Sunday, August 6, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Ex-MLA accuses cops of shielding guilty
Cites 3 instances of police high-handedness
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 5 — There can be hundreds of examples of how the Punjab Police acts to repress the poor and the helpless in order to shield the guilty and the influential. But perhaps three cases are enough to drive home the point.

Mr Tarsem Jodhan, an ex-MLA of the CPM, presented three specific cases at a press conference at Panjabi Bhavan today which show the Punjab Police in a bad light.

Case number one relates to the murder of a scheduled caste, Jasbir Singh, of Maqsoodran village, on June 7. The two accused in the case, Amarjit Singh and Malkiat Singh, who allegedly committed the murder by burning Jasbir, are roaming freely in spite of an FIR lodged at Payal police station on June 9. Also one of the accused Malkiat Singh has been declared a proclaimed offender for his involvement in the Dhakki Sahib episode, according to Mr Jodhan.

The widow of Jasbir Singh, who fled the village after the murder of her husband to live with her brother Mr Ram Asra in Mohanpur village near Khanna, is a broken woman who does not know what to do with her five children. With a stony stare in her eyes she does not seem to belong to this world.

Instead of putting the alleged killers behind the bars, the police is allegedly allowing time to them to intimidate the victims into withdrawing the case. The victims are being threatened with dire consequences if they do not give up their efforts to pursue the case. The obvious reason being that the alleged killers are related to a minister in the Badal Cabinet, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, alleged Mr Jodhan.

The second case is equally horrible. A 13-year-old daughter of a poor daily wager, Kala Singh of Dalla village near Jagraon, was raped by two youths of the same village on July 30. An FIR was lodged the next day at P.S. Sadar, Jagraon.

Once again, as it was a case of the poor versus the mighty, the police caused unnecessary delays in getting the girl medically examined. She was finally examined on August 1 after a state committee member of the Lal Jhanda Panjab Bhatta Mazdoor Union intervened.

In this case too, the police has not arrested so far the alleged rapists namely Amarjit Singh s/o Suba Singh and Prem Singh s/o Charan Singh.

The father and mother of the victimised girl told newsmen that the culprits were making threats and money offers to hush up the whole case.

And lastly there is an intriguing case of the death of two youths of Khera village near Ahmadgarh on July 3, who died after they were allegedly given Celphos tablets by one of their friends ostensibly to highten the effect of liquor. While Roshan Singh died on the way to a Ludhiana hospital, the other youth, Jagpal Singh, breathed his last nine days later in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana.

The police is alleged to have overlooked several factors in the case, like the statements of the relatives of the dead boys and other witnesses. Apart from questioning the dealer at Ahmadgarh who sold the Celphos tablets to Manjit Singh, alias Billu, of the same village and who passed on the tablets to the deceased, the police has done little in the case. Mr Tarsem Jodhan alleged that the police was trying to make it a case of suicide.

On Thursday, a bhog ceremony for the deceased boys was held at Khera village in which leaders of the CPI, CPM, Congress, BSP and the SHSAD took part. A joint action committee with Mr Jodhan as convenor was formed to pursue the case and get justice for the families of the deceased boys. The joint action committee has demanded a CBI probe into the whole incident to bring out the truth. Mr Tarsem Jodhan said that if need be the JAC would launch an agitation.Back


Protests against killings continue
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 5 — The youth Congress workers, led by Mr Amarjit Tikka, senior vice-president of the Punjab Youth Congress, held an angry demonstration at Gian Singh Rarewala Market, near General Bus Stand here, to protest against the massacre of pilgrims and other innocent people in Jammu and Kashmir by militants. The demonstrators also burnt a Pakistani flag and warned the military rulers of the country to desist from their overt and covert support to the terrorist outfits.

Addressing the party workers, Mr Tikka held the Pakistan government responsible for these killings and also lambasted the NDA government for lapses in the security arrangements, which had led to loss of many lives at the hands of militants. He also demanded the dismissal of J and K government and handing over the state to the Army so that the law and order could be restored and normalcy brought back.

The block congress committee no. 5 organised a massive protest march from New Shivaji Nagar to Samrala Chowk, which passed through Hargobind Nagar, Shivaji Nagar and Shingar Cinema road on the way. The BCC president, Mr Jasbir Singh Chadha, led the procession, which was attended, among others, by the District Congress Committee president, Mr Surinder Dawar and former Deputy Mayor Mr Prem Mittal. The Congress workers burnt an effigy of J and K Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah, as also the Pakistani flag at the conclusion of the march.

Mr Sushil Malhotra, former general secretary of the Punjab Youth Congress, in a statement here today, demanded resignation of Union Home Minister Lal Krishan Advani and imposition of president’s rule in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which had witnessed the killing of Amarnath pilgrims and migrant workers. The sensitive state was virtually being ruled by the terrorist groups and no government, worth the name, existed there, he said.

The district unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) also took out a procession from its local office in Bhadur House market to Clock Tower Chowk to protest against the J and K killings. Addressing a rally, the district president of the party, Mr Rashpal Singh, rued that the Union Government was holding peace negotiations with the militant outfits in Jammu and Kashmir, while some other groups were engaged in blood bath of innocent people and pilgrims.


A journey from darkness to light
From A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 5 — A quiet revolution is on in nearly 12 slum colonies lying along the northern outer rim of the city, thanks to two schools started by the Sant Nirankari Mission in Indira Puri and Preet Nagar.

The slum colonies whose children have begun the journey from darkness to light include Kishore Nagar, Jagdish Pura, Vishwakarma Nagar, Guru Arjan Dev Nagar, Geeta Colony, Sanjay Gandhi Colony, Bhola Colony, Preet Nagar, Baba Jeewan Singh Nagar and Iqbal Nagar.

A visit by this correspondent to some of the colonies on Saturday revealed the enormous change brought about in the lifestyle of the children of these colonies. "My son used to roam around in streets of the colony and spend his day playing with other kids of the locality because there was nothing else to do", recalls Khand Kaur, a resident of the slum colony. "Ever since the school has come up here, there is a total transformation in my son. He not only gets up early but also likes to dress up properly, understands the importance of cleanliness, brushes his teeth, takes a daily bath and studies regularly".

And the change is infectious. Other kids of the colony are now emulating him. They all go to school together. "There is a great feeling of satisfaction in these colonies", says Khand Kaur. "And there is a ray of hope in the heart of its residents. Our children will not remain uneducated and backward like us...When they return home from school, we can notice that we can learn a thing or two from our own children".

Things were not always as rosy as they are in these slum colonies now. The area had one government and two private schools but the enrollment and attendance by students was minimal. When the Sant Nirankari Mission decided to open a school about a decade ago, it surveyed the whole before settling for Indira Puri because it was the most backward area. "Its residents were very poor. People did not understand the importance of education", recalls Mrs Bindia Chhabra, Chairperson of the Managing Committee of S.N. Public High School. "Most of the kids did not go to school because their parents were uneducated".

"So we decided to set up a school here way back in 1988. The school was provided with a building, furniture, drinking water and electricity. Initially, only 175 children took admission. But it posed a problem of its own".

The children from slum colonies did not pay much attention to personal hygiene. "The children would neither take a bath nor change their clothes. Most of them were barefooted," recalls Mrs Chhabra. "So first we decided to educate their parents. We conducted a few classes and told them about the importance of cleanliness and good personality. Slowly, the children's appearance started changing. They began dressing up properly. For the first one year, we just imparted them basic knowledge".

"Along with it, they were involved in sports such as badminton, kabaddi, kho-kho as also in various group activities such as picnics and movie shows".

The school has come a long way since then. It now has a strength of more than 881 children and a large complement of qualified staff headed by Principal Kulwant Kaur. "The fee we charge from the students is minimal. It ranges between Rs 40 and Rs 80 a month. Most of the other expenses are met by the mission".

The mission is building another school in Preet Nagar where children will be given free education. Preet Nagar colony is inhabited by Sikligars who make a living by fabricating tin and iron buckets, trunks and other items of daily use. About 225 scholarships are also being given to students. Mrs Chhabra distributed free school bags and textbooks among a large number of students admitted to the school at a special function held today.

"I am very glad to report that the examination results of our students are also very good", says Mr Nachhattar Singh, Manager of the school, with justifiable pride. "The pass percentage is cent per cent in 5th, 8th, 10th and 10+2 classes".

Mrs Chhabra says that she has already approached the Municipal Corporation for allotment of more land for setting up another school in the area. "Our mission is to provide quality education to the children of deprived sections of society. The words Ek Pita ekes ke hum barak guide us to serve the mankind on right path. We are serving the people on humanitarian grounds irrespective of caste and creed. The objective of the mission is to serve the people of slum areas like Indira Puri where parents cannot afford to send their children to costly public schools". Back


Price of furnace oil reduced 
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 5 — The Indian Oil Corporation is reported to have reduced the rate of furnace oil. According to sources in the IOC, the rate of the oil has gone down by at least Rs 800 per kilolitre from August 2.

This is for the second time that the IOC has slashed the price of the oil. Earlier, the rates were lowered down by Rs 800 per kilolitre. So during a span of about three weeks the rates have gone down by Rs 1,600 per kilolitre. This has given some respite to the users.

However, the state government is yet to reduce the sales tax on it from 22 to eight per cent. According to Mr P D Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, the chamber is in constant touch with the authorities concerned and the final decision is likely to be taken next week.

Mr Sharma hailed the concern shown by the government on the issue and said the Chief Minister had also shown concern on the issue and asked the authorities to expedite the matter.


RSS to stage dharna on Monday
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 5 — The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) would stage a dharna at the Mini Secretariat here on Monday to press for the release of its three activists who were kidnapped almost a year back in Tripura by the militants.

District vice-president of the RSS and a former city Mayor Chaudhry Satya Parkash said in a news conference here today that four RSS activists — Mr Shyamal Kanti Sengupta, divisional secretary, Mr Dinendra Nath, in charge physical training, Mr Sudhamaya Dutt, pracharak (Agartala) and Mr Shubhamaykar Chakravarty pracharak (Tripura) were abducted last year, allegedly by militants belonging to the National Liberation Front (NLF).

He said the RSS had received a demand for ransom of Rs 2 crore for the release of its functionaries, which was later reduced to Rs25 lakh. "But as a matter of principle the organisations had refused to bow down to the dictates of the terrorists and there was no question of paying the ransom."

He, however, lamented that the Left parties' government in Tripura had adopted an indifferent attitude towards the plight of the abducted RSS activists and no worthwhile efforts had been put in to seek their release.

Mr Chaudhry pointed out that through the protest dharna the RSS would attempt to draw the attention of both the Centre and the state government towards the kidnapped RSS activists so that effective and immediate steps could be initiated which could lead to their release.


400 kg of poppy husk seized
From Our Correspondent

SAHNEWAL, Aug 5 —The Sahnewal police seized 400 kg of poppy husk stuffed in 11 jute bags at a naka at Jandiali village yesterday.

It is reported that the poppy was being bought in a truck (UP-12-8225) to Buddewal and Lakko Gaddowal villages for sale. Acting on a tip-off the police under the command of Mr Jatinder Singh Khaira placed the naka near the Jandiali bus stand. The three involved in the crime have been identified as Pritpal Singh and Avtar Singh of Pawa village and Nirmal Singh of Jassowal village. The three noticing the police naka at ran away leaving behind the truck and the bags of poppy.

A case has been registered.Back


Markets appear to have bottomed out 
Outlook bullish for the next week

The Ludhiana Stock Exchange thirty share index which closed at 137.13 points last Friday opened on Monday, the first day of new settlement, down at 137.07 and finally closed at the end of the settlement cycle on Friday at 133.34, showing a fall of 3.79 points against last weeks closing index.

The market during this settlement at the LSE as well as at the BSE and the NSE had a dull and directionless trading sessions almost on all sessions with moderate volatility, which was not enough to give a positive push.

The sharp decline was noticed in the Infotech scrips which in turn was the result of overseas bourses especially fall at Nasdaq and NYSE. The major losers at the end of this week’s closing price against previous week’s closing price were : Reliance Capital Ltd. which closed at Rs 89.75 against previous weeks closing price (Rs. 97.60), Reliance Industries Ltd. Rs 330.90 (341.20), Satyam Computer Rs 2172.20 (2459.95), Silverline Industries Rs. 299.90 (347.65) and Zee Telefilms Rs 392.75 (452.52).

Escorts Ltd came out with audited balance sheet recently. Sale and other income of the company have registered an increase of 19 per cent from Rs 1320 crore to Rs 1570 crore. Profit before tax increased by 29 per cent from Rs 110 crore to Rs 142 crore. Profit after tax showed a jump of Rs 28 crore from Rs 84 crore to Rs 112 crore reflecting an increase of 33 per cent over previous year. The company is well diversified business entity with interest in tractors, combine harvesters, communications, construction equipment, healthcare, software development and mobile services.

In recent times, the company has sharpened its business focus by divestment in Escorts Yamaha Motor Ltd, Escorts JCB Ltd and Escorts Hughes Communications Ltd. The company has sold 25 per cent of its stake to Yamaha Motor Co, Japan, which was earlier its 50:50 joint venture partner. The proceeds will be utilised to retire high cost debt of Escorts Yamaha.

The company intends to be leader in the old and new economy segments, with two of them nurturing and supporting each other. The company has major presence in tractors and agri-machinery, healthcare, telecom and mobile services. The company intends to strengthen its presence in each of the core groups through the establishment of four e-services viz a B2B market place for the purchase and sale of auto components and equipment through supply chain management, an interactive health portal to provide health related services, utilities and contents supported by two hospitals of the Company, an Internet service provider (ISP) in association with its telecom company to provide the Internet access and a mobile Internet service.

The company intends to be a market leader in tractors by 2002-2003. During the year 1999-2000, the market share of the company in tractors was 20.2 per cent, second highest after Mahindra & Mahindra. This feat has been achieved in spite of the fact that the cumulative industry sale in the tractors witnessed a poor growth of 1.2 per cent.

During the year 1999-2000, demand of tractors remained low because of drought like conditions in Rajashthan and Gujarat. However, the company was able to fight the stagnation in the demand by making inroads into high horse power (HP) segment and focusing on exports. The company has introduced Farmtrac tractor in the 40 HP segment to meet the requirements of wet land operations in the southern markets. The company also intends to introduce two new tractors in the 60 and 75 HP segment. The export market is dominated by these HP categories and the company also intends to export these tractors.

The 40HP tractor is well suited for farming in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh where the hard soil require a higher HP tractor. During last year the company exported 1685 tractors and hopes to export around 2700 units in the current year and 3500 in the next year.

The good monsoon rain received in this year is likely to give fillip to the demand for tractors. However, not much hope should be put on this segment as the growth is likely to be moderate. The company has employed its capital in the projects with long gestation periods, which are likely to bear results once the critical level is achieved. Presently the company is sharpening its focus in its core area by disinvestment in unrelated business.

Looking at the business restructuring being carried out by the company, it is imperative that the company will achieve handsome growth rate, once full business concentration is achieved.

The company has an equity base of Rs. 72.23 crore and since 1997 has been maintaining a steady dividend payment of 45 per cent on face value of Rs 10. The company’s penchant for new economy sectors is well established. All the segments of the company are doing well. However, the company is stretching itself into too many diversified businesses, including new economy sectors. During the preceding 52 weeks, the scrip touched a high of Rs 269 and a low of Rs 85 at the BSE. The scrip is available at its lowest price of the past 52 weeks.

During the week, the rupee remained week against dollar. The measures taken by RBI to stem the free fall of rupee failed to bring the desired results. The depreciation of rupee is because of several underlying factors like genuine demand from traders and rising trade deficit. The rising oil deficit has made the things worse and the government should take immediate steps to control it by reconsidering some of its popular measures like cross subsidy on kerosene and cooking gas.

The government should also expedite disinvestment, which has remained struck because of lack of political will on the part of the government. In spite of crises created by depreciation of rupee and political uncertainty, the economic scenario has remain buoyant with corporate achieving impressive growth in quarterly results.

There is also talk that the RBI may intervene directly in the forex market by selling dollars to give support to rupee. Much depends upon the performance of the rupee in the forex market as any decline in value may see FIIs taking away their investments resulting in crash in the market.

During the week, Sensex remained below 4300 points, closing at below 4200 points. It seems that the markets have bottomed out and the outlook for the next week is bullish. 


GNPS students win inter-school quiz contest
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 5 — Ajay Singh and Gaganpreet Singh in junior group and Puneet and Simranjeet in senior group, all from Guru Nanak Public School (GNPS), won the inter-school Cremica Quiz Whiz contest organised by Year of the Kids Quiz, a division of Chandigarh-based Channel Communications.

More than 600 students participated in the contest. Elimination rounds were held yesterday and six finalist teams each in junior and senior groups contested today. Questions on topics like science, literature, wild life, history, geography, personalities, cartoons and cinema were asked. There were visual rounds in which questions based on clippings of flora, fauna and cinema were asked.

In the junior group, the first runners-up were Harshdeep and Akshay from Sacred Heart Convent School (SHCS) and the second runners up were Alisha and Anmol again from SHCS.

In the senior group, the first runners-up were Anirudh and Bhuvnesh from SHCS and the second runners-up were Sabina and Harsimran from the same school.

Ajay Singh and Gaganpreet Singh, winners in the junior group, said that they were regular viewers of Discovery and National Geographic Channel and it really helped.

Mr Saurab Roy, the quiz master and the coordinator of Year of the Kids Quiz said, “I have seen that Ludhiana schools are very keen to in take part in such programmes. When contacted, almost all the school authorities expressed eagerness to participate.

Mr Naval Kishore of Channel Communications said that the company organises quiz programmes, antakshari and music concerts in and around Punjab.Back

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