Thursday, October 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Star TV channels go off air
From A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — All the major TV channels beamed by Star TV have gone off the air in Ludhiana following a price war which has broken out between Star TV on the one hand and SITI Cable and cable operators of the megacity on the other.

The TV channels affected include Star Plus, Star World, Star Movies, Star News and Channel V.

The development has taken place in the wake of what is being described as “an attempt by the Star TV to muscle in on the cable TV operators and force them to accept all the Star TV channels as a single package”. This package includes even those channels which are not yet very popular with the viewers.

Till now, Star TV channels, which have now been converted from free-to-air into pay channels, were available singly or in twos as per the requirements of the cable operators. But with the stupendous success of Kaun Banega Crorepati and certain other serials like Saans, Sas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, etc on Star Plus, Star TV apparently feels that the time has come to push in its other channels as well.

Some time ago, it informed SITI Cable and cable operators of Ludhiana that Star TV channels would henceforth be available only as a package of all its TV channels. The package would include Star Plus, Star World, Star News, Star Movies, Channel V and Star Gold.

SITI Cable and cable operators are, however, resisting what they describe as “blackmail” on the part of Star TV to force them to accept other TV channels. They claim that it is only Star Plus which commands an enormous demand for channel. Therefore, it will not make economic sense for them to pay for TV channels as well.

Mr Sunil Talwar, Director of SITI Cable, Ludhiana, argues that many of the Star TV channels like Star News and Star World and Channel V have limited audience. For instance, Star News and Star World programmes may be popular with English-speaking audience living in posh areas like Sarabha Nagar, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar and Civil Lines but these will not appeal to residents of poor colonies of the megacity.

At present, SITI Cable pays Rs 80 or more per connection to the satellite TV companies for the programmes beamed to them. The SITI Cable in turn charges this money from the cable TV operators. The cable operators charge their subscribers anything from Rs 50 to Rs 150 per month per connection.

Mr Talwar says that Star TV’s insistence on foisting all its TV channels as a single package on the cable operators would render their operation as unviable. Resistance from the SITI Cable and cable operators has led to the present impasse resulting on switch off the TV programmes by Star TV.

Mr Kuljinder Singh Mehta, President of the United Cable TV Operators of Ludhiana, said in a talk with Ludhiana Tribune that Star TV should be thankful to the cable TV operators because it was because of their cooperation that the programmes like Kaun Banega Crorepati have become enormously popular with the people, enabling the Star TV to rake in crores of rupees by way of advertisement revenue. Instead for forcing cable operators into paying more by accepting more channels, Star TV should try to share its profits with them.


Companies vanish after cheating investors
By Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — Various plantation companies claim in their advertisements that they can double or even triple the money of the investors within two-three years. People get attracted by the names of big directors, advertising and exhibitions organised by the companies. Most of these companies turn out to be frauds.

A number of such cases continue to come into light. Cases are also registered against such companies, but not much is done to check their growth.

Mr Sunil Kapoor, a jewellery trader, has alleged that he had invested about Rs 16,000 in term-deposit scheme of an agro-forestry public limited company Veerbhumi Plantations based at Mani Majra near Chandigarh. He was given three post-dated cheques payable at the Panchkula branch of the Central Bank of India. He also used to put Rs 1,000 every month in a deposit scheme of the company.

He was promised that after 18 months when he would have deposited Rs 18,000, he would be paid Rs 20,000. However, when he approached the company officials past month, he came to know that the company had closed its offices and its Chairman, K.D. Sharma, had absconded. Some persons who had their shops near the office, told him that the company directors, Rajesh Sharma and Sudesh Sharma had been arrested by the police on the complaint of another investor. He tried to contact various police officials, but without any result.

Similarly, another investor, Mr Sarfaz Athar had deposited Rs 500 in a scheme of the same company on September 16, 1997. His receipt number was 15656. He was even promised free accidental insurance worth Rs 50,000 and a post-dated cheque. It was supposed to mature on September 14, 2002. However, bank officials now tell him that there is no money in the company’s account.

Mr Varinder Singh, another investor, was issued a cheque for Rs 4,140 against his earlier investment. The cheque bounced on August 10, 1999, when he deposited it in the Uklana branch of Punjab National Bank in the Hisar district. There are number of such cases. Hundreds of investors are running from pillar to post to get the “promised money”.

Mr Sunil Kapoor said they got attracted by big advertisements. He said he could not suspect that the company could even do this because it had been sponsoring the popular TV show Surbhi. He said it had even received an award from a former Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, for being one of the best companies. These investors want to know if there is any rule in the country to stop such companies from cheating investors. “Will we ever get back our hard-earned money?” they asked.Back


Orchestra party girl murdered
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — A flower girl with an orchestra party, who allegedly also worked as a sex worker by night, was reportedly murdered by her self- professed brother, while in an inebriated condition. The girl was murdered for speaking ill about the wife of the accused.

Sikandar Kaur, alias Rajni, learnt to be in her mid-twenties, was allegedly murdered by strangulation at her residence after an altercation with Ravi Kumar, who proposed to be her brother and his cousin, Gurwinder Singh Laddi, and her body was thrown away in a plot of land, 100 m from the place of crime. She was staying in a rented accommodation with another girl, Meenu, at Mohar Singh Nagar and the two were said to be into prostitution.

The murder came to light this morning and the police rushed to the spot. It was then that the SSP Kuldeep Singh received information that the murder had been committed by Ravi Kumar and Laddi. It was then that the DSP Detective Manjit Singh and the CIA In charge Inspector Maninder Bedi were deputed to nab the two accused. The duo were arrested from near Samrala Chowk this morning.

Later, while briefing mediapersons, DSP Manjit Singh and Inspector Bedi informed that the girl had gone to visit Ravi Kumar and his wife, Poonam, at their residence in Dharampura last evening. A cousin of Ravi, Gurwinder Singh Laddi, was also present there. While the accused Ravi Kumar was into readymade garments business, his wife was working in the same orchestra as Rajni. The two women were supposed to go for a performance last night, but Rajni along with her roommate had been expecting a “customer” at 10.30 p.m at their residence, so the girl refused to come for the performance.

She asked the accused Ravi Kumar to drop her back home, but he promised to do so after a while and both accused went to the Dasehra mela. There they got late and while coming back, they also met with an old friend and stopped by for a few drinks. When the two reached back home, it was past 11 p.m. and the girl began grumbling. The two then took her away on a scooter in order to drop her back home.

Once the trio reached home, Rajni found that Meena had already left with the customer. There she once again took up a verbal dual with the accused. Ravi reportedly got very angry and slapped Rajni two to three times. He, too, began rebuking her and demanding back the money that he had lent her. She decided to get back at him and began speaking ill of his wife, Poonam, by alleging that she was also into prostitution. She also threatened to teach them a lesson with the help of a few high- powered contacts she claimed to have.

After this the two men beat up the girl till she became unconscious. Thinking that they had invited the wrath upon themselves, they decided to kill her. While Laddi crushed the girl’s mouth with a pillow, Ravi strangulated her with a piece of nylon rope that he found nearby.

Accused Ravi Kumar, while talking to mediapersons after his arrest, said that he had known the girl for the past four to five years as she was a friend of his wife.” During our courtship I became friendly with her and later she was almost like a sister to me. But she was a woman of ill repute and did not deserve any better.”

He also said that the girl had several live-in relations and also had two children from her numerous affairs. While one child is supposed to be with the mother of the deceased in Ahmedgarh, the other child that was born only two years ago was taken away by the father of the child.


Doctor tampered with body: relatives
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — A doctor posted in Civil Hospital at Garhshankar has been accused of tampering with the post-mortem report of a woman who had died under mysterious circumstances in the house of her in-laws in the town. The relatives of the woman, who originally belonged to the city, have sent representations to the Chief Minister, the Health Minister, the Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police at Hoshiarpur, urging them to order a probe into the death and action against the doctor.

Vikram Sharma, younger brother of the deceased Rachna Sharma, has alleged that his sister was being tortured physically and mentally by her husband. He claims to have in his possession a recent letter written by Rachna. In the letter, she had written that her husband was treating her cruelly. After Rachna’s mysterious death on September 29, the police registered a case under Section 306 of the IPC on the complaint of her relatives.

Rachna Sharma had married Davinder Kumar, a resident of Chandigarh, 10 years ago and had two children. The family had been living in a rented accommodation at Garhshankar for the past two years.

Rachna’s body was taken to Civil Hospital at Garhshankar for a post-mortem examination. Vikram Sharma said, though he and another relative, Mukesh Kumar, had seen some marks and scars on the body, Dr Gurpal, who conducted the post-mortem, denied that there was any mark on the body.

When Rachna’s relatives pressed the doctor, he reportedly went inside the post-mortem room again to examine the body. After coming out, he said the marks on the body were old and, so, could not be included in the post-mortem report. “We told the doctor that we would get the photographs of the marks clicked and show these to his seniors. He entered the room again and made cuts at places that had signs of beating,” Vikram alleged.

Vikram Sharma said, “When we saw the doctor cutting the body, we screamed at him and he ran away. We approached the policemen who were outside the hospital. The doctor then came there along with some of his seniors and said he was ready to write about the marks on the body in the post-mortem report.”

He has urged the authorities concerned to take a serious note of the allegations and punish all accused.


Probe into petrol adulteration
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — The Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University has constituted a three-member fact finding committee to fix responsibility for the adulteration detected in the petrol, being supplied by the filling station of the university a few days ago.

The committee comprises Dr V.K. Sharma, Additional Director Research (Engineering) as convenor, Dr M.S. Bhatia, Head, Department of Chemistry, Dr A.K. Bakshi, Head, Department of Food, Science and Technology. It has been asked to submit its report within two weeks.

It is learnt that the Indian Oil Corporation has declined to own any responsibility for the adulteration in the petrol. However, when this correspondent contacted Mr S.K. Bhatia, Comptroller, PAU, he said that he had talked to the officials concerned of the IOC, who had agreed to retrieve the remaining stock of the adulterated petrol. He said that about 9000 litres of adulterated petrol was still lying in the petrol tank of the filling station. But one wonders what the university will do with the remaining petrol in case it is not retrieved by the IOC.

A driver of the university, said that the adulterated petrol lying in the stock was not fit for use. If it is used in vehicles, it would cause serious damage to the engines.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the tests carried out at the laboratory of the Indian Oil Corporation at Jalandhar have revealed that adulterated petrol probably contains diesel. It is also learnt that the test conducted showed that the boiling point of the sample was 298°C, whereas according to persons in the know of these things, the boiling point of petrol is only up to 240°C and the boiling point of diesel is up to 340°C.

Since the filling station of the university is closed, the extension and research activities of the varsity have been adversely affected. Teachers and officials who are associated with these activities have been already told to arrange petrol for their vehicles at their own level.Back


BKU to start jail bharo agitation
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Oct 4 — The Bharatiya Kisan Union Punjab has decided to start jail bharo agitation with effect from October 9 if the state procurement agencies fail to purchase paddy in mandis of the state.

At a state-level meeting held here yesterday it was decided that a morcha will court arrest by marching towards the Punjab Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh on October 9.

A jatha of 51 farmers will court arrest everyday from October 10 till their demands are met.

Mr Balbir Singh Rajwal, national general secretary of the BKU, said that the government agencies had been procuring more than 80 per cent of the paddy in previous years. This year the crop is much more mature and better in quality. Despite this the government agencies are refusing to purchase it, Mr Rajwal added.

The BKU has also asked farmers to gherao the FCI Chairman when he visits to check the procurement of paddy. 


Eunuch menace in market
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — In a sudden panic reaction, a number of shopkeepers in Bhadaur House and surrounding areas here today began pulling down shutters of their shops, and the markets soon wore a deserted look.

At first instance it seemed like someone had issued a bandh call or there was some law and order problem or that some national leader had passed away. But none of these was true. The reason behind this sudden act was that a group of eunuchs had come calling to the market for their pound of flesh in the Dasehra sales.

Armed with “double meaning” dialogues and a group of sturdy youths, some of whom were even carrying sticks, the group went from shop to shop demanding Dasehra festival alms.

The group was heard saying that it did not mean to harm anybody and would take whatever one gives willingly. However, many shopkeepers fled the market after pulling the shutters down even though several employees were trapped inside.

The shopkeepers said they had to resort to this action as eunuchs indulge in forcible extraction of money. They said the eunuchs even threaten to undress before the shop if their demand was not met.

‘‘It is our annual feature,’’ said a member of the group to a shopkeeper who could not close his shop at the right time. The shopkeeper gave some money but was told that last year the amount given was higher and he had to give more.

The market reopened once the group left the market. 


Work on commercial complex runs into trouble
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — Work on a commercial complex being developed by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) in the Maharani Jhansi Road area in the city has run into trouble even before having started, thanks to adamant and apathetic attitude of the Punjab State Electricity Board. The PSEB authorities have reportedly refused to grant a temporary power connection to the builder on the ground that somebody else had defaulted in payment of electricity dues at the site of the commercial complex a couple of years ago.

The builder, Deepak Singal to whom the construction work for the complex was allotted by the LIT was shocked, when the PSEB turned down his application for a temporary connection at the site, needed to run the construction machinery and lighting the area on the ground that organisers of a Dinosaur show, at the vacant plot in 1998, owed around Rs 5.50 lakh to the PSEB and the amount had not been recovered so far.

Repeated pleas by the builder that he was in no way connected with the defaulting amount and it was a matter between the PSEB and the defaulter failed to move the PSEB administration.

When contacted by Ludhiana Tribune, the Executive Engineer of the Civil Lines division of PSEB Mr H.S. Thukral, admitted that the power connection was denied to the builder and cited the unrecovered arrears as the reason. When pointed out that the defaulting firm had taken the plot on temporary lease and neither the builder nor the LIT, the owner of the plot, could be held liable for recovery, Mr Thukral asserted that under the Electricity Act, no power connection could be granted at a premises, where default in payment had been committed. He, however, added that he had forwarded the case to his superiors, who were competent to take a decision and use their discretion.

Inquiries revealed that the enforcement wing of the PSEB had detected large-scale power theft by the organisers of Dinosaur Show and had imposed a hefty penalty, besides electricity charges upon them, which were not paid. In this connection, the then Sub Divisional Officer of the Civil Lines sub division of PSEB was placed under suspension. The PSEB had also filed a civil suit for the recovery of default amount and on the plea made by the defaulting firm, the court had directed that the matter be taken up in the disputes redressal committee (DRC) of the PSEB.

The LIT authorities also seem to have washed their hands off the controversy, which for the time being, was holding up the commencement of work on the commercial complex in 2.22 acres. The trust engineer, Mr J.S. Pandher, when contacted, said it was an internal matter of the trust. When pressed further, he said the then Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Goyal, had allowed the organisers of Dinossaur show to use the land, belonging to the LIT and the protests lodged by the LIT authorities were disregarded for the reason that the organisers had promised to pay some part of the collections to the District Red Cross Society.

He further claimed that the LIT was in no way bound to arrange for a power connection for the contractor, which was purely his (builder’s) own responsibility. On second thought, he hastened to add that the builder had not so far formally intimated the LIT authorities about the problem and “once he did, we shall immediately take up the matter with the higher officials of the PSEB”.


Service in name of Ram

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — Bhakt Hansraj Guhana Wale, popularly known as Pitaji, is the spiritual leader of ‘Ram Sharnam’, a religious sect devoted to the teachings of Shri Ram.

Sprightly at the age of 85, he meets 2,000-3,000 persons every day between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and tries to solve their problems. In the evening, he meets people between 8 p.m. and 9.30 p.m. During the navrataras, kirtan is performed every day in the morning and evening at Ram Sharnam, Rishi Nagar. On October 7, a maha yagya, will mark the culmination of nine days of prayer.

One of the devotees says, “Bhaktji practises no discrimination. Even if a minister comes to meet him, he has to wait for his turn.” Bhaktji says, “All my devotees know today is my birthday (October 2). My humble request to them is not to present my any gift but to do selfless service to society”.

According to Hans Rajji when he went abroad, several couples told him that their lives were becoming mechanical and they had no time for prayers. “I told them to spare only 10 minutes from their time and sit down peacefully before an incense or a lamp. I suggested to them to listen to bhajans and to introspect if they were alone. Listening to bhajans fills one with peace.”

Bhaktji met a number of people abroad who told him about the problems they were having with their teenaged children due to the unrestricted freedom given to them. He advised them to spend time with their children and give them the right sanskaras. “If you do not want your children to drink, smoke or take drugs, them be come such role models for them.”

Is Ramayana relevant in modern times?

“Yes. It is very relevant. Shri Ram, whether he was the king living in the jungle, performed ‘nishkam sewa”. This message of ‘nishkam sewa’ is more relevant today in this selfish world.”

Bhaktji said at Ram Sharnam they did not believe in giving money. “But we try to provide means to earn a living. We are running a stitching centre and a school in Guhana and a number of stitching centres in other parts of the country. We are soon going to start stitching schools in Himachal Pradesh and at Ranchi in Bihar.” He said he had also started getting poor girls married some time ago. “But I could not motivate people to get married at mass weddings. However, I have not quit. I am still trying to hold mass weddings to cut useless expenses on marriages.” — AA


Mayor of Greenwich honoured
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — In a befitting function organised at her native village Hissowal, in this district, Mrs Jagir Kaur Sekhon, the first Indian woman, elected as mayor of Greenwich city in England, was honoured by the panchayats of the area and an award of ‘Daughter of Punjab’ was conferred upon her. Senior vice-president of ruling SAD, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Chairman of Punjab Mandi Board, Mal Singh Ghuman and Chairman of Punjab small industries and export corporation, Jagjit Singh Talwandi, besides many other senior leaders of the ruling party were present at this occasion.

Mr Talwandi congratulated the mayor, who, he said, following the footsteps of great women in Sikh history, had brought great honour for the entire country by occupying the coveted post of the mayor in a country like England, which had ruled India for almost two centuries and where the Indians had been looked down upon till independence.

Emphasising upon the need for women education and providing equal opportunities to women in all fields, Mr Talwandi remarked that Indian women had proved their worth in all walks of life, not only in India but also in advanced countries like the USA and European nations.

Responding to the request made by Mrs Jagir Kaur for development of the village, Mr Talwandi assured that the middle school in Hissowal would be upgraded soon and adequate funds would be made available for construction of a link road from the village to Badel.

Mrs Sekhon expressed her gratitude for the love and affection shown by people of Punjab and the functionaries of the SAD and assured that she would always strive to come up to the expectations of the people of Greenwich and those back home.

Mr. Ghuman and Mr Jagjit Singh Talwandi also addressed the function and asked women folk to draw inspiration from the mayor and to excel in their respective fields.


Changing role of research in agriculture stressed
From Surbhi Bhalla

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — Mrs Rita Sharma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, has laid stress on the changing roles of research and extension in increasing agricultural productivity and promoting sustainable agricultural development.

Mrs Sharma was on the PAU campus today to inaugurate an orientation workshop on innovations in technology dissemination as chief guest.

This correspondent had a face-to- face interaction with Mrs Sharma on the problems and challenges facing modern agriculture. She said that Indian agriculture had never faced such challenges ever before. She emphasised that the foremost need was to meet the growing demand for food for a population of over one billion people. In addition, greater opportunities for employment and higher income were needed. Globalisation and export opportunities had also posed another challenge in the competitive world of today. She, therefore, emphasised that the entire prospective of agricultural growth had to be looked at again with regard to various global conventions, agreements and protocols.

Talking about the Green Revolution, she said that it had been the principal instrument of dynamism to agricultural growth in Punjab, Haryana and Western UP.

Agricultural technologies developed over the past three decades had led to unprecedented growth in the country’s food production despite conditions such as droughts, waterlogging, floods, etc. The agriculture production had been sustained.

However, Mrs Sharma warned that the new methods of farming had brought with them several problems too which had never been countered before. For instance, she said that the water table was getting depleted rapidly. In addition, conditions like waterlogging and salinity were contributing to the other problems.

Mrs Sharma warned that the natural resources had to be used extremely carefully for sustainable development. She said that small farmers often tend to over-exploit the degradation and lower productivity. She advocated that better management and preservation of soil and water and dissemination of technologies were urgently needed. She suggested that the emphasis ought to be on low cost technologies.

Speaking about biotechnology and information technology, Mrs Sharma said that Indian agriculture must make use of the opportunities which had been thrown open by these technologies. Biotechnology with its potential for genetic engineering could increase productivity both of plants and animals. Similarly, she said that geographical information systems and remote sensing can provide information about soil and crops on a large scale.

Taking about the national agricultural technology project (NATP), she said that this project provided the vital thrust to address constraints, weakness and gaps of the present system based on a holistic farming systems approach and to demonstrate what we wish to replicate nationwide.

The NATP was operating at the national level in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Maharashtra, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. She said that the NATP was doubly enhanced as it demonstrated a farmer-centric, farmer accountable, demand-driven and integrated delivery system of technology generation and dissemination which was expected to change agricultural research and extension from 20th century setting to the 21th century framework.


‘Kitties’ a way of life in city
From A Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — Kitty a slang word, means a small amount of money contributed by different people which is used by a person or persons for some specific purpose. People of this city, however, have imparted a different meaning to the word. It does not refer to a small amount of money; it can run into lakhs. Members, at times, contribute Rs 8-10 lakh each and if there are 10 to 12 members, the total collection comes to a staggering Rs 1 crore. This type of ‘kitty’ is generally an ‘auction kitty’. As the name suggests, the money goes to the highest bidder.

A ‘kitty group’ fixes 1 per cent of the total amount to be foregone before the bidding starts. If the ‘kitty’ is worth Rs 10,000, then a bidder starts his bid at Rs 9,000. If the bid finally loses at Rs 7000, each member will earn a profit of Rs 300. The second ‘kitty’ always goes to the organiser and that is the profit of the organiser who performs a tough job.

The organiser has to find reliable members who pay on time. Usually organisers retain the same members who have finished one round with them. If a member vanishes after bidding and getting the money, it is the organiser who has to bear the loss.

Mr S.S. Sodhi, who organises ‘kitties’ says, “If a member dies each member has to bear the loss. If the group makes a profit of Rs 50,000 and the instalment of the deceased is Rs 15,000, then the rest of the members will have to forego a part of their profit to pay for the instalment of the deceased”.

‘Kitties’ have become a way of life with women of this city. In a ‘gold kitty’, the organiser brings gold ornaments and members buy these ornaments. Similarly there are ‘kitties’ for expensive household gadgets like washing machines, home theatre — and, these days, swanky cars.

Ms Nirmal Bains, a housewife, says, “I bought gold ornaments through ‘gold kitties’. I will have the jewellery ready when my daughter gets married. Mr Aseem Goyal, a businessman, encourages his wife to invest in kitties as he wants to buy a Ford Ikon. He can get his car financed, but that would entail paying a huge instalment.

The amount in a ‘kitty’ varies with different sections of people. Those from the middle class generally organise ‘kitties’ which will enable them to buy scooters. These may also help them in the marriages of their wards.

Of late, ‘couple kitties’, where both husband and wife participate, are fast gaining popularity. 


A committed blood donor

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — Tall and generous, Sudhir Mudgil’s passion is to help the suffering humanity. That he has donated blood 65 times for the needy proves that he cares.

Like other teenagers, he was a happy-go-lucky college boy till 1984. But the communal tension that followed after Operation Bluestar shook Sudhir. He discovered that he had a strong nationalistic spirit in him. So he and his three friends decided to spread the message of peace and communal harmony. They toured the whole of Punjab carrying placards with messages of peace on their bicycles. People welcomed them and accepted their message which said, “God is one and the same blood courses through our veins. We are all same before the eyes of God.” They bore the expenditure of tour, called Punjab Darshan themselves.

In 1985, fellow students at Arya College decided to organise a camp for blood donation. The students invited him too. He was told that his blood group ‘O+’ was acceptable to all positive blood groups. That gave him confidence and he donated blood 11 times in a row at intervals of three months, since all blood donors are advised to donate blood only after a period of 90 days. The Red Cross issued him a certificate appreciating his services which said, “Your selfless service will help us save a life of someone seriously injured in a mishap or a patient waiting for a surgical operation for some serious malady in one of our hospitals in Ludhiana.”

After that he involved himself deeply donating blood 65 times — not a mean feat. His blood must have gone towards saving many lives.

He has in garment business, yet he finds time to go and donate blood whenever he gets a call from the Red Cross where he is a registered blood donor.

His message to people is, “Do not hesitate in donating blood. There are myths surrounding blood donation, which scare people from donating blood. I am a normal man. I eat normal food, I have never felt any weakness after donating blood. These days when infected blood is being sold by professional donors, the need of the hour is that all healthy youngsters, men and women should regularly donate blood. With the HIV menace on the rise, safe blood, free of viruses is required during operations. So come forward and do something positive for humanity. Who knows your one pint of blood may save someone’s husband, son, wife or a mother?” — AA


League dares Badal
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — The Sikh League today asked the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who also heads the ruling SAD, to go for mid-term assembly polls in Punjab to prove his claim that the victory in Sunam byelection was a vindication of his government’s policies and programmes. However, contrary to the claim of ruling alliance, people in general and political observers held the view that Sunam election result was due to manipulation of electronic voting machines (EVM’s).

“We in the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) and the sikh League also ask the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr M.S.Gill, to order re-polling in Sunam, without the use of EVMs, to prove his credentials and to refute the charges of many political thinkers and activists that he was not hand in glove with Mr Badal in the poll rigging and the misuse of official machinery” added Mr Gill along with the General Secretary, Mr M S Grewal.

Reacting to the Sunam by poll result, the Sikh League and the IHRO have also urged the SAD(Amritsar) President Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, to work for Panthic unity rather than indulging in self-centered politics and to make efforts to formulate a real pro-Punjab and pro-sikh third front involving the BSP and other sikh groups in the state, which could prove to be an alternative to the SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress.Back


‘Positive attitude important in life’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — “An achievement is never by accident”, says Nomita Khanna. “It is always because of sincere effort, hard work and skillful management of time.”

Nomita should know, for she has been an achiever throughout her life. “While in school, I was always on stage taking part in one programme or the other, winning this competition or that. Debates, declamation contests...give me anything and I will manage to reach the top.”

And for a good reason. She does not believe in resting on her laurels. Earlier this year, she was chosen as the “queen of the millennium” at a contest organised by the Luxmi Ladies Club. Last week, she was crowned as the “Newage Woman” by the Cosmopolitan magazine at New Delhi. She was among the three finalists chosen from amongst scores of contestants from across the country.

“It is very important to have a positive attitude towards life and what it has to offer to you”, says Nomita. “Of course, there are ups and downs in everyone’s life. And like everyone else, I have also experienced ecstasies of life along with the pain. But I like to focus on delights rather than disappointments of life”.

An early marriage might have meant the end of an independent career ambitions of a lesser woman. But it failed to hold back Nomita.

Nomita was hardly 16 when she got married to a local businessman, Mr Gagan Khanna almost 17 years ago. “Everybody from school where I was studying advised my parents against marrying me off at such a tender age because they thought marriage would spell the end of my career. But they went ahead and married me. Now as I look back, I feel that I have no regrets. This is mainly because my husband has been so loving, understanding and helpful.

She utilises her free time to coach her two children. And both of them are toppers in their respective classes. “I know of a lot of parents who have no time to devote to their children and the children have to take private tuitions”.

Nomita says that although she married early, she would not like the same to happen to her daughter. “I will prefer her to grow up, get the best of education, acquire a personality of her own and then think in terms of marrying. Not everyone can get an understanding husband like Gagan”.

Nomitahas many hobbies. Earlier she used to play Hawaiian guitar before shifting her attention to harmonium. Finally, she went for the key-board and is now one of the top players in the city. “Everybody said that you cannot learn how to play key-board at this age. That made me even more determined. I used to practise for up to 10 hours in a day, generally at night, after finishing my household chores. I would put on my headphones so as not to disturb others and started practising...”, she recalls.

She has plans to play at the local church on Sundays. “It is my hobby not a profession”, she says.

Now she is trying another hobby i.e. jewellery designing, into a profession. She has started in a small way but has no doubt that she will make a success of this too. 


Pensioners’ demand
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — The members of the Punjab State Pensioners Confederation have demanded from the Punjab Government that the travel concession given to them should be calculated from the date of retirement as per the recommendations of the Punjab Fourth Pay Commission and not biannually.

The commission in its report given to the Punjab Government on February 2, 1998, had stated that travel concession to be granted after a span of every two years should be calculated from the actual date of retirement as is currently in practice. But the Punjab Government in its recent notification has stated that the grant of travel concession to the pensioners retiring between January 1 to June 30 will commence from July 1 and for those retiring from July 1 to December 31, will commence from January 1 of the next year.

However, Mr B.R. Kaushal, President of the confederation, has demanded that the span of two years following the date of retirement should be calculated as per the recommendations of the pay panel and such a benefit should be given to both husband and wife as it used to be till February 31, 1994. 


Cong flays Dhindsa’s Sunam victory
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — A joint statement issued by Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, Vice-President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Gurdev Singh, Secretary, PPCC, Mr Pawan Dewan and Mr Jevan Das Bawa said today that the victory of Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa was a pointer towards the abyss into which our politics had fallen.

This victory was not something to gloat about. Rather, this victory signified the throttling of democracy. The need of the hour was to expose those who had won through non-democratic means, the statement said.

The leaders said that the present election was not the victory of the ballot, rather it was the victory of the money-power. They said it was a sad spectacle to see the government machinery distributing liquor, using muscle-power and money-power and trying every fair and foul means to win the election. Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa said in the near future the voters of Sunam would realise their mistake and repent. In a separate statement, the leaders congratulated Ms Sonia Gandhi on Ms Rama Pilot’s victory in Dausa in Rajasthan.


National Disaster Reduction Day On Oct 11
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — Dr Jaspinder Singh Kolar, Director of Extension Education, has urged that masses should be made aware of the natural calamities which play havoc from time to time.

Experts at the district level and members of the Punjab Kisan Club can make a significant contribution in popularising safety measures against these natural calamities like flood, tornado, storms, etc.

Dr Kolar further said that at the world level, October 11 was being celebrated as National Disaster Reduction Day. The district level extension staff were asked to organise group meetings for this purpose.


A bus stop where no bus stops
From A Correspondent

SAHNEWAL, Oct 4 — Ever heard of a bus stop that remains in never-ending wait for buses and passengers?

Visit Sahnewal, a small town about 15 km from Ludhiana. Unlike the usual bus stops, the bus stop at Sahnewal remains deserted and sans any activity.

On both sides of the road, the buses stop about 100 metres before the specified point.

After crossing the traffic lights of the main chowk, the incoming and the outgoing buses stop immediately near the police barricades creating great confusion.

The speed of the vehicular traffic following these buses gets slowed down due to the sudden turn taken by the bus drivers. As a result of this, traffic jams are a common occurrence here.

Many a time, due to the sudden turn taken by the buses, smaller vehicles like rickshaws, auto-rickshaws and two-wheelers get sandwitched between them.

The G.T. Road gets choked with vehicles, commuters and passengers and the confusion created at the spot is nightmare for road users.

The public can play a significant role to rectify this particular problem.

If the passengers make it a point to stand and wait for the buses at the main bus stop only, the drivers of the buses would be forced to stop their buses at the proper place.

Apart from this, an adequate police force must be deployed at the main chowk to check the buses from becoming a traffic hazard.

The defaulters must be dealt with severely, otherwise the situation will go from bad to worse in the near future.


Peoples’ verdict also goes against Rao
From Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — The conviction of the former Prime Minister, Mr P.V.Narsimha Rao, and the former Union Home Minister, Mr Buta Singh, by a special court in the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha bribery case was not enough, most of the persons to whom Ludhiana Tribune spoke to said. They favoured an exemplary punishment to those who made a mockery of the democratic system and betrayed confidence of the masses.

The General Secretary of the Punjab Beopar Mandal, Mr Mohinder Aggarwal, said the law had to take its course and conviction of Mr Rao and Mr Buta Singh had once again proved that all were equal in the eyes of the law. The judgement would also serve as a deterrent for others in public life and would be a step towards in cleansing the political system.

Mr Pardeep Sharma, an advocate, termed the conviction of Mr Rao as unfortunate. “The head of the largest democracy in the world was held guilty of corrupt practice was really shameful. In any case the guilty must be punished”, he said.

A retired Income Tax Officer, Mr B.D. Narang, seemed upset that persons holding such high positions had acted in such a fashion and had stooped so low to remain in political power. “The case further goes on to emphasise upon the dire need to curb criminalisation of politics firmly”, he said.

Mr C.S.Soni, a furnishing fabric dealer, said the judgement was a landmark in judicial history and went on to show the extent of moral degradation among politicians. However, the political system as a whole would not much benefit from such rare instances, and a massive drive was needed to rid the system of corrupt, self-seeking and opportunist politicians, he added.

Mr Lajpat Rai, a retired bank employee, and Mr Navin Talwar, an LPG distributor, were of the view that the Congress, or for that matter all other political parties, never thought before adopting unfair means to grab or to retain power. By convicting a former Prime Minister of the country, the judiciary had re-established its supremacy.

A housewife, Ms Poonam, hailed the verdict and remarked that all politicians were like that. It was just a matter of chance that Mr Rao was caught and had been convicted. Her husband Mr Keshav, a businessman, was in total agreement with his wife. “Show me one uprighteous and honest politician who had no self-interest. Rampant corruption and nepotism were a rule, rather than an exception,” he said.

Dr K.S.Bhalla, an acupuncturist, and Dr Ajay Pal Singh Thind, a medical practitioner, observed that it was not for the first time that judiciary had boldly moved against the degenerated and rotten political system. Although there were many flaws in the prevailing legal system, yet the judiciary had prevailed and exposed corruption in the highest office of the country.

Mr. Ashok Bhakhri, President of the Young Lawyers Forum, described the judgement as “not convincing” and based on “circumstantial evidence”. “In all likelihood, those convicted will go in appeal to high court”, he commented.

A shopkeeper, Mr G.S. Bhatia, seemed to be deriving pleasure over the conviction of the two top politicians of their times for altogether different reasons. In his terse remarks, he aptly summed up the mood of the masses. “These politicians have made the lives of common people miserable. Serves them right!” Back


Need for PU regional centre

PLEASE refer to news-item “PU sub-office demand in city’’ in the Ludhiana Tribune. I may add that Ludhiana’s legitimate claim for the provision of a PU Regional Centre can also not be overlooked . Studded with a first-rate agricultural university, 13 colleges, including four colleges of education, two medical colleges, an engineering college, there still exists a vacuum in Ludhiana which can be adequately filled with the settling up of a regional centre.

Punjabi University, Patiala, has two regional centres — at Bhatinda and Talwandi Sabo (Damdama Sahib) each. GND University Amritsar, has centres at Jalandhar and Gurdaspur. LLB courses are available both at Jalandhar and Bhatinda. Two years back PU Regional Centre was established at Muktsar. It offers postgraduate courses in arts, law and computer sciences.

The establishment of a PU Regional Centre at Ludhiana would fulfil the long-standing demand of its residents. It would benefit hundreds of employees who want to improve their qualifications after graduation. There are three evening shifts run at the Government College for Boys, GGN Khalsa College and Arya College. They cater to the educational needs of undergraduate students only.

The proposed centre could provide courses in law, MBA and computer sciences. Public administration and sociology are generally opted as subjects in civil services but facilities for these subjects are not available in any of the nine colleges at postgraduate level. The PU Extension Library with 1.40 lakh volumes would obviate the necessity of a separate library for the proposed centre. Addition of only a few hundred books would enrich the already large collection and prove useful for the courses to be introduced at the centre.

The PU Sub-Office (as demanded by PCCTU) could be located on the premises of the centre. The hon’ble Minister for Higher Education recently announced that an amount of Rs 200 crore would be spent on the promotion of higher education in the state. Only a fraction of the amount would be needed to set up such a centre, but it will prove immensely useful to the student community, including employees of Ludhiana and the adjoining areas.

I am confident, the academicians, local senators, politicians and industrialists will impress upon the Panjab University authorities, the desirability of opening a regional centre in this city.

J.R. Batra
P.E.S.I (retd.)

Facilities at Rose Garden

Sir, I have read with keen interest in “Ludhiana Calling” published in your paper that although the Rose Garden Senior Citizens’ Association had sought provision of certain facilities in the garden for making it a better place for all, these have not been provided till now in spite of the fact that concerned municipal authorities had assured the association of prompt action in the matter.

Rose Garden in the megacity is frequented by morning walkers, young and old for a breath of fresh air. It is an island of peace and tranquility in an otherwise polluted city, with a hectic pace of life. Therefore, I would suggest that the other citizens and associations of the city should also take up the matter with the Municipal Corporation to ensure early implementation of its promise to provide better facilities in the garden.

S.P. Jain



Man found murdered
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — A man was found murdered in the fields a little off the Ferozepore road near the Baddowal cantonment area late last evening. The man had been murdered by being hit on the head.

The Sadar police has been able to identify the body as that of Ashok Kumar, a resident of Shankar Colony in Bhamiya village. Though the police has so far not been able to identify the accused, it is believed that the deceased could have been murdered because of some monetary transactions that he had done. The SHO Sadar, Mr Mukhminder Singh, when contacted, said that they were working on the case and the investigations were likely to yield results soon enough.

Poppy husk seized:
The Khanna police claimed to have seized 100 kg of poppy husk and 1.5 kg of opium and arrested three persons here today.

According to a press release of the SSP, Khanna, Mr R.N. Dhoke, a special naka was laid under the supervision of the DSP, Samrala, near Pawat village, where from a person was arrested with 60 kg of poppy husk who was identified as Pakaj, a resident of Behroch district (UP). The police also arrested Mangal Ram of the same area from Takhran village.

According to a press release, a smuggler, Mohmad Ikram, was nabbed by the Samrala police with 1.5 kg of opium. The police has registered a case against them under Sections 54, 55, 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.Back


Gang of thieves busted in city
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — The Sadar police has achieved a major success by arresting three of the four members of a gang of thieves. With the arrest of the accused, the police has also solved atleast seven cases of theft in various parts of the city and the looting of an octroi post recently.

The police party led by the SHO Sadar, Mr Mukhminder Singh, arrested Mangat Singh, Rohit and Harminder Singh alias Mindi and recovered two stolen cars and Rs 5000 cash from their possession. One member of their gang, Vicky, however, escaped the police dragnet.

According to the information available, all the accused were making a living by working as electricians by the day. While Mangat Singh and Rohit were residents of Simlapuri, the other accused, Harminder Singh was a resident of Gurdaspur, but was now staying with Rohit. All the accused are in the age group of 19 to 25 years.

The police has recovered one car with registration number PB-10L-0103 that was stolen on October 1 and another car with registration number CH-01D-6695 stolen from Dharampura, last month. The accused have also confessed to two robberies in Janata Nagar, behind Shingaar Cinema, on Daba Road, and another one in Bhatra Mohalla.

It is learnt that the accused were also responsible for the looting of Rs 17,000 from an octroi post recently. 


Stock exchange turnover 6872 cr 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — The year 2000 would be remembered as the year of turnaround for the Ludhiana Stock Exchange. During 1999-2000 the exchange recorded a turnover of Rs 6872 crore (single sided). The combined turnover of the stock exchange and its subsidiary, i.e LSE Securities Limited, was estimated to exceed Rs 15000 crore in the current financial year, said Mr Vishwanath Dhiri, while welcoming the members to the 18th annual general meeting of the exchange. He informed the members that the stock exchange got its subsidiary company i.e. LSE Securities Ltd, registered as depository participant (DP) of NSDL, with a view to provide value added services to its members and investors.

He further informed that the stock exchange, after inviting options from them, applied for corporate membership of National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) through its subsidiary company i.e, LSE Securities Limited. NSE granted its corporate membership to the subsidiary company. Members of the exchange would be able to trade at NSE through the LSE Securities Ltd as registered sub-brokers of NSE. As on date, 35 members of the exchange had been registered as sub- brokers of the LSE Securities Limited. Applications of another 19 members had been cleared by NSE and delivered at SEBI for registration.

He said that the members had been facing stiff competition from NSE, BSE, CSE and DSE counters. To counter this competition and to convert the threats from the bigger stock exchanges into opportunities, the exchange conceptualised multiple stock exchange trading (multex) system. The stock exchange awarded contract for the development, implementation and maintenance of multex trading system on turn-key basis to CMC Limited . With the implementation of multex system, the members would be able to trade concurrently on more than one stock exchange. The stock exchange commenced “live” trading on BSE market segment. Live trading on NSE market segment was expected to start within a few days.

In addition of the adoption of directors’ report, audited balance sheet and income and expenditure account along with elections were held to fill in two vacancies, caused by retirement of two directors namely Mr M.S. Sarna and Mr T.S. Thapar .



‘Petro price hike bad for exporters’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan and Mr Avtar Singh, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, have condemned the recent hike in the prices of petroleum products made by the Government of India. This steep hike in the rates of petroleum products was a hard knock for the industry, especially the exporters, which would cause the cascading effect in the prices of export goods. This would also hinder the exporters in making the exports as per the already negotiated rates.

Mr Pardhan urged that this hike should be immediately rolled back for the survival of the trade and industry.

The reduced minimum charges levied on the industrial consumers of power has, however, been hailed by the trade and industry, but Mr Pardhan and Mr Avtar Singh asserted that the status-quo should have been announced in view of the hard times being faced by the industry. Further reviewal for maintaining the status quo is urged.


66 pc paddy procured in Ludhiana mandis
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 4 — The government procurement agencies had purchased 1.16 lakh tonnes of paddy till Monday evening out of the total arrival of 1,75,487 tonnes in the various mandis in this district. The total purchase by government agencies was almost 66 per cent of the total produce brought to the mandis, which was highest in the state.

This was stated by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, after a meeting with representatives of procurement agencies, the Arhtias Association and the Rice Sheller Association at Khanna grain market on Monday.

The Deputy Commissioner told the heads of procurement agencies to start purchase of paddy well in time so that the farmers, bringing produce to the mandis, did not have to wait for long and could get reasonable price for the paddy. The officials were also directed to make timely payment to the farmers. Mr Sandhu made it clear that any one found to be derelict in the procurement operations would be sternly dealt with.

Mr Sandhu earlier visited Samrala mandi to see the procurement work. During checking, the secretary of the Market Committee, Mr Karnail Singh, was found absent from duty for the past two days and his suspension was recommended to the Chairman of Mandikaran Board.

The representatives of the Shellers association impressed upon the Deputy Commissioner for early issuance of orders on levy policy and the Deputy Commissioner assured them to take up the matter with the government. Mr Bachan Singh Cheema, MLA, who was present during the meeting, urged the Deputy Commissioner to speed up the procurement work and ensure early payment to farmers.

Among others, Mr Parveen Vij, District Food and Supplies Controller; Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill, SDM, Khanna; Mr Sikader Singh Sekhon, Chairman, Market Committee; Mr Bal Mukand Sharma, district manager, Markfed; Mr S.P. Singal, district manager, FCI; Mr Sadhu Ram Nanda, President Arhtias Association and Mr Gurdial Singh, President of Shellers Association attended the meeting.

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