Saturday, January 20, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bau murder case: bandh peaceful
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 19 — Almost a complete bandh was observed in the city on the call of the 31-member Sangharsh Committee protesting against the daylight murder of Suraj Bhan, alias Bau, in the city on January 16. Apart from isolated cases of stone pelting at few shops in different areas, the bandh passed off peacefully.

Traffic on the GT Road near the Chowni Mohalla remained blocked for about three hours in the afternoon. Angry protesters demanding immediate arrest of the four accused raised anti-police and anti-government slogans. Heavy deployment of police, including the mounted police, near the Ghanta Ghar and Chowni Mohalla ensured that the tense situation did not flare up further.

The committee gave time upto Tuesday next to the police for the arrest of the four accused, failing which the working of the Municipal Corporation would be brought to a standstill. Talking to reporters, the spokesman of the committee said the residents of the area were agitated at the ‘failure’ of the police to nab the accused.

Stray incidents of forcible closing down of shops near the CMC and Small Haibowal area caused minor violence, but the situation did not flare up due to the presence of police. There were also reports of some minor incidents of stone pelting at certain shops in the area. No one was injured.

Earlier, speakers, belonging to various political parties criticised the murder. They held the politicisation of police postings in the city the main reason behind the increasing crime in the city. The speakers alleged the police was not able to solve several incidents of crime as their postings were done on recommendation of politicians and not on merit.

The bandh took political overtones as several local leaders jumped into the arena to cash in on the situation. While initially they were not accepted by the crowd, later the leaders managed to pacify them and made long speeches thereafter. The situation at one stage was set to change into a political clash as supporters of rival political parties arrayed into groups, one supporting the bandh and the other against it. Activists of one leader had managed to get some shops opened near the Ghanta Ghar, but later apprehending damage to property, the shops were shut down.

The bandh disrupted normal life. While big hotels and shops remained closed, it was a day of brisk business for a number of rehriwalas offering snacks. A number of shopkeepers cashed in on the situation by selling wheat flour at Rs 15 per kg.



2000 labour disputes settled in Lok Adalat
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 19 — The Punjab Labour and Employment Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, today said the conciliation rate of settlement of industrial disputes in Punjab was more than 50 per cent as against the all-India average of just 15 per cent. Despite this, the number of pending cases in the state labour courts and the Industrial Tribunal was a massive 18,000. The State Government had now taken the initiative to settle the maximum number of cases through Lok Adalats to dispense speedy and affordable justice.

Mr Tandon was addressing a function after inaugurating the first Lok Adalat for settlement of labour cases here. According to senior officers of the Labour Department, more than 2000 pending labour disputes were settled and an amount of around Rs 1.75 crore was paid as compensation.

He said amicable settlement of labour disputes through Lok Adalat would provide cheaper and expeditious justice to the workers, a weaker section of the society, Moreover, such settlement would bring finality to the litigation, in addition to creating a cordial industrial climate, which in turn would help in achieving productivity. The minister further stated that it will also help the workers, as in most of the cases, the workers either retired or died before settlement of disputes.

The minister stated that to ensure better health to workers, a plan had been finalised in cooperation with the Department of Health and Family Welfare to hold 104 medical check-up camps, covering about 50,000 workers engaged in hazardous and dangerous process industries, where they were likely to be exposed to occupational disease. The camps were being arranged from January and would be completed in April. The workers having occupational disease would be identified for follow up treatment from the ESI and government hospitals.

Mr Tandon expressed the determination of the state government to eradicate the social evil of child labour. To rehabilitate the child labour in the state, the initiative had been taken to start a project under the National Child Labour Policy. The first project has been started at Jalandhar at a cost of Rs 2.1 crore for the rehabilitation of child labour, working in sports goods industry. Under this project, 27 schools had been opened for the children with a strength of 50 children each. The children would be taught in a manner that they passed out Class V exam after which they might either join Class VI in a formal school or join vocational training. These schools were being run by NGOs in the existing school buildings. The minister stated that the government had asked the Centre to sanction two more similar projects for Ludhiana and Amritsar. Survey in these cities had already been completed and enrollment of children was over. It was expected that the government of India was likely to accord its approval for these projects, which would cost Rs 6 crore approximately.

Mr Tandon also announced the policy initiatives taken by the government to create more employment opportunities for the job seekers in the state on one hand and for the promotion of trade and industry, especially the IT industry, on the other hand. He stated that the objective of the state was to create an atmosphere where the entrepreneur opted for labour intensive industry rather than going for capital intensive units, fearing stringency of labour laws and to provide employment in a desired manner. This would help the labour to add more to their income.

For the development of IT industry, the minister stated that the relevant sections of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 had been amended to enable the government to declare such industries and software establishments as ‘Public Utility Service’. This had been done with a view to avoid the possibility of flash strike in such places.

He declared that henceforth women workers would be allowed to be employed round-the-clock in the service oriented IT units while treating this industry at a part with healthcare services. Further, in respect of the manufacturing units in information technology, the women workers could now be employed from 5.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. to enable the industry to deploy women workers in two shifts and as a result, increase employment opportunities for them.

The Punjab Government had taken a decision to exempt all shops and commercial establishment in the state, which did not employ labour, from Sections 9 and 10(1) of the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishment Act 1958. There would be no fixed ‘opening and closing’ hours and ‘close’ day’ with regard to all such establishments.

Mr Tandon further informed that instructions had been given to the field officers that there shall be only one inspection of an establishment in a particular year. The inspection, under all Labour Laws, would be conducted during a single visit of the field staff to any establishment. Instructions were also issued that there should be only one challan of an establishment under the same Act rather than filing different challans for various violations. Every establishment would be required to maintain a common inspection book for inspections done under all the Labour Laws, Employees’ State Insurance Act and Employees’ Provident Fund Act. All these initiatives were taken to dispel fear from the minds of entrepreneurs regarding stringency of labour laws and to encourage them to set up labour intensive units rather than capital intensive units.

Outlining more steps to give boost to the process of industrialisation in Punjab, Mr Tandon said two separate agencies, namely the Competent State Authority and the Site Appraisal Committee, which were involved in the approval of site for medium and large industries and those of hazardous nature units, had now been merged into single agency, known as the Competent State Authority-cum-Site Appraisal Committee. Now, the entrepreneur was required to make only one application to the Udyog Sahayak and clearance would be given by the CSA on behalf of all departments.

Further from now onwards, the building plans for factories would be cleared by the department within a period of two months from the date of submission of the application. This period would further be reduced to one month and on the payment of double the fee, might be reduced to 15 days to ensure transparency and efficiency. The minister further reiterated that simplification of the Labour Laws and bringing transparency in their implementation would certainly result in more employment, better working terms and conditions and wages, more productivity and economic development of the state.

Dr B.C. Gupta, Secretary, Labour and Employment, Punjab, while addressing the function, exhorted officers of Executive and Judiciary, members of industry and labour to extend their full cooperation to labour Lok Adalats to make it a mass movement, so that long pending labour disputes in courts could be settled with mutual understanding at the earliest.

Mr S.S. Channy, Labour Commissioner, Punjab, while welcoming the chief guest, said labour department had planned to organise more and more labour Lok Adalats in Punjab. He said the concept of Labour Lok Adalats would help in creating congenial atmosphere in industrial sector to ensure its fast growth. Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, assured that district administration would extend their maximum cooperation to make the Lok Adalats a success, so that the labour, which was the backbone of industrial development, could get justice at the earliest.

Among others who were present were Justice Iqbal Singh, presiding officer, Industrial Tribunal, Punjab, Mr Harish Dhanda, president, District Bar Association, Mr M.S. Bhogal and Mr. Hardial Singh, Additional Labour Commissioner, Mr S.S. Arora, District and Sessions Judge, Mr H. P. S. Mahal, Additional Director, Legal Services Punjab, Mr B.C. Kapila, vice-president, BJP, and Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, district president, BJP.


Legislators seek CBI probe into police-criminal nexus
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 19 — Four city legislators have sought a CBI probe into the alleged police-criminal nexus which they believe has led to increase in crime in the city. These legislators, three of whom owe allegiance to the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal and one to the Congress, in a joint telegram to the Union Home Minister Mr Lal Kishen Advani, have expressed concern over the situation. They have warned that “things may go out of control”. The legislators have also appealed another legislator, Mr Satpal Gosain, Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, to join the all party front mooted by them to “save the city”.

Pointing out at the deterioration in the law and order situation in the city, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, Mr Hira Singh Ghabria and Mr Rakesh Pandey alleged that there was a nexus between the police and the criminals in the city. Referring to different media reports about the increase in crime and the police inaction, they observed that the issue needed to be thoroughly probed.

The legislators were of the opinion that the issue could not be settled merely by transferring a few police officials from one place to another. They claimed that certain police officials had established links with the criminal elements and the criminals were roaming scot free without any fear of being caught or punished.

The legislators apprehended that the complicity of the police with the criminals could have dangerous repercussions. “The threat needs to be nipped in the bud. Otherwise the situation may get out of control and soon we may be having absolute chaos and anarchy everywhere”, Mr Grewal feared, while stressing the need for urgent and emergency measures.

Mr Grewal, who served as a minister in the Badal government and later sided with Mr Tohra when the two parted ways, pointed out that the involvement of the “men in uniform” in various crimes would set dangerous precedent. “If we ignore it at this level, there would be no end to it”, he warned, while suggesting strict measures for preventing the crime and also punishing the guilty.

The legislator noted with concern that in most of the criminal cases that occurred during the past several days, the accused were moving freely. In some cases, the accused had not been identified, he said.

Mr Grewal disclosed that since they had not been able to meet the Governor, they decided to bring the matter to the notice of the Union Home Minister. They requested him to order a CBI probe into the criminal nexus between certain police officials and some criminal elements holding the entire city to ransom.

He claimed that some non-political organisations like those of lawyers and industrialists were also being approached for their cooperation to fight the menace of rising crime in the city. He said, there was concern over the attempts to sabotage peace in the city, which could be exploited anytime by vested interests. “That is why we decided to bring it to the notice of the Union Home Ministry, as the state government had failed in its duty”, he explained. 


Students make hay while examiners bask in sun
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 19 — It was free for all as chaos and confusion prevailed at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Punjab Agricultural University, with most of the students of Class XII freely copying in their practical examination which commenced today.

The examination, which was scheduled to begin at 9 am, began about two hours late as the external examiner, who was to come from Sangrur, failed to reach the centre. This caused panic and confusion among students who had come all prepared for their chemistry practical.

After waiting for nearly one and a half hours, the Principal reportedly contacted some schools of the city to ‘arrange’ some other external examiner.

At around 11.15 am, the examiner from a local school arrived at the centre and the examination started. Question papers were distributed and students finally started performing their experiments.

However, at around 1 pm Ludhiana Tribune correspondent found that the students were taking down the experiment procedure on their answer sheets from their books which they had kept aside on a shelf inside the laboratory while the examiners were sitting outside.

The officiating external examiner while explaining the reasons for sitting outside said the students were very confused in the morning and "we wanted to make them feel comfortable". Meanwhile students took full liberty of the examiner’s ‘generosity’.

The Principal of the school, Ms Gurdeep Kaur, however, expressed ignorance about the cheating by students when asked about it. She said she was not aware of it or else she would never let that happen.

Meanwhile, examination at most of the other schools was reportedly conducted very smoothly. At Government Multipurpose Senior Secondary School, Cinema Road, external examiner from Government Senior Secondary School, Pakhowal Road, was on duty for the Physics practical. The students were divided into three groups of 20 each as per the instructions. While the examination for the two groups were conducted today in two sessions, the third group of physics students would appear tomorrow morning, said the external examiner. 


Privatisation of octroi to go: Tandon
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 19 — The Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, today asserted that the government decision to scrap the contract system for collection of octroi was final and there was no rethinking on the issue.

Talking to mediapersons at the mini-secretariat here after inaugurating the Lok Adalat for settlement of labour disputes, the minister admitted that the decision was taken despite the fact that after privatisation of octroi collection the financial health of the civic bodies had tremendously improved. However, the government had to see other aspects of the issue as well and harassment of the trade and industrial community by the private contractors could not be allowed, as had happened at various places in the state.

Replying to a question whether the revenue of the civic bodies from octroi would drop once the old system of collection was adopted, Mr Tandon maintained that the benchmarks of collection at different places would be strictly followed and it would be ensured that the income from octroi further increased rather than the other way round.

Mr Tandon further said the controversy over elevated road project in the city would be amicably resolved. “There were certain misgivings in the minds of councillors and other political parties, including the BJP, because the project was not discussed threadbare in the general house.” He said the government had directed the MC to bring the issue before the general house and go ahead with the project only after it was thoroughly discussed and approved in the house.


SSP denies political interference 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 19 — The Senior Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana, Mr Kuldeep Singh, has denied that there is any political interference in the working of the police department.

Reacting to a news report published in the Ludhiana Tribune here yesterday, Mr Kuldeep Singh in a signed statement denied that ‘‘there is any pressure from any relative of the Chief Minister or from his office regarding postings and transfers of SHOs’’.

The SSP claimed, ‘‘the recent reshuffle was finalised in a close door meeting chaired by the SSP and attended by SP (City-I), SP (City-II) and SP (Det.)". He added that the list had been finalised by these four officers "purely on the basis of suitability, merit and performance record’’ of the officers concerned. The SSP said, the postings were the result of consensus view of all officers and were effected immediately.

He claimed that there had been no incident of any SHO defying any order of seniors or not attending meetings. He reiterated that the outgoing SHO of Division No 2, SI Randhir Singh, had been placed under suspension and not just transferred to Police Lines.

However, there was no mention of other issues raised in the news report.


PSEB report being ‘hushed up’ 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 19 — The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is alleged to have hushed up the findings of an inquiry, conducted against an Executive Engineer (Xen) and a lineman, who was allegedly given the charge of a Junior Engineer by the said XEn. The inquiry was ordered after a complaint was lodged against the two by another lineman.

The PSEB had ordered the dismantling of a low tension line in a nearby village. The material collected from there was not deposited with the PSEB, but was allegedly misappropriated by the linemen in connivance with the particular Xen.

The said lineman and the Xen also got shifted the load of 25 KVA illegally. All this reportedly caused a loss of about Rs 1.5 lakh to the PSEB.

The inquiry was conducted by the officials of the technical audit. They reportedly found both lineman and the XEn guilty of misappropriating the goods.

However, no action has been taken against the guilty officials so far. Several weeks have already passed since the enquiry report was submitted to the PSEB Chairman. The two officials are said to be continuing with their previous assignment.


Mayor for affordable health care
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 19 — The city Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, has pleaded for affordable medical facilities so that even the poorest of the poor could have access to a reasonably good health cover.

Addressing a function after inaugurating an ultra modern dental clinic in the Kitchlu Nagar locality here, Mr Grewal rued that due to its high cost, the dental health care was among the last priorities of even the middle class people. There was need to cut down the cost of treatment so that more and more people could take advantage of the latest development and new technology in the field of dental health care.

He focussed on the ongoing development projects in the city and assured that the civic administration would do its best to extend basic amenities like sewerage, water supply, well-maintained roads and streetlights to new localities, which had mushroomed all around the city in the recent past.

Dr Rohit Gupta, Mr B.K. Gupta and Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal extended welcome to the chief guest and other dignitaries present at the function.


Football tourney from Feb 23
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 19 — The Industrial Football Club of Ludhiana will organise a state-level football tournament at the ITI grounds here from February 23 to 25. The tournament will be inaugurated by Mr Ajit Singh Kolar, an industrialist.

Mr Ranjit Singh Dhaliwal, chairman, and Mr Jagjit Singh, president, of the club said the winner team would be given a prize of Rs 13,000 and a trophy and a runner-up team Rs 9,000. 


Woman Power
Giving shape to others’ dreams

MRS Sapna Nihar is an architect and perhaps the only ONE who has her own team of carpenters, masons, sanitary workers, etc.

Sapna passed out from the Chandigarh College of Architecture in 1989. After her marriage to Mr Nihar Mittal, she settled in Ludhiana and has been working as a full-fledged architect for the past seven years.

She likes to do the entire project, right from designing a building, to its interiors. She says, “If an architect is allowed to do the entire project without any interference from the client, the best results can be obtained. While designing a house, I keep the requirements of my client in mind. I try to blend the house with the environment. These days, my clients want me to follow the rules of Vaastu Shastra.”

When asked whether she believed in Vaastu Shastra, she replied: “I have to cater to the needs of my clients and I incorporate these rules wherever possible.”

Sapna has designed some prestigious buildings but she still has to contend with gender bias. “Every time I have to prove myself. My clients are often sceptical and want me to describe the entire project which is impossible. I can visualise the concept whereas the clients cannot, and therein, lies the conflict. Till I have finished the project, I have to struggle to convince my clients. So every project poses a challenge. Every project is an examination.”

The lounge and the family room designed by her in Satluj Club has been appreciated by all. These days, she is renovating Lodhi Club. The reception area has beautiful murals. The glass door of the celebration room has a wooden beading which makes it look spectacular. The paintings on the ceiling of the dining area, and on the walls have given it a unique look. The curtains to make the room very appealing. Similarly, the bar has undergone a dramatic change with each table having a different carving under the glass top.

She said: “We employed girls from the Government College to do these paintings. All the carvings are done by my carpenters.”

Sapna, has turned ordinary artisans into seasoned craftsmen.

She has made unskilled persons execute intricate designs. “My dream is to make an all-women team of carpenters, masons, electricians, sanitary workers and painters. These days, with the use of machines, carpentry has become less laborious and women can become excellent carpenters. In my office, I have employed women as draftspersons. I wish to establish an institute where I can train woman in carpentry, polishing, painting and designing.”

Inspite of her punishing routine, she takes good care of her two daughters, aged six and one. At times, when she has visit a site at night, she takes her one-year-old baby with her.

The only thing that Sapna dislikes is the interference by clients which hampers her creativity. She only wants to be given a time frame, a budget and a free hand.
— AA


Student-police interaction helps dispel myths
Tribune News Service

PHILLAUR, Jan 19 — It was a novel experience of interacting with a “polite police” for about 60 students, belonging to rural areas and studying at various government colleges of the state. A special 10-day course on ‘Youth Development’, organised jointly by the State Education Department and the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, that concluded today, provided them a rare insight into the human face of the Punjab police.

Interacting with Ludhiana Tribune, the students were quite motivated after interacting with senior police officials. The student’s said they used to view police officials as demi-gods, especially because of the aura of uniform surrounding them and their security guards.

The students termed the experience satisfying, as they were able to understand that the police despite doing a hard job, were humans too. They said that even the Deputy General of Police, Mr Sarabjeet Singh, interacted with them in a genteel manner. They said that they could not think in their wildest dreams that a DGP would be so ‘courteous’, to them.

The camp not only helped them understand the police better, but it also helped them in their all-round development. Sukhdeep Singh, a student of Government Rajindra College, Bathinda, said that he felt scared when his name was shortlisted by his principal for the camp. But when he came there, all apprehensions were gone. “Now I feel nostalgic when I have to go back. It was a great experience. We got time to interact with many successful personalities. I, like my friends, have gained a lot of self-confidence.” said Sukhdeep.

Similar views were aired by Mandeep Kumar, a student from Government College, Tanda, who said that it was the best camp, he had ever attended. “It helped me in my all-round development. I learnt to lead a disciplined life. I wish similar camps are organised once or twice a year and other students are given a chance to learn something that may prove useful to them later in life.”

Randip Singh, a student from Government College, Nial Patran, said that the camp helped him in fixing goals and choosing a career. “We interacted with many personalities here and came to know that anybody can reach at the stage that they are at today. My experience, particularly with toppers of civil services, was inexplicable. They told us that they were also like us but their hard work had helped them to achieve those heights.”


Law and order worsens in city
by Asha Ahuja

Jan 19 — ‘Protest against youth’s murder’, ‘traffic blocked on GT Road, ‘Chowni Mohalla: scene of gang wars’ are some of the headlines of city newspapers for the past few days. Murders, kidnappings, looting and the subsequent dharnas causing traffic jams have become the order of the day. The law and order situation has worsened, causing a great deal of concern to residents. There is a feeling of fear and horror at the killings of innocent children.

This correspondent met people from different walks of life to find out their reactions to the current law and order situation.

Mr B.K. Goyal, an advocate at the District Courts said, “I think the police is mainly responsible for the declining law and order in the city. Only when the police is strong, can crime be weeded out totally. The SHOs should be held responsible for the crime in their areas. Proper records in every thana should be maintained, so that police is able to pinpoint the criminals. Computers should be used to keep all the records. These days, the crime graph has shot up, as criminals have a protective umbrella of both the politicians and police. The public is scared to give any information due to fear of a backlash.”

Aman, a BA-II student said, “We girls are gripped by a fear psychosis as there is lot of gunda element in Ludhiana these days. Moreover, girls are very timid here and are teased relentlessly by roadside Romeos. Corruption in the police should stop. People with money can get their cases registered, whereas the ordinary person cannot do so. A murder a day is filling the people with terror and they feel unsafe.”

“I think the police is strict but it does not have the skills to detect crime and nab the criminals. Police needs further training to become more vigilant. There is great unrest and fear among the people, especially mothers, who are scared about the safety of their children after kidnapping and murders of so many children. The higher authorities in administration and police should devise new ways to check the criminal activities,” said Reshma Mehta, a housewife.

An Engineer, J. Lal, opined that there should be interaction between public and administration on a regular basis. He said, “The senior citizens and the administration should meet and make action plans to fight against lawlessness. People have to co-operate with the police. There are, no doubt, some capable police officers, yet we need more efficient officers at all levels. I feel the police is under-staffed. With the increase in migrant labour, the law and order situation has definitely gone down. Something should be done to curb this situation and that can be done only if the police uses the latest method of information and technology.”

Ashok Chawla, an Insurance Surveyor and Loss Assessor said, “There has been increased lawlessness in the city, due to the weakness of the administration. Administration is not able to fulfill the basic needs of the people. We cannot blame the police only, for it has to work under restraints. In cases, where politicians interfere with police postings, how can one expect them to be competent. Give them latest weapons, latest technology, latest training in crime detection, and our police force can work wonders.”

A lawyer, Mr Rajneesh Mahajan, said, “The nexus between the politicians and the police is the chief cause of the growing disorder. The policemen are supposed to be on duty, but only on papers. Most of the times, they are busy attending to VIPs. People take out processions and block traffic out of compulsion. They feel that only such actions will draw the attention of administration towards their problem. There is a lot of fear amongst people.”

Mr Ravinder Singh said, “The growing lawlessness is a serious issue. I think that the public also should not obstruct the traffic as it causes a lot of inconvenience. There should be a special place where people can converge, meet and protest, without disturbing anyone. There has to be better policing. The common people do not feel safe on the roads. In the end, it is the peace-loving people who suffer. Police should be given a free hand. If SHOs are appointed by relatives of CM, one cannot expect better results.”

Inderpal Singh, a businessman said, “The nexus between the police and the politicians has to be broken. This has been the root cause of all law and disorder problems. In my opinion, dharnas or protests by people really do not get any positive results, as these peter out after a day or two. Only the victims have to suffer in the long run. Police, as in Hindi movies, always reaches late. Why could the administration and the police not clear the thick bushes in the old jail premises earlier? At least, a few lives could have been saved. The gang wars started last year. Why were not these investigated thoroughly? Administration too should play its role more sincerely. In the whole of Punjab, Ludhiana has got the maximum law and order problems. The transfers of police officers is no solution”.

One hopes that the city police and the district administration properly gear themselves up to provide greater safety to the residents of the city.


‘Check activities of hunters, poachers’  
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Jan 19 — Keeping in view various incidents of straying of sambhars in the city from Laddewal and Mattewara areas and alleged hunting in various areas of the forest, the local chapter of the People for Animals has demanded that the administration should depute more staff to keep vigil on these hunters, poachers and hunting dogs.

The president of the PFA, Dr Sandeep Jain, in his letter to the administration, Minister for Forests and Wildlife and Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment has claimed that he was received information of hunting of wild boars, cats and other animals in the forests of Mattewara, Sasrali, Jagraon and Doraha areas. He has further demanded that manpower and other facilities like vehicles and arms should be provided to protect wildlife from hunters and poachers.

The letter comes in the wake of various accidents involving sambhars in which a sambhar was injured and another was killed. The PFA said that it suspected that the sambhars and other wild animals were straying into the city areas because their natural habitat was being disturbed by some external forces.

Dr Jain said that it was apprehended that these wild animals were scared and chased by poachers, hunters and hunting dogs in the forests and they were forced to run and finally stray into city areas and roads due to fear from these hunter dogs.

The PFA has demanded that hunting should be checked as it was a crime under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.


Beating the cold with fire
By Asha Ahuja & D. B. Chopra

LUDHIANA, Jan 19 — The current cold wave has hit the poor and the migrant labourers hard. Their only way to keep themselves warm is to light a fire with whatever material they find. They collect dry leaves, card-board, bits of wood, plastic bags and bottles, pieces of rubber, waste paper for their bonfires. Buying dry fuelwood is just out of the question.

Going along old Sabzi Mandi, Daresi Ground and Kila Mohalla one comes across a large number of small bonfires. In Kila Mohalla, there were some hapless widows with no woollens on them, huddled around an ‘angithi’ which gave more smoke than fire.

Rampyari and Nathini said: “We have no source of income as we have lost our husbands. Our grandsons are shoeshine boys and their earnings are meagre. When the sun appears, we go looking for twigs, paper and anything that we can burn”.

There were small fires every 100 yards or so. At some places, black smoke billowed from the burning rubber. These shivering people had not heard of the environmental pollution caused by the smoke.

During the festival of Lohri, a number of huge bonfires were lit in different localities. Some celebrated the birth of a baby, others the first Lohri after their marriage. The difference between these bonfires and those lit by the poor was that the former were for pleasure and the latter were for survival.

Mr Shiva Dutta, a wood and coal seller, however said that he did not make big sales of wood and coal this year.

Mr Prahlad Singh, who owns a ‘taal’ in Ghumar Mandi, said: “I was able to sell 10 quintals of wood this year. I think because of the bright sunshine during the day, people purchased less wood.”

Mr Najar Singh of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, said there was a negligible rise in the pollution level, for wood and coal did not cause much pollution. “The main pollution is caused by the burning of rubber and trash. All over the city, poor people are resorting to burning such material and they are contributing to the pollution”.

Dr Rajiv Kalra, who practices in Madhopuri in the heart of the city, said: “The pollution levels in the city are high. After Lohri, there has been a small increase in the incidence of respiratory diseases.”

Dr Gulshan Nakra of Gurdev Nagar said: “I feel that there has not been any increase in chest disease after Lohri. Though asthma cases have been on the rise, they have been due to an overall increase in the pollution level of the city.”



Tributes paid to Joginder Pandey
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Jan 19 — Glowing tributes were paid to Joginder Pal Pandey on his 14th death anniversary here today. Pandey was shot dead by militants on this day in 1987.

A simple function was organised at Sanatan Senior Secondary School, which was attended among others by the former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, the local MLAs Mr Rakesh Pandey, son of Joginder Pandey, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, senior Congress leader Mr Virender Kataria.

Ms Bhattal described Joginder Pal Pandey as great son of the soil who sacrificed his life for the unity and integrity of the country. She remarked that the sacrifices of such martyrs should not be allowed to go waste.

She was critical of the present government in the state, which she said had failed to fulfil the promises it had made to the people of the state. She also expressed concern over the deterioration in law and order situation in the state and warned that the hard earned peace should be allowed to be disturbed.

The Akali legislator, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, said, the greatest tribute to him would be to safeguard the peace in the state. He warned that there was a threat to law and order in the state.

Mr Kataria said, Mr Pandey always stood by the ideals of secularism and democracy and laid down his life for the same.

A meeting of the district unit of the Indian Youth Congress, urban development cell, was organised by its chairman Mr Akshay Bhanot. Among others the meeting was attended by the District Congress Committee president, Mr Surinder Dawer.

Another meeting was chaired by Dr Banarasi Das Malhotra, president, District Congress (Urban) doctor’s cell. The meeting also paid homage to Joginder Pandey. 



LAST week has been full of tension for the residents of the city. The murder of a young man in a gang war, another murder at the hands of the police, the kidnapping and murder of young children, have combined to send people reeling with fear. Even the police is shaken and there has been a shake-up in its administration. Added to these were the dharnas, rasta rokos and bandhs that disturbed the peace of the city.

At the same time, Ludhiana has seen an upsurge of cultural activities. A troupe from Paris came to perform at the Satluj Club for the Lohri function. Lohri was celebrated by all ladies’ clubs in a typical fashion. Old traditions were revived and it was nice to see traditional things such as the charkha, the chakki, phulkaris and bagh coming back. Shefali Talwar of Khubsoorat, Romi Dev wife of Kapil Dev, and Neelam Sharma, a Punjabi folk singer, were in town.

The new movie is sweet and sour. At least that is what the title says ‘Kuch Khatti, Kuch Mithi’. A remake of Parent Trap, it stars Rishi Kapur, and Kajol in a double role. Rati Agnihotri, still looking gracefully attractive, makes a come back. Sunil Shetty charms the audience.

The weather has been dismal and foggy and has caused a number of accidents. The weather has a bearing on one’s moods. Sunshine lifts the mood whereas cloudy weather depresses. One hopes for sunny days ahead.

Vegetable prices have been rising because of the weather. The farmers remain unhappy. They resorted to dumping potatoes on the roads as they were not getting the proper price for their produce.

The trains are running late. The Shatabadi has been coming three to four hours behind schedule for almost a week. People travelling by this train are in bad spirits and say that the Railway should compensate them for messing up their programmes.

A Handicrafts Mela displaying the skills of artists and artisans from different states of India took off well. But it was suspended the next day because of a protest by Shiv Sainiks against the nude portrayal of certain deities. The exhibition was reopened but the artists were disappointed at the poor public response, mainly because of the extreme cold weather.

Parents who have to get their children admitted to the K. G. and lower K. G. classes are undergoing considerable tension since the interviews are scheduled for next week. Students appearing in the board examinations are in the grip of examination fever. — AA

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