Thursday, August 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Hike in digging charges may hit phone project
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — The decision of the state Department of Local Bodies to hike charges of digging the roads belonging to the municipal corporations in the state for laying of telephone cables was made to end reckless digging work by the Telecom Department. But now, due to the hike, hundreds of residents of the city who have applied for a telephone connection will have to wait much longer and may be forever, as the Telecom Department is finding it hard to provide the connection because of loss of money in the venture.

Certain pockets in the city have been termed as negative by the department as the cost of laying cables in the areas after paying a large amount for the digging work to the Municipal Corporation renders the step unprofitable. Under the state government's decision, the MC had implemented the increase in the digging charges early this year as it had suffered huge losses due to the work undertaken by Telecom employees. The public and municipal councillors had raised a hue and cry over the digging. Their complaint was that the Telecom Department had dug up newly laid roads, causing inconvenience to the public and loss to the corporation.

Though the exact rate of charge could not be detailed, the cost increased twice in case of digging up of roads laid with bitumen, while in the case of cemented roads, the charges went up by six times. According to sources, the Telecom Department has more than 6,000 applications in the waiting list. Though the department had paid crores of rupees to the MC this year as payment of digging charges, it cannot make the payment of the negative areas due to it being a loss-making project. The loss is compounded as the MC charges compensation for half the road, while digging work is done for a two-feet wide trench at the maximum.

According to a senior Telecom official, they cannot lay the lines as the MC is denying them permission to dig the roads. He said due to delay in permission, the applicants would have to wait longer. According to him, some pockets have been rendered negative and telephone lines may not be laid there. The official said they had corresponded with the government and the corporation about the matter, but could not specify the areas as it would make the applicants anxious. He said the department was trying to find out a solution to the matter.

The Muncipal Corporation does not seems to be in a position to help the Telecom Department in this matter. Mr S.S. Sandhu, Commissioner, MC, said the charges were proper. He said while digging a narrow trench, the whole road was loosened. He said the MC could not repair two feet of road and had to relay at least half of it, due to which the rates were increased.


Creativity, gaiety mark Janmashtami
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — Lord Krishna today arrived in the city to a rousing reception. People who were busy for so many days preparing themselves for this grand and pious occasion, displayed their creations in an aesthetic manner.

The creative urges by various artists from places like Brindaban, Bhuvneshwar, Bengal, Hyderabad, Calcutta and Banaras were exhibited at the temples and at the Raas Lilas. The idols of Krishna and Radha in varied and colourful attire were the main attraction in all the temples. The temples had been illuminated and the houses decorated to mark the great festival. Everything looked like announcing the arrival of the Lord.

Sanatan Dharam Mandir Mahotsav Committee took out a shobha yatra on the eve of Janmashtmi. Thousands of devotees joined the yatra. The first kirtan darbar was held at Gyan Sthal Temple. The yatra started from the Daresi Ground, covering Partap Nagar, Chowk Mata Rani, Ghantaghar, Chaura Bazar and Kothi Khwaja, and concluded at .Hardier Temple. The devotees had set up various ‘prasad’ stalls for the public on the occasion.

The main attraction of the yatra was the colorful tableaus prepared by various artists of different temples like Shiv Shakti, Dandi Swami, Krishna Temple, Deep Nagar Temple Committee, Mata Vaishno Temple and Model Town Temple. The tableaus depicted Lord Krishna, Yashoda, Lord Shiva, Kansa and Pootna. Devotees belonging to different age groups thronged the specially illuminated and decorated tableaus from the early morning. It was an admixture of faith and joy at the arrival of the Lord. While people were praying in the temples, children enjoyed swings in the cradle of Lord Krishna.

It looked as if the world had stopped for the tiny-tots and children. It was more fun than faith for them. The Krishan Darbar at Gyan Sthal Temple was organised by the ‘Nitya Nijam Sewa Society’. For the devotees it was a solemn and pious occasion mixed with cheer and joy. The children and youngsters sung bhajans of Lord Krishna and enjoyed the occasion. 


Janmashtami in Kusht Ashram
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — Janmashtami was observed with religious fervour and devotion at Kusht Ashram in the Islam Ganj locality here today.

A havan yajna was performed to mark the birth of Lord Krishna. The Additional Commissioner (General), Mr Harsurinder Singh, along with Mr Ram Samajh Pandey, President, and Mr Kamal Raj, Vice-President of the ashram, a Congress activist Mr Parminder Mehta Councillor, Mr Mohan Lal, a former councillor, Mr Gurbachan Chhabra, were among those who made the offerings. Honouring 101 Brahmins was part of the ceremonies performed at this occasion.

Mr Harsurinder Singh, who later went round the lepers’ colony, assured help on the behalf of the district administration. He said it was the moral duty of society to ameliorate the suffering of the under-privileged and the ailing “fellow human beings”.

Mr Parminder Mehta emphasised the need for religious tolerance and communal harmony.


Tiny tots celebrate Janmashtami
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — Little angles of Disney Land Playway celebrated Janmashtami today with pomp and show. The nursery students dressed in bright and colourful dresses, enacted various roles from Krishna’s life.

The programme began with Ram naam ka jaap in the morning. It was followed by a ballet in which Krishna broke matki.

Roshan, Raghav, Sahil, Yash, Anmol, Saaransh and Shiva played the role of Krishna in its manifestations. Mansi, Aashna, Ayushi and Nonika enacted the role of Radha, Meera, Yashoda and Rukmani respectively. The other characters included Yadha Singh as Nand Baba, Gayatri as Devki and Udey Gill as gwala.

The students also performed dance items to add charm and gaiety to the celebrations. Bhajans were sung to worship lord Krishna.


Widow takes husband’s work to new heights
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — “Never act like a loser,” says Ms Meera Puri to every woman. “If you do, nobody will stand by you. But, if you face the situation boldly and with determination, everybody will come to your aid... to encourage you... to cheer you on till you overcome the difficulty.”

Meera should know because she has recently overcome a challenge in her life following the death of her husband in a road accident a couple of years ago. “It was a shattering experience.. a totally unexpected development”, recalls Meera. “With two small kids, I did not know where to go, what to do and whom to turn to for help.”

Luckily for Meera, she had begun to assist her husband in his business of selling German knitting machinery to hosiery units in Ludhiana and elsewhere in the country about five years ago. “This gave me enough exposure as to the ins and outs of the business. At the time of my husband’s death, I had begun to conduct about 50 per cent of the business. Therefore, I was not totally at sea when the situation called upon me to come forward and take charge.”

She recalls that she hardly faced any problem as far as conducting her business was concerned. The main problem was the people, who were unable to accept the fact that a young woman, who had undergone such a traumatic experience, could run a business successfully”.

In her endeavour to piece her life together, she says her father-in-law, Mr S.P.Puri, and her mother-in-law have been pillars of strength. “They have been more supportive than even my parents. As a matter of fact, I regard them not as my in-laws but as my own parents,” says Meera.

She refused to go into a shell and maintained her social contacts. “I shun kitty parties and all such mindless activities. But in order to avoid the pitfalls of depression and to keep myself occupied, I have joined many clubs in the city. I am a member of the Rotary Club, Lakshmi Ladies Club, Satluj Club and Golf Club, to name a few.”

And it is in recognition of her services in the social field that she has become the first woman in Ludhiana to become the Secretary of the Rotary Club, a job which has so far been regarded as an almost exclusive preserve of men.

After the death of her husband two years ago, she picked up the intricacies of business even faster. She studied the domestic market closely, established a close liaison with her principals in Germany, surveyed the world market scene as regards garments exports after the WTO’s agreement.

“I feel that the next 10 years are going to be the golden period of exports of knitted products. There is going to be a boom. India must take advantage of it, if it does not want to be left behind. The hosiery units here must upgrade their machinery, and go in for the latest world-class units to compete with the best in the world. This is what China is doing. Even Bangladesh, which has the advantage of cheap labour, is buying the latest machines. People in India must also do the same,” urges Meera.

During the past few years, her business has increased almost five- fold. She goes to Germany four to five times a year in connection with her work and for the training of some of her technicians who service and maintain knitting machines here. Besides Ludhiana, she is now selling knitting machines in Delhi, Nepal and a few other parts of the country. She has also opened a showroom in NOIDA.

“I have always admired Ms Indira Gandhi,” says Meera. “If she could succeed and occupy the highest executive post in the country, why can’t I? A woman must be able to establish an independent identity. She must not always remain the shadow of her husband. A woman is as good as a man and can do anything in life. She must strive to be economically independent because one never knows what turn life might take...”.


Lack of civic amenities angers Kidwai Nagar people
From Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — Residents of Kidwai Nagar (Trust Flats) in the city are up in arms against the civic body over the neglect of the colony and lack of civic amenities. The residents, having exhausted the means to elicit a positive response from the civic administration as well as the area councillor, have threatened to come out on the road and agitate to secure justice, which has been denied to them, they allege.

The roads and lanes in the Kidwai Nagar area, where improvement trust flats are located, have not been repaired or relaid for quite some time. As a result, the bumpy and pot-holed surface provides a nightmarish experience to the vehicular traffic. To add to the misery of the residents, rainwater and overflowing sewers create a flood-like situation for a large number of houses in G block.

Mr R.R. Katyal, General Secretary of Kidwai Nagar Welfare Society (Trust Flats) says, "The stagnating rainwater and overflowing sewers, for the past more than three months, have turned the area into a hell. The sullage and back-flowing water from sewers frequently enters the houses and besides giving out stench and breeding mosquitoes, poses a health hazard to the residents."

The less said the better about a couple of parks in the colony. These are merely pieces of parched vacant land, devoid of any greenery or vegetation and serve no useful purpose. The residents around the area use the parks for dumping garbage, waste material and debris. As a result, a portion of the parks has been encroached upon and the matter had gone to a court of law.

The residents lament that an initiative by the welfare society to develop and maintain the parks under the new plan evolved by the MC under which the welfare societies are entrusted the responsibility and financial assistance is also made available, could not materialise due to the apathy and non-cooperation of the civic officials and the area councillor.Back


Pak gurdwaras should be under SGPC: Hit
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — The Delhi Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee chief, Mr Avtar Singh Hit, yesterday reiterated his demand for handing over the management of the Gurdwaras in Pakistan to the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee. He said, the Government of India should take the issue seriously as it did not concern only the Sikh community, but the entire nation.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Hit pointed out that at the time of partition it was agreed upon by the two countries that all the gurdwaras in Pakistan would be managed by the SGPC, which is the supreme governing body of all the Sikh institutions. He revealed that the agreement was rectified in 1974 by the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, and her Pakistani counterpart, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

The DGPC chief regretted that the issue was not being taken seriously particularly when it concerned the national interest. He said it was an insult to the Sikh institutions that the Pakistan Government had taken over the control of the gurdwaras in Pakistan. Moreover, the Pakistan Government had handed over the management of the gurdwaras over there to ISI chief. This gave the ISI access to all the funds of gurdwaras, which could be utilised against India.

Mr Hit disclosed that he had raised the issue with the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Beharee Vajpayee, and the Union Home Minister, Mr L K Advani, and they had assured all possible action on the issue. He said the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, was also feeling concerned about the issue.

The DGPC president had a dig at his predecessor, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, accusing him of playing to the tunes of others. Claiming the credit for stopping Sikh jathas from visiting Pakistan, Mr Hit said, it could have been done by Mr Sarna also. “But he did not do it and went to the extent of giving clean chit to Pakistan when about 40 Sikhs were massacred in Chhatisinghpora in Kashmir by the ISI agents”, he alleged.

Mr Hit defended his stand on the issue of dress code in the gurdwaras. He said he had suggested that the girls should not visit the gurdwaras in skirts. And no Sikh should visit a gurdwara with a cap. He disclosed that in all the schools managed by the DGPC, no girl above the Class V is allowed to wear skirt.

Over the inclusion of Udham Singh Nagar in Uttranchal state, he said, the main objection was regarding the land ceiling which was likely to be introduced in the new state. This would limit the possession of land to 2.5 acres only. However, no such act will be introduced in the state now.


Slum kids are malnourished: study
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — Children living in the slum areas of Ludhiana have been found to suffer from acute malnutrition, making them more vulnerable to various diseases. Both economic and social reasons are responsible for the malnutrition among these children.

These findings have been made in a survey conducted by the Foods and Nutrition Department, PAU, on pre-school children belonging to low-income families of urban slum localities of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Atam Nagar and the Haibowal areas of Ludhiana.

It has been found that consumption of cereals, pulses, milk and milk products and leafy vegetables is inadequate. The inadequacy of energy and protein is 50 per cent whereas it was only 20 per cent in case of iron intake. The intake of all vitamins is inadequate as compared to the Recommended Dietary Allowances. The height and weight of the pre-school children is below the standards. The blood haemoglobin level of the subjects is 7.59, indicating that all subjects are anaemic. Stool samples of the subjects show that 65 per cent have helminth parasitic infection.

The key factors responsible for the insufficient nutrient intake of pre-scholars have been found to be poverty, food beliefs, prejudice, taboos and superstitions governing health and nutrition practices. The poor level of haemoglobin in their blood has been mainly attributed to the combined adverse effect of nutrient deficiency and parasitic infestations.

According to Dr Inderjit Singh, Head, Department of Food and Nutrition, PAU, the pre-school stage is one of the most vulnerable periods for easy susceptibility to malnutrition and infection. Ninety per cent Indian pre-school children are underweight and approximately half of them are also anaemic. It is estimated that about 50 per cent of the total deaths in our country occur in this age group as compared to about 8 per cent in the advanced countries. Mortality among girls is higher than that boys which is a sad reflection on out social and cultural attitudes towards girls. The dietary intake of pre-scholars continues to be affected by economic and social factors.

Therefore, to improve the nutritional status of anaemic pre-scholars, a nutrition education programme was organised for three months for changing the attitudes and practices of their mothers. According to Dr Singh, an improvement in the knowledge, attitude and practices of the mothers was found after imparting nutrition education to them.

Along with nutrition education, the mothers of pre-scholars were also given education regarding environmental sanitation because in the slum areas, the conditions are ideal for spread of infections which diminish food intake and increase the need for nutrients. This education has been found to improve their sanitary conditions.


Ashi endeavours to bring families together
From Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — Parents marry off their girls with great fondness and give them everything possible to make them happy. But for some, the dream turns sour as soon as they enter their new home. As in the case of Priyanka, a post-graduate in science. A charming girl with a baby of two months in her arms, she was forced to stay away from her husband by her in-laws.

Priyanka had completed her first year of MSc when she got married. Her husband’s family told her to go to her mother’s house to complete the second year of her MSc but they never called her back. She returned on her own and the whole ‘mohalla’ forced her in-laws to make her stay.

Willy-nilly, they agreed, on the condition that she would stay away from the family in a separate house. Initially, they paid the rent. The husband paid her short visits but never cared for her. She delivered a baby girl, ‘Rosy’, two months back. They kept all the cash and her istridhan and she had just a cot, a dressing table, four plates and four bowls.

The husband’s visits to her house are a mere formality. He stays for an hour or so and does not even have water at her place. The rosy dream of marriage lies shattered for Priyanka, who comes from a good family, and is supposedly married into one. Mrs Bubble Sandhu, President of ASHI, has asked her husband to appear before them after a fortnight, to hear his side of the story.

The second case was even more heart-rending. A couple, married for 16 years, with twins aged 14 years who were suffering from muscular atrophy for which there is no cure, are at loggerheads with each other. The husband is interested in another woman and the wife claims that her life was made hell by the neglect of her husband and her constant caring for her two boys. A month back, the ladies of ASHI had advised him to end his affair and give money to his wife. The husband assured the ladies that he had nothing to do with his old-flame. But that is where the cookie crumbled.

The ladies by some means, got a few pages of his personal diary, which showed his obsession with his ex-beloved. The affair was not over as claimed by him. The look on the man’s face was one of terror and amazement on being found out. He promised to sever his relations with her once again and to turn a new leaf. The wife was also told to take care of her husband and not make children a pretence for not having time for her husband. The husband also promised to give her money for personal use.

The third case dealt with domestic violence. In this case, both the partners are school teachers and well educated. However, both charged and countercharged each other with using foul language. The husband had burnt her chest with a hot iron and even on her face burn marks were visible. They both have a son studying in Class IX, who seems to be caught between the devil and the deep sea. The father takes him out in the car for a ride and comes home and showers abuses if he takes more than two minutes in the toilet. The wife has never been inside the car, for the husband says: “The atmosphere is so bad that I do not feel like taking her out.” He claims that she has used malicious language for him in his school. That he cannot face his students or the principal.

On the contrary, the wife says that he uses foul language.

Mrs Bubble Sandhu told them to patch up for the sake of their son. The other ladies advised them to curb their tempers, suppress their egos and try to make a fresh begining.


Case registered after 7 months
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — A woman of Sekhewal village in this district has finally got some return to her rounds of the offices of the district police officials as the Basti Jodhewal police today registered a case against an industrialist accused of kidnapping two children of the woman, besides misbehaving with the mother.

The incident occurred on January 20 this year. According to the FIR, the woman, Mohinder kaur, complained to the police that her two sons, Jagdev Singh and Sukhdev Singh, aged 12 and 10 years, respectively, were working in K.S. Oswal (Renu Knitwear), near Sekhewal village. The factory was owned by Mr Kimti Lal Jain.

According to her, the owner along with some unidentified persons forcibly took away her and her two children on the January 20 night. She also complained that the owner misbehaved with her during the illegal detention.

However, the wait for justice proved more traumating for the woman as she had to knock doors of several police officers for getting justice. According to police sources, the delay was caused because the complaint had to be verified before registering a case against the accused.

Police sources said the accused had not been arrested yet.Back


20 bottles of liquor seized
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — Twenty bottles of illicit liquor have been seized from Jaswant Singh, alias Banta, a resident of Rampur village during a special checking operation by the Payal police.

A case under the Excise Act has been registered.

One booked: Mangat Singh, owner of Malhotra Box Manufacturing Factory, here has been booked under the economic offence for non-payment of a loan he took from Punjab and Sind Bank.

The case has been registered on the basis on an application submitted by the Senior Manager of the bank branch situated on the Kalgidhar Gurdwara road. The complainant has alleged that the accused got a loan amounting to Rs 1 lakh for the factory after mortgaging his immoveable property measuring 126 square yards in Khud Mohalla. But the loan was not repaid which amounted to a breach of the trust with the bank. Investigation of this case is being conducted by the EO Wing, Ludhiana.

Killed in accident: A collision between a maruti car (Pb-10-8-446) and a scooter (Pb-10-V-1674) resulted in the death of Dalbir Singh, the scooterist, on August 21. The police today registered a case against the driver of the car on the statement of Daljit Singh, a brother of the deceased. 


Punjab bandh a damp squib
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — The call for Punjab bandh given by some trade and industrial associations proved to be a damp squib. Most business and industrial establishments functioned as usual today.

The call for the bandh was given in protest against the hike in power tariff by the Punjab State Electricity Board. Industrialists, particularly owners of small-scale units have opposed the hike in power tariff vigorously.

Earlier, the Trade and Industry Forum of Punjab had held several demonstrations against this move. The forum had also planned to picket the PSEB headquarters at Patiala. The forum had been trying to gather support for the bandh for the past few weeks. However, the business was as usual today and markets wore a festive look on Janmashtami.

The industrialists who had called for the bandh, said it had not evoked the expected response due to Janmashtami. Most organisations were divided on the issue and the others preferred to keep silent on it. Some big industrialists of the state have already supported the decision of the government to increase the power tariff.


Industry criticises power tariff hike
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — The Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India and its affiliated associations held a meeting today under the chairmanship of its president, Mr Joginder Kumar, to take stock of the situation after the power tariff hike, increase in minimum charges and meter charges.

Leaders flayed the hike by the Punjab State Electricity Board of connected loads above 20 KW to 60 KW which was earlier Rs 96 per KW and has now been raised to Rs 200, making it a hike of 108 per cent and above 60 KW to 100 KW from Rs 120 to Rs 200 per KW, which came to 67 per cent.

The members of the federation said that the board had also hiked the minimum charges for arc furnaces from Rs 300 per KW to Rs 450. They said that the industry could not bear such a hike as it was passing through recession.

The federation president pointed out that the board had no moral right to raise the tarriff as the tariff subcommittee had come to the conclusion that per unit cost came to Rs 2.48 after taking into consideration the transmission losses, 12 per cent interest on the investment plus 3 per cent profit. The board must review its decision to lower the power tariff hike in respect of medium supply and the domestic consumers.Back


ST rates on furnace oil baffle industry
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has sharply reacted to the confusion created by conflicting statements of Punjab ministers over reduction in sales tax rates on furnace oil.

Mr P.D. Sharma, President of the chamber, has said in a statement here today that the imbroglio over the matter had taken an unpleasant turn after the Minister of State for Excise and Taxation had stated that the file was pending with the Punjab Finance Minister, while another statement said the rate of sales tax stood reduced.

To further confound the confusion, the Finance Ministry had made a public statement that sales tax on furnace oil had been reduced and similar information was given by the government officials in a meeting with representatives of trade and industry. Mr Sharma observed that combined effect of all these conflicting statements was to mislead the industry and in the process making a mockery of government functioning.

The chamber President lamented that the industry had suffered heavy losses due to delay on the part of the government and further asked that the extra sales tax collected on furnace oil during the intervening period be refunded.Back


University-industry interaction
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — Advances in information technology will enable free flow of knowledge, and scientific research making the world a global village. This will ultimately lessen import restrictions and lead to a business environment which will lead to a quantum jump in economic growth. These observations were made by Mr D.L. Sharma, President and Executive Director of Mahavir Spinning Mills while delivering a talk, ‘University-Industry Interaction’ under the current scenario of the WTO regime.

The talk was organised by the local chapter of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Indian National Science Academy at PAU.

Highlighting the salient features of WTO, Mr Sharma said, the most important principle of WTO was that member nations do not discriminate among trading partners.

Their is absolutely free trade among them which promoted mutually profitable division of labour thereby greatly raising the standard of living of people all over the globe. WTO had embodied what the economist called law of comparative advantage. All nations would benefit from free and open trade, Mr Sharma asserted.


Online yellow pages launched
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 23 — Indiacom Directories Ltd, publisher of yellow pages, has launched India, a database portal, which will provide access to information on all products and services of various cities of the country.

Dr Madan Mohan Rao, Internet specialist and director of the company, said at a press conference that it would enable various business houses to have a global presence.

Dr Rao told mediapersons that till date yellow pages of 14 cities had been hosted on the site and soon more would be added up. He said that it was a pre-requisite for any business.

He said that as soon as e-commerce took off in India, it would bring prosperity to several companies.

Later a seminar on ''Internet and e-commerce strategies for business'' was also organised. Dr Rao said that for any site to flourish it was important that it must be very responsive.

About the present Indian scenario, Dr Rao said: ‘‘India is doing very well in terms of software manufacturing but it needs to build up bandwidth of the Internet.’’

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