Saturday, January 6, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Teachers prepare for Jan 9 bandh
From Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — The teachers of private colleges here are apprehensive about the implementation of the declaration of granting pension -cum-gratuity by the Minister of Higher Education of the state, Master Mohan Lal.

In order to get the scheme implemented soon, they have decided to stage a rally of the teachers of Ludhiana zone and observe an educational bandh in the district and Phillaur on January 9, 2001. They will also hold a protest march from Punjab University Extension Library to the district courts and will also present a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner

The minister had declared on the New Year Eve that all the teachers of private colleges of the state would be given Pension-cum-Gratuity with effect from April 26, 1999. This was done to keep them at a par with the teachers of the other colleges of the state.

The president of Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union, Mr K.B.S. Sodhi, said that although the minister had accepted their demand to some extent, he had not accepted it in toto. He said that as per the Punjab non-government College Teachers Security of Service Amendment Act, 1999, the scheme would have been implemented with retrospective from April 1, 1992 but it was being implemented from April 26, 1999.

Quoting the instances from UGC recommendation for the revised pay scales, Mr Sodhi said that although the government issued the notification about revised scales in March 1999, these were implemented with retrospective from January 1, 1996, as per the date of recommendation.

The teachers who retired before April 26, 2000 feel that they would be left out and would not be given the benefit of the scheme. As per the datas available with PCCTU as many as 700 teachers would not be benefited from the scheme. They said that while the teachers of government-aided colleges were drawing pension from 1987 onwards, why could they not be included in the list.

Mr Sodhi said that the teachers were not challenging the credentials of the minister but by continuing their protests they were keeping the bureaucracy on its toes so that their demands were fulfilled soon.

The teachers were of the opinion that they were well aware of the political scenario prevailing in the state where the promises were not usually fulfilled. Once they withdrew the action they might not be given the due benefits.

It was just a statement which kept the teachers happy on the New Year day after they read newspapers but they would not sit peacefully until their demands were met, the teachers added. 


Child freed from bonded labour
Tribune News Service

MAU SAHEB (PHILLAUR), Jan 5 — An-11-year-old boy was freed from the bondage of a halwai (sweet-shop owner) in Mau Saheb village near Phillaur, 35 km from Ludhiana, on the orders of the District Magistrate, Jalandhar, an voluntary organisation.

The boy, Hussan Lal, whose mother belongs to a minority community and works as domestic help, was freed after an ‘imprisonment’ of seven months. “Now I will be able to play outside and sleep with my family” the boy exclaimed with joy to this correspondent just after his release. “He will also be able to attend school”, said an equally excited mother Kamaljit Kaur.

His ‘imprisonment’ started seven months ago, when he was employed at the shop for Rs 300 per month. However, after a few days the family urgently required money to marry off a daughter. The mother took a loan from the halwai and also borrowed sweets from the shop.

The boy continued to work after the marriage, but was not paid any wages. He was not allowed to leave the shop and was often beaten up. The boy said whenever he demanded freedom, the owner told him that he could go only when the debt had been paid. The mother also requested the owner several times to release her son and promised that she would return the debt in small instalments but the shop-owner refused to budge.

According to Mr Jai Singh , chairperson of a voluntary organisation, People’s Vigilance Committee on Bonded Child and Migrant Labour, the case came to the notice of one of their activists, Ms Sunita Rani, while she was on a visit to a government office. The mother of the boy had come to the office to get help for the boy’s release.

The activist enquired about the case from other villagers. A formal request was made to Mr K. Shiv Prasad, District Magistrate, Jalandhar, who ordered one of his SDMs and Naib Tehsildars to get the child released. The Naib Tehsildar come to the village along with the activist of the organisation to record statements, but apprehending some trouble, the shop-owner released the child immediately.

Mr Jai Singh said a formal release certificate issued by the District Magistrate had not been received so far. He said the organisation would make efforts to rehabilitate the child and also arrange for his education.

According to a Supreme Court order, bonded labour is banned in the country. If a child is employed, the employer cannot engage him in work for more than 6 hours. The employer also has to arrange for 2 hours of education for the child.


‘Punjab budget will be development-oriented’
Increase volume of small savings says FM
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — While denying that there was any rift between the Ministry of Local Bodies, headed by senior BJP minister Balramji Das Tandon and the Finance Ministry, headed by him, the Punjab Finance Minister, Captain Kanwaljit Singh, however, admitted that he had apprised the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal about the allegations of ‘withholding funds’ meant for Local Bodies, which Mr. Tandon had levelled against the Ministry of Finance.

Talking to reporters at Circuit House here today, after presiding over a state level Small Savings function, Capt Kanwaljit Singh refused to make further comments on the ‘outburst’ by his BJP ministerial colleague.

He said the next budget would be development-oriented and no new taxes were being proposed. When asked if the ruling party was going soft on the budget, despite the state being in the midst of a grave financial crisis, with an eye on next assembly elections, the minister remarked it was the media, which always drew its own conclusions. Commenting on the financial condition of the state, he said it would be too early to say that the crisis had blown over, but one could safely claim that we were on the road to recovery.

The Finance Minister strongly defended the Punjab Cabinet’s decision to regualrise encroachments, saying one must not close eyes to reality. “Persistent drives by local bodies and other government agencies to clear encroachments, notwithstanding, the process is cumbersome and involves long drawn legal battles, which could go either way. Under the revised policy, the government would provide for the occupant to become a lawful owner by paying 40 per cent of the market price of the property under encroachment.”

Replying to a question, Captain Kanwaljit Singh said dealing with so-called RSS interference in Sikh religious matters was the duty of Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which was already seized of the matter. He declined to comment further when asked if the other Akali Dal factions were making political capital out of the issue through exploitation of Sikh sentiments.

Earlier addressing a state-level small savings function at Guru Nanak Dev Bhavan here, the Finance Minister announced that Rs 3,500 crore would be collected through different Small Saving Schemes in the state during the current financial year, out of which Rs 2,800 crore would be available as long term loans for the development of the state.

Captain Kanwaljit Singh took out a lucky draw against investments under different small saving schemes during 1-8-2000 to 30-11-2000 in which 16,110 attractive prizes, including 3 prizes of half kg gold, 3 tractors and 4 Maruti cars were won by investors.

Highlighting the role of small savings in the development and welfare process, the Finance Minister said that with the investment in small saving schemes, where the investors earn attractive interest and complete security of their hard earned money, they also make contribution to the development of the state. He said that by giving attention to small savings, collections under different schemes had recorded an increase of 300 per cent during the past three years and had risen to Rs 3,000 crore from just Rs 950 crore when the present government took over. The schemes would be made more attractive and the genuine problems of the agents would also be solved at the earliest, so that they could mop up more collections.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh further informed that small savings had also played a vital role in creating awareness among women about their importance in the governance of the country and spent Rs 10 lakh in one block in each district through non-governmental organisations to provide training at leadership training camps. He also asserted that small savings had performed an important responsibility towards armymen by providing financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh to 11 families of gallantry awards winners in the state every year.

The Finance Minister, while appreciating the achievements of all the Deputy Commissioners in the state, officers and small savings agents, called upon them to persuade more and more people for investment in the small saving schemes, so that all-round development of the state could be further accelerated. He had special words of praise for the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana for making the highest collections in the state. The Minister announced a grant of Rs 10 lakhs for the completion of the Guru Nanak Bhavan complex out of small savings.

On this occasion, the Finance Minister presented prizes to winners of the lucky draw conducted on Aug 24, 2000 at Pathankot. He also honored the Deputy Commissioners of several districts and Officers of Small Savings Department.

Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, while welcoming the chief guest, informed that the district had been leading in the net collection of small savings continuously for the past 20 years and during the last year it had mobilised a record collection of Rs 408 crore through different small saving schemes. He further added that Ludhiana district had secured net collections of Rs 222 crore during the current financial year upto November as against Rs 216 crores collected during the same period last year.

Mr Vinod Kumar Bhalla, Director, Small Savings, Punjab, while briefing on the progress of small savings in the state, said that the department had achieved tremendous success in mobilising collections during the year 2000-2001. He added that net collections of Rs 1420.68 crore had been made till now against Rs 1256.68 crore during the corresponding period last year. Keeping in view the tremendous response of the investing public, the state government had launched three coupon schemes instead of two during the current financial year.

Mr A.K. Sharma, Deputy Director, Small Savings and Mr M.K. Malhotra, Regional Director, National Small Savings, Punjab also spoke on the occasion.


FM’s pun on police 

What was intended to be taken in a lighter vein, turned out to be an embarrassing comment for the District Police Chief Mr Kuldip Singh, with the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu also joining in the fun and having a dig at the police force.

As the name of the winner of half-a-kilogram of gold in the lucky draw for small savings was announced at the state level function here today, Capt Kanwaljit Singh jokingly suggested the winner to go back home under security cover. Addressing the SSP, who had arrived just then, he said, “Provide security guards to the winner of a half-kilo of gold.”

It was taken as a terse remark on the dismal law and order situation, perhaps not only in the city, but in the entire state. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sandhu went a step further and asked, “What if the security guards took away the gold?”


MC flayed for poor upkeep of gaushala
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — The shocking incident of the death of eight cows in the Municipal Corporation owned gaushala in the Haibowal area here yesterday has come in for sharp criticism from various quarters. Several persons including councillors of the corporation and BJP leaders have criticised the MC for the incident.

The incident, while revealing the callous attitude of the Municipal Corporation towards the upkeep of the gaushala has also renewed the allegations of irregularities in the managements of funds meant for the gaushala. A sum of at least Rs 25 lakh is reportedly granted every year for maintaining the gaushala but seeing its condition it seems very less money is being spent on it.

Mr H.L. Sethi district president of the BJP, while criticising the MC said his party along with several others had requested the MC authorities time and again to maintain the gaushala properly but all requests had fallen on deaf ears. He said even a dharna was staged recently in this regard but no action was taken.

Cutting across party lines several BJP leaders and councillors demanded immediate action against the officers responsible for the death of the cows. They have also demanded an inquiry into the incident.

A visit to the gaushala yesterday, however, revealed that several other cows had fallen sick apparently because of cold weather. The animals had to withstand the chilly winds and the ill-maintained gaushala provided almost no shelter to them. The cows were also underfed. The place has turned into a marshy area with mud and slush all around.

The MC authorities, however, maintained that the eight cows had died due to excessive cold. The pitiable condition of the gaushala had been highlighted not only by the Press, animal lovers and other social organisations but the issue had also cropped up several times in the MC meetings.

Eyebrows were also being raised on why did the authorities not send the cows for the post-mortem examination even though the rules state that if more than one animal die together such an examination was necessary to rule out the possibility of an epidemic harmful for all cattle of the area.

The Joint Commissioner of MC, Mr Jasbir Singh Heer, who was present on the spot, preferred not to respond when questioned as to why the post-mortem examination was not conducted. He only maintained that the cows had died due to excessive cold as they were sick and weak. He however, failed to give any reason why the corporation was not able to provide a shelter and brick floor for the cows.

The site of the incident presented a ghastly sight. The cows were bleeding profusely as the dogs had fed upon them. Six cows had died in the night and two calves died in the early morning. Eyewitnesses, who had gathered on the spot in the morning, said eagles and crows had plucked out the eyes of the calves even before they had breathed their last.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu also rushed to the spot leaving his sangat darshan and ordered relief for the rest of the cows and asked the MC to clear the slush immediately. Recovery vans were deployed immediately to remove the slush and as many as 50 cows were shifted to Gobind Gau Dham.

More than 300 cows were crowded in an two-acre area in the gaushala. There was one foot deep slush in the area. The cows, standing amid the slush under the open sky had no proper shelter.

A lot of hue and cry had been raised to help the cows time and again but the MC had always given a deaf ear. Even Ms Maneka Gandhi had written to the MC after receiving a complaint from the local chapter of the PFA to hand over the place to PFA. But the request was turned down. 


He ‘rapes’, beats and walks away
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

SAHNEWAL (Ludhiana), Jan 5 — A 30-year-old migrant labourer was allegedly raped by the foreman of a factory here. She was kept in illegal confinement for four days. She and her husband were allegedly beaten up by the foreman and two others.

A case in this regard has been registered against Santosh Kumar, the foreman by the Sahnewal Police. Two others Sukhi Sardar and Bhupinder Sardar have been booked for intimidating and beating up the couple. No arrest has been made so far.

The woman told this correspondent at the Civil Hospital, here where she had come for medical examination that she worked at the H. B. Casting Pvt. Ltd. Santosh had tried to get fresh with her several times, but she had spurned the advances.

She said on December 26 he barged into her house and took her away to his house in Jamalpur Colony in Ludhiana where she was beaten and raped for four days.

Later she managed to flee and reach her home. She confided in her husband. Santosh came to her house two days ago and asked her to join duty. She refused and threatened to reveal his ignoble act.

The foreman went away but returned yesterday with the two other accused. The victim and her husband were beaten up in a bid to muzzle them.

The police today registered a case and raided several possible hideouts, but failed to make any arrest.


2 lawyers booked for fraud
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Jan 5 — On the recommendation of the Deputy Commissioner, the district police today registered a case against advocates Sukhchain Singh and Balkar Singh Sekhwan and deed writer Fatehgarh Sahib and Pal Singh, a resident of Ghel village under Sections 420, 467, 471-120-B, IPC for allegedly making a fraudulent land registration deed.

In a complaint to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Darshan Singh, a resident of Kheri village Bir Singh in the district had alleged that Mr Sukhchain Singh in connivance with Mr Balkar Singh, deed writer and Pal Singh had fraudulently got 14 marlas of their prime land registered in the name of his father Gurdial Singh. The complainant alleged that Mr Sukhchain Singh had taken his father Shamsher Singh and Banta Singh Nambardar to tehsil office at Bassi Pathana on the pretext of recording their statements in a case. After recording their statements the advocate took them to tehsil office at Fatehgarh Sahib and took the thumb impressions of Shamsher Singh and Banta Singh on blank papers and told them that the papers were also required in the same case. He also clicked a photograph of Shamsher Singh while sitting in a van.

However, the fraud came to the notice of the family after the death of Shamsher Singh when his family approached the Patwari for demarcation of land. The family was surprised when the patwari told them that 14 marlas of prime land had been sold by Shamsher Singh to Gurdial Singh, father of the advocate.

When the deceased’s family checked the tehsil records they found that the stamp papers for the so-called “deed” had been purchased by advocate Sukhchain Singh from the treasury and he had got “nakal” (record of right) from Patwari in the name of Shamsher Singh without signing his register. “There is no signature or thumb impression of my father on the receipt made by the registration clerk. Interestingly, the registry clerk has mentioned LTI of Shamsher Singh on the sale deed, where as the left hand of my father was cut in a thresher accident long time ago,” said the complainant.

Mr Banta Singh Nambardar, whose witness has been shown on the sale deed, also expressed total ignorance about it and has filed an affidavit stating that Shamsher Singh had never sold the land to Gurdial Singh. He also mentioned that the advocate had got their signatures and thumb impressions on blank papers on the day of their case in Bassi tehsil.

After getting the complaint the Deputy Commissioner ordered a probe into the matter. It will be conducted by Mr A.K. Singla (ADC (G), who in his inquiry report confirmed the fraud committed by the advocate in connivance with others. After seeking legal opinion from District Attorney, the Deputy Commissioner recommended that a case should be registered.

The police is investigating the case and no arrest has been made so far.

Meanwhile, in another case the DIG, Patiala range, has also ordered an inquiry to be conducted by SP (D) in a case of alleged rape by an advocate of Fatehgarh Sahib.


States have right to ratify WTO treaty: Expert
From Tribune Reporters

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — India’s agreement with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which comes into force in April, the political economy will need to be redefined and reinterpreted according to the local needs of the people and the region. Therefore it is essential that the individual states in the country have the right to accept or reject any or all treaties signed by the country at the international level.

According to Dr Pramod Kumar, the Director, Institute for Development and Communication, Chandigarh, who was here to attend a seminar on Political economy of WTO and its impact on agriculture yesterday, all treaties signed by India should need a ratification by the individual states. This had become necessary since the economic demands which were determined by several factors could not and were not uniform everywhere. He pointed out that what would suit to one state may go against the interests of other states. Since there was no uniformity in these conditions, laws formulated at international fora, obviously to suit the interests of a few countries could not and should not be implemented uniformly.

Dr Kumar was of the opinion that the WTO regime better suited to the interests of the developed countries. Under this regime, the developed countries were trying to capture the markets of the developing countries. In order to counter it, there was a need to formulate a comprehensive policy that included everything to safeguard the interests of the country.

He suggested formulation of a comprehensive national agriculture policy that should be guided by the country’s interests, while taking into account the factors and needs of different geographical regions. He said agriculture held an important place in the Indian economy given the extent of employment it provided to the people in the rural areas. “If we talk about agriculture, we talk about so many things, because agriculture is integral to Indian economy”, he emphasised.

Referring to the subsidies provided by the government to the farmers, Dr Kumar said, there should be direct and not indirect subsidies. He maintained that indirect subsidies were benefiting the industrialists than the farmers. Besides, the direct subsidies would give freedom to the farmers to exercise all available options and also enable them to come out of the financial crisis they were in.

Stressing the need for modernising the agriculture, he suggested identifying the kind of technology which would be suited to the Indian conditions. Realising the importance of latest technology was must, he added. He said, introducing latest technology could also help in improving the quality of products besides decreasing the cost of production, which was very essential in today’s competitive world.

Dr Pramod Kumar expressed cynicism over the progress and development in agriculture. He apprehended that under the new regime the agriculture may take many strides forward but doubts persisted whether the farmers would also get benefits. He suggested that the farmers should form cooperatives to survive the cutthroat competition and become more competitive in terms of cost and quality. He also emphasised the need for increased allocation to the agriculture sector. 


ISKCON seeks probe 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — Various social and religious organisations today demanded an inquiry into the death of eight cows in the city.

While heads of several religious bodies expressed anguish over the incident, Chief of ISKCON, Sakshi Gopal Das visited the city to take an account of the situation. Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Madhav Ashram, Delhi spoke to the Deputy Commissioner over phone and asked about relief to other cows.

In a press note he threatened that if concrete steps were not taken to help the suffering cows then he would visit Ludhiana accompanied by thousands of sadhus from Allahabad Kumbh and organise a dharna in front of the cattle pond.

Meanwhile, the secretary of the Bar Association, Mr Rajeev Duggal, said the Gau Seva Samiti would file a case against the MC and request the court to fix the responsibility of the incident. He said a public interest litigation would also be filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to provide relief to the suffering cows. 


At the cross roads
A professor of mathematics writes novels
by N. S. Tasneem

The other day I had an opportunity to talk to Prof M.L. Sood who had been my colleague at the local government college for some years. During those days his debut novel, Fire in the Cupboard (1977), was being much talked about, in which he had depicted disillusionment born out of a clash between generations because of their life-style. The novelist in fact, wanted to pinpoint what is perennial in the transitory process of human existence.

In 1989, when I left the college and joined GHG, Khalsa College, Gurusar Sadhar as professor emeritus, he came up with another novel, The Forbidden Smile. In it he had vividly described the trauma of existence of a youngman who had undergone a kidney transplant. The novel presented a brutally true picture of the behind-the-scene activities in a hospital and the degrading professional ethics among nephrosurgeons.

Prof Sood’s latest novel, Somewhere to Go (2000), has captured the imagination of the readers of Indian literature in English. He is a mathematician by profession but an author by choice. Born in 1935 at Sidhwan Dona (Kapurthala), he received his school and college education in Ludhiana. Later, he made this city his home with his wife Ms Urmil ( at present Principal of Guru Nanak Model Senior Secondary School , Doraha) and two daughters, Bindu and Sonu. He has dedicated this novel to the memory of Sonu ‘who never believed that she was going to die.’

Somewhere to Go is the story of an attractive teenaged dalit girl who finds her identity as a housemaid. She longs for the warmth of parental affection and the cosiness of a place she can call home. Before long, the harshness of physiological changes of puberty, baffle her. Thereafter, she is filled with longings of a different sort. Her hunger for a home is further accentuated and she drifts, so to say, like a boat towards an unknown shore, without unfurling its sails. The opportunity of choice having been denied to her, she gets rid of her virginity after tying the nuptial knot with an already married middle-aged man.

What compels him to write short stories and novels in English, whereas he has been a Professor of Maths in government colleges of the state all through his life?

“I have varied interests. I do not want to be tied down to one thing. Once I was a lover of music and played violin. Then I wrote a book on quantum theory that is related to theoretical physics. No stereotype existence for me. I have always sought new patterns in my life.”

What is his mode of writing? Does he plan his writing and follow the story line?

“No, my novels and short stories are character-oriented. I move around a certain character and the events reveal themselves. In a way the story evolves itself as I delineate a character.”

In Somewhere to Go, he has portrayed the character of a maid servant, Ratia. Is it an imaginary character or based on an individual he came into contact with?

“It is fictionalised reality. The plight of a girl working in various households ungrudgingly has been depicted. There are undercurrents of pain, sorrow and gloom in her life. She craves for love and affection, which has been denied to her all the time. She passes through the crisis of identity in this novel.”

It is a challenge to do creative work in a foreign language. Why does he write in English when he knows Punjabi and Hindi?

“I know Punjabi and Hindi but I cannot express myself adequately in these languages. In fact the writings of V.S. Naipaul have inspired me to write directly in English. His lucid style and the choice of words have left an indelible impression on my mind. The Nobel Prize winner Japanese novelist, Yasunari Kawabata’s novels, The Lake and The Thousand Cranes cast a spell on me when I read them in the seventies. Besides, I am an avid reader of Indian fiction in English.”


Flavour of the week

Rain drops pitter-pattered on window panes, them turned into a drizzle and later to a downpour on the eve of the New Year. Let us consider the showers to be God’s new year gift to the farmers for the showers are good for the crops. Even the hands of hosiery traders must have gone up in a silent prayer of thanks to the rain god.

The revellers were not dismayed by the showers. Many of them enjoyed the rain. But the failure of the northern grid plunged the city into darkness on the first day of January and that does not foretell a good supply as far as electricity is concerned.

The Satluj Club had to shift its New Year programme to Maharaja Regency as the rain played spoiltsport. Udit Narayan, the famous playback singer, regaled the audience with his enchanting numbers and model, Shweta Menon performed exotic dances. Many ushered in the new year in the company of friends in fashionable hotels and others watched the new year programmes on the TV in the comfort of their homes. The TV channels, however, disappointed as the programmes telecast on the eve of the new year did not contain much entertainment.

The holiday-makers are back from their holidays. The schools and colleges have reopened. Many students, who have to appear for the board examination are answering their pre-board papers. The district courts, too, have reopened. Mr Parkash Singh Badal, inaugurated the new chambers for the lawyers.

The cold weather has arrived in right earnest. With the mercury dipping with every passing day, the most common opening to any conversation is “Oh, how dreadfully cold it is?” Just think of the shelterless people sleeping in the open on the pavements.

Gurpurab of Guru Gobind Singh ji was the first religious festival in the new year. It was celebrated with great fervour and devotion. Free langars and kirtans were organised.

‘Raju Chacha’, a remake of ‘Sound of Music’, is drawing good crowds. Generally, it is seen that movies that have child artistes do well.
— A.A.



Remove illegal bus stand: residents
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — People know the place as ‘bassan wali sadak’. The residents of the Jawahar Nagar road near Government Senior Secondary School for Boys allege that the roads have been neglected by the authorities concerned for a long time. They have demanded that these should be included in the list of roads earmarked for the removal of encroachments and action should be taken against the encroachers.

It may be mentioned here that these roads are being used by certain transporters as permanent stand for private buses and autorickshaws. According to Mr Jaswinder Singh, a local resident, “the transporters have made the public roads their private property. They have their offices on this road and due to shortage of space, they have turned the entire road, into a permanent bus stand”.

The school authorities have complained that the buses cause a lot of chaos. One of the senior school teachers said, “there is always noise and air pollution. The buses cause a lot of noise and smoke from these buses causes air pollution. Sometimes, it is very difficult to teach in this unhealthy atmosphere”.

One of the school officials told Ludhiana Tribune that the authorities had put their grievances before the local councillor and he had ensured them that these buses would be removed from the main road. The buses had even been removed from the place for a few days but these returned soon and now the situation had become worse.

Ritesh, a student of eighth standard said, “most of the time, the drivers park these buses just in front of the main gate of the school. It becomes very risky for us to cross the road. The drivers do not listen to us and do whatever they want to”.

Ms Suresh Kumari, another resident of the area, alleged that the drivers of these buses had broken the cemented lid of a sewerage many times. All residents had demanded to put iron lid on the sewerage but it had also been broken by the buses.

Mr Ajaib Singh, another resident, said they had thought it was a stand for the buses during nights only. But a number of buses also remain there during the day time and cause inconvenience to residents and passersby.

Another resident of the locality, who did not want to be identified, said, “the horns cause discomfort to ailing people. They get disturbed due to so much noise and very often there are arguments between residents and the transporters”.

The transporters, however, tried to put the blame on one another. None of the transporters with whom this reporter talked to, claimed that their buses were not parked there. They alleged that it were the residents themselves who had encroached upon government property by extending their outer fences “how could they blame us when they are sailing in the same boat”, the transporters asked. 


A peace mission on cycles
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — Two adventurous cyclists, Travis Saunders (28 years) and Darren Mcaven (24 years) from Australia and New Zealand respectively, are currently passing through Punjab on their cycles on way to Islamabad in Pakistan on a peace-cum-adventure trip.

The cyclists revealed that they met in England, where they had gone for studies. Seeking adventure, both had travelled far and wide. They had visited India earlier and seen a number of places like Agra, Varanasi, Calcutta, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Chennai.

However they were so bowled over by the nation that they decided to travel by cycle this time, ‘‘We want to see the country minutely and were told that no place is as beautiful as Punjab’’. The two left Delhi on December 28 and came through Pehowa. They had a first-hand experience of the world famous Punjab hospitality, when just after entering Patiala district a number of villagers hosted a party in their honour and also lit up a bonfire to protect them from the chilling cold.

Travis, who is a school teacher, said that they chose India and Pakistan for their expedition, because of the rich cultural heritage of the countries. He said the proxy war between the two countries should come to an end.

Darren, who is a marketing professional, said, “We meet people and pass them the message of friendship, peace and brotherhood.” Their objective would be to meet people and disseminate the message that war never solves any problem. In this new year, peace should prevail all over the world.

They said that they would break their journey at Golden Temple in Amritsar. They wanted to pay obeisance at the temple and would stay at Harmandir Sahib for two days. Spiritual treasure of the country had attracted them. They believed that this was one country where one could find peace of mind.


Kinnows score over oranges
By Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — Kinnows have flooded the market. And there is demand in the market making the oranges almost vanish.

According to Sham Lal, a kinnow seller on the Sherpur road, there has been a great demand for kinnow over oranges. Kinnow sells between Rs 24 to Rs 30 per dozen in the retail market.

With the demand from other parts of the country prices have also gone up. Earlier most of the fruit was consumed locally and the prices were also modest.

The Department of Horticulture in Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has been instrumental in introducing kinnow farming in the state. The head of Department Dr Amrik Singh Sandhu, said that a total area of 10,000 hectares was under kinnow cultivation in the state. He revealed that more and more area was coming under kinnow cultivation as it offered handsome returns.

Kinnow is mostly produced in the sub-mountain zones like Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr and south western districts of Bathinda, Ferozepore, Faridkot and Muktsar. The total production has been put at 1.5 lakh metric tonnes a year.

While the former union minister, Mr Balram Jhakhar, was instrumental in popularising the kinnow farming in the state, it was introduced by the Regional Centre of the PAU at Abohar way back in the sixties. By now, kinnow has become the main fruit of the state in terms of production and the area covered.

According to Dr S. N. Singh of the Department of Horticulture in the PAU, kinnow fruit offers handsome returns to the farmers. On an average a farmer gets Rs 45,000 to Rs 50,000 per acre. However, there are some farmers like Bhagwant Singh Ahluwalia who earn as much as Rs 70,000 per hectare.

A state-level kinnow show is being organised at Hoshiarpur on January 10 and 11. The show would be inaugurated by the Agriculture Minister Mr Gurdev Badal. There will also be a technical session where experts will deliberate on various aspects related to the kinnow farming. 


Parking at railway station costly
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — The paid parking lots at the city Railway station are overcharging. The fixed rate of parking vehicle for less than four hours is Rs 4, but they charge Rs 5 to Rs 10, depending on the will of the parking contractor.

Over-charge for night parking is a common affair. The rate is also not mentioned on the parking slip/ticket. For four to 24 hours, the charges have been fixed at Rs 6.

Avtar Singh Grewal, a farmer who is resident of Karnail Singh Nagar, had an unpleasent experience yesterday. He parked his car at the local Railway station. When he came back, the man on duty demanded Rs 10. Mr Grewal complained to the railway authorities to no effect. But after persistent efforts, the contractor agreed to take Rs 5 for parking a car for half-an-hour.

When this correspondent visited the spot, Tarun, a marketing executive, who had come for reservation of tickets, was being charged Rs 5 for parking a scooter for 20 minutes. Tarun said he knew he was being over-charged, but he did not think it proper to pick a quarrel.

A senior railway officer said they had already received several complaints from the public. The department had also fined contractors many times. He said, “I am helpless because the Divisional Railway Manager is the only one authorised to cancel the parking contract and fine parking contactors. We can only forward the complaint.’’


CICU concerned over illegal import of yarn
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings has expressed concern over the plight of the textile industry as it has been camouflaged by the illicit incoming of acrylic fibre and yarn via Nepal resulting into unprecedented recession and uncertain break down in the consistency in the production activities of the industry.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, CICU, have expressed concern over such state of affairs which had disturbed the local industry. 


Closure of meat plant opposed
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — Several farmers have opposed the closure of the meat processing plant at Dera Bassi.

Some of the progressive farmers of Punjab who attended the convention on “Agrarian Crises in Punjab in view of the WTO”, at the PAU expressed resentment over the closure of the plant.

Mr Bogh Singh, a farmer from Bathinda, said even plant was working successfully at Deora in Maharashtra.

Among others who opposed the closure included Mr Kehar Singh Dhillon from Kapurthala; Mr Mohinder Singh Dosanjh from Nawanshahr; Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu from Ludhiana; Mr Iqbal Singh Gill from Amritsar; and Mr Ranjit Singh Sidhu from Sangrur.


Buses checked to detect octroi evasion
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Jan 5 — In a bid to check large-scale octroi evasion here, staff of the Municipal Corporation have resorted to checking of private deluxe buses, plying during the night.

During one such search a large quantity of electrical goods, telecom items, cable and cosmetic goods were detected. According to Mr Harjinder Singh, Joint Commissioner, MC, Rs 50,510 was recovered from four persons on the spot, which included unpaid octroi and penalty ranging between 10 and 20 times of the evaded amount.

The MC has issued strict warning to private bus operators to ensure that whatever goods were being transported inside the city, the octroi was duly paid on the goods.


Phones play hookey
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — Nearly 1,600 phones in the city are dead following a snag in the underground cables of the Telecom Department. It is learnt the snag occurred due to digging done by the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board and HFCL Infotel Ltd, which are laying sewerage pipes and telephone lines, respectively, in the city.

The main areas affected in the city include Moti Nagar, Railway Colony, Gajja Jain Colony, Harcharan Nagar, Dharampura, Nirankarai Colony, New Madhopuri, Transport Nagar, Textile Colony and Industrial Area,

Mr Ashwani Salwaan, Area Manager, North, said the board and the company while digging had damaged the lines. In a written statement he said the department had deputed special staff to work round-the-clock for repairing the lines, which would be repaired in three days.


Mandi Gobindgarh residents seek train halt
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — The business community of Mandi Gobindgarh, known as the Steel Town, has submitted a memorandum to the Minister for Railways, Ms Mamta Banerjee, today demanding the stoppage of Superfast Train nos. 1681DN and 1682 at Mandi Gobindgarh.

The memorandum said that the city which was situated between Khanna and Sirhind was a major source of revenue to both the Central Railways as well as the Central Government due to the concentration of iron and steel re-rolling industry worth billions at the place. As Ghaziabad was also a town of industrial importance and the train passed this station, the stoppage at Mandi Godindgarh of the above said superfast train was essential to avoid the inconvenience of the business community. The stoppage would also be a major advantage to those who went for a pilgrimage to Haridwar. 


Rs 18,367 looted from gas agency
From Our Correspondent

SAHNEWAL, Jan 5 — Cash was stolen from the godown of a gas agency on Wednesday night. The keeper of the gas agency was reportedly sleeping at the time of the theft.

According to an FIR registered at Sahnewal police station, some unidentified migrant labourers broke into the godown of a nearby gas agency and stole Rs 18,367.

The keeper of the agency woke up as thieves were about to escape. He tried to nab them unsuccessfully. A case has been registered under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC and the police was looking for the thieves, Mr Jatinder Singh Kahira, SHO, Sahnewal police station, said.


CCI delegation meets minister
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — A delegation of the APEX Chamber of Commerce & Industry led by its president Mr P.D. Sharma met the Excise & Taxation Minister, Mr. Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon, yesterday. Various Sales Tax related issues which are irritating Industry & Trade were discussed at the meeting. Senior officers of the department also attended the meeting.

The issue of interception of goods carriers considered as one of the major irritants for business community was also taken up. After interception of a carrier, a dealer is required to bring account books and the officials concerned are generally not available for a couple of days or more thus causing inconvenience to traders. The minister assured that a special cell would be available on the spot to settle off the disputed cases. Provision would also be made under which a dealer would not be asked to bring account books. He assured that disputes arising out of interception of goods would be settled within 12 hours. The minister also reportedly assured that carriers carrying export goods shall not be intercepted, according to a chamber press note issued here today.

The matter of Sales Tax on waste yarn was also discussed. It was suggested that waste yarn be treated like all other wastes necessitating removal of sales tax on first stage.

Some issues of Sales Tax arising for exporters were also discussed. The minister assured that these shall be considered in detail in the meeting of exporters shortly.

The chamber further proposed that Sales Tax on furnace oil should be reduced to a level below 4 per cent so that Punjab government could get revenue on this commodity. At present furnace oil is being purchased from outside Punjab by paying 4 per cent CST.


Another knitwear exhibition
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 5 — Over 60 knitwear manufacturing companies are exhibiting their products on hosiery knitting, textile garments, manufacturing knitting machinery at Knit World, a four-day exhibition, inaugurated at Maharaja Palace, here today.

Various companies from Japan, Taiwan, China, Korea and Italy had displayed machinery on knitting, sewing, embroidery, dyeing, finishing, washing and cutting. Some indigenous machinery manufacturers had also displayed circular knitting machinery, flat knitting machinery, machine parts and accessories for the garment industry. A multi-national company had exhibited a non-stainable and washable lubricant for knitting machines.

Various knitting software manufacturing companies had also displayed the use of specialised softwares for designing textiles, knitwears and embroidery patterns. A Delhi-based company had come up with an ERP software which helped in maintaining complete accounts, inventory, product list and output of the day, for apparel manufacturers. The same company was also displaying advantages of online registration of apparel manufacturers on its site,

Another website designer was exhibiting various pages of, a portal with yellow pages for textile manufacturers of India. Besides, Wings Infonet, an accounting software manufacturing company, had come up with multi-currency software which could maintain accounts in different currencies.

Also taking part in the exhibition are companies designing and making various patterns on t-shirts by screen printing and heat-transfer techniques.

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