Friday, March 9, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Govt criticised on women reservation issue
International Women’s Day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
Many rallies and functions were held in the city to celebrate the International Women’s Day.

Ms Oshma Rekhi, State President of the Indian Federation of Women, addressed a huge congregation of Istri Sabha near Clock Tower, Ludhiana. In her motivating speech, she condemned the government for not passing the bill upholding the reservation of 33 per cent for women in the Parliament. She further said that the women have not been given social and economic equality without which the position of women in society cannot improve.

The president of Istri Sabha, Ms Rajinder Kaur, condemned the sex determination tests and said that they should be banned immediately and the education of the girls should be paid special attention as only education can help women in improving their status. Ms Avtar Kaur, Advocate, said that globalisation would effect women adversely as women would be relieved of their jobs.

In another function at Punjabi Bhavan, Dr (Ms) Malti Thapar, former MLA and General Secretary of the PPCC, said, “In Indian society women is considered as Shakti. The power of woman is not physical but moral and spiritual. Today, some people think that women is weak but I wish to say that women can withstand all the stresses and strains of life with much more courage than her men counterpart”.

In spite of exploitation, the women are rising. Statements like that the women themselves are responsible for exploitation and violence against them like mother-in-law is responsible for violence against her daughter-in-law are without logic. Only awareness is not going to change the lot of women unless the men change their psyche.

In the electronic era, Malti felt that the doors and windows cannot be kept closed and winds of change will enter and after some time we will have to learn to live with new realities of life and evolve ways to save our old-value based culture.

Ms Barjinder Kaur, President of Nav Shakti, congratulated the women on this day and Dr Rupinder Kaur and Pushpa Rani were honoured for their excellent work in different fields for the benefit of women.


Women’s Day function
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
The Gyan Sthal Mandir Sabha organised a function in the temple premises to observe the Women’s day here today.

Mr M.M. Vyas, Chairman, Improvement Trust, sent 11 ceiling fans for the temple on the occasion.

Some members of the Lions Club also donated a computer and Rs. 3000 to the temple. 


Four killed, one hurt in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 8
Four persons are reported to have been killed and one seriously injured in a road accident at Nanakpur-Jugerha bridge near here today. The mishap occurred at 10 am.

According to the sources, a Maruti car (PB-10-F-239) coming from Malerkotla to Ludhiana collided with a truck (PAN-4867) coming from the opposite side. Gurdial Singh, Bhag Singh, Muktiar Singh and Kulwinder Singh, occupants of the car, died on the spot, while Rajmeet Singh, the remaining occupant, got seriously injured and was later admitted to the hospital at Malerkotla.

The truck has been impounded by the police, while its driver, Harish Kapoor of Gurunanakpura near Nabha in the Patiala district, has absconded. A case has been registered against him under Sections 279, 337, 338, 427 and 304-A of the IPC at the Payal police station.


Start paying more for branded garments
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
The Finance Minister’s proposed 16 per cent duty on branded garments has pushed up the prices of garments in the local market. The retailers have reacted strongly against the imposition of excise duty on branded garments.

Since there are few textile manufacturers in Ludhiana, the impact of yesterday’s bandh call given by the major associations of the readymade garment manufacturers was confined to big showrooms. According to the Retailers Association, about 20 shops remained closed.

While criticising the government’s decision to impose excise duty, Mr Inderpal Singh, a leading readymade garment seller, said, “We are going to be hit hard by the excise duty. The government should have at least consulted the industry’s representatives before taking such a crucial decision. The duty should have been imposed on the those companies which have high turnover.”

Though the supply of branded readymade garments has not reached the market, the sellers have already started charging higher prices. Another shopkeeper disclosed, “We are no more offering any discounts on the branded garments. A shirt of Hallmark brand which was available for Rs 300-500 in the pre-Budget period, is now being sold at Rs 375 to Rs 625. The rates of double wool, TNG, Silkia shirts, Killer jeans, Wrangler, New port jeans have been pushed up by 20-25 per cent.”

Due to the general slump in the market there are few customers, the shopkeepers are worried about the impact of the increased prices on their sales. The prices of hosiery garments have not been increased so far. Market observers say that in case the government does not review its decision the rates of locally manufactured products are also bound to increase.

Some garment manufacturers have alleged that officials of the Excise Department raided their premises and demanded the record of stocks.

Knitwear garment manufacturers are of the view that the proposed duty will not be applicable on them. Mr Narinder Miglani, general secretary, Knitwear Club, said, “The knitted garments come under Chapter 61 of the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985, and the proposed excise duty is not applicable on them.”

The industry is supporting the agitation of the branded garment manufacturers against the 16 per cent excise duty. Mr Vinod Thapar, President, Knitwear Club, in a press statement, said, “The knitwear industry will support the textile industry for the withdrawal of the excise duty. We are totally with the bandh call and support the garment manufacturers who have been a victim of a reckless policy. The excise duty on garments should be withdrawn at the earliest.”

Mr Prem Sagar Jain of Readymade Hosiery Garment Manufacturers’ Association said, “The government’s decision to impose ad- valorum duty on yarn and fabric will prove a slow-poison for the small scale units in the city.”

Despite supporting the bandh call of the readymade garment manufacturers, most of the units were open yesterday. Mr Inder Jit Singh Pardhan, President, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, also criticised the imposition of duty. He said, “The garment and clothing industry of Ludhiana was striving hard to compete with the international markets in view of the WTO agreements. The 16 per cent excise duty will make the garment industry uncompetitive. It will also affect more than 5 lakh persons employed in the industry directly or indirectly.”


No review of VDS: Sohal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana March 8
The much-publicised Voluntary Disclosure Scheme (VDS) of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has failed to generate any significant interest among the industry in the state. According to PSEB officials, till date, only three industrial units have applied for the regularisation of their load in the city, though the scheme is closing on March 31.

While addressing the industrialists here yesterday, Mr G.S. Sohal, Chairperson, PSEB, said,‘‘ Under the Punjab Pollution Control Board and High Court directions, the PSEB cannot provide any connection or regularise the unauthorised loads of the industrial units functioning in the residential area or those which come under the pollution category. So even they would have to get a no objection certificate (NOC) from the pollution control board. In case of units in side the city limits, the NOC would have also be taken from Municipal Corporation.’’

A meeting was organised by the Apex Chamber of Commerce and industry with the Chairman of the board and other officials to discuss the problems related with the industry. Industrialists from all over the state are participating in the meeting.

Mr Sohal assured the industry representatives that the board would announce VDS for large scale units soon. Since the board was incurring heave financial losses, so it had not been possible to provide any relief to the consumers. Regarding the demand of providing immediate sanction to the industrial units for installing generators as a standby measure, he assured them that sanction would be provided soon.

Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the Chamber urged the board chairman to involve industry representatives in the dispute settlement committee. He said,‘‘ Justice cannot be expected from the functionaries of the board whose sole purpose to maximise revenue, instead of providing any relief to the consumer.’’

Mr Sohal declined to make any commitment in this regard. He disclosed that more than 60 per cent cases out of the total admitted cases have been settled. So there was no plan to review the present setup. Only about 80 cases are pending with the dispute settlement committee.

The chairman accepted Mr M.S. Bhogal’s suggestion that the board should not insist on the registration of rental deeds for giving connection to the rental premises. He assured that the board would examine the issue of providing incentives to consumers.

Mr Sohal appealed to industrialists to help the board in checking power pilferage as it was badly affecting the financial health of the board and continuous electricity supply to the genuine consumers. Despite political compulsions of providing free supply to the agriculture sector, the board was trying to decrease the financial losses, he added.


Class X CBSE exams begin 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
After Class XII examination which began yesterday, the annual examination of Class X students from schools affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) commenced here today.

At Kundan Vidya Mandir, 377 students from Guru Nanak Public School, GRD Academy and Kendriya Vidyalaya, Baddowal, appeared for the examination. The teachers accompanied the students to the centres and discussions regarding the paper were held till the last minute. The examination began at 10.30 am as per the schedule.

After three hours, when the students came out of the examination hall, their teachers and parents were eagerly waiting to know about the attempt of the students. While some of the students said that the paper was easy, others called it balanced. Harleen, student of Guru Nanak Public School, said that the history section was slightly difficult than her expectations. Ruhi of Kendriya Vidyalaya said that paper was quite easy and she was prepared for all questions asked in the paper.


Residents hold plot owner to ransom
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
About 50-odd residents of the Shyam Nagar area, near the bus stand, today forcibly prevented a plot owner from starting construction work on a commercial site. Although the plot owner possessed all the documents, the residents wanted that he should leave some space for the street.

According to Mr Hardev Singh Ahluwalia, he had purchased some land in the backside of the bus stand about 50 years ago. While he had sold some of the land to the government, on the remaining part he wanted to construct a commercial complex. 

Residents stage a dharna to protest against the construction of a commercial complex in the Shyam Nagar area of Ludhiana on Thursday. Photo by Rajesh Bhambi

However, the residents of Shyam Nagar, Street No 7, have not been allowing him to do so.

About two years ago, when he tried to start construction, the residents got a stay order from the court. The litigation continued for long and the matter was ultimately settled by the Supreme Court which gave its decision in favour of Mr Ahluwalia.

But today when he came to start work there, the residents of the area gathered there and alleged that he was trying to construct the complex on the land which was marked as a street. On the other hand, Mr Ahluwalia produced all the documents, including that of the ownership, the court decisions and also the map approved by the Improvement Trust, Ludhiana.

The residents want that Mr Ahluwalia leave some space for the street as it gives them a short access to the bus stand. They had been using the plot as a street for all these years as it was lying vacant. Now they find it difficult to accept that the street will get closed.

Although some police personnel were deployed on the spot, they restrained themselves in ensuring peace. Mr Ahluwalia also decided against starting work as he did not want any confrontation. He said he could only rely on the administration. He had presented himself before the Deputy Commissioner at sangat darshan, where the DC had assured him of all help. But so far he had not been allowed to undertake any construction as the residents were stubborn and wanted that he leave space for the street.

The revenue records, according the map produced by Mr Ahluwalia, show that the street is closed on the side of the bus stand. Since the plot owned by Mr Ahluwalia had been lying vacant for quite some time, the residents used it as a street which they want to continue with.

At one time the situation became tense as the residents started raising slogans against Mr Ahluwalia and the police. They staged a dharna and also set up a langar to ensure that all the people stayed at the spot, lest Mr Ahluwalia may start the construction.


IHRO for 30 pc women in police
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
The International Human Rights Organisation of the Indian Subcontinent (IHRO) demanded here today that the government should recruit at least 30 per cent women police officials in police stations and establish special police stations to deal with offences concerning women and children.

Mr D.S. Gill, chairperson of IHRO said in a press note issued here today, “There is a need to promote women’s human rights.” Mr Gill urged, “There is need to establish special criminal courts that should have jurisdiction over specific abuse such as rape, sexual harassment and forced termination of pregnancy or the prosecution of such offences should be the job of the state human rights commission.”


SAD-BJP govt a failure: Pandey
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
"The Congress had laid the foundation of the modern India and the nation had made tremendous progress to become a world leader during the long tenure of successive Congress governments at the Centre and in Punjab." This was stated by Congress legislator Rakesh Pandey while laying the foundation stone of the development works in the New Ashok Nagar area in the city.

Addressing an impressive function, organised by the Mohalla Sudhar Committee, Mr Pandey claimed that several big projects in Punjab, for which the SAD-BJP government was taking credit, were in fact allotted to the state by the then Congress government at the Centre. The ruling coalition was trying to mislead the people by blaming the previous Congress governments for all its failures and misgovernance.

Making scathing attacks on the government, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Congress legislator alleged that nepotism and corruption at highest places had crossed all limits and all sections of the people were feeling frustrated over the anti-people policies of the government. "The Badal government had won the recently held byelections through blatant misuse of official machinery and adopting all sorts of corrupt practices."

The Mohalla Sudhar Committee organised bhog of Sri akhand path and a langar (community kitchen) on the occasion.

Among others, Mr Kuldip Singh Marwa, President of the sabha, Mr Sita Ram Shankar, Mr Harvinder Happy, Mr Sat Pal Lamba, Mr Jarnail Singh, Mr Darshan Sethi, Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Nihal Singh, Mr Parwinder Sharma, Mr Vijay Joshi, Mr Som Nath, Mr Phumman Singh and Mr Mohan Singh Sandhu addressed the function.



Bodhis protest against Taliban
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
As part of their state-wide agitation plan, Bodhis of the town today took out a protest march against the Taliban for desecrating and demolishing Buddha statues in Afghanistan and against the Indian government as well for not doing anything concrete in this regard.

Before the start of the march from Daresi grounds, leaders of the Budh Dharam Parchar Samiti, Punjab, delivered speeches to a small gathering about the message of peace Buddha gave to the world and the ignorance of the fundamentalist mullahs who were bent upon destroying the heritage. The leaders also castigated Pakistan for supporting the Taliban and the Indian government as well for limiting its reaction to mere verbal condemnation. They also said that though Buddha preached that the middle path was better, the present day Bodhis would not tolerate any destruction of their heritage.

They said it was painful for the entire Bodhi community that nearly 4,000 idols out of a total of about 10,000 which existed all over Afghanistan, had either been shattered partly or totally.

They accused the Taliban of adopting anti- Bodhi steps out of sheer ignorance about Budhism. Bodhis, the world over, were not idol worshippers. The statues of Buddha are meant only to show the way he looked during his lifetime.

Later, the protesting Bodhis, shouting anti-Taliban and pro-Bodhi slogans, marched through Chaura Bazar up to the mini secretariat, where they submitted a three-point memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister through the Deputy Commissioner.

It demanded immediate military action against the Taliban, immediate arrangements to bring Buddha statues to India and to press those countries, who had recognised the Afghanistan government, to withdraw the recognition.


Artiste’s dream for city
N. S. Tasneem

THE Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam is doing here what the Little Theatre Group has done for Shimla. In the early 1950s, Gaiety Theatre on the Mall was the hub of dramatics activities in Shimla. It had inherited the tradition of staging English plays from British rulers, but later, plays in Hindi and Punjabi also began to be staged there.

It was perhaps in 1959 that the Western Command staged in Gaiety Theatre a shadow play on historic events from the Vedic times to the Independence. I played the role of a Rishi in this play. On the stage, I was supposed to mumble some mantras, while a recorded voice would take care of the rest. Moreover, the focus was shadows.

The other day I saw the play Maa Retire Hoti Hai, directed by Ramesh Talwar and starring Jaya Bachchan, in the local Guru Nanak Bhavan. I also got to see Vijay Tendulkar’s Ghasiram Kotwal presented by the National School of Drama Repertory Company here. The Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam is trying to bring in theatre consciousness here, though Ludhianvis will take some more time to adopt it.

However, people here want to see plays that have some thematic significance for them. Harpal Tiwana and Nina Tiwana staged such plays from 1975 to 1982 in the local Punjabi Bhavan under the banner of the Punjab Kala Manch.

Nirmal Rishi, who has recently received the Shiromani Punjabi Adakar Award 2000 from the Language Department of Punjab, plans to revive that spirit. She has acted in many plays, TV serials and Punjabi films in the past three decades. She is a lecturer in a women’s college who dreams of a renaissance in Punjabi folk theatre here.

She said, “I want to organise a theatre workshop in May, for which, I shall invite eminent theatre personalities to talented artistes. This will be a teamwork of like-minded persons. Youngsters get a chance to participate in cultural activities only during a youth festival. This forum will encourage regular participation in such activities.”

She said, “The people are theatre crazy. There is much potential here, but no theatre movement. My plays will deal with social themes and family problems of common people. Harpal Tiwana presents his plays under the banner of the Punjabi Folk Theatre and I am also a part of that movement. Both Harpal and Nina will be my guides in this venture.”


YC activist serves legal notice to NCP district chief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
The Youth Congress Urban Development Cell general secretary, Mr Naseem Ansari, has served a legal notice upon the district president of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Mr Rashpal Singh Gill, demanding an unconditional apology and a sum of Rs 2 lakh for issuing a fabricated statement in the press to the effect that he, (Mr Ansari), had resigned from the Youth Congress and had joined the NCP.

The notice issued by Mr P.S. Batra, Advocate, has charged the NCP district president, with misusing the signatures of Mr Ansari, obtained by Mr Gill on the excuse that a press statement would be issued on his contribution to the Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund. To the shock and dismay of Mr Ansari, the NCP leader released a statement on behalf of Mr Ansari on February 8 that he had resigned from the YC and joined the NCP. While the said statement was vehemently denied by the YC activist, Mr Gill went on to issue yet another statement on February 11 in which derogatory and defamatory remarks were made against the Congress party and its senior leaders.

Mr Ansari, according to the legal notice, never joined the NCP, nor did he have any intention of doing so. The act of falsehood, committed by Mr Gill, contended Mr Ansari, had lowered his reputation among the party leadership and co-workers and he was looked upon suspiciously.

The legal notice warned Mr Gill that he would be liable to criminal proceedings in a court of law if the damages were not paid and an unconditional apology not issued within 10 days from the receipt of the legal notice.


No breakthrough in paper leakage case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
There has been no breakthrough in the paper leakage case of Class V students as yet, even as the primary wing of the District Education Department had started its investigations yesterday morning.

The officers of the department seemed quite concerned as despite it being a holiday, the staff of the primary wing was in the office scrutinising the bundles of question papers received back from the examination centres yesterday. The department is also seeking the help of the police to nab the offenders.

Yesterday, the examination of Class V students set by the Punjab School Education Board was cancelled due to paper leakage on Tuesday evening. The students were told that the cancelled paper would be held after the last examination. However, the new date has not yet been announced. Mr Gurtej Singh, District Education Officer (primary), said that the new date would be declared within a few days by the officers of the Education Department. 


Beware of sealed wads
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
Next time you withdraw money from the bank ensure that you set all the notes in the bundle loose lest some of them may be only in halves. This is what happened with Mr Sanjeev Chawla, who withdrew two wads of Rs 100 each amounting to Rs 20,000 from the HFDC bank on the Mall Road here.

As a normal practice he just counted the notes and left the counter. But when he went to his office and set loose the bundle, to his utter shock 20 notes, 10 in each bundle, were only in halves. Although he instantly reported the matter to the bank officials, they refused to entertain his claims as the bundles had already been opened.

Mr Chawla said, as a routine he just counted the bundle and without loosening these left for his office, where he found 20 notes only in halves. He pointed out that notes had been intelligently stapled and wrapped with adhesive tape, so that while counting, the torn halves were not noticed.


State youth award for Bains
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
Mr Laj Pal Singh Bains has been selected by the Directorate of Youth Services, Punjab Government, for the Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh State Youth Award for his active involvement in social services and outstanding youth activities. Mr Bains will receive a cash prize of Rs 5000, with a model, a scroll and a certificate.

Mr Bains is a postgraduate in economics. He has participated in 10 state-level and district-level National Service Scheme camps. He has donated blood 15 times, participated twice in youth leadership training camps, 15 village development camps, two national hiking and tracking camps and twice at national-level youth festivals. 


Four arrested under Excise Act
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana March 8
The police has arrested four persons under the Excise Act for possessing liquor.

While the focal point police arrested two persons in this connection, one person each was arrested by the divisions number two and four police station staff.

The focal point police arrested one Jai Ram, belonging to Chamrupur in Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh, and now a resident of New Shimlapuri. Twelve bottles of country liquor were seized from him. Sabar, a migrant from Bijnaur district in UP, was arrested from Vishwakarma Colony by the Sherpur police post and 12 bottles of India Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) were recovered from his possession.

The division number 2 police has registered a case against Ram Parkash, alias Billa , a resident of Islam Ganj. The accused was arrested and 30 bottles of country liquor were recovered from him.

Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Dhai Marla Colony, was arrested by the division number 4 police under the Excise Act for possessing nine bottles of country liquor.

Burglary reported
A burglary was reported from a house in Raj Guru Nagar on Wednesday afternoon when the house-owners were away. According to a complaint lodged by Dr Mukhtiar Singh Gill at the Sarabha Nagar police station, the thieves took away a camera, a mobile phone, Rs 31,000 cash, gold ornaments weighing about 6 tolas and a couple of watches. The police has registered a case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC but no arrest has been made so far.

The focal point police registered a case of theft on the complaint of Dr Rakesh Aggarwal of Aggarwal Hospital, Jamalpur Colony. Some unknown persons stole the stereo player from his car while it was parked outside his clinic on March 2.

Fraud cases
The Basti Jodhewal police registered two separate cases of fraud during the past 24 hours. The first case was registered under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120B of IPC on the application of Mohinder Kaur, resident of Dharampura mohalla against Amrik Singh, resident of Deena the village of Amloh district. The accused is alleged to have sold a 3500-yard plot by preparing forged documents. The case has been handed over to the economic offences wing of the city police.

The other case was registered under Sections 420, 468, 471, 120 B of the IPC on the application of Madhu Sood, against Gurbachan Singh, Manpreet Singh , Bhushan Dhawan, Iqbal Singh, Kamal Jain and others . The accused allegedly prepared false documents and cheated the complainant. No arrest has been made in either of the cases so far.

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