Wednesday, December 6, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Local Government Department alleges misuse of power
Show-cause notice to MC chief and two others
From Our Correspondent

DORAHA, Dec 5 — The Department of Local Government has issued a show cause notices to the president, vice-president and one of the municipal councillors of Doraha for their alleged misuse of power and authority.

In a notice issued by the Principal Secretary of Punjab, it has been recommended that according to Sections 16 (1) (A) (B) of the Municipal Act of 1911, Mr Sudarshan Kumar ‘Pappu’, president, Mr Malwinder Singh, vice-president, and Ms Baljit Kaur, one of the members of the Municipal Council, should be removed from the membership of the municipal council for their indulgence in activities of cheating and fraud. A show cause notice has, therefore, been issued to these members and a time period of 21 days has been given to them to prove their innocence failing which the department will take necessary action.

It was alleged that the president-elect of the municipal council was involved in a criminal case and a case had been registered against him under Sections 420, 488, 472 and 120-B of the IPC. The vice-president of the municipal council and the municipal councillor concerned were accused of working in a prejudiced manner and of achieving personal gains.


Mail bags pile up as Postal staff go on strike
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 5 — Work in all the post offices in the city and the Railway Mail Service (RMS) at the railway station here was paralysed after the postal employees went on strike, in response to a call for an indefinite strike, given by the Postal Employees Joint Council of Action.

All the local post offices and the RMS office, wore a deserted look and no mail was distributed or collected. Mail bags kept on piling up at the RMS office.

The striking employees organised a rally at the Head Post Office here, which was addressed, among others, by Mr Sewa Singh, Divisional President, Mr C.L. Verma, Divisional Secretary, Mr Ramesh Kakkar, Mr Baldev Kumar Sharma, Divisional Secretaries, Postman Union, Mr Gulzar Singh, Circle Secretary.

Speakers at the rally charged the union government with not implementing the agreement signed in May this year. Their main demands include implementation of the positive recommendations of Justice Talwar committee and upgradation of pay scales of all categories of postal employees. 


4 held, Rs 3 lakh recovered from suspects
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 5 — The Police claims to have solved the case in which unidentified persons had robbed Rs 9.05 lakh from the cashier of a local hosiery factory near Dhandari Kalan on October 6.

Four persons, identified as Sukhpreet Singh Sukhi, Gurwinder Singh Goldy, Harjinder Singh, alias Ajay and Gurdip Singh, have been arrested in this connection. Part of the robbed amount was recovered from them.

Giving details, the Superintendent of Police (City II), Mr Pramod Ban, informed that the robbery was planned by Sukhpreet Singh, a former Special Police Officer (SPO). The SPO had resigned his job after he met with an accident and was denied medical leave. The prime accused, who had incurred losses in the transport business, after having resigned from the police, later came in contact with Gurwinder, a resident of Barnala in Sangrur district and the duo chalked out a plan to commit robberies.

The accused, the police said, kept an eye on various local banks to identify those making heavy cash deposits and withdrawals. During preliminary interrogation, they admitted to having followed the cashier of Hero Cycles for about one month. On October 6, the suspects intercepted the van of a hosiery factory near Dhandari cremation ground, when it was returning after withdrawing cash from Punjab National Bank and fled with Rs 9.05 lakh in a Maruti car.

The police said Rs 3.40 lakh had been recovered from the suspects.


Privatisation of octroi collection
Civic administration cajoles councillors
By Kuldip Bhatia

LUDHIANA, Dec 5 — Despite vehement opposition to the move by the councillors and rejection of the motion to this effect in the last general house meeting of the Municipal Corporation, the civic administration, under immense pressure from the state government, intends to go in for privatisation of octroi collection in the city.

Since the decision needed to be approved in the general house, both the Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, and the MC Commissioner, Dr S.S.Sandhu, were reported to be persuading the councillors, particularly those belonging to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine and some independents to extend their support when the motion comes up at the next meeting of general house.

According to MC sources, the Minister for Local Bodies, Punjab, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, had told the civic body in no uncertain terms that octroi collection be entrusted to private contractors as had been done elsewhere in the state. The government appeared to be of the opinion that privatisation was the only effective measure to check massive octroi evasion.

However, the councillors appear to be thinking otherwise. When the resolution was brought in the last general house meeting, even the BJP councillors vociferously opposed it, saying similar experience at other places in Punjab had led to avoidable harassment of not only traders and industrialists but even the common people.

“There were instances when members of public and in some cases women, travelling in private vehicles, were searched by employees of contractors, entrusted with collection of octroi. The contractors were alleged to have employed musclemen to intimidate the drivers of public and private vehicles, entering in the city,” alleged councillors.

The MC gets lion’s share of its revenue from octroi with the targeted income for the current financial year at Rs125.75 crore. According to MC sources, the collection till November 27 was to the tune of Rs 71.58 crore. At this rate, the income from octroi, would in all probability, fall short of the target. The apprehension that the targeted income from octroi appeared difficult to achieve, had prompted the civic administration to make another bid to push for privatisation. The councillors were reportedly being told that any shortfall in the MC income would adversely affect the ongoing and the future development works in the city and the councillors would also have to bear the brunt by way of curtailment in the allocation of funds for their respective wards.

The Mayor makes no secret of his opinion favouring privatisation of octroi collection. He has gone on record, more than once, to say that despite its best efforts, the MC had not been able to check evasion. The rampant corruption among the employees, deployed at octroi posts, was another major factor, eating into the income. His logic for handing over the job of octroi collection to private contractors is plain and simple. The MC will get guaranteed income. There would be no adverse effect on the employees, which would have to be retained by the contractor. On the top of it all, the responsibility for checking evasion and ensuring proper collection, at the prescribed rates, will be that of the contractor.

The MC Commissioner dispelled the apprehensions of the councillors and the members of trade and industry over privatisation. When asked if the resolution to this effect could be brought once again in the general house meeting, he said it just needs two signatures-his own and those of the Mayor, which was not difficult.


Ban on use of loudspeakers
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 5 — The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K Sandhu, has banned the use of loudspeakers in Ludhiana at all hours of the day.

This has been done keeping in view the increased number of complaints against marriage palaces and religious groups using loudspeakers to disturb public tranquillity, it is learnt.

The district magistrate passed the order today, which says that a strict punitive action would be taken under section 144 of the Code of Criminal procedure (Cr PC) for immediate prevention and speedy remedy. The order came into force with retrospective date of November 27.

The order issued today said any violation of the order may be reported to the nearest police station or at the police control room on phone number 100.


PAU’s legal notice to Punwire
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 5 — The authorities of Punjab Agricultural University have issued a notice to the Punjab Wireless Systems Limited (Punwire) to claim money running into several crores which was lent to the latter a few years ago.

It may be recalled that the PAU has deposited a sum of Rs 4 crore belonging to the employees provident fund with Punwire in four instalments between June and November ’98 for three years each at the rate of 15 per cent interest.

Last year, it came to light that Punwire was in financial straits. A court had attached its property worth Rs 8 crore for its failure to repay the deposits of the Punjab Scheduled Caste’s Development and Finance Corporation. There was pressure from some employees’ union of the university to get its money back from Punwire.

Mr S.K. Bhatia, Comptroller of the PAU, has confirmed that the legal notice for the refund of the money has been sent to Punwire. According to authoritative sources, the total amount, along with interest, adds up to Rs 5.36 crore.


Peer committee visits PAU

LUDHIANA: The Peer committee, under the chairmanship of Dr Kirti Singh, Secretary, National Academy of Agriculture Science, today visited PAU to review work done by the varsity in respect of teaching research and extension education during the past 10 years.

The university authorities constituted the panel on the recommendations of the Indian Council of Agriculture and Research. The committee will submit its report to the ICAR. 


Body found
From Our Correspondent

DORAHA, Dec 5 — The body of a man who drowned a week ago was recovered near Gurthali bridge in Doraha. It is reported that Karam Singh of Machhiwara, who was to take a bath in Sirhind river, slipped from the stairs and was drowned on November 24. His body was, however, recovered by the police on December 2.


Awarding grades to primary students
Many for evaluation on class performance
By Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Dec 5 — With the examination season having begun, students and their parents have already got down to business. For some students exams are a serious business, while for others, its no different from routine. However, in case of small children, examinations are actually a testing time for the parents.

Studies have revealed that children up to the primary level should not be burdened. Many schools in the region are contemplating doing away with examinations up to class V. There has been a mixed response to the issue. Some people are of the opinion that examinations are nothing but undue burden on tiny tots, while others feel that the traditional system of examination must continue for all irrespective of age. Ludhiana Tribune spoke to some affected parents.

Monica Maini had a tough time recently, when her son Divit, who is a brilliant child otherwise refused to go onto the stage to participate in a healthy child contest. The mother had to do all sorts of cajoling to send him on the stage. “This is an example of how a child who does very well all through the year in school, can mess up his grades in the final exams.”

Therefore, Monica feels that small children should be judged throughout the year and not on the basis of a single day’s exam. The child can become ‘cranky’ on the particular day. “The grades come down if the child is not able to perform well”, said Monica.

Nisha Aggarwal, who has a child studying in V standard says, “Examinations are a must. I do not feel that there is any kind of burden or pressure on my child. Syllabus is not much. If there will be no exams, what will the criteria to assess ones capability”. Nisha does not feel any kind of burden on her due to her child’s exams. She feels relaxed and good when her children study during exam days. She said: “throughout the year children have a gala time. It is necessary that they should take their studies also seriously”.

Samita Bhalla, a teacher, feels that the assessment of a child is very necessary at every level but at the same time examinations of nursery and KG classes should not be there. “We should not lay any kind of mental stress on them. Parents become more restless and burdened and put extra burden on their little ones. There should be weekly and monthly class tests to check the abilities of children.

Simmi Kanwar who has a daughter studying in UKG is in favour of house examinations and final tests. If exams will not be there, how can the ability of a child be assessed. She says: “If the base of a child is strong, he can come out well. Moreover, if the child gets the feeling of ‘no study, no exams’, then it will be very difficult to make him study from VI standard. Parents will not even come to know where their child stands. She says, “there will be no feeling of competitiveness”.

Mrs Sukhjit Kaur, a housewife, believes that general awareness should be given to the child but there should be no pressure. She feels: “A child of four or five is like an angel with small head and little fingers. We have no right to put any kind of burden on these small kids. We should teach them good manners and conversation without any pressure.



LUDHIANA is witnessing a spate of Shobha Yatras, Nagar Kirtans, road shows, rallies and demonstrations. Because of their religious sanctity, thousands of devotees participate in these Shobha Yatras and Nagar Kirtans. These are generally held in highly populated areas because this ensures good participation.

On an average two such yatras or kirtans are organised in Ludhiana every month. Demonstrations by different political parties are held mostly at the Clock Tower. Besides, other non-government organisations take out rallies to highlight issues such as environment, population, the problems of the handicapped and so on.

While the issues do have their importance and the faith of the people also deserves to be respected, yet these events create problems for the common man. Recently, life in the city came to a halt when traffic was diverted on the occasion of a nagar kirtan. The district administration had tried to divert the traffic to different areas. But that did not help. All the roads and lanes were jammed with vehicles. People were seen literally lifting their two-wheelers to get to some vacant space. The chaos and confusion prevailed till late in the afternoon. Vehicles caught in the jams took four hours to cover a distance of four kilometers.

The other side

The city claims to be the leader in hosiery and cycle industry. The products match the best in the world. The Ludhianvis also try to keep pace with modernity which is manifest in different ways. The latest models of cars can be seen zooming in the city on the very first day of their launch.

But there is the other side to this modernity. The economic growth may be phenomenal and forward looking, but there are areas where the growth is negligible. The roads that connect Ludhiana’s industrial units with one another and the outside world still remain narrow and chocked with traffic. Instead of having the roads widened, the industry prefers to depend on bullock and horse carts and man-pulled cycle rickshaws.

These carts and rickshaws are so overloaded that the animals and men have a hard time putting them. Some get overturned (see picture on this page). While there are organisations that raise a voice against cruelty to animals pulling the carts, there seems to be no one to care for the men who drive the rickshaws.

Out in the cold

With the onset of the marriage season, marriage parties have become occasions for get-togethers. And appearances are essential for such occasions. Women try to look their best. Most of them are decoratively made-up for the occasion but not to suit the season. They avoid heavy woollens lest these should interfere with their personality. And they shiver because the shawls they carry are not to protect them from cold, but to add to their make-up.

While the young women may have the justification being fashion crazy, even the old and the elderly try to imitate the young. “Just jealousy”, remarked an elderly woman, who appeared peeved at the style of the old tribe. “They think that they can match the young ladies even if it means catching cough and cold, the long-time associates of old age”, she added.

Antique forms

The Tender Forms, being used in the Municipal Corporation and the Improvement Trust here, make interesting reading, if one chooses to go through the pages in small print. That these tender forms have been reprinted again and again, since god knows when, without anybody ever trying to read and update them, is evident from certain clauses, which indicate that some officer of His or Her Majesty’s government had prepared the draft.

While any development work, awarded by the civic body or other government and semi-government agencies today, runs into several lakhs or even crores, the ‘Angrezon ke zamane ka tender form’ still says that “For a work not exceeding Rs 1000, the contractor will be paid at the completion of the work, whereas for works exceeding this sum, the contractor will receive monthly payments, in proportion to the quantum of work completed.

The tender form has many other clauses, which can make you laugh. For instance the contractor will obtain construction material needed to be imported from England and America from the stores of the department or in case of a dispute between the contractor and the municipality, the Deputy Commissioner will decide the issue and his decision will be binding on both the parties. The tender forms also make a mention of tendering earnest money in cash, a practice which has been abandoned for quite some time now.

Repeat performances

If you happen to see annual functions of different schools, you will be struck by the similarity of certain items — a skit or a dance — presented by the students of different schools. Creating a new skit and a dance needs considerable effort. Therefore, the teachers find it convenient to adopt ideas for their presentations from shows they happen to have seen in other schools. Video films made at these functions also come handy.

Even in exhibitions, models relating to pollution, means of communication, solar heaters, volcanoes and fire alarms are repeated year after year. There are very few models that show originality.

Eating out

The residents of this mega city are so fond of eating out that health and hygiene hardly bother them. Although the restaurants in the city are costly enough, the health of the customers is the least of their concerns. Dirty kitchens with shabbily dressed cooks are a part of the big eateries. This part is, of course, not open to public view and what they see are the well-dressed serving boys and tempting dishes.

It is not surprising for a vegetarian to find a bone in his meal. There have been a number of such instances but nobody complaints. Consumer awareness is so low that people eat without thinking that the food might be harmful. Some people attribute this attitude to their busy schedules. They do not have the time to cook at home and eating out appears to be the only alternative. And they have very few good options.

Working women who do not want to cook after a hectic day in the office find it convenient to eat out. Sometimes they have to compromise on the quality of the food.

Migrant labour

Migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar come to Ludhiana with dreams of making it big. But life is not easy in this city. They have to struggle hard to make a living.

These labourers stay mainly in small one-room houses. Almost every colony of Ludhiana has such one-room quarters. Though the basic facilities are minimal, yet the labourers manage to make the best of what is available. A room with a bathroom or a toilet, is considered a luxury.

The women generally work as household maids. They get up at the crack of dawn, set off to work and return late at night.

Their children are a unique mix of cultures. They speak Punjabi with practised ease. Dark complexioned and dressed in over-sized knickers and sputtering Punjabi words, they make an interesting sight.

The going may not be easy for them, but the migrant labourers have devised their own ways to liven up their lives. When the day’s work is over, you can see them huddled together, discussing their day with the flourish of professional analysts. During the festival season, their lives take on an effervescent note. In many areas like Haibbowal and Aggar Nagar, the labourers collect money and organise festivities to savour a few moments of togetherness and joy.

Cold comfort

Hosiery and Ludhiana have become synonymous, Rightly so. In almost every area, particularly in the old city there is hardly a locality without a hosiery unit, big or small. People have grown rich from this trade. Ludhiana owes its affluence primarily to this sector.

However, this year, people in the hosiery business faced difficult times. Due to the long summer, people here did not feel the need to shop for woollens. Stocks have accumulated as there were no buyers.

But there came a relieving breeze of cold that brought comfort to the hosiery traders. As the cold showed itself, people started to shop for winterwear, bringing hope to the otherwise desperately hosiery traders.


CPI blames govt for rail mishap
From Our Correspondent

DORAHA, Dec 5 — Ludhiana district unit of the Communist Party of India, the Youth Welfare Association, the District Congress Committee (Urban), the Nagar Council and various other social and religions organisations have expressed their sympathies with the families of the victims of the train accident near Serai Banjara.

The meeting of the CPI was held under the presidentship of Mr Kartar Singh Buani, in which two minutes’ silence was observed as a mark of respect to those killed. The members, including Mr Rajiv Kumar Anand, Mr Nirmal Bhattal, Mr Phoolchand Kataria, Mr Kishan Kumar, Mr Pawan Kumar and Mr Bobby Anand, criticised the government as they felt “no special efforts are being made by the government to stop train mishaps and the accidents are increasing day by day.” They demanded a grant of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of those killed.

The meeting of Youth Welfare Association was organised under the presidentship of Mr Gaurav Mohindra to pay tributes to those killed. The association resented remedial measures that should be undertaken by railway authorities. Apart from others, the meeting was attended by Mr Sachin Angrish, Mr Manish Avlish, Mr Pardeep Anand, Mr Pushpak Mohindra and Mr Rajesh Badlan.

Mr Rulda Singh Chauhan, joint secretary, SC, ST cell, District Congress Committee (Urban), at a meeting demanded the immediate resignation of Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee who is concerned about her own personal interests and people are made to suffer due to the negligence on the part of the BJP government. The meeting was attended by Mr Harmesh Singh, Mr Gurbaksh Singh, Babbu Varinder Kumar and Mr Billa Varinder Kumar and Mr Billa.


Mali Ganj cries for civic amenities
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 5 — The winding, twisting lanes of Mali Ganj are typically old-fashioned. The locality was built decades ago. “The closely constructed houses with raised entrance and open centres remind one of the forties when life was lived at an unhurried pace. But today, the locality can no longer boast of its old charm. In fact, the modern lifestyle with its attendant changes has transformed the whole complexion of the area,” explained a resident of Mali Ganj.

An octogenarian said she had been a witness to the evolution of the locality since her marriage. With each passing year, the locality has undergone changes, so much so that it would be practically impossible to catch even a glimpse of the old Mali Ganj. Another old man remarked that he could easily pinpoint two conspicuous changes-one was the multi-fold increase in shops and the other was the plummeting civic sense.

Undoubtedly, one does not need to be specially perceptive to notice the filth and dirt in the area. Open drains are clogged with domestic refuse. One of the residents said though a sweeper came to their locality daily yet the drains were cleaned only periodically. The drains were choked with huge blobs of coagulated domestic waste. Garishly coloured food wrappers could also be seen floating.

The streets lined by the shops are strewn with plastic ropes of all sizes. A resident said that many a time, children and the aged got entangled in the ropes lying about on the street. Recently, a small child hurt himself when his leg got caught in a cluster of ropes.

There is a persistent parking problem, too. A shopkeeper informed that many customers parked their vehicles in the narrow lanes leading to traffic congestion.

Noise pollution is another problem plaguing the residents. Apart from the usual din of the shopping area, the residents have to put up with continuous noise emanating from a cloth factory located in the same locality. A homemaker complained that her children had trouble concentrating on their studies due to continuous noise. She added that hearing the chirping of birds was out of question as the factory din could extend well into the wee hours. To make the matters worse, the generator of the factory spews smoke that engulfs the entire area in a haze of dark clouds.


Munshi dies in police station
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Dec 5 — A munshi of Payal police station died in police station after a massive heart attack, 15 km from here today.

According to information the munshi, Manjit Singh, 38, who was on night duty at the police station had a heart attack at 5 a.m.

He was rushed to Sidhu Hospital, Doraha, where he was declared dead. 


Fake degrees seized, one arrested
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Dec 5 — The Khanna police has arrested a self-styled principal and president of the Free Press Journalists Association of India, Naresh Jaggi, in a fake degree racket case.

According to SSP Khanna, Mr R.N. Dhoke, Mr Gurbant Singh of Badinpur village had filed a complaint that Naresh Jaggi promised to help his wife pass B.Ed examination through correspondence from Jhansi University for Rs 15,000. He gave him Rs 8,000 as admission fee on April 7, 2000, and Rs 7,000 on April 26, 2000, in the presence of Mr Karamjit Singh.

He asked Naresh Jaggi to arrange the examination of her wife Arundeep Mann. After some days, he gave her roll number 70293, serial number 003834, dated December 9, 1999, and detailed marksheet of B.Ed course from Bundelkhand University, Jhansi, dated December 9, 1999, without any examination. They got doubtful that the marksheet was forged. Mr Gurbant Singh verified about the marksheet and found that it had no record in the said university.

The S.P. Operation, Mr Ram Singh, incharge, economic offence wing, investigated the case. After a preliminary inquiry, a case under Sections 420, 468, 471 and 120-B was registered. The SP said some degrees were seized from the house of the accused.

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