Wednesday, December 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


GPO working hours extended to 8 pm
From Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 19 — The local Postal Department has started late evening service in two post offices in the city with immediate effect. The working hours at Central and Head Post Offices have been extended till 8 pm everyday and these will also remain open from 10 am to 6 pm on Sundays.

Head Post Office at Ferozepore Road and the Central Post Office at Mata Rani Chowk are the two post offices chosen by the department for the night services. During the extended hours these two post offices will be providing speed post and registered letter services.

The decision to extend working hours had been taken last month, but it has been practically implemented from today. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune the Senior Superintendent of Post, Ludhiana Division, Mr M.K. Khan, said the decision had been taken to compete with the private courier services. He said only plus point of the private services was that these companies provided the posting facility till late in the evening.

Officials in the department said with this move the office-goers would have plenty of time to send a speed post or registered letter and one would be able to send a registered letter and a speed post even on Sundays.

Officials said the public had confidence in the postal services as the department was owned by the government and the extended timings would make them depend on these services all the more.

The new service is the latest in the series of decisions taken by the department to provide better services to the consumers. Facing a stiff challenge from the Info-technology and loss of revenue due to mushrooming of a large number of courier services in the city, the department had already set up new speed post offices in rural areas where the courier services were not active. In another recent decision the state Department of Posts had started a sort of night domination operation.

Under this system mail and parcels from all over the state are brought to the centre place Ludhiana in different vans. It is sorted out here and then the vans go back to their respective stations along with the mail meant for those cities. The facility was disrupted due to the postal strike but would be commenced soon.

* Central and Head post offices will remain open till 8 p.m. everyday.

* Both post offices will be opened on Sundays.

* Speed post and registered letter services will be provided during extended hours.



Bank strike on December 21
Industry looks for alternatives

Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 19 — The call for a strike given by the various bank employees’ unions on December 21 has created a panic among the local industrialist, trade and business community. As this city is virtually the financial lifeline of the state, the strike is going to hit local industrialists, traders and businessmen in a big way . Their apprehension is that the one day the strike may turn into an indefinite strike because the bank employees unions have already made known that they would oppose the banks privatisation Bill to the hilt.

It is significant to mention here that the recently concluded postal strike had also proved a big loss-making proposition for the local traders and businessmen. Because of the postal strike, traders were unable to send important documents to their clients across the country. Though private banks are also operating in this part of the country, strike in the nationalised banks proves very harmful for the trading community.

Without the functioning of the nationalised banks, which have a countrywide network, it is very difficult for the trading and industrialist community to run their day-to-day business operations. A leading industrialist commenting in this connection said that private banks were good as far as withdrawals were concerned but the dependence on the nationalised banks was much greater to run the countrywide business operations. As this city is a leading manufacturer of hosiery goods and also exporter of it, manufacturers have to depend on banks to keep their manufacturing operatings going.

The bank unions have given a call for a nationwide strike on December 21 to oppose the reduction of the government equity from 51 per cent to 33 per cent in the nationalised banks. Mr Harvinder Singh, Vice President, Indian Bank Employees’ Union, said here today: “All employees in the branches of the public sector banks, regional rural banks and the Cooperative Banks all over the country will observed a strike on December 21. Further, after observing the movement of the Bill in Parliament, the United Forum of Banks will meet again, and may announce an indefinite strike.”

Mr Sunil Dutt, a leading hosiery manufacturer, said: “The bank strike will affect our business, especially if it continues for long. The parties will make excuses for not paying the payments. We would not be able to cash the cheques or to get the goods’ receipts from the banks. However, the government must accept the genuine demands of the bank employees.”

Another hosiery trader was of the view: “We have suffered quite a lot due to the postal strike and now in the coming days there will be bank strikes. Since our business is a seasonal business, we may be forced to open accounts in private banks which provide efficient service and there is no risk of strikes also.”

Ms Shivani, a school teacher, who had come to the bank to withdraw her salary, said: “One day’s strike does not have much impact on the people. But the customers must be informed in advance so that they can take suitable steps. Moreover, the employees are also part of the public. The government must take care of their genuine demands.”

The call of strike has not been welcomed by the trading community. There major complaint is against the unions, who do not bother to take into confidence their customers before giving a call for the strike. The interaction with the public can mould the public opinion in their favour also.

Mr S. P. Singh, Branch Manager, Bank of India, disclosed: “We are telling the customers informally to withdraw money in advance. We are hopeful about the negotiations which are in progress. There may be some compromise.” 


PDFA discusses WTO
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec19—The Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension, Punjab Agricultural University organised a meeting of the Punjab Dairy Farmers Association (PDFA) on December 14,2000, at PAU.

At least 65 progressive dairy farmers from different parts of the state participated in the meeting. Dr K.B. Singh, Professor and Head of the Veterinary and A.H. Extension Department, presided over the meeting. lectures were delivered by Dr Joginder Singh and Dr Grewal. Dr Joginder Singh talked about the impact of WTO on the dairy industry. Dr Grewal discussed about different milk products especially those of Indian origin like kheer, kulfi, rabri, milk cake, gajrela and sweets which can be marketed in the International market.

Dr K.B Singh, Head of the Department, emphasised that the cost of production of milk should be reduced so as to enhance the profits. He further stressed that there should be a clear cut culling policy for stray or unproductive animals. He said the animals' feed should be prepared by the animal owners and feed should be free from Aflatoxin.

Dr K.B. Singh, clarified that milk should be free from antibiotics and pesticide residues and after collection the milk should be chilled immediately so as to lower bacterial count. Importance of quality of milk is the most important. If we want to export milk and its products to get better returns, he said. A separate question answer session was held in which farmers' queries were answered.

Dr S.N Sharma proposed the vote of thanks as president of the PDFA on behalf of the farmers thanked the organisers of the meeting and the experts.


PAU approves Samra’s appointment
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec19 — While the board of management of the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) has approved the appointment of Dr J.S. Samra as Director, Seeds, in the university, the post of the Director, Students Welfare of the Punjab Agriculture University will be renotified. According to information available here, today at the official level, the Board which met today at Chandigarh, gave the green signal to the appointment of Dr Samra.

As far as the appointment of the DSW is concerned, this issue is hanging fire for the past one and a half years. Earlier, Mr Sinderjit Singh Gill was selected for this post about one and half years ago. But the appointment letter was not issued to Dr Gill and the additional charge of this post was held by Dr K.S. Sekhon, Dean, Post Graduate Studies.

Sources said, at today’s meeting the issue of filling this post was discussed. The board of management , at the meeting decided to renotify the post and to seek applications afresh from the faculty members to fill it. It may be mentioned here that a number of faculty members had urged the university authorities to renotify the post and seek fresh application to fill it as the selection of Mr Gill, made long back, according to them, has been no more valid. They had argued that no selection remains valid after six months.

A university spokesman when contacted said the post would be renotified as per the decision of the Board.

Another significant decision taken by the Board pertains to the recruitment of the teaching staff in the university. According to the decision, a panel of 15 experts including university nominees, will now include also a chancellor’s nominee. Earlier, there was no such provision. Informed sources said the proposal to include the chancellor’s nominee was made by the university authorities which had been accepted by the Board.

Sources said that some decision approving the scales of certain functionaries of the university had also been taken at today’s meeting. But no details of this were available.


Shortage of officers in civic body
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Dec 19 — The functioning of the local Municipal Council has come to a standstill because no appointment has been made against the post of Sectional Officer( Mechanical) for the past 20 days.

According to information, there is only one post of SO (Mechanical) in Khanna Municipal Council, which has a population of more than one lakh. The SO (M) has the charge of very important works like sewerage, water supply and lights etc. All these works were being done under the direct supervision of SO (M) with a staff which is already reported short. Some months ago, the council had passed a resolution to appoint four persons in this department for its smooth functioning but nothing has been done because the resolution was stayed by the Director, Local Bodies.

Mr Om Parkash Gupta,SO (Mechanical ), Khanna, was transferred to Mandi Gobindgarh. Mr Tarsem Lal was posted in his place. According to sources, Mr Tarsem Lal is not interested in a posting at Khanna. He has proceeded on leave after joining. It is learnt that he is trying to be posted at some other station.

In the process, the functioning of the council is suffering a lot and residents of the city are facing inconveniences. Even as charge has been given to another SO (Civil) Mr Rajinder Singh, one SO is not sufficient to do all the work.


Woman succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 19— Hema Dhir, succumbed to her injuries at the CMC Hospital here today. She had been married to a resident of the Iqbal Gunj area of the city two months ago. She was allegedly pushed down from the roof of her in-laws house on Saturday last.

A case has been registered against her in-laws and her husband Amit Dhir by the Division No. 3 police here.

According to Mr Satish Kumar, borther-in-law of the deceased, Hema died today after noon after battling with death for three days. 


MC to debate PUDA decision
Fireworks expected on December 22
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 19 — The much awaited general house meeting of the Municipal Corporation, to be held on December 22, is likely to be anything but stormy since sensitive issues, much debated in public by councillors belonging both to the ruling SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress, find no mention in the agenda.

Interestingly, the MC meeting, rather than discussing ways and means to put its own house in order, will debate on the decision of Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) to construct its new administrative block on Ferozepur Road in the city. PUDA, at present having its administrative offices in the MIG Flats in Urban Estate, Samrala Road, has decided to shift its headquarters to Ferozepur Road where work for the construction of a complex on an acre of land is to be taken up soon.

According to an item (serial no. 11) in the agenda, a few councillors, mostly those from the Congress and SAD, have objected to the shifting of PUDA offices to Ferozepur Road on the grounds that residents of Urban Estates on Samrala Road would have to go all the way to far off Ferozepur Road to PUDA offices for their routine works and as a result movement of people and vehicles in the city would increase, thereby further adding to traffic problems.

The motion has been proposed by Mr Kanwardeep Singh Pappi, Mr Surinder Singh, Mrs Barjinder Kaur, Mr Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Mr Gurcharan Singh Gohalwaria, Mr Swarn Singh, Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia, Mrs Indu Parashar, Mr Mohan Lal, Mrs Ravinder Kaur Chadda, Mr Sham Sunder, Mr Madan Lal and Mr Jai Parkash, all councillors.

When contacted by Ludhiana Tribune, the Additional Chief Administrator Mr G. Ramesh Kumar expressed his ignorance about the move. While refusing to make any comments on the matter since he had no official information, he, however, added, “The PUDA, like the MC, is an independent agency. The decision for setting up a new administrative complex on Ferozepur Road was taken after prolonged discussions at various levels, including the state government level. The foundation stone of the building has already been laid by the Punjab Minister for Urban Development Mrs Upinderjit Kaur in August and the construction work is to commence soon.”

Other items on which the approval of the general house would be sought include a Rs 105.37 crore HUDCO loan for sewerage project in the city, time bound completion of three treatment plants under Sutlej Action Plan to be constructed by Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board, promotion of 18 firemen to the post of Leading Firemen, naming of parks and roads in the city, amendment in Sunder Nagar Area Supplementary Scheme, auction of commercial sites in Purana Bazar and old tubewell site near Lakshmi Cinema, appointment of computer operators on contract basis and the work done by quality control agency M/s. SGS India Ltd.

Several other issues like those of the proposed construction of an elevated road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema on G.T. Road in the city, the proposed Ring Road around the city and the increasing bureaucratic interference in the civic body working, which have been heatedly debated at various fora in the city by many of the councillors have not been included in the agenda.


Sant Kirpal mission to set up orphanage
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 19—The Sant Kirpal Vidyak Mission will set up an orphanage at Manj Phagowal, G.T Road, to take care of the less fortunate children. The children will be given free accommodation and free education at Green Land Senior Secondary Public School, Jalandhar bypass.

Talking to mediapersons at a press conference, Mr Rajesh Rudhra, chairman of the trust, said the centre would be functional by April 1,2001, and at least 30 children in the 3 to 6 year age group would be given shelter at the orphanage.

He said six two-bedroom sets would be set up at a cost of Rs 50 lakh. No external help in the form of donations will be accepted from any organisation, he added.

Mr Rudhra said there would be one female caretaker for every five children. He said some children, including orphans of Kargil martyrs, had already been selected by the trustees.

The foundation stone of the orphanage would be laid by Professor Ashok Ganguly on December 22. He will be accompanied by Mr Y.P. Katyal, Joint Secretary, CBSE, New Delhi, and Mr Yog Raj Sachdeva,Regional Director,CBSE, Chandigarh. 


A Little help can make big difference
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 19 — Gurpreet Singh (22), a resident of Shastri Nagar, has been lying in a local hospital with 75 per cent burns and a fractured arm for the past six months.

Gurpreet sustained burns at Jamalpur where he had gone to his friend’s place. He had climbed the roof of his friend’s newly constructed house to water it. He got entangled in a loose high-voltage wire. There was a short circuit accompanied by a blast. He was thrown on the ground. His arm got fractured and his lower limbs became immobile.

He was admitted to a local hospital for a month. Later, he was shifted to the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital where he was kept in emergency for two months and an intensive care unit for two months. Now he has been shifted to the male surgical ward (bed no 9).

His father, Jaswant Singh, is a tailor and he is only one who is looking after him. He has so far spent Rs 3 lakh on his treatment and is looking for financial help.

“I have spent all I had. I even sold off a plot. There is nobody to help me. The hospital authorities have helped me. Gurpreet needs one more operation”, says Mr Jaswant Singh.


Bhatia Parivarik Mela big draw
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 19 — A Bhatia Parivarik Mela (gettogether for families) was organised by the Bhatia Sabha, at New Shivaji Nagar here to mark the annual day of Sabha. A large number of families of the Sabha members had turned out at the function. Mr Ram Swaroop Bhatia, President of Central Bhatia Sabha, New Delhi, along with a few members, also attend the function.

A noted builder Mr M.C. Bhatia inaugurated a hall in Bhatia Bhavan. Contributions for this project were made by certain dedicated members of the Sabha. He was accorded a warm welcome, with bands from New SSD School and M.D.Bhatt School playing welcome tunes.

The President Central Bhatia Sabha, Mr Ram Swaroop, urged them to work for the welfare of the country.

A cultural programme was presented by the children. Manmeet, Prerna Bhatia and Pragti Bhatia secured the first, second and third places, respectively.

Mr Ranbir Bhatia, President of the Bhatia Sabha, presented mementoes to Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, vice-president, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Mr M.C. Bhatia and Mr Ram Swaroop Bhatia.


Dealers’ protest
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Dec 19 — A delegation of the local Electronics Dealers Association met the Executive Officer of the Municipal Council to protest against the alleged irregularities and threats given to the traders by octroi contractors here today.

A press note issued by the president of the association, Mr Vijay Vij, stated that the E.O. had assured to look into the matter.


THE menace of encroachments all over the city has indeed assumed alarming proportions in spite of the fact that PUDA and the city’s Municipal Corporation have their own anti-encroachment wings.

No market place of the city, particularly those falling in the old city limits, has been spared by the encroachment mafia, which has no serious qualms about the daylight robbery they commit on public property called the road. The leaders who give protection to the roadside business-makers are also of the roadside variety or so to speak. Their sole job is to ensure that all ‘monthlies’ in their area are paid on time because of their share in it and of course to accompany a rehriwallah now and then to the corporation building to get his vehicle released after paying the relevant fine. Corruption allegedly reigns in the Municipal Corporation. On the basis of tehbazari payment receipts, encroachments have been ‘legalised’ at several places in the town.

‘Choosy’ sales kid

Amusing things keep on happening in the city’s market places. The other day, Sentinel saw a young boy of not more than 10 in Ghumar Mandi, selling a variety of agarbattis from his bag. The boy was ‘really choosy’ about his customers. He went to a good looking young girl who was sitting in a red Zen and asked her to buy a packet of aggarbattis. The girl patiently listened to the boy’s sales talk and politely refused to buy his ‘product’. The boy tried hard to hook his customer but the girl was obviously more interested in the juice she was having. Seeing this, the smart boy made a variety of faces and commented: “fashionable si, nai gaari mein baith ke juice pee sakti hai, barah rupaye kharach ke bache ka dil nahin rakh sakti”, before walking away.

The elusive Mukherji

Scribes often take pride on tracking down and ‘nabbing’ politicians, who try to give them the slip whenever it does not suit them. But sometimes the shoe is on the other foot and the scribes are made to run after the ‘hard- to- get’ VIPs .

The roles were reversed during the recent visit of a former Finance Minister and a spokesman of the Congress, Mr Pranab Mukherji, to the city, when soon after his arrival at the railway station by Shatabdi, media persons were involved in a game of hide-and-seek with the former minister, who has had his wings clipped and named president of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee in view of the forthcoming assembly elections in the state.

The scribes present at the railway station planned to talk to Mr Mukherji soon after his arrival but a large gathering of students of SDP institutions at the railway station, in addition to Congress activists, sent their plans haywire. It was with great difficulty that the VIP was escorted out of the railway station to the waiting cars.

Mr Mukherji refused to budge, maintaining a stiff upper lip. He did not oblige the pestering journalists even during a lengthy function at the SDP College for Women.

However, following intervention by a prominent party leader, he invited the scribes to Sutton House in the afternoon, where he said he will talk to the press. But that too, was not to be!

The scribes who reached the venue were told by the staff and security personnel that the VIP would come there before leaving for Delhi in the evening. But they had no idea when that was that was going to be. After waiting for more than one-and-a-half-hour for Mr Mukherji, the scribes called it quits and decided to ‘black out’ the visit in their respective newspapers.

Net Users’ Club

Over 800 Net freaks of the city have come together and formed the Ludhiana Net Users Club. The members plan to hold frequent meetings and seminars to exchange information on new websites, new software packages and the latest advents in IT. Since most of the members are students from different educational institutes, the club will also keep a track of job opportunities in the city and outside.

Mr Viney Mohindra, vice-president of the club, who is a BBA student at GGN Khalsa College, says that the yearly membership of the club is Rs 50 and the members get a free CD and free-four hour Internet surfing per month for a year. In addition, they also get a discount card enabling them to get upto 30 per cent discount at selected computer education centres, Internet service providers, cyber cafes, hotels and other eating joints.

The club members are planning a dance party on January 6. They also plan to launch a Net magazine and a website by January.

‘Starred’ junk

A large number of prestigious hotels of the city dispose off the hotel waste in a manner that adds to the ugliness of the city. The gardeners, sweepers and waiters, after cleaning the premises, just pick up the rubbish and throw it out on the pavements. One fine day, Sentinel noticed a lot of ugly pieces of matress foam and general waste littering the entire pavement outside a starred hotel.

On Sundays particularly, all fast food joints of the city are packed to the capacity. Waiters can be seen dumping disposable plates and glasses on the pavements after retrieving the trays from the clients who are served in the parked cars. These sights not only present an ugly picture of the city but also smack of the irresponsible attitude of the hoteliers and restaurant owners towards the public. The Municipal Corporation should wake up and impose fines on people creating filth all over the city. They must be taken to task for littering the city as if it were a junk yard. No doubt, they are making plenty of money out of their businesses. Can’t they afford to part with a bit of their profits to carry out waste disposal in such a manner as befits starred hotels?

An ordeal for kids

‘Auntie bhookh lagi hai, thak bhi gayen hai’, was the lament of a large number of school children who were made to stand for one hour in SDP College when Pranab Mukhrejee visited the college a few days ago to unveil the statue of an ex MLA and a trustee of the SDP Sabha. Though the weather was pleasant, to make the small school children stand for one hour seemed harsh and unnecessary punishment for the school students. At the railway station also, rows of boys belonging to the SDP institution were made to stand with Tricolours in their hands. The boys thought it would be fun to be out of the school, but when the novelty of being at the station wore off, they became bored and restless. The teachers were busy gossiping. The boys at the back of the rows could be seen loitering. When the train finally arrived, and Mr Pranab Mukherjee alighted from the train, he was garlanded profusely. While he was being whisked away, people could be seen throwing garlands aimlessly. Should the students be kept away from their studies to welcome political leaders?

Macho chimneys

Smoking is considered by many to be the ultimate macho statement. Menfolk, especially the suave, urbane type harbour the notion that smoking is a prelude to smouldering masculinity. Holding a slightly askew cigarette at a rakish angle and blowing rings of smoke into the air has acquired an up-market image among the city folk. Even doctors, the so — called custodians of health, are not immune to smoking sorties.

One of the city doctors was heard saying: “ Who has seen tomorrow? Why should I forgo a simple pleasure like smoking just because after two or three decades my lungs ‘may’ be affected ?” Perhaps, the good doctor seems to have forgotten that smoking is not a solitary past time. It involves all those who have the temerity to stay in the vicinity of your smoking zone. Passive smokers are equally at risk of developing nicotine-related disorders.

Thankfully, smoking has not yet made inroads into the lives of the city’s women folk. They seem to be delightfully old-fashioned in this regard. So far as the ‘smoking-enhances-masculine-appeal’ reasoning goes, just sample a few reactions of the town’s women to smokers:

“Your curls of smoke invade my personal space, much to the chagrin of my nostrils!” “You choke my choice as you force me into reluctant, passive smoking!” “Your presence is ‘hot’. You remind me of a chimney!”




TV dealer arrested
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 19 — The city police today arrested a TV dealer running a shop in Bhadaur house for allegedly selling five TV sets to the Govt. Civil Hospital here at a much higher price than the one prevailing in the market.

The SP (operations) Mr S.S. Sandhu, told dealer Gopal Krishan has been arrested for selling five TV sets of Videocon to the Civil Hospital in alleged connivance of some hospital employees at a price of Rs 20,000 each whereas the market price was Rs 14,490 only.

The SP said Budh Singh, a former pharmacist of the hospital has already been arrested in the case.


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