Sunday, November 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Demand for autonomy should not be equated with secessionism, says Sangma 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 25 — While emphasising that the demand for greater autonomy should not be equated with secessionism, the participants at a seminar, said that demands should not be made without responsibility. The seminarians felt, given the growing regional aspirations and rising demand by states for more autonomy there is a need to redefine the Centre-state relationship. The seminar “Autonomy: Shift in Federal equation-New Parameters’, was organised by Government College for Women here today.

Presiding over the seminar the former Lok Sabha Speaker and the general secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party, Mr P.A. Sangma, observed that the demands made by various states, to assert themselves, “are not always consistent with overall national or economic interests”. This he said promotes a very undesirable trend of “claim for autonomy without responsibility”.

He said, a large number of regional parties have emerged all over India. They tend to resist efforts of the national parties to strengthen themselves in the states, even while playing a dominant role in the survival of the governments at the Centre. But they do not always see to the national interest and subjugate it to the regional and local interests.

However Mr Sangma did not downplay the importance of autonomy while addressing to regional and local aspirations. But, he regretted that the role of political parties has also not been conducive to the “promotion of an environment of autonomy in the states”. He pointed out, even in the newly created states like Chhattishgarh and Jharkhand, public perception has been that chief ministers were not to be elected by local leaders but were “imposed from party high commands”, a trend, he admitted, was started and encouraged by the Congress and followed by others, including the Bhartiya Janata Party.

Almost all the speakers including Mr Sangma mentioned the issue of autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir. He said the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, has been campaigning for more devolution of powers. “Professedly, he is not on the path of secessionism”, he felt, while adding, that “it may not be appropriate to summarily reject demands for a discussion on the devolution of powers”. The NCP leader said, the Centre-state relationship has always been a hot subject.

“It has been discussed, debated and investigated by commissions. The process has to continue.

The constitutional scheme of the Centre-State relationship is sound. The parameters explicitly spelt out in the Constitution are also sound. It is the practice of federalism which needs to be perfected. This would call for compliance with the administrative details of federal equations spelt out in the Constitution.”

The Advocate General, Punjab, Mr H S Mattewal, defended the Anandpur Sahib Resolution. He regretted that some people out of sheer ignorance were terming it as anti-national. He claimed, the “Anandpur Sahib Resolution is a nationalist document and there is not a single world in it which can be termed as anti-national”.

While supporting the constitutional review the Advocate General said, the constitutional working needed to be reviewed as it had been successively misused. Illustrating his argument he pointed out, presidents rule was imposed nine times in the states of Punjab and Kerala alone. Disagreeing with some speakers, he said he had great expectations from the review committee, which was headed by Justice Venkatachalliah.

Mr Mattewal suggested that there should be a national judicial commission to monitor the functioning of the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts.

Dr K C Markandan, an eminent constitutional expert and former Head of Department of Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar challenged the very concept of demand for autonomy. He asked, “what for do we need autonomy? Are we not autonomous”. Dr Markandan said he expected little from the constitution review panel.

Dr H.K. Puri, chairperson of the Dr B R Ambedkar Chair, Guru Nanak Dev University said, the concept of autonomy needed to be redefined. He pointed out, “we should be clear about what we mean by autonomy. From whom we want to get autonomy and for whom we want to get it and for what we want to get it”. At the same time he suggested that it needed to be explored whether autonomy can solve the problems which were made to arise in its absence.

Dr Ashutosh Kumar, Reader, Department of Political Science, Panjab University, said, the advent of globalisation has heralded an era characterised by breaking of national boundaries, were and celebration of identities and rights of the collectivities.

He said the autonomy debate in Kashmir had raised pertinent issues about the emerging Centre-state relations. Referring to the two reports submitted by the State Autonomy Committee and the Regional Autonomy Committee, he said, the emphasis has been laid over the multi-layered autonomy package which can fulfil the aspirations of not only the Kashmiri masses, but also the aspirations of the people of Ladakh, Jammu and also Kashmiri migrants.

Mr Sangma, told newsmen that his party would never have any truck with the Congress. He said, the alliance in Maharashtra was “temporary and made out of compulsion to keep the Shiv Sena out of power”. He said, people were fed up with the Sena. “There would either have been Governor’s rule or fresh elections and we wanted to avoid both”, he said, while adding, that “personally I did not favour that alliance”.

Referring to Punjab he said the people were fed up with the Akalis and the Congress, while the BJP did not suit the “Punjabi temperament”. “The NCP is the only choice”, he remarked laughingly. 


Flying squads ‘harass’ traders
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 25 — The State Industry and Trade Forum has blamed the Punjab Government for what it calls highhandedness of flying squads of the Sales Tax Department, octroi contractors and the staff engaged for collection of ‘rahdari’ at different points.

Mr Harish Khanna, President of the forum and Punjab Small Scale Manufacturers Association, in a press statement issued here today said that corruption in various departments, ‘Inspectory raaj’, harassment to entrepreneurs and traders without any rhyme and reason were proving highly detrimental to the interest of industry and trade of the state. In view thereof, industry and trade of the state were seriously contemplating to launch a state-wide agitation against the hostile policies of the state government.

Mr Khanna said that the level of harassment by the flying squads had assumed alarming proportions and as a result of which industry and trade in the state were not only closing down but also migrating to the neighbouring states. He said that it should be recalled that last state Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had promised that if the trade and industry of the state gave an additional revenue in terms of taxes by 16 per cent in a year, he will abolish all enforcement agencies and mobile barriers.

Mr Khanna alleged that the section 14-B (7) of the Sales Tax Act was being grossly misutilised by the corrupt officers under the garb of which they were minting lacs of rupees through bribes. Although the Sales Tax Department of the state had established as many as 27 computerised barriers, trucks loaded with goods were seen parked on the national highways.

Traders or industrialists whose goods were intercepted en-route were usually asked to appear before the bureaucrats stationed at Patiala or Chandigarh with the relevant account books. These innocent traders and industrialists make frantic visits to these stations, but the concerned officers were found absent from their seats and the former were subjected to undue harassment. Instead of giving a patient hearing to these traders and industrialists, penalty in thousand of rupees was imposed on them.

The forum said if the Badal Government was seriously interested in bringing down the ‘Inspectory raaj’ in the state, it should immediately abolish black laws, including section 14-B (7) of the Sales Tax Act, the new raahdari system and an end to privatisation of octroi and mobile barriers or checkposts so that the movement of goods was not unduly impeded. This will not only give a fillip to industry and trade of the state, but will also reduce corruption, and the revenue receipts to the State Exchequer will automatically increase.


Hotel owner feels victimised
By Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, Nov 25 — The managing director of Batra Palace, Mr Ashok Batra has said Punjab State Electricity Board, official had disconnected power supply to the hotel three times during past few months. the PSEB administration maintains the hotel management had violated rules by installing 500 KVA transformer against the sanctioned 200 KVA for the approved load of 300 KVA.

Mr Batra told Ludhiana Tribune that power supply was disconnected, on October 30, without any prior notice on the ground that requisite license fee for the transformer had not been deposited with the Chief Electrical Inspector, PSEB. Although the fee was deposited immediately and the inspection was carried out by the inspectorate on November 1, power supply was restored on November 5, that too on the intervention of senior officers of the PSEB.

However, the very next day November 6, the hotel was slapped with another notice, pointing out that the installed transformer of 500 KVA had not the approval. The PSEB had granted sanction for a 200 KVA transformer (for a power load of 300 KVA and jerk load of 345 KVA). The PSEB letter had directed the hotel management to immediately install the transformer of sanctioned capacity. It was further stated in the letter that non-compliance would attract disconnection of power supply.

According to Mr Batra, the power load of 300 KVA was sanctioned way back in 1998 and the 500 KVA transformer was installed at the same time. Moreover, the 11 KVA cable, supplying power to the hotel, remains directly under the supervision of the SDO concerned, who also periodically conducted inspection. “It is hard to believe that the PSEB officers were not aware of the installation of 500 KVA transformer. If the PSEB management has suddenly decided to take extreme action of disconnecting power supply, there must be other reasons, than technical or administrative, for this action,” Mr Batra alleges.

Mr H.S.Thukral, Additional Superintending Engineer (operations), West Division PSEB, however, stuck to the position that the PSEB had rightly disconnected power supply to the hotel. The establishment was sanctioned a transformer of 200 KVA capacity, which should have been installed. “Moreover, we had served an explicit 15 days notice for changing the transformer with that of approved capacity, which the hotel management failed to comply with.” When asked why the action had been uninitiated two years after the installation of the transformer, Mr Thukral said how could we be sure that it was the same transformer. “It can be changed any time since it is owned by the consumer.”

The hotel management, in a letter addressed to the Chairman of the PSEB, has given an undertaking to increase its sanctioned load to a level, which would permit the use of 500 KVA transformer, within next six months. Mr Batra hopes that the PSEB would relent.


Ex-servicemen threaten stir
By A Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 25 — The Indian Ex-Services League (Punjab and Chandigarh) has threatened to launch an agitation if its long-pending demands were not met.

At a meeting held here today, Brig. P.S. Toor, President of the league, said that despite assurances by several successive governments, the ex-servicemen continue to struggle for their legitimate demands.

Brig Toor said: “We have been agitating for ‘one-rank, one-pension’ demand for a long time now. Our efforts have borne no fruit as yet and now we are going to resort to a massive agitation and dharnas to get our demands fulfilled by the Central Government.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by Major Jagir Singh (Vir Chakra). He, too, said vehemently: “I retired in 1972. I served for 30 years in the Army and I am drawing Rs 12,000 but I cannot run my house. We want one rank, one pension. We are going to take out rallies, hold protest meetings and take more aggressive steps. This is a burning problem and senior officers also have to take this problem more seriously, and so should the Central Government. Mr George Fernandes Defence Minister, on the occasion of the 300 years celebrations of the Khalsa Panth at Anandpur Sahib had said publicly that he would accede to this demand but so far the government has been sleeping on the matter.”

Dr Arun Mitra, an ENT specialist, lauded the role of servicemen and suggested that they could participate actively in fighting corruption, pollution and other maladies prevailing in society. Maj. Sher Singh said that if the service people had to fight corruption, they should report the matter to the authorities. “If our problems are not solved, we should go on dharnas - Let us not only work for our own welfare or but for the benefit of the society. The moral values of the society have gone down. People have faith in us. After servicemen retire, the government should assist them in finding some jobs. This is a must. Actually, we are a great force to reckon with but we need is to unite. We haven’t been able to achieve much for we have remained scattered.”

Col R.S. Sohi said that we must ‘go political’. Corruption is rampant in society. “If we unite ourselves and make our own organisations, and put up our candidates for elections, we can have some say and things will improve. We have to unite together”.

Major Pritpal said: “Political power is the key that opens every lock. Politicians rule the roost. We have to make a plan to form our politial cal party and fight elections on a war-footing.”

Jagdish Prasad, District Pension Department Officer, was also present to answer the queries of ex-servicemen. In his defence, he said: “I have helped you people to the best of my ability. I have listened to your problems and tried to settle them. But I am only a pension disbursing officer and I can do what is within my power.

Another problem faced by the pensioners was non-transference of their bank accounts which they were entitled too. Mr Jagdish Prasad agreed to this demand also. Captain Jarnail Singh said: “We expect respect when we retire from the Army, but find no respect because we have no unity. We all have to come under a common umbrella and fight our battles together. We need strong officers to bring about unity amongst us. We want one rank, one pension.” Even Major Pritpal Singh said: “When we come into civilian life, we find we stand nowhere.”

Colonel Sangha asked the assembled ex-servicemen: “Who devides us and why?IT is the politicians who keep on discrimnating among us while giving rewards. No one works hard to unite the league. Most of the people want publicity. We have reached the fourth quarter of our life, so at this time, we must have unity, so that we can get political power”.

Finally, in a hard-hitting statement, Brig. P.S. Toor said: “We must unite and then only we can improve our lot but the problem is that everyone wants something to get out of the organisation. Nobody is willing to give back to the organisation. Our soldiers die in Siachen Glacier and it is Atal Behari Vajpayee who takes the credit. We are in the Army, We are taught that we are gentlemen first and then officer”. Our demands are:

One rank, one pension; 50% pension or jobs till 60 years of age; 30% pension for widows instead of 20-22%; medical cover after retirement; travel concessions; Kargil type facilities for the causalities of 1947-48, 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars.



Fast mail service from December
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 25 — By the end of December letters posted as late as 8 p.m. will reach their destination the next morning. This facility is being provided in Ludhiana and some select towns of Punjab.

Giving this information here today, Mr A.S.I.S. Paul, the Chief Post Master General, Punjab circle, said the novelty of this scheme was to compete with the private courier services without any financial burden to consumers. The service would be available from Chandigarh and other major cities of Punjab.

Ludhiana has been chosen as the centre point of this “speedy postal delivery system.”

In another move the department has also decided to activate its Rural Life Insurance Scheme. This scheme was in operation three years ago, but became less popular later. Under the latest orders post offices in villages have been directed to sell at least five policies every month.

Mr Paul said under the night transportation system, vans of the Postal Department will bring mail from Chandigarh, Patiala, Amritsar, Ferozepore besides one or two other district headquarters in the state to this city before midnight.

The post will be sorted out here. The vans will then return the same night carrying the post meant for these cities.

Mr Paul said the department was closely monitoring the success of the scheme of collecting telephone bills by postmen introduced in Chandigarh. If it was success there then it would be launched in other parts of the state, including Ludhiana.


Consumers for PSEB privatisation
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 25 — Most of the city residents from all walks of life believe that the Punjab State Electricity Board should be privatised to stop further harm to the common man.

Mr S.P. Kanwar, an industrialist, says: “Privatisation of the PSEB will rid the city of power cuts and improve the quality of power supply. Problems like voltage fluctuation and power theft will be solved and the cost of electricity will come down”, he feels. People who have to run from pillar to post for an electricity connection will be relieved of this agony and get the connection easily. The overall efficiency will improve if the PSEB is privatised.

A Branch Manager of the Bharat Overseas Bank, Mr K.N. Singh Gahlot, said if problems were to be solved, privatisation of the Electricity Board was the answer. Mr Gahlot felt that the management of the board was poor, and it had been unable to check theft of power. The board, despite its surplus staff, was unable to provide facilities to the consumers, Mr Gahlot pointed out. Wherever privatisation of electricity has been done, the working has improved, he says.

Every resident of the city this reporter spoke to demand that the board should be privatised. Mr Romesh Maini, a business man, said, “Nobody listens to you in the Electricity Board office. If you get a ‘hefty bill’ and seek a clarification, the person concerned in the department orders you first to deposit the amount and then ask any questions. When you go there next, they do not talk to you. Bribes have to be given to get any work done”.

Mr Akash Bansal, another industrialist says that if the contract of the board is given to two or three companies, there will be a competition and the service will improve. Bribery will end and the manipulations of the board’s officials will be controlled.

Dr (Mrs) Ajit Kang, a renowned gynaecologist, stressed the need for privatisation saying that the board was there to harass the public. They did not listen to any complaint and hefty bills were never settled. Even to deposit one’s bill, one has to waste a whole day. The employees are generally rude.

A housewife, Mr Dimple Nota, said that privatisation would make the public supreme and the consumer would benefit. She said: “The Government should not succumb to the threats of the board employees and go ahead with privatisation in the interest of consumers”.


Teacher-taught relation that endured all seasons
BY M. S. Cheema

I have a true story to share. It is about two families.

Pandit Nath Ram Shastri of Jalandhar qualified to be a teacher in the first decade of last century. He was posted at Government High School, Dera Ghazi Khan, now part of Pakistan, Panjab. Harish Chandra, was one of his hundreds of pupils. Harish had lost his father in 1910, but was helped and guided to get higher education at some good college. During First World War, Harish became a tennis blue. He later joined as lecturer in English at the premier seat of learning, Government College, Lahore. He became known as Prof. Harish Chandra Kathpalia. The government honoured him with the title of Rai Bahadur.

Pandit Nath Ram Shastri, was transferred to Multan where he was blessed with a son in 1918. He, in his wisdom, named him Multani Chand, who studied well. Multani Chand matriculated with a high score which got him admission in government College (Lahore) in 1933. Prof. Harish Chandra learnt that Multani Chand was his teacher’s son. Prof. Kathpalia was the hostel warden also. Multani Chand passed M.A. in English in 1939 and got first position in the Punjab University of those days. He joined Punjab government as a college lecturer. In 1947 he shifted to Ludhiana. Prof Harish Kathpalia was posted in 1949 as Principal of Government College where his old student, Multani Chand Sharma now more familiar as Prof M.C. Sharma was his colleague.

Prof Sharma taught at Ludhiana for a long time. He taught the sons of Prof Kathpalia.

The Kathpalia children are well known persons Prem Kathpalia (IAS), Ravi Kathpalia (IAAS), Sarv Kumar Kathpalia (IFS) and Shashi Kathpalia (Metal Box).

Mr Prem Kathpalia, prior to join the civil services was a lecturer here. During this period the elder son of Prof M.C. Sharma, Shiv Sharma, was taught by Prof Prem. Again, a few years, Prof Sarv Kumar Kathpalia had Prof M.C. Sharma’s younger son, Girish Sharma, as one of his wards.

When Pandit Nath Ram died, Rai Bahadur Harish Chandra Kathpalia (then Inspector of Schools, Jalandhar division) felt a personal loss and attended the funeral. When Principal Kathpalia breathed his last, Prof. M.C. Sharma felt orphaned.


Garcha dedicates Agriculture department building to city
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 25 — A new building of the Punjab Agriculture Department was dedicated to the city today by the Technical Education Minister, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha.

Addressing a largely attended gathering, Mr Garcha said the cooperative institutions in Punjab would be fully geared up to help farmers to diversify in non-farming ventures by providing liberal loans.

He said Punjab farmers have no other alternative than to completely shift to the cash crops and commercial ventures to meet the challenges posed by the implications of the WTO agreement. He said that the farmers with small holdings should purchase tractors and other machinery by getting joint loans, so that the burden of loans could be minimised.

Referring to the shortcomings in the working of agriculture development banks, the minister assured that stamp duty would be exempted on agriculture loan cases.

Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, Punjab advised the farmers to avail of the new schemes introduced by agriculture development banks. He assured that he would take up the issue of shortcomings in agriculture development banks at the highest level.

Mr Kanwaljit Singh Sanga, Deputy Registrar Cooperative Bank, Ludhiana, said the department was making all out efforts to improve the functioning of PAD banks. He said in Ludhiana district through eight PAD Banks, loans amounting to Rs 30 crore would be disbursed for non-farming ventures. He said during the past six months loans amounting to Rs 9.68 had been advanced to farmers by PAD banks in the district.

Among others who addressed the function included Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Mr Jagdev Singh Tajpuri ex-minister, Jathedar Daya Singh, president district Akali Jatha, Mr Santa Singh Umedpuri, Chairman, Market Committee, Shahnewal, Baba Jagroop Singh, president Circle Jatha Shahnewal, Mr Surinder Singh Dhillon, presidnet PAD Bank, Mr Hakam Singh Gyaspura and Mr Manjit Singh Bhuta.


Obnoxious calls on the rise
By Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 25 — “Oh no! not again, this must be the same obnoxious caller”. If this is how you react when your telephone rings then you are not alone. There are several others in the city who face this torture.

Ludhiana Tribune has received complaints from a number of persons especially school and college girls who feel helpless against such annoying, anonymous callers. In most cases these persons ask the female voice at the other end to make friends with them and sometime even make indecent remarks. Rebukes or threats to report the matter to the police do not make any difference.

Ms Sunita (name changed), was virtually in tears. She has been receiving obnoxious calls for the last six months. Complaints to the police and the telephone department have yielded no result.

She says: “The person usually calls between 10.00 a.m and 10.30 a.m. or in the evening after 5.00 p.m. I have rebuked him, even pleaded with him to stop this nonsense, but to no avail. My husband even complained to the Telecommunication Department. The person was identified. We threatened him with police action but he has not stopped.”

Another victim of such phone calls, Ms Vinita (name changed) says ‘‘I have asked my daughter not to pick up the phone. We installed a call identifier and got the number of the caller. The person has been identified and we know where he lives. Repeated complaints to the police have yielded no result. I am seriously thinking of holding a demonstration with my friends in front of his house’’.

Mr V.S. Srivastva, General Manager, Ludhiana Telecom Circle, said,‘‘ In case of such calls the users can submit a complaint to the P.R.O. in writing. Consequently, all incoming calls will be observed. After identification, a warning will be given to the person concerned. If he does not stop, we can even disconnect the culprit’s telephone. However, the victim always has the option of complaining to the police.”

However, the solution is easier said than done. Ms Aarti (name changed), says: ‘‘I sometimes get blank calls at odd hours, even at 3.00 a.m. The person at the other end does not say anything, just keeps calling, sometimes even making 10 calls in half an hour. It really disturbs me, but don’t know what to do.’’

Mr Srivastava is of the view that the problem is widespread, but has been considerably reduced with the use of called IDs. There is an urgent need to educate the people about the use of a call identifier, which has greatly helped in checking this menace”.

Random inquiries reveal that the victims hesitate to go to the police, and that makes the obnoxious callers bolder.

Ms Sunita echoes the voice of the sufferers by saying, ‘‘the Telecom Department and the Police would take the problem much more seriously if their own kin were affected”.


How to check obnoxious calls

First, rebuke the caller loudly and warn of police action.

Note down the time and frequency of the calls.

Write to the PRO, Telecom Department to identify the caller and to issue an warning to him.

If it fails to check him, complain to the police and register an FIR against the person.

If possible, after indentification of the caller, organise a demonstration with your colleagues and friends in front of his office or residence.


Taxi drivers in business without permit
By Minna Zutshi

THE majority of taxis operating in Ludhiana operate without a valid permit. This information is corroborated by the taxi drivers. So far, only 23 permits have been issued by the DTO from December, 1999 to the present day.

No authentic information is available about the number of authorised taxi-stands in Ludhiana. As per the information available from the office of the DTO, there are two authorised taxi-stands in Ludhiana. An informal source revealed that the number of authorised taxi-stands could be close to four.

What takes the cake is the revelation that unauthorised taxis ply at authorised stands.

“Whether the taxi-stands are authorised or unauthorised, it hardly makes any difference as most of the taxis plying are without a valid permit. Our taxi-stand is an authorised one, yet the number of taxis with valid permits is just one or two,” informed a union leader of an authorised taxi-stand.

A taxi driver, who operates through private agents, informed that as most of the taxis were financed, there was a pressure to pay off the loans. So, they thought that getting permits for their taxis was an unnecessary drain on their resources. Another taxi driver admitted that they were blase about the whole issue as permit or no permit , they were often pestered by the police who devised innovative ways to impose a fine on them. He said, “Sometimes, if all our papers are in order, the police take into notice the absence of the first - aid box and make a case accordingly.”

Another startling revelation came from a taxi driver of an authorised taxi-stand. He claimed ,”The police keeps a record of all the taxi-stands - authorised as well as unauthorised. Every taxi-stand has to give its taxis for begar. The police routinely calls for a taxi from the taxi-stands and the taxi remains with the police for the entire day. They make liberal use of the taxi for their personal use. So, the police has every reason to turn a blind eye to the unauthorised taxis and taxi-stands.”

There is no policy to keep track of the fare charged by the taxis. Usually, the passengers are charged Rs 5 per kilometre for the petrol-driven mid-segment cars if the journey involves a distance of at least 250 kms. For small cars, they are charged Rs 3.50 per kilometre and for diesel-driven cars, the charges are Rs 4.50 per kilometre. What if any taxi operator overcharged ? There is no mechanism to deal with it.

The taxi owners adopt a policy of strict non-interference as they seldom complain about any member of their own fraternity even if it means losing out on clients. “Why should we complain about unauthorised taxi-stands when our own taxis are without valid permits. Frankly, we are all sailing in the same boat,” said a taxi owner-cum-driver.

The DTO’s office had its own version to the story. An official said, “The police imposes a fine of rupees 2000 on any taxi found illegally parked. But many times, the passengers bail the taxi drivers out, saying that it is their personal car and not a taxi. “ The Executive Engineer, Traffic, when contacted, said that he did not have much information about the issue as he had taken charge of his office just a few months ago and he still needed to get acquainted with the ins and outs of the issue.



Having fun and serving the poor
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 24 — One of the most prestigious and renowned ladies’ clubs of northern India, Lakshmi Ladies Club was registered under the Societies Registration Act, XXI, of 1860 and was amended under Punjab Amendment Act, 1957. The club was given to the Registrar of Firms and Societies on December 2, 1977.

Lakshmi Ladies Club started as a small group, when some ladies used to get together for some fun and games at the building outside the Officers Club. Slowly more ladies started joining it. As a result, the club today has a cumulative strength of about 2,550 members. In existence since 1940, it is the only club that can boast of a building spread in about an acre.

Ms Pushpa Mehra, founder member of the club said, it started with only five members. The membership fee at that time was Rs 5 and the annual subscription was Re 1 per month. The general membership fee, today, has increased upto Rs 25,000 because of its popularity among Ludhiana women.

The application of any new member is considered by the executive members of the club. There is a special provision for women in government service as well as daughters and daughter-in-laws of members.

The executive committee of the club constitutes a chairperson, president, vice-president, secretary, joint secretary, treasurer, former president, former secretary and 35 other members — who should be members of the club at least for the past three years.

Ms Rajni Bector, the first chairperson of the club, said the club was like a small baby to her. She had experienced its ups and downs. Ms Bector disclosed that the club has always stood for the poor the needy, soldiers’ widows and elderly people. She also said that club had maintained its promise to help the needy.

Lakshmi Ladies Club aims to provide its members a good social gathering and tries to encourage social and cultural activities among ladies of all the communities. It tries to provide social welfare ideas, instructions, knowledge, mutual assistance, discussion of common problems and protection of the interests of the members.

“The club provides for instruction in cooking, domestic science, tailoring, hosiery making music. It also invites various artists for its members’ for entertainment. It also arranges various exhibitions and excursions. It continuously helps the weaker sections of the society” added Ms Bector.

Ms Sudershan Sood, the former chairperson of Lakshmi Ladies Club informed that the club was basically for entertainment. From time to time, it had contributed for a social cause. Scholarships had been provided to the poor and the deprived. Ms Sood said, “We meet and share thoughts”.

Ms Sheel Nanda, one of the older members and former chairperson was all praises for the club. Ms Nanda said, “It is the one of the best ladies clubs in northern India. The ladies get to know so many things through talks and demonstrations”.


“Cong govts ignored rural people”
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Nov 25 — The SAD (Badal) legislator, Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, has assured the rural people that they would get all modern civic amenities and other facilities at par with the urban areas.

Addressing a function at Talwara village in this district yesterday after disbursement of development grant for various community work in his constituency, he observed that previous Congress governments had persistently neglected the rural people and as a result most of the villages in the area were devoid of basic facilities.

He claimed that development work were being undertaken in almost all 140 villages in the Dakha Assembly segment and adequate funds were being made available for this purpose.

The SHSYAD general secretary, Mr Sukhwinder Pal Singh Garcha, and the SGPC member, Mr Gurbaksh Singh Pudain, lauded the keen interest being taken by Mr Khalsa in development work of the area.

Later, Mr Khalsa laid the foundation stone of harijan dharamshala in the village and presented a cheque for Rs 50,000 to the village panchayat for community work. Among others, Mr Hoshiar Singh, sarpanch of Ayali Kalan village, Mr Gurmit Singh, Mr Sukhwant Singh of Chakk Kalan, Mr Mohinder Singh Sandhu, Mr Harvinder Singh and Mr Gurdev Singh Bhaur were present at the occasion.


Is infotech killing creativity?
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 24 — There has been a big boom in Information Technology since Bill Gates of Microsoft started making waves in this field. No aspect of life whether education, medicine, art, music, health and hygiene, shopping, auctioning, matrimonial alliances, has been left untouched by it.

No doubt, there has been an influx of knowledge in every field. The knowledge is easily accessible all round the globe to all those who possess a PC or otherwise. The innumerable ‘cyber cafes’ have also helped people in getting all sorts of information. Information seems to be only a mouse click away. All this is wonderful for expansion of knowledge at very reasonable rates and very quickly. All this knowledge will help humanity to advance further, but it has been seen, whenever the humanity has progressed, there has been a reverse process of regression too.

IT has made things so easy for human beings that it has begun to affect the creativity of ‘Homo sapiens’. It has been seen that one of the major causality has been the art of communication i.e. the skills of letter writing, calligraphy, pen friendship. All these seem to be on the verge of extinction. People, who are hooked on to the computers, can chat endlessly. They communicate through Internet which helps them to choose the font, the size, italics, bold, and so many other facilities that they never bother to find time for a beautiful past time (of the past) of letter writing. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru’s letters to his daughter, Indira Gandhi, will always remain a masterpiece in letter writing. In the communication through Internet, mincemeat is made of English language. People, for their convenience have thrown English punctuation to the wind like Sumit , a regular user of Internet says: “We use neither commas nor full stops while writing. We have devised a very simple language like we write ‘R’ for ‘are’, ‘U’ for ‘you’, ‘B4’ for ‘before’ and so on and so forth.” Many other symbols for smile, for anger, love have been devised for the Internet users always seem to be in a hurry.

Teachers teaching K G classes are finding it increasingly difficult to teach children how to hold a pencil in correct way. It is wrong to teach them writing at this stage as their muscular co-ordination is poor. Says Mrs Edwards,” I have been teaching small children for years, and I have found that the writing skills are going down hill. Modern children are too hyper and cannot concentrate and moreover, lack patience. These days even the little ones like drawing cartoons on the computers and love to play games on the computers. With the result, they hate to do their homework also.” Another teacher teaching primary classes says,” Earlier children took pride in their handwriting, but these days there is no desire in their hearts to excel and computers have helped to worsen the situation, as the small children, too, like playing games on computers.”

The adults, too, like to send messages through Internet and bare minimum words are used for the modern man seems to be hard pressed for time and is always in a hurry. The mad rat race and fierce competition coupled with overambition has made man quite emotionless and the spearheading of information and technology has further bankrupted the emotional bank. Of course, inane chatting can go in for hours, but that does not improve the man’s creativity nor does it improve man’s artistic trends. Soon thanks to IT, we will be artistically defunct, for neither we will have the inclination nor the time to pursue the art of letterwriting and calligraphy will be of no interest.

 ( To be continued)


Gosain to visit Europe, USA
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 25 — The Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Mr Sat Pal Gosain, will visit the USA, Canada and other European countries, including the UK, on a study tour.

Giving this information here today, Mr Gosain said that Dr Tejinder Pal Singh, Officer on Special Duty, and Mr Rajinder Kumar, Press Secretary, would accompany him on the tour.

Mr Gosain, who represents the Ludhiana constituency in the Vidhan Sabha, will study the legislative system of these countries and interact with representatives and officials of legislative councils and assemblies in these countries.


Six booked in fraud case
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 25 — After an investigation of more than two months, the city police today finally registered a case of fraud against six persons including four directors of Bachan Auto Purchase Private Ltd., and its two employees for allegedly defrauding a city resident of Rs 30 lakh.

The complainant, Avinash Kumar, a resident of the Gaushala road, in a complaint to the SSP in September alleged that he had deposited Rs 30 lakh with the company under some profitable scheme. However, later when he inquired about the profit, they said they had no knowledge of any amount deposited by the complainant.

According to an Fir, the six persons have been identified as Lal Singh, Meva Singh Jandu , Jeet Singh Jandu, Surinder Singh Ali, Manjit Singh and Balwinder Singh.


World market ‘becoming’ sales market
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 25 — “The companies of the state have nothing to fear from global competition or the MNCs as long as they are committed to innovation and creativity and excellence in all the aspects of the production. The big companies of the city like the Hero group and Vardhman were already competing successfully with the global companies.’’

Mr O.P. Sahani, Head of the Department of Management, Punjab Agriculture University, made this observation speaking at a two-day workshop organised here on “Managerial excellence”. The workshop was organised by the Ludhiana Midtown Junior Chamber in association with the Indian Junior Chamber.

The Indian companies will have to change their way of functioning. They will have to professionalise their operations and replace their obsolete techniques of production. He observed that the increase in competition will benefit the consumers as well as the manufacturers in the long term. The world market is transforming into sales market very fast.

Mr Varinder Dutta, president, Ludhiana Midtown Junior Chamber, said,‘‘ The aim of the workshop was to develop skills and the techniques to influence the attitude of managers to face the challenge in the age of globalisation.’’

About 30 industrialists and managers of leading companies are participating in the workshop.

Mr J.C. Gopinath Balachandran, an expert in management consultancy from Kerala, organised technical sessions and answered queries.

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