Friday, November 17, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Sarabha’s house to become national monument
From Kuldip Bhatia

SARABHA (Ludhiana), Nov 16 — Martyr Kartar Singh Sarabha’s ancestral house in his native village here would be restored and preserved as a national monument. Work on this would commence in the next few days and completed within one month. The ongoing construction of a Rs 1 crore memorial of the martyr would also be speeded up and adequate funds would be made available.

This was announced by Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, while paying homage to Kartar Singh Sarabha while addressing a function to mark his martyrdom day in this village, about 20 km from Ludhiana. He said a sum of Rs 20 lakh was already released by the state government for the memorial and the Public Works Department was being directed to restart the construction work, which was disrupted due to certain procedural wrangles. Another grant of Rs 20 lakh would also be released so that the work could continue uninterrupted.

To drive home the point that he meant business, Mr Badal while making these announcements, called the Deputy Commissioner Mr S.K. Sandhu, to the mike and asked him to commit that work for restoration of Sarabha’s ancestral house and construction of the memorial would be completed on schedule as promised.

Recalling the major contribution made by freedom fighters and martyrs from Punjab to attain the independence of the country and, thereafter, defending it, the Chief Minister observed that great martyrs like Sarabha, Bhagat Singh and Udham Singh, to name a few, had set the fight against the British rule in motion, which ultimately turned into a struggle for freedom. Not only this, the brave Punjabis had always been at the forefront, whether it was the fight against curtailment of civil liberties during Emergency or guarding of frontiers against foreign aggressions.

Reminding the people of our rich heritage, the Chief Minister said that Punjab had acquired the legacy of sacrifices against tyranny, injustice and oppression from the great Gurus, who fought against the Mugals to seek justice for the common people. He said that Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji raised the voice against Babar during his time and similarly Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji and Sri Guru Teg Bhahdur Ji made supreme sacrifices of their lives for preserving the human and secular values. Following the same principles and ideals, the tenth Guru Sri Guru Gobind Singh sacrificed his whole family, in his tirade against injustice and oppression and for the noble cause of preserving our glorious heritage.

Stressing the need of inculcating national spirit among the youth and the children, the Chief Minister said the college and school students must be taught the lessons about the life and philosophy of the martyrs of the freedom movement, so that they could imbibe the patriotic and nationalistic values in their lives.

Mr Badal announced that a grant of Rs 3 lakhs for the sports stadium in the name of shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha. He ensured that the services of qualified football coach would be made available for training the youth of the area in this sport.

Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister, Punjab, while paying his tributes to Sarabha said that the great martyr had imparted a new dimension to the freedom movement and his ideology was later followed by Shaeed Bhagat Singh and his companions. He said that the present SAD Government had taken concrete steps for the development of Sarabha village and during past three and half years funds amounting to Rs 70 lakh had been spent on different development works.

Prominent among others who addressed the function included Mr Jagjit Singh Ghungrana, Chairman, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, Mr S. K. Sandhu Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mal Singh Ghuman, Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, Dr Jarnail Singh Narangwal and Mr Raghbir Singh Sharanmajra.


Arya College boys go on strike
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 16 — The students of Arya College for Boys went on strike today demanding that a teacher of the college who was also a leader of a students’ group be expelled from the college.

The students were carrying banners displaying the message that they would continue the strike till the services of a Punjabi teacher were terminated for they were being harassed by him. The students raised slogans against the teacher and burnt his effigies.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, the students alleged that the teacher was harassing them for the past few months by pestering them to join a students’ group, which he was heading. The students said that they were being offered various incentives like getting clearance from the college despite short attendance. Some students of classes XI and XII said they were also scolded by the teacher in the class over minor issues.

Resentment among the students further increased when the teacher started instigating the students to demand that their fee be reduced to half of existing amount, informed Sukhjinder Singh Sukha, MA (II) student and president of All India Sikh Students’ Federation which is another students’ group in the college.

The members of the federation said that since the fee was already reduced by their Principal, Mr V.K. Mehta, further reduction was impossible. They alleged that the teacher was trying to disturb the conducive atmosphere of the college.

The teacher against whom the allegations were made did not come to the college today. Principal V.K. Mehta is also on leave for the past few days due to illness. In his absence, the Acting Principal, Mr S.S. Verma, and senior lecturers held a meeting with the students but no compromise could be reached. After attending the meeting, the students informed that they would continue to strike till the teacher either apologised or was expelled from the college.

Mr S. S. Verma said since the issue was quite sensitive, he was still thinking of ways to tackle the situation. Principal V.K. Mehta, however, could not be contacted even after repeated efforts.

The teacher, Dr Satish Joshi, in a late evening telephone call to the Ludhiana Tribune office, expressed shocked at the act of the students. He said the charges levelled against him by the students were baseless and a bundle of lies.

He said the strike was an effort to defame him and the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad.

He said he had always fought for the benefit of the students. He claimed he had always encouraged students for creative and not destructive work. He also alleged that the students on strike were working at the behest of certain persons in the school, who were opposed to him.


Spurious drugs flood market
From Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 16 — Next time you purchase medicines try to ensure that these are original and not spurious. However, identifying the medicine may prove too difficult, even for the doctors.

Sources in the medical community revealed that spurious drugs of popular medical companies had flooded the market. They are available on less than half the price of the original drug.

This reporter posed as a prospective chemist planning to set up a shop in an adjacent village. The long list of drugs was made available, identical to the original medicine. While the print price of the original and spurious drugs was same, the drugs were offered at a price less than the half of the printed price.

For a common man, no matter how literate and informed he is about medicine it is not possible to identify the spurious drug. A senior doctor, to whom these drugs were shown expressed his inability differentiate between the two.

These drugs are called “number 2” in the chemists’ parlance. While earlier it was presumed that such drugs were usually supplied from the medical stores in the rural or non descript areas in the city, the doctors apprehend that even such drugs might be getting into most of the medical stores with or without the knowledge of the chemists.

The spurious drugs are available mostly for the popular and life-saving medicines like tegrital, rcinex, PD (prolutron depot), ceftum, phensydril, decaurabal, iodex, vicco turmeric, zandu balm and Vicks Vaporub.

Tegrital is an antiepcleptic drug, while rcinex is used by the patients suffering from tuberculosis. Similarly PD 250 is a hormonal drug used for gynaecological disorders, while ceftum is a high dose antibiotics mostly used in post-operational cases. Most of these drugs are costly and used for long durations, that makes them the favourite for duplicate drug manufacturers.

The modus operandi of the suppliers of these drugs is quite secret. Business is done between reliable persons only. Some of the duplicate drugs are reportedly available from some suppliers in the local Pindi Street area, the main drug market in Ludhiana. However, the deal is struck only with a reliable person.

It was very difficult to inquire about the manufacturing source of the spurious drugs. However, these drugs are reportedly manufactured in Agra and Indore. A Doctor pointed out, what mattered was the packaging only. Because nobody could test a drug from its appearance. Its authenticity could be verified only by laboratory tests. “But how to suspect a medicine?”, the doctor asked, while pointing out the similarity between the drugs. At the face of it nobody can challenge the authenticity of the drug. It is the variation in price only, that makes it different. And for the patient the cost is same as that of an original drug.

For example an original ceftum 250 mg capsule costs about Rs 32 each. But the spurious one is available for less than Rs 15. The packaging is same. The printed price is the same. The patient also gets it for Rs 32, leaving little reasons for him to suspect the drug.

The doctors feel themselves at a loss to suggest any way out. Several doctors this reporter talked to admitted their helplessness in identifying the real and the spurious drugs. “One cannot do anything except for trusting a reliable drug store. Even the original manufacturers of the drugs are worried over this menace as they are also unable to detect spurious ones instantly”, a doctor revealed. 


Hoax caller still untraced
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 16 — Security agencies and officials of the Railway Department have so far been unable to catch a Jammu-based person who had called up officials at the Phillaur railway station on Tuesday and claimed that a bomb had been planted on the Jammu-Indore train.

After this, the train was stopped at the Sahnewal railway station and allowed to leave only after an hour of search by the Punjab police, the Government Railway Police, the Railway Protection Force and a bomb-detection squad. The call proved to be a hoax one as no bomb or explosive was found on the train. According to sources, the train also got delayed as railway officials wanted some officer to give a written statement that there was no bomb on the train.

The hoax caller had said he was Manjit Singh, a student of BA. Sources in the Railways said the police and the security agencies were trying to trace the call, but had not been successful so far.

Meanwhile, security has been beefed up at the railway station here. The police is searching all trains passing through the station. This is a second hoax call received by the railway authorities here in less than two months. Earlier, a train heading to Delhi had been searched here for about half an hour by the railway police.

A senior railway official said, though the call was a hoax, officials were not taking any chances. He said the police was trying its best to maintain the vigil without causing inconvenience to passengers.


Electricity poles stand out in middle of roads
From Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, Nov 16 — Imagine the plight of a motorist, cruising on a reasonably good speed on a newly laid and widened stretch of road, when out of nowhere, an electricity pole, standing right in the middle, comes in view and the shell-shocked driver has to suddenly apply the breaks or else, out of panic, swerves his vehicle right and left to avoid hitting the pole, head on.

This is absolutely true about many of the main roads in the city that have recently been widened and relaid by the municipal corporation. Take the case of main Pakhowal Road, from Feroze Gandi Market towards canal. Before the main sewer was laid and thereafter the road widened by several feet, the electricity poles were located along side. But after the width of the footpath on both sides was curtailed in order to have a much wider road, the electricity poles have come in the middle, posing a serious traffic hazard.

Residents of the area and several shopkeepers have revealed that the many an accidents have taken place as the unsuspecting drivers, particularly those unfamiliar with the territory, have banged right in to the poles or have hit pedestrians or other vehicles while attempting to save themselves from accident. The situation is worse during night because many of these roads are poorly lit or the street lighting is not up to the mark.

The MC and the PSEB top brass blames each other for delay in shifting the poles, that were posing traffic hazards. The MC superintending engineer (B and R) Mr M.N. Sharma told Ludhiana Tribune that the civic body had asked the PSEB to shift the electricity poles on several roads in the city and a sum of around Rs 6 crore was already deposited with the PSEB for the purpose.

On the other hand, the PSEB Chief Engineer Mr A.S. Randhawa claimed that more often than not, the request for shifting of electricity poles was made to the PSEB only after the MC had finished with its work and the roads were open to traffic and not before. Moreover, shifting of electricity poles entailed cutting off supply, which was not possible for long spells. The shifting had to be done in a meticulously planned and phased manner, which took time.

According to Mr Randhawa, the shifting of poles on Pakhowal Road would be completed in about a month and the work on the road, connecting Ferozepore Road from Kaka Marriage Palace and Rajpura Road, would commence in a few days.


Hawala racket unearthed
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 16 — The local police has achieved a major success by unearthing a hawala racket of over Rs 8 lakhs and arresting two hawala operators with the money.

According to the information available, a police party led by Inspector Jatinder Singh Khaira, Station House Officer, Sahnewal police station had laid a naka near Kanaich village yesterday. It was while the police was on guard that they came across two persons driving a car on the Delhi-Ludhiana highway.

It was while the police was conducting a routine check of the car that they found a sum of Rs. 8.9 lakh in their possession. The two persons — Jasbir Singh, a resident of Burj Ladha Singh Wala village in Bathinda and Raj Kumar, alias Shoki, a resident of Rajpura — when questioned by the police were unable to provide any explanation about the currency that was found in their possession.

Sources in the police informed that the two accused had brought the hawala money from Delhi. It is learnt that the duo were basically acting as carriers and were supposed to supply the hawala money to the dealers in Ludhiana, Phagwara and Jalandhar. It is believed that the interrogation of the two accused after their police remand was obtained from the court this evening.


Slow pace of work irks rail commuters
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 16 — Daily commuters demand it, railway officials admit its urgent requirement and the smooth flow of the traffic of trains also needs it, yet a platform has been under of construction here for the past three years.

While the general public is indirectly affected by the slow pace of the construction work, the Railways here is directly suffering for it. The station, one of the main junctions of northern division, sees more than 100 trains pass through daily. With only five platforms functioning many trains have to wait for even half an hour outside the railway station to get a free line.

Due to this delay the trains get late. Sources said the move to halt the train outside the railway station was convenient to passengers travelling without ticket as they easily get down from the train causing loss of revenue to the Railways.

It was to put an end to all these problems that the Railways had about three years ago approved the plan of extending the station. With the construction of a platform base the station would have got two platforms for the trains but in the past over three years only its basic structure could be constructed.

This sand-filled base is yet to be given a concrete floor. There is no shed. It lacks facilities generally available at railway platforms. What more the mandatory approach bridge to the platform has yet to come up.

Interestingly, the sources revealed that the Railways land uprooted two lines meant for goods trains to make space for the construction of the platform. The uprooting caused shortage of lines for the stationing of goods trains and affected the flow of traffic of these trains. Ironically, the purpose for which this sacrifice was made is yet to be realised.

Only two trains Lohian-Ludhiana and Ludhiana-Ferozepore use this platform. With the platform remaining non-functional, daily commuters to the city especially from the Ferozepore and Lohian side are worst-hit. These trains have to wait for long outside the station to find a parking place as the express or other trains are given preference.

A railway official said most of these commuters were office-goers and get late. At their regular plea, the station authorities allowed these two trains to use the partially constructed platforms. The commuters, though happy at the saving of their time are sore over the continuous delay of the construction work.

Mr Ram Kumar, a factory worker who comes daily from Lohian, said the passengers face immense difficulty at the platform. In the absence of an approach overhead bridge the passengers have to cross the lines daily which is not only illegal but dangerous also. The commuters said they had no choice because if they complained about the lack of facilities at the platform the station authorities would discontinue the practice of using the platform for the two trains.

The sources said the irregular supply of funds coupled with procedural delays obstructions in the project. They said the higher authorities were informed about the problem of the platform but the construction work was not expedited.

Mr Kuldip Singh, Area Traffic Manager, when contacted said adequate funds had been received and the construction work would be completed shortly.


Chaos is the order of the day here
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 16 — Chaos continues to prevail outside the local bus stand here with all kinds of vehicles including trucks, buses, autos, scooters and even rickshaws coming from different directions getting messed up. The absence of proper traffic management and the failure of the Municipal Corporation to clear the way for a proposed rotary road which would have taken away the load of traffic coming down the flyover are termed as major reasons for accidents in this area.

The disorder at the crossing is mainly caused by the buses coming down the flyover and taking a right turn to enter the bus stand. These buses thus directly intersect the traffic coming from the Bharat Nagar Chowk and moving towards the flyover. Buses coming from the bus stand and going towards the Ferozepore Road add to the chaos. Vehicles like scooters, autos and rickshaws are usually the worst sufferers.

Another reason for the chaos is that the MC has not been able to get four shops shifted. These shops block the way to the rotary road which was designed for the buses coming down the flyover and intending to enter the bus stand. However as the shops could not be shifted the rotary road could not become functional.

Incidentally, in July this year responding to a report in Ludhiana Tribune about the chaos, the Additional Commissioner MC, Mr Dalip Kumar, had stated that an agreement had been reached with the shopkeepers, but even three months thereafter the situation remains the same.

One of the officials who did not wish to be quoted said three of the shopkeepers had agreed, but the fourth had approached the court on the issue.


Record paddy arrival at Khanna
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Nov 16 — A record arrival of paddy has been reported at the local grain market this year.

More than 2.15 lakh tonne of paddy had been procured till today as against 1.92 lakh tonne last year.

Mr Sikandar Singh, chairman, market committee, Khanna told this correspondent that the arrival of paddy in Khanna Mandi was highest this season since the Mandi came in existence.

Giving details he said near about 1500 quintals of paddy was still arriving in the Mandi daily and it was expected that till March 31 it would touch the 2,20000 tonne mark.

According to record out of 2.15 lakh tonnes of paddy procured in Khanna Mandi private millers had purchased 90,000 tonnes while government agencies, Food and Supply Department had procured 29,815, FCI, 32415, Markfed 20,030, Punsup 21,010, Punjab Warehousing Corporation and Punjab Agro 4575, tonnes.

Although the government agencies had not been procuring paddy since October 18 the price had fallen between Rs 450 and Rs 570 per quintal which was less than the minimum support price (MSP) declared by the Union Government. But now due to fresh arrival of paddy, the private millers were purchasing paddy at a higher price which was noted between Rs 530 and Rs 546 per quintal which was more than the MSP.

Secretary market committee told that this year the committee had earned Rs 2.15 crore as market fees.


Freedom fighter dead
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 16 — Comrade Chanan Singh Warola, a well-known freedom fighter and member of the state council of the Communist Party of India, expired in the early hours today after a brief illness in his village Pandharkheri, about 30 km from here. He was 78.  

Comrade Warola remained sarpanch of his village for 25 years. Inspired by the writings of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, including the “Glimpses of World History” and “Discovery of India” he was attracted to Communist philosophy to which he remained attached throughout his life.

His son and Communist leader Gurmail Hunjhan fell prey to the bullets of terrorists in 1989. He dedicated the memory of his son to bring unity among all Punjabis irrespective of caste and creed. He was honoured by the Centre twice with a Tamara Patra. Comrade Warola was cremated today at his native village. His cremation was attended by thousands of persons including his old colleagues.


Family gets hoax phone call
From Our Correspondent

SAMRALA, Nov 16 — A hoax telephone call created panic in Neelon Kalan village. According to reports, a person identifying himself as a Thanedar of Ludhiana claimed that Mr Harjinder Singh of Neelon had been killed in a road accident and his body was lying in the Civil Hospital. Incidentally, Mr Harjinder Singh had gone to Ludhiana for visiting his relative in a private hospital.

On hearing the call family members of Mr Harjinder panicked and went to the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana. But there was no body by the name of Harjinder Singh lying in the hospital. Later, they also checked at the cremation ground.


1 hurt in road mishap
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 16 — Gudial was seriously injured when he was run over by a Tata Sumo car ( PB-14B-6250) near the Sarabha Nagar bridge on Wednesday. It is learnt that the injured was on his motor cycle. After the accident, the driver of the car, fled from the scene.

Seven booked
The police has booked seven persons — all residents of Durga Puri in Haibowal for allegedly beating up and injuring four members of a family on November 13. It is alleged that all the seven accused — Rajesh Ghai, Rakesh Ghai, Lovely, Romi, Happy, Hani and Chetan went to the house of Jatinder Pal Singh and Harvinder Kaur and beat them up and their two sons — Charanpreet Singh and Ankit with iron rods, kirpans, sticks etc.

It is learnt that there was old enmity between the two groups. The police has booked the accused under Sections 452, 323, 506, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

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