to safeguard the interests of the local industry.

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