Sunday, December 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Minister accused of grabbing land 
From Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — A local resident, Balwinder Singh, has accused the Deputy Minister, Food and Civil Supplies, Mr Sohan Singh Thandal, of an attempt to grab his plot at Indira Nagar, opposite Chhater Singh Park. He has also accused the local police of partiality, alleging that it was not registering an FIR against the accused even when he had filed a comprehensive complaint with an attested affidavit.

Balwinder Singh released copies of the complaint in which, besides the Senior Superintendent of Police Ludhiana he had addressed the Governor, the chairman of the Punjab Human Rights Commission, the Chief Minister and the Vigilance Commissioner. He also alleged that the local station house officer in Model Town, in whose area his plot falls, took Rs 10,000 from him for getting an FIR registered. But the said SHO subsequently backed off and asked for Rs 40,000 more for the same, the complainant alleged.

The aggrieved person alleged that on December 10, a group of about 20 persons, led by “Bhan Singh, including Paramjeet Singh, Naurang Singh, Dr Jasinder Singh Bath and Dr Gill, tried to forcibly (and) illegally occupy our plot at Indra Nagar, Ludhiana, at the instance and help of Sohan Singh Thandal, Deputy Minister Food and Civil Supplies”.

He alleged the intruders had been carrying weapons, including kirpans and guns, some of which were recovered by the police also. He revealed that while the police on the said day helped him, it subsequently backed off. He alleged that one Mahindra jeep with arms, which was seized by the police from the spot, was handed over to the accused at the behest of the minister.

Apprehending a threat to his life, Balwinder Singh feared that people with influence in the government might harm him and even implicate him in some false case. He has sought the intervention of the higher authorities in the matter.

Meanwhile SSP Ludhiana, Mr Kuldeep Singh, said that the police had not received anything in writing so far. He disclosed that the police had taken swift action on the complaint of Mr Balwinder Singh on December 10 itself and forced the assailants to flee. He assured that the moment police received the copy of the complaint, a case would be registered. Balwinder Singh, however, pointed out, he had filed the written complaint along with the affidavit on December 20.


Tension over ownership of Dassehra Grounds
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — Tension prevailed at Upkar Nagar here today as a dispute arose between the Dassehra Ground Committee and a group of 11 partners, mostly ex-servicemen, over the ownership of more than 2000 yards, lying vacant, commonly known as Dassehra Grounds.

While the partners headed by Col (retd) R. Malhotra claimed that the land was theirs for the last several generations, the members of the committee opposed their claim saying that the land was originally a park owned by the Municipal Corporation. They even produced documents that the land was a park and was given to the committee for the staging of Ramlila and other functions.

A police party from Haibowal police station also reached the ground to pacify the persons. The dispute assumed political colours as the husband of a BJP leader, Ms Santosh Aneja, Deputy Mayor, was siding with the ex-servicemen while a group of Congress workers was supporting the case of the Dassehra Committee and the residents.

The tension began in the morning when members of the committee and residents living near the Dassehra Committee stopped the 11 partners from starting the construction work at the grounds. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Mohan Lal Chadha, former president of the committee, alleged that the move to start construction was suspicions as bricks and other construction material were unloaded at midnight.

He said later, when they opposed the construction work in the morning, the police was called. The police said the matter would be decided on Tuesday after verification of the claims of both parties. Mr Chadha alleged that construction began soon after.

Colonel Malhotra, along with other partners, claimed that the land was theirs for the last several generations. He said his forefathers had sold off the major portion of the land on which the present Upkar Nagar and adjoining colonies had come up later.

Visibly upset at the treatment being meted out to an ex-Army officer, he said he had taken premature retirement from service to take care of his ancestral property which was being encroached upon. He said he wanted to come earlier but was doing duty in the Kargil sector. He said he was disturbed at the behaviour of the people towards an Army officer who had shed his blood for the nation

Showing documents, he said the revenue department of the district had verified the claims and had decided in his favour. He said he was willing to get these verified again provided the police arrested the opposing people if their claim was found wrong.


Sewerage, water supply privatisation likely
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — The Punjab government is exploring the possibility of privatisation of sewerage and water supply facilities in the state and a comprehensive draft plan has already been prepared for this purpose.

This was disclosed by Punjab Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, while addressing a news conference in Circuit House here today. The City Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, Commissioner of the MC, Dr S.S. Sandhu, Additional Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma and Chairman of the Improvement Trust, Mr M.M. Vyas were also present at this occasion.

He said according to estimates, a whopping sum of Rs 4,000 crore was needed to provide sewerage and water supply facilities to the entire population with about 140 municipal bodies and 4 municipal corporations in Punjab. Since the extent of funds required for this purpose could not be generated by the civic bodies and the resources at the disposal of the government were also limited, participation of the private sector was being sought to ensure basic amenities to the people.

He said the 11th Finance Commission had made a provision of Rs 10,000 crore for civic bodies all over the country and Punjab had received a share of Rs 200 crore out of this. The second Finance Commission, set up by the Punjab government, was also seized of the matter and its interim report was expected by February 2001.

Mr Tandon informed that a solid waste disposal plant was being established in the city and 21 acre land had been acquired for this purpose in Noorpur Bet village. The plant would convert solid waste into manure and work for its construction was to commence soon.

Experts from Rail India Technical and Engineering Services (RITES) made a presentation on the Rs 38 crore prestigious project of elevated roads on old G.T. Road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema in the city. The proposed elevated road, the first of its kind in the region, would be connected to Civil Lines area by a flyover, which is to replace the existing Lakkar Pul with a multi-level parking complex on the first floor.

Mr Tandon made it clear that the elevated road project would not involve any acquisition of land, nor would it cause any damage to any existing structure. The RITES experts informed that the project would take about two years to complete and a unique feature would be that the entire construction work would be carried out during the night, so as not to disrupt vehicular traffic and normal activity on the existing GT Road during day time.

Later, the minister inaugurated three bridges constructed across the Budha Nullah in Madhopuri, Bajwa Nagar and Chander Nagar in the city. According to the MC Commissioner Dr Sandhu, the three bridges, constructed at a cost of Rs 4.50 crore, would provide important linkage to residents of the city, across the Budha Nullah.



Heart-wrenching tales of abandoned parents
From Minna Zutshi

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — “We are in the evening of our life. A certain feeling of loneliness is a natural corollary at this age. However, when your family abandons you, the feeling is intensified. Life loses its charm and your whole outlook becomes clouded with pessimism,” says an old man, who stays in a Senior Citizens’ Home at Ludhiana.

Most of the senior citizens who stay away from their families have heart - wrenching experiences to share. Their experiences accrue not from their stay in the old age home per se, but from their feelings of having been ‘yanked out’ of their families. When it was time to enjoy life, they had been thrown out by their “ worthy “ sons and daughters - in - law to languish in senior citizens’ homes. They feel so ashamed of their progeny that they are not ready to disclose any detail in this connection. Though they narrated their tale of woes frankly but they repeatedly requested not to mention their real names.

Mr Des Raj (not his real name) found his way to the Senior Citizens’ Home after his wife’s death. His eyes get misty when he recounts the circumstances that forced him to leave his home. “The fissures started appearing right on the bhog ceremony of my wife. I could sense a perceptible change in the attitude of my son and daughter - in - law. It was as if things had changed overnight. I was reduced to a mere spectator in my own home. My opinions no longer seemed to carry any weight,” explains Mr Raj.

Another senior citizen who joined the old age home after his wife expired says, “Why blame my son? I think our whole value system has undergone a metamorphosis. These days we are concerned more about the externals - money , power and status have become the defining characteristics of our life. My son is also a product of this age. He has his own priorities and I guess I do not figure high on his priority list. May be after some years, his priorities would change. Of course, I may no longer be alive then. But why rue about it?”

An octogenarian resident explains that he chose to shift out of his home because he was unable to take the humiliation at the hands of his daughter - in - law. He remarks, “We may be old and weak. But our mental faculties are still intact. It is excruciatingly painful to see your own flesh and blood ignore you. We may belong to a bygone era but life is still pulsating inside us.” He adds that many times, his son’s friends used to walk past him without even acknowledging his presence. If he complained about it , his son used to say that he was being hyper sensitive.

Reasons for this increasing dependence on old age homes are not difficult to fathom. Spouse’s death appears to be one of the deciding factors in making a senior citizen opt for an old age home. This holds good especially one for widowers. Many of them feel out of the tune with their family affairs after their wife’s death.

Clearly, modern lifestyle has edged the joint family system out of our lives. According to a retired lecturer, who stays alone in his palatial house, if it were just modernisation, things may have been slightly better. But westernisation coupled with individualism has eroded the traditional family system. These days the thrust is on ‘me-oriented’ culture.

Paucity of space is another frequently cited reason for sending parents to old age homes. But how true is this excuse is a debatable issue. Sometimes, daughters-in - law, in their ‘ zeal for independence’, further complicate the matter.

One of the inmates of an old age home sums it up beautifully,” The nuclear family that has no place for parents is an offshoot of our changed values. Even our definition of happiness has changed. Nowadays, happiness is equated with a series of pleasures. And those pleasures have to be packaged products. A trip to an exotic land, a dinner in an upmarket restaurant - the recipe for happiness is complete. The new generation has no time for simple joys. Those days when the entire family used to sit huddled together and chat away for hours together are simply a passe. Even dinner time has been hijacked by television and computer.”


Body found
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — A body of an unidentified 17-year-old boy was found near the Gill canal bridge here yesterday. According to the police, the boy, wearing a yellow shirt with check pattern and yellow underwear was probably strangulated.

He was bleeding profusely from the right eye, right ear and nose. A case under Sections 302 and 34 of IPC has been registered and no arrests have been made so far.


Woman elopes
From Our Correspondent

SAHNEWAL, Dec 23 — A married woman having three children, is reported to have run away with her lover with whom she had extra-marital relations.

As per the case registered by the local police, the wife of Mr Tehil Singh, a factory worker of Miani village, near Sahnewal, had illicit relations with Gurmit Singh of Machchiwara. Gurmit Singh, a farmer had taken land on contract-basis at Miani village and had been a regular visitor to the place.

Mr Tehil Singh has alleged that on the night of December 20, when he came back to his house after duty, he repeatedly knocked at the door, but there was no response. At last, his wife opened the door and fled with Gurmit Singh in the cover of the darkness.

A case under Sections 451 and 511 of IPC has been registered by the local police.



Legions of Malwa School

From the Malwa region, Ludhiana and Ferozepur districts, formed part of the Jalandhar division, under the British Raj. Both had close proximity to the Phulkian states, besides, other princely states of the cis-Sutlej region. Under the influence of the Britishers, some rulers imbibed western manners and cultivated hybrid habits. A few developed liking for European arts and sports. Patiala became a seat of learning, where Mahindra College is an institution as well as a symbol. Education awareness spread slowly in the Malwa region. Maharaja Ripudaman Singh encouraged education in the neighbouring districts of Nabha State. Bhai Takhat Singh was a pioneer at Ferozepur. A few education-enthusiasts lit more than symbolic lamps for children. A pathshala appeared in the heart of the old town near Ghas Mandi. A search was on for a better site, stronger men of management and donors with richer means.

The concept of Malwa High School was conceived as an institution at a new site in the Civil Lines in 1907. Wise men persuaded Maharaja Nabha, who provided large funds for the buildings. The Khalsa Dewan persons requested Sant Attar Singh Ji to lay the ceremonial foundation-stone. He did it on the Baisakhi day (April 13, 1915). From then onwards, there was no looking back. The campus was active in sports and games also. It enthused one and all : students, teachers, parents, public. Soon the school attracted academic notice because of its results and sports. It also provided a suitable hostel. An educational institution builds its image on four pillars : staff to be headed by a ‘captain’, students — every one of them comes to seek knowledge as well as to discover and build personality, the managing committee, guided as well as inspired by its president and an appreciative cooperative and supportive society. Malwa School was lucky in all the four aspects. Old timers recall with due respect the great heads headmasters/principals namely S. Dharam Singh, S. Niranjan Singh, S. Pritam Singh, besides the National Awardee, principal Jaswant Singh Dhaliwal. Old students hold their heads in pride and lower the same in respect as they recall the debt they owe to their teachers.

A field is judged by its yield, a garden by its fruits. It is the general quality of alumni which projects the image of an almamater. Contemporary historians of school education include such notables names among the ‘old boys’ : S Kartar Singh Sarabha (martyr), Baba Santa Singh (Babbar), Justice Gurnam Singh (Chief Minister of Punjab), Mr S.S. Puri (Chief Secretary, Punjab), Mr Shamsher Singh Dhandari (MLA) and his son Mr D.S. Garcha (MLA/MP), Sahir Ludhianavi (poet, film personality), S Joginder Singh Grewal (popularly known as P.P. who served the Dewan for 25 years), Khalsa brothers, Mr Harinder Singh Khalsa (IFS) and BSS Khalsa (IFS), Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal (MLA Ex-Minister, Punjab) Sportsman Mr Shiv Vir Singh (Coach, Canadian Hockey Team), Mr Baldev Singh (Formerly National Hockey Coach), Dr H.S. Deol (Retd. DPI) besides scores of important persons. Last, but not the least, the first citizen of the megacity, Apinder Singh Grewal, (Mayor, Municipal Corporation) is also its old student and his father, Mr Rajinder Singh Grewal (noted sportsman won scores of Medals, and was Star of Asian Games for Veterans), is an ‘old boy’ of this school. It would be a good idea to construct its own Hall of Fame. Photographs of its famous headmasters, principals, teachers, alumni, as well as the members of the Khalsa Dewan should be permanently displayed. A galaxy of grandfathers, fathers and sons would wax eloquently over them. What can inspire better? Such an institution has much to its credit. In an age threatened by career-oriented schooling, the glory of men of integrated personality looks all the more relevant and significant. Historians of education may ask as to why can’t a book on history of the school, including that of the Khalsa Dewan, be written?

It may be in place to add here that the Dewan runs five more institutions : Khalsa College for Women (Post-Graduate), Malwa Central College of Education (MEd level), Khalsa Senior Secondary School for Girls, Malwa Central Public School and Technical Institute for Computer Studies. The mantle for running these institutions is currently borne by Mr Inder Mohan Singh Grewal (president), Mr Sudarshan Singh Deol (secretary) and Mr Gurdish Singh Grewal as Treasurer. Well-known persons have served these institutions, including many dignitaries. S Kapoor Singh Nasrali (Former Finance Minister), Mr Ram Dayal Singh (MLA/MLC) S Shamsher Singh Dhandhari, MLA.

This school has a story of unique sacrifice also. It vacated it premises to rehabilitate the (Lyallpur) Agricultural College, which was destined to be a university. Again, it accommodated the G.N. Engineering College (Model Gram) which shifted to its permanent campus (at Gill). Which other school would match such history? History separates, but it may also unite.

The original site (1907) at Malwa School is occupied by Khalsa College for Women. Across the road, we have Gujranwala G.N. Khalsa College. Ludhiana and Gujranwala are separated by 142 miles , the foundation-stone laying ceremonies took place three years apart. However, they are united by the same set of hands, those of Sant Attar Singh Ji. Time is a mystery, so is man.


Complaints aplenty, but hardly any action
From Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — Time:8:30 a.m., place: a local petrol pump. A young woman in a Maruti stops and asks the attendant to put four litres of petrol in her car. She is stunned after a look at the meter. The meter, instead of zero, starts from Rs 52. The incident leads to an arguments and the episode ends in an unpleasant encounter.

This is just one example of the kind of numerous complaints registered by the customers regularly. Huge quantities of oil, be it petrol or diesel, is consumed by the commuters of this rich industrial city. But not many customers appear to be satisfied with the services provided by the petrol dealers of the city.

There are about 45 petrol pumps within the Ludhiana municipal limits. An official of the Indian Oil Company maintains that the number of complaints is not much. “We receive about 3 to 4 written complaints in a month. Necessary disciplinary action is taken against the dealer depending on the nature of the complaint. Strict action includes closure of the pump for several days. In case of a minor complaint, we warn the dealers and take action if the negligence continues”, he adds.

He says most of the complaints against the petrol dealers are made on the telephone. When they are asked to appear in person, 80 per cent of the complainants do not turn up. This helps the erring dealers to escape conveniently.

Most of the area managers inform that the samples taken in routine checking are usually normal. An official of Bharat Petroleum says there are nine petrol pumps of the company. The company deputes an authorised senior sales officer who can check the quantity and quality of the petrol, any time.

The official says the complaints are rare. He also says if the attendants make some ‘intentional’ mistake and try to play smart with the customers, a warning is given to the dealer against particular attendant and the dealer takes desirable action.

While there is a general perception among the customers that the oil supplied is adulterated, which effects the working of the machinery, not many people come forward with formal complaints. Most of the area managers maintain that they rarely receive any adulteration complaint against the dealers. They say they arrange filter papers for the customers to check the quality of petrol used in the pumps.

An official of IOC says customers can get filter paper and after pouring two drops of oil, the quality can immediately be verified. The petrol is pure if the drops evaporate in two minutes, but if some mark is left, there must be some impurity, he elaborates. 


Carnival time for kids?
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — It was carnival time for the children at the Ludhiana fair being organised on the campus of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) by the northern chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). While it was a consumer show offering items ranging from stationery to luxurious Korean cars, computer fun games remained the prime attraction for the children.

Since the inauguration was preponed by two hours as the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had some other engagements scheduled for later in the day, there was thin attendance of public in the beginning. However, as the day passed by, the flow of people also increased and till evening there was a huge rush. The organisers are expecting about one lakh visitors to the fair during the next three days.

There was a large number of young students in their school uniforms who had come to see the fair. Their main attraction was the computer stalls offering fun games free of cost. The students were glued to the computers. While there was an abundant number of computers, several students were seen swarming each computer.

The variety offered includes various types of software, hardware, peripherals, multimedia, computer education and IT enabled services. There are three pavilions at the carnival — the Dot Com Pavilion, IT Education Pavilion and Hardware/Soft Technology/ISPs and Communication Pavilion.

An important feature of the fair is a separate pavilion on health, the Good Health 2000, laying stress on alternative system of medicine like Ayurveda, homoeopathy, naturopathy and Unani. It also exhibits healthcare products like medical disposables, airpurifiers, mosquito and pest repellents, home hygiene products and Unani, Ayurvedic and Homoeopathic medicines.

Also on display are beautiful cars and automobiles from Daewoo Motors, Bajaj, Escorts, Hero Honda, Yamaha, Ford and Eicher. Consumer durables like television sets, washing machines, VCRs, telephone sets and hand sets for cell phones were other attractions.



THE year 2000 is coming to close. People are in a dilemma as to which invitations to accept and which ones to reject. Most people have shortlisted the parties they would be attending during Christmas and New Year. Those who are members of more than one club leaving one for the other is a difficult decision to make. Since they will be paying party charges to all the clubs, they wouldn’t be able to have fun at all places. What a deprivation!

During the week, the PAU was a host to teams who had come to participate to the Romesh Chander Hockey Farmtrac Cup. The place looked festive with flags fluttering on the campus.

People have got a chance to watch the performance of Sunita Rao and Jassi. Their versatility enthused the audience to take the aisles. And it was time for Kader Khan to present his play Taash Ke Patte a satire, with rib-tickling dialogues.

Christians will take out a procession from tomorrow night from the Kalvary church. The procession will also comprise floats on various aspects of Christ’s life. On the night of December 24, a ‘midnight mass’ will also be conducted in the city.


‘Drug addiction: A social problem’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 23— “Drug addiction has become a serious problem both in the urban and rural areas of Punjab and if no immediate remedial measures were taken, it would badly affect the socio-economic scenario in the state.” These views were expressed by Dr Rajeev Gupta, consultant psychiatrist, during his talk to the members of Rotary Club, Mid Town here at Lodhi Club, recently.

Dr Gupta made the members aware about commonly misused drugs by the youth and discussed the serious complications that followed various addictions. He informed that young people were becoming unfortunate victims of drug abuse, which was adversely affecting their studies and job. As a result, a number of family and social problems were being created. He said many smack addicts started doing criminal activities and eventually also became drug peddlers.

Dr Gupta said smack addiction was the worst form of the addiction. Regular use of smack lead to a number of serious symptoms like physical violence, abnormal behaviour, severe malnutrition, anaemia and impotence. Many smack addicts died prematurely. He also cautioned against the fast rising alcohol consumption levels, which was one of the highest in India.

He informed that alcohol acted like a depressant to the brain and badly affected memory, orientation, mood and intellectual capacity of those who took it on a regular basis. Dr Gupta also criticised the habit of people to take medicines without any medical advice. He said that tranquillizers and sleep-induced drugs were misused most commonly by the general public and without being aware of it, one gradually got hooked to them.

Dr Gupta said that there was an urgent need to increase awareness about the problem and reduce availability of potentially harmful drugs and substances. He suggested a medical treatment for those who were addicted to drugs.


After losing son, man feels cheated
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — Mr Kalim Ali, the father of Mohammad Ali (4), who fell in an uncovered manhole on December 12 and died, has alleged that he was being pressurised not to pursue the case.

Mr Kalim Ali was forced to sign certain documents by some persons on December 18. He was asked to accompany a factory owner of the Kirpal Nagar area to a newspaper office. When they reached the office, the reporter concerned was not there.

He was taken to Sunder Nagar police station by his neighbour. At about 8:45 pm, they reached the police station. The neighbour told a police official to write something on a paper in Punjabi. Mr Ali was asked to sign it, although he could not read the contents.

The copy of the paper signed by him has been procured by Ludhiana Tribune. The paper does not bear any stamp and has contents in Punjabi. It bears the signatures of Mr Kalim Ali in Hindi and of his neighbour in English. Mr Ali and his wife, Ms Thiru Nisa, want the matter to be probed.


Lok Bhalai Party to launch agitation
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Dec 23 — The Lok Bhalai Party, headed by a former Union Minister, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, will launch a mass agitation in Punjab from January 1 to focus on the ‘misrule’ of SAD (B)-BJP government in the state. The party will observe New Year Day as ‘black day’ and hold a hunger strike in front of the Mini-Secretariat here.

The party supremo, Mr Ramoowalia, addressing a news conference here today, observed that the ruling coalition in Punjab had miserably failed on all fronts. People from all walks of life, including members of trade and industry, farmers, employees, Dalits and the youth, were frustrated. Prices of essential commodities had reached an all-time high and corruption had crossed all limits.

He alleged that development works in the state had suffered a setback. The schools and hospitals were poorly equipped and the state government, rather than trying to improve financial management to tide over the resource crunch, which was of its own making, was going in for sale of government land, bus stands and rest houses.

A Rajya Sabha member, Mr Ramoowalia informed that in the course of his mass contact programme in the state, he would cover more than 7000 villages and he had interacted with rural population in around 1700 villages. The majority of the people, he had met, felt betrayed by the government. After unprecedented crisis, which the paddy growers had faced, the farmers apprehended a similar fate to the wheat crop. The Union Government had not released any funds out of Rs 350 crore relief announced for paddy farmers.

The Centre, he alleged, had been persistently discriminating against Punjab, despite claims to the contrary by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and his BJP colleagues in the Cabinet. The government had backed out from its committed funding of international airport at Amritsar. The amount stood reduced to Rs 79 crore from the earlier Rs 105 crore. The public sector Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited had declined its participation in the proposed refinery at Bathinda.

The Lok Bhalai Party, he added, would stage a dharna at Jantar Mantar in the national capital on December 29 to highlight the Centre’s step-motherly treatment to Punjab. The party would also take up the denial of right to purchase land to residents of other states in Rajasthan.


Residents defend in-laws 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — Residents of Iqbal Gunj Colony yesterday came out openly in support of Hema’s in-laws. According to the residents, Hema had jumped from the roof on her own last Saturday.

The residents, numbering about 40, met the SSP, Mr Kuldip Singh, and demanded a probe into the matter.

Mr Satinder Pal Singh, a spokesman for the residents said Mrs Chandra Kant Gupta and Mr Ramesh Verma saw Hema jumping from the roof. They claimed that the family was God-fearing one and had not demanded dowry or beaten up the woman as alleged by her parents.

He said the suspect family had cordial relations with their neighbours.

However, close relatives of the woman’s parents maintain that Hema Dhir was murdered. They allege that the in-laws had beaten up the deceased the night before pushing her from the roof. A family member said that the victim had fractures on her ribs and marks on her legs suggesting that she had been beaten up.

Hema was married to Amit Dhir, son of a hosiery trader in the colony just two months ago. On Saturday last she was admitted to the CMC with multiple injuries. Hema succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday.


Hosiery traders plead with excise officials
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — The hosiery traders of Ludhiana, whose goods were sealed in a joint raid by the CBI and the sales tax officials a few days ago, tried to convince the Excise and Taxation officials once again today to release the seized goods, but without any result.

A delegation of the hosiery traders, led by Mr Vinod Thapar and Mr Darshan Dawar, president and general secretary of the Knitwear Club respectively, met the excise officials today. They submitted that the department should release the goods of those traders who were able to produce proper bills. However, the officials were not sure whether they could release the goods, even after verification of documents. They were confused about the implications of the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The traders were told that the department was trying to get legal advice on this issue and they could meet the officials again on Monday. Mr Ramesh Garg, a member of the delegation complained that due to the different views held by the officials, the consignees from other states had already made a number of visits to the city to get the seized consignments released. In the wake of the raids, traders from other states were reluctant to make any purchases from the city. 


Animal helpline opened in city
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — In order to curb the growing incidence of cruelty against animals, the local police, in collaboration with the District Administration, has formed an Animal Helpline for prevention of cruelty to animals and to come to their aid in case of distress or accident etc.

Under the scheme, a representative from non-government organisation, two head constables and three constables from the Traffic wing, will be deputed with a vehicle of the traffic police to respond to help calls. The authorities said that this team would immediately respond to the call by any animal welfare organisation or person regarding atrocities on animals like overloading, accidents or beating.

With the launch of this scheme, Ludhiana has become one of the few Districts in the state to have started the Helpline. Jalandhar district had earlier introduced it.

SSP Kuldip Singh told The Ludhiana Tribune that people could call at telephone No. 100 and ask for the help required. He said the move has been made as the police was receiving a number of complaints from residents concerned about the welfare of the animals.

The People For Animals (PFA) organisation, which was spearheading the campaign for the formation of such a helpline, has in a press release, welcomed the move and called it the need of the hour.

They have, however, urged the district administration and police officials of ensuring proper implementation of the Helpline scheme so that the objective is realised.



Pensioners demand extension
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — The Government Pensioners’ Association has demanded that the period of submission of family pension cases be extended by six months.

Stating this in a press note, Mr Yash Pal Ghai, Additional General Secretary of the association, said that the Punjab government had given six months time to the pensioners, who retired before January 1, to submit cases for revision of family pensions after a notification was sent on August 2000. The pensioners, however, said that this period should be extended by another six months, so that a maximum number of pensioners could take advantage of the scheme.

Even in cases where family pension had not become operative, pensioners had been told to apply on a prescribed performa to the Accountant General, Punjab, through the head office from where they retired. The association has demanded an extension for new cases as well.


Office work comes to a standstill
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — A visit by a VIP to the city may not help the general public in any way but it helps the government officials who leaving their office work behind rush to the venue of the visit to make their presence felt.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal was here yesterday to inaugurate the CII festival organised at Punjab Agriculture University. A visit to several offices revealed that many officials in the city were not available in their offices for most part of the day.

The situation was same in almost all government offices housed in the Mini-Secretariat and at other places in the city. Even senior police officers and the SHOs at various police stations were out in field for most part of the day in connection with the ‘urgent arrangements’ for the visit of Mr Badal.

The visit to various government offices revealed that the official work had come to a standstill in the government offices. With the seniors not around, it was convenient for the other staff to vanish easily. Many of them had suddenly some ‘urgent’ piece of work to do.


Punjab stamp vendors to meet on December 30
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — The stamp vendors in Punjab are being governed by rules formed by the Britishers and so the state government should revise the commission of the vendors and the limit of the stamps that could be sold by them to the public for registration purposes. These demands were made in the meeting of the Stamp Vendors Union held here today.

Mr Gurdial Singh Makkar, secretary of the association, said : ‘‘We are still getting 50 paise commission on the Rs 100 stamps. This commission must be raised at least up to 10 per cent. Moreover, we could sell stamps only up to Rs 1000. This limit should also be raised up to Rs 10,000.’’

A state-level meeting of the union has been called on December 30 to convince the government to accept these demands. Delegates from all districts of the state will participate in this meeting. Mr Arjun Singh Budhiraja, the state president, will preside.

Mr Makkar also disclosed that due to the apathetic attitude of the government, the vendors were forced to do other menial jobs for their survival. The union, representing more than 4000 stamp vendors is Punjab, urged the government to change the rules to raise their standard of living.

On Rs 1000 stamps, a registry of Rs 16,000 could be made. For higher registries , the stamps are issued directly by the Treasury Department.


Badal honours ‘cotton king’ at CII fair
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — After inaugurating the CII fair on the premises of PAU ground today, the CM awarded the cotton king of Punjab, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, with the CII award for excellence in cotton production. The award was sponsored by Vardhman Group.

Mr Surinder Singh is a progressive farmer of Bhagwanpur village near Maur mandi (Bathinda). He has succeeded in achieving a high yield of 48 maunds of seed cotton per acre, which will give a turn over of more than 1,500 kg per hectare.

After receiving the award, Mr Surinder Pal Singh said that the factors that had led to his success were, selection of a high yielding and pest resistant variety, purity and the compliance with all the cultural practices in a scientific manner.


Police keeps our hopes alive 
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — The alleged dowry death of Hema Dhir and the sensational case of throwing of a child into a canal for Rs 100, besides the alleged rape of a married woman, were the main crime incidents reported during last week.

The police also deserved a pat on its back for success in solving a cheating case of fake passports and the brave act of a police constable in saving a child from a certain death by drowning in the canal. Besides these, two robberies, a theft and a stabbing incident were also reported.

The parents of the alleged dowry death victim, Hema Dhir, held a demonstration in front of the house of her in-laws, residents of Islam Ganj, where they took the body and protested for more than two hours. They even became violent and broke open the doors of her in-laws’ house.

It was alleged that Hema Dhir, who got married in October last, was pushed by her in-laws from the roof of the house. While the police registered a case, neighbours of the in-laws met the SSP, claiming that the in-laws were nowhere in the picture and the girl had jumped off on her own.

A shocking incident took place in the middle of the week when a rickshaw-puller Jagdish threw a 5-year- old boy in a canal near South City in order to settle a personal score with the boy’s father. Jagdish owed the boy Chandan’s father Rs 100. Angry over the father’s act of asking for money, he threw the boy in the canal. Three cops saw him and rescued the boy and arrested him.

In another incident, robbers struck at the house of an old couple in New Shivpuri area at 7 a.m. and took away Rs 85,000 and gold and silver ornaments. The incident shook all the old couples residing alone in the city.

In yet another incident, goods worth Rs 1 lakh were stolen from a car parked on the Mall Road on Sunday. The car belonged to a resident of Jalandhar. Robbers also struck at a hosiery shop in Preet Vihar Colony in the wee hours and decamped with Rs 1 lakh and ornaments of an employee’s wife.

In another shocking incident, Jugraj Singh, a professor of Guru Nanak Engineering College, was stabbed by a student, Harpreet Singh, who was caught red-handed by the former while using unfair means in the examination hall. A case was registered against Harpreet Singh.

In yet another incident, Jagdish Kumar, a clerk of the Municipal Corporation, was nabbed by the Vigilance Department for accepting bribe from a resident. He was caught red-handed by the department when he was accepting Rs 1000.

The week closed on a tragic note. The body of an unidentified boy was found from near the Gill Canal Bridge on Saturday.


Rape case registered amidst doubts
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 —The District Police today finally booked three persons for alleged rape of a married woman of Prabhat Nagar here on Wednesday night, amidst doubts about the veracity of the alleged incident.

The police has booked Rajesh Kumar, alias Raju, along with two unknown persons for allegedly kidnapping and raping the woman. The case was in the limelight due to the delay in the registration of the case and the unusual act of the alleged victim to get a medical examination done first and report the matter to the police later.

DSP Gurjit Singh said that in the FIR registered at Division No. 6 police station, the woman had alleged that on that fateful day, she had gone out to buy some vegetables but was kidnapped by three persons in a car, who took her to some place near a railway line and raped her for more than two hours.

She said she recognised Rajesh Kumar, who was of the same colony, but did not know the other persons. She said when she resisted, she was beaten by them. She said the three then left her at the place and ran away in the car. The alleged victim somehow reached her home with torn clothes and injury marks on her face and other parts of the body.

While the family had alleged police inaction in the case, preliminary police investigation revealed that the family had a long standing dispute with a family of the colony. Cases even had been registered against the two. A police official said that the manner in which the alleged incident took place was doubtful, as the woman was allegedly kidnapped from a normally crowded area . He said it was not possible that no one would have heard the cries of the woman.

The official said the medical examination has also supported the doubts. According to the doctors the scratches on the face and other parts of the body that the woman suggested that they were self-inflicted.

Family sources, however, maintain the allegation was true. They say they have not made an allegation just to settle score with a family with whom they had a dispute, but actually it was the other family, which had committed the ‘heinous’ crime to teach them a lesson.

DSP Manjit Singh, commenting on the doubts, said that the police was investigating the case from all angles.


Garment machinery manufacturers seek government assistance
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 23 — The textile sector of India is facing serious threats from cheap imports from China, Taiwan and Korea. After the end of quota system in the year 2005, the Indian manufacturers will be exposed to cut throat competition. The future of the garment machinery manufacturers was associated with the garment industry.

In view of the emerging challenges and threats, the local machinery manufacturers were preparing for a modernisation programme. These views were expressed by Ravi Krishan, general secretary of the Garment Machinery Manufacturers and Suppliers Association, in the general body meeting of the association. The first general body meeting of the association was called here to discuss the problems that are being faced by machine manufacturers.

Mr J.S. Sodhi, president of the association, disclosed that there were around 100 manufacturers in the city, who were supplying machinery to more than 90 per cent of the local hosiery units. These units had been providing machinery for the last 40 years. However, now with the liberalisation of imports, imported machinery was coming in the country in a big way.

He further said that the machinery from Taiwan was no doubt of better quality, but it was costly also. On the other hand, Chinese machinery was much cheaper. They were going to face a challenge mainly from Chinese manufacturers.

Mr Ajit Lakra, President, Ludhiana Knitters Association, expressed hope that the interaction of machinery manufacturers and the garment manufacturers might result in the upgradation of machine-making units.

He pointed out that a number of foreign machine manufacturers were interested in tapping the Indian market. The local manufacturers could also collaborate with them to cater to the needs of the industry.

Mr Sodhi urged the government to decrease the import duty on the imported machinery that was being used by them to produce machines. Secondly, they had to pay octroi also while there was no octroi for the units established in Haryana and Delhi. Since the profit margin was very low due to increasing competition, they were losing business. The government must take steps to save the industry. On their part, they were ready to shift to the planned textile city.

Mr Vinod Thapar, president, Knitwear Club was the chief guest in the meeting. About 100 representatives from the industry participated in the meeting. 

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