Monday, October 23, 2000,
 Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


PAU campus school Principal shifted
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 22 — The Principal of the PAU campus school, Mr Chander Hans Puri, has been transferred.

According to sources, the transfer is the fallout of a scuffle between two students of the school. The clash between the two students of plus two class reportedly took place early last month in front of the school gate after school hours. It is learnt that Kuljinder and Vikrant exchanged heated words in the classroom. Later in the evening, Kuljinder, along with his friends including a minister’s son, allegedly manhandled Vikrant.

The matter was reportedly investigated by the principal, who found Kuljinder guilty and asked him to tender an apology during the prayer time on September 2.

While Kuljinder initially accepted to apologise the next morning, he later refused, and allegedly misbehaved with the Principal. He also allegedly threatened the Principal with “transfer”and left his chamber. The Principal and other staff members decided to strike off Kuljinder’s name.

Although Kuljinder’s name is still not enrolled in the register, the Principal has already been transferred.

The new Principal, Ms Gurdeep Kaur, informed Ludhiana Tribune that Kuljinder has not been re-admitted. She said the matter was being investigated.

Meanwhile, Mr Puri refused to comment on the matter. He merely said that he had performed his moral duty by doing justice with his students. He added that he had joined the District Institute of Educational Training, Jagraon, on October 16, after he received his transfer orders.

The District Education Officer, Mrs Usha Sidhu, when contacted, feigned ignorance over the issue and said that she had herself been transferred to Chandigarh. 


FCI godowns nuisance for residents
Weevils, fungi make life miserable
By Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 22 —Godowns of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in the residential area of focal point have become a nuisance for the residents of neighboring colonies. The reasons are not far to seek. It is not only the frequent traffic jams due to heavy rush of trucks engaged in loading and unloading operations in the season but also the ‘ foul’ smell coming from the stores due to huge infected and rotten foodgrains stored there.

A large quantity of wheat and rice stored here has been infected by weevils and fungi. The residents have to, consequently, suffer from insects, flying and crawling weevils coming in abundance from the stores These fill their rooms, kitchens, beds and sofas, making them irritating and angry but without any result. The stinking smell coming from the FCI stores, especially when they are opened, makes a normal person sick, if nothing else.

The residents complain that though they have invested lakhs of rupees in these modern colonies but their life has been badly affected by these godowns. Dr K. S. Chahal, practising in the Jamalpur locality, near the FCI store is of the view,‘‘We are suffering the problem of smell and insects from a number of years. It increases during the summer season when the wheat, paddy and rice starts rotting. The susuri that fills the houses and roads results in allergy and irritates everyone. Our relatives hesitate to visit our residence. We have complained a number of times to the FCI officials as well as Municipal Corporation but nothing concrete has been done to solve it", he adds.

Another resident, Mr Vasudev said,“These insects generally come between 5 pm to 7 pm. They crawl on one's body like a louse. We feel irritated and depressed due to this nonsense created by the FCI but we feel helpless.”

The employees of FCI, on the other hand, deny all these allegations. At first, they tried to convince that every thing was right. They said the residents were mostly arrogant and want the godowns to be shifted elsewhere .

However, on probing the officials on the condition of anonymity stated that more than 2000 mt of wheat stored during the last cropping season had been infected since it is lying in the open and was not properly treated with chemicals. The officials reveal lack of chemicals as the cause of the prevailing problem. Though it was covered by the polythene but the birds and monkeys tore away them resulting in slippage of rainy water and ultimately infestation and smelling. One official asked to cut all matured trees on the FCI premises to tackle the menace of monkeys.

No doubt, some officials have been transferred after complaints and situation is under control at present. About two quintal of chemicals has been purchased to treat the wheat that is lying in the open. Heaps of dead insects can be seen all around. The officials say delta methrine has been used for the treatment.

Incidentally, the lack of proper working in the stores is also one of the reasons of the problem. A number of workers responsible for maintenance were found sleeping and others playing cards during working hours.

However, an official said due to lack of adequate transportation facilities of the foodgrains the situation had worsened. Ideally, the foodgrains covered in the open should be lifted within two three months. Even the stored rice or paddy in the covered area also starts deteriorating after a year.

It is worth mentioning that about 1100 mt rice milled during 1997-98, more than 10,000 mt rice milled during 1998-99, and about 22,000 mt rice of 1999-00 was stored here. A large part of it has been already infected. The live weevil and other insects were quite visible on the sacks.

The storage of about 13,000 mt paddy purchased during the current season has further aggravated the situation which is lying in the open.

When asked about the future of deteriorated wheat, the sources said it would be blended with the good quality wheat and may be sold at lower price in the market. They blamed the faulty policies of the government, lack of storage capacity, transportation and wide spread corruption for the present problem.

The officials responsible for maintenance and storage said, “We are facing a face crunch due to the poor quality of the foodgrains”.


Bibi should quit on moral grounds: Tohra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 22 — Without demanding the removal of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Bibi Jagir Kaur for her alleged role in the death of her daughter, the former SGPC chief and the president of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, feels that she should resign on moral grounds for all that has happened.

In an informal conversation with reporters, Mr Tohra who was here to attend a function to mark the death anniversary of former minister and MP Basant Singh Khalsa said he or his party was not in favour of removing the SGPC president. “But she should quit herself on moral grounds”, he observed. Without commenting on Bibi’s role in the death of her daughter, Mr Tohra said, the matter was already under investigation and the CBI had filed a charge sheet. He observed that the guilty should be brought to the book.

Referring to the humiliating defeat of his party candidate Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra in the Sunam byelection, the SHSAD chief alleged that the ruling SAD-BJP alliance government manipulated the results with the help of the electronic voting machines (EVMs). Not surprisingly Mr Tohra appeared in total agreement with the Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh, on the issue. He claimed that the chips of the EVMs were changed at the last minute to manipulate the final results.

Mr Tohra challenged the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to choose any five villages of his choice in the state and go for popularity test by ballot system. He claimed, “Mr Badal cannot manage even a face saving performance”. He charged the Chief Minister of misuisng the official machinery in the Sunam assembly byelections.

The SHSAD leader predicted a snap poll in the state in February. He claimed that Mr Badal had lost the confidence of people as he had failed to live upto their expectations. He said, the Chief Minister had no other way as he was aware that resentment among people was growing. He pointed out, the failure of the government to come to the rescue of farmers was one of the main reasons for their resentment against the government.

While ruling out any possible truck with the Congress he said, the SHSAD was exploring the possibility of forming a non-Congress, non-BJP and non-Akali front in the state. He revealed that his party leaders were in constant touch with the leaders of other groups like Communist Party of India (CPI), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and others. He did not rule out an alliance with the BSP in future, but said, it was too early and premature to say anything at this time.

Mr Tohra accused the SAD-BJP government in the state of corruption and total failure. He claimed that the law and order situation was worsening in the state and the Chief Minister was busy in saving his chair. He predicted that the SAD-BJP combine would be routed in the next elections as people were feeling angry with it.


Road digging in Chaura Bazar evokes protests
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 22 — Massive road digging work carried out by a contractor of the municipal corporation to lay storm water drainage pipes in the main commercial centre of Chaura Bazar has evoked strong resentment from the shopkeepers and traders. Various representatives of the trading community and associations were, making frantic efforts to approach the authorities to stop the road digging in view of the forthcoming festival season, without any apparent result.

There was total confusion and chaos in the market, with most of the shopkeepers unaware as to who had ordered the digging of the road, carried out on Friday night. The shell-shocked shopkeepers, facing depressed sales, apprehended further slackness, once the customers knew that the entire stretch of road from Clock Tower Chowk to Old Kotwali was dug out. “It was most unmindful of whoever was behind the digging operation,” said a gift shop owner in the market.

It is learnt that the contractor, who was allotted the work, went ahead with the digging work, in spite of being clearly told by the MC authorities, not to commence the work till the ongoing festival season was over. It was further alleged that the contractor was related to an important government functionary, belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal.

The MC Commissioner, Dr S.S.Sandhu, when apprised of the situation, ordered the stoppage of digging work, which could be taken up after Divali and further directed the contractor to fill up the dug out portion of the road. He told Ludhiana Tribune that senior MC officials had been asked to visit the spot and ensure compliance.


Chandraswami solemnises 500 marriages
Tribune News Service

BADHOWAL (Ludhiana), Oct 22 — Notwithstanding the chaos, confusion and stampede, it was a colourful occasion on the sprawling premises of Bhai Ghanaya Charitable and Public Service Society for about 1000 young men and women from various states and different religions, who were paired into 500 couples. The marriages were solemnised by the controversial and high-profile godman Chandraswami.

Every year the society headed by Baba Jaspal Singh organises mass marriages for the poor and the needy. The marriages are mostly solmenised among his followers only, who are from different communities states.

Organisers claimed that arrangements for the function were made for 551 couples. However, only about 500 turned up for the marriages. The mass marriages started with Chandraswami tying the knot of a couple. The marriages were solemnised according to the Sikh rituals only.

Members of the society said that since they were aware that couples from Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities will also be there, given the following of the Baba among these communities, special arrangements were made so that the marriages could be performed according to their religious rites. A pandit, a maulvi and a priest were also present on the occasion. However, the organisers claimed, the followers of the Baba, who belonged to different religions had no objection to getting the marriages solemnised according to the Sikh rites.

Each couple was given gifts by the Baba. The gifts included golden ear rings, bracelets (not golden), clothes, double bed and bedding, besides other household articles required for setting up a home.

One of the followers of the society said that the followers of the society were spread across the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and belonged to different religions. However, they clarified that no inter-religious marriages were solemnised today. The society neither encourages the practice nor discourages it. That is why separate arrangements of pandits, priests and maulvis were made for the occasion.

It was a spectacular occasion worth seeing, with over 1000 people paired into 500 couples. Earlier the organisers had made separate arragngments for the brides and grooms. However, after the knot was tied, they were asked to take the seven rounds together. It turned into a virtual melee as several grooms missed their brides, sending otherwise sober and serious couples into fits of laughter. However, in the end everyone found his/her partner. The organisers said the marriages are settled in advance, mostly among the followers of the Baba and are celebrated together.

Chandraswami, who was present all through the two-hour ceremonies, did not speak to the reporters, who waited for him to get free from the function. Persistent efforts did not yield any results. He said he had come only to solemise the marriages.


Lure of foreign land: two youths duped
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 22 — Two youths of the area have been duped in different cases under the pretext of sending them abroad.

Interestingly, in both the cases it were not the travel agents that were directly involved in cheating the youths. In one case a couple duped Davinder Singh, a resident of Massian village in Nakodar Tehsil of 7.33 lakh rupees. In the second case the involvement of government employees has also come to light

Davinder Singh, in a complaint filed before the police, said that Swaran Singh and his wife Gurcharan Kaur promised to sent him to a foreign country due to their contacts abroad. On their assurance he deposited Rs 7.33 lakhs with them but later on the two started making excuses and were soon untraceable. The police has registered a case of cheating and embezzlement against the couple. However, the has absconded.

In the second case the police registered a case of cheating against four persons, three of them employees of the PSEB, who had promised to sent Baldev Krishan of Gill village abroad. The four persons were Jaspal Kumar. Narinder Singh, Jasmail Singh, all PSEB employees, and Jasbir Kaur, an anganwari worker. The accused took Rs 50,000 from the complainant but did not send him to a foreign country as promised. The police has registered a case but no arrest has been made so far.


Aliwal warns against anti-party activities
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 22 — The youth wing of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and controversies have become synonymous with each other and the youth wing president Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, a former member of Lok Sabha, has been, of late finding it difficult to keep his flock together, more so due to the fact that all those challenging his leadership and demanding his removal, claim to enjoy the support of former union minister Mr Sukhbir Badal.

Reacting to yet another demand for immediate change in the party leadership, raised by the district president of Kapurthala unit of youth wing, Mr Jugrajpal Singh Sahi, Mr Aliwal said it was an act of frustration and violation of party discipline, which would not be tolerated at any cost.

Addressing a news conference at circuit house here yesterday, the YAD president questioned the locus standi of Mr Sahi, who had cast aspersions on his role in the Sunam byelection.

He said as party chief, he was answerable only to the party high command and to nobody else. Moreover, being a district president, Mr Sahi should know his limits.

Clarifying the position on reported opposition of the party nominee in Sunam by the dissident group, led by Mr Gurinderpal Singh Dhanaula, he asserted that it was a personal decision of certain YAD functionaries.

However, the matter was sorted out through personal initiative of the Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and Mr Barnala, along with dissident group of the Youth Akali Dal had joined the election campaign of SAD(B) candidate.

Mr Aliwal further informed that party high command had taken serious note of acts of indiscipline and anti-party activities and an emergency meeting of the state working committee of the Youth Akali Dal was scheduled to take place at Chandigarh on October 24 to discuss all such matters in detail and to take disciplinary action against the offenders. He said all such instances had also been brought to the notice of SAD(B) high command, including the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who also headed the party.Back


Kidnapped boy found
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Oct 22 — Sandeep Kumar, a student of Class XI of Baba Dayalpuri Senior Secondary School, Sirhind township, who was allegedly kidnapped on October 19, was recovered in an unconscious condition on Friday evening.

According to information available, Sandeep Kumar (18), a resident of Modian mohalla in Sirhind was on his way to school when he was reportedly kidnapped at around 8.50 a.m. It is learnt that the kidnappers tried to contact the parents of the boy on phone on three occasions. While the first call was made to their neighbours at around 10 a.m. to know the whereabouts of his father Inder Pal, the second call was made at about 11.30 a.m. to another neighbour when the message was left for the boy’s father that his son had been kidnapped and a demand for ransom was made without mentioning the place for the meeting point. The third call was also made at the neighbours’ place.

Inder Pal, a labour supplier to brick-kilns, who was away to his home village in Muzafar Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh said the kidnappers could not have access to him on phone. He was informed about the incident by his daughter Poonam, who is also a student of the same school. He lodged an FIR with the police after arriving at Sirhind. The police registered a case under Sections 364, 34 of the IPC.

Meanwhile, the boy was found lying in an unconscious state near the veterinary hospital at Sirhind at around 8 pm by a passer-by who happened to recognise him and informed the parents, who subsequently informed the police. He was taken to the local Civil Hospital in an unconscious condition.

According to sources, the police has recoverd some “love letters” related to the boy. The sources said the police is working on two theories. One, the “love affair angle” and the other about the business dealings of the boy’s father.Back


Fast by farmers continues
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Oct 22 — Indefinite fast by two Khanna farmers against the negative attitude of the government procurement agencies entered the second day today.

Two farmers, Mr Azad Singh Azad of the MCPI and Mr Baldev Singh Bahomazra, district general secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) began the fast yesterday evening near the main gate of the local Grain Market on the G.T. Road. Workers of the BKU, the MCPI and the SAD(A) were present there.

The farmers alleged that the government agencies were not purchasing the A-grade paddy. They said that the officials of government agencies refused to purchase one heap of paddy while purchasing the other heap of the same quality produced in the same field. A farmer alleged that some officials of a government agency had threatened him that his paddy would not be purchased in this season. He said the government agencies were not purchasing common quality (IR-8variety) paddy, whose minimum support price was Rs 510 per quintal, from the Khanna grain market.

The farmers demanded that the government should purchase paddy before Divali so that they could celebrate Divali with their families. Mr Gurmukh Singh Purba, SAD(A), said that they had complained about the matter to Chairman of the Market Committee, Mr Sikandar Singh, who had informed the ADC. He said that the ADC had assured the Chairman that a team from Ludhiana would reach Khanna, but so far no team had visited Khanna.

When contacted, SDM Sukhwinder Singh Gill said that the purchase of paddy in the Khanna grain market was going smoothly. Only damaged paddy was being rejected. He said that he would meet the farmers tomorrow to sort out their grievances.


‘Check the menace of Divali gifts’
From Our Correspondent

SAMRALA, Oct 22 — Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, national general secretary of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, while talking to media demanded that the Punjab Vigilance Department should stop running after “small fries of corruption” and “prepare to catch big fishes” keeping in view the Divali festival.

Mr Rajewal said that in this connection, the BKU had arranged squads to check the “menace” of Divali gifts amounting to crores of rupees. He said these gifts were exchanged in the name of Divali greetings.

The Vigilance Department should lay traps around offices and residences of the suspected officers at least four days prior to Divali, Mr Rajewal added.Back


28 arrested for gambling
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 22 — Twentyeight persons were arrested here today from various parts of the city on gambling charges.

The police registered seven cases and recovered an amount of Rs 50,000 from these persons. The persons were caught in raids conducted at Kabir Nagar, Sunder Nagar, Parbhat Nagar, Gill Road and Model Town. Cash and playing cards were also recovered.

Police sources said the raids were part of a special drive conducted by the police to check the menace of gambling that reaches its height during the Divali season.



The cup that cheers
By Asha Ahuja

Cha di chaa hai. These days most of the people want a cup of tea by their bedside and only after sipping a few sips, the eyes open and the person becomes functional.

Tea has become a crutch of working people. To reduce the fatigue or ennui, tea breaks are most welcome. Some of the offices have kitchenettes and tea can be prepared inside. But most of the office-goers have to get tea from chaiwala outside of the office.

Rajkumar, who is the owner of this tea stall near Malhar Cinema, became a chaiwala by a default. He had come from Hamirpur to look for a job but could not find any suitable one. So he decided to set up a tea stall. He said, "I keep my tea stall very neat all by myself. So it is very popular with the students who come to learn computers. They are my regular clients. Some people who are doing jobs and living alone also come here and enjoy my paranthas and chai. I work for almost 12 hours a day and I am able to save Rs 150. With this money I am able to run my house'.

In most of the office, chaiwala standing outside the offices sends endless cups of tea through three or four mundus that they have employed. Usually these tea stall owners have a cart with wheels and use kerosene stove for making tea.

Tirath Ram, who stands outside Calibre Plaza, works 12 hours a day without break. "I use 10 kg milk, two to three kg sugar, one and half kg of tea and make about 500 cups of tea. Taking out the wages of the boys. I hardly make Rs 50-60. I have not taken a day off, no movies for me, no fun for me," Nathu explained.

Almost all chaiwalas have similar stories to narrate. Vishnu, who sells tea on Ferozepur Road, has a proper chullah and benches for people to enjoy tea. Most of the chaiwalas have two dirty looking jars, one is used for keeping mathis and the other one for orangish shakarparas.

Vishnu said, "I am here in place of my friend who has gone home. So whatever I make, I take. Which is not more than Rs 50-60. The expenses are a lot. I have six children to feed."


10 bank branches earmarked for depositing cess
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 22 — In order to facilitate dealers to deposit the Social Security Cess levied by the Punjab government under the Punjab Social Security Act from April 11, 2000, at the rate of 10 per cent on sales tax or purchase tax, ten branches of different banks have been earmarked in the Ludhiana district, where accounts of Social Security and Development of Women and Child Department, Punjab, have been opened, in which the Security Cess can be deposited.

Giving details, Mr L.A. Khan, AETC-II informed that as per the orders the cess was payable irrespective of the fact whether the dealer was exempted under the Punjab Sales Tax Act or not. He said that the amount of cess could be deposited by the dealers by means of bank draft or crossed cheque drawn in favour of the Seceretary, Social Security and Development of Women and Child Department, Punjab. He advised the dealers to submit their cheque or demand draft for the cess along with the sales tax returns to be filed by them with the Department of Excise and Taxation.

He said the procedure of cess deposit was the same as under the Punjab General Sales Tax Act and the Central Sales Tax Act and the provisions of sales tax/central sales tax would also be applicable for the deposit of social security cess. He asked the dealers to mention the amount of cess deposited by them in their sales tax returns.


PNB gets award
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 22 — The Governor of Punjab, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, presented 20th Century Best Services Award to Mr Keshav Aggarwal, Deputy General Manager, PNB, Punjab zone, and Mr K.I. Singh, Senior Regional Manager, PNB, Ludhiana region, at a function held on Saturday in connection with the celebration of Disability — 2000 Millennium and International (World) White Cane Day.

The function was organised by Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre for Blind and Disabled.

Mr Aggarwal said that the bank had participated and supported the institute and contributed to All-India Flag Day for the Blind.

Mr K.I. Singh also spoke on the occasion.Back


Bank registers 25.57 net profit
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Oct 22 — IndusInd Bank has registered a 25.57 per cent increase in net profit for the half year which ended on September 30, as compared to the corresponding period of the last year. Bank’s thrust on retail segment has brought in a number of initiatives providing for all customer needs under one roof. Global credit card was launched recently in association with the HSBC and Master Card. A tie-up with Kothari Pioneer was signed for marketing mutual fund produces.

The bank is planning to have many more retail outlets in the form of off-site ATMs with the help of a newly acquired Base 24 ATM switch. Shortly, the bank will be offering mobile banking services in the form of ‘Short Messaging Service’ to its customers in the city of Mumbai, Delhi and Gujarat. The bank is also venturing into e-commerce and e-banking for facilitating business transactions that will enable the bank to offer payment and settlement capabilities, utility bill payment and other features with ‘on-line host’ features. Recently, the bank introduced ‘e trading’ in equity at Mumbai Main Branch.

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