Friday, January 19, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rebel MLAs to submit memo to Jacob on crime
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — The city legislators have sought the intervention of the Governor Lt Gen J F R Jacob, (retd) over the deterioration of law and order in the city. A delegation of the city legislators which includes Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Mr Hira Singh Ghabria and Mr Bikramjit Singh Khlasa, all rebel Akali MLAs, have decided to submit a memorandum to the Governor, as they claim that the state government has failed to provide security to the life and property of the people. The lone Congress legislator from the city, Mr Rakesh Pandey, also said that he will also be meeting the Governor as he had little faith in the SAD-BJP government.

All the legislators felt concerned over the spate of murders in the city and apprehended that the way the crime was rising, it may lead to a situation of no return. Talking to TNS today, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal remarked it was shameful that the hard-earned peace of the state was being lost as the state government had failed to maintain it. He pointed out that in a prosperous city like Ludhiana, the spate of murders can not only lead to a sense of insecurity among people but may also spell the death-knell for the economy. “We may soon be entering an era of gang wars if the situation continues like this”, Mr Grewal warned.

Another rebel Akali legislator Bikramjit Singh Khalsa observed that the police had “totally failed” and people were feeling insecure. He pointed out even innocent children were not spared by the criminals. Surprisingly, he said, no culprits had been identified or arrested so far.

In a similar tone the Congress legislator, Mr Rakesh Pandey apprehended that the city was heading once again towards the days of lawlessness. He claimed people were not feeling as much insecure during the days of militancy as they are today. Mr Pandey attributed the rise in crime to “negligence of the government” as no responsibility was being fixed. He suggested that the police should take its job seriously and there should be minimum outside interference, particularly from the ruling party.

The city mayor Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, was more vocal in his criticism against the police . He said: “I do not feel the police has performed its role in a satisfactory manner”. He suggested that the police functioning should be thoroughly scrutinised. He disclosed that people were worried about the safety and security of their life. He pointed out that panic among people was such that in certain areas the people had stopped sending their children to schools. “Even the husband of one of the councillors was attacked and the guilty are yet to be brought to the book”, Mr Grewal pointed out.

However, the Deputy Speaker in the state legislature, Mr Satpal Gosain, maintained although a number of incidents were reported from the city, there was no cause for concern. He admitted that there were some SHOs who were “not mature enough” to deal with the situation. But they have already been transferred in a recent reshuffle, he said. Mr Gosain hoped that the situation will improve very soon.

Mr Gosain disclosed that there were certain criminal elements who were a few in number, and would be arrested soon. He claimed that once the police arrests them most of the crime will automatically stop as it is these people who were directing all criminal activities in the city.

Senior youth Akali leader Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, while admitting that the city had witnessed sharp increase in crime during the recent days, claimed that the situation will improve soon. He was of the opinion that some measures taken by the administration, particularly the transfer of certain officers, will definitely bring positive results.

The District Congress Committee president while expressing concern over the law and order situation in Ludhiana, claimed that the sense of fear among people was far more than it was during militancy days.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S K Sandhu, however, tried to strike a positive note. He pointed out: “The police administration has already been toned up and the results will be seen shortly”. He was optimistic that there would be a “substantial difference” in the situation very soon. 


Avtar murder case
DSP deposes before panel
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — Mr Rajinder Singh Cheema, DSP (D), Jalandhar, today deposed before a committee of District police officials set up to probe various angles in the Avtar Singh Murder case.

According to police sources, the DSP, who was accused of being present at the shoot-out denied the allegation. He said he had visited Pinki’s house in Maya Nagar that evening, but had left by 6 p.m., much before the incident. Interestingly, the DSP explained his presence in the accused cop’s house on the plea that he had gone to consult Paramjit Singh Pammi, a co-accused in the case and owner of Verma Gun house, for getting the Arms’ license of two of his friends renewed. He also assured the committee of all help to the police if Pinki contacted him.

Meanwhile, Mr Shiv Kumar, SP (Moga), has, in a written statement denied making any allegation against any police officer of Jalandhar as reported in these columns and some other newspapers. He said the facts had not been presented properly in the story.

Earlier, late last evening, a district court remanded Paramjit Singh Pammi and Jaswant Singh Punna to judicial custody till January 31. The third accused, Bittu Gill, was not presented in the court as he would be presented in a separate court later, because a China-made revolver worth of more than Rs 2 lakh was recovered from him.

In a related development, the police has officially suspended Mukesh Kumar, former in charge Ghumar Mandi Police post, on the charges of not acting in time to the complaint of several residents of the market and Maya Nagar, where the shootout incident took place. The police has also provided security to 9 witnesses of the shootout incident.

The police has also begun investigating the credentials of certain influential persons of the city, who reportedly used to move around with the accused cop, Pinki. The accused cops membership of the Satluj Club has also been suspended.


Encroachment by PUDA?
Office in school building
Tribune News service

LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) officials are never tired of complaining and reporting about encroachments on the allotted plots and commercial sites. But interestingly, the PUDA office in the city has been functioning in a school building in sector 32 near Samrala Chowk on the Ludhiana- Chandigarh road, for the past five years.

Mr T.S.Khurana, president, LIG Flats Welfare Association, has alleged that the PUDA had been harassing the owners of LIG and MIG flats for making minor additions in their houses but on the other hand, it had been conducting commercial dealings from a building which was originally meant to house a primary school.

Interestingly, in its brochure taken out at the time of selling plots PUDA had mentioned that a primary school would be started in the building.

residents of LIG and MIG flats have alleged that even after five years the PUDA has not taken steps to start the school. Moreover, there was no proper arrangement of sanitation in the sector. A pond near LIG flats could lead to several dangerous diseases. They said they had made several requests to the authorities to fill up the pond but without any result.

They also urged the PUDA to vacate the office as soon as possible as their children had to go far away places to study.

Mr Khurana urged PUDA officials to take some penalty and allow them to run small business from their houses. He said the Punjab Government had already decided to legalise the encroached areas by charging specific penalty. 


Farmers stage dharna against loan recovery 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — Hundreds of farmers today staged a demonstration in front of Cooperative Bank to protest against the recovery of loans by the government in villages. They alleged that the officials of the cooperative banks were sending policemen to harass the farmers.

Addressing the demonstration kisan leader Hardev Singh Sandhu pointed out that the farmers were already facing crisis due to the paddy and potato glut . They urged the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to intervene and save the farmers from further harassment.

Kisan leaders criticised the government for slashing the minimum support prices of wheat. They were critical of both the Congress and the BJP, and pointed out that with the parties were supportive of the WTO regime. They claimed that the imperialistic economic agenda was being imposed on the country at the behest of foreign powers.

Kisan leaders were also disappointed with the performance of the Akali government in the state. They alleged that the government which had claimed to serve the interests of farmers had failed them and had added salt to their wounds.

In a separate statement the president of the Punjab unit of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, the general secretary, Prof Manjit Singh Kandian, and the press secretary, Mr Bhupinder Singh, expressed sympathies with the potato growers in the state.

BKU leaders blamed the state government for the crisis and alleged that the response of the government towards the problems of farmers had been apathetic. They disclosed that the potato growers had been facing recurrent losses for the past four years and the state government had not done anything to help them.

They pointed out that in the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh the state government was providing counter guarantees to fruit growers, but the Punjab government could not provide any guarantee to the potato growers.

BKU leaders suggested that the government should explore the possibilities of exporting the potato to Arab countries so that the farmers could be saved from the crisis.


‘Exempt science teachers from census duties’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — Mr Tota Singh, Education Minister, Punjab, has directed the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, to relieve all science and maths teachers of Classes V, VIII, X and XII from census duties.

Mr Tota Singh met the DC at the inauguration of the Asian Schools Hockey Tournament at the Astroturf of Punjab Agricultural University here today. The minister also said that teachers from only those schools that have more than four to five teachers should be taken for the duty.

He said that he was shocked to know that more than 80 per cent of the total staff was put on the census duties from most of the schools of the city. He said that he had told the DC to check that no teacher should be drawn from schools which are under-staffed. He said that he had no hesitation even if all physical education and drawing teachers of all classes were drawn for the purpose.

Regarding the issue of a ban on bhangra and giddha items in the school youth festivals, he said that he would never let that happen. He said that the two items were a part of the rich culture of Punjab and he would make sure that these contests occur annually.

Stating this, he even contradicted the statement of Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman, Punjab School Education Board, who had recently said that it was Mr Tota Singh under whose instructions giddha and bhangra items were being cancelled for school youth festival. He said that he was only against the lewd dance items presented by private orchestras on such occasions.

Mr Tota Singh also said that he had told the District Education Officer to keep a check on all schools affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education to ensure that these were teaching Punjabi to their students.

The minister also said that efforts were being made to increase the literacy rate among girls. He said that Rs 12 lakh would be allocated for all constituencies so that one government school could be renovated and raised to provide special education to girls of that area. Women teachers and coaches for various sports activities would be appointed for training girl students in such schools, he said.

He said that all 50 boys and 50 girls of Class VIII from each block, who secure first division, would be screened on merit basis for providing special training after school.


First hospital with transfusion medicine dept
From our correspondent

 LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) has become the first hospital in the city to have the department of Blood Transfusion Medicine. The department, inaugurated today, is fully computerised .

Earlier, the blood bank was under the Pathology Department, DMCH, but now it has been upgraded and redesigned to provide specialised care to the patients and to promote the concept of modern blood banking. The new department has been set up in the complex of Hero DMC Heart Centre.

Dr Amarjit Kaur, who has done a special course in immunology, will be the incharge of the department, The department has been set up under the guidance of Mr Prem Nath Gupta, secretary, Managing Society of DMCH.

planning of the department has been done with the help of Dr J.G. Jolly, former professor of Blood Transfusion Medicine, PGI, Chandigarh, who has also agreed to be the visiting professor.

Mr Prem Nath Gupta inaugurated the blood bank. Dr Wander, Medical Superintendent, Dr S.C. Ahuja, Principal of the college, Dr V.M. Kohli, Chief Cardiac surgeon, Dr Sandeep Puri, Deputy Medical Superintendent and Col. T.S. Kanwar, Chief Administrator were also present on the occasion.

the department will be under the control of DMCH and it will cater to the needs of Hero DMC Heart Centre and also of the other needy patients ,informed Dr Pavneet, a senior resident in the department.

The department aims to provide safe, cost- effective blood through proper screening which holds a great value in face of the threat posed by Hepatitis A, B, C and AIDS

Expensive equipment has been bought by DMCH to ensure high quality preservation of blood. It includes four blood banking chambers where blood can be stored for four to six weeks and a deep freeze for keeping plasma preserved for one year. A special Refrigerated Centrifugation System, which divides blood into different components like packed RBC's, platelets, plasma and many other factors, is also there in the department. These components will also be provided to other hospitals whenever required.

A mobile component system (worth Rs 20 lakh) is also there through which platelets can be counted within one and a half hours. The blood bank would help save lives of accident victims and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, anemia and cancer and other diseases.

Safe blood will be provided at highly subsidised rates to the thalessemic children who require blood transfusion after every 15 to 30 days.

It is learnt that at present the blood bank of DMCH collects approximately 1200 units per month and is planning to tie up with more NGOs to ensure maximum possible amount of safe blood in reserve all the time.

Though there is significant cost associated with collecting, testing, preparing components and storing, the voluntary donors are not charged anything and special refreshment is also given to them. 


Little demand for Punjab potatoes
By Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — The dumping of potatoes on the roads of Jalandhar indicated the plight of Punjab's farmers who have been facing this problem for the past four years.

According to Dr Joginder Singh, Head of the Department of Economics and Sociology at Punjab Agricultural University, Punjab's potato was not accepted in other states and also in foreign markets because of its inferior quality. He said growing Chipsona-I and Chipsona-II varieties from Kufri might be the answer to the problem.

Over the past four years, Punjab's farmers have been facing the problem of overproduction and low demand in respect of their potato and paddy crops. Dr Joginder Singh said that earlier potatoes were grow only in the districts of Jalandhar and Amritsar. Now other districts such as Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Bathinda and Faridkot had also started growing potatoes. Thus production in the state had exceeded the demand and potatoes from other states were also arriving in the market.

Citing the example of pahari aaloo, he said that consumers preferred these potatoes even if these were a bit costlier. This, he said, was due to the taste of those potatoes which the consumer liked and also because of their longer shelf life.

In the foreign markets also, our potatoes had a low demand. In other countries, he said, potatoes were consumed mainly in the shape of finger chips. For this, oval-shaped potatoes were needed. Our potatoes, being round in shape, were discarded because a large part of the round potato goes waste while preparing of finger chips.


Industry seeks waste treatment facilities
Tribune News service

LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — Ludhiana has emerged as the most polluted city after Delhi in northern India. The Pollution Control Department and various non-government organisations were asking industrialists to either have treatment plants or shut down. Justice Kuldeep Singh, a former judge in the Supreme Court, had also recently warned industrialists to behave as responsible citizens or be ready to face the wrath of environmentalists.

Some of the industry representatives have alleged that though it was the duty of the industrialists to have treatment plants, but the government ought to cooperate with small units as it was not possible for them financially, to have individual treatment plants. The state government had failed to help in providing treatment and disposal facilities. Consequently, not much could be done, even by most progressive units, for the disposal of sludge.

It is worth noting that on the Ludhiana-Doraha route, a lot of fine ash is dumped on either side of the GT road because there are no official provisions for dumping it. Further, the number of dyeing and electroplating units were expelling untreated pollutants in the sewerage system. The number of cases of respiratory diseases were on the rise in the city. Handpump water was no more fit for drinking.

The industry representatives have urged the state government to prepare a time-bound action plan in consultation with industry representatives to clean the city and assure that industrialists would definitely cooperate in the movement for a clean and green Ludhiana.


From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — The Indian National Bank Employees Congress has labelled the voluntary retirement scheme in banks as a ‘Hire and fire policy’ to curtail trade union rights.

In a joint press statement issued here today, Mr K.R. Tripathi , president and Dr Shiv Gupta, joint general secretary, INBEC, said that the Centeral Government was under heavy pressure from the World Bank to curtail staff strength in banking industry as well as in Central Government departments and public sector undertakings.

The INBEC leaders have appealed to the Finance Minister and Labour Minister to direct the banks to remove anomalies in the VRS. The State Bank of India had implemented VRS with effect from January 15 to January 31, 2001 with option to withdraw the VRS applications up to February 15, 2001. But it had denied pensionary benefits to the employees, who had rendered less than 20 years pensionable service. The INBEC said that pension should be paid to all the employees exercising option under the VRS. The Supreme Court had already announced that employees would be eligible for pension if they had rendered 10 years of service.

Dr Shiv Gupta said that when an employee was receiving salary on the basis of revised basic pay as per the last bipartite settlement and was paying income tax accordingly, the SBI had no right to calculate the pension on pre-revised basic pay of 1.11.1997. He said it was injustice with the retiring employees.

Mr Tripathi said that medical facilities and hospitalisation expenses should be paid to all VRS retirees. The period for which ex-gratia compensation was being paid must be counted as pensionable service. The INBEC also demanded that retention compensation must be paid to all employees whose applications under the VRS were rejected by the banks.


SISI trains 22 women
Tribune news service

LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — For as many as 22 girls and women, who have come here from the surrounding villages and towns, a month-long training programme may herald the beginning of a new life. Sitting in a small classroom, they are learning not just the skills to run a boutique but are also gaining confidence and strength to fight their battle in the male- dominated world.

they will get certificates for participating in a month-long ‘entrepreneurship development training programme for women’ from Ms Surjit Kaur Sandhu, Managing Director, Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC), yesterday.

The course had been organised by Small Industries Service Institute (SISI) under its training programme.

Ms Balwinder Kaur, who is married and has two children, has come from Khanna. She says,‘‘This training programme has given me confidence to establish my own unit. I plan to invest Rs 50,000 for opening a boutique.’’ Ms Veena Aggarwal, another trainee, who had been running a unit earlier also had joined the programme to improve her skills.

Ms Surbhi, who has worked earlier with some garment making units as a designer, feels that women can earn more by opening their independent units. Since most of the private units exploit women, she has decided to learn and start her own unit.

Interestingly, most of the trainees have become conversant with modern entrepreneur's terminology, efforts to improve the quality of the product, survey of market before starting a unit, competition with large scale units, working capital minimisation of risk and readiness to make a balance between family life and job work.

Mr S.S. Bedi, project coordinator and Assistant Director, SISI, has been running such courses for the past 20 years. He agrees that most of these women may not start their own units but past experience reveals that at least 20-25 per cent of the trainees become successful entrepreneurs. He pointed out that a number of successful women entrepreneurs in the city had taken training from SISI.

Explaining the contents of the training course Mr Bedi said,‘‘ The objective of this crash course is to provide information and to develop skills of women who can start self employment units to supplement their family income. The faculty member of the institute and experts provide skills in colour designing, selection of raw material for stitching and embroidery purposes, screen and block printing besides cutting, embroidery and stitching. The visits to the industrial units, garment machinery exhibitions and market survey have also been arranged.’’


Mala Dhanda is Mrs Punjaban
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — The Aar Cee Ladies Club today organised an inter-club Mrs Punjaban contest at Hotel Le Baron in which married women of about seven ladies club took part.

The stage was set up in typical traditional style which gave a look of a prosperous village of Punjab. The organisers had put on different Punjabi paintings depicting brides and beautiful women of the state. There was a display of articles like baltoi, gagar, manji, baggh, phulkari, chakki, chhajj, suhag pitari and peedi which were rarely seen in cities.

Mrs Sudha Goel, president, Aar Cee Ladies Club, welcomed the participants, judges and guests on behalf of the club members. The programme started with a welcome dance by Ms Surinder Chawla. The participants were dressed in Punjabi outfits and wore saggi phul, kaleere and parande. They had covered themselves with phulkaris and baaghs.

Ms Pammi Siddhu represented Lakshmi Ladies Club. She danced on punjabi number main nahin boldi mera naa bolda. Mala Dhanda performed on behalf of the Roopika Ladies Club. The Sarabha Ladies Club was represented by Monica Dhaul, who performed on nacchan main ludhiane. Dasmeet Kukreja danced on chan chadya has bhareya. Bawa, Sheetal Nayyar and Sonu represented the Gayatri Ladies Club, the Gitanjali Ladies Club and the hosts Aar Cee Ladies Club.

The judges were Ms Aman, the first runners-up Miss Punjaban and Mrs Shubnite Saini, senior dance teacher at the Government College for Women, Ludhiana.

After the dance performance round, the contestants were asked questions about Punjabi culture.

Mala Dhanda from the Roopika Ladies Club was declared first, Amandeep Bawa of the Gayatri Ladies Club came second and the participant of the Geetanjali Ladies club stood third in the contest. A consolation prize was given to the contestant of the Aar Cee Ladies Club.


Sifting garbage for a living
By D.B. Chopra

LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — Hari Ram (35) came to the city from Ferozepore about 20 years ago in search of a living. After working here and there as a labourer for a couple of years, he started plying a cycle rickshaw. Things were not bad in the beginning, but gradually, he started getting weak and was unable to pull the rickshaw. His wife left him and went to live with her parents, along with her daughter. He gave up the rickshaw and took to rag-picking.

Hari Ram is one of the more than 10,000 rag- pickers who rummage the city's garbage dumps for empty bottles, soft drink cans, gift wrappings, cardboard boxes, burnt out bulbs and tubes, unwanted pieces of metal or any thing else that can fetch them a few coins from a kabari.

To that extent they help the Municipal Corporation in the disposal of the garbage, which otherwise would have littered the city's roads and streets.

Compared to the others, Hari Ram is lucky as at the end of the day he can look forward to returning to a home in Salem Tabri where he lives with his parents, a younger brother and a son.

There are those who do not have a home and have to spend cold nights under the sky. Chhote Lal is a 40-year-old weather beaten man from UP. He came to the city last year. He could not find employment anywhere and finally decided to be a junk collector. On a lucky day, he is able to make Rs 100, enough for his survival. He spends his day groping for discarded junk in garbage dumps. He spends the nights on the steps of a shop.

Another rag-picker, Jagan Nath (39), comes from West Bengal. He went to school up to the 5th standard. He arrived in the city a couple of years ago and after doing some jobs, he ended up as a junk collector. Of late, he has been having second thoughts about continuing with this business. He is planning to go back to his roots in West Bengal, not to return to this city again. 


Two killed in road mishaps
From Our Correspondent

SAHNEWAL, Jan 18 — Two persons were reportedly killed and one was injured in two separate road accidents near here.

Gautam, an employee of the Spinning Mills, Mangarh, when coming out of the mill on Wednesday evening, was allegedly hit by a scooter (No PUX-6395) as a result of which he was seriously injured. He breathed his last after some time while the scooterist, who also sustained injuries, had been admitted to the Civil Hospital. A case has been registered under Section 304-A of the IPC.

In another accident, two scooterists, on scooter (No PB-10-J-1723), were allegedly knocked down by a Tata 407 (No PB-10-AB-9896) on the Kohara-Machhiwara road, on Thursday. One of them died on the spot, while the other had been admitted to the CMC Hospital, Ludhiana.

The driver of Tata 407 has been arrested and a case registered at Sahnewal police station under Sections 279, 337,427 of the IPC.


Industrialists resent exclusion from VDS
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — In a statement, the president, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), Mr Inderjeet Singh Pradhan, and the general secretary, Mr Avtar Singh, have condemned the reported exclusion of the industrial sector from the PSEB’s voluntary disclosure scheme of the power load.

‘‘While all other categories are being provided the VDS option the industrial sector has been reportedly left out,’’ they said.

They said the Power Minister, Mr Sikandar Singh Maluka, had declared in a meeting held at Ludhiana on December 30, that the VDS would be opened for all the categories of consumers with effect from January 2001. However, they said, their hopes had been belied as it had been learnt that this scheme was being introduced for the domestic and commercial consumers only and the industrial sector had been left out.

They said, on the contrary, the board had imposed peak-load-hour restrictions on all the medium category consumers aggravating hurdles and problems for the industry.

They pointed out there was already a recession in the market and with the new restrictions being imposed on the industry, the industrialists would not be able to fulfill their commitments made to foreign buyers. This will affect foreign exchange earnings.

They urged the Power Minister and the Punjab State Electricity Board to reintroduce the VDS for all categories of the consumers and also to lift the peak-load-hour restrictions imposed on the medium supply consumers.


Declamation contest at KVM
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 18 — An inter-house Hindi declamation contest was organised at Kundan Vidya Mandir, city branch, here today.

There were nine participants, three from each house, from Classes III to V. Tanzeem Abbas of Class III, who spoke on Baste ke bojh mein pista bachpan stood first. Sheeba Soin of Class IV, who spoke on Film udhyog samaj ka pratibimbh hai was declared second. Ishaan of Class III whose topic was Vyaktitva ke vikas mein sahayak adhayapak aur mitra stood third. Consolation prize went to Nitika Gupta of Class V.

Judges on the occasion were Ms T. Sharda and Ms Vibha Sharma, both teachers of the same school. Ms N. Mannan, Headmistress, gave away prizes to the winners.

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