Monday, January 8, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Judge vows to weed out polluting industrial units
By Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 7 — Justice Kuldeep Singh, a former Supreme Court Judge, is known for his historic judgements in cases related to the protection of environment. Now, he has launched a movement against the polluting industrial units of Ludhiana. The focus of the campaign will be on getting these units shifted out of the city.

“I am not against industrialisation, but mindless devastation of natural resources cannot be tolerated. Industrialists should behave as responsible citizens. They cannot be allowed to generate profits at the cost of public health and natural resources,” Justice Kuldeep Singh said here today.

He was here to inaugurate Dumra Vishram Ghar, a community hostel that has been built in Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital. The building has been built so that attendants of the patients can stay here.

Justice Kuldeep Singh said an NGO, Hari Bhari National Environment Protection Society, had been formed yesterday to fight for the environment protection in Punjab with emphasis on Ludhiana. Mr B.B.S. Sobti is the President of the organisation and Justice Kuldeep Singh is its chief patron. Besides creating awareness about the environment protection, the NGO will fight legal cases against the owners of industries that are polluting the environment.

Justice Kuldeep Singh said Ludhiana had already become the most polluted city of Punjab. He also said it was unfortunate that neither the state government nor the Judiciary had taken action against the violating industries. “The industries have destroyed the ground water resource, Budha Darya, and the air of the city. One cannot drink water from the hand pumps here and a large number of the city residents are suffering from respiratory diseases,” he said.

When asked about the role of the State Pollution Control Board in checking these violations, he said he did not have many hopes from the body. He said, “It has failed the purpose for which it was formed. Moreover, it does not have much power to punish violators. If government is serious about the protection of environment, it should strengthen this body and remove corrupt officials.”

He said, “When most of the politicians in this country are corrupt, what hopes can we have from them. Even after 50 years of the formation of the Constitution, people are not aware of their fundamental rights. Crores of Indians die because of hunger and lack of treatment.”

He said, out of 1 lakh persons who suffered from the kidney malfunction, not more than 5,000 could avail themselves of the proper diagnosis facility. The poor could not even think about kidney transplant. Industrialists and politicians had failed to protect the poor and the environment, so, the Judiciary and the NGOs had to come forward for this. He praised the Judiciary for banning the polluting units in Delhi. He said, “It was during my term that the decision to shift these industries out of Delhi was taken.”

He said, “The Judiciary, in this case, has taken full care of the interests of the industrial workers. They have been promised six-year wages if the units closed. We are asking for the establishment of proper treatment plants and not the closure of these units.”

He said no one had taken care of the environment issues in Punjab. In Bathinda, the ash from the thermal plants had destroyed the crops and the health of hundreds of persons living nearby. He said, now, a refinery was coming up there and he would try that it used gas and not coal as fuel.

“Efforts will be made to ensure that polluting industries here are closed or shifted out of the city where proper treatment plants would be established,” he said.


Bullock-cart racers up in arms against PFA
By Kamal Kishore Shankar

LUDHIANA, Jan 7 — The bullock-cart racers are up in arms against those animal rights activists who have been opposing the race and seeking a ban on it. These people, mostly from the countryside, described the campaign by certain animal rights activists as ill-conceived since it had no justification.

The people who have been actively participating in rural games pointed out that the argument put forward by the animal rights activists that it led to cruelty against animals was devoid of any truth.

They opine that it is not just a 32-second race. It is part of the cultural heritage of Punjab. The rural people started bullock-cart races in 1932. This practice was started to use the leisure time when the crop was about to be harvested. The other purpose of the tradition was to make the bullock ready for the next session of ploughing. But as the farmers started using the modern techniques like tractors, threshers, etc. the bullocks started disappearing from the farm. Only the poor farmers who could not afford the tractors used bullocks for ploughing. Then the farmers started keeping bullock for the sport to save the bullock.

A pair of bullocks costs from Rs 1,00,000 to Rs 3,50,000. The average monthly expense of bullock is from Rs 5,000 to 10,000. The farmers have no income from these animals yet they care for them even more than their own children. They have made special sheds for the bullocks. Some farmers have deputed a man whose job is only to look after the bullocks.

Paramjit Singh Grewal, secretary, Killa Raipur Sports Association, pointed out that the bullock-cart race is one of the most effective measure to save the Nagour breed of bullock. He opined that the decision of the district administration to ban the sport would deal a blow to the farmers who looked forward to the bullock-races. "There are about 600 bullock pairs in the Ludhiana district," he added.


Rape case witnesses new twist every day
By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 7 — The alleged rape case of a 30-year-old migrant labourer, who was kept locked in a room and raped for four days by a foreman of a factory in Sahnewal near here, was assuming serious proportions and witnessing new twists every day.

Amidst allegations and counter allegations of kidnapping, beating and false complaint levelled by both the victim and the accused, and the charge against the Sahnewal police of ‘helping’ the latter have also been surfaced.

The woman, narrating her tale of horror, had lodged an FIR with the police two days ago accusing Santosh Kumar of kidnapping and raping her. She had also accused two other persons, Bhupinder Singh and Sukhi Sardar, of mercilessly beating her and her husband in order to pressurise her to keep quiet.

However, yesterday, one of the accused, Bhupinder Singh, was admitted in the CMC with multiple injuries. Providing a turn to the case, he said he along with Sukhi was severely beaten up by the alleged rape victim, her husband and their friends yesterday when they had gone to the Nichi Mangli locality to rescue the foreman, Santosh Kumar, who was picked up by the victim couple and their friends and was being beaten for his crime.

Yet another twist to the case was given today by the husband of the victim. In a complaint to the Senior Superintendent of Police, he has alleged that while the Sahnewal police was shielding the accused, his younger brother Parkash Mandal has been kidnapped by the accused who were demanding withdrawal of the FIR lodged by his wife.

The case has flared up tampers among the residents of the Nichi Mangli. The labour community was angry at the alleged rape and are openly accusing the police of siding with the accused. They allege that money has exchanged hands.

In a written and signed complaint sent to the SSP, Mr Kailash Mandal, husband of the alleged victim, also accuses the police of shielding the accused and alleges that though Santosh Kumar committed the crime with active connivance of the three persons — Bhupinder Singh, Sukhi and Chanchal, the police has only registered the case against Santosh Kumar.

He has also alleged that all the accused have links with the police and as the result of which no action has been taken by the police against them. He said no statement has been recorded before a Magistrate as per the rules under section 164 of the CrPC. Further he said the police has reported the matter in their own way to manipulate the crime and the allegedly save the skin of the accused persons.

To cap it all, he has also alleged that the accused came to his house on January 4 and kidnapped his younger brother Parkash Mandal who had come to their home to rescue them from the accused who were beating them mercilessly on January 4. He said his brother was whisked away by the accused and his whereabouts were not known till date. He said they had reported the matter to the police but it has not taken any action in this regard.

While the SSP, Mr Kuldip Singh, was not available for comments, Mr Gurjit Singh, Additional SHO Sahnewal, said the police doubts the story of rape and the subsequent allegations of beating the couple. He said the police was looking into the allegations of kidnapping of Mr Parkash Mandal.

He said the police had got proof that Bhupinder Singh was beaten up by the couple and other persons and it was unlikely that they had inflicted injuries on themselves to get a counter case registered against the complainants. He, however, assured that the police was investigating all sides of the story.


BSNL move worries PCO owners
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 7 — While the Bharat Sanchar Nigam’s declaration of extending the direct dialing facility has brought cheers for the general public, the PCO owners are fuming at the move fearing heavy losses in their business.

Although general public expressed its happiness about the facility, the PCO owners of the city seemed a worried lot. Apprehending a loss of business, the PCO owners felt that this was high time that they should start looking for alternative means of livelihood.

Most of them said that their business would be cut down to 25 to 30 per cent of the total. Mr Mool Raj Sharma, a PCO owner at Mata Rani Chowk, said the new decision would affect his business as areas within Punjab would be accessible through a local call. ‘‘Not only within the state, some areas in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana will be a local call away as far as the telecommunication is concerned. Today a two-minute call to Chandigarh during the day time costs Rs 13, but with the new facility it will cost only Rs 2. You can well imagine the margin that we will earn,’’ he said.

Another PCO owner said that it was an eyewash for the common man. ‘‘They are very happy with the decision now, not knowing that the rentals have been increased. It is an extra burden on the small subscribers. Only the business class will be benefited,’’ he said.

Mr Lalit Jain, of the Jain Communications at Ghanta Ghar chowk said their business was bound to suffer after this facility. ‘‘While it was an STD call within 60-km range we were charging Rs 2 as service charges. But with new facility we would be deprived of service charges. It would be unbearable,’’ rued Mr Jain.

‘‘Now within a distance of 101 to 200 km, the pulse will be extended from 15 seconds to 30 seconds. This will amount to direct losses,’’ he added.

‘‘Not only the PCOs, but the BSNL would also suffer losses. Earlier I was giving a business of Rs 30,000 to the BSNL per month. But with the private telecom services, it was cut down to Rs 12,000. Now you can well imagine the condition after the the introduction of the new scheme,’’ said Mr Somesh, another PCO owner.


Chill steals warmth out of PAU campus

WITH temperature dipping to an all time low in Ludhiana the life seems to have become cold on Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) campus. While most of the students had left for homes during the brief vacation, a number of students who had stayed back seem to be confining themselves to their hostel rooms. Even the teaching and non-teaching staff does not seem to like coming out of their laboratories and offices. The sun is playing hide and seek leaving little scope for people who would otherwise love to bask in its warmth. All the hustle and bustle associated with the campus life appears to have frozen in the chill. Awaited a sunshine that may defrost it all and bring back the warmth around.

Sport events

While the campus may be cool due to the low temperature, but some sport events in hockey and cycling have kept it alive. Recently the Ramesh Chander Hockey Tournament concluded in the university. The Punjab and Sind Bank defeated the favourites, Punjab Police. The tournament was organised in the memory of Ramesh Chander, a leading journalist who fell to the bullets of militants during the militancy in Punjab.

An inter-zonal cycling championship was organised on the campus. The Punjab team topped the list, while R.K. Sharma was adjudged the best cyclist.

Another hockey tourney is already in progress on the Astro Turf field of the PAU. The tourney is being organised by the Food Corporation of India. It was inaugurated by the FCI chairman, Mr Bhure Lal.

Seminar on WTO

The university has always taken a lead in the agro economic development of Punjab. It has also stood guard against any onslaught or danger to the agriculture and economy of the state. With the World Trade Organisation regime coming into force from April 1, there is a general concern among the farmers and the academician about its impact on the economy of the state, which is predominantly dependent on agriculture. The university has been instrumental in organising a few seminars on the WTO impact on agriculture and economy of the state. One such seminar was organised at the farmers service station. The seminar was, among others, attended by the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljeet Singh, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr G.S. Kalkat, and the Pro VC, Dr K.S. Aulakh. A number of farmers also participated in the seminar.

Consumer fair

The Chandigarh chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry organised a four-day consumer fair in the lawns of the PAU. While the CII officials claimed that the fair generated business enquiries to the tune of Rs 7 crore, it was also described as a big draw as thousands of people attended it. The fair was inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Several leading industrialists of the region also attended the inaugural function.

While it was a welcome affair, it left a dirty tale of dirt behind. The organisers took no time in winding up the fair. All the paraphernalia was delicately shifted. But unfortunately the organisers did not bother to clean the waste that kept lying there for days together. A sad end to a grand event.

University buildings

The PAU is one of the oldest institutions in the country. In fact one of the few oldest agricultural universities which can claim pride in having helped to bring in the green revolution. With the buildings getting old, the authorities have regularly been carrying out renovation and repairs. Most of the buildings are being given a face-lift with renovations and paints.

— Surbhi Bhalla


Antelope handed over to Wildlife Dept
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 7 — An antelope (sambhar ) rescued by People For Animals in Ludhiana from Haibowal dairy complex, has been handed over to the wildlife department for sending it to Bir Takkhani (sanctuary) in district Hoshiarpur. Mr Varinderpal Singh Chawla, District Inspector, Wildlife, contacted his senior officers for its rehabilitation, and was instructed by them to shift it to the notified sanctuary. The PFA president handed over the animal.

After rescue, the injured sambhar was kept at Jeev Daya Sadan and provided warmth and treatment, to which it responded and started healing and taking food. Dr Surjit, a veterinarian at PFA Hospital, said the animal had impaired vision, so it needed to be kept under special supervision. The PFA people claimed that the sambhar was being chased by hunters at Ladhowal forest area and had strayed into the city from Chuharpur Jassian road.

PFA has exhorted the forest minister to depute more employees and provide facilities like vehicles, arms and communication systems to wildlife officials, so that hunting and crimes against wildlife can be checked effectively.


Big haul of poppy husk
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 7 — Exposing a novel method of smuggling poppy husk, the Phillaur police has busted a gang of drug traffickers. The gang used to bring the poppy husk from Rajasthan to the Nawanshahr district of Punjab.

With the arrest of three persons, the police has also learnt that the gang of Jaswinder Singh Dulla, who is in jail, has begun its smuggling activities again.

Mr Ashok Bath, DSP of Phillaur, said the gang used mobile telephones to smuggle drugs into the state. When caught, the accused were bringing 1,850 kg of poppy husk into the Jalandhar district in a Tata truck that was led by a car. The drivers of the two vehicles were constantly in touch with each other over the mobile telephones. The car driver kept telling the truck driver whether the route was clear or not.

In a press note issued here today, the DSP said the amount of poppy husk seized was one of the biggest in recent years in the state. The police has also impounded two vehicles — Tata truck (PB-07-B-4986) and a Maruti car (PB-10-K-6677). Three persons — Ram Lubhaiya, Amrik Lal and Avtar Singh — have been arrested.

The DSP told Ludhiana Tribune that the consignment was meant to be delivered to a man called Pappu in the Nawanshahr district. The arrested persons also confessed that they had supplied a similar consignment to this man past month.Back


Learn from them art of making salad
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 7 — Everyone knows the value of vegetables in our diet. Radish, carrot and cucumber not only give us fibre but also vitamins and minerals. In winter, these vegetables are available in abundance. These look good if cut and arranged artistically.

Many roadside entrepreneurs have perfected the art of preparing colourful salads, using these vegetables. Such vendors can be found outside cinema halls, offices, schools and colleges, besides in streets. After cutting and arranging the vegetables nicely, they sprinkle masala and lemon juice on these to give it a tangy flavour.

Budhi Raja, who sells salad outside a cinema hall, says, “I sell a small plate of salad at Rs 7 and a bigger one at Rs 12. I make it a point to buy fresh vegetables for preparing salad. By now, I know how many plates I will be able to sell in a day, so, I buy vegetables accordingly. As my preparation is hygienic, I have many regular clients. My customers are generally office babus and school children.”

There are about 200 persons in the city who earn their livelihood by selling salad. In summer, they use vegetables like cucumber and tomato. “In winter, we have a variety of vegetables. To garnish the salad, we put chopped coriander leaves in it. Our salad looks so inviting and smells so good that people cannot resist it. We have the satisfaction that we are serving nutritious food to our customers, though our income is bare minimum. I am satisfied that I am independent and depend on my own skills to earn my livelihood,” said Sitaram. He has been selling salad for past 10 years and finds that his clients are increasing with the people becoming more health conscious than ever. He says, “I have more clients than ever, but the prices of vegetables have also gone up. My profit margin remains almost the same as before.”

These entrepreneurs deserve appreciation for their hard work and housewives can learn the art of making salad from them.


Mixed response to Knit Vision 2001
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 7 — The exhibition of knitting and hosiery garment machinery manufacturers has generated a mixed response here. The five-day exhibition was inaugurated by Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, Mayor, Ludhiana, on January 4. More than 150 stalls have been put up in the exhibition by knitting, spinning, processing, cutting, finishing and sewing machinery manufacturers.

Stalls of local stitching machine and circular machine manufacturers have attracted a lot of spectators as well as customers. Mr Ramesh Sharma, a local manufacturer who claimed that he was introducing specially prepared stitching machines for the first time in the region, seemed to be very enthusiastic. He said, ‘‘We were making link machines for hosiery units. But changes in the trade and the declining winter season forced us to look for new avenues. After three years of hard work, we are introducing sewing machines which could be used for stitching blankets, jeans, T-shirts and other garments. The cost is very less as compared to imported machinery.’’

The arrangements in the exhibition may be impressive, but the recession in the hosiery industry, like other sectors of the economy, has badly affected the response of the industrialists. There are a lot of queries about the machines, but orders are few, said a salesman at a counter. Moreover, another exhibition of knitwear manufacturers going on in the city has also affected the number of visitors.

It is learnt that this is for the second time that an exhibition of knitwear machinery has been organised by a local event management company, after 1999. About 20 foreign companies are participating in the exhibition, including some from Japan, Taiwan, the USA and Germany.

When asked about the business and number of queries so far, Mr Satish Kumar, in charge of the exhibition, said,‘‘ It was still early to estimate the response of the industry, since we expect most of the visitors today and tomorrow, being week end days. However, keeping in view the conditions that are prevailing in the industry, the response is much better than what we had expected.’’

The counter of www.india, a website of Hosiery Times, a knitwear magazine, was also attracting a lot of queries. This website has been made to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of the hosiery industry to buyers and sellers. Mr Ramesh Sharma, in charge of the stall, disclosed that the website was providing information on industry in more than 40 categories such as blankets, T-shirts, inner garments and shawl industries, and machinery manufacturers not only in Ludhiana, but also in Delhi, Kolkata, Noida, Chennai and other centres.

Further it provided an opportunity for making business to business deals. ‘‘We got an order on this website for 3,20,000 T-shirts from an Italian company recently. Even some local manufacturers have got orders through this website.’’

While appreciating the exhibition, Mr Jiwan Dhawan, Chairman, Motinagar United Factory Association, said, ‘‘A visit to the exhibition provides an opportunity to glance at the latest technology in the industry. We could have a face-to-face interaction with the manufacturers of local and imported machines. However, due to lack of demand for garments prepared in the city, not many orders are coming.’’

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