Thursday, September 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Will PAU recover 4 cr loan given to Punwire ?
By Surbhi Bhalla

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — Even as Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) struggles to arrange more funds to meet its financial commitments, certain injudicious investments made by the authorities last year in a public sector unit have caused it a loss of Rs 4 crore.

The teachers and employees of a PAU worried about the recovery of the huge amount which the university loaned to Punjab Wireless Systems Ltd. (Punwire), Mohali, because the company has already been closed down, declared bankrupt and its property attached by a UT court.

According to sources in the office of the university comptroller, the university had deposited Rs 2.90 crore with the Punwire in four installments ranging between Rs 40 lakh to Rs one crore between April 99 to September 99 at 15 per cent interest per annum for a period of three years. It is reliably learnt that this amount was deducted from salaries of the employees and teachers as their contributions to their GPF/CPF accounts over the period of few months.

According to these staff members, the amount thus deposited with Punwire has added up to Rs 4 crore with interest.

The staff of the university is upset Punwire, which has already collapsed, may not be in a position to repay the loans,since the liabilities allegedly far exceed its assets. In fact, they says that the property (both moveable and immovable) of Punwire has already been attached through an order of a court as a consequence of its failure to repay the deposit of the Punjab Schedule Castes Land Development and Finance Corporation.

It is learnt that PAU Supervisory Staff Association, which claims that the Punwire owes the university nearly Rs 7 crore, wrote a letter to the Vice-Chancellor a few months ago, requesting him to initiate steps to recover the amount with interest from Punwire, since the company was facing a grave financial crises. The association also urged the Vice-Chancellor “to review all investments especially of the CPF/GPF/Pension funds for which the university is a custodian of the amounts of the employees.’’

The association also suggested to the Vice-Chancellor that such amounts should be deposited only with the nationalised banks approved by the Department of Institutional Finance Punjab.

However, inquiries made by this correspondent revealed that the association’s letter has not evoked any response from the authorities. The Comptroller of University, Mr S.K. Bhatia, who was initially reluctant to discuss the issue, said they could not retrieve the money from the company before the lock-in period of three years. He also said legal advice had also been taken by the university which also suggested that the university would loose all interest over the amount, if they claim anything at present. However, when his attention was drawn to the financial state of Punwire, he added that PAU would get its proportionate share, if the company was liquidated and its assets were sold off.


Liquor smugglers’ war continues
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — The attack on officials of the Excise Department by liquor smugglers in Abdullapur Basti here on Saturday and the recent arrest of a woman allegedly involved in smuggling has once again brought to the fore the troubling menace of liquor smuggling in the city and also exposed the weakness of the state government in dealing with the crime.

In fact, no one seems to be more perturbed by the smuggling than the ‘hapless’ excise officials, who are seemingly sandwiched between the smugglers and the action demanding Excise Minister and seniors. On the one hand the officials face the music for its inability to check the crime and on the other hand they are on the receiving end of the criticism made by their seniors, the Excise Minister and liquor contractors.

Investigations carried out by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that in the absence of inaction by the Chief Minister against certain politicians aiding the illegal trade, the smuggling has become a lucrative business.

Besides the attack on the excise officials, another factor worrying the department was the recent arrest of a woman involved in liquor smuggling. The excise officials are perturbed over the possibility of more such women involved in the smuggling.

The localities like the Habib road, Dhoka Mohalla, Shiva Colony, Field Gunj, Chaurra Bazaar and streets near Ghanta Ghar, Abdullapur Basti have almost become an established centres of liquor smuggling. The modus operandi of the smugglers is simple. They sell bottles in areas where liquor vends owned by new contractors exist and thus hit their business.

The smuggling owes its genesis in the policy of the government in breaking the liquor syndicate in the city in this year's auction. As Mr Adesh Partap Singh Sekhon, Excise Minister, succeeded in breaking the syndicate and bringing down the prices, the old contractors, supported by a local SAD minister, were annoyed, causing war between the contractors.

About two months ago when new contractors were facing difficulty in even opening their vends, the Chief Minister had convened a meeting of old and new contractors about the menace bringing bad name to the party's image.

Sandwiched between the two, excise sources revealed that they were facing criticism as their job of controlling the smuggling had been made difficult by the non-cooperative attitude of the city police.

Though the police has been denying these charges, the ease with which the smugglers go about their business and dare to attack excise officials, not once but twice, hint towards something wrong with the policing. It has been alleged that the police is not supporting the Excise Department due to orders from the top.


Principal causing fear: staff
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — More than 350 members of the teaching and non-teaching staff of Guru Nank Public School today met Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, and presented a memorandum, requesting him to direct Mr Ranjit Singh Bhail, General Secretary, Shri Guru Nanak Public School Trust, not to create any tense atmosphere in the school.

In the memorandum, it is stated that since September 7, when Mr Bhail took over charge, some armed persons deputed by him were creating fear in the minds of students and the staff. It is also stated that the staff and students were given threats of being thrown out in the meetings. Therefore, the parents were worried to send their children to the school.

The staff also requested Mr Sandhu to appoint an administrator for the school till the court case was finalised. They said since Mr Bhail was over 60 years of age, he was not fit to be Principal of the school, as per CBSE norms. Legally, a Trustee could not be Principal of the school. They appealed that Mr Bhail should not be allowed tamper with the school records, as was being done.

Meanwhile, the parents of the school students, led by Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, Mayor, presented a memorandum to Mr Sandhu yesterday. They appealed for congenial atmosphere in the school. They said Mr Bhail’s supporters were roaming on the campus unlawfully.

Ms Kulwant Virdi, the former Principal, apprehending threat, had demanded security, which was given to her in the evening yesterday. While talking to Ludhiana Tribune today, she lamented, ‘‘Court orders have restricted me from posing as the Principal of the school temporarily and the litigation is still pending. In this condition, I am being denied all the perks that have been given to me as Principal. Generator connection was cut off for some time. Keys of the car allotted to me were demanded back. A domestic servant employed for me from the school side was told by Mr Bhail to stop working for me.’’

Mr Bhail stated his own problems. “Apprehending threat to life, I employed personal security. The authorities have told me not to employ these people without giving any security from their side. I have my security personnel outside the school, but within the building, I am all alone. I do not have a home here and I am putting up in the school for the past six days,’’ he said.

Defending the allegations made by Ms Virdi, he said, ‘‘The electricity connection cut was imposed without my permission. When it came to my knowledge, I immediately made efforts to restore the connection.’’

He further said, ‘‘Had Ms Virdi been cooperative, I would have ensured that she got all perks. She is trying to interfere in the matters of the school. She was using her domestic servant as a messenger, interfering in the school matters. Therefore, I temporarily restricted the domestic servant from entering her residence.’’ 


Chhapar mela losing sheen
By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — No doubt the historic Chhapar mela had plenty of attraction today like the horde of political personalities along with exciting games and other festival-related activities yet according to old-timers the festival is losing its sheen.

Though people did come but the enthusiasm seemed to be on the wane. Gone are the days when people used to throng the place dressed in the traditional attire. They even entered the festival dancing and playing the folk tunes on folk instruments. There used to be ‘akharas’ of bhangra and gidaha dances along with others where young strapping youths tested each others might in kabbadi and tug of war games.

In sharp contrast, the dresses were simple and there did not seem to be any special festival related preparation in the sartorial make-up. Many had even arrived with just a safa tied carelessly around the head, others appeared to be coming directly from their place of work. Traditional dress seems to have passed into oblivion forever. There were no sights of youngsters breaking into any folk dance or participating in any games.

Nevertheless, the village folk formed the majority of the crowd. With paddy ripening in the fields they do not have much work on their hands and have all the time in the world to look for recreation in the festival.

For every visitor, the first thing to do is to pay respects at the Gugga Marhi shrine. People dig out sand from a scheduled place to ward away evil and seek blessings.

After the gods are pleased it is time for fun. And there is plenty in the offing at the festival. Apart from the usual games like shooting, joy rides, train, boat, and even aeroplane rides and a trip on the giant wheel the biggest attractions put forward in the festival were Jinda (live) dance, Bombay dance and the Canadian dance.

These dances which run all through the night have the maximum male audience. Their attraction lies in the open performance of the dance in western dresses which as the visitors revealed crosses limit during night shows. One wondered how the shows went unchecked.

The rush at the festival was also termed as comparatively low than the previous years though some people said the crowd looked thin because the roads had been widened and the pandal area widened. The shopkeepers and transporters had a field day though they said the sales were not as much as they had expected. The traditional khajira food made of sugar was in demand yet the shopkeepers informed that the sale was not encouraging.


Conferences mark Chhapar mela
From Our Correspondent

CHHAPAR, Sept 13 — In spite of a sunny hot day and the humidity typical of Bhadon, thousands of rural people thronged various political conferences on the second day of the three-day Chhapar Mela here today.

While the conference organised by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) was jampacked at the time of Mr Badal’s address, those who wanted to listen to Mr Simranjit Singh Mann waited patiently in the pandal of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) only a little distance away. However, they were disappointed when told that Mr Mann would not be able to reach the venue as he would be returning to India sometime later tonight from his trip abroad. His son Iman Singh Mann was present on the dais.

Dhadhi jathas were trying their best to woo the audience at the conference site of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Mr Surjan Singh Thekedar, acting President of the party, had to be helped to come close to Mr Tohra for the benefit of photographers. The organisers were quick to realise that the crowd was too thin for a leader of Mr Tohra’s stature to begin his speech. So they waited for Mr Badal’s conference to finish after which people came to listen to Mr Tohra’s speech.

The conference that drew an appreciable number of people throughout was the one organised by the Lok Bhalai Manch led by Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia. The reason perhaps was that the popular gidha of the Malwa region was on for most of the time on the dais.

At the Congress conference a separate stage was put up for the performing artists.


Radical, unorthodox and iconoclast
By Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — Inderjeet Gill Vashisht, Principal Government College for Women, Ludhiana, is a born iconoclast, fighting her way out of orthodox mindset, the society is yet to get rid of. And to a considerable extent she has succeeded.

Born in a conservative family in a village near Majitha in Amritsar district, Mrs Vashisht had crossed numerous hurdles to reach her present status. She was the first woman postgraduate in her area, when she did her Masters in Political Science from Panjab University in 1968 and also the first woman in the family to take up a job, when she joined lecturership in Malerkotla the same year.

She believes, and the belief she claims comes out of her experience, that a woman has to cross so many hurdles and fight her way against a conservative and orthodox mindset of a male dominated society. “There is a long way to go when the women would be completely emancipated”, she remarked in an interview to the TNS.

Inderjeet is the eldest of the five sisters. They have no brother. All girls were very good at studies and were helped by their parents a great deal in accomplishing their goals.

The five sisters were probably most unorthodox in their approach towards life. They decided that none of them would marry. The decision was prompted by the plight of women who had been suffering at the hands of their husbands and in laws.

Obviously the decision was resisted by the parents and all relatives and yet they stuck to it. But the decision did not last long. Once one of them found a “suitable” person, whom she found compatible for marriage, she decided to marry. All others, except one, followed the suit. Mrs Vashisht again did not stick to the tradition. While she did marry, she did not marry a person from her own religion. Born and brought up in a Jat Sikh family she married a Hindu Brahmin. “It is more a marriage of ideas and values than between two persosn belonging to different religions”, she clarifies.

Despite successfully fighting and forcing her way out to the top with tremendous success, Mrs Vashisht does not appear to be too optimistic about the issue of woman’s liberation in the country. “Apparently much may appear to have changed, the mindset remains to be the same”, she argues, adding, “I believe in mental freedom, which is yet to come”.

Citing reasons for her cynicism she maintains that people still have the age old expectations from the women. No matter what her achievements she is expected to be the “same traditional woman. She points out, “you may see the matrimonial advertisements in newspapers and there will be one thing in common ‘wanted a homely girl’”. She wants that the society should get rid of this “homely mindset”.

According to Mrs Vashisht it may take, at least, another three decades for a complete change in attitude and mindset of the society. Although the signs of change are visible, but they are too subtle to be noted. “May be this will become apparent in another 15 years’, she hopes.

Mrs Vashisht, who is a doctorate in political science from Guru Nanak Dev University does not support the view that there should be reservation for the women in legislative bodies like Parliament or state assemblies. “I am against the idea of reservation in any field. It should not be the matter of right”, she observes, while adding that simple reservation may not be of much help, as the change was needed at the individual level.


Integrated development top priority: Tota Singh
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — Mr Tota Singh, Education Minister, Punjab asserted that the state would touch new heights of development and prosperity by the completion of the tenure of the present government, as a comprehensive development plan to strengthen infrastructural facilities in all parts of the state, was being implemented speedily. Under this program, the area and village wise important development projects had been identified and the funds were arranged.

Addressing a well attended conference, organised by the SAD on the second day of Chappar Mela about 35 km from here, last evening, the minister said the state government had accorded top priority to the integrated development and welfare of all sections of the society. He said a crash program had been launched for the repair of the link roads and widening and strengthening of the main roads in the state.

The minister, criticising the previous Congress governments, said they had ruined the economy of the state and the development process, under a deep rooted conspiracy. The standard of education was brought down to the lowest level by promoting students without examinations. He claimed that during the past over three years, the present government had revamped the education system and the entire structure of board examinations at the primary and middle levels, to create a spirit of competition among the students.

He informed that a large number of vacant posts of teachers had been filled and the process was underway to recruit more than 7000 teachers to meet the requirement in the government schools. He claimed that people had accepted the SAD headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal as the real Akali Dal and the other splinter groups which had deserted the Panth for their personal political ends, had been rejected. The victory of SAD-BJP candidate in the coming byelection in the Sunam constituency was clear from the response of the people in his favour, Mr Tota Singh added.

Addressing the function, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister criticised the Congress for adopting anti-Punjab policies and claimed that by properly strengthening the financial position of the state, the Punjab government had ushered in a new era of development and prosperity.

“ If the Rs 8500 crore loan of the Central Government against Punjab had not been got waived by the then Prime Minister at the request of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, then the state would have been totally bankrupt and no funds would have been available for the development in the state. He asserted that the state government had launched a comprehensive plan to create more and more job opportunities for unemployed youth by arranging subsidised loans after imparting training in different vocations.

Among others who addressed the function were Mr Daya Singh, president district Akali Jatha (Rural), Mr Gurmail Singh Sangowal, member SGPC, Mr Raghbir Singh Saharanmajra, Mr Sikander Singh, chairman market committee Khanna, Mr Mann Singh Garcha, Mr Gurjit Singh Majri, chairman, market committee Kila Raipur, Capt Harbans Singh and Manjit Singh Bhullar. 


Teej celebrated at GCW
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — Giddha, mehndi, tatoo painting, stalls of games and eatables marked the Teej celebrations held at Government College for Women yesterday.

Amanpreet was declared as the best gidha artiste. In the mehndi contest, Nancy and Shikha were declared first and second, respectively. Gurpreet bagged the best smile prize, Gagan got the best dress prize, Navleen got the best jutti prize, Amanpreet and Payal shared the best Jhumka prize.

Mrs Babal Sandhu, wife of Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner was the chief guest.

Mrs Inderjeet Vasisht, principal, informed that the Teej celebrations were held late due to delay in declaration of the results by the Panjab University and thus delay in the admissions.


Freedom fighters' plea to PM
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — The Punjab Pardesh Freedom Fighters’ Association yesterday urged the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to accept in toto the recommendations of the former Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, regarding the “sanman” pension of freedom fighters. In a press release here yesterday, Mr Amar Singh Wadhera, president of the association, said that Mr I.K.Gujral had announced on August 15, 1997 that pension to the freedom fighters would be doubled from that day and linked with the consumer price index. He said after the announcement, the “sanman pension” of the freedom fighters was raised to Rs 3000 from Rs 1500 with effect from 15-8-97. And as per the Prime Minister's announcement, the pension of freedom fighters should have been raised. Since it was not done, the freedom fighters resorted to an agitation after which the central government sanctioned an increase of 7 per cent at the first instance and another increase of 13 per cent as dearness relief of their pension. The present government was paying a pension to the central government employees at 38 per cent of their pay. There was still a disparity as the freedom fighters had a cumulative increment of 20 per cent against 38 per cent being allowed in the case of central government employees.


The role models of this generation

TIME sails past, fashions change, and so do the role models. The role models of yesteryears no more appeal to the generation of the new millennium.

Ankur Mahna, a business student, says his role model is Henry Ford, who became the world’s second richest man. He admires Henry Ford because he (Ford) made it to the top on his own. Amit Singla, a commerce student, thinks highly of Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft. Amit says that many youngmen today have Bill Gates as their role model. For them, Bill Gates, is success personified.

Young engineers have their role models different from those of commerce and business students. Vineet Sharma, a production engineer, considers Akio Morito his role model. Akio Morito, he says is hard working and has a vision of the future. Amit Sikka, a civil engineer, holds Amartya Sen as his role model. His main argument is that Amartya Sen has done his country proud. However, for Mohit Aggarwal, an industrial engineer, Swami Vivekanand is the role model, because he emphasised meditation, had a great mind and a remarkable memory.

We often forget people who influence our lives and instead think of celebrities as our role models. But Ritesh Arora, a B.Tech industrial engineer, says his role model is Mr Manu Saxena, his boss at Hero Honda. He says Mr Saxena has had a profound effect on his life and that is the reason why he wishes to call him his role model.

Shruti Puri, a fashion graduate, says her role model is Gianni Versace, who has risen to the heights of Milan’s fashion scene, even with the background of being a seamstress’s son. His passion for glamour, has made him a great innovator in the fashion world.

Aman Bansal, an aspiring M.B.A, thinks of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, as his role model. He admires the Prime Minister for the way he is running the country. Another M.B.A. aspirant, Sakshi Dada, says her mother, Mrs Suneila Dada, is her role model. Her mother has greatly influenced her life and has been her guiding star. Another person who finds her role model within the family is Shikha Khosla, a humanities graduate, who says her role model is her father, Mr Satinder Khosla, because he is a very understanding and admirable person.

All this speaks volumes the way the youth chooses a role model today. Each has his or her own way of choosing the role model, each has a role model different from the other.

Medical students have their own role models. Nidhi Mishra, a medical student, says her role model is Dr Christian Barnard, because he had the courage to do the first human heart transplant operation. Biren Sharma, also a medical student, admires Dr Tehran of Escorts.

There are still others like Shruti Paul, a B.C.A student who says that her role model is Bill Gates. While Shweta Jain, a management student says her role model is Princess Diana because she became the queen of the people’s hearts. Jasneet Kaur, another management student, sees her role model in Aishwarya Rai. The reason is that Aishwarya achieves success in everything she sets her heart on.

On the other hand, Rachna Aggarwal and Pretti Chugh, both commerce students, wish to lead their lives in a manner that they become the role models for others. They do not have any role models, but wish to set an example for others. There also are some others who like Preeti and Rachna, feel that we should so live our lives that we become role models for others.

These are only a few role models from whom the youngsters draw inspiration, whom they look up to, and who have influenced their lives. — Shikha Puri


A town with stunted growth
From P.S. Batra

SAMRALA, Sept 13 — Samrala is the oldest tehsil town in Ludhiana district. Khanna and Khamanon tehsils were formed many years after Independence. Earlier, both these were part of Samrala tehsil. Most of Payal tehsil also was a part of Samrala tehsil. Due to the carving out of these tehsils, Samrala’s development suffered a setback and business activity slowed down.

Samrala got political patronage mainly during the time of Mr Ajmer Singh, a former minister and local legislator. It saw some development during the brief tenure of Mr Amarjeet Singh, MLA, who was murdered by militants.

The present MLA is from the Congress. The municipal committee has not been functioning for the past more the three years and with court cases galore and no President at the helm, the municipal councillors are proving ineffective adding to the woes of the residents of this tehsil.

The town suffers from many chronic problems. Most of the roads in the municipal areas are in a state of disrepair. The Machhiwara, hospital, water works, Sabzi Mandi and Khanna roads, in particular, are in a bad shape.

There is not a single stadium or a town hall in this tehsil. The open space near the SDM’s residence can be developed for holding public functions. The land beyond Rajwaha on the Machhiwara road near the new bypass can be acquired for setting up a public park.

The Ludhiana-Chandigarh rail link via Samrala which was approved last year has not yet started. This rail link is a must for the development of the town and its surrounding areas.

An industrial Focal Point near the ITI was approved about eight years ago. The government had advertised in leading newspapers offering plots for shops at the Focal Point site. Hundreds of people had applied for plots and deposited money but nothing has materialised. People are now demanding that their money be returned along with interest.

A private finance company established its office in the town about four years ago. It got deposits of Rs 68 lakh from Samrala city alone. The resident of the town have been demanding a concrete bridge over the Sutlej for the development of Samrala and Machhiwara.

It is learnt that the contract for building the bridge has gone to a private party, but work has not yet started. There is also a demand for a Punjab Roadways subdepot here as the town is situated on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh highway. There is no fire station in the town.

The Punjab Health Corporation is putting up a new building for the local Civil Hospital. People have been demanding that the old boundary wall of the hospital should be demolished as it occupies a 50 feet area of a public road. There is also a demand for posting an eye specialist at the hospital.


Cover Ganda Nullah, appeal residents
By A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — Residents of more than a half dozen residential localities along a ganda nullah passing through Kidwai Nagar in the interior of the city have demanded immediate steps for covering the nullah.

In a statement issued here yesterday, Prof Antar Jyoti Ghai, a lecturer of a local college and a large number of other residents of these localities, pointed out that although the city was developing very rapidly, the accompanying problems of traffic, hygiene and pollution remained unattended. There had been a move for beautification of the city for the past few years, but this move too was lopsided. The major thrust of the drive was on the beautification of Civil Lines areas where high-ups, politicians and bureaucrats and big industrialists resided. The authorities had all along turned a blind eye to the difficulties and problems faced by the residents of the interior city.

Ganda nullah, which flowed between the localities of Field Ganj, Islam Ganj, Issa Nagri, Kot Alamgir, Amarpura, Kidwai Nagar, Hargobindpura, Mohan Singh Nagar, was the bane of this part of the interior city. Most of these localities were inhabited by poor people. They used this nullah as a garbage dump which created various problems. Due to accumulation of garbage, the nullah overflowed during rainy season causing damage to nearby houses. “It stinks and stinks”, said the residents.

This area of the city had several prestigious institutions like the Christian Medical College and Hospital, the Christian Dental College and hospital, the Civil Hospital, the Jain Memorial College for Women, the D.D. Jain College of Education and various other educational institutions. Hence, the crying need for this part of the city was that the nullah must be covered as other nullahs of the city had already been covered. It should be covered in such a way that it served as a road also.It could be covered in phases keeping in view the availability of funds. This coverage would not only improve the hygienic conditions of the area but also ease the problem of traffic, they pointed out.

They said it was time the municipal corporation made serious attention to this neglected part of the city. Mr Sat Pal Gosain, who was recently elected the Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, represents this area and resides in Kidwai Nagar. The residents expressed the hope that Mr Gosain would prevail upon the authorities concerned to end this nuisance.


MCPI to back Chandumajra
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — The Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) has dissociated itself from the United Front, forged by several parties in the wake of assembly bypoll in Sunam and has further announced its support to the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) nominee Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra.

In a statement issued here today, the MCPI general secretary, Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, and state secretary Mr Kuldip Singh said the party was not committed to be a part of any ‘united front’ as was being published in a section of the Press. They said the party was against projecting any individual as ‘future Chief Minister’ of the state because the party felt it would be both pre-mature and undemocratic.

However, the party, they added, would support the SHSAD candidate, Mr Chandumajra, in the Sunam byelection. The party workers had already joined the election campaign of Mr Chandumajra in Sunam, the MCPI leaders said.


Mehta is DYC (U) chief again
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — Mr Parminder Mehta, a former president of District Youth Congress (DYC) and a member of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has been reappointed president of DYC (Urban) with immediate effect.

A letter issued by the Indian Youth Congress secretariat, in this regard, said the appointment had been made under the directions from the IYC chief Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Mr Mehta, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, said in the Sunam byelection, the Youth Congress had a big task at hand and the Youth Congress activists would reach Sunam in big numbers to mobilise support for the party candidate Mrs Parmeshwari Devi.

He said his first and foremost commitment was to strengthen the Youth Congress and he would seek support from all party functionaries to forge a united and cohesive unit.


Man held with 42 bottles of whisky
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — The CIA staff has arrested one person for illegally keeping 27 LPG cylinders without the required permit and 42 bottles of English whisky.

In a press release, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, informed that the police had received secret information about the accused selling the LPG cylinders illegally at high rates.

A police party led by CIA in charge, Inspector Maninder Bedi, was deputed to raid the premises owned by Charanjeet Singh.

The premises of the accused were raided and he was arrested and booked under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act and under 7 EC Act in two separate cases registered at police station division No. 6.

The press release further stated that the accused had conceded that he was selling the gas cylinders at an astronomical price of Rs 300 to Rs 400 per cylinder.

He is also believed to have admitted that he was selling diluted whisky to migrant labourers.

Opium seized
The Dhandari Kalan police has seized 1.240 kg of opium from Chamkaur Singh near the railway crossing of Gobindgarh village.

A case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against him.


Nine kids hurt in mishap
From Our Correspondent

SAMRALA, Sept 13 — Nine school children, including school clerk Shamsher Singh Nagra and the driver Avtar Singh, were injured when the school van of the local Malwa Public School turned turtle near Rajewal village, 5 km from here, today.Three children were discharged after giving first aid and the remaining were admitted to the local Civil Hospital. The local SDM, Mr Sandeep Hans, and the local DSP, Mr Ishwar Kumar, rushed to the spot and also visited the hospital. Meanwhile, the driver was arrested and the police registered a case.


Man dies as lovers attempt suicide 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — In a tragic incident, two lovers attempted suicide in a hotel room here last night. While the man died instantly, the girl was rescued and has been admitted to the local Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH).

It is learnt that the two lovers — Sukhjit Singh Sidhu and Jaswinder Kaur — had come to Ludhiana on September 11 and had checked into a hotel opposite the general bus stand. According to the hotel manager, Mr R.P. Pandav, the couple had made the entry into the register stating that they would be staying there for two days. They had also mentioned their correct address of Amritsar.

At around 3 a.m. today, the hotel manager claims to have heard the screams of the girl as she climbed down the stairs into the lobby.” The girl asked for water and said that both she and Sukhjit were quite sick. We immediately rushed inside the room on the first floor and found that he was dead. We then rushed the girl to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, but the doctors there referred us to DMCH. Later family members of the deceased were also informed in Chandigarh.

The police had gone to record the statement of the girl alongwith the Magistrate, but she refused to give any statement. The family members of the girl were also informed.

It is learnt that the deceased, Sukhjit Singh Sidhu, (28) was working as a junior engineer with the Archaeological Survey of India and was currently posted at Amritsar. He had been engaged to a girl from Sangrur for the past one year.


Hike in yarn price worries industry
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — Unlike in the past over three years, the prices of yarn has increased unusually during the peak season. Consequently, the knitwear industry has started feeling the heat. Representatives of the industry fear that it might affect the export of hosiery goods.“Earlier the cost of yarn used to be around Rs 90-100 per kg during peak season. However, this year the rates are revolving around Rs 145-160 per kg,” says Mr Vinod Kumar Thapar, president of Knitwear Club. Industrialists used to store sufficient yarn for the peak season. But due to declining trend in prices, they had not stored this year. But the increased prices would affect them, he added.The peak season for the knitwear industry is considered to be between July and mid October. The manufacturers book orders in summer that are delivered generally July onwards. The supply prices are already fixed. But the increase in yarn prices is now affecting their profit margins.Mr Bhushan Abbi, president Moti Nagar United Factory Association, claimed that there were about 3000 units that used acrylic yarn. The daily consumption varied between 300-500 kg yarn per unit. It meant that approximately 10 lakh kg yarn was consumed by them daily. A minimum increase of Rs 40 per kg meant that these units would have to pay about Rs 4 crore more for the yarn daily.Explaining the causes of increase in these prices, Mr Sunil Mehra, General secretary of Punjab Beopar Mandal said: “The imports of yarn were earlier open. But the lobbing of local units succeeded to convince the government to impose anti-dumping duty on yarns, which had affected the prices. Secondly, this year the crop of cotton was reaching late by at least 15 days, again affecting the prices. The speculation on yarn trade and the monopoly of local had also pushed up the prices.”It is not that the local spinning mills were benefiting from this development. Most of them had taken advance money from dealers committing yarn supply on fixed prices, much lower than the prevailing rates, said Sanjay Talwar, a member of Knitwear Club.The knitwear industry representatives have urged the government to lift ban on imported yarn as well as fibre. Moreover, the government must ensure quality checks on the available yarn. Otherwise the future of about five lakh workers and thousands of textile and hosiery units would be at stake said Mr Bhushan. The state government should at least take back the 4.4 per cent sales tax imposed on fibre and 4.4 per cent sales tax on yarn to save the industry, said Jeevan Dhawan, a knitwear manufacturer.


Employees not paid salaries by IT firm
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 13 — In the era of information technology when lakhs of Indian IT professionals are becoming millionaire everyday, it sounds strange that some of these companies do not bother even to pay the basic salary, promised in the appointment letters.

A local website building company, who had recently launched a portal on Punjab, had employed three young professionals, Satnam Singh (25), Jagtaranjit Singh, (24) and Rupinder Grewal (22), in July. They got attractive appointment letters, which mentioned that they were appointed as marketing executives for the probation period of three months. During that period they will be paid basic salary of Rs 4500 per month, besides Rs 500 as conveyance allowance.

It is alleged in the beginning, they were given training for marketing web pages and a salary of Rs 2500 each for 15 days. But the problem started next month when at the end of the month in September they were offered excuses instead of salary by the directors. They were shocked and felt humiliated when on September 12, they were offered cheques of just Rs 1000 each with Rs 500 as conveyance allowance and Rs 500 as pocket allowance.

The company directors claimed that they did not deserve any salary as they had not brought sufficient orders. The youth declined to accept these ‘insulting cheques’ and told the employers, they should be paid basic salary of Rs 5000 otherwise they will be forced to go to the labour court but without any results.

On the other hand, company directors, Amardeep Singh and Satinder Singh, when contacted, said, “We had mentioned the basic salary in the appointment letters by mistake otherwise what we meant was that the salary will be paid only after achieving the targets.”

The disgruntled youth disagreed with these claims. “They promised to pay basic salary and conveyance allowance without targets, and incentives on bringing more than fiver orders,” said Mr Rupinder Grewal, one of the aggrieved youths.

The employers are not ready to make any compromise. “Let them go to the labour court we will accept the court decision.” “How can we compromise when they are threatening us”, says Mr Amardeep, one of the partners.

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