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


Bill to bring direct funds for local bodies soon
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 18 — The Punjab Government is planning to introduce a legislation which will facilitate direct flow of funds collected by various government departments, to local bodies. These funds are now routed through the Department of Finance. This was announced by the Punjab Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, while talking to mediapersons here today.

He was giving a reply to a question regarding delay in release of funds by the Finance Department. This issue had strained the relations between Mr Tandon and the state Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, to the extent that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had to intervene as a peacemaker.

Mr Tandon said the availability of funds to local bodies had improved to some extent. He said the government had agreed in principle to arrange for separate collection of octroi on country and foreign liquor by the Excise and Taxation Department. This amount would be paid directly to local bodies and not end up in the treasury. An ordinance might be issued for this purpose in the next few days, or the Bill would be brought in the Assembly.

The minister said privatisation of sewerage and water-supply services in urban areas was on the anvil. However, this move would not affect the services of municipal employees. Partial privatisation of certain services like sanitation was already in effect in Ludhiana and the results had been encouraging.

On a question regarding the Municipal Act, 1999, Mr Tandon said the Bill had been sent for the President’s consent and the Centre had pointed out certain gaps in it which were being removed. He hoped, the new Act would come in to effect in March. He refuted the charge that the coalition government had failed on all fronts. He said in the past four years, basic civic amenities had been extended to a large section of people.

Mr Tandon said the government had obtained a Rs 300 crore loan from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) for the augmentation of water-supply and sewerage facilities in Punjab. Out of this, Rs 150 crore would be made available to the Municipal Corporation in Ludhiana, while Bathinda and Patiala local bodies would get Rs 41 crore and Rs 27 crore, respectively. Funds would also be made available for expansion of water-supply and sewerage facilities in Sunam, Rajpura and Nawanshahr.

Regarding the controversy over elevated road project that was on between Jagraon Bridge and Chand Cinema here, he said, “Certain persons had some misgivings about the project, which shall be sorted out soon.”


DMC management threatens no work, no pay
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 18 — While appealing to the striking employees to lift the dharna in front of the main gate of the hospital and return to duty, the management of the DMCH here today said that it would go by the principle of no work, no pay against all those employees who had been abstaining from duty.

Talking to reporters here today, Principal Dr S.C. Ahuja and Medical Superintendent Dr Sandeep Puri said they were open to negotiations. However, they asserted that the management was “not going to accept the unjust demand of the union to cancel the transfer orders of Mr Chander Moha Kalia”, the president of the DMCH Employees Union.

The employees went on a lightning strike to protest against the transfer. However, both Dr Ahuja and Dr Puri maintained that Mr Kalia was transferred under a routine administrative reshuffle as his services were needed in the old DMC block. They disclosed that an engineer under whom Mr Kalia was working had also been transferred to the same block and it is he who had asked for Mr Kalia. However, the union has been claiming that the transfer was a deliberate move to discourage the activities of the union.

The management of the DMC also critcised the interference of certain political parties who were encouraging the employees. They alleged that these leaders were doing this for their vested interests.

The Principal and the MS claimed that the admission of patients to the hospital had resumed from today as some more employees had joined the duties. The two officials maintained that the management had exercised utmost restraint with the hope that better sense would prevail among the striking employees and they would see the reason.

The employees continued with the dharna right outside the main gate of the hospital. Dr Ahuja and Dr Puri alleged that the employees “have blocked illegally and in contravention of court order”. They pointed out, “it is a matter of fact that the union members are still sitting in front of the main gate, which has caused disturbance to patients and the people in the locality despite the court order”.

On the other hand the union president, Mr Kalia, said that they were seeking legal opinion about yesterday’s court order. They strongly denied that they were indulging in contempt of court by sitting on dharna within the radius of 50 metre. The union leaders, who included Ms Rajwant Randhawa and Sukhjit Bajwa, reiterated that they would not withdraw strike till the transfer orders were not withdrawn.


Drive to clean signboards
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 18 — The local police has launched a drive to clean all signboards on roadsides to make these more visible. Under the drive, all the rusted signboards will be cleaned and cleared of all posters glued to these.

The boards will be repainted afresh after the cleaning process is over. The drive has been launched keeping in view public convenience. The police has issued a warning that anybody who is found sticking bills on these signboards or defacing public property will be prosecuted.


‘15,000 posts of teachers lying vacant in schools’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 18 — The lack of education facilities and vacant posts of teachers in the educational institutions were clear violations of the human rights of the students. The provision of teachers and other education facilities are equally important as the safeguarding of fundamental rights by the state.

Referring these views expressed by the State Human Rights Commission, Mr Bhajan Singh, District President, Democratic Teachers Front, said,‘‘ The state government has not filled about 15,000 posts in the schools that are lying vacant.

Though the government has made the English as the compulsory subject in the primary schools, it has not posted the required teachers.

Instead of providing adequate funds to the government schools, the ministers are distributing grants to the government-aided schools resulting in increased inequalities in the education sector.’’

Mr Bhajan Singh criticised those teachers also who were not concentrating on their jobs and were indulging in politics and wastage of time during the working hours.

He disclosed that the front will hold a ‘save education’ rally to discuss all these issues on February 20 at the mini-secretariate.

Mr Joginder Azad ,Secretary of the front, criticised the state government for commercialising the education.

He said that due to the commercialisation of the education the children of the poor families were not able to get the good quality education.

He urged the teaching community to save the deteriorating standards of the education in the state.Back


Deadly machines on manholes
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 18 —Through the Municipal Corporation is regularly cleaning gutters of the city, it does not bother to remove its cleaning machines that are fitted on manholes.

It has become common for MC employees do the cleaning job and leave the machines on manholes for days together.

These machines become a traffic hazard and many accidents have been caused due to these.

Drivers are unable to see the machines in the dark and collide with these. One such machine fitted on a manhole on Friday near Kochhar Nagar Market Chowk is still there.

When it was installed, it was facing towards the chowk and, after a vehicle collided with it, its position changed. For the past three days, the machine’s position has changed several times due to collisions with vehicles on the road.

These machines also choke the road, which disrupts smooth traffic. Many times, these have caused traffic jams.Back


A musical night with Kumar Sanu
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 18 — It was a night the husbands would always love to come frequently and regularly. It was the husbands’ night organised by a local club with noted film singer Kumar Sanu in the lawns of the Golf Course at the Police Academy, Phillaur. The withering cold heralding the arrival of spring coupled with the beautiful ambience canopied with diamond dotted blue sky that was crystalline blue.

The occasion was the husbands' night organised by the Lakshmi Ladies Club. As Kumar Sanu started with his popular numbers couples started dancing to his tunes.

As the popular songs like kaho na pyar hai, tera jadoo chal gaya and hum ap ke hain kon reverberated in the sky with ultrasonic music in the background, the night appeared to had come to the full life. There was no difference between the genteel and the ordinary as the dance shortened all the distances.

Although the venue of the programme was at quite a distance from Ludhiana and the participation charges were Rs 1,800 per couple, yet hundreds of couples descended to attend the night that comes but comes rarely. "For a change it was a night dedicated to the husbands, a rare occasion for all of us indeed," remarked a jubilant husband.

Earlier talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Kumar Sanu said he liked Ludhiana very much. He had earlier also been to the place. He said in Ludhiana people were live and fond of enjoying life. "They make you feel great", he remarked while pointing towards the rousing reception he was accorded by the people. He disclosed that he never missed a chance to visit the city. 



THE weather has become pleasant and one feels that the cold may have abated in Gujarat. The team of doctors from CMC hospital has returned from Gujarat after performing a number of operations and rendering medical aid to thousands of injured persons.

Valentine’s Day sent ripples of excitement in young hearts. The sale of roses soared and so did prices. The boys thought they could take some liberties that day and they presented roses to any girl they came across. Young couples had a tough time choosing gifts.

A number of Punjabi cultural programmes were organised in Ludhiana, where college students got a chance to recite their poems and render folk songs. Some well-known Punjabi writers recited their poems in SCD Government College. It was a delight to listen to Surjit Patar’s unpublished poems. Punjab National Bank organised the 18th inter-regional cultural competitions.

The fourth Punjabi Science Congress provided a platform to scientists to read their papers. Twelve eminent scientists were granted fellowship whereas four research scientists were rewarded for their works.

The movie to be released this week is Grahan, starring Jackie Shroff and Manisha Koirala. The film Zubieda, starring Karisma Kapoor, Rekha and Manoj Bajpai, is still drawing crowds.

Apples from New Zealand are in the market. One can also get watermelons, coconuts and mangoes. These fruits are coming from the South and are reaching us in good condition due to the modern means of transport. — FOC


PFA camp for owners of animal-driven carts
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 18 — To make the owners of animal-driven carts aware about the Prevention of Cruelty towards Animals Act, the local chapter of the People For Animals organised a camp at Brij Lal Aggarwal Dharamshala at Bute Shah Mandi here yesterday.

The horse cart owners who participated in the camp from adjoining markets were taught about the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty towards Animals Act, 1960, and Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965. They were also guided about the proper diet, management and upkeep of animals.

The participants were made aware of the fact that the maximum recommended load for horse-driven cart was 750 kg and for bullock cart it was from 1000 to 1800 kg, depending upon the size and weight of the cart.

PFA promised to make a water trough for animals of the participants on the space provided by them and to organise a veterinary camp for vaccination and treatment of animals.

The PFA also distributed pamphlets, published in Hindi and Punjabi, carrying information about the maximum load on carts, in surrounding areas of Bute Shah Mandi. The president of PFA, Dr Sandeep Jain, general secretary, Mr Ajay Jain, and chief adviser, Mr Radhey Shyam, addressed the participants.


Illegal mining worries villagers
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 18 — Illegal sand mining which has been going on unabated in the Satluj river bed in and around Kallewal village in Bet area about 20 kms from here, has been a cause of worry for the villagers who fear that this may lead to devastating floods as the contractors were disrupting the natural flow of water.

Despite strong resistance by the villagers of the area, the contractors have managed to continue with their mining operations, allegedly under the due patronage of a minister’s kin. Although the contractors have been claiming that they have due licence from the government, the villagers have been maintaining that the contractors have not been restricting the mining operations to the specified areas.

The villagers are worried as the contractors have erected artificial bandhs just to facilitate smooth mining and its subsequent transportation. By creating artificial bandhs, the natural flow of the river is diverted and a specific area remain dry, which helps in smooth mining of the sand. But this also causes the danger of floods in the adjoining field. Although there is no such risk as on now, but the area which is already flood prone, may get devastated during the rainy season.

Recent irate residents demolished a bandh in the same village. However, sensing the mood of the villagers, the contractors did not offer any resistance. It is not that the matter has not been brought to the notice of the government. Several villagers met the Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, at sangat darshan programme in Koom Kalan village pointing towards the illegal mining operations. But that also did not yield any results. Due to some floods in the area, the villagers decided to gherao the Deputy Commissioner’s office to press for their demand.

An inquiry was marked to the SDM (east) who reportedly deputed a junior official to have an assessment of the situation. But it also failed to yield any result.

Although, officially the mining has been stopped in the area, there are conflicting reports about the ownership of the area. The villagers have been alleging that the area where illegal sand mining is being done belongs to the centre and the miners have rights only on a specific area which belongs to the Irrigation Department. The miners are reportedly not following the specifications and guidelines in regard to the area and the qantity of sand extracted from the river bed as every day at least 50 truckloads of sand is taken out.


In-laws booked
From Our Correspondent

KHAMANO, Feb 18 — The Khamano police has registered a case of dowry and rape against the in-laws of Sukhwinder Kaur.

Sukhwinder Kaur in her statement said that she was married to Kuldeep Singh of Jatana Ucha village, on June 13,1999. She alleged that the elder brother of her husband, Balvir Singh, tried to molest her. When disclosed she was beaten up and expelled from house. After the intervention of some prominent persons, she again came to her in-laws and was raped by another elder brother of her husband.

The Khamano police has registered a case under Sections 406, 498A, 376,354,323, 120B and 34 of the IPC against her mother-in-law Dayal Kaur, her husband Kuldeep Singh and elder brothers of her husband Balvir Singh and Nirmal Singh.Back


Traders remind government of octroi issue
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 18 — The Akalis and the BJP had promised at the time of elections to abolish the octroi within the state if they came to power but they forgot their promise which has annoyed the trading community and transporters. Moreover, the differences between the rate of octroi on different goods at different posts have further aggravated the problem.

These views were expressed by a deputation of traders and industrialists at meeting with Mr Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab at Chandigarh. Mr Tulsi Das Jaitwani, President, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal and Senior President, All-India Beopar Maha Mandal while participating in the pre-budget discussion said, ‘‘The government has failed to abolish the octroi despite the promises made in the election manifestoes. The government was not in 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 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 the sales tax on certain items of stationery being used by the students.


‘IT development a thrust area for Punjab’
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Feb 18 — The development of information technology (IT) is a major thrust area for the Punjab Government and various ambitious plans have been formulated to accelerate the IT development in the state. This was stated by Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, who also heads the Department of Industry and Information Technology.

The Principal Secretary, who was here to inaugurate a state-of-the-art effluent treatment plant in South City, disclosed that an area of 300 acres would be earmarked in the proposed township of Anandgarh for an IT park which would be developed on priority basis.

Further, the government had given the go-ahead for setting up an Indian Institute of Information Technology at SAS Nagar. The government would provide Rs 20 crore during the next financial year. He said the project, estimated to cost Rs 100 crore, would be run by the corporate world with focus on market driven forces.

Mr Singh, while admitting that the state had lagged behind in IT development as compared to certain other states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujraat, observed that it was only two and half years ago that IT development was initiated. It was only in the year 1998-99 that Punjab got its first earth station.

Emphasising upon the idea to promote private participation in the gigantic task of IT development, Mr Singh pointed out that the state could only act as a facilitator and provider of the infrastructure, while running the facilities was a specialised job and should be left to the professionals.

He claimed that starting comparatively late, Punjab had made major inroads into the field of IT development.


Market to be flooded by imported goods’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 18 — The days are not far when the domestic market would be flooded by cheap imported goods as the quantitative restrictions on the imported commodities would soon come to an end under the WTO agreement. The government’s only weapon, anti-dumping law, would become redundant as the country would not be able to prove dumping in so many cases, said Dr Anoop Singh while speaking at an awareness workshop on ‘WTO, history and its impact on the public’ held here today.

The workshop was organised by Inquilabi Kendra, Punjab, as part of its mass awareness programmes. Mr Kanwaljit Khanna, general secretary of the kendra, asked the workers to learn the intricacies of the agreement for creating public awareness at grassroots level.

Dr Anoop Singh said, “The developed countries have succeeded to get the nod of the developing countries in the name of democracy and economic benefits of the trade. But the developing countries would not be able to compete with their high level of technology and capital in the long run. Both groups were quite unequal in strength.” He said the defeat of developing countries, especially India, was certain in this economical battle as small and marginal scale farmers, manufacturers and traders would not be able to compete with multinational companies.

Mr Amritpal Singh was of the view that under the clause of compulsory imports to the tune of 3 to 5 per cent, India would have to import highly subsidised cheap foodgrains from the West. It would have a devastating impact on our agriculture. The Patent Act would ensure the monopoly of the MNCs in the sectors of medicine, computer, industry, agriculture, fertilisers etc. As a result the public would have also to pay high cost for these goods.

Dr Anoop Singh lamented that thousands of small-scale units had been forced to close down due to government’s policies.

Prof A.K. Maleri, district president, Democratic Rights Association, Mr Vijay Narain, president, Mouldar and Steel Workers Union, Mr Bhajan Singh, president, Democratic Teachers Front and Mr Vinod Lali, member of the state level committee of the Inquilabi Kendra also participated in the workshop.

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