Sunday, February 18, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Court restrains striking DMCH workers
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 17 — The confrontation between DMCH employees and the management took a new turn today, with a local court restraining the striking employees from staging any demonstration within a radius of 50 metres from the outer limit of the complex of the hospital and the college. Objections if any, can be filed on or before February 23.

Employees’ leaders said they would seek legal opinion against the injunction. Working in the hospital had been hit and most of the patients had been deserting the wards. The employees continued their dharna for the third day today. The dharna had been started after the transfer of the DMCH Employees Union president, Mr Chandermohan Kalia.

Things took an ugly turn when the striking employees were lathicharged on the night of February 15. Union leaders said they were approaching the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, seeking his intervention in the issue. They also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu.

Some employees were held up inside the hospital while most of them were outside. A union leader claimed that when they went out this morning, they were not allowed to enter.

The Ludhiana unit of the Association for Democratic Rights condemned the lathicharge on employees. The Bhartiya Kisan Union also criticised the lathicharge. The Ludhiana chapter of the Indian Medical Association criticised DMCH employees for trying to manhandle and lock up the Medical Superintendent, Dr Sandeep Puri.

The Principal, Mr S.C. Ahuja, claimed that 124 striking employees had joined duty and the telephone lines had been restored.

The Haibowal police has registered a case against Praminder Singh, Amardeep Kaur, Chandermohan Kalia, Sukhjit Kaur and some nurses of the DMCH for locking up Dr Sandeep Puri in a room. They have also been charged with preventing the police from performing its duty and trying to tear the uniform of police officials.


Undertrial missing from hospital?
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 17 — Hardly a day after the district police suspended five of its employees for helping undertrials Nirdosh Dhand and Gurmeet Pinki for roaming freely in the city, reports of a similar incident involving another undertrial Roop Lal have surfaced.

According to sources, Roop Lal was booked by the Excise and Taxation Department for non-payment of excise fee and was undergoing revenue lock-up. He was admitted to the Civil Hospital yesterday, but was missing from hospital. Persons who saw him out of hospital complained to officials of the Excise and Taxation Department. They are conducting an unofficial inquiry into the incident.

A senior official of the department confirmed the report that Roop Lal had visited certain places in the city. He said the department was shocked as due to such laxity the purpose of extracting licence fee from the defaulters would be defeated.

The Superintendent of Central Jail, Mr Amarjit Singh, confirmed that Roop Lal was not feeling well in jail and was shifted to the Civil Hospital. He added that Roop Lal was in police custody in the hospital and the jail staff was not responsible for the incident.

Sources in the jail revealed that Roop Lal had undergone many surgeries in the past and could not sit properly. The nod to shift Roop Lal to the Civil Hospital came only when an influential political leader intervened.

Mr Amarjit Singh stressed that the jail staff could not be held responsible for disappearance of undertrials from hospital. He said whenever any patient felt medical discomfort in jail, they were supposed to be referred for better treatment to the Civil Hospital.


Sandhu visits Central Jail
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 17 — Following reports in the Press that the Inspector of police, Gurmeet Singh Pinki, and former vice-president of the Punjab Youth Congress, Nirdosh Dhand, lodged in the Central Jail here on criminal charges, were being given VIP treatment and several other facilities not available to other inmates, the District Magistrate, Mr S.K. Sandhu, and the SSP, Mr Kuldip Singh today paid a surprise visit to the Central Jail and specifically conducted a thorough inspection of barracks, where the two undertrials were put up.

Later, Mr Sandhu claimed that they had not found any special treatment or favouritism being shown by the jail authorities to Pinki and Dhand.

The District Magistrate directed the Superintendent of the jail to strictly follow the jail Manual and provide facilities to all inmates according to rules. The jail authorities were also directed not to permit any undertrial or prisoner to go out of the jail on frivolous grounds and further that the authorities must satisfy themselves over the need to send the inmates out of the jail, even on medical grounds.

Mr Sandhu said the matter was being taken up with the Civil Surgeon to provide all possible medical facilities inside the jail so that the inmates could not plead to go out of the jail for treatment of minor ailments. He told the jail administration and the medical staff in the jail, in no uncertain terms, that strict action would be taken if inmates were found to be availing the facility of stay in the hospital on false and flimsy grounds.

Meanwhile, four police personnel, including an Assistant Sub-Inspector of police, Kuldeep Singh, were yesterday placed under suspension after being found guilty for helping two inmates of the Central Jail.

The inmates namely Nirdosh Dhand and Pinky were seen roaming in the city in a white Maruti car with tinted glasses. They were allegedly accompanied by three police cops, besides the ASI.

While Nirdosh Dhand is facing various criminal charges, including extortion, murder and attempt to murder cases, Gurmeet Singh Pinky is the main accused in the much publicised Avtar Singh murder case. Both the accused are allegedly enjoying good police hospitality inside the jail with all facilities they would get outside.

The district police has ordered an inquiry into the reports that two jail inmates in judicial custody were ‘freely’ roaming round the city. They were reportedly taken out from the jail on the pretext of medical check-up.

The four cops were reportedly found guilty and the orders of their suspension were issued yesterday. A departmental inquiry has also been initiated against them.


Bar coding deadline extended
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 17 — The Central Government has extended the deadline of April 1, 2001, for implementing the mandatory bar coding of all the exports from the country.

The deadline of April 1, 2001, was set in November, 2000 after various representations of industry and trade had expressed their inability to meet the deadline. In a recent seminar held here at the Small Industries Service Institute (SISI), the exporters had mentioned various difficulties such as the lack of awareness on the part of customs and other departments about the bar coding to implement the system. Moreover, they asked that it should be left for the exporters to decide whether to follow bar coding or not. The Commerce and Industry Ministry had on September 1, 2000, issued a notification making the implementation of bar coding, using international symbols and numbering standard, mandatory with effect from December 1,2000.

Interestingly, this time round, no further deadline has been fixed for implementing the mandatory bar coding. The industry observers see this step as backward step as the bar coding was expected to benefit the buyers and sellers in the international market in following specific parameters. The authorities would have also found it easy to tax and measure the quantity of the exported goods, they added.

A section of the exporters has opposed the government’s decision to postpone the deadline. A leading exporter said, "We had already made investment to implement the bar coding. We would have to implement the decision sooner or later. It would have been better had the government not postponed the decision as it would have helped increase the exports from the country. Most of the developed countries are already using the bar coding.’’ 


Land allotment creates row
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 17 — Allotment of over 2,000 square yards near old jail by the Punjab Waqf Board to a local businessman has created a controversy, with certain persons enjoying political patronage trying to interfere and threatening the allottee against raising any construction.

The allottee claimed that the land was leased to him by the Punjab Waqf Board after completion of all formalities and the deal was entered in the revenue records. A group of residents of the locality have been staging a dharna since yesterday to protest against construction started at the site by the allottee.

A day before, when some truckloads of bricks and other construction material were unloaded at the site, some persons approached the police and the PUDA, alleging that efforts were being made to encroach upon the land. Enquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that Puda officials had confirmed that the land in question did not belong to them and the Punjab Waqf Board had every right to lease the land. The police had advised the allottee to suspend construction for the time being.

Mr Mohammed Ali, a rent collector with the Punjab Waqf Board, confirmed that the land in question was given on lease to the businessman and all formalities of the lease deal were duly observed. A section of residents were instigated to protest against the construction on the site, with the plea that the land should be left vacant for holding marriages and social and religious functions.


Eviction starts tomorrow
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 17 — The district administration has decided to start eviction in four colonies of Kulliewal village on the Tajpur road from Monday. This decision was taken at a recent meeting of kanungos, tehsildars and Subdivisional Magistrates.

An official of the district administration said action would be taken against all involved in the land grabbing case under the Public Premises Act. He added that the eviction procedure was difficult and it was tough to evict residents from their houses. The administration would prepare detailed lists of the residents, their history, details of the self-styled owners who sold the land illegally and officials of the Revenue Department who connived with the grabbers to sell the land.

The official said the procedure would take time and the guilty would be punished. He admitted that construction was going on despite orders of the Deputy Commissioner and a 24-hour vigil was impossible. He added that residents used to start construction after the team of the department used to leave.

Sources in the administration said the land was given to Harbans Lal, a freedom fighter, in 1965, when it was barren. He did not fulfil the requirements within two years of allotment. The land grabbing case had gathered heat as it was alleged that the district administration was not taking action. Houses were built on the land though it was agricultural land in revenue records. The persons who were shown to be tilling the land had sold the land and had charged money from residents.


Vehicle hits tree, 1 killed
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 17 — One person was killed in an accident near Gate 1 of Punjab Agricultural University here in the wee hours today when a Tata Sierra (DL-4CD-7444) collided head on with a tree on the road. The deceased, Vikram Gupta (22), was driving the vehicle and was going to Jagraon from Ludhiana at around 3:30 am.

According to the police, he was driving fast, but the exact reason, whether he lost control of the vehicle due to high speed or because of some other factor, could not be ascertained. 

The Tata Sierra that collided with a tree near Punjab Agricultural University on Saturday.
The Tata Sierra that collided with a tree near Punjab Agricultural University on Saturday.

The victim died on the spot and his vehicle was badly damaged. The body has been sent for postmortem.

The treestands on the road and poses a threat to the drivers during late hours. Due to the absence of a light on the road, it sometimes becomes very difficult for the drivers to see the tree. The areas outside gates 1 and 2 of PAU are also considered accident-prone areas. The PAU authorities had taken up this matter with the local traffic police last year after a student was killed in an accident.



A great Ludhianvi
by M. S. Cheema

ALL individuals are different from each other. Among the qualitatively top ones, some are unique. If worth is inherent, one’s work is its manifestation. The individuality of a person can be partly known by the kind of contribution he or she makes to family, society, nation and the humankind. One such individual is amidst us, right here in Ludhiana.

He was born in Ayodhya (Faizabad, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh) on February 18, 1899. His father, Waryam Singh Grewal (hailing from Narangwal, Ludhiana) was posted there as an Army Officer in the British Indian Army during the reign of Queen Victoria. Mr Joginder Singh Grewal is the oldest, yet healthiest, among the 90-plus Indians. One among such contemporaries of the world in the category of 100-plus. It is the number of years which makes him grandfather, a great grandfather and still higher up. It is the number of years which he devoted to the making of a better society, a better Ludhiana and better, richer and greener Punjab that will always merit special attention to his contribution.

Consequent upon the Partition, Punjab lost its only Agricultural College (Lyallpur) and its only Engineering College (Lahore) and Lal Singh (Director Agriculture), M.S. Randhawa (D-G, Rehabilita-tion) and Pratap Singh Kairon were desperately looking for a suitable place and site to rehouse these institutions. The Government Agricultural College started functioning from the premises of local Malwa Khalsa High School due to the wisdom of Mr Grewal. It later shifted to its new site to be progressively manifested in the PAU. He continuously worked constructively.

When the S.G.P.C., Amritsar, decided to start Guru Nanak Engineering College, Mr Joginder Singh offered it a campus at Model Gram, where it functioned till it acquired its permanent campus at the Gill Park. He is a forward looking person, an awakened individual and a genius of reconstruction.

Mr Joginder Singh is not a professional educationist. He has love of public education close to his heart. He realised very early in his life the importance of education in a developing country. He thoroughly understood the importance of educating daughters in making a better society.

Though he matriculated from the Malwa High School, he wished its sister institution, Khalsa Girls High School, to do equally well or better still. Khalsa College for Women and Malwa Central College of Education are leading institutions. Mr Joginder Singh headed their management for 25 years.

An LLB, he was elevated to be Public Prosecutor. He earned as well as saved money. The money saved was reinvested to develop the town. He is a pioneer in the field of real estate. Old-timers can recall the barren fields being developed as Model Gram. He is the founder chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust.

The Gurdev Trust recently spent Rs 5 million on a girls’ hostel. He also built Govind National College with a vast campus. 


‘Subsidies will not help’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 17 — Those who are thinking to face the challenges of the WTO regime through increase in subsidies to the agriculture sector and by imposing anti -dumping duties on the cheap imports, would prove wrong in the near future. It is not easy to compete with the developed countries in providing subsidies to the agriculture sector as the total subsidies of the developed countries were even higher than the total Budget of the Central Government, said Mr S.P. Shukla, former Indian Ambassador to GATT in Geneva.

He was the chief spokesperson of the Group 77 in the crucial negotiations leading to UNCTAD VII (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development). He was delivering a talk here today on the Impact of WTO regime and Challenges ahead. The function was organised by the Bharat Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha in collaboration with the Association for Democratic Rights at the Arya College for Boys.

Mr Shukla warned that it would not be easy to calculate the cost of production for imposing anti-dumping duty in each case as the method is too cumbersome. The government should try to bargain in the next round of the WTO negotiations with the help of other developing countries for the ‘unqualified right to impose quantitative restrictions, especially in case of agricultural commodities’ as our economy was totally different from that of the developed countries. About one third of the India’s national income comes from the agriculture sector and about 66 per cent of the population was dependent on it.

Mr Shukla further said, ‘‘The talk of competition is a mockery as the competition has to be among equals. The laws under TRIPS and TRIMS shall prohibit others to produce a product even through other processes as now onwards it will be the product patent which will be applicable and not the processes patent and that too, for 20 years instead of 7 years’’

Initiating the discussion, Mr Bharat Parkash, veteran social activist and freedom fighter, apprehended that the WTO regime would lead to economic slavery if corrective measures were not taken in time. Mr Shukla asked farmers, industrialists and workers to exert pressure on the government to bargain for the interests of the country.


‘Punctuality is not a virtue’

THE boss wants his staff to be present at certain time. They are all professionals, the professionalism is sadly lacking. The boss, says ruefully: “Everyday I have to call them from their homes which is quite tiresome. They are all grown up, so I feel odd scolding them, but work suffers. I wish everybody realises his responsibility. We pay least attention to punctuality which was considered a virtue in earlier days”.

The Principal of a school got tired of the teachers coming late and he found a novel way of getting them to school in time. One day, he told them all to sit idle. No work, no classes. The Principal said: “How can the students be punctual when the teachers themselves come late?”

Mr and Mrs Rana, are furious at the time one has to waste when attending weddings. They say: “We are punctual. When we reached the venue of the marriage at the time given in the card, we were shocked to see that we were the only ones there. Even the hosts were missing. Even the decorations were being given the finishing touches. Now we go to the marriages two hours after the time printed on the card and we find that we are still before time. Baraats take their own time and the bride’s family is at its wit’s end, not able to decide whether they should serve dinner to their own guests”.

At any rally of any party, there is no politician, whether big or small, who will reach the venue in time. It is so much of a strain on the administration which has to make the police bandobast. And the poor common people have to wait to at road crossings as traffic is blocked. In a horrible story, a dumb man who could not hear the siren of the caravan of a leader was knocked down by a jeep and killed.

Why should the politicians harass and humiliate the public?”, asked two freedom fighters, Mr Kuldeep Singh Jassowal and Mr Harvinder Singh.

Mrs M. Kondal, who is very fond of cultural programmes and never misses any cultural function in Ludhiana, is disgusted at these programmes starting late. She says: “The card says to be in your seat by a particular time or else the gates will be closed. But never the programme starts on time for they are waiting either for the organisers or for the chief guest.

— Asha Ahuja


Telephone lines play hookey
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 17 — Several traders, shopkeepers and office employees in the area falling under Mata Rani Telephone Exchange had a tough time today as the telephone lines remained disrupted for more than six hours.

For some time there was no dial tone, while later the message, ‘‘Only emergency services are available’’, was being received. It may be mentioned that the services of the exchange have been deteriorating for the past few months and the residents of the area have been complaining for quite some time.

In this situation, more and more traders and residents of the area are turning towards a private telecom company which is providing much better services. Several sources working in the Telecom Department revealed that the employees of the exchange were deliberately creating such problems as they had a nexus with the private company.

Mr Srivastava, General Manager, Telecom, said that several employees of the department were engaged in correcting the problem. He said the fibre opticals had to be changed and the problem would soon be rectified. 


Abolish income limit : URMU
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 17 — The Uttariya Railway Mazdoor Union (URMU) has submitted a memorandum to the Railways Ministry to abolish income limit for the payment of bonus in the next railway budget. Mr B.C. Sharma, general secretary, URMU, has urged the Central Government to provide bonus to all the railway employees without any discrimination.

The union has reminded Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister, about his promise that he had made at an election meeting at Lucknow that income limit for the income tax for the railway employees would be raised to Rs 1 lakh. The ad-hoc employees should be regularised, and the limit of standard deduction for the income tax should be raised to Rs 50,000. Other demands raised by the union included 12 per cent rate of interest on the provident fund, revision of scales of the running staff, high duty allowance to gangmen, gatemen and ‘driver C grade’ to the tower vagon drivers.

The union has further asked the government not to impose income tax on the railway workers. The union has urged the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Railways Minister to provide relief to the railway employees. The corporatisation and the contract system should be immediately dispensed with and the vacant posts should be filled at the earliest.


Pammi, Suman win antakshari contest
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 17 — An antakshari contest was organised by the Geetanjali Club at a local resort today. The five teams included Sagam, Prana, Alankar, Kavya and Rachna. Each team have two participants. The teams contested for four rounds, including a traditional round, dhun round, antra mukda round and a buzzer round. The first prize was won by Pammi Sidhu and Suman Gupta of the Alankar group. Sabeena and Sheetal of the Kavya group were declared second. Seema Gupta and Monika Gupta of the Rachna group stood third. Ms Asha Miglani, president of the club, was present on the occasion.


Six held under Gambling Act
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 17 — The city police yesterday arrested six persons in two separate cases under the Gambling Act.

In the first case, Raghunath, Kewal Krishan and Dalip Kumar, all residents of Bajiwal village and Shimla Puri, were arrested by Mr Joginder Singh, ASI, while gambling. The police recovered Rs 740 and a set of cards from their possession.

In another case, Rs 640 and a set of cards were taken into possession by Mr Gurdial Singh, ASI, from Sunil Kumar, Nome Singh and Raj Narain, all residents of Shimla Puri.

Case registered
A case was registered under Sections 498-A, 342 and 506 of the IPC against Surinder Kala, Reshma, Joginder Kaur, Rajesh, Pritam Arora and Rajesh, all residents of Mansa. The complainant, Rajni, a daughter of Mr Raja Ram, a resident of Ambedkar Nagar, here, alleged that she was locked up in a room by the accused who demanded more dowry from her parents.

Dowry case
The Sahnewal police registered a case of dowry harassment against in-laws of a woman on Friday.

The complainant, Ms Baljinder Kaur, mother of two children, of Koom Khurd village has alleged of physical and mental torture by her husband, Karam Singh, mother-in-law, Tej Kaur, brother-in-laws, Darshan Singh and Sewa Singh, sister-in-law, Ranjit Kaur, and husband’s uncle, Joginder Singh. She was married in 1985. A case under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC has been registered.

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