Monday, March 5, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC announces water supply project
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, March 4 — In an apparent bid to counter the BJP’s charges, the Mayor of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation today announced that a water supply project, worth Rs 33 crore, which will cover 95 per cent of the population of Ludhiana, is going to be completed by March 31, 2001, as also a sewerage project worth Rs 150 crore.

The announcement comes only after a day of charges levelled by the BJP that the corporation was indulging in unwanted expenses while proper drinking water was not avaialble to about 40 per cent population and sewerage facilities were lacking. The charges were levelled at a meeting of the BJP councillors held here yesterday under the chairmanship of its district president Mr H L Sethi.

The Mayor also said that in view of the demand being raised by the citizens of Ludhiana, the state government has been requeted to waive off the interested on the water and sewerage charges for the citizens who deposit their 100 per cent dues up to March 31, 2001. The state Government has already waived off the interest on House-tax for the people who will deposit their 100 per cent dues by March 31, 2001. A similar demand is being raised by the citizens for waiving off interest on water supply and sewerage charges also.

Without making a direct mention about the BJP’s charge that corporation had given the political benefit to the Congress, as the interest on arrears was waived off after the Congress protest, the Mayor said that since the power to waive off the interest lies with the state government only therefore, the matter has been referred to the government for consideration and decision.

He said to remove the apprehension of some shopkeepers near Clock Tower about affect on their business by the proposed elevated road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema, a model of the proposed elevated road has been prepared by the RITES (Railway India Technical and Economic Services, a government of India undertaking) which is now lying in his office. He said people who are interested to see and know its implications were welcome to see it. He said it is very clear from the model that apprehensions of the shopkeepers about the decline in their business, stoppage of sunlight or circulation of air were totally misplaced. In all probability, the shopkeepers will have a better business after the construction of the elevated road because the roads in front of their shops are going to become less congested with more parking areas available.

Meanwhile, the local unit of the BJP today demanded the transfer of the Municipal Commissioner of Ludhiana, Dr S K Sandhu, terming him autocratic and anti-urban.

A meeting of the party councillors was held here yesterday in this regard under the chairmanship of its district president, Mr H.L. Sethi.

In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, the party alleged that Dr Sandhu was flouting orders of the Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balram Ji Dass Tandon, who had said on record that the issue of construction of elevated road be considered afresh by the house. However, the Commissioner without giving a chance to the members had reportedly called for the tenders, it was mentioned.

The BJP, under pressure from shopkeepers of the area, has been vehemently opposing the elevated road project as it may diminish the business prospects of the shopkeepers. The party claimed that the “objection of the BJP and the councillors is on the basis of financial viability and preference”. It has demanded that before going for the elevated road project, the corporation should ensure drinking water supply to all residents which is available to less than 60 per cent of the city’s population.

The party also levelled the charge of “giving benefit to opponents (the Congress)”. It alleged that when a BJP leader raised the issue of interest on house tax arrears with the Commissioner, he allegedly leaked it to Youth Congress which staged a dharna and the Commissioner waived off the interest on the arrears.

Referring to certain corruption cases, the BJP alleged that while the Commissioner was “pretending to fight corruption and even got filed two or three FIRs in petty matters, but did not file any FIR against persons who are involved in corruption involving lakhs of rupees”.

The party disclosed that “one officer against whom charge sheet has been issued by the local self government after inquiry by a vigilance officer of the department, has been given promotion to the highest post in the corporation”.

The memorandum said that while “people are crying for water and sewerage facilities, the Commissioner is busy planning to raise flyover road with an estimated expenditure of Rs 40 crore, the reasons could be well understood”.

The Municipal Commissioner could not be contacted for his comments. 


Spreading a noble message on monocycle
By Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, March 4 — Subrata Chakraborty, a 25-year-old youth from Bengal, is currently on a noble mission to create awareness about eye donation across the country. He is doing it on a monocyle, a cycle with only one wheel, without any handle or brakes. He not only wants to spread the message for eye donation but also wants to get into the Guiness Book of World Records.

He started his odyssey on September 8 from Kolkata and it was flagged off by the West Bengal Governor, Mr Viren Shah. While he plans to cover a total distance of about 10,000 km, so far he has traversed about 7,000 km. Starting from West Bengal, he had covered a long distance moving through Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

On his last leg of this long journey he reached Ludhiana yesterday and left for Chandigarh in the early morning for his onward journey to Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and back to Kolkata. He hopes to reach Kolkata in the first week of June this year.

Although he has taken up a difficult task but courage, confidence, perseverance and faith in himself has made his mission look simple. He covers a distance of about 60 km everyday at a speed of about 10 km per hour. It is really thrilling to watch him paddling his way on the GT Road negotiating the heavy traffic just with his toes.

Subrata is a guest instructor at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and National Adventure Foundation, West Bengal chapter. He is also a member of the International Eye Bank, Calcutta. He said, “After feeling touched by the perseverance and determination of the blind mountaineers I decided I should do something for them”.

All along his journey he has been stressing the fact that one third of the world’s blind were Indians. Quoting statistics he says, there are about 1.3 crore blind people in India. Of these about 30 lakh people can get back their vision through cornea grafting and hence 30 lakh posthumous corneas are required for the purpose. “All of us should take a vow to convince the people so that they should donate their eyes after their death and people should actively take part in eye donation movement”, he argues.

It took him several months to perfect himself in riding a monocycle as it needs a lot of expertise. His name is likely to be entered in the Guiness Book of World Records. So far no person had travelled such a long distance on a monocyle, he said.

Coming from an average middleclass family, Subrata is also a good painter and mountaineer. He has earlier also completed some bicycle expeditions like from Kolkata to Delhi in 1996, Kolkata to Nepal and Trekkad to Annapurna Base Camp in 1998. These were both solo expeditions.

Interestingly, Subrata refused all sponsorships from many private companies as it might have diluted his main cause of spreading the message for eye donation. His blue shirt displays the message for the cause of eye donation. He stays in police stations during the night and does not “need to incur many expenses”. 


With man in pocket, cops ‘frame’ you
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, March 4 — The Ludhiana police has been making arrests and showing these in records days after that. In cases of theft, the purpose of the arrest is to make the accused confess so that recoveries can be made. However, there are cases where the motive of policemen is to extort money from those who have been framed.

The police had arrested two persons on February 27 from a colony in Haibowal Kalan after neighbours had informed it and surrounded the house. These persons are still in the police custody and haven’t been produced in any court, though the law says that it should be done within 24 hours of the arrest. When this correspondent contacted the police station concerned on Friday, an official said we should hold the news for a couple of days as the police needed time to make the accused confess and lead to recoveries. Sources said, in such cases, the accused were tortured, so that they confessed to being responsible for crimes that they had not committed. This was the way the police cleared old and unsolved cases to keep their record books clean.

There are cases where the culprit is caught, but the arrest is kept a secret. The motive is to extort as much money as possible from those who have been falsely implicated in the case. After a chemist had been murdered in Vishwakarma Colony of Focal Point here about six months ago, sources said, the culprit had been caught soon after the incident from a checkpoint near the place of crime. He was a young man addicted to drugs like the chemist.

The polie floated stories in the Press of the possible involvement of some family members of the chemist, including his widow, in the incident. This was done to milk some money from them. It was only after three days of the arrest that the name of the culprit was disclosed.

However, it is still not known whether the policemen succeeded in extorting money from the chemist’s family or not.

While for some policemen, it is a routine, for the people, it is a blatant breach of law and human rights. Perhaps senior police officials would like to comment.


Rajiv-Longowal accord still valid: Arjun
Tribune News Service

NARANGWAL (Ludhiana), March 4 — Former Union Minister and Congress leader Arjun Singh today said the Rajiv-Longowal accord was still valid and could solve all the outstanding issues concerning Punjab. However, he claimed that the Akali Dal and the BJP were not interested in implementing it. Mr Singh was here to attend the 102nd birth anniversary of Justice Gurnam Singh, former Chief Minister of Punjab.

A former Union minister and Congress leader, Mr Arjun Singh, with the PPCC leaders, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar and Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, at a function to mark the birth anniversary of Justice Gurnam Singh at Narangwal in Ludhiana on Sunday.
A former Union minister and Congress leader, Mr Arjun Singh, with the PPCC leaders, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar and Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, at a function to mark the birth anniversary of Justice Gurnam Singh at Narangwal in Ludhiana on Sunday. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Talking to reporters, the Congress leader claimed that if the accord was implemented it could usher in a new era of progress and development in the state. The Rajiv-Longowal accord related to the transfer of Chandigarh and Punjabi-speaking areas to Punjab and resolution on water dispute between Haryana and Punjab.

He maintained that the people of the state were not happy with the performance of the government and were desperately waiting for a chance to get rid of the current government. He claimed the same was true about the government at the Centre as the people's expectations had been belied.

Mr Arjun Singh asserted that there was no factionalism in the Punjab Congress and the differences, if any, were of minor nature. At the same time, he warned no indiscipline would be tolerated in the party and the Central Disciplinary Committee of the party had been asked to ensure that discipline was maintained in the party at all costs. Mr Singh also clarified that there was no move to replace the PCC President, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Lashing out at the Union Government, he claimed it had failed to take any safeguards against the ill-effects of the World Trade Organisation, which came into force on April 1. He pointed out the party had mobilised farmers and a farmers' rally was held at Delhi recently. He disclosed that further strategy would be chalked out at the AICC session scheduled for March 17 and 18 at Bangalore.

Paying tributes to Justice Gurnam Singh, Mr Arjun Singh said he was the pioneer of development in the state. He also lauded the secular and nationalist outlook of Justice Gurnam Singh.

While the dissident Congress leaders, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar and Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, were present at the function, Capt Amarinder Singh was conspicuous by his absence. Among others present on the occasion were Ludhiana MP Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, former Speaker Harnam Dass Johar and former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University S.S. Johal.

A cultural programme was also organised on the occasion.


2 lakh more to get pension : Kanjhla
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, March 4 — Punjab was the first state in the country to provide Rs 200 per month as old age and widow pension to highest number (6.82 lakh) of beneficiaries and till December 2000, a total financial assistance of Rs 4.59 crore was disbursed in the state for this purpose. During the current financial year, Rs 166.70 lakh would be distributed as pension to those found eligible.

This was stated by Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Child Development, Punjab, while addressing a district-level national assistance and pension disbursement function here yesterday. He claimed that during the current year, 2 lakh more persons would be covered under the pension scheme and no eligible person would be denied the facility. The district authorities in the respective districts had been directed to clear the pending applications for grant of pensions within one month.

The minister informed that in this district, as many as 41,015 beneficiaries were getting a monthly pension of around Rs 82 lakh through commercial banks and till the end of calendar year, an amount of Rs725.91 lakh had been distributed as pension in the district.

Highlighting various schemes for the welfare of the weaker sections and empowerment of women, Mr Kanjhla said that on International Women’s Day on March 8, a state-level conference would be organised at Sherpur, in which 5 women would be presented ‘state awards’ for excellent work in their respective fields. In addition, 25 officers and employees would also be honoured for meritorious performance.

He lauded the role of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle in the field of social service and for serving humanity and urged other voluntary bodies, village panchayats and religious organisations to assist the elder widows and destitute women in availing of the benefit of pension. The minister also announced a grant of Rs 50,000 out of his discretionary fund to Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle.

In the district-level camp, 1609 beneficiaries were presented pension acceptance letters and 10 poor widows were granted an assistance of Rs 10,000 each under the National Family Benefit Scheme.

Mr Kanjhla also inaugurated the deaddiction centre and launched the web site of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle on the occasion.

Among others, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Mr Kuldip Singh Brar, District Social Security Officer, Principal Ram Singh, Chief Organiser, Mr Gurmeet Singh, Assistant Secretary and Mr Sarbjeet Singh, Director, Social and Health Services Directorate also addressed the function.



4 elected unopposed to club
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, March 4 — Mr Manoj Verma, Mr Raju Sharma, Mrs Manjula Jain and Mrs Sunita Ahuja were elected unopposed as vice-president, mess secretary, cultural secretary and executive member, respectively, of the Satluj Club for 2001-2002. Now 13 other contestants have been left in the fray for various other posts, including that of the general secretary, for which elections are scheduled for March 11.

Five contestants have been left in the fray for the remaining two seats of executive member.

Meanwhile, Mr A.S. Chawla today disputed the claims of his rival, Mr Jeevan Dhawan that during the former's tenure additional financial burden was put on the members. He said it was during his tenure that the building fund was not charged from members. He disclosed that additional income was generated with the registration of new members against the vacancies resulting from the removal of absentee members who neither came to the club nor paid these dues. Mr Chawla announced that the monthly membership fee would be slashed to Rs 100 and food prices would also be reduced. 


PSEB harasses consumer
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, March 4 — In a bizarre case of administrative negligence, the officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) here have asked a harassed consumer to approach the consumer court to get justice from the board.

According to Mr Rajinder Singh, a resident of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, he had applied for a 3-phase connection in October 1998 and was asked to pay Rs 27,500 as an augmentation fee. The connection was released to him in December after the payment of the charges.

However, he was shocked when he came to know that his neighbours have got same type of connection for just Rs 11,000. In fact, the officers concerned later on told him that there was no augmented charges applicable in his case and the amount will be adjusted in the bill but no adjustments were made in his bill.

Mr Rajinder complained to the Superintendent Engineer and Executive Engineer, and to the Chairman of the board in September 2000 but to no avail. The officials, rather, told him that though the amount had been wrongly charged from him but it could not be adjusted now as the case was very old. However, he may approach the consumer court if he wanted to get justice, he was told.


Robbers’ gang busted
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, March 4 — The Khanna police claimed to have busted an inter-state gang of robbers with the arrest of six robbers and recovered arms and ammunition from them.

According to the SSP, Khanna, Mr R.N. Dhoke, under the supervision of the SP (D), Mr Gurmail Singh, and DSP Mohinder Pal Singh Shocker, the police conducted a raid on a secret information near the Atwal Marriage Palace and arrested six persons conspiring to loot a petrol station.

The SSP said the robbers had been identified as Kulwinder Singh, son of Nachhatar of Mahal Kalan in Moga district, Daljeet Singh, son of Balwinder Singh of Shahpur in Moga district, Sharanjeet Singh, son of Surinder Singh of Bharat Nagar in Ganganagar, Sukhdev Singh, son of Sucha Singh of Rajpura, Rupinder Singh, son of Jarnail Singh of Nepra (Rajpura) and Balwinder Singh, son of Shamsher Singh of Chamaru in Rajpura tehsil (Patiala). The police has registered a case under Sections 399 and 402 of IPC and 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act against them.

During investigation they confessed to several incidents of looting and theft in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Uttar Pradesh. The SSP said they had also confessed to have committed robbery of Rs 2 lakh from the Oriental Bank of Commerce, Khanna, Rs 1.57 lakh from Pathankot, Rs 47,000 from Damtal (HP), two cars from Ludhiana, a Maruti van from Chandigarh and automobiles tyres from Beas and Kot Kapura. Besides, they also confessed to an attemp to loot a petrol station in Batala, stone crusher in Pathankot, a bank in Smalsar and a petrol station in Ambala.

The police has recovered two cars, four pistols and 10 cartigeds from them. The SSP said three other members of the gang were still absconding.



Cases against dowry seekers
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, March 4 — The city police has registered three cases of harassment for,  dowry in the past 24 hours.

The first case has been registered under Sections 406 and 498 of the IPC at the Division Number 4 police station. Meenakshi, daughter of Mr Jeet Raj, a resident of Narri Mohalla here, complained that her husband, Arunpal Singh, son of Mr Piare Lal, and Kiran and Kusum, her husband’s sisters, all residents of Jagdish Colony on Rajpura Road of Patiala, used to harass her for dowry. However, no arrest has been made so far.

The second case has been registered on a complaint lodged at a Sangat Darshan programme on February 12. Sarabjit Kaur, daughter of Gurbax Singh, a resident of Shimlapuri, said her husband, Sukhwinder Singh, son of Jagtar Singh, a resident of Guru Nanak Colony on Gill Road, used to demanding more dowry and threaten her. In this case, too, no arrest has been made so far.

The third case has been registered under Sections 406, 498-A, 420, 120-B, 323 and 34 of the IPC. Balkar Singh, son of Chain Singh, had complained that Harsharan Singh and Jaswant Singh, sons of Harbhajan Singh, residents of Dhillon Colony on Kakowal Road, and Gurdev Singh and Baljinder Singh, uncles of the accused, used to threaten and beat up his daughter for dowry. No arrest has been made.

Clash averted:
A major clash was averted in Chhowni Mohalla today when the police reached the spot on time to intervene in a tussle between two groups. Mr Gurpreet Singh, SHO of the Division Number 4 police station, said he was confident the groups would reach a compromise by the evening. The accused were brought to the police station.

Arms seized:
A knife was seized from Jaspal Singh, son of Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Azad Nagar in Lal Quarter here. The accused was arrested and a case was registered against him under the Arms Act.

A case under the Arms Act was registered against Salag Ram a.k.a. Muna, son of Ram Ujagar, resident of Mujhaid Pur village in UP. The accused was arrested and one country-made pistol of .315 bore and 2 live cartridges were seized from him.

Liquor seized:
A case under the Excise Act was registered against Kulwant Rai, son of Saroop Singh, a resident of Kohara, for possessing 12 bottles of country liquor.



Murder accused arrested
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, March 4 — The Khanna police has arrested one person in connection with the murder of Kulwinder Singh of Barmali whose body was found near Gillanwala Pul, Ludhiana, yesterday.

According to the SSP, Khanna, Mr R.N. Dhoke, Rajinder Singh had filed a complaint that Nirbhai Singh and Satwant Singh of Majri took his younger brother, Kulwinder Singh, on their scooter on February 26. But he had not returned home. He inquired from Nirbhai Singh, where Satwant Singh was also present, who said they were coming from Ludhiana after taking liquor via the canal road and Kulwinder Singh fell down on the way. They tried to trace him but could not.

On March 2, his body was recovered from Gillanwala Pul and a case was registered against Nirbhai Singh under Section 304-A of the IPC. He was arrested today, according to the SSP.


Environment-friendly yarn launched
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, March 4 — The hosiery and garment units can avail benefits of the newly introduced Spandax fibre to be available soon in the market. This fibre will be relatively cheap in comparison to the yarns that are being currently used by the units. The problem of heat resistance has also been taken care of in the new process, said Mr M.K. Hathi, representative of BF Goodrich. The company has claimed to introduce the technology in India for the first time after China.

He was speaking at a seminar held here on “Extrusion Spun Spandex Fibre — emerging Application for Hosiery and Textile Industry.” The seminar was organised by Knitwear Club, Ludhiana, Spinners Association and UNIDO together with BF Goodrich, USA. Mr Manmohan Singh, Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner (Punjab), was the chief guest at the seminar.

Mr Vinod Thapar, president, Knitwear Club, in his welcome address said knitwear industry should absorb new technologies and the seminar was a part of that exercise. It will infuse new technology for stretch fibre, which was growing world over.

Mr Chris talked about the economics of extrusion spun spandex fibre and informed the participants that Spandex market in India was growing. The fibre produced with this technology was environmental friendly and this would bring down the cost of fibre. As there was a growing demand for spandex in the fashion segment, setting of such was a viable business proposition because there was no alternative available in India and the fibre was currently imported.

Mr Sudhir Hubliker informed that there were four processes to make Spandex fibre but the extrusion spun Spandex prices were the most economical. The cost for extrusion spun Spandex fibre was about $11 per kg whereas the price of dry spun Spandex was $ 24 per kg. These cost comparisons were indicative only and the prices vary with country to country.

Mr Manmohan Singh released a book ‘Evolution of Modern Textiles’ written by Mr J.N. Vohra on this occasion.


Technical feedback award for car dealer
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, March 4 — Maruti Stan Autos, a dealer of Maruti cars in Punjab, received All-India No 1 Technical Feedback award from Maruti Udyog Limited. The award was presented to Mr Anil Malhotra, Director Stan Autos Ltd recently at All-India Dealer Convention at Agra.

Mr Malhotra, received the award from Mr Jagdish Khattar, MD, Maruti Udyog Ltd. The award is in continuation with the series of awards the company got recently, like No 1 JD Power and No 1 in Gallup MBA Study.

Dr Naresh Malhotra, another director of the company, stated that in an era of economic liberalisation, the Indian auto industry was facing severe competition and the expectations of the customers for automobiles were fast changing.

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