Wednesday, September 13, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Cash-starved PAU loses interest on EPF
By Surbhi Bhalla

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — While on the one hand, Punjab Agricultural University is facing a severe financial crunch, it is understood to be loosing lakhs of rupees every month by way of interest on the employees’ contributions towards the provident fund.

It is learnt that as a rule the university is deducting provident fund contributions from the salaries of the teaching and non-teaching staff every month, this is allegedly, neither being credited to their accounts nor being invested in any financial institution or commercial organisation regularly.

However, the university authorities claim otherwise. The comptroller of the university, Mr S K Bhatia refused to acknowledge that the university had suffered any loss. He maintained that there was only some deficit in the accounts which would be made good by grants from the state government. He said money was being credited to individual accounts of the employees and teachers every month. At the same time he admitted that the money had not been invested yet.

According to information compiled by the office of the comptroller, the university had deposited over Rs 104 crore in various institutions and organisations, like banks, UTI, the Railways, Punwire and others till August 31,2000 on which it was earning about Rs 13 crore annually. However the statement of accounts showed that the university was yet to deposit Rs 5.46 crore which it had deducted from the salaries of staff during the past few months.

The statement also showed that the university had to bear interest on this amount to the tune of nearly Rs 68 lakh. However, an official of an Audit Department revealed, on condition of anonymity, that the university had suffered a loss of over Rs 1 crore due to delay in investment of PF contributions.

Incidentally, the university is currently paying 13.4 per cent interest to the staff on the provident fund savings.

According to well informed sources, it was not for the first time that the university had defaulted on investment of provident fund contributions of the staff. A couple of months ago, the Deputy Controller, Mr. O.P Kumar, local Audit, Department of Finances, Punjab, had raised the issue with the Comptroller of the university for erratic deposit of the employees’ contributions to the PF accounts. He had pointed out in a letter dated January 25 last, that according to rules, the contributions deducted from the salaries of the staff should be credited to their accounts the same month. He observed that the contributions pertaining to the period April 1999 to September 1999 had been deposited late in the PF accounts from two to five months. As a result, the university had suffered a loss of over Rs 41 lakh.

The Deputy Controller further asked the PAU Comptroller that the financial loss should be made up and it must be ensured in future that the PF contributions were credited to their accounts without any delay.

Mr Bhatia, feigned ignorance of any such letter. He refused to acknowledge that the university had suffered any loss.

However, it appears that controller’s warning has had little impact because the university has continued to default on investment of PF.

Some teachers of the university while expressing their resentment maintained that their PF savings were a sacred trust with the administration which could only be used for the purpose for which it is meant. According to them, any lapse in crediting these contributions to their accounts amounted to a breach of trust under Section 405 of Indian Penal Code.


Tiger died ‘unnatural’ death 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — With the post-mortem report of a fully grown-up tiger, who died mysteriously in the camp of a visiting circus in Chappar mela in Ahmedgarh town on September 3, hinting towards an “unnatural” death, the People For Animals (PFA) organisation has sharpened its attack on the circus owners.

Prince, the male tiger was allegedly ill for about a month and his condition had considerably deteriorated when the circus was camping in Jaipur. He ultimately died at Chappar, where the circus team had gone to perform in the popular mela.

The death of the tiger created panic among the circus owners, veterinarians as well as animal lovers, particularly because the circus team had come from Rajasthan from near the Nandankanan Zoo where the death of about 12 tigers had alarmed the world.

According to Dr Harmanjit Singh Banga, who performed the post-mortem on the tiger, chronic pneumonia and gastric ulcer in the stomach caused most likely due to stress led to the death of the tiger.

Reacting to the report, Dr Sandeep Jain, President of the PFA, in a communication to the District Magistrate, has demanded a high-level inquiry into the sordid episode. The organisation has also demanded that a high level team comprising experts, veterinarians and members of the PFA should carry out a detailed investigation about the health of the circus animals and also report on the conditions in which the animals were being kept.

Dr Jain alleged that the post-mortem report had established that the death was not natural and thus other animals, especially the lone tigress, might also be infected.

He also accused the circus authorities of exhibiting banned animals and keeping them in small enclosures in utter violation of the specifications laid down by the Kerala High Court. The PFA also released photographs of the animals kept in small cages in the circus.


Running PG courses without MCI nod
By Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — Two medical colleges here are reportedly running several postgraduate courses without being approved by the Medical Council of India (MCI). The two colleges are being accused of keeping the students in the dark as these do not mention in their prospectus and information brochure that these courses are not recognised by the MCI.

While only six of the 16 PG courses in the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital are being run without MCI approval, more than 50 per cent of the PG courses run by the Christian Medical College and Hospital are also reportedly not approved by the MCI. All these courses are recognised by the university.

The two local colleges are not alone in running PG courses without MCI approval. In fact, there are scores of colleges in the country which are running postgraduate courses without MCI approval.

The two medical college managements have been maintaining that all their courses are recognised by the university. According to the Medical Council of India Amendment Act 1993, all the medical colleges in the country, whether earlier recognised by any university or not, will need fresh approval by the MCI. The Act also brought all the medical colleges under direct control of the MCI. Prior to the act, the courses could be run with the university recognition, but had to be approved by the MCI later.

According to Dr L.S. Chawla, former Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University for Medical Sciences and the Chairman of the PG Committee of the MCI, the approval for all courses needs fresh inspection by the MCI team. While the MCI has been coming forth for inspection, several colleges are yet to get their courses inspected by the MCI.

Although the DMC and the CMC may be having adequate claims regarding the infrastructure and other facilities for running the PG courses, when it comes to their students seeking admission for higher studies like DM or MCH, they are rejected as the courses are not approved by the MCI. There are several instances when students from both the college have not been considered for higher studies in other colleges for the same reason.

The Principal of the DMC, Dr S.C. Ahuja, refuted the charges. He said the college did not run any PG course which was not recognised by the MCI or the university. He pointed out that, since the college did not get permission for the PG course in microbiology, it did not admit any candidate for the subject. He said, the process of approval of some of the PG courses by the MCI was going on.

The Principal of the CMC, Dr A.B. Thomas, was not available for comments. The acting Director, Dr Joshi said, he was not in a position to comment on the issue.


Principal granted bail
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — The Sessions Judge, Mr. S.S. Arora, here today stayed the arrest of the office-bearers, trustees and Principal of Guru Nanak Girls College till September 15 in a bail application moved by the respondents in a FIR registered against them on charges of fraud and breach of trust.

In yet another turn to the tug-of-war between the two warring factions of the management members, one led by Mr Gurbir Singh and the other led by Akali MLA Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal and his brother G.S.Grewal, the former claimed that contrary to the claims made by the latter in an FIR registered against seven persons yesterday, he was still the president of the Guru Nanak Education Trust.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Gurbir Singh alleged the MLA was trying to gain control of the trust through his brother and that Dr G.S.Grewal and Mr Jagdev Singh (complainants in the FIR registered against them two days ago) were fraudulently posing as the president and the Secretary of the trust.

He claimed that as per the court orders he was the president of the trust and Mr Prithipal Singh was the secretary. He said that Mr Jagdev Singh had been removed as the secretary and the trustee.

Accusing Mr Mahesh Inder Singh of trying to gain illegal control over the trust through intimidation and other criminal acts, Mr Gurbir Singh alleged that the former was facing several civil and criminal cases in the various courts.

He alleged that the FIR that had been registered against him and the other trustees and office-bearers of the trust and college was false and violated the court orders.

He alleged that FIR had been registered by the police on the basis of an interim order of the Supreme court of 1995, which was later vacated in 1996. He accused the local police of manipulating the facts in connivance with the other side and getting the FIR registered without a through inquiry.


Nothing flourishes like quackery
By Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — The industrial megacity, it seems, is fast emerging as a haven for the quacks who have set up their kiosks in almost all parts and are doing brisk business .

With virtually no one to check them, these quacks ,claiming to cure any kind of ailment from common cold to cancer, digestion problem to any sexual disorder, are mushrooming at around 15-20 points along the Ferozepore Road, in Barewal, on the G.T. Road near the railway station, near the bus stand, Moti Nagar, Jamalpur, Transport Nagar, Salem Tabri and Rahon Road.

As a matter of fact, the industrial status of the megacity has to a large extent helped these quacks. With a large population of industrial labour amounting to over 10 lakh and their unhygienic conditions both at the workplace and the residential colonies, they are often prone to diseases and medical treatment being out of bounds for most of them, the quacks are ensured a good clientele.

During a visit to various kiosks set up in and around the city, TNS fond that most of these desi doctors , as they prefer to be addressed as, had boldly displayed banners over their kiosks which mention that they specialise in treating the “gupt rog” (secret diseases, meaning sexual disorders). These banners also inform that diseases like common cold, joint pains, stomach gas, tooth extractions, gout, piles, asthma, common cold, skin allergies etc. are also treated.

Surprisingly, it was also learnt that other than the industrial or farm labour, their clientele also consisted of literate people, mainly those who wanted to get treatment for their sexual disorders . Interestingly, most of the quacks denied having received any formal education in ayurveda, although most of them claimed to be practicing so. They maintained that the knowledge was passed down from generation to generation and that they honed their skills while in practice.

At one of the kiosks, near Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, ‘vaid’, Raj Kumar, informed that he had been practicing for the past 15 years. “ In fact, my father and brother have also set up their kiosks near by and this is a family profession. My father gained knowledge from his father and he passed on the knowledge to us.” When asked if he had received any formal education, this reporter was met with a zapped look and curtly told that it was the divine knowledge and could not be attained through reading of books. He also informed that he had studied in school till Class V only.

He said he was getting all herbs needed for making the medicines for different ailments from Hardwar. “ I go to Hardwar once a year and myself search for the herbs and bushes and after collecting these, bring them to a pharmaceutical company near Rishikesh, called Garhwal Pharmaceuticals. The herbs, after they have been processed into pills and potions and packaged are brought here.”

At another such kiosk on the G.T. Road near Dhandari Kalan, the practitioner, Gopal Singh informed that each day he was receiving eight to 10 clients and most of them with problems related to sex. He disclosed that he was making around Rs 2500 to Rs 3500 a month on an average and after he had taken out the cost of getting the medicines. He said there was a large-scale availability of pills and potions needed by him even in Ludhiana, but he preferred to get them from either Pathankot or Kangra. He said he would generally charge between Rs 50 and Rs 250, depending on the ailment of the patient.

At another kiosk on Tajpur Road, one of the patients, Tej Narayan, a factory labourer, who had come out after seeking treatment for knee joint pains, when asked why he did not go to a proper doctor for seeking treatment, said he had heard widely about the ‘vaid’ and since his earlier problems had been successfully treated, he had immense faith in the practitioner.

Interestingly, most of these ‘vaids’ when asked if they had ever been approached by the Health Department officials and abstained from practicing, denied this and instead a few of them alleged that they had been provided with a licence to practice by the Health Department officials and also showed documents with some scrawlings supposed to be signatures of authorities.


Parties gear up for Sunam byelection
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — The economic and planning cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has hailed the decision of the party high command in fielding Mrs. Parmeshwari Devi, widow of sitting legislator Mr Bhagwan Das as party nominee from the Sunam Assembly constituency.

An emergency meeting of the district unit of the cell, presided over by Mr A.S. Chaunda has observed that in the choice of the party candidate, the high command had honoured the feelings of the Congress workers and the voters of Sunam.

Earlier, the deceased legislator had defeated Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and now his wife would go on to trounce Mr Dhindsa’s son, contesting as the SAD nominee.

The meeting deplored the power tariff hike effected by the state government, which, it said, had ruined the family budget of the people, as well as the small scale units all over the state. The government had not only shattered the state economy through its wrong and populist policies, but had failed to maintain law and order.

Meanwhile, the district Akali Jatha (urban) of the ruling SAD had announced that a large number of party workers would descend on Sunam and would go from door to door to canvass support for the party candidate Mr. Parminder Singh Dhindsa during the electioneering. Presiding over a meeting of the party workers here, the acting president Mr Avtar Singh Makkar entrusted the election duties to the circle level workers.


Paddy procurement on schedule: Mittal
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — The Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, today claimed that the state government would make arrangements for purchase of ‘each grain’ of paddy brought to the markets by the farmers. Talking to media persons here today, he dispelled apprehensions over procurement of paddy and maintained that the government procurement agencies were gearing up for the operations.

Giving details of the schedule chalked out for procurement of paddy, the minister said all the agencies would report in the mandis on September 15 to assess their needs and desired facilities and would report to the government by September 18. The date fixed for commencement of procurement was September 21, when purchase would begin in all the 1600 procurement centers in Punjab. The paddy production, he added, was expected to touch an all-time record of 1.20 crore metric tonnes as against 1.08 crore tonnes last year.

Replying to questions, Mr Mittal denied that there was any problem on account of storage space for paddy. The produce was to be stored in open spaces and would be adequately covered. The government had also floated tenders for the sale of foodgrain stocks and almost 10 lakh tonnes of stock had been recently moved out.

He refuted the Congress propaganda that the government was anti-farmer. “It were rather the successive Congress governments that had exploited the farmers, forcing them to resort to agitations, dharnas and gheraos. The SAD-BJP government, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had done a lot to provide relief to the farming community. The minimum support price (MSP) of all varieties of paddy had been raised and moisture contents upto 18 per cent had been permitted,” he said.

Mr Mittal charged the Congress leadership with losing its mental balance, which he asserted, was evident from the allegations levelled against the government. “The Congress is a frustrated party with sharp dissensions and has no real issues to woo the masses. That is why they are merely playing to the gallery,” the minister remarked.


Shradhs bring life to halt
By Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — Life comes to a standstill for 15 days across the country in the month of Bhadrapad shuklpaksh. The fortnight is exclusively reserved for paying obeisance, called shradhs in the Hindu parlance, to the ancestors.

Businessmen generally do not try their luck on new ventures, marriages are put off, people avoid buying new things and some even do not worship God during these days as they believe that whatever they do during this time would be credited to their forefathers.

Those who want to accomplish their work rather get them completed before or after these days. One could see total slump in the market. The fortnight proves to be too long and difficult for the traders and businessmen with relatively less clientele.

The orthodox people have strong belief in what they do. They argue that by remembering their forefathers they also win the favours of god. "If you worship gods and devtas, without worshiping your forefathers, that will be useless" remarks Pt Hari Ram Ji of Durga Mata Mandir. Shradhs days are meant to pay homage to the forefathers, who are no more living. Shradhs have their own importance and people have strong belief in it.

Against the general belief, Pt Hari Ram claims that shradhs have the approval of the Vedas also. "Man has certain rinhs on himself when he enters the world. They are dev rinh, rishi rinh and pitra rinh. The one who has not yet freed himself from pitra rinh is not worthy to worship even God. The one who does not believe in shradhs is called varn sankaar - a devil", he says.

Varinder, a local businessman who manufactures cloth for T-shirts said, "I would better not try to expand my business any more during this time". Education or exposure do not appear to have any influence on belief or disbelief in the shardhs.

Whosoever set the precedent for shradhs, appears to have balanced it the same way. The shradh days are followed by Navratras which are considered to be the best for doing anything good. Referring to the decline in business during these days a shopkeeper Bittu said, "very few customers come and buy things during these days".

However, there are other people, particularly the Arya Samajis, who strongly hold views quite opposed to the concept of shradhs. Arun, a staunch Arya Samaji, remarks that he has not found anything going wrong if he did any auspicious thing during these days. In fact, he challenges the very rationale behind shradhs. He argues that the shradh should be for the living. "If you serve your parents and elders during their lifetime, there is no need to serve them after their death", he points out while asking, "who knows whatever we donate during this fortnight reaches our elders or not".

Most of the younger generation appears to be too modern and rational when it comes to believing these things. A young girl who is to get married in December said ,"I have already done my shopping. There are few things left like shoes, bags and cosmetics, which I will do during this time only. Well, I respect the traditions but at the same time I want to finish my work as soon as possible".


108 idols of Lord Ganesha immersed
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — Hundreds of devotees immersed 108 idols of Lord Ganesha in the Sutlej here last evening, marking the conclusion of the fortnight long Ganpati festival. The immersion was done following a shobha yatra which passed through various areas in the city.

The shobha yatra was organised by the Ganpati Seva Sangh. Minister for local bodies Balramji Dass Tandon led the yatra. Thousands of devotees followed elephants chanting the bhajans of Lord Ganpati.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Tandon pointed out these festivals served as symbols of unity among people, besides reaffirming the faith in the country's rich tradition. He said Bal Gangadhar Tilak had united the people on Ganesh Chaturthi against the alien rule.

The minister appealed people to resolve to preserve the Indian culture besides safeguard the unity and integrity of the country. He observed that such festivals provided people a chance to come together and imbibe a spirit of unity.

This year a number of idol makers had converged here from the south to make the idols of Ganesh. They found a good market here. This was also reflected in the shobha yatra with hundreds of people carrying the idols for the immersion in the Sutlej.


Expert favours new farm approach
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — Mr Dan Stav, Charge-de-Affairs of Israeli Embassy in India, emphasised an integrated approach by various countries for solving their agriculture related problems.

He was speaking at a training programme organised by the Punjab Agro-Industries Corporation on Plant protection and pest management at Pal Auditorium, Punjab Agricultural University, here today. It was inaugurated by Mr Jagjit Singh Ghungrana, Chairman of the Punjab Agro-Industries Corporation. Experts from Mashav, Israel, Mr Yoel Brishpon and Mr Eliyahu Situ, were also present.

Mr Stav said the pest management and other agro-related problems were being faced all over the world and different countries should share experiences with each other to find solutions to these problems. He said agriculture experts in Israel were conducting training programmes in different countries to impart training to the local people regarding pest control. Last year, 136 such courses had been conducted worldwide, in which 50,000 persons participated.

The training programme is being conducted by experts from Mashav, Israel, under the International Cooperation Programme of Government of Israel. Forty progressive farmers of the state and 15 development officers of the Agriculture and Horticulture Department, along with 10 scientists from PAU, will attend this training programme from September 9 to 22.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jagjit Singh Ghungrana said Punjab covered 1.5 per cent of the geographic area of the country and contributed 70 per cent of wheat and 40 to 50 per cent of rice to the central pool. Punjab also grew about 17 lakh tonnes of vegetables and 10 lakh tonnes of fruits. Punjab had always faced a problem in selling its produce at remunerative price. There was also a constraint in tapping the export market by the Punjab farmers. He further said Punjab needed to increase its productivity and improve the quality of its products to compete.

Mr Yoel Brishpon, an Israeli scientist, stressed the need to implement integrated crop management. Mr A.R. Talwar, MD, Punjab Agro, said this was the third training programme being organised by the firm.


Lok Bhalai Manch conference
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — The Lok Bhalai Party launched a frontal attack on the Akali Dal, the BJP and the Congress at its political conference at Chhapar today.

Mr Paramjit Singh Sidhwan, national general secretary of the manch, in his address described all three parties as enemies of Punjab who were bent upon betraying the people. He described these parties as gangs of feudal lords and capitalists who were corrupt to the bone. He said the farmers, labourers, dalits, backward classes, students, transporters, milkmen, RMP doctors and traders were all fed-up with the Badal government. Both Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh were misleading people, he added.

Leaders of these parties had no plans that could be beneficial to the people, he said. They were not concerned about the growing unemployment in the state. Mr Sidhwan called upon the people to strengthen the Lok Bhalai manch to enable it to emerge as an effective alternative to these parties.

The party vice-president Mr Avtar Singh Mullanpuri condemned the Badal government for instituting false police cases against panches and sarpanches of the opposition parties.

Others who addressed the conference included Mr Bhola Singh Virk, Mr Jagjit Singh, Mr Ranjit Singh Kohli, Mr Harvinder Riar, Mr Kuldip Singh Lehra, Mr Ujagar Singh Baddowal, Mr Ajay Kumar Bhadaur, Mr Vijay Kumar Ber Kalan, Mr Balwant Singh Seora, Mr Kuldip Singh Mundian, Mr Baljinder Billu Sudhar, Mr Surjit Singh Rania, Mr Surinder Singh Kang, Bhaini Sahib, Mr Mohinder Singh Kalia, Mr Gurbhinder Singh.

Today being the first day of the three-day fair, the conference was well attended.


NCP dist unit dissolved
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — In keeping with the guidelines issued by the party high command, the district president of the Nationalist Congress Party, Mr Rashpal Singh Gill, has dissolved the district unit, relieving all members of the executive committee and office-bearers from their respective posts. In addition, the identity cards of all kinds, issued to the office bearers and others have been cancelled and directions have been issued to deposit these in the party office.

According to Mr Gill, who has been re-elected the district president for the next term, Mr Balbir Aggarwal has been nominated sational elections of the party. He said the new district executive of the party will be announced after September 17 and the new identity cards will be issued by October 15. 


Telecom officers start relay fast
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — A batch of 25 junior telecom officers (JTOs) today started a three day relay fast in front of the office of the General Manager, Telecom, in support of their pending demands.

According to Mr Sanjeev Gupta, district secretary of the Telecom Engineering Officers’ Association, the protesting telecom officers are demanding financial viability of the proposed BSNL, right of option to retain government status and the payment of pension from consolidated fund of India.

Speaking at the occasion Mr Gupta, Mr Lachman Dass and others focussed on major cadre-wise demands. The telecom officers called upon the government to grant financial upgradation after 3 years of service, filling of all SC and ST vacancies and holding of DPC for the period April 1999 to March 2000.

The district secretary of the All India Telecom Employees Union Class III and district president of All India Telecom Employees Union (Line Staff and Group D) also assured their support to the ongoing agitation of the telecom officers.


Memories of Partition
When man became beast
By Devinder Singh Grewal

I was born and brought up in Isru village in Ludhiana district, where my father was a doctor. Near the village were Muslim inhabitated villages — Isru Khurd, Ghamma, Ghaurala and Ghunghrali. There was peace and amity among all the villagers.

Due to the two-nation theory propounded by M. A. Jinnah and supported by the British, there were Hindu-Muslim-Sikh riots. In the beginning, these were confined to urban areas and rural Punjab was not affected.

In the first week of August,1947, some persons armed with guns, axes and swords attacked Ghuarala during the night and killed about six and wounded about ten sleeping persons. This was perhaps the first incident in rural Punjab. The villagers from Ghaurala village came rushing to my doctor father for medical aid.

Many villagers from Isru tried to dissuade my father from going there as there was danger to his life. When he did not relent, a few villagers accompanied him unarmed. The Muslims treated him like a messiah. Every body praised him.

Nobody knew who the attackers were, but it was said the footprints led to a village where the local zaildar lived. It was guessed that it was government-backed killings to create a scare for migration to Pakistan. There was a fear psychosis and the Muslims prepared themselves to go to Pakistan . A transit camp was created at Ghunghrali.

In the latter half of August 1947, hordes of attackers descended on Ghunghrali and killed everybody who came in their way. They did not spare women and children.

We were curious to have a look at the carnage. On the way to Ghunghrali, we saw a Sikh coming with a Muslim woman and her two children. His uncle met him and asked him who she was. The nephew replied that he had made arrangements for them to stay with his family. The uncle took out his sword and killed all three of them.

When we reached Ghunghrali, we saw hundreds of bodies. The dead men and women were searched for any valuables hidden on their person and left naked after that. The Muslims who tried to save their lives by running were followed and killed. The killers boasted of their exploits. It was being justified because the same was happening in Pakistan.

In another incident, a Muslim came to my father in the morning shivering. He touched the feet of everybody and begged for his life. He was given food and clothes and sent to Malerkotla with two guards for his safety. It was found out later that he was killed by those guards.


Theft in Urban Estate
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — Armed thieves attacked the house of a local businessman in Sector 32, Urban Estate, last night and decamped with around 20 tolas of gold and Rs. 40,000 in cash.

According to the information available, it is learnt that four persons attacked the house of Mr Ajay Dhir last night. It was only after they were fleeing that the residents of the house saw the miscreants. It is alleged that they were carrying firearms.

Residents of the area alleged that there was no night patrolling in the area.


Industrialists meet PSEB chief
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 12 — Enhanced rates of minimum electricity charges are of a great concern to the industrial consumers. A large number of consumers had to pay much more than the consumption. Minimum charges should be related to contract demand instead of the connected load. Consumers’ contract with the board was the contract demand on which the entire system was designed.

These issues were raised by a delegation of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by Mr P.D. Sharma and Laghu Udyog Bharti led by Mr Vinod Jain who met the PSEB chairman.

Mr P.D. Sharma appreciated the efforts of the Chairman in controlling power thefts. During the meeting, the Chairman disclosed that from a daily loss of about Rs 3 crore on account of theft last year the loss had been reduced to somewhere between Rs 1.5 to 2 crore daily.

On the issue of minimum charges the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Punjab) and the Laghu Udyog Bharti conveyed to the Chairman that these rates should be reduced failing which the industry would resort to direct agitation.

The Chairman agreed for another round of meeting with various organisations of the industry. He asked the delegation to bring representative cases which were affected by these rates.

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