Monday, January 1, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


PSEB launches VDS today
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 31 — A modified Voluntary Declaration Scheme (VDS) will be launched tomorrow for three months — from January 1 to March 31 — to regularise the power load for all categories of consumers. Though the board launched the scheme in September for a month, it failed to generate much response. This announcement was made by Mr Sikander Singh Maluka, Minister of State for Power, here last night at a function organised by the Ludhiana Traders and Manufacturers Association (LTMA).

Earlier, Mr Dhiraj Rai Gupta, president of the association, presented a memorandum to Mr Maluka demanding the introduction of the scheme again in a modified manner. He said the earlier scheme was not much useful. “As we were asked to get a pollution certificate from the Pollution Control Board and the no- objection certificate from the Municipal Corporation and by the time we had got the certificates the time have passed. The MC had, in fact, declined to issue certificates saying that for the units situated in the industrial area there was no need of the certificate,” he added.

It is learnt that most of the industrial units in Punjab are running with increased load thus incurring losses to the board. However, the board’s policy to legalise the unsanctioned load in these units failed to generate any substantial response. Various industrial organisations at that time also asked for the sanction of the load without any certificate.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, president, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Punjab, said instead of increasing the electricity charges every time for the industrial and domestic consumers the board should check the pilferage. He said there was no point of supplying free power to any sector at the cost of other sectors.

The representatives of the chamber argued that the industry was already passing through crisis and facing tough competition from Chinese goods. Moreover, the increased minimum charges were hitting very hard to the industry. “Since these charges are based on the average utilisation of the machinery. But now the industry was running machinery much below the average utilisation due to recession, so the board must revise the minimum charges”, they said.

Another demand that was raised by the members was the permission to install generator sets without any charges.

Referring to the problems raised by the different industrial associations, Mr Maluka said a disputes settlement committee would be reconstituted to deal with power disputes and the board would give due representation to the industry and trade committees.

Justifying the increase in the rate of power tariff in Punjab, he claimed that except Himachal Pradesh the power tariff in the state was lower than the neighbouring states. However, he declined to impose any charges on the electricity being supplied to the agriculture sector.

Among others who addressed the function were Mr Rajinder Singh Mehta, Mr D.S. Chawla, president, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, Mr Vinod Thapar, president, Knitwear Club, Mr Ashwani Aggarwal, secretary, LTMA, and Mr Ajit Singh, chairman, Punjab Beopar Mandal. 


Gurdas Mann enthrals Ludhianvis
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 31— Renowned Punjabi singer, Gurdas Maan, entertained members and their families of the Model Town Club here yesterday.

The traditional inaugural lamp was lit by the SSP, Mr Kuldeep Singh. Gurdas Mann, started the programme with a devotional song Mori rakhiyo laaj Gurudev. As the night progressed, Gurdas came in his real colours by singing Tere ishq da giddha painda and Dil da mamla hai. It was too difficult for the audience to resist the temptation to tap their feet with his all-time favourites.

His numbers Apna Punjab hove, kar di sharab hove and kamli ni main kamli yaar di were appreciated by the audience. His fans included not only children and youth but also old people of Ludhiana. The programme lasted for more than three hours. The singer also sang Dil da mamla hai and Jaadugarian kardi hai saade naal on demand of his fans.

Mr Amit Verma with his ‘Indo-British cultural’ troupe presented choreography on Pyar kar le and Teri aakh mastani. Mr Ashish Sood, general secretary of the club, presented the vote of thanks on behalf of the members. In between the programme, the audience was entertained by comedians.


Udit Narayan arrives in city
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 31 — Singer Udit Narayan, his son, Aditya and wife Deepa are in the city to perform at Sutlej Club on New Year’s Eve. When he landed in park plaza here, people were eagerly awaiting his arrival. Udit Narayan has received training from Pandit Dinkar Kaffini. He has sung for about 2500 Hindi films. He has also sung in Bhojpuri, Rajasthani and other Indian languages. Udit Narayan has been given around 150 awards, a record in itself. These include Screen Videocon Award, MTV Best Video Award and Pride of India Gold Award. 


Mystery over child’s body deepens
By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 31 — The mystery surrounding the recovery of a decomposed body of a minor boy found from a deserted plot in Mohar Singh Nagar on December 8, which seemed to have unraveled yesterday with the claim of a family that it was of their son, deepened again today with the police doubting the family’s claim and the family members now also being double-minded about the identity of the deceased.

While the police claimed today that there were few chances of the body being of the missing boy of a painter, Mr Baldev Raj, the family also seemed to be having second thoughts about their claim.

The SP (City), Mr G.S. Sandhu, said the police had no problem in showing the body to the family but there seemed to be few chances that the body was of their missing boy. He said while the missing boy was about 9 years of age , the probable age of the deceased was about 14 years.

The family members too had second thoughts today. Mr Bhim Sain, uncle of the missing boy, said they had identified the body from the clothes only but now hoped that the body recovered from the vacant plot was not of his nephew as there was difference of age.

The family, living in Fateh Gunj, had claimed yesterday that their 9-year-old-son Mangat Ram, alias Mangi, had suddenly disappeared on November 30 and a report was lodged in the division 3 police station in this connection.

However, the family alleged that the police did not take any action and when an unidentified body of a minor boy was found from a vacant plot in Mohar Singh Nagar, they did not bother to show them and later sent the body to the Patiala hospital. They said the police only showed them the clothes two days ago, which were recognised by them as of their child.

Mr Sandhu refuted the allegations of the family and said the uncle of the boy was present at the plot when the body was recovered. He further said the police has no problem in handing over the body but it wants to ensure that the body was given to its rightful claimant.

Police sources said only a DNA test could establish the veracity of the claims of the family or of any body else. They said the body was badly decomposed and the face was severely damaged and maggot-eaten.


No training centre for educators
By Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, Dec 31 — The city has over a thousand mentally challenged children but it is without any centre for imparting training to special educators, who can help in rehabilitation of such children. As a result, most of these centres are either under-staffed or have trainers without adequate qualification, thus, causing hindrance in the process of rehabilitation.

The city has five to six centres which aim to impart special education, occupational therapy, speech therapy and physiotherapy to mentally challenged kids. However, it is extremely hard to find a local trainer for any of these therapies. Most of the centres have thus, employed trainers from Delhi or South India. Such trainers, either out of nostalgia, under payment or other reasons stay only for a couple of months and then move away, thus, bringing an end to rapport developed between the children and trainer.

Most of the centres are without adequate staff. Even though the total number of children coming to most of these centres is nearly 50, the number of trainers varies from one to four. Obviously, the children do not get proper attention and take very long to learn even a simple lesson. To overcome this problem, few of these centres have divided their children into batches so that they can educate these children with relative ease.

The trainers at majority of these centres lack proper qualification. Some of the trainers have either done diploma in psychology or short training course in special education. Ms Samira Bector, President of Ek Prayas, a school for special education centre, said that in the first two years of setup of the centre, we had many problems in finding a special educator.

“The only institute in the city which is offering a course in special education is the Department of Human Development at Punjab Agricultural University. However, this course is too short and there is hardly any practical training for them. It was only in this year that the centre could get special educators from places like Rohtak, Secunderabad and Delhi. Earlier, it used to be very difficult to handle kids as some of them were over-active and it was difficult for us to make them sit quietly. Now we are also inviting psychologists and physiotherapists from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital for getting regular check-up and guidance from them,” said Ms Bector.

Mr Sharban Sharma of Nishkam Sewa Ashram, a rehabilitation centre being run for the past 18 years, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, said that, “Mentally challenged kids do not improve and therefore, we do not try to find a special educator. We are just trying to impart occupational therapy for which we have employed local volunteers.”

Ms Neelam Sodhi of Ashirwad, a rehabilitation centre for kids with cerebral palsy, also expressed the need for having a local centre for imparting training to special educators. “If we have such a centre in the city, we would not have any difficulty in finding a suitable special educator and the process of rehabilitation of children at our centre will get hastened.”


Cong leader booked on assault charge
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Dec 31 — The police has booked a Congress leader, his gunman and four others for an attack on Mr Bhupinder Singh Gogi, husband of a municipal councillor, Ms Manjit Kaur Gogi, owing allegiance to the SAD(Badal) group.

While robbery of Rs 47,600 is being tipped as the main motive behind the incident, political observers say the attack smacks of bitter political rivalry and ambition to defeat someone. The city has witnessed intense and violent political rivalry between certain factions of the Akali Dal in the past.

The Congress leader, Nirdosh Dhand, has been booked under Sections 32, 392, 506, and 34 of the IPC, along with his gunman (name not known), Raman Kumar Rana and three other unidentified persons. This is, incidentally, not the first time when he is in the news. Earlier, a number of cases were registered against him. He also attracted attention because of his proximity to leaders of various political parties.

The latest incident occurred on Friday morning. According to the FIR, Mr Gogi, who was returning from a bank along with other employees of the corporation, was chased by some youths in a Maruti van. After forcing them to stop, they attacked them with swords and rods. They also allegedly snatched a bag containing Rs 47,600.

The case was registered last evening. No arrest has been made so far. The DSP, Mr Harmanbir Singh, said the police had raided some possible hide-outs of the alleged attackers but all of them had absconded. He said Nirdosh Dhand had also been issued a pre-arrest three days’ notice as the High Court had directed the city police to give him three days’ notice before arresting him. The notice has been served on his family members.


‘Drugs to cost more after WTO’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 31 —The immediate need in the country is to analyse the effects of the World Trade Organisation as its recommendations are going to become fully operative within the next two-three years.

The medical fraternity feels that though agriculturists and industrialists have raised their voice against the negative aspects of the WTO in their respective areas of concern, but no one has bothered to highlight its effects on health sector. It says that only a few among the medical fraternity are aware about the WTO and its ramifications in the days to come.

Dr J.S.Sekhon, an Oncologist at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, said that the WTO would directly affect the cost of drugs. The cost of new drugs introduced in the markets by the multinational companies would definitely increase. He said that the expenditure on developing a new drug comes between 400 to 500 million US dollars and usually takes six to seven years. The manufacturers would recover their expenditure from the patient's pocket only. Dr Sekhon expected that there were rare chances of increase in the price of old drugs or treatments.

Dr R.K.Grewal, head of the Eye Department, DMCH, hoped that there would be adverse as well as beneficial effects also. The adverse affects would be an increase in the cost of new medicines but there will be standardisation of drugs which would be really helpful.

Dr Gagandeep Singh, Reader in the Department of Neurology at the DMCH, expect that the cost of the new medicines would directly shoot up. The drugs would be more expensive. But in the long run, it would be beneficial for the patients. Elaborating his views on the subject, he said," There have been so many brands of drugs of the same salt available in the market. There can be no reliability on the local drug manufacturers. They may stop making a particular brand any time without giving prior knowledge even to the doctors." He said after WTO there would be more accountability and reliability of drugs.

Dr Rajoo Singh Chinna, Reader in Gastroenterology at the DMCH, felt that under the WTO, all the medicines will be patented and the cost of these would be determined by the multinational companies. The cost of these drugs would be dearer in the developing countries, he added.


Kite fever at peak in Ludhiana
By D.B.Chopra

LUDHIANA, Dec 31 — The seasonal kite fever in Punjab is at its peak on the New Year Eve, particularly so in the city, where passionate kite flyers do not mind spending ‘fortunes’ on the ‘flying fun’.

Kites of various hues and sizes start appearing on the horizon with the beginning of December. As the kite fancy spreads, hordes of boys can be spotted virtually all over the town, engaged in frenzied attempts to ‘loot’ a falling kite. The season reaches its peak around Lohri.

The oldest hub of kite-flying activity of the town is the Daresi ground, which is full of kite-lovers these days . They visit the place to enjoy a flying session or to buy quality ‘dor’. More than 20 exclusive kite shops on the periphery of the ground are doing brisk business these days. The kites are priced from 50 paise to Rs 100 a piece and the for the ‘dor’ one can spend anything between Rs 10 and Rs 850 depending on one’s pocket. These shops are favoured by retailers from the city and the neighbouring towns and villages.

Other markets of the city, where kites are sold in wholesale are the Books Market and the Field Ganj. Special ‘dor’ is prepared by applying a mixture of ground glass and animal glue to it, mainly at Daresi, Ghumar Mandi and near the canal on the Pakhowal Road.

Though the kite-flying season extends beyond the festival of Basant, in Ludhiana it is the Lohri that witnesses maximum passion among the flyers. Mr Rajinder Kumar, a wholesale kite dealer outside Daresi Ground, says that their sales were at the peak at this time of the year.

Sales will start declining after Lohri, though they would continue to do business till Basant is over. Feverish kite-mania may be a source of joy and fun for many a kite-flyers, but there is a gloomy side too to the picture. A few days ago, a boy fell off the roof of his house in Jamalpur Colony while flying a kite. An iron rod jutting out of the roof ripped through one of his arms. He was rushed to a hospital where he was given 28 stitches.

Children must be pursuaded not to chase falling kites on roads, busy or otherwise, and avoid flying kites from risky high places, if kite-flying is to be enjoyed rather than cursed.


Noise pollution causing nuisance
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 31 —The noise pollution being caused by loudspeakers and microphones by religious institutions in residential areas and silence zones is creating nuisance in the area, leading to discomfiture of city residents.

In a written complaint to the Deputy Commissioner here, Mr Dalip Garg, an advocate, has urged the authorities that no community or sect had any right to add to the noise pollution on grounds of religion.

He demanded that the beating of drums or reciting of prayers by use of microphones and loudspeakers, that disturb the peace and tranquility of neighbourhood, should not be permitted in the city. Mr Garg said that no religion permitted disturbance of old, ailing and infirm persons, students and children. One should not forget that young babies in the neighbourhood were also entitled to enjoy their natural right to sleep in a peaceful atmosphere. Students preparing for their examinations were also entitled to concentrate on their studies without being unnecessarily disturbed by religious institutions.

Similarly old, infirm and ailing persons had the right to enjoy reasonable quietness during their leisure hours without being disturbed by any kind of noise pollution. Their rights were also to be honoured.

The problem of noise pollution more particularly in the city was increasing day by day and had become serious with the increasing trend towards urbanisation and modernisation. It was having many unpleasant effects including danger to the health. It may be mentioned here that noise pollution caused interruption in sleep, affected communication at large, caused loss of efficiency, hearing loss or deafness, high blood pressure, depression, irritability, fatigue, gastro-intestinal problem, allergy distraction, mental stress and annoyance.

The letter added that in a civilised society, rights were related with duties and obligations. Mr Garg has urged the deputy commissioner to control the noise pollution caused by the religious institutions so that people in the city could enjoy a peaceful life.


Drizzle brings relief to farmers
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Dec 31 — After a prolonged dry spell, the drizzle in the city for a few minutes has come as a relief for the farmers particularly for those living in the Kandi areas. Weather officials predict mild to moderate showers in the coming 24 days in the state.

Scientists of the PAU said the much awaited drizzle would help the rabi crops.

The head of the Department of Soils, PAU, Dr B. R. Arora, predicted more rains in the coming days, which should give much relief to the farmers.

It is not in the Kandi areas only, which are rainfed, but even at the places where there is a proper system of canal irrigation the rain was urgently needed. Dr Arora pointed out the rain although mild in the initial stage but would dissolve the atmospheric nitrogen in the soil, which will strengthen it. The soil rich in nitrogen content will definitely lead to better yield, he added.

According to Mr Govinder Singh Nanda of the Department of Plant Breeding, the rain will also help in the settling down of the dust from the leaves. This will help in better photosynthesis of the plants. 

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