Saturday, November 4, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


No clue to Nandpur robbery
From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — Even as the police remains clueless about the series of armed robberies in the region, the robbers continue to strike.

In yesterday’s attack on the house of a prominent commission agent of Nandpur village near Sahnewal, two persons were killed and eight injured. A group of about eight miscreants had struck at the house of Maggar Singh when the family was sleeping.

Harbans Kaur, 80, and Amarjit Kaur, 42, were shot. Maggar Singh, his wife Jaswant Kaur, son Balwinder Singh, daughter-in-law Harbans Kaur, grandsons Kuljit Singh and Amritpal Singh, granddaughter-in-law Harbir Kaur, granddaughter Manpreet Kaur and Amritpal Kaur, a relative, were seriously injured. They are recuperating in the local Christian Medical College and Hospital.

This is the seventh such incident near the city this year. The robbers have killed 12 persons in these incidents and 24 persons have received serious injuries. Jagraon, Khanna and Samrala are not the only places that have been affected. Incidents of armed robbery have also occurred in and around Jalandhar, Patiala, Gurdaspur, Barnala, Bathinda and Muktsar.

The state police used to suspect that member of the Pardi tribe of Madhya Pradesh were responsible for the incidents. The police also believed that the kaale kachchewale gang actually included members of the Pardi tribe who belong to the Guna district of Madhya Pradesh.

This suspicion was based on the theory that members of the tribe usually migrated to Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan every summer. After the strike (generally at houses on the periphery of a city), one of the tribesmen is sent back to Guna with the booty. He then hands over the booty to the head of the tribe — the kingpin of the gang — who then sells the stolen items. The proceeds are distributed among all gang members who took part in the robbery, after they return at the end of summer.

The modus operandi in all recent incidents of armed robbery in different parts of the state was the same. It made the police believe that Pardis were behind the robberies. After this, a number of Pardis were rounded up by the police in Ludhiana and Patiala. Madaris were rounded up in Bathinda and Muktsar, but the police did not find any clue. Now, the police is working on a new theory because the armed robberies have continued even as the summer is over.

Also, in the yesterday’s incident here and the one at Samrala recently, victims had seen a Sikh youth, apparently, the leader of the gang, who talked in chaste Punjabi. He was with six to eight persons who looked like migrant labourers. Avtaar Singh, a son of Maggar Singh of Nandpur village, who had escaped unhurt in the yesterday’s attack, had said he had heard an assailant speaking in a Bihari dialect. Avtaar’s niece, Aman, had said an attacker had asked her in Punjabi to open the door of her room.

In the incidents at Khanna and Samrala, besides the one yesterday at Nandpur, the assailants had used similar weapons — a rifle, iron rods and some sharp-edged weapons.

Highly placed sources in the police say that, though various gangs are active in the state, the incidents in Ludhiana, Jagraon, Raikot, Khanna and Samrala are the work of one gang only. They suspect that this gang includes mostly migrant labourers. They also believe that the gang is now being run with the help of or by some local Punjabis.

A senior police official said, “Intensified patrolling continues for a while, but as soon as there is a slight laxity, the gang strikes again.”


Re-registration of doctors in the offing
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — Doctors across the country will soon need to get themselves re-registered after every five years. An ordinance in this context is likely to be promulgated soon, which will seek amendments in the Medical Council of India Act, 1956.

Disclosing this here today, the Secretary, Medical Council of India (MCI), Dr M. Sachdeva said, in order to ensure that doctors update their knowledge about latest developments in medical sciences, it was deemed necessary to introduce the system of re-registration after every five them.

This is being done as a follow-up of the continued medical education (CME), scheme drawn up by the MCI way back in 1985. The MCI will prescribe the modules for CME and lay down procedures for re-registration. It will ensure that doctors keep themselves obrcest of the latest advances in their respective fields.

Giving details of the other plans of the MCI, the secretary said, the council had made a screening test for all foreign-trained doctors mandatory for registration. Earlier everyone trained abroad would be registered with the MCI.

The MCI is also revising the code of medical ethics.This regards mainly the secrecy about the disease of the patient. She said with diseases like HIV, it is imperative with doctors to inform the relatives of the patient about it, irrespective of the willingness of the patient. However, it would be left to the judgement of the doctor whether it should be brought to the notice of the relatives or not, depending on the nature of the disease.

Besides, the new code of ethics stresses upon doctors to ensure that female foeticide was not done. Expressing concern over the increasing number of female foeticide, she said, the MCI had been asking doctors not to encourage it.

For the first time, the MCI is developing curriculum for Post Graduate Studies in Medicine. Earlier, the MCI used to do it only for MBBS courses and the PG curriculum was developed by affiliating universities only.

Dr Sachdeva disclosed that the Government of India was contemplating to bring in legislation against quackery. It was ironical that while the MCI could take action against qualified doctors who were registered with it, it had no right over unqualified professionals.

Regarding the deteriorating standards in private nursing homes and hospitals, she said, MCI had no jurisdiction over them. However, it had organised two workshops in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, to bring about a consensus as to the minimum standards which had to be met by all hospitals and nursing homes. She pointed out that the MCI had control over hospitals affiliated with the medical colleges only.


All medical colleges must have blood banks: MCI
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — The Medical Council of India (MCI) has made it mandatory for all medical colleges in the country to establish a blood bank with all required facilities. It has also prescribed the minimum requirements for various departments in the medical colleges, including the details of the blood bank with staff and accommodation requirement.

Stating this here today, while inaugurating a three-day international conference on continued medical education in haematology, the Secretary of the Medical Council of India Dr M Sachdeva, said that the MCI had prescribed Graduate Medical Education Regulations, which contained detailed curriculum for various pre-clinical, para-clinical and clinical specialities.

The conference is being organised by the Pathology Department of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital in association with the University of British Columbia, Cananda, and the American Association of Indian Pathologists in North America.

Pathology, it was mentioned, was one of the important subjects in the para-clinical training period and the students at the end of the course should be able to describe the rationale and principles of technical procedures of the diagnostic laboratory tests and interpretation of the results. They should also be able to perform simple bed-side tests on blood, understand biochemical physiological disturbances that occur as a result of the disease.

The MCI Secretary pointed out that the continued medical education (CME) programme assumed great significance keeping in view the alarming incidence of HIV and AIDS due to blood transfusion with insufficient precautions. She said not only are patients under the risk of transmission of HIV and Hepatitis B and C from contaminated needles, there is also danger of health workers getting infected.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Bakul Dalal, oversees coordinator of the CME, sought to clear the notions about blood and bone marrow transfusion. He revealed that anyone in blood relation can donate bone marrow to his relative. He said certain amount of bone marrow can help the patient get the genetic link re-established and patient can get normal.

He informed that CME will focus on recent advances made in the field of blood banking, therapies and how to create awareness among people who have certain misconceptions about donating blood and tissues for sick people.

Earlier, the programme started with the rendering of national song Vande Matram by students of the DMCH.

Prominent among those present included the Secretary, managing society, DMCH, Mr Prem Nath Gupta, Principal of the college, Dr S.C. Ahuja, and other senior faculty members of the college. Leading physicians from different countries are participating in the conference. 


Nod to Agroha college after govt assurance
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — The Medical Council of India, (MCI) still appears to be reluctant in granting permission to the Agroha Medical College as it is not sure about the continued government aid to the institution.

Secretary of the MCI, Dr M. Sachdeva, who was here to inaugurate an international conference on haematology, disclosed that the new project of the college was being studied. She revealed that the MCI wanted an assurance from the Haryana government that it would continue grants to the college.

The much publicised and ambitious project of Agroha Medical College ran into rough weather after aid was stopped by the Haryana government. Two former chief ministers, Bhajan Lal and Bansi Lal blamed each other for stopping the grant to the college.

However, the present Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala had assured that grant would be provided. In fact, he had announced the resumption of grant to the college in 1999 immediately after assuming charge. But the college has not yet got the promised grants.

The MCI secretary said the council wanted firm assurance from the government as to the grants which had been stopped on several occasions by the government. She said that the college would be treated as new and would need to fulfill all requirements according to new rules.

Dr Sachdeva also disclosed that the MCI had granted permission to the Rohtak Medical College for increasing seats to accommodatee students of Agroha Medical College. Earlier, the MCI was reluctant to grant permission as the college did not have requisite infrastructure for additional seats. 


Auction of centre stayed
From Kuldip Bhatia
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — The auction of commercial sites on the land reserved for a community centre in the posh Model Town Extension locality in the city, conducted by Ludhiana improvement trust here today, has run into trouble, following a stay order granted by the court of Mr A.K.Mehta, additional civil judge (senior division), on the application filed by Mr J.S.Chugh, advocate.

The petitioner had contended that the said site, measuring 1.4 acre, was reserved for the construction of a community centre and was shown as such in the site plan of the Model Town Extension scheme. But the trust authorities had decided to put the site to auction for construction of shop-cum-offices, which was to take place today i.e. Nov 3. It was further submitted before the court that the residents of the locality, through various welfare societies and associations, had approached the state government, to not permit the said site to be put to commercial use or to allot an alternative site for a community centre but without any positive response.

Dealing with the petition, the court directed the LIT authorities to maintain status quo with regard to the site reserved for the community centre in the scheme (Model Town Extension Part II), and the next date was fixed for November 4.

The chairman of LIT, Mr Madan Mohan Vyas, told Ludhiana Tribune that the court orders were delivered to his office in the afternoon, while the auction had already taken place in the morning at the scheduled time. He, however, added that the change of land use was approved by the state government long back, before he had taken over as chairman of the trust.

Mr Vyas made it clear that the LIT did not intend to confront the residents and would put the entire facts before the court so that a decision could be taken in due course. For the time being, no further action would be taken over the auction of the SCO sites in Model Town Extension scheme, which took place in the morning, it was learnt.


Record proves costly for Telecom Department
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — The fortnightly telephone-meter-reading record proved to be costly for the local division of the Telecom Circle. On the basis of this record, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum figured out that the claims of the department regarding a complaint filed by an advocate were wrong.

The advocate, Mr Surinder Pal Shori, is a resident of Rauni village in the Payal tehsil of this district. He had told the forum that his telephone (87721) had not been functioning properly for the past six months. He said it had not been repaired despite repeated requests to the department.

The advocate had even made a written complaint to the department. When he did not receive a response, he sent the department a legal notice. He demanded compensation for harassment and loss of business due to the faulty telephone.

The PSEB said the complaint was false and the telephone was working properly. It said no complaint for this number had been recorded in the past one year. It also said the complainant had never approached the department in this regard.

The complainant and the PSEB submitted documentary evidence to support their claims. However, the fortnightly meter-reading record submitted by the board proved to be its undoing. The forum found that only 18 calls had been made in two months — May and June past year.

The forum said it was not possible that an advocate would make only 18 calls in two months. The other fortnightly records also showed that only a few calls had been made in that period. On the basis of this evidence, the forum upheld the claim of the advocate.

It directed the Telephone Department to repair the telephone within a month of receiving this order. It also asked the department to pay Rs 2,000 to the consumer as compensation.


College students go on strike
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — To protest against the fee hike introduced by Panjab University, students of Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College went on strike today.

After attending few classes in the morning, students came out of their classrooms and made an announcement of strike. Students raised slogans and some of them even turned violent as they smashed window panes and broke down flower pots on the college campus.

Later, the student leaders held a meeting with the college Principal, Mr Kuldeep Singh, and other staff representatives in which it was decided that the college would remain closed tomorrow. It was also decided that student leaders, the Principal and the staff representatives will hold another meeting tomorrow to find a solution to the problem.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, said since the fee hike was introduced by the university, the college authorities were helpless on the issue. He said the university should have increased the fee in the beginning of the session and since it has been introduced in the mid-session, it was natural for the students to get annoyed.

According to him students were instigated by some outsiders who managed to enter the college in the morning today. He informed that from tomorrow onwards identity cards of all those who enter the college would be checked to avoid any agitation by the students. 


Youth programmes extended
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — In addition to accomplishing its avowed mandate of serving the farmers of Punjab, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is also harnessing the energies of the rural youth to achieve the cherished goals of socio-economic development and national reconstruction through its Rural Youth Development Programme. Launched initially in the district of Ludhiana in 1972 by the Department of Extension Education of the University, the programme has been gradually extended to three other districts of Punjab namely, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala and Fatehgarh Sahib.

According to Dr G.S. Saini, Professor of Extension Education who is in charge of this programme, the aim of the programme is to provide opportunities to young boys and girls of the villages in Punjab to develop their personality through individual and collective participation in various projects. The programme, he adds, lays emphasis on productive economic projects. Based on the ‘principle of self help’, it offers to the youngsters opportunities to ‘learn by doing’ and ‘to earn while learning’, says Dr Saini. He also claims that through the programme, the youth imbibe the values of discipline, social responsibility and individual freedom, apart from attaining higher levels of physical, mental and spiritual growth. Besides, the programme enables the youth to appreciate the problems of rural development and to disseminate scientific knowledge of farming among the farmers.

To achieve these objectives, the department of Extension Education organises youth clubs at the high school level. Each such club with a strength of about 50 members or so has a committee of office-bearers to monitor its functioning. Each club is assigned functional responsibilities to undertake some tangible projects and to ensure success of these projects. Dr Saini claims that at present nearly 300 youth clubs with over 17000 members are functioning in different parts of the four districts of Punjab.

According to him, the projects undertaken by the members relate mostly to dairy, poultry, piggery, vegetables, preparation of kitchen recipes, making detergents, and so on.

Experts of the Department of Extension Education arrange courses for the youth club members in which they are given useful information on these subjects as well as on crop production and subsidiary occupations. In addition, says Dr Saini, the department organises state-level declamation contests, cultural programmes, exhibitions, etc., where the members get an opportunity to share their experiences with one another.

He informs the youth clubs have also set up forest nurseries with the help of the Department of Forest, Punjab. The members thus not only acquire knowledge about growing trees, but also gain financially. This apart, they have rendered useful service in the afforestation plan of the Punjab Government. Every year they plant thousands of trees in an attempt to restore the ecological balance of the state which has been badly disturbed by the over-exploitation of natural resources.


1,954 Pulse Polio posts to be set up
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — As many as 1,954 posts will be set up, including 24 at the local railway station and anther 72 along the highway, for the first phase of the Pulse Polio campaign in the district. The Civil Surgeon, Dr Rajinder Kaur, said all preparations had been made to make the campaign a success. She said 100 mobile teams would be pressed into service to administer polio drops to infants at different places in the district.

The District Health Administration and the State Bank of India have put up banners all over the district that remind all to visit their nearest Pulse Polio post with children under the age of five on November 5. Dr Rajinder Kaur said a Pulse Polio awareness rally would be taken out in the city tomorrow in collaboration with the Rotary Club. The rally will begin from Guru Nanak Stadium and pass through various localities of the city.

Head constable booked for fraud
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — Police have booked head constable, Arjinder Singh (now discharged), for fraud and forgery. According to a complaint lodged by Mr Bhushan Garg, commandant, 3rd battalion, IRB, the accused had availed a housing loan of Rs 3 lakh for construction of a house in his native village Zahura in district Hoshiarpur.

But the accused constructed a house in Jalandhar instead and submitted false and fabricated documents. A case under Sections 465/467/468/471 of the IPC has been registered and investigation was in progress.Back



One has not seen a blue sky in Ludhiana for a long time now. Early morning, one can see a misty sky of nondescript colour. It saddens one to see rampant pollution. Chill in the air in the morning foretells the arrival of winter, but the afternoon heat suggests that it will be mild.

In the past week, many cultural activities like Ram — a play by the Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam, a Sahir Ludhianvi memorial mushaira by the Kala Smiriti and a Shiv Kumar Batalvi nite by the Aab-E-Hayat. The organisers and the audience of the events were not punctual. Unfortunately, special guests also do not understand the value of time.

Indian women, be proud of your sarees. Saree is making a strong fashion statement in the West. Hermes of Paris has included saree in its fashion show. Saree has been called a “practical, but aesthetic” dress. Gota work is back in fashion after 25 years, so look for the old sarees in the house.

Two movies were released past week. Mohabbatein and Mission Kashmir are drawing full houses. Mohabbatein has been appreciated by youngsters and Mission Kashmir by serious-minded people.

The prices of vegetables dip a lot in the evening. The fruit prices have become steady after the festival season. The shopping frenzy is over and and life has become normal again.

The instances of lawlessness are on an increase and residents are insecure. Daylight robberies and rapes have become the order of the day. Murders at night on the periphery of the city have shaken the police as well. Working of the police needs to be modernised.

Marriage season is on. Authorities should check firefighting equipment in marriages places to avoid mishaps. Some persons carry arms inside marriage palaces to show off. They should understand that we are not living in Wild West, but in a civilised society.
— AA


Physically challenged get a raw deal
From Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — “Why do we need to live on people’s mercy? I know, I can not compete with others as I am physically challenged, but I am mentally as strong as any normal person and I do not want that people should pity me’’ rues Ms Babita Rani, a polio-ridden girl of twenty. She works as a typist at a rehabilitation centre at Rishi Nagar.

Babita’s is not an isolated case. Most of the physically challenged persons complain about the lack of facilities and difficulties being faced by them whenever they have to visit government offices for some work.

Vishal Goswami (not his real name) who is unable to walk had to run from pillar to post to get his medical certificate issued, which is required for procuring a free bus pass and some other facilities. Vishal said, “I was quite depressed until I met Mr Hari Krishan Jain, who guided me and encouraged me to think and act like a normal person. He made me move in the right direction”.

Like other physically challenged people Vishal also has some expectations. He says, “our work should be done on priority basis. People like me are unable to climb first or second floor, so there should be some special arrangement for us on the ground floors itself. We face difficulties in educational institutes, government offices, banks and other commercial places .”

Gurvinder Singh Punani, another physically challenged person, who runs a coaching centre at Field Ganj here said,” Most of us ( the physically challenged) are not successful, because attitude of the government is not satisfactory.

Sometimes physically challenged people become victims at the hands of unscrupulous people, who exploit their handicap. Laljit Singh, with both of his legs unable to perform normally, was thrown out by his employer for reasons best known to him. He said regretfully,” I have served at a centre for more than 17 years. However one fine day I was thrown out without any reason. I spent many precious years there but I did not get anything except frustration. I am running a PCO at the Old Courts Road and have two daughters to look after. To whom should I go? Why was I thrown out from the institution? No one is bothered. I face a lot of problems in my day-to-day life also. If I have to get my work done anywhere, I have to reach on my own”.

These people are not provided any concession even while standing in a queue. They are made to wait like normal persons. Surinder Kumar, who is unable to move any of his arms pointed out, “the worst part is when I go to any office for paying my bills I have to stand for two to three hours, waiting for my turn. Sometimes I have to go to even third floor to get my work done, the mental and physical pain I suffer during that time cannot be explained”.

The district administration has no scruples in admitting to the grievances of the physically challenged. According to Mr S. R. Kaler, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana there are not many special facilities for the physically challenged people. “But the authorities try to ensure that the do not have to stand and wait in long queues. They are definitely given priority”, he said.

Mr Sat Pal Malik, secretary, Red Cross Society claimed,”the society has been providing continuous aid to the physically challenged and handicapped persons. We are giving them tricycles, hearing machines and medicines. We are also providing them with artificial limbs on the basis of their medical certificate. On December 19, 1999, Ludhiana district was declared ‘ Viklang Mukt’ district.”

The government aided Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre, registers such people and helps them in getting suitable jobs. Mr Malik further informed that such people could approach the Deputy Commissioner’s office on any day between 11 a.m to 1 p.m., and discuss their problems.Back


PSEB directed to refund amount
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to refund an amount of Rs 2,903, charged excessively from a consumer.

The PSEB has also been told to pay Rs 250 as costs of the legal process incurred by the consumer, along with an interest of 12 per cent on the excess amount from the date of deposit of the bill to the date of refund.

According to a copy of the orders, Mr J. M. Dhand, a resident of Urban Estate, Jamalpur Colony, here had approached the forum with the complaint of excess bill charging by the PSEB. The complaint said that in August 1999, he received a bill amount of Rs 2,471 and made the payment even though the bill did not show actual reading. When he approached the office, he was advised to deposit the bill first, lest his connection should be cut.

The complainant was on for another shock when in October in the same year he received a bill of Rs 5,144 in which Rs 268 were included as arrears and another Rs 2,903 as sundry charges. He alleged that the PSEB authorities again did not give any explanation to him. He claimed compensation on the ground of financial loss and mental tension.

The PSEB, through its counsel contested the claim and said that the meter of the complainant had remained dead for a certain period. It also furnished documents showing the difference in consumption in the old meter and the new meter.

The forum however did not find much weight in the argument. While it justified the bill charge of an amount of Rs 325 it was not convinced with the charging of Rs 2,903 bill amount.

Terming the recovery as wrong, it maintained that the complainant was entitled to the refund of the same. The refund, along with costs and interest, is to be made within a month of the receipt of the order.


Will the PAU post row end now?
From Surbhi Bhalla

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — The post of the Director of Seeds of Punjab Agricultural University has been controversial ever since its creation by the Academic Council of the university on August 8, 1994. The decision had been approved by the then Vice-Chancellor, Dr A. S. Khehra.

The post was notified on December 8, 1994. Subsequently, the Board of Management of the university approved the appointment of Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon on the post. Dr Dhillon joined as Director of Seeds in February 1995.

Later, Mr R. N. Gupta, the then Financial Commssioner Development of Punjab, conducted an inquiry into the allegations of corruption and abuse of power against Dr A.S. Khehra. This was done on the directions of the government of Punjab. Mr Gupta found that there was little justification for the creation of the post. Since the post was redundant, he recommended that it should be abolished. Mr Gupta said in his report that Dr Khehra had shown undue haste in creating the post. “The selection process was not proper as well,” he said in the report.

However, Dr Dhillon left the university before the end of his four-year term to take up an assignment in the ICAR as Assistant Director General (food, grains and fodder crops).

The university did not scrap the post. It asked Dr S.S. Gill, a Senior Vegetable Botanist (seeds) who was then the Head of the Department of Seed Science and Technology, to take current-duty charge of Director of Seeds on February 4, 1998.

At some other meeting, the Academic Council decided to downgrade the department of Seed Science and Technology and rename it Seed Technology Centre, despite objections from the teachers of the department. The post of the head of the department was abolished. The council decided that the Seed Technology Centre would work under the control of the Director of Seeds. The council also decided that the tenure of the director would be four years and the post would be filled in accordance with Clause 4 (2 A) of Chapter 4 of the PAU statutes.

The post was notified and applications were invited only from eligible professors of the university. Dr S.S. Gill staked his claim to the post, but his application was rejected. The university said he had already served in an equivalent position — the Head of the Department of Seed Science and Technology — for a full term of four years.

Dr Gill filed a petition in the High Court after this. The court said, “Interviews for the post of Director of Seeds of the PAU are to be held on August 19, 2000.” The court said, “If the interviews take place, the petitioner may also be interviewed in accordance with the law, subject to the decision of this writ petition.”

It is learnt that the interview had to be postponed a number of times for one reason or the other. According to the Registrar of the University, Mr Alok Shekhar, the High Court has finally rejected Dr Gill’s petition. He says that the selection committee has already met and recommended a candidate for the post. The selection has to be ratified by the Board of Management before the orders of appointment are issued.

Mr Shekhar also says that the current-duty charge of the post, in the meantime, has been given to Dr M.S. Tiwana, Additional Director of Research (agriculture).

Scientists of the university wonder if the latest developments will finally put an end to the controversy.


Astrologer predicts victory for Bush
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — Vinod Kumar Gupta, a local astrologer, has predicted victory of George W Bush in the forthcoming US Presidential elections.

According to Gupta, Bush has Jupiter in the 11th house, which gives him a high and strong degree of Rajyoga, thus brightening his chances of victory. This is corroborated by Mars in the fifth house. Mercury in the seventh house gives him mighty pen of God, success in communications, computers and also from women.

The astrologer, who is an Executive Engineer in the Bhakra Beas Management Board, bases his claim on the astrological chart of the Republican candidate. However, Ketu in the third house gives him problems from colleagues, friends, labourers, servants and travelling and transport.

Other positive factor for the presidential aspirant is the annual horoscope of his father, and former US President George Bush. The Ketu in second house gives success to the son.

Analysing the annual horoscope of his rival and the Democrat candidate Al Gore he said, Ketu in the fourth house and moon in the sixth house gives him lack of popularity and puts hurdles in his becoming the President.

Gupta claims that according to the Pakshi Shastra also, Bush has better chances than Gore. While the bird of Bush will be in the sleeping state at the time of the oath-taking ceremony, that of Gore will be in dead state, which is not a good omen.


Transport company fined
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum yesterday directed a transport company to pay compensation to a shopkeeper for not delivering an order of a quantity of shoes.

Mr Ramesh Khurana, a partner with the Chaman Shoe Store at Town Hall Road here had complained before the forum that it had hired Ludhiana Ropar Transport Company, Chowk Khawaja Kothi here for the delivery of a consignment of shoes to a company in Ropar. The order was placed in November 1999.

The transport company assured that the consignment would be delivered with in a week. However the consignment was not delivered. The complainant alleged that either the company had lost the goods in transit or they had been misappropriated by the transport company.

Claiming financial loss as well as damage to its reputation, the complainant demanded a compensation of Rs 50,000.The transport company was ex parte.

The court admitted the documents submitted as proof by the complainant. It directed that the bill the complainant paid to the company for transportation be refunded along with an interest of 18 per cent from February 16, 2000, till the date of payment.


Rajewal flays govt policy
From Our Correspondent

SAMRALA, Nov 3 — Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, National General Secretary of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, said it had become a fashion to link everything with the GATT or the WTO agreement in our country.

Flaying the “anti-farmer policy” of the government, he said the government was exploiting farmers by misleading them in the name of globalisation. Mr Rajewal also alleged that there was a clear conspiracy in the paddy muddle, for which a sitting judge of the High Court should be deputed to conduct a probe.


Awareness week
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — United India Insurance Company Limited, with its regional office, celebrated Vigilance Awareness Week which ended here on Friday. In the programme, a debate on the topic ‘Probity in public service vis-a-visa corruption among society’ was held among various college students. The employees of the company also participated. Mr Arvind Naaz, regional manager, and Mr S.K. Goel, manager, presided over the various functions. All employees of the company pledged that they would work towards eradication of corruption in all spheres of life.


Woman harassed for dowry
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — Police have registered a case under Section 406/498A IPC against Balwinder Singh, his parents Balwant Singh and Kailash Kaur, all residents of New Ashok Nagar locality, for allegedly harassing Paramjit Kaur, wife of Balwinder Singh. According to the complainant, she was beaten up and tortured by her husband and in-laws, who wanted her to bring Rs 2 lakh from her parents.

Man injured
One Gurjit Singh, a resident of New Chander Nagar, Haibowal, was attacked with sharp-edged weapons, allegedly by Lovely, Mandal and five others on the night of October 31. The police have registered a case under sections 323/324/452/506/148/149 of the IPC and investigation was on.

Vehicles stolen
A Premier NE car, bearing registration number PB-02D-500, was reportedly stolen last night from Dholewal Chowk. On the complaint lodged by Mr Amandeep Singh, a resident of Jalandhar, the police have registered a case under Section 579 IPC. In another case, a Bajaj Chetak scooter, owned by Mr Ved Parkash, was reportedly stolen while parked outside his shop in Jamalpur Colony.Back


‘Small-scale garment units have bleak future’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 3 — The new textile policy released by the Union Textile Minister, Mr Kashi Ram Rana, released yesterday has sent shock waves in the small scale units in the city, which were enjoying a sort of monopolistic position in garment manufacturing.

The government has dereserved the garment industry from the SSI industry to compete with the growing competition from neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the international market. However, the local industrialists are up in arms against the policy document, which, they fear will force them to down their shutters in the near future.

A majority of them are worried that the government’s decision to allow 100 per cent foreign investment in the sector will make it difficult to compete with big units.

Mr Sanjeev Gupta, president of Apparel Export Promotion Council, (AEPC) is of the view that, “the government seems to have taken the decision in a hurry. We were not obliged to open the industry till 2005. Even if the government had to open the industry, it should have been done in phases. Rather, the government could have increased the limit of small scale sector from Rs 1 crore to Rs 5 crore and than to Rs 10 crore in phases.”

There are industrialists who feel that the ‘sudden’ announcement of policy has posed a challenge and a threat for the industry. Mr S.K. Jain, managing director of Jain Udhay Fabrics is of the view, “ The overall policy is a right decision that was expected to be announced for a long time. Now there is no limit on investment or production. We will have to change ourselves very soon by modernising plants and by decreasing cost of production, otherwise our products will be replaced by the garments prepared by foreign manufactures on retail counters. Those who wish to survive will have to make strategies and implement them on a war footing. There is no alternative.”

The number of industrialists are, however, worried about the threat and feel that they may not be able to survive without some support from the state or central government. They agree that the policy measures will undoubtedly help increase production as well as exports of the garments. Mr Gupta felt the big units established near the ports will not only increase production, but will also have a competitive advantage, as far as cost of transportation is concerned. Moreover, economies of scale and brand names will prove beneficial for them.

The industry experts feel that unless the units modernise and upgrade their production techniques, they will not be able to survive. One option before them is to collaborate with each other and sell the produce under joint brands. It can help them to meet the challenge. One manufacturer averred that they could meet the change by united efforts.

It is further felt that a lot of retrenchment of labour will take place in the small and medium scale units. Mr Kimti Lal Jain, vice-president of Knitwear Club and Federation of Hosiery Manufacturers opined that the government does not seem to have any plan for small scale units. The textile policy had been made under the pressure of big units and foreign manufactures.

The state government is not taking any interest in the welfare of industry and the centre government has decided to do away all the supports from the existing units in a sweeping decision. Only the future will tell how many small scale units are able to survive.

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