Wednesday, January 17, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


ASI among three brutally murdered in the city

ASI stabbed nine times
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — An ASI with the traffic wing of the district police was found murdered last night in a most barabaric manner. He was stabbed as many as nine times by a long knife. Seven of these wounds were inflicted on the face and head only. The last stab at the face was so badly hit that the murderer(s) could not withdraw the knife and it was left stuck in the face, presenting a ghastly site.

The ASI, Sat Parkash, was returning from duty at the Jalandhar Bye-pass road, when he was murdered near his house in New Kundan Puri. A 12-year-old boy spotted the body and informed the relatives of the deceased. A police party from the Haibowal Police station also reached the site. The ASI, bleeding profusely was alive, but writhing in acute pain. He was taken to DMC where he breathed last.

He was cremated with full police honours at a cremation ground near Kundan Puri. A police party reversed arms to offer last respects to the deceased. Senior police officials also attended the funeral ceremony. The deceased left behind a wife, two sons and two daughters.

Mr G.S. Sandhu, SP (City), stated that the murder should not be perceived as an attack on the police. He said it appears to be a case of personal enimity as the murderer attacked the cop with a mad fury.

The police has meanwhile started investigtion into the motive behind the murder. According to preliminary reports, the ASI does not seem to have been killed for robbery. The police found about Rs 2,500 in his pocket. Though the service revolver of the deceased along with a watch and gold rings were stolen, the police feels that some other persons had stolen these and the murder was not the handiwork of the robbers.

The police said that the scooter of the cop was standing, whereas taking into consideration the attack on him, the scooter should have been lying on the ground. The police said it has also been noted that one of the scooter shield was lying on the ground, suggesting that the scooter had actually fallen once and someone had picked it up later. The police feels that some person must have come to steal something from a person, who he assumed was lying drunk, but later the person must have seen the knife stuck in the face and fled by stealing whatever was before his eyes.

The police is also investigating a curious aspect of the case, which surrounds the choice of route adopted by the ASI to reach his house from the Jalandhar Bye-Pass. Instead of the short route through the Do-murriah bridge, he chose the longer one from a road connecting Jassian village.

DSP Harmanbir Singh said the police was probing all aspects of the case including the private life of the cop. A youth of the colony, with whom the cop had had some arguments recently, was being questioned in the case.


Youth killed in group rivalry
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — Tension gripped Chowni Mohallah here this evening, following a daylight murder of a youth, Babbu, allegedly as a sequel to a rivalry between two groups.

The daylight murder of a youth of the colony took place around 5 in the evening when five or six boys armed with sharp-edged weapons attacked the youth at the New Sabzi Mandi area near Chowni Mohallah. The youth suffered serious injuries and was rushed to a city hospital where he was declared dead.

The attackers ran away after the incident. No one has identified them and no arrest has been made so far.

Residents of the Chowni Mohallah reacted angrily to the incident as news of the death of the youth spread. A number of people owing allegiance to one group in the colony gathered and forced the shops to close. Several shops were also stoned. Rival groups also clashed with each other.

Heavy police was deployed in the area fearing outbreak of violence. According to the police, the situation was tense but under control. Police sources said that they suspect the murder to be sequel to another fight and is thought to be a result of bitter rivalry between two groups of the Chowni Mohallah who have been clashing with each other at regular intervals.

In September last year, the mohallah remained tense for almost one week following an attack on a resident by members of a rival group of a minority caste and subsequent clashes.

One of the groups had at that time established substantial ‘clout’ in the area and were openly extorting money and even harassing and publicly humiliating the womenfolk. Another group opposed the acts and clashes ensued.

Senior officers and politicians , both serving and former leaders had then succeeded in cooling down the tempers which had flared up once again.

Body found

The body of a man aged nearly 24 years was found in mysterious circumstances from a link road, near Dad village on the Ludhiana-Pakhowal road, on Monday.

The body, which was bleeding profusely, was spotted by a villager, Mr Avtar Singh. The man was probably stabbed.

A case of murder has been registered by the Sadar police. A police statement said the man was wearing blue colour trouser, grey colour socks, a pullover of mixed colours, a white shirt and a copper locket.


Death of minor boys — tantrik or psychopathic killings?
By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — Is their some psychopath or a tantrik behind the sudden spurt of disappearance, sodomy and murder cases of innocent children, mostly boys, belonging to one community in the Islam Gunj area of the city ?.

The two leads are being assiduously followed by investigating officers of the district police, which is facing criticism for its ‘inability’ to trace the person(s) behind the sordid incidents. According to sources the police had some clues to the crime being committed by a psychopath or a tantrik.

Senior police officials revealed that as only children of one community, the Rajasthani community were being targeted, there seemed to be fair chances of some tantrik behind the killings, as there was an old practice among some tribes of making a child’s sacrifice in order to have one.

However, the chances of some psychopath involved in the incidents are also being explored. The police is following, this theory as all the children were murdered brutally. Most of the children had also been sodomised giving credence to the theory of it being the handiwork of some sex-maniac or paedophiles.

Interestingly, police records say that the four children were the victim of such an act, but according to residents of Islam Gunj, as many as seven cases of such nature has actually taken place.

According to police records, the first incident of such nature took place in the last week of November, 2000. A minor boy, Minto, who had disappeared from Issa Nagar of the city on November 26, was found unconscious at the old Jail. He died two days later.

The second case came up on December 8, when the badly mutilated body of another minor boy, yet to be identified, was recovered from a vacant plot in Mohar Singh Nagar of the city. On December 29, another minor boy, the son of a shoemaker, was sodomised and left to die in the old jail.

To add to the incidents was the recent death of another minor boy, Amit. He had disappeared from the Islam Gunj area on January 11 and was found murdered in the old Jail on January 13. The murder provoked people, who came out on the streets to voice their protest against it. The body had no clothes on it and according to the police, the boy was strangulated by a cloth. Though the police fears the boy was sodomised, but medical examination had yet to confirm it.

Apart from these cases in police records, residents say there was three other victims. According to Mr Subash Rajasthani, a minor boy, Chander, had also died under mysterious circumstances. His tongue was also cut by the killers. Another unidentified body of a boy was found murdered in the old Jail earlier this year, while a minor girl was raped and killed last year. The police has yet to trace the killers.

DSP Sandeep Goyal and Inspector Hardev Singh said the police was working on the two theories.


Major reshuffle in city police
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — Facing bitter criticism for the deteriorating law and order situation in the city, the city police today effected a major reshuffle of officers, announced the formation of an anti-terrorist wing, the preparation of a list of gunmen deployed with police and civil officials for their later withdrawal and also set up a permanent police post at the old jail.

Besides these, the police has also requested the state government and the Centre Government to provide another company of para-military force, preferably the CRPF, for meeting the shortage of police force.

While the police officials called the measures as systematic deployment of the force, the major reshuffle, according to the sources, has been done under the pressure from the state government which has severely criticised the police inability to curb the increasing crime rate.

Mr G.S. Sandhu, SP (City), said the police was facing an acute shortage of staff ever since more than 500 home guards were deployed on security duty of FCI godowns. 


Polluting units reluctant to shift to Ladhowal
By Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — About 20,000 engineering units which are said to cause pollution in the city are reluctant to shift to the new site provided by the government near Ladhowal. These units manufacturing cycle, auto parts and other light engineering products have declined to shift to the proposed Ladhowal industrial complex about 10 km from the city. Though these units are the major cause of pollution in the city, yet they are not prepared to move out.

Mr D.S. Chawla, President United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association and other representatives said in clear terms that they were not ready to shift to the Ladhowal area. A meeting was called here today by the Department of Industries, Punjab and Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC), in view of the High Court’s directions to shift all polluting industries out of the city. The Chief Minister, in his previous visit to the city, had declared that PSIEC would develop a model industrial city of about 1,250 acre at Ladhowal.

The officials of PSIEC and industry department tried to convince the industrialists to shift to the proposed site. While speaking on behalf of the engineering units, Mr D.S. Chawla pointed out that since the proposed area was flood prone and the level of water table was very high, about 10 feet, it was impossible to establish engineering units in such an area. He asked the Department of Industry and PSIEC to develop a focal point near Sahnewal, where the level of water table was sufficiently low.

However, Ms Surjeet Kaur Sandhu, Managing Director, PSIEC, said,‘‘Our first priority is to develop the Ladhowal area. The development of other areas will be our next priority. This project, costing about Rs 225 crore, will be completed in the next two years. An area for a five-star hotel and a dry port has also been earmarked.’’

Interestingly, representatives of knitting units, hosiery goods manufacturers and trading community came forward to buy that land, but on favourable conditions. It may be noted that these units have sufficient land in the already developed focal points and industrial areas.

If the decisions of today’s meeting are implemented in total, the purpose of High Court’s decision will be totally defeated. The polluting industries do not seem to be interested to shift out of the city citing various reasons. Mr Joginder Kumar, former President of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers’ Association, was of the view that PSIEC has failed to keep its promises with the industrialists who had purchased land in the focal point developed by it.

In fact PSIEC planned to invest a large amount on the proposed project, but without fulfilling the basic objective of shifting the polluting industries out of city. Mr D.S. Guru, Director, Department of Industries, Punjab while addressing industrialists said,‘‘ We are not going to force industrialists to shift to that area. We will just develop the area and sell the land to the interested parties.’’

After the meeting, while speaking to mediapersons, Ms Sandhu disclosed that the area would be developed as a model industrial state. The representatives of textile, hosiery, dyeing and sewing machines agreed to buy the land. She assured the industrialists that the bundh of Sutlej river will be strengthened to ensure that area was not flooded. Moreover, a pollution treatment plant would be established by the PSIEC for the treatment of the affluents coming out of units. A road to link the national highway is also proposed to shorten the distance. She appealed to the industrialists to avail of the opportunity provided otherwise they may be forced to shift out of the city like the polluting units of Delhi.

She announced that another meeting would be held with the industrialists on January 29 to finalise the modalities of the sale of industrial plots. Representatives of textile, hosiery, sewing machine manufacturers and the export units who wants to establish trading units will participate in the meeting. 


Porno boom in Ludhiana
From D.B. Chopra

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — Certain cinema houses in the city are showing pornographic films, right under the nose of the administration.

Pargat Singh is a young matriculate who helps his father run a small shop in a nearby town. He has to come to the city often to make purchases. In the beginning, he used to go to the market, do the necessary shopping and return without wasting a minute. But of late he has found a new interest.

Pargat got hooked to pornographic films as one day he strayed into a cinema hall to watch an English movie. Not only was the movie hot, there also was an added attraction of 10 minutes of hard porno stuff which had no connection with the movie.

Sonu, a teenager, studies in one of the city’s schools. He and some of his friends are always ready to skip their classes for the morning show and get some ‘sex education’.

This correspondent last week went to one of the cinema houses where an English movie was being shown. It was a full house. The storyline was simple, but there were explicit sex scenes one after the other till the audience felt they had had their money’s worth. This cinema house was in the news recently when the police seized certain prints.

In another cinema hall the audience was treated to a 10-minute porno movie immediately after the interval. It was followed by a tantalising trailer of the next change that promised to be ‘equally good’. The cine-goers are thoroughly frisked before being allowed into the hall. Perhaps it is a precaution against any mobile phones being taken into the hall, which might cause trouble.

With four house-full shows a day, these movies are proving great money spinners for the cinema owners. Notices warning those under 18 to stay away are in fact meant to lure the teenagers. There is no bar on anyone as is evident from the presence of teen-agers in the halls. Needless to say, these shows are strictly all-male affairs.


Vardhman, residents lock horns over land issue
By Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — About 30 families of Paramjit Nagar (Mundian Khurd village) and Vardhman Industries have locked horns over a piece of land in the colony. While the residents claim that the land was theirs and the Vardhman Industries was trying to occupy it, the representatives of the industrial group claim that the land is theirs and the residents have no right over it.

The dispute over one-and-a-half acres of land which has quite a high price in the market, actually took a serious turn here on Sunday when the representatives of the industry and the residents had a minor clash when the former sent a team to occupy the land.

The residents in letters sent to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the district administration have alleged that the representatives from Vardhman had suddenly rushed to the area on Sunday and had tried to demolish the houses to construct a wall. The team, however, returned when the residents gathered and protested against the act of the industry people to demolish a wall.

The residents said that the piece of land which was being forcibly occupied by Vardhman had to be in their possession as the Supreme Court had ordered that “status quo as to possession shall be maintained”. The matter was already in the court as the residents had challenged the proposal of the state government to acquire the land. They said that Vardhman was violating court orders as the land was in their possession from the day one.

The Vice President (Law) of Vardhman, Mr S.P. Mehra, while denying the allegations admitted that a team had actually gone to the colony to occupy the land. He said there was nothing wrong in it as they were not forcibly occupying the land.

He said they were rightfully demarcating the area by constructing a wall. In a statement faxed to The Tribune, he said: “As per the SC order during the interim relief, the operation of High Court is stayed and the HC order has simply upheld the acquisition. Therefore, as per the record available, there is no stay on dispossession. In the absence of any stay order in the regard to the dispossession from the SC, we are legally entitled to construct a boundary wall around the area allotted to us and its physical possession was given on August 28, 1994.”

He said: “In case we are given a copy of the stay order, if any, pertaining to the land in dispute, our group people being law abiding shall always follow the court order. In the writ petition filed by the residents we were not a party. Irrespective, we will follow the court order.”

Mr Mehra further said that they were ready to listen to the residents if they produced the documents concerned. He said that they did not come to the office despite being called by him to discuss the case.

Meanwhile, the residents said that the Vardhman people had promised to come to the site to listen to their side of the story but they did not turn up. They said that they were never called by them in the office. They are also visiting the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to intervene in the matter.


Laying of synthetic track at stadium runs into 
rough weather
From Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — The decision to postpone the National Games to September notwithstanding, the laying of a synthetic track at Guru Nanak Stadium here, the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games, besides the track and field events, has run into rough weather following reluctance of the Customs Department to release the shipment without payment of duty.

Though the matter has been taken up at the highest level, including the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, the deadlock is yet to be resolved.

The Punjab Chief Minister, M Parkash Singh Badal, is believed to have written a demi-official letter to Mr Yashwant Sinha some time ago stating that non-clearance of the material required for laying of a synthetic surface at Guru Nanak Stadium here would jeopardise the holding of prestigious National Games where both the President and the Prime Minister were expected to visit.

The cost of the synthetic track would be over a crore of rupees.

Even the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who is also the President of the Punjab Olympic Association, has also reportedly written to Mr Yashwant Sinha to intervene and get the material for the synthetic surface released.

The Punjab Government had offered to get the shipment released against PD Bonds as had been the practice earlier. Though the shipment arrived several weeks ago, it was still at Mumbai shipyard for want of customs clearance. In the past such shipments were released against PD Bonds.

Sources reveal that when the Union Ministry of Sports notified its new policy on import of sports equipment, including synthetic surfaces, it did not specify all the 15-odd items required for laying a synthetic track. Instead, the notification mentioned only five to six items.

Under the policy a letter was issued to the Punjab Government to import the synthetic track. Under the same policy letters had been issued in the past and synthetic tracks imported for

Manipur, Kerala and even by the SAI besides a few other states by furnishing the PD Bonds.

Since the synthetic track is not a finished product, it needs various types of imported inputs, including synthetic grains, special glues and other material. The Customs Department was reluctant to release the shipment on the plea that even in the past when such shipments were released on PD bonds, subsequent clearance certificates were not furnished. As a result litigations were going on against some of the states and even the Sports Authority of India for the recovery of the mandatory duty.

On the other hand, synthetic surfaces like that for field hockey, which is a finished product, has already been cleared and transported to Jalandhar where it would be laid soon at the Burlton Park Hockey Stadium.

The Union Finance Ministry is yet to issue any instructions to the Customs Department for the release of the shipment on the plea that under the notification issued by none other than the Department of Sports itself, all items required for a synthetic surface, which are imported, have not been mentioned.

An amended notification or clearance certificate has to be issued to facilitate clearance of the shipment at Mumbai.


Avtar case: SP, DSP sent summons
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — A committee of five police officers formed to probe the Avtar Singh murder case, today sent summons to the SP Moga, Mr Shiv Kumar, and the DSP (D), Mr Rajinder Singh Cheema, for their alleged role in the case which has Gurmeet Singh Pinki, a suspended Punjab Police cop as the main accused. Giving this information to reporters, Mr Gurkirpal Singh, SP (Detective), who also heads the committee said both the officers had been told to appear before the committee tomorrow forenoon. 



The National Union of Working Journalists organised a seminar at the Pal Auditorium in PAU. A good number of scribes gathered in the auditorium. The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Ms Sushma Swaraj, was the chief guest. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and a number of political leaders had come to oblige their journalist friends.

At one time the auditorium was crammed to capacity with not many chairs left to be filled. Although the function started about one-and-a-half-hour behind schedule, everyone bore with the organisers as they were repeatedly pleaded to.

But unfortunately, an anticlimax happened much before the conclusion of the seminar. The Chief Minster was to fly in his urhan khatola , as he describes his helicopter, and it was getting dark. So he had to rush. He jumped the queue of speakers, without waiting for the chief guest to speak. Flying compulsions, everyone could appreciate. But the moment Mr Badal took off from the stage, the auditorium went vacant with most of the people following him. Feeling desperate for an audience, particularly when the chief guest, Ms Sushma Swaraj, was yet to speak, the organisers bolted the doors of the auditorium to prevent the remaining audience from making an exit.

With love, for Ethiopia

It must be one really rare occasion where hosts do not know the names of the guests. The omission could be forgiven, as long as they were not needed to be introduced. Recently, two vice ministers (deputy ministers) of Ethiopia were on a visit to the PAU. Two of the seniormost officials of the university were taking them around the campus. Besides hosting a sumptuous lunch for them in the Sutton House, the hosts also organised a press conference for them. But when the journalists asked for an introduction, the reply was “one is the Vice Minister for Education and the other is the Vice Minister for Agriculture”. The only other thing the hosts could tell was that the guests were from Ethiopia. When asked about their names, the “worthy” hosts were courteous enough to say that the names would be circulated later with the handout. In fact one of the officials introducing the visiting dignatries frankly admitted, “Their names need too much of tongue-twisting and these will be circulated in the handout”. All the journalists had to wait till evening for the handout and lo, even that did not carry the names of the ministers. It took a lot of spadework to know the names of the two ministers, which were definitely difficult to pronounce. No harm in giving it a try. Dr Tekleheimanot Hailesclassic, the Vice Minister for Education and Mr Ato Delay Ejigu, the Vice Minister for Agriculture.

No English please!

Call it a sincere commitment towards one’s mothertongue, Punjabi, or a gimmick, the Managing Director of the Punjab State Industries Development Corporation (PSIDC), Ms Surjit Kaur Sandhu, had to switch over to Punjabi after starting her lecture in English.

The moment she started her speech, the president of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), Mr Inderjeet Singh Pradhan, rose to intervene, asking her to speak in Punjabi and not in English. He went a step further, pointing out to the PSIDC’s MD that “We are no longer being ruled by the English”.

Not many people liked the intervention since most of the industrialists, know the language as most of them continuously go abroad for business deals. Besides, as one businessman pointed out, all the business communication is done in English only.

Promoting Punjabi culture

Malwa Sabhyacharak Manch was instrumental in promoting Lohri as it used to be celebrated in villages. The stage was set with sugarcane plants, kites, a banyan tree and a charpoy, a typical scene of a village chaupal. The function was unique as it started at 11 a.m. and ended at 11.30 p.m. The young president, Mr Pawan Diwan, worked tirelessly for two months to invite the 11 nationally famous personalities. Mr M.S. Cheema, the convener also arranged a seminar. The Punjabi Bhavan was packed to capacity as all the people were welcomed with open arms. Traditional gazak, bhuga, jaggery ladoos were served to the audience. Hans Raj Hans, Sirdool Sikander, Amar Noori were some of the luminaries honoured. The vigorous Malwai bhangra was performed by young energetic artists. Usually Malwai gidha is performed by girls, but from the regions of Moga, Sangrur and interior of Malwa, both young and old men perform Malwai bhangra. (see accompanying picture) It is different from the regular bhangra, for the dancers use a wooden ‘squirrel’ and folding pegs. The chimta is used to enhance the beauty of the dance. The music was soulful. Indeed, the programme showcased the typical way of celebrating Lohri, much to the delight of a large audience.

Parent-teacher meetings

After the semester examinations, a parent-teacher meeting is organised, where parents (specially of the failed candidates) are obliged to meet teachers for their wards have been issued ‘warning letters’ stating that if their wards did not improve their performance, they would be detained. Parents of outstanding children want to hear teachers sing praises of their wards. Whatever the case may be, parents consider it an occasion to meet friends and acquaintances and come dressed to kill — in the latest fashion, wearing designer jewellery and exotic perfumes, whose scents linger for long in the corridors. The teachers too are not outdone by parents. After the parents have been told of their children’s weaknesses or achievements, both dejected and elated parents come out of the classrooms and gather in groups. The happy parents gloat over the success of their wards and talk with elation, whereas dejected parents talk in subdued tones. While talking, the womenfolk observe what the others are wearing minutely. After the assessment, they walk out, making small talk to enjoy soft drinks and snacks. The children after the scolding, get a reprieve when the parents begin to socialise. They too feast, their failures behind them. The parents satisfied after showing off their latest possessions, wait the next meet.

Driver by accident

Ludhiana has about 40,000 trucks and a significant number of the truck drivers migrant labour. They get a meagre pay, besides meal expenses. Most of them may be able to earn some extra money through ‘innovative means’ like selling loaded material, while keeping the weight of the contents intact. However, someone like Deep Narain fails to earn sufficient money, because he is honest. “I just get Rs 2,000 per month after toiling for 24 hours around the year. Can’t we have a decent earning after working so hard and living away from home? That is the question that he, a truck driver working with a local transport company often asks, whenever one asks him about how much he has saved in the past 10 years since he started working. After passing 10th class from Chhapra in Bihar, he learnt driving and has been working here. ‘‘I get Rs 2,000 per month and three meals a day. I send all the money to my wife who is looking after my parents and two sons. I have not even been able to open an account in a bank, what to talk of savings,’’ he says. Though I do not drink or take drugs but I don’t know how can I save money while working honestly, he added. Life has become miserable for the community of truck drivers. On the other hand, the people think they are all drunkards, indulging in roadside sex and making money by the side. But the fact remains, persons like him are nice fellows who need sympathy and decent earnings too. He disclosed that his salary was raised almost six years ago, from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000. Prices of almost every thing have doubled, but no one has cared to raise his salary, he complained.‘‘Whenever, I ask my sardar to increase my salary, he tells me business is passing through a slump. Carry on with your work if you want or look for work somewhere else. Both of us know that there is no alternative,’’ he rued. There is no enthusiasm to visit home as I do not have any money for ailing parents or for a new sari for my wife or new clothes for the children. Perhaps life may be better in the next birth. In this life there is no hope!” he added pessimistically.

— Sentinel


YAD leader joins issue with PPCC chief on WTO
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, senior functionary of Shiromani Youth Akali Dal (YAD) has ridiculed Capt Amarinder Singh, president of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, for his statement saying Punjab Chief Minister and president of Shiromani Akali Dal (B) Parkash Singh Badal and other SAD-B leaders were ignorant about the implications and benefits of WTO agreement, signed by the previous Congress government, headed by P.V. Narasimha Rao.

The YAD leader stated that Capt Amarinder Singh had exposed himself as an agent of multinational companies by singing paens in praise of WTO agreement.

Perhaps realising the error of Capt Amarinder Singh, in vociferously defending WTO, his own partymen, including former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhathal and leaders like Jagmeet Singh Brar and many other senior members of the party had already gone on record to say that Capt Amarinder Singh’s views on WTO were his own and the Congress party did not necessarily agree with them.

Mr Dhillon further stated that dissension and confusion prevailing in the Congress was clear from the fact that the party had already set up a committee under the chairmanship of former Lok Sabha Speaker Balram Jakhar to formulate the party line on the WTO issue. “If Capt Amarinder Singh, who headed the PPCC, is fully convinced and accepts the various provisions in WTO agreement, then why are such committees being constituted, the YAD leader questioned.

He said total confusion prevailed in Congress circles, which was evident from the self-contradictory statements of senior Congress functionaries. There were no contradictory opinions in the SAD that this agreement, in its present form, would have far-reaching adverse socio-economic ramifications for indigenous industry, agriculture and many other sectors of economy.

Mr Dhillon has asked Capt Amarinder Singh to desist from issuing such statements which could prove suicidal for Punjab and the whole country.


‘Women should have reproductive rights’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — Nearly 585,000 women in India die every year from causes related to pregnancy. At least 75 million pregnancies every year are unwanted, leading to 45 million abortions. More than 70,000 women die every year as a result of unsafe abortions.

These were some of the figures quoted from different sources by Dr Satwant Kaur, lecturer, DAV College of Education, Amritsar, as she presented her papers in a seminar on ‘Right to choose reproductive rights and reproductive health’ at Malwa College of Education for Women, here today.

Reading out her paper on ‘Effect of denying reproductive rights’, Dr Satwant said that nearly 2 million girls of the age of five years to 15 years are put on commercial sex market every year. She said that women face violence at every stage of life. At pre-natal stage, female foetus is aborted. As she turns into an infant, she faces differential access to food and medical care. Emotional and physical abuse and infanticide are common, she said.

“Several girl children have to bear genital mutilation, sexual abuse and child prostitution. As she matures, she is subjected to economically-coerced sex, sexual abuse at work place, rape and forced prostitution. Women face violence even at the reproductive stage, as she has to bear marital rape and psychological abuse. Abuse of widows and elderly women is also common,” Dr Satwant said.

Dr A.S. Chawla, District Epidemologist, Ludhiana, while presenting his paper on the topic ‘Mother and child health care’ said that a balanced diet during pregnancy and after delivery of the child played a vital role in well-being of the mother and child. He said that while a pregnant women should gain around 12 kg of weight during pregnancy, nearly 70 per cent of women were under-weight. He said pregnant women need eight-hour sleep during night and two-hour sleep in the afternoon.

He said self-medication should never be practiced during pregnancy or lactation period as it may lead to major sideeffects in the child. He emphasised that proper hygiene was a must at all stages to avoid any infection. While explning the warning signs, Dr Chawla said that in case a pregnant woman suffered from oedema, headache, blur in vision, bleeding in the vagina or any discharge, a gynaecologist should be immediately consulted.

Presenting her paper on ‘Effect of frequent pregnancies on mother and child’, Dr Kamaljeet Kaur, Medical Officer, Revamping Centre, Dholewal Chowk, said that rapid pregnancies could lead to malnutrition, impaired placental function, oedema, hypertension and diabetes melitus.

She said while a non-pregnant women should consume 1,900 kilo calories per day, pregnant women require more calories. She said that the intake must increase by 180 kilo calories during the first three months of pregnancy, 450 kilo calories during the second trimester and 550 kilo calories during the last trimester of pregnancy and lactation period.

Dr Rama Sofat, running a nursing home in the city, spoke on ‘Health and hygiene of expectant mothers, Dr Satpal Kaur, lecturer at the host college, presented her papers on ‘Women’s right to choose family size’, Dr M.S. Bajwa spoke on ‘Reproductive health’ and Dr Puneet Juneja read a paper on ‘Immunisation and vaccination’. Dr Rajinder Kaur, Civil Surgeon, inaugurated the seminar.


New concessions for riot victims
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — The Punjab Government has decided to offer some new concessions and to restore other facilities to the riot victims of 1984. In a high-level meeting, presided over by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, at Chandigarh last evening, it was decided that instead of allotment of 327 booths to the riot victims by the municipal corporation in the city, the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) would be asked to allot booths to them in urban estates Dugri at 50 per cent of the market rates, with the cost to be recovered in easy instalments.

According to Mr Surjit Singh, president of the Danga Peerit Welfare Society, Punjab, who attended the meeting, the government further made a commitment that the allotment of LIG and MIG flats to riot victims all over the state would be completed within two months.

Among other concessions for the riot victims were the issuance of red cards to those who cold not get the same till now within a period of two months, entry of the names of children born after 1984 to riot victim parents in the red cards, free education till graduation in government schools and colleges, two per cent reservation in medical and other professional colleges and restoration of two per cent reservation in allotment of industrial plots.

Mr Surjit Singh informed that the meeting was attended, in addition to senior officials of various departments, by Mr Tota Singh, Education Minister, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, Local Bodies Minister, Mrs Upinderjit Kaur, Urban Development Minister, Mr Sarwan Singh, Welfare Minister, Mr Ranjit Singh Ballian, Minister of State for Urban Development, Mr Balbir Singh Miani, Minister of State for Medical Education and Research, Mr R.S.Mann, Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, Financial Commissioner Local Bodies, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, Mayor and Dr S.S. Sandhu, Commissioner of Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana.


Handover gaushala to social organisations: PFA
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — Dissatisfied by the line of action followed by the local administration regarding the death of cows, the local chapter of the People for Animals has demanded a thorough probe by an independent agency. In a letter written to the state government, the general secretary of the PFA, Mr Ajay Jain, has said that only a suspension of the employee was not the solution to the whole problem.

He maintained that serious efforts were needed to help animals which were abandoned by their owners in sickness or old age to suffer at the hands of the people entrusted with the work of providing them shelter, food and treatment.

He demanded that the management of the cattle pound should be handed over to the social organisations under the supervision of the corporation. He alleged that though the donors had constructed the walls of the gaushala and the troughs for the fodder for the cows, they were not allowed to do brick flooring and roofing of the sheds.

He said that the management of the gaushala was offered to the PFA vide letter number 3264drg, dated September 9, 1998, but was refused on flimsy grounds.

He said the PFA had even agreed to abide by the conditions, but some vested interests did not let it materialise and took the plea that there was a fear of spread of disease among the cattle of the dairy complex situated nearby.

Recalling his meeting with the Joint Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Heer, held two months ago, Mr Jain said that he had visited the site and ordered to clean the knee-deep slush. He said that the whole process had started, but was stopped after two days.

He said even the Minister for Social Justice, Empowerment and Animal Welfare, Ms Maneka Gandhi, had written to the Municipal Commissioner to take appropriate action for the smooth functioning of gaushala, but nothing was done.


Changing face of public transport
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — The city has come a long way as far as local transport is concerned since the early sixties, when tongas used to be the favourite means of transport. The change in the mode of local public transport has not gone well with the city on the whole. The journey from tongas, cycles to autos, mini buses and taxis has brought in so many irritants like air and noise pollution, traffic hazards and congestion with it. But for a common man, survival in the industrial city would not be possible without depending on these.

The ‘tonga era’ was free from any kind of pollution. The elite had private tongas in which the entire family travelled in the evenings. There used to be tonga stands at old DMC road, Ghanta Ghar chowk, railway station and Ghas Mandi.

Mr Sham Chander, an octogenarian, recalls wistfully. “Those were happy days. If I had to go alone, I would go on my own, but when the family had to go together, my father used to hire a tonga. Those days were full of fun and free of tensions”. At the same time Mr Chander agreed that in the fast-growing world, tongas were not viable, as they were considered time-consuming and ‘outdated’.

This mode of public transport was replaced by local buses, which had fixed routes. People used to walk a considerable distance to get the bus, as there were few buses in the city, run by the municipal corporation which went into a big loss later. These were replaced with another public mode of transport — the autorickshaws. All the tonga stands in the city were converted into auto stands. For city residents, it is a cheaper mode of public transport in contrast to taxis — the latest mode of transport. The city does not have many authorised taxi or auto stands, except near the bus stand and railway station.

Mr Paramjit Singh, a taxi owner, who has been in the profession for the past 25 years said, “I have driven almost every car as a taxi. I have steered Ambassador, Fiat, Maruti van, Matador, Tata Sumo and now Qualis. I keep on changing my taxis, due to the changing social scenario in the city. People prefer to sit in newly introduced cars.”

Mr Lekhraj, who is a regular traveller in the autos, said,” Autos are convenient. But they produce noise. Sometimes going in the autos becomes a problem because drivers keep taking on more and more passengers.”

However, these means of public transport do not serve the purpose well. While local people who travel by this mode are familiar with its functioning, the people who come from outside face most problems. The auto and taxi drivers have usually been found to hold them to ransom by charging exhorbitant rates.


Shefali not averse to politics
By Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Jan 16 — “If given a chance, I would love to join politics under the leadership of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee. I want to serve humanity. I want to do something for the people of my country and for their betterment”, says the Khoobsurat girl, Shefali Talwar, who was here to compere a show held at the Sutlej Club last night.

Shefali, a tall, young and good looking model with a smiling face has done her Masters in Business Administration from the Times School of Marketing. She entered into this profession when she was just 11 years old. “It was my dream to become a model. I have always enjoyed modelling. Nothing is last to me. I want to continue with my modelling career”, added Shefali.

She has done assignments for Toyota, Ford and Hyundai. Besides she has anchored for Zee TV’s serial Khoobsurat, which she still likes the most.

She says, “Travelling is my passion. I have been to Africa, Asia, America, Emirate countries, London and Singapore”. She says that she loves Ludhiana and visits the city every year. “I do all my winter shopping from Ludhiana,” added Shefali.

She says that Punjabis are warm hearted. She is all praise for Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Ludhiana people. She said, “We have our ancestral house at Chandigarh and Jalandhar. I keep on visiting these cities whenever I get time”.

However, she felt sorry for the industrial city. She said, “The city has potential and people have positive approach towards life. No doubt the industry has developed here, but unfortunately the city has not progressed much.” She likes punjabi food- sarson ka saag, makki ki roti, gajar halwa and lassi.

Talking about her marriage plans, Shefali added that she would get married as soon as she finds Mr Right. She confirmed, “After marriage, my priority in life would be my companion and my family.”

Shefali said that she would not join the film industry even if given a good offer. She said, “I will not do films. Its nice to be a model and I want to continue with my modelling career”.

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