Monday, December 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


SAD defends Vajpayee on Ayodhya issue
From Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 10 — Even as Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee finds himself cornered by allies like the Trinamool Congress, the Telugu Desam Party and the DMK on his reported statement on Ram temple in Ayodhya, there is a breather from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) which has given him a clean chit on the issue.

The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers and the secretary general of the SAD, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, in an exclusive interview with The Tribune said, the Prime Minister has already clarified his statement and there should not be any controversy raised on the subject again.

The SAD, which obviously has no compulsions like that of the Trinamool Congress, the TDP or the DMK due to negligible number of Muslims in Punjab, does not seem to be in any mood to share the concerns of other partners in the National Democratic Alliance. And it has taken a firm stand in favour of the Prime Minister.

Defending the Prime Minister, Mr Dhindsa pointed out that he had already clarified himself subsequently after his reported statement that the construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya was an “expression of national feeling”. He claimed that all the alliance partners were committed to the National Agenda for Governance and the common minimum programme (CMP) adopted jointly and unanimously by the NDA partners.

Mr Dhindsa argued that his party had always stood for secularism and it had reiterated its stand time and again.

Clarifying the stand of the SAD on the issue, he said, it had always stated its position that every concerned party should abide by the court verdict. But this should not mean that there cannot be a negotiated settlement between the Muslims and Hindus by sitting across the table as stated by the Prime Minister.

At the same time, the Union Minister remarked that each party in the NDA was free to act in accordance with its own policies and plans as long as it did not go against the CMP.

He expressed confidence that the latest controversy raised by the Prime Minister’s statement would be settled at the NDA meeting being convened in next few days.

Criticising the opposition parties for disturbing the parliamentary proceedings, Mr Dhindsa remarked that they should behave in a responsible manner. He hoped that the opposition parties, particularly the Congress, will be able to see reason and stop creating ruckus in Parliament, as precious time was being wasted. An all-party meeting to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament is being held in New Delhi tomorrow.

Referring to the alleged scandal of some fertiliser industries having got more subsidy than was due to them, the minister said, the CBI was already in the know of the matter. Final report on the issue will be brought soon, he said. A separate committee, headed by eminent scientists and former Union Minister Prof Y.K. Alagh, was also looking into the matter.

He revealed that special provision was being made for fertilisers in the next union budget and a new fertiliser policy was also on the anvil.


Human rights panel asks police to work for social change
Tribune News Service

PHILLAUR, Dec 10 — In the changed political scenario and increasing awareness about human rights, the role of police has drastically changed. The community does not expect the police to work for the interests of the ruling classes as during the British period. It may take some time to change the outdated Police Act of 1861, but instead of waiting for a change in the Act, senior officials of the force can play a crucial role by motivating the lower ranks to work for the common person.

These views were expressed by Justice V.K. Khanna on the eve of the World Human Rights Day. While addressing the participants of the six-day orientation course for senior police officials, Mr Khanna asked the police officials to work as social change agents.

The course was organised by the Punjab Police Academy (PPA), Phillaur. About 15 participants from different states participated in the course. These included ADGP (Gujarat), IGP (A.P.), five DIGs and eight SSPs.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, IPS, ADGP-cum-Director, PAP, said,

“These innovative courses have been planned to change the behaviour of the police force. The course focused on the role of police as ‘public servant.’ The concepts of community policing through participatory approach , drug de-addiction, and social interventions by the force were stressed in the course.”

Ms Anita Punj, IPS, course coordinator-cum-Deputy Director, PPA, said, “The course helped police officials update their knowledge regarding various localised experiments that have been undertaken by the police for the social change.”

The majority of participants also felt that the experiences gathered in the course will help them develop practical and solution-oriented strategies which will be proactive in nature and have a lasting impact on the community in their area.

Mr H.R. Banga, Commandant, Rapid Action Force, and posted at Ahmedabad, was of the view that after attending this course they will try to undertake some social development projects. It will improve their image in society, besides providing satisfaction.

Emphasising the role of media and NGOs, Mr Khanna asked them to play an active role in not only highlighting human rights violations, but also help the people to protect their rights. He further said that sincere intervention of the police can also protect human rights. The commission has set up 36 helplines. The people can contact the commission on these lines or personally.

He said that the number of registered human rights violations in Punjab had increased from just 100 in 1997 to more than 5,000 in the current year. The increased awareness about human rights had undoubtedly contributed to the registration of more and more cases. However, the hands of the Human Rights Commission were tied by the provisions of the Act, as it could make recommendations against the public servants only and not against the private parties.

Out of the received cases by the commission about 80 per cent of these were concerned about the police. Other cases related to dowry, atrocities against women, child abuse etc.

He stressed the need to set up branches of the Human Rights Commission at the district level as stipulated in the Act of the state. The commission is adopting 10 districts of the state where awareness campaign will be launched to propagate human rights. The emphasis of the commission will be on literacy and awareness about women and child rights. 


Railways suffers losses as traders turn away
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 10 — The raid by the Sales Tax Department and the CBI at the local railway station on December 5 to detect alleged tax evasion by the hosiery traders has left its direct impact on the parcel booking business of the Railways.

The parcel booking office is suffering a loss of Rs 4 lakh daily as the traders have stopped sending their products through railways. The loss is considered to be huge one as this is the season of hosiery business and the parcels sent by the industrialists of the city bring good revenue to the Railways. This can be gauged from the fact that the average revenue collection in winter season is more than Rs 4 lakh every day as compared to a routine average of Rs 50,000 only.

According to the figures available with the railway officials, the number of parcels booked observed a steep low just the next day after the raid. While as many as 2,504 parcels were booked on the same day the number came down to only 222 on December 6.

Although on an average the number of parcels booked was never less than a thousand before the raid. The number was 1,597 on December 1, it was 1,630 on December 2, around 1,000 on December 3, 1,316 on December 4 and the number was maximum, 2,504, on the day of raid.

On December 6 the number of parcels booked was 222, on December 7 it was 308 and similarly it was 349 and 300 on December 8 and 9 respectively. According to Mr Pritam Singh Bathla, Chief Parcel Supervisor, the revenue which was being generated in lakhs earlier had fallen to thousands. He said the parcels which were being booked these days were that containing poultry products and vegetables and not hosiery.

The loss of business was visible at the parcel booking centre. The employees which usually had heavy work during this season and had to work in double shifts were seen almost sitting idle. They said that 95 per cent of the work load has gone after the raid.

The Sale Tax Department and the CBI had organised a joint raid on December 5 at the local railway station. They had seized a large quantity of hosiery products and had claimed that the traders were indulging in tax evasion of crores of rupees.

According to the sources, the raid has spread panic among the traders who were either holding back their products or using other modes of transport to supply it to other parts of the world.


Identity of minor's body not established
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 10 — Mystery continues to shroud the identity of a body of a minor boy found from a vacant plot in the Mohan Singh Nagar area of the city on December 8.

As the post-mortem conducted on the body at the Civil Hospital here could not ascertain the cause of death, the body and the viscera has been sent to the Forensic Department of Government Medical College and the State Chemical Examiners Laboratory Patiala, respectively.

Though the body had turned blue suggesting that either the boy had consumed poison or some insect bit him, no such mark was found on the body. The time of death also could not be ascertained.

Meanwhile, the Division No. 6 police could not achieve much success in tracing the identity of the body. Police sources said a number of parents of the city whose children of similar age were missing have been shown the body but no one had recognised it. The police has also sent messages to other police stations in the district but no clue has been found so far.

The boy was wearing a white shirt, navy blue trouser and a red cardigan. His dress looked like a school uniform.

The dead body which had turned blue was spotted by some children playing in the plot. They informed the Division No. 2 Police Station which recovered the body and sent it for post-mortem.


Giving form to the abstract
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 10 — It has been a long way for Ludhiana born Sarab Soni to emerge as one of the top professional painters in the country. She started fiddling with the brush at the tender age of 7. Over the years she went on perfecting her art, until she ultimately graduated to a professional artist. Recently some of her paintings have been selected by Christies, the internationally known auctioneers of famous works of art and other artifacts.

But it has not been all too easy for her. Her struggle has been long and still continues. Her first break came in 1996 when she held an exhibition jointly with a few other painters. Her works were appreciated by critics also. This encouraged her and she went on. Since then she has never looked back. She organised several solo shows within and outside the country.

Sarab's greatest achievement, duly and widely acknowledged by the art critics as well, has been her tremendous ability to give form to the abstract. Most of her paintings have a definite theme. However, she sometimes fiddles with spontaneity also, to break the monotony.

She is holding an exhibition of her paintings in the first week of February at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. All the paintings being displayed there have a common theme Relations. She pointed out, relationship is one of the most abstract concepts. "I have tried to give the language of colour to the relations", she said. It is not the relation in the narrow sense of the word, but in its totality and absolute form like relationship between man and man, man and woman, man and object, light and darkness.

She maintains that abstract art is not formless or incomprehensible. She has a point citing the example of her own works. There are so much that is abstract in this world and yet it is important, adopted and understood. So is the abstract form of art.

She revealed that it was not an easy task to begin with. "I never knew how to begin and where to begin from", she disclosed. She started with the figurative works, but has also done landscapes and flowers also. That makes her success a phenomenal, particularly when viewed in terms of her being a self taught painter. Although she did learn the Fine Arts from the Government College for Women, here, but that did not satisfy her requirements needed for a professional painter.

Sarab said she is a keen observer. "My paintings do not come out of nothingness. They have a well defined theme and objective and I just try to give colour to these feelings and observations which I gather from day to day experience and from the extensive traveling", she explained.

Besides her own consistency and commitment, she attributes her success to the cooperation and encouragement from her husband Paramjit Soni.

Sarab has also been doing commissioned works. This also fetches good money. "This is essential, particularly when everything is commercial. Besides it gives you great satisfaction", she pointed out. Her works have been critically appreciated by the critics not only in India but abroad as well. She has already held one solo exhibition in London.


A gastronomic treat

RITZY restaurants and swanky eateries may attract city’s youngsters wanting to make a lifestyle statement. But when it comes to providing the gastronomic contentment, the humble kulcha - chana sellers seem to emerge as outright winners.

“Eating kulcha-chana on the roadside has its own charm — there is a certain charm associated with it. The roadside kulcha selling joints are a welcome change from the big restaurants that make you feel hedged in,” says Kuldip Singh Bhogal, an industrialist, who appears to be a kulcha-chana connoisseur. He adds, “Though there are many kulcha-chana sellers, including the ones near the Courts, New High School and Subhani Building, my favourite is Kuldip Kumar, the one whose shop is near the cemetery road. His kulcha- chanas are a gourmet’s delight.”

Kuldip Kumar has been selling kulchas for the past nine years. But his open-air shop is more than 50 years old. Earlier, his father used to run it. What is so special about his kulcha-chanas? He says that he is not sure but may be the special masala he uses to garnish chanas gives them their sizzling quality. And, yes, he refrains from using onion, ghee and oil.

A visit to Kuldip Kumar’s shop seems to be a throwback to the traditional world where time used to pass at a leisurely pace. Kuldip serves the fare with the passion of a poet and precision of a scientist — every ingredient has to be in the right amount. His is a ‘compact’ shop. A large tin that stores chanas, a saucer-shaped earthenware for chatni, a water pitcher and donas.

Kuldip prepares his chanas early in the morning. After all, his success depends on his culinary skills. Does his wife help him? Of course not. He says that it is a misconception that cooking is the preserve of women only. Menfolk can excel in it if they try. “It is not difficult to tingle taste buds if you get the ingredients in right measure,” explains Kuldip.

Would Kuldip’s children follow in his foot steps? No, he would prefer his children to study and take up some regular job. Even though he does a brisk business and earns more than Rs 500 per day, he would not like his children to be roadside vendors. Kuldip says that his father had come from Kangra to Ludhiana with a dream, and part of that dream was to see his future generations rest in the comfort of cushy jobs. —FOC


‘Sugar mills exploiting farmers’
From Our Correspondent

SAMRALA, Dec 10 — Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, National General Secretary of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, alleged that the sugar mills were exploiting the farmers in Punjab. He alleged that Amloh Sugar Mill was purchasing 70 to 100 truck loads of sugarcane daily from UP and Haryana, whereas the mill was not issuing requisition slips for sugarcane purchase to the farmers near the mill area who had bonded their crop with the mill.

Mr Rajewal alleged that a few farmers who had been issued the requisition slips were being cheated in terms of weight and also a cut was imposed by 8 to 10 quintals per trolley. He further said that those who opposed the irregularities were harassed. He warned that if the mill did not stop purchasing sugarcane from UP and Haryana, the BKU would be compelled to start an agitation to close the sugar mill.


Patiala resident commits suicide
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 10— Unable to tolerate his wife’s refusal to accompany him, Tejpal Singh, a resident of Patiala, today allegedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance.

The post-mortem conducted on his body at the local civil hospital here stated that the death was caused by some poisonous substance. The viscera has been sent to the State Chemical Examiner’s Laboratory to verify the nature of the poison consumed.

Police sources said the man was found in a semi-conscious state on the Jalandhar by-pass road near Aman Palace. He later died at Civil Hospital. The man told the persons carrying him to the hospital that he belongs to Anand Nagar Patiala and was a relative of a person working in the music group of popular Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi.

He had come to Bhag Singh Pura village near Phillaur to take back with him his wife. However, as she refused to go back with him due to some raging problem between the couple, the man, feeling depressed, consumed some poisonous tablets on the way.


Residents resent unplanned development
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 10 — The welfare society of Model Town Extension, Part- II, Dugri road, submitted a charter of demands to the city Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, after he inaugurated a new tubewell in the locality here this morning.

The charter, signed by the general secretary of the society and a host of residents, complained that the development works in the area were not being carried out in a well directed manner. It stated when construction of roads was started in the area, a road was constructed along which no construction work was in progress, whereas a densely populated area of the colony, was still awaiting a proper road. Another stretch at the end of Punjabi street was crying for immediate attention of the authorities concerned.

Similar was the case with the construction of parks in the area. The first park of the area was created along the Dhuri railway line which served no public purpose at all.

Streetlights were also being put up in the area without any proper planning. Many spots have been totally ignored.

Residents hope that the city mayor would put an end to the unplanned development in the area.


Function at Ek Prayaas
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 10 — Students of Ek Prayaas, a school for mentally challenged, presented a programme on Disability Day today in the new building.

Mr Vijay Chopra, Chairman of the Hind Samachar Group of publications, was the chief guest on the occasion, while Lala Lajpat Rai and Madan Mohan Vyas were the guests of honour.

Students presented bhangra on the occasion. Mrs Samira Bector, president and Mrs Radhika Jaitwani, secretary, Ek Prayaas said that the school had 40 children and was doing well. They also said that three special educators had been appointed to teach students and individual attention was being given to them.


Dog show organised
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 10 — The 14th and 15th All Breed Championship dog show was organised by the Ludhiana Kennel Club here today.

A large number of rare breeds of dogs participated in the event.

The show had a good display of various breeds like Cocker Spaniel, Walgre Boxers, German Shepherd, Labrador, Rott Wellier and Dalmation, Pomeranian, Poodle Miniature, Doberman, Neopolitian Mastiff, Bull Mastiff and Pointer.

Mr Sunil Sood and Mr Rakshit Khosla, vice presidents of the Ludhiana Kennel Club said that the aim of the event was to infuse a new enthusiasm among dog lovers of the state.

The two judges for the event were Mrs Lala Ratnam and Dr Mathew C. John from Madras. The event organised under the guidance of Mr P.S. Gill, President, L.K.C.

Ramandeep marries
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 10 — Ramandeep Singh, captain of the Indian hockey team, got married to Depinder Kaur in Ludhiana today. Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President of the SGPC, attended the marriage ceremony and gave his blessings to the couple.


Gang of thieves busted
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 10— The focal point police today claimed to have busted a gang of thieves active in the industrial area of the city.

According to a note issued here today, the police has arrested five persons and recovered huge quantity of copper and nickel wire from their possession. The wires were stolen from two factories, Big Ban and Nitin Industries, Dhandari Kalan, recently.

The accused Chandrama Yadav, Harjinder Kumar alias Jinda, Prem Kumar alias Bitta, Suresh Kumar and Om Parkash were active in the area for the past two months, the police said. They have been remanded in police custody.


Hosiery traders prepare for legal battle
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 10 — The decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has toppled the apple cart of hosiery traders who were trying to pressurise sales tax and CBI officials to compromise and release their seized goods without any verification of the material or the addresses of the senders.

The court has ruled that there would be no compromise and the CBI would directly report to the court about the seized goods. It may be recalled that the court had asked the CBI to investigate the alleged nexus between traders, ST officials and railway officials.

Hosiery traders are now regretting the lost opportunity provided by the Excise and Taxation Department and officials of the CBI on Friday, who had offered that their seized consignments would be relieved after getting 25 per cent penalty on the declared value of the material, without any checking of documents.

Traders and their leaders remained busy for the whole day today, deliberating over the issue. A meeting was convened yesterday in the Daresi ground to finalise the next course of action. Some leaders suggested to organise a rally and a procession from the Clock Tower to different markets of the city.

However, these leaders feared that they might be prosecuted for the contempt of court as the matter was subjudice. Consequently, in today’s meeting they decided that no procession or rally would be taken out on Monday. Rather they would fight a legal battle. They are contacting railway officials to provide them the Central Government’s order, which debars any third party to enter the railway premises to check consignments.

Mr Darshan Dabbar, joint secretary, Knitwear Club, said, ‘‘All the major trade organisations have decided to withdraw protest movement.

We are approaching the court tomorrow to submit that according to the rulings of the Allahabad Court and others the registered consignments with the railways should be transported as early as possible. The ST officials have no right to seize material after its booking. It is the fault of ST Department if it had entered the railway station without proper payment of taxes.’’

Mr Naveen Sood, president, Ludhiana Hosiery Association, asserted that traders were ready to show bills, provided the officials promise release the material.

However, Mr L.A.Khan, AETC, Ludhiana said, ‘‘No traders have come forward to take their material after verification so far. In case traders do not come forward to claim their goods till Wednesday evening, the department will send details of the seized material and the tax evasion to the high court.’’

Mr S.S. Makkar, Director, (Enforcement), Excise and Taxation, Punjab, in a press note has informed the traders that they can visit the ST office for the verification of their goods. However, the traders who contacted the office were told that the goods would be released only after the orders of the court.

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