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


Gherao of DMC Medical Superintendent lifted
Staff agitated over police action
By Shivani Bhakoo

LUDHIANA, Feb 16 — The agitation by Dayanand Medical College (DMC) and Hospital staff took an ugly turn last night when the police entered the DMC hospital and manhandled several employees while trying to seek the release of Medical Superintendent, Dr Sandeep Puri, who had been illegally detained by the agitating staff in his own office.

Though the police claim that it used minimum force to seek the release of Dr Puri, the employees union has alleged that their supporters were beaten up mercilessly. The employees have accused the police of molesting several members of the nursing staff and of causing serious injuries to them.

Dr Puri, who had been detained in his room since early morning was finally able to leave office with the help of the police at around 1.45 a.m. Though demonstration by the employees had been going on throughout the day, the police sprang into action late at night after an FIR was registered at the Haibowal police station on the compliant of DMC Principal, Dr S.C Ahuja, around 11 p.m.

Trouble started in DMC after Dr Puri transferred Mr. Chander Mohan Kalia, a senior clerk in the maintenance department and the union president, from new DMC to the old DMC complex. Agitating employees wanted the cancellation of Mr Kalia’s transfer and alleged that he was being victimised.

The DMC Principal, Dr S.C Ahuja said Mr Kalia did not want to be transferred, but instead of discussing the matter decently with the officials concerned, he instigated the employees.

Stalemate between the employees union and the DMC management has virtually paralysed the functioning of the hospital for the second day.

The matter has been further complicated with the union alleging that staff nurses were lathi charged by the policemen at the behest of the DMC management.

The Union General Secretary, Mr Ashok Kumar, said the nurses were beaten up, manhandled and pushed around by the police personnel. He also alleged that there was no lady police and the policemen, thrashed the female staff badly. Several nurses received injuries on their heads and other parts of the body.

Six persons, including the union president, have been arrested on the complaint of the DMC management. With the DMC management unwilling to relent over what it calls unjustified demands of the union, no solution appears to be in sight.

The union has said the DMC management was trying to side-track the real issue about implementing their long-pending promotion, vacations medical allowance and gazetted holidays etc by bringing in yesterday’s incident.

Dr Ahuja has, meanwhile, appealed to the staff to join duty in the interest of the patients. He said that the organisation was not going to give into the pressure tactics and would follow the rules of the organisation to maintain discipline.Back



Gujjarwal sports festival starts
From Our Correspondent

GUJJARWAL (LUDHIANA), Feb 16 — The 28th Gujjarwal Rural Sports Festival took off with a spectacular start here on Friday with thousands of people spending hours at a stretch watching the traditional bullock-cart race.

After initial uncertainty over the sports festival, the mela took off with about 70 pair of bullocks participating in the race. A ban on bullock-cart racing in the state following allegations by animal rights activists accusing organisers of perpetuating cruelty to the animals had earlier cast a shadow on the future of the games.

The rural sports were inaugurated by the Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagraon, Mr Jaskaran Singh, at the Guru Hargobind Sahib Stadium in Gujjarwal village.

Reacting to the sports, most villagers expressed happiness over the fact that the district administration had been able to resolve the confrontation between the animal rights activists and the organisers of the sports.

On the first day of the three-day mela, about five thousand persons witnessed the rural sports. The spectators had come from distant places to see this cultural heritage of Punjab.

The first round of heats was started with full enthusiasm. Every bullock-cart driver seemed to be determined to complete the heat successfully. Bhag Singh, one of the drivers, who qualified the first round of the heat, while talking to this correspondent said: “It is a great privilege for me to participate in such an event” He further said that his aim was to win all the major tournaments to be held in the region.

The other attractions of this sports festival are kabaddi and basketball. The results of the sports declared so far are as follows:

Kabaddi: 52kg — Latala 1, Gujjarwal 2.

Bullock-cart races: 32 teams qualified for second round.


4-yr-old abducted from tutor’s house
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 16 — A 4-year-old boy, Ash, was abducted from the house of his tutor in D-Block of Model Town extension on Dugri Road here last evening.

According to family sources, Ash, a student of the LKG had gone for tuition alongwith his sister Ashima, (7), and another cousin. The family came to know about the abduction after Ashima rushed home to enquire if Ash had reached home.

She told her mother that a brown-complexioned man aged about 28 had come to the tutor’s house at around 5.45 p.m. and told the tutor, Ms Sunanda, that Ash’s mom wanted him home as he had to be taken to the doctor, and took the boy home.

A bewildered Ms Sunanda told this correspondent that she suspected nothing as Ash had not been keeping well for the past few days. She went to the other room where his sister was studying to ask her whether she would also like to go with her brother. But by the time she returned, the man had taken away the child on a cycle.

The police has stepped up vigil on all exit points of the city. Some persons have also been rounded up for questioning. No ransom note or call had been received till the filing of this report. A case of kidnapping under Section 365 of the IPC has been registered at the Model Town police station on the complaint of the tutor.


Two dowry cases registered
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 16 — The city police yesterday registered two separate cases of dowry harassment. A case was registered under sections 498,506 of the IPC on the complaint of Jasmit Kaur, wife of Balwant Singh, resident of Urban Estate, Dhandari Kalan, against her husband, father-in-law, Amrik Singh, Harbhajan Singh, her husband’s brother, Pritam Kaur, Harbhajan’s wife and mother-in-law Surjit Kaur. The accused harassed the complainant for bringing insufficient dowry. But no arrest has been made so far.

Another case was registered under Sections 406 and 498 of the IPC on the statement of Ranjit Kaur, daughter of Hardial Singh, resident of Kohara village against her husband, Gurmeet Singh, Mela Singh, Hardev Kaur, Vicky, and Ravinder Kaur. The complainant stated that the accused used to beat her frequently and demanded more dowry.

Truck driver booked in hit-and-run case

The city police registered a case under Sections 279,427 and 304-A of the IPC yesterday against an unknown truck driver who fled the scene after hitting an unknown cyclist in Sherpur Chowk at about 10 pm on February 14. The injured cyclist was rushed to the Cancer Hospital where he breathed his last. The police registered the case against the unknown driver on the statement of a resident of Aman Nagar, Focal Point.

Arms Act case

The police also registered a case against Kuldip Singh, resident of Dehlon village, under sections 307,344,506,34 of the IPC and Sections 25,54/59 A of the Arms Act for firing at and injuring Darshan Singh a resident of Shankar village, on September 9 last year. The complainant stated that after sustaining the bullet injury he had been admitted in a private nursing home in Model Town, Ludhiana. The accused also threatened him. No arrest has been made so far. 


Disabilities Act being flouted
By Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, Feb 16 — With the government making no provisions for imparting special education to the physically and mentally challenged children of the city, the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, which was passed with an aim to ensure full participation and equality of the people with disabilities seems to have been flouted.

No government school of the city has any separate unit for imparting special education to the disabled children, nor is there any provision for giving free books and the other necessary equipment required by the children as required by the Act. No centre for training special educators has been set up in the city to generate sufficient manpower for the purpose. No special teaching aids for the disabled kids are being used in the schools. As a result, several physically and mentally challenged children of the city remain deprived of education.

Under such circumstances, the Sections 26, 27 and 28 of the Act, which call upon the government and local authorities to make appropriate arrangements for imparting free education to disabled kids till they attain the age of 18 years remains unadhered to.

The Act states that efforts have to be made to promote inclusion of students with disabilities in normal schools. It also states that the local authorities must promote setting up of equipment in schools for promoting vocational training facilities for such children. The Act also has the provision, according to which special part-time classes should be opened up.

Besides, the Act also states that classes and discussions should be conducted through interactive electronic and other media for better understanding and retention. However, none of the provisions of the Act are being followed by the government and local authorities for providing basic educational needs of the physically and mentally challenged kids.

In such a situation, several parents find it hard to get education for their kids. However, with the efforts of several non-government organisations and some private groups, special schools have started coming up in the city. But special education in such schools is unaffordable for the kids from economically weaker section of the society.

The situation has assumed serious proportions as the quality of education in the government schools is slowly degrading and the majority of the private schools claiming quality education refuse to give admission to the disabled kids.

Several parents of physically challenged kids contacted by Ludhiana Tribune said that they were facing hardships in getting admissions in private schools. They said that even though their children were mentally sharp with slight problems in movement, the private school authorities refused to admit their children. While some of the school authorities said that they their children would require special attention, the others said that they did not have a special care taker for such children.

Ms Vineeta Singla, mother of a polio afflicted child, said that she had sought admission of her son in several private schools and none of them agreed on taking him. ‘‘At one school, I was told that the staff did not agree on taking my son. At another school, I was told that taking such a child in school would disturb the normal classroom atmosphere. The school authorities did not agree even as I told them that I would send a personal caretaker and a special chair for him.’’

However, some of the private schools are making significant efforts in imparting education to disabled kids. Ms Harjit Rekhi, mother of a child with cerebral palsy, said: ‘‘I had to face several hardships while seeking admission for my son initially. However, the authorities of Baba Isher Singh Public School agreed to take my child last year and ever since the school staff has been cooperating and giving special attention to my son.’’

Ms Pooja, in charge of a rehabilitation centre for the kids with cerebral palsy, said that two children of her centre have been given admission at Alpine International School where the children are being given due attention by the staff. 


Cheques to be cleared within a day
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 16 — The bank customers would no longer have to spend three or more days for the encashment of local cheques and drafts of different banks thanks to the Reader Sorter Machine (RSM) set up at Punjab National Bank in the Bharat Nagar Chowk branch.

This computerised machine can read and sort the cheques and other instruments written with magnetic ink. This will expedite the procedure of making payments available the very next day, as the sorting operation would be completed by the machine late evening on the same day.

Incidently, according to the RBI guidelines, Ludhiana is among the 26 centres in the country where such machines are being installed. Such machines are already in use in most of the developed countries. Another technology called Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is also being used to read and sort the cheques written in a particular font. Reader sorter machines are already in operation at Chandigarh and Amritsar in the region.

The machine has already started functioning since January 13. At present 9 branches out of the total 39 bank branches in the city are benefitting from the Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) technology. Since the RBI has made it mandatory for all local branches to be member of the MICR cheque processing centre, it is expected that within the next month or so all branches will benefit from the facility.

Mr Harbans Singh, Manager, PNB processing branch, while talking to the TNS said, “The PNB management has invested about Rs 3 crore on the Reader Sorter Machine. Two machines have been installed. One will be used and the other will be kept as stand by. The machine can sort out 500 cheques per minute.”

He further added that currently about 30 to 35,000 cheques are sent to the clearing house every day in the city. The manual operations required the sorting of all cheques manually. The branches would no more need to sort out the cheques. They will have to simply list the cheques and tally the total of outward clearing. The bundle of cheques will be submitted to the processing centre in the evening. The branch will sort out all the cheques by late evening so that banks could make the payment next day.

Mr Harbans Singh also told that the PNB would charge Rs 2 per cheque as the processing fee from the banks and Rs 3 per cheque in case the coding operations have also to be done. The reader sorter has been imported from Canada’s NCR corporation. The operators have been trained at Chandigarh.

Regarding the functioning of the operations, Mr Harbans said the banks would have to issue specific cheque books having MICR numbers. Otherwise the machine will not accept the cheques. In case of low quality of ink or other mistakes the cheques would be rejected by the machine. At present the rejection rate of the machine is 4.73 per cent against the internationally accepted rate of 3 per cent.

The machine will be inaugurated by the Chairman of the Punjab National Bank on February 19. Though it is mandatory for all the local branches to utilise the service, however, it would depend upon the State Bank of Patiala, in-charge of the local clearance house, to impress upon the banks to prepare infrastructure for the proper utilisation of the service at the earliest.


Drive against octroi evasion continues
From Tribune Reporters

LUDHIANA, Feb 16 — The enforcement staff of octroi department in the municipal corporation here has unearthed half a dozen cases of octroi evasion by transport companies and traders in the city and a sum of Rs 1.35 lakh has been recovered from the defaulters as due octroi and penalty.

Giving this information, Mr Harjinder Singh, MC Joint Commissioner, disclosed that in the course of ongoing drive to check evasion of octroi, public carriers belonging to Amritsar-Noida Transport Company, Malwa Delhi Freight Carrier and, Bhairav Air Courier were detected to be carrying goods, without payment of octroi. Similarly, a trader of electrical goods near Clock Tower chowk was booked for possessing electric fans, on which octroi was not paid.

The MC Commissioner, Dr S. S. Sandhu, has issued a warning to transport companies and members of trade and industry to desist from evasion of octroi, failing which they would be dealt with sternly.

Meanwhile, a delegation of traders and industrialists in a meeting with Mr Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab, at Chandigarh, stated that the Akalis and the BJP had promised at the time of election to abolish the octroi within the state if they came to power. But after coming to power they had forgotten the issue which had annoyed the trading community and transporters.

Mr Tulsi Das Jaitwani, president, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, and senior president, All India Beopar Maha Mandal, participating in the pre-budget discussion said,‘‘ The government has failed to abolish the octroi despite the promises made in the election manifestoes of the ruling parties. The government was not in a mood to abolish the octroi. Unfortunately, the traders and the industrialists have also failed to pressurise the government to take the necessary step in this regard.’’

With regard to the sales tax Mr Jaitwani urged the Finance Minister to constitute district and state-level sales tax advisory committees so that the members can keep a watch on the operations of the department and also on the tax evasion by some of the traders. Mr Jaitwani was of the opinion that the high rate of sales tax was an allurement for tax evasion. Moreover, the increase in sales tax on certain commodities such as tea, has adversely affected the sale of commodities in the state. Mr Kanwaljit Singh asked Mr Y.S. Ratra, Finance Commissioner (Taxation) and Mr D.S. Kalha, Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Punjab, to look into the matter and take necessary action.

Mr Ashok Kapur, president, Federation of Punjab Stationers Association, also requested the Finance Minister to reduce sales tax on certain items of stationery being used by the students.


Drivers find parking hard
By D.B. Chopra

LUDHIANA, Feb 16 — With hundreds of cars and other vehicles being added on to the roads everyday, the city is witnessing unprecedented parking problems.

No matter which market you choose for shopping, it is hard to find a suitable parking.Apart from the growing number of vehicles, unplanned construction of shopping complexes such as in Ghumar Mandi is also responsible for the rising problem of parking. There were times when shoppers in Chaura Bazar could park their cars in the parking next to Kotwali police station.But things are entirely different now. Nobody wants to park his or her vehicle at a place from where to take it out means a test of one’s patience and nerves.

The Bhadaur House market, which has been free of parking hassles all these years , is perhaps the most hassle-prone market as far as parking is concerned. With the coming up of an air-conditioned market on the other side of the road, its parking problem has almost doubled. People visiting the air-conditioned market prefer parking their cars in Bhadaur House market rather than getting these hauled up in the elevator provided in the AC market.

A woman who works in an office in the market invariably finds a couple of scooters or something else blocking the way when she has to return home in the evening. She looks around for help and finding none, she has to turn to the parking attendant, who really has a tough time all day long cajoling vehicles owners to park their vehicles properly.

Shopkeepers are also annoyed when they find there is no parking space left for their customers. Mr N.S. Nanda, president of the Bhadaur House Market Association, says some persons who park their cars just ‘for two minutes’ but their shopping sprees in Chaura Bazar last much longer. The multi-storeyed municipal parking near Mata Rani Chowk has not caught the fancy of the city residents yet, which is evident from the vacant parking lots on its different floors. A month ago, the traffic police decided to deploy a couple of cops to regulate the haphazard parking in the market. In addition, the market association has also employed a burly watchman to keep an eye on ‘outside people” wanting to make use of the place in their hurry. Certain business establishments in the market have put up little signboards, prohibiting public parking.


For a noble cause
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 16 — Ram Singh (82) and his wife Karan Kaur, (80) of Nanakpuri Mohalla, Miller Ganj, donated their eyes after death which were successfully transplanted to two patients by Dr Ramesh, Medical Director, Mansuran, recently.

Dr Ramesh, in his statement, said that Karan Kaur’s eyes were donated by her family members after her death as per her last wish to serve for the noble cause. Her eyes were successfully transplanted to two patients.

After a gap of 15 days, Karan Kaur’s husband, Ram Singh, died after acute illness. His eyes were also donated by the family members. Ram Singh’s one eye was used for corneal transplant as the other one was not fit for surgery.


Complaint about stale milk
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 16 — A packet of pasteurised milk bought from a sweets shop proved to be a bad experience for a city resident. Mr B.K. Vig, Assistant General Manager (retd), in his written complaint to Milkfed alleged that he was sold stale milk by the distributor. As per his complaint he had bought 1 kg milk from ‘Paras Sweet Shop’ at Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar on February 14. The milk curdled when he was boiling it.

He complained that he went to the distributor to complain about it but the distributor spoke rudely to him and refused to listen to his complaint. In his complaint Mr Vig said the packets did not have the date of manufacture stamped on them. He said he himself did not bother to check the date in good faith as he was a regular customer of the distributor.


Shaheen is Basant Queen
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 16 — Shaheen of Niharika Ladies Club was declared Basant Queen, while Sheetal and Anju Arora of Geetanjli and Roopika Ladies Clubs were declared first runners-up, and Jyotsna Walia of Sarabha Ladies Club was declared second runner-up during the Basant Queen contest organised by Ramgarhia Ladies Club today at Mariot Hotel, Dugri.

The participants from eight ladies clubs of Ludhiana, including Roopika, Gayatri, Geetanjali, Veenus, Sarabha, Aar Cee, Niharika and Ramgarhia took part in the contest.

The contest was divided into three rounds. First was the catwalk round, second the talent hunt round and third was the question-answer round.

The judges on the occasion were eminent personalities from their respective fields including Manmeet Sodia and Gagandeep Makkar.

The club had also arranged games of tambola and surprise gifts for the club members and guests. The president and secretary of Ramgarhia Club, Ms Surinder Sondh and Ms Jaspal Kaur, presented the vote of thanks on behalf of the club members.

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