Tuesday, March 20, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Another Malta-type episode comes to light
Travel agent accused of duping youths
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 19
Another Malta-type episode recently came to light here when two youths — Sunil Kumar of Ludhiana and Rashpal Singh of Hoshiarpur — levelled allegations of killing of one youth, disappearance of other three and torture of 100 youths of Punjab in forests surrounding the Czeh capital Prague.

Sunil Kumar and Rashpal Singh said while narrating their story that a travel agent of Mohali Ajmer Singh had lured 26 youths to send them to Italy. He managed ‘direct visas’ from New Delhi for them for Ukraine. He allegedly collected more than Rs 1.25 crore from them. However, they were not sent to Italy. The youths are in fact languishing in jails or are in police custody for the past three months in Prague.

They said after getting the whole payment, Ajmer Singh sent them to Moscow, from where he sent them to jungles of Prague in a covered truck. The agents of Ajmer Singh handed them over along with 48 other persons to some English men. They forced us to walk for miles a day.

One youth, resident of a Tanda village was not able to walk much and he was killed by them in the jungle. They saw three bodies hanging from trees. The three seemed to be Punjabis as they were wearing karas.

After walking for 10 days, they reached Prague where Amarjit Singh Saini, alias R.K., an agent of Ajmer Singh, locked all them in an old house in the jungle where nearly 100 persons were already confined.

In that house, an Englishman and a Muslim tortured them and asked them all to pay Rs 3 lakh each to them if they wanted to be free. They were given only one piece of bread for three-four months daily.

One day, they managed to escape from there by beating their captors. They fled bare-foot from there. Seventeen persons, Satnam Singh, Jhujar Singh, Jogingder Singh, Parvinder Singh, Makhan Singh, Bhagwan, Balbir Singh, Satnam Singh, Talwinder Singh, Jeewan Singh, Lakhbir Singh, Manjit Singh, Amrik Singh, Kewal Krishan, Kuldeep Singh, Narinder Singh, Balraj Singh and Gurbaj Singh were arrested by the police and seven were released after taking their finger prints.

Sunil Kumar said after that he called his brother-in-law in Khanna and told him the whole story who suggested to him to meet the Ambassador of India in Prague, who helped them to manage visa for India.

Sunil said hundreds of Punjabis are suffering due to this affair. He appealed to the Indian Government to take strict action against these travel agents.

Meanwhile, Mr Bishan Dass, a resident of Hoshiarpur, has complained to SSP, Hoshiarpur, against the travel agent Ajmer Singh. He has mentioned that the agent had taken Rs 15 lakh from him for sending his elder son abroad. However, his son was still in India even after five months of his taking money.


Improvement trusts plead for more
powers, less controls
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March, 19
Improvement Trusts (ITs) here have pleaded with the State Government to grant them more administrative powers and controls to make these effective instruments for better town planning and development.

A meeting of Chairmen of all Improvement Trusts with the Punjab Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, and other senior officers of the Local Self Government at Chandigarh last evening urged the government that the Trusts should be made nodal agencies for all residential and commercial schemes within the town and city limits and the control of all vacant lands, at least up to an area of 2-3 acre, owned by the Provincial Government, should vest with the respective improvement trusts.

In all, 21 Chairpersons of the Improvement Trusts from all over the state, besides the Director, Local Self Government Mr J.B. Goyal, Joint Secretary of Local Bodies, Mr S.S. Bajwa, and other senior officers of Local Bodies and Town Planning Departments attended the meeting.

Giving details of the deliberations of the meeting, Mr M. M. Vyas, Chairman, Ludhiana Improvement Trust, told Ludhiana Tribune that those attending the meeting were of the opinion that since the Improvement Trusts were set up under the Punjab Town Improvement Act, it would be in the fitness of things that possession of all government vacant lands should be handed over to the respective ITs for proper development of the sites according to the requirement of the area.

It was further contended that the other government agencies like the Punjab Waqf Board and local bodies should also be directed to transfer lands under their control to the respective ITs on lease or sale basis, so that rather than haphazard development, the Trusts could plan them in accordance with Master Plan or Town Planning Schemes of the respective localities.

The Chairmen of the Trusts vociferously opposed the indiscriminate compounding of grave violations of building bye-laws and change of land use from residential to commercial by the local bodies, saying the practice had made a mockery of the town planning schemes and the basic concept of the town planning.

Expressing their difficulties in day-to-day working because of stringent government controls and the mandatory requirement of seeking approval even for petty matters from the State Government, the Chairmen wanted that the Trusts should be competent to take decisions at their own level and the government should act only as a regulatory authority. Further, they also demanded that building control of all development schemes of the Trusts, subsequently transferred to the local bodies for maintenance, should remain with the respective ITs for effective enforcement of building by-laws.

The issue of allotment of institutional sites was raised and various ambiguities in the prevailing rules were pointed out. The trusts were of the view that a clear-cut policy for the allotment of such sites should be framed and scrupulously followed. The government was also urged to review and suitably amend the policy regarding fixation of income criteria, earnest money and reservation quota for eligibility for plots and flats in residential schemes of ITs as the prevailing, fixed long back, had become irrelevant with time.

The Improvement Trusts were asked to computerise their operations to bring in more efficiency and to ensure vigorous follow up of court cases to cut down time consuming litigations. It was emphasised upon the Chairmen of the ITs that unutilised and hidden properties of the trusts be identified and detailed lists of such properties be submitted to the State Government. The ITs in A Class towns have been asked to send the details to the government within one month while others have been given 15 days time for this purpose.

Other issues, which came under discussion in the meeting, were budgetary performance of the ITs, development of dairy and transport schemes on a priority basis and transfers and appointments in the Trusts made by the State Government.


FMD prevalent in state: experts
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is prevalent in almost all parts of state according to scientists of the Punjab Agricultural University who toured several parts of the state after The Tribune broke the news of the outbreak of the disease at Ghaloti and some other villages near Khanna.

The experts, who visited villages in various districts, maintain that the FMD was prevalent, with a few cases of mortality due to the virulent disease, but they say that the situation was under control. Dr Kuljit Singh Sandhu, veterinary epidemologist at PAU, who has returned after a four-day trip to villages of Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar, Batala and Gurdaspur districts, said that the disease was prevalent in all these districts, except Jalandhar.

Dr Sandhu said that in Kapurthala district, the disease struck a month-and-a-half ago and was still prevalent there. According to him, a considerable number of cases was there in villages of Phagwara subdivision. Around two animals had died in Nangal Khurd village of Hoshiarpur district and as many as 12 were still suffering from it.

In a village of Gurdaspur district the disease came from a pair of animals which was purchased by a family from Muktsar. According to Dr Sandhu, this was a case of spread of disease due to the movement of the animals.

In a border village of Amritsar, Khalra, as many as 27 animals died of HS(Gal Ghotu). Another expert from PAU, Dr Navneet Dhand, toured villages of Patiala, Chandigarh, Samrala and Khanna. According to him, the incidence of FMD is quite high there. The villages where the disease was highly prevalent were Paraudi, Samashpur, Nagra and Rajewal. He said that some animals have already perished due to FMD and new cases were being reported everyday.

Experts have advised farmers to get the animals vaccinated for FMD. They said that the main reason of the outbreak of the disease in all these villages was that there was shortage of vaccines with the Animal Husbandry Department. Dr Sandhu said that only 30 per cent of the total animals could get vaccination from the local dispensaries, the rest purchased these from private outlets.

He said that the main reason for the failure of vaccination was that the cold chain was not being properly maintained. He said that in dispensaries of many villages, there was no refrigerator and many veterinarians did not have ice bags with them which were a must for transportation of vaccines. He said that the vaccines were required to be kept at very low temperatures, failing which, these were rendered useless. 

‘Blanket ban on cattle fairs must’

While the incidences of FMD have been detected in the whole state, experts at PAU are all for a blanket ban on organising cattle fairs in the state. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune here today, Dr K.S. Sandhu said that the government should take prompt action and impose a blanket ban on the cattlefairs. He also insisted that the largest cattle fair of the state, which was held at Amritsar every year on April 13, on Baisakhi, must be covered as cattle from all parts of the state were bought and sold there. He said that the situation arisen due to FMD was under control as yet, but if the movement of the animals was not checked immediately then it may go out of control. He said that the Animal Husbandry Department had no powers to impose such bans, so it was the government’s job to ensure the same. Back


Three BTF militants arrested
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
The Ludhiana police today claimed to have arrested three militants belonging to the Bhindrawale Tiger Force (BTF) and recovered from them arms and ammunition and other incriminating objects.

Addressing a press conference where the three arrested persons were also produced, Mr Kuldip Singh, SSP, said a police party led by Mr Manjit Singh, SP, had arrested Jang Singh, a resident of Bhandla village near Khanna, Baljinder Singh, alias Bunty, a resident of Bhandla village, and Ranjit Singh, alias Jhanda, a resident of Khamano.

The police also seized from their possession two rifles, one stolen Maruti car and other things.

Mr Kuldip Singh said the arrested militants had been living in Bhandla village during the militancy days. They used to work as informers for the police. When BTF members came to know about it, they persuaded them against doing so and succeeded in roping them along.

He told that in 1991, the arrested militants asked the Principal of Arya School at Khanna to order a change of uniform for the school kids. When the principal refused to tow their line, they killed the principal. After that they snatched a revolver from a doctor. In the same year, they murdered Kirpal Singh and Lakhwinder Kaur in Khara village. They had been on the wanted list of the police since then.

The police chief disclosed that these persons had been evading the police even after other leaders of the BTF, including its head Rachhpal Singh Chhandran and others, had been killed by the police in encounters. They had been changing their identities and working in various factories and elsewhere but continued to commit minor crimes. Only recently, they snatched a car from a trader at Khanna . They changed the colour of the car which they started using for their criminal activities.

The SSP said the arrested persons had gathered in Kheri village falling under the jurisdiction of Sadar police station of the city and were planning something big.The police raided the place on a tip off and arrested three of the party of five. Two of them managed to give a slip to the cops. Search for them was on, he added.


My books reflect the reality: Shobha De
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Shobha De is not just glamorous, she is intellectually so, as well and claims that she has “given voice to female sexuality”.

The celebrity writer kept her fans, hosts and journalists waiting at the inauguration of a book store for about an hour.

Fielding various questions on her books, writings in newspapers and television serials, she strongly denied that she had been promoting or encouraging promiscuity. “My books only reflect the reality of what is happening in the society. They are the mere mirror images of events and situations”, she maintained.

While claiming to be a staunch votary of gender equality, she however said, she did face certain situations which she may not have faced had she not been a woman. When asked about the autobiographical element in her novels, she retorted, “This question is asked only because I am a woman”. She believes that people seem to be more interested in knowing about the life of a woman.

Asked about her views on reservation to women in legislative bodies, Shobha De said, “I believe in a level playing field and not on reservations, as these prove to be counterproductive. I would rather that women be better educated and at par with men.”

Shobha De may not be too content with her achievements as a writer, but she enjoys whatever she does. “I do not plan anything. I just do things”, she said, when asked whether she thought of writing a masterpiece which could win her at least a Booker nomination, she said, she was satisfied with the recognition she got as a writer. Answering a question about the phenomenal success of Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, as compared to hers, she remarked, “It (The God of Small Things) was a perfect book, at a perfect time by a perfect person”, while adding that the book came out during the Golden jubilee celebrations of the Indian independence, when there was much interest worldwide about the happenings in India.

The noted English writer appeared sore with the presentation of Indian women in the media, particularly in the Hindi cinema. Referring to a recent movie in which a young beautiful girl is presented as a prize to a victorious kabaddi team, she pointed out, it did not reflect well on Indian society and people tend to form similar impressions about women considering them not more than a mere commodity. But on her part she said, the modern Indian woman, was brave, bold, confident and well aware of what she is doing or made to do.

But are her books really representative of Indian society, as these are centered around glamourous people, particularly women, from affluent urban India only? “At least that is also as much a part of India as the villages and other things and I have written on that aspect”, she explained, after inaugurating a book store at Ebony here yesterday.


Delay paddy plantation by one month: experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The delaying of rice plantation by a month can check underground water depletion. If paddy is planted in June, instead of the presently followed practice of planting it in May, then a considerable amount of underground water can be conserved. These were the suggestions of Dr G.S. Heera, Water Management Expert at Punjab Agricultural University to the agriculturists of the state.

Dr Heera also said that if this practice was not followed by agriculturists immediately then the day was not far when underground water level would be dangerously low. He said that the country was utilising only one fifth of the total rain water available, thereby leaving tremendous scope for its harvest and utilisation for crop production.

Dr Heera was addressing participants of the national level training course on “Water Management for Sustainable Rice Wheat Production System in Indo-Gangetic Plains” organised by the Department of Soils, PAU, under the auspices of National Agricultural Technology Project of Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

Dr Paul Singh Sidhu, Dean, College of Agriculture, PAU, inaugurated the course and emphasised the need for conservation of soil and water, which were the basic sources of sustainability of agriculture. He said that unsustainable exploitation of ground water should be stopped and judicious use of natural resources was the need of the hour.

In his address, Dr Sidhu said that conservation and recharging of lowered water tables demanded immediate attention. He said that these projects had to be taken up seriously not only by scientists but also by agriculturists. He further said that without involving masses and educating them conservation was actually not possible.

As many as 18 scientists from different states attended the training programme. The objectives of the programme were harvesting and conservation of rain water to enhance recharge of ground water, ensuring highest water use efficiency on farm for crop production, preventing unsustainable exploitation of ground water and promoting collective use of ground, sewage and canal water resources.


Obscenity unleashed in cinema halls
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, March 19
Notwithstanding the claims of the district administration to ensure clean entertainment, several cinema halls in the city continue to screen ‘pornographic’ movies. Though the administration claims to keep an eye on the theatres saying that only movies approved by the Censor Board were allowed to be screened, but the city cinema houses invariably end up showing clips that are from obscene films.

Some officials in the administration, however, do admit that there is a difficulty in previewing everything that is put up on screen.

Not that all cinema-owners approve of showing these movies. People like Mr Paramjit Singh Khatra of Preet Palace, feel upset at the screening of such movies. He suggested strict measures for preventing such practices. He said that majority of migrant labourers watched English (adults) movies and these people did not understand the language at all. They got hooked to pornographic movies, which have nothing except for hard porno stuff.

Mr Khatra admitted that certain cinema-owners were indulging in the practice of showing ‘uncensored clippings’ to the audience.

He added, “It happens in most of the adults movies. Sometimes the clips in the movie have no relevance and connection with the movie and are sequences from blue movies inserted to attract a larger audience”.

Most of the teenagers in the city skip schools and colleges to get ‘sex education’ because the movies exhibit sex scenes one after the other and they feel that they have had their money’s worth. Neeraj (Not his real name), a student of BBA, said it was easy for him to watch an ‘adult’ movie in the theatre with his friends. “We feel secure that none of our family members can reach us in the theatre and we enjoy seeing such movies together”, added Neeraj.

Most of the cinema halls in the city are exhibiting adults movies titled Young Lady, Test Tube Baby, Time Pass, Kaam Sutra, Gupt Gyan, Pyassi Sham. One of the cinema-owners exhibiting such movies expressed his helplessness. He said, “ 90 per cent of cinema halls in the country are showing movies because there is no other option left. If we put on old Hindi movies they are not such crowd pulling and we get nothing.

Whatever we are showing, has been approved by the censor board. The migrant labourers and youngsters watch these movies and to an extent, we meet our expenses”.

Meanwhile, Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, when contacted said that if such movies were being screened, the administration would take appropriate action. He said that the administration allowed screening of such movies that had a certification of the censor board.

He added that “Officers of the district administration conducted surprise checks, but it was not possible to watch every show of such movie. Anyone showing uncensored clippings would be acted against” he said.


Punish the guilty: Left workers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
Hundreds of activists of Left parties today staged a dharna at Mini-Secretariat here, demanding exemplary punishment to those guilty of taking bribes in the so called defence deals, exposed by tehelka dotcom. Speakers at the rally termed the judicial probe of the scandalous wheeling dealing, ordered by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, as a political stunt and a misleading action.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Kanwaljit Khanna, State Secretary of the Inquilabi Kendra, said it was most unfortunate that the Prime Minister had given a clean chit to Union Defence Minister George Fernandes. He alleged that since the nation attained freedom, the parties in power, had minted money through numerous scams and shady deals.

He said the fact that the National President of the ruling party (BJP) had accepted bribe for helping out in defence procurements prove that the BJP, which claimed itself to be more nationalist and patriotic than others, was no better than Congress. “The caucus of corrupt politicians, power brokers and opportunist bureaucrats was eating out the nation and they needed to be punished like traitors.”

Mr Jaswant Zeerakh, District President of the Inquilabi Kendra, observed that coming on the heels of a hoard of scandals like bofors, urea, fodder, sugar, the defence deal scam had crossed all limits and had even put a question mark on the whole Parliamentary system of the country. Dr Arun Mitra, District Secretary of CPI, demanded that all persons involved in the Tehelka exposures should be prosecuted under the law of the land.

Prominent among others who addressed the rally were Master Bhajan Singh, President, Democratic Teachers Front, Mr Amritpal Singh, Secretary, PAU Employees Union and trade union activists Mr Vijay Narain and Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhoondri.


Display contents on labels: PFA
Our correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
The People For Animals (PFA) have demanded that the contents of food items be displayed on labels itself, keeping in view the sentiments of vegetarians. They have sought issuance of notification by the government on the issue.

In a letter written to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, the PFA president has said that in India majority of people were vegetarians due to religious, social and other beliefs. The notification regarding display of contents of non-vegetarian foods like eggs, meat, bone-powder, gelatine which was pending with the Ministry of Health, Government of India, should be immediately implemented, he demanded.

The president alleged that many food items in India were marketed wrongly as vegetarian even when they contained items of meat or other animal produce.

The president in his letter added that every consumer had a right to know the contents of food and this was a practice in all the developed countries where the contents were displayed on labels of consumer goods.


Sukhbir Badal denies unity move
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and Rajya Sabha Member, Mr Sukhbir Badal, has said that there was no unity move initiated between his party and the All India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD), led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Talking to reporters before addressing a civic reception hosted in his honour by the SAD(B) leader and Director, Markfed, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Mr Badal said that he had no idea or information about any such move.

Mr Badal, who was believed to be instrumental in the sidelining and subsequent exit of Mr Tohra from the SAD(B), refused to voice his opinion on the unity. When asked whether he was in favour of unity with the AISAD, he evaded a direct reply and said, “the matter would be decided by the political affairs committee of the party”, of which he is not a member. He also refused to give any personal opinion on the issue.

Answering questions on the SAD stand vis-a-vis the NDA after the tehelka revelations, he said that his party firmly stood by the alliance and the Prime Minister. He lauded the steps taken by the Prime Minister. He pointed out that on the very first day of the revelations, the BJP president was made to quit office. Moreover even George Fernandes had to go although it was clear that his direct involvement was not there.

Lashing out at the Opposition parties for disrupting parliamentary proceedings, Mr Badal asked why were they not prepared to discuss the issue in Parliament, the highest forum for discussion in a democracy. He pointed out that the government had already announced an inquiry to be conducted by a sitting or a retired Supreme Court judge. And everyone knows that nobody can influence a SC judge, he pointed out, saying the Congress was trying to get political mileage out of it.

Asserting that the alliance between his party and the BJP was as strong as ever he said the revelations will not have any impact on the electoral outcome during the assembly elections scheduled to be held early next year. The BJP need not to be apologetic as it has already done what can be expected from any responsible political party. People also understand that, he hoped.

Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, while welcoming Mr Badal, claimed that with his nomination to the RS, the people of Punjab had got a more strong voice in Parliament. He hoped that Mr Badal will raise issues of the people and help in ameliorating their lot.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi and the Minister for Technical Education Jagdish Garcha. Besides hundreds of workers had descended on the venue and kept waiting till late in the evening, as Mr Badal was late by about three hours.


6 hurt in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 19
Six persons were seriously injured at Khanna road near Gaushala today when there was a collision between an Ambassador car and Maruti van.

According to reports, Rinkal Devi, Maya Davi, Kuldeep Singh, Pankaj Kumar and Jaggi were going to Khanna from their Garhi village in Ambassador car (PUM 1093) when a Maruti van (PB-10-3219), coming from the Khanna side, collided with it. The driver of the van, Ranjit Singh, also received injuries.


Man booked on rape charge
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
The city police has registered a case of alleged rape of a minor girl at the Ludhiana Sadar police station.

The case has been registered under Sections 342, 376 and 506 of the IPC against Rajesh Kumar, son of Ram Kirtan Yadav, a migrant from Uttar Pradesh on the complaint of Nanmum, alias Badsa, son of Jogu, also a migrant from Uttar Pradesh, now a resident of Ashok Nagar, Salem Tabri.

The complainant stated that on Saturday at around 1.30 p.m., the accused forcibly confined her four-year-old daughter, Pooja, in his house and raped her. According to Mr Malkit Singh, ASI, medical examination of the victim has confirmed the rape. While the victim has been discharged from the hospital, the culprit is still evading arrest.

Driver booked
The Model Town police has registered a case under Sections 279, 338, 427 and 304A of the IPC against Charanjit Singh, son of Mr Balbir Singh, resident of LIG flats, Urban Estate, Dugri Road, for causing death of Ravinder Kumar in a road accident near Montgomery chowk, a couple of days ago. Charanjit Singh, an auto-rickshaw driver, had fled the scene leaving behind his auto-rickshaw (PCF 9848), after hitting Ravinder Kumar when he was going on his moped. The case was registered yesterday on the complaint of Mr Amar Nath who stated that the accused hit his son and son-in-law, in the accident and injured both of them. Ravinder Kumar was rushed to the Civil Hospital where he died the next day.

Another case against Manju Verma
Close on the heels of a case of beating and threatening registered by it a few days ago against Manju Verma and three others, including a councillor, the Focal Point police, yesterday, registered another case under Sections 323, 324, 506 and 34 of the IPC against her and two other unknown persons on the complaint of her neighbour Sashi Sharma. The complainant stated that on Friday last, the accused attacked her with knife and sticks injuring her. No arrests has been made so far.

Illicit liquor seized
The division number I police arrested Jagtar Singh, a resident of Kalewal village near Sahnewal and recovered from him 10 bottles of liquor. The Focal point police arrested one Rakesh Kumar alias Tiger, a resident of Guru Nanaksar mohalla in New Shimla Puri and recovered from him a kamanidar knife. The accused has been booked under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

No breakthrough in abduction case
The Sahnewal police has failed to achieve any breakthrough so far in the abduction case of a seven-year-old girl named Sheshwati. The father of the girl, Mr Madan Lal, a resident of Kanet village, had complained to the police that on March 13, some unknown persons abducted his daughter from in front of the factory where he works and lives. The police has registered a case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC and handed over the case to Mr Shiv Dial, sub-Inspector for investigations.Back



4 kg of opium seized
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
The Dehlon police has arrested a man and a woman with four kg of opium when they were going on foot near Kilaraipur on the kutcha road to Mehmasinghwala village last evening.

The smuggler duo was spotted by a police party headed by SHO, Dehlon, when on seeing the police, the man who was walking with a limp while carrying a heavy polythene bag in his right hand, passed it on to the woman accompanying him. The woman sat down along a wheat field while the man started to pretend as if he was getting ready to relieve his bladder.

This was enough to arouse the suspicions of the police party which soon accosted them. But as the due declined to get the bag searched by the police party and insisted on the presence of a gazetted officer, Mr Raghbir Singh Sandhu, SP (D) at Jagraon, had to rush to the spot. The contraband had been carefully packed in polythene sheets.

The accused have been identified as Om Parkash alias Parkash, son of Bahal Singh, resident of a village in Fatehabad district of Haryana and Charanjit Kaur alias Charno, resident of Jartauli village near Dehlon. A case under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered at the Dehlon police station.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that poppy and opium smugglers all over Punjab are gearing up to meet the heavy demand for these contrabands during the wheat harvesting season.


Crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 19
A body was found today on the Kotli-Shahpur road. According to the FIR registered at Payal police station as per the statement of Gurdeep Kaur, wife of the deceased, some unidentified vehicle crushed Balbir Singh of Shahpur while he was going go to his tubewell late at night. A case has been registered under Sections 279 and 304 A of IPC.


Changing role of district industry centres
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The role of district industry centres (DIC), which were set up at the district-level to encourage the industrialisation and regulate the industrial units, has completely changed in view of the economic reforms and the threats of the WTO.

The function of providing subsidies and quotas is no more with them. The DIC functionaries are finding it hard to adjust with the changed scenario. The Industries Department has started training courses for them so that they can act as facilitators instead of regulators, said Mr V.N. Mathur, Chief Coordinator, Udyog Sahyak in the Department of Industries.

He was talking to the mediapersons before the monthly review meeting of the progress of the schemes of the department run by the DICs. The meeting was held here yesterday. Mr D.S. Guru, Director, Industries, Punjab, presided over the meeting. All the general managers of the DICs from the 17 districts of Punjab participated in the meeting.

Mr Bakhshish Singh, Joint Director, Department of Industries, informed that under the Prime Minister Rozgar Yozna (PMRY), the department has already granted sanction to more than 9,000 cases, and 63 per cent of these youth have been provided loans by the banks under the scheme by the end of February. The young entrepreneurs are given loans of Rs 1 lakh under the scheme and training by the department.

Mr Mathur disclosed that the department was emphasising on the modernisation and technology upgradation of the industry in Punjab. A project has been initiated with the help of UNIDO. About 80 projects have been finalised for the modernisation purposes. The department was also sending a delegation of industrialists abroad to study the scope of modernisation of their units.

The speakers at the meeting also informed that under the margin money scheme 23,680 persons have been provided employment between the period 1998-2000 against the target of 18,000. More than 10,000 persons have got loans to start their small units against the target of 8,000 this year.

The officials asked the industrialists to come forward to set up common effluent treatment plants to deal with the problem of pollution. The Supreme Court has already ordered the closure of polluting industries in the National Capital of Delhi. The days are not far when the polluting industries in the state, especially the dyeing and electroplating units functioning in the residential areas, will have to be shifted. It is better for them that they shift to the Lodowal Industrial Complex that is being developed by the department in consultation with the industrial representatives.


Six textile units seek UNIDO consultancy services
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Six textile units in Ludhiana have decided to utilise the expertise of Prof J. Govardhan, a technology expert of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), to upgrade their units with the objective of making these units competitive in the international market.

While disclosing this, Mr Sanjeev Gupta, president, Apparel Exporters Association of Ludhiana (APPEAL) said Prof Govardhan would provide suggestions to cut costs and improve quality after making a detailed study of selected units. He was talking to mediapersons after the seminar on CAPTECH, technology upgradation project of UNIDO. The project had been jointly organised by APPEAL and UNIDO. Prof Govardhan would initially assist P.J. industries, Marjara, York, Modgil Hosiery, Sarjeevan and Jain Uday units.

While making a presentation, Prof Govardhan said, ‘‘The low financial capacity of the small units made them vulnerable in the market, as MNCs and big units were able to twist their arms. Garment manufacturers, would have to continuously upgrade technology, quality, delivery and marketing of their products to compete in the international market.’’

He said, ‘‘Indian companies have the capacity to compete successfully in the international market, provided they upgrade themselves. Indians have an edge over their Chinese counterparts as far the knowledge of English language is concerned. But they should develop competitive edge in the area of price, quality, delivery and marketing.’’

Prof Govardhan disclosed that UNIDO had developed CAPTECH tools, which have more than 150 indicators for studying the competitiveness of a industry and individual units. The evaluation of units would provide insights to the management about their strengths and weaknesses.

Administered through an internal audit, the evaluation would assess the basic operational infrastructure, product technology, process technology, skill and knowledge base, systems and practices, information support and logistics and optimisation.

Mr Govardhan would study the industrial units for the next three to four months and submit comprehensive reports for the units and the textile industry. Mr Sanjeev Gupta appealed to the industrialists to come forward and avail the services of UNIDO at a nominal cost.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |