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


Search on for Kalkat’s successor
PAUTA against ‘outsider’ taking over
By A.S.Prashar
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 16 — A search has begun for the successor of Dr G.S. Kalkat, who has put in his papers as Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University at Ludhiana, one of India’s premier farm varsities.

Dr Kalkat was appointed Vice-Chancellor of PAU after the retirement of Dr A.S. Khehra about three years ago. Although Dr Khehra relinquished charge of office on December 31, 1997, the position of the Vice-Chancellor remained vacant for over three months because the Badal government was very keen on appointing a person of national eminence to the key post. Finally, the choice fell on Dr Kalkat who was personally handpicked by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Dr Kalkat, who has held several important positions at the state, national and international levels, was initially reluctant to take up the post but was persuaded by the Chief Minister. Dr Kalkat agreed to head the university for three years instead of a full five-year term. His three-year stint comes to an end on April 15, 2001, but Dr Kalkat told TNS here today that he had informed the Punjab government that he would like to go earlier, preferably by March 31, 2001.

Informed sources in the Punjab government told TNS here today that the government had agreed to the request and has begun an exercise to look for his successor. During his stint as Vice-Chancellor, Dr Kalkat came to depend a lot on Dr K.S.Aulakh, a senior don of the university and Director of Research, PAU. During Dr Kalkat’s frequent trips abroad, Dr Aulakh generally looked after the day-to-day affairs of the university. He was appointed as Vice-Chancellor during the absence of Dr Kalkat. Dr Aulakh was also appointed as Pro-Vice-Chancellor in November, 1999, despite opposition from a section of the university faculty.

Dr Kalkat says that although it was up to the government to find his successor, he was of the opinion that Dr Aulakh was a competent person who could run the show in the university. During his absence, Dr Aulakh had been managing the affairs of the university in a fairly efficient manner.

The development has not gone down well with a section of the PAU faculty, which has begun a virtual campaign against Dr Aulakh. A body called Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha (BJVJ) spearheaded by Dr Balwant Singh has been formed at Ludhiana which has brought out a detailed pamphlet listing various acts of omission and commission on the part of Dr Aulakh during his stint as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of PAU.

A deputation of the BJVJ also met certain functionaries of the government here last evening and submitted the pamphlet along with a covering letter opposing Dr Aulakh. But sources in the Punjab government said that it was too early to move in the matter. Actually, the government is yet to apply its mind properly on the subject.

The Board of Management of PAU is due to meet here on December 19 but this is not among the issues to be considered at the meeting. The successor to Dr Kalkat would be chosen most probably in the meeting to be held some time in March.

Meanwhile, Dr H.S. Brar, President of the Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association said that the PAUTA neither supported nor opposed any individual for the top post in the university. ‘‘All that we want is that the Vice-Chancellor should be selected from amongst the present faculty of the university. Outsiders will not be welcome’’...


Hospital keeping patient captive?
From Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 16 — Is a local charitable hospital holding a poverty-stricken patient, Chotte Lal, captive for not clearing his dues?

While Chotte Lal alleged today that he has not been allowed to leave the Guru Tegh Bahadur Charitable Hospital, though he was discharged on November 20, the hospital authorities refute all the charges, saying that he was not discharged as yet as he had undergone a major operation and was required to stay back to recuperate.

While lying on bed no. 5 in the Male Surgical Ward, a bitterly crying Chotte Lal told Ludhiana Tribune that he was brought to the hospital in a serious state two months ago on October 23 and had undergone a surgery on which he had spent an amount of Rs 3,000. He said that this was the amount he had saved after an year of struggle in the industrial city.

He alleged that even after the two months of his operation he was not allowed to go.

He said that he wanted to go home as he was feeling better now but an amount of Rs 11,000 was due to him in the form of hospital bills and he was forced to stay back. He said he had chosen this hospital because it was a charitable hospital and he could not afford treatment in a private hospital.

“I tried to run away from the hospital also but the gatekeeper stopped me. I went to see the Medical Superintendent also but he said that I should pay my bills first and then go. I don’t have any money left with me. Where should I bring the money from? I have nobody back home to help me except a younger brother. Today I told the nurse to inject me with poison instead of making me suffer on the hospital bed,” said Chotte Lal while tears rolled down his cheeks.

Dr Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu, Medical Superintendent of the hospital, said that Chotte Lal had undergone a laparotomy operation which was considered to be a serious operation, and he was not supposed to leave the hospital as yet. He said that all allegations levelled by Chotte Lal were false and were intended to affect the reputation of the hospital, which otherwise was a charitable one and was helping the poor patients by providing them with free medicines and other kinds of help.

“I don’t know much about the case but I remember that no such patient came to me asking for help. We are doing charity work in the real sense and perform many life saving operations on poor patients without charging any fee. We have got our own personal contacts whom we use in need of help. This man was kept in the Intensive Care Unit and was given blood free of cost. Instead of thanking the hospital he is levelling all kinds of allegations”, said the Medical Superintendent.


Two booked in fraud case
From Our Correspondent

Khanna, Dec 16 — The local police today booked two persons for fraudently selling a property belonging to an NRI.

According to the SP (Operations), Mr Ram Singh, who also heads the Economic Offences Wing, a case has been registered against Baljit Singh and Pardeep Kumar, both residents of Khanna, after investigating the complaint of Mr Shankar Das, father of an NRI, Mr Devinder Kumar.

According to the complainant, a property belonging to Baljit Singh and Tara Singh was purchased and registered in the name of his son Devinder Kumar and his wife Sushma on May 5, 1995.

After the purchase, the complainant came to know that the property had already been mortgaged with the Punjab Financial Corporation (PFL). The complainant said that he had to pay Rs 8,00,000 to the PFC to save his purchased property from attachment.

Mr Ram Singh said that after an investigation by DSP Mohinder Pal Singh Shokar, it was found that Baljit Singh and Pardeep Kumar had got the property registered fraudulently.

A case has been registered against both the accused at the city police station.


Private firm plays havoc with city roads
From Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Dec 16 — So far it was only the Department of Telecommunications which used to play havoc with roads by digging trenches along these to lay telecom cables. Now it is Connect’s turn (HFCL Infotel Limited), a private company, which has dug up newly constructed roads to add to the woes of local people.

Go to any part of the main city, you will find roads in a shabby condition because of trenches dug by the private company. In fact in many parts roadside trenches have become deathtraps. It is very taxing to drive on such roads in this city, which is bursting at its seams.

Only about nine months ago, a new look was provided to all roads by repairing all potholes and worn- out parts. People were happy following the extensive repair of these roads. But their happiness has been dented by the private company.

There have been regular complaints against these people who have created a nuisance for the general public. The residents as well as the passerby face a tough time while passing through these roads.

Meenu Thukral, a resident of Sarabha Nagar, faced a bad time when she had to go to Ghumar Mandi for her daughter’s check up. She said,” The road of the Gurdev Nagar area is really bad. I had to literally turn back from the road and go through the main Ferozepore Road, which wasted my 45 minutes”.

Seema Saggar, another resident of Major Sham Singh Road, says that the road in front of her house was ‘opened’ for more than five days, and it was really difficult for her to get her car onto the main road.

The patients at a nursing home near Ghumar Mandi were on the verge of crying because of these broken roads. One of the patients at this nursing home said, “I am carrying my first child, and due to some complications, doctors advised me to take bed rest. But ‘hats off’ to the cable department, I had to go for a ‘long walk’ to get into my car”.

“The open roads are dangerous for tiny tots, and I did not allow my children to go out for four days”, said Mrs Sony, a Gurdev Nagar area resident. She said that a relative of their neighbours had to pass through a difficult situation when one of the tyres of his brand new Matiz car got stuck in the open road.

Because of so many complaints received from different people, Ludhiana Tribune talked to Mr S.Mogane, General Manager, Connect, to comment on the issue. Mr Mogane said that the restoration work had already been going on in these areas. He said,” “Whatever we are doing, is for the people’s service. Some areas might have been left uncovered. The cable laying process is quite lengthy. Watering, touching and compacting, so many processes are there. We try not to let the roadside trenches remain unfilled for more than 48 hours. We also face problems during the working hours and the work gets pending. We generally take 5 km area (one point at a time) for cable laying and if things get delayed, there must be some reason behind it”.


Women need equal opportunities
From Minna Zutshi

LUDHIANA, Dec 16 — The Constitution Amendment Bill that seeks to provide 33 per cent seat reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies continues to be a contentious issue. In fact, it has been three years since the Bill was first taken up in the Parliament. This time again there were rumblings in the Parliament when two NDA allies protested against the government’s move to take up the Women’s Reservation Bill in the House next week .

Is this Bill mere tokenism, an exercise in political goodwill? Or is it a step forward in women’s quest for equal opportunities? Why is it that this Bill has been dragged for so long? Has this Bill been submerged in the quagmire of politics?

The Ludhiana Tribune spoke to a cross-section of Ludhianvis to know their views on the issue.

According to Ms Amiraj Singh, a student, “The very word ‘reservation’ smacks of discrimination. If we want equal rights, why should we expect special treatment in the form of reservation? In fact, the reservation issue is just a political gimmick. Women should be provided with equal opportunities, so that they can come up on their own. Efforts should be made to harness the untapped potential of women. What is needed at present is sprucing up of our laws, many of which are blatantly anti - women. Also, attention needs to be drawn towards the Directive Principles of our State Policy. I do not understand why the precious time of the Parliament is being squandered on this issue.”

Dr Rajesh Mohan, veterinarian, says, “ Reservation is just a step short of patronisation and patronization seldom promotes equality. At its face value, reservation may appear alluring, but in my opinion, it will be detrimental to the welfare of women in the long run. The literacy level of women is abysmally low in our country. To expect political maturity from an illiterate woman who has been a passive recipient throughout her life, would be stretching one’s imagination too far. In such a situation, men folk are apt to become de-facto Parliamentarians, thereby defeating the whole purpose of reservation.”

In the opinion of Ms Gopika, a PAU resident, “I do not believe in getting anything on a platter, just because of my gender. In this age, when we are trying to do away with gender disparities, focussing on reservation on gender basis is totally unwarranted. Let women compete and get their due.”

Mr Kishan Thakur, a businessman feels,”Reservation of 33 per cent seats for women in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies would make it possible for women to get an adequate representation in the Parliament. Also, it would create gender sensitisation among Parliamentarians. The issues related to women would get more coverage. Moreover, these days, elections involve a display of muscle power and money power and women cannot compete with men on this score. Reservation would open the floodgate of new opportunities for women.”

“Politicians are just getting political mileage out of this non-issue. There are other alternatives to reservation. Why not make one-third reservation in party tickets mandatory? The tug-of war between the different parties on the reservation issue is just an attention-garnering tactic. No one seems to be interested in addressing the real problems. Even a cursory look at statistics is a telling commentary on the sad state of affairs so far as women of our country are concerned. Our male to female sex ratio is dwindling day by day. The increase in dowry deaths and rape cases have sent our crime graphs soaring. But sadly, our leaders seem to be interested only in upsetting each other’s apple-cart,” rues Ms Monica Angrish, a university student.


Sir Attar Singh & his Bhadaur

Ludhiana is a strange theatre of the drama of life. It never grew so fast; it never did decay that fast. It is the birth-place of great men who have done it proud. It has attracted men of vision who built institutions here. A great man, Attar Singh, lived here in the 19th century. His life forms an important in chapter Ludhiana’s history. He built a big residence for himself. The palace-like complex of buildings had a princely lodge, an audience hall for music and poetry, a prakash-kirtan room, guest-houses, servant quarters, guard rooms, stores, stables, cattle sheds, etc. It had a garden with fountains, lawns and foot paths. It was called Bhadaur House. The most noteworthy part of this princely residence was its library. It had a rich collection of books. Historians have recorded it and researchers have benefited from it. This library could match Khuda Bakhsh Library of Patna. The fact that Bhadaur House existed in Ludhiana sounds unreal. The history of this late 19th century building would read like a chapter of a historical novel.

Baba Ala Singh founded the Patiala state. His brother, Dunna Singh, founded the state of Bhadaur ,25 km. from Barnala on the road to Jaito.

Attar Singh inherited the state in 1858. He was an intelligent and sensitive man. Education was his first love — self-education and public-education.

Bhadaur House appeared at the small town that Ludhiana was in the sixties of the 19th century. Attar Singh mostly stayed here. He spent his time in the pursuit of education and culture at Bhadaur, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, Lucknow, Patna and Calcutta.

His interests were amazing. He learnt Braj and mastered Sanskrit. For his Sanskrit scholarship he was given the title of Mahamahopadhyaya. He also developed a love for Urdu besides Persian and Arabic. He was given the title of Shamas-ul-Ulema (A sun among scholars) in 1877. He was also awarded Fazil-ul-Fuzala (excelling the excellent in scholarship). He was given the title C.I.E. (Companion of Indian Empire) in 1880, and the knighthood in 1888.

Sir Attar Singh remained in the limelight in education. Lala Bihari Lal Puri in 1866 organised an education society (Sat Sabha) in Lahore. Lala Behari Lal Puri wrote Punjabi text-books. Sir Attar Singh was a patron of the Sat Sabha. Sir Attar Singh was a member of the Bengal Philharmonic Society, which showed his love for music and the fine arts. He was on the board that guided Aitchison Chiefs College at Lahore. He became a member of the Royal Asiatic Society, based at Calcutta in 1869 and rose to be its vice-president in 1880. He was a member of the senate of Panjab University. He was also the vice president of the trust that managed the Khalsa College at Amritsar.

He wrote many books and inspired others to write books in Punjabi, Urdu, Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit and Hindi, besides English. He guided Mr Trumpp, a German, in his translation of some parts of Sikh scriptures such as Japji Sahib. He wrote malwa Des di Saki Pothi and commentaries of Rehatnama of Prehlad Rai, Nand Lal, etc. He founded the Ludhiana Singh Sabha in 1882.

He died at Bhadaur House, Ludhiana, on June 10, 1896 at the age of 63. His library, as per his will, was shifted from Bhadaur House, Ludhiana, to Punjab Public Library, Lahore. At the time of the Partition it was divided between East and West Punjab on 40:60 basis. The Library of this great scholar forms part of the Punjab Archives at Patiala, organised by Dr Ganda Singh. 


Veteran journalist passes away
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Dec 16 — Mr R. Dhiman(85), a veteran journalist, passed away last night after a brief illness. During his career, extending for more than five decades, Mr Dhiman served many leading newspapers, including The Tribune, Free Press Journal, Amrit Bazar Patrika, The Economic Times and the news agency, Press Trust of India (PTI).

He had also written a book, Prosperity through Peace on Non-alignment Movement, the foreword of which was written by the then President of Egypt, Mr Abdul Gamal Nasser.

Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), and Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha have condoled the death of Mr Dhiman.



The railways are in news again, and not for any creditable reason. They have not woken up even after a fractured track caused a major accident a few days ago. The Ludhiana-bound Satluj Express also escaped derailment because of a big crack in the rail track at Therike village on the periphery of Ludhiana. The alertness of the driver averted a major accident. Why the tracks cannot be improved? Every Railway Minister announces new trains without bothering about the condition of the tracks. Hasty patch-up jobs restore the traffic but that is no solution. The tracks need to be kept in perfect order.

* * * *

The Municipal Corporation does not seem to learn from its mistakes. Last year, a woman fell in an open manhole and was sucked away. Again, a small child lost his life when he fell in an open manhole. Perhaps a cover-up job will be done, a person or two will be suspended. But the manholes will remain uncovered. The issue will remain dormant till another life is lost in an open manhole.

* * * *

The marriage season has cooled down, but now Christmas festivities have charmed the people. The atmosphere is cheerful for the festival that marks the birth of Jesus Christ.

No new movie has been released in Ludhiana. So film-goers have to do with Kurukshetra, Mission Kashmir and Mohabbatein.

* * * *

The students are again straining their nerves as the examination fever is on. All school and college students are engaged in preparing for their first term examination. The teachers will also be under a strain for they will have to mark the papers. They will, however, be able to enjoy Christmas holidays. But not the students of X, XII classes appearing for the Board Examinations. The fear of the examination will haunt them.

* * * *

The mild winter is causing heartburns to hosiery manufacturers. They are praying for some drop in the temperature, a little more cold and chill. For the common people it is time for sarson ka saag and makki ki roti. Nuts such as moongphali are also popular. — AA


Ex-servicemen observe fast
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 16 — Members of the local chapter of the Indian Ex-Services League (Punjab and Chandigarh) observed a token hunger strike today, in front of the mini secretariat to press upon their demands on the occasion of Vijay Diwas here today.

The president of the league, Brig P.S. Toor (retd), said if their demands were not met, they would be forced to go on an indefinite strike from March 15 onwards. Their demands include, a medical cover for the ex-servicemen as in case of civilians, 50 per cent pension for jawans, 35 per cent pension for widows, re-employment for ex-servicemen up to the age of 60, disability pension and travel concessions.

The league also demanded that the government should keep martyrs of the wars of 1962, 1965 and 1971 at par with Kargil martyrs and their widows should get same facilities as the widows of Kargil martyrs were getting . 


Probe into cheating case against bank
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 16—The Economic Offences Wing of the city police today began inquiry into the allegations of cheating levelled by an NRI woman, Ms Rajinder Sidhu, against the HDFC Bank here.

The woman has alleged that an employee of the Times Bank, which later merged with the HDFC bank, defrauded her by withdrawing Rs 1.70 lakh from her fixed deposit account.

The wing had been directed by the SSP, Mr Kuldip Singh, to conduct an inquiry into the allegations made by the woman. A team headed by Sub-Inspector Jarnail Singh, accompanied by the complainant, visited the bank and demanded relevant records in the case.

However, bank officials requested the police to give a list of the documents needed for the inquiry. In a press note issued here today the bank manager has, however, refuted the allegations levelled by the NRI woman. He said the bank had conducted an independent investigation into the matter, including verification of signatures of the customer by a handwriting expert and the investigation has found the signatures genuine. The bank has also complained to the police about the absconding employee, whom the woman accuses of cheating her.


Two injured in brawl
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 16 — Two persons were injured in a brawl at a sweet shop in the busy Ghumar Mandi area of the city, today evening. A gunshot was also reportedly fired.

The incident took place when three youths and employees of Bengali sweets entered into a heated exchange over the quality of some eatable. According to the police, the youths pelted stones at the employees, two of whom received serious head injuries. The injured were admitted to the Civil Hospital. However, it could not be ascertained whether they also received bullet injuries.

One of the three youths, Kulwinder Singh, was caught by the employees and other shopkeepers who had gathered at the spot. The other two managed to flee. A police party, headed by sub-inspector Mukesh Kumar, also reached the site immediately and the youth has been arrested.

Police parties were dispatched to nab the other two accused.


2 theft cases reported
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 16 — Two theft cases were registered by the city police here today. Two quintal of scrap having substantial price was reported to be stolen from a shop in Guru Nanak Colony and in another case sanitary material was stolen from a shop in Salem Tabri.

The police has arrested a woman in the first theft case while no arrests have been made in the second case.

According to Mr Harjit Singh, five persons including three employees had stolen two quintal of scrap from his shop. In the second case, Virender Aggarwal of Salem Tabri complained that sanitary and hardware material worth Rs 19,000 was stolen from his shop by unknown persons.


Satta operator arrested
From Our Correspondent

Khanna, Dec 16 — The local police claimed to have arrested a liquor smuggler and a ‘satta’ operator here today.

According to the SSP Khanna, Mr R.N. Dhoke, Surjit Singh alias Seeta of Ghaloti village was arrested by Head Constable, Balwinder Singh. Eighteen bottles of illicit liquor were recovered from him. A case under Section 61/1/14 has been registered at the Payal police station against him.

Following a tip off, Mr Jaspal Singh, ASI, CIA staff, arrested Baldev Singh, a resident of Billan Wali Chhapri, redhanded while running a satta business and recovered Rs 335 and a hardboard from his possession. A case under Section 13-A and 3-64 of the Gambling Act has been registered against him.


One killed in road accident
From Our Correspondent

DORAHA, Dec 16 — One person was killed and four others were seriously injured in different road accidents near here in the past 48 hours.

According to the information available, Prem Chand Bector, owner of an auto agency, met with an accident while he was on his way to the local satsang bhavan on his scooter. A car coming from Delhi allegedly hit his scooter as a result of which his backbone got fractured. He was rushed to hospital, where he breathed his last. The body of the deceased has been handed over to the relatives after a postmortem and a case has been registered against the accused.

In another incident, a Punjab Roadways bus collided with a Tata Tempo near Kaddon Chowk, resulting in injuries to occupants of the tempo, Saroop Singh and Charanjit Singh, who were hospitalised. The bus driver allegedly made an attempt to escape, but was caught near Sahnewal.

At the same spot, Mr Parwinder Sharma and Mr Hardeep Singh were injured, when a car allegedly hit their scooter from behind. The number plate of the car, that fell at the spot, has been taken into custody by the police, while the driver is still at large.

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