Saturday, March 31, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rain discolours farmers’ hopes
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Lalton (Ludhiana), March 30
Two days of rains and strong winds have caused about 20 per cent damage to standing wheat crop in several villages of this district. Farmers and experts are worried that another spell of similar rains accompanied by winds or hailstorms can spell doom for them.

Echoing the worries of the farmers, Mr Gurmeet Singh Bassi, a farmer of Lalton village, near here, said that while a substantial portion of his crop was completely damaged, he was actually worried about the condition of the remaining one. “The quality of the standing crop will be affected seriously as the moisture content in the grains will grow. Moreover, the chances of discoloration of the grains meant problems in selling off the produce.”

A survey of a number of villages in this district by Ludhiana Tribune here today has revealed that there has been all-around damage to the wheat crop which was nearing maturity at several places. Most of the damage has been suffered by those farmers who had irrigated the crop during last two or three days. In these watered fields the winds and hailstorms had resulted in lodging of wheat (flattening on ground).

The survey also revealed that panic prevailed among the farmers of these villages who said that they would be ruined if the weather gods did not have mercy on them. “We had a sleepless night yesterday. We were all praying for the safety of our crops. We have been suffering time and again due to the policies of the government but this time we were happy that at least this produce will not let us down,’’ rued Mr Harvinder Singh of Lalton village.

Not only wheat but damage to other crops has also been reported. Those farmers who were in the process of harvesting mustard crop said that they had left the crop in the fields only and were all set to transport it. But the unpredicted rains played a spoilsport and their seeds would be rendered useless now.

The damage of wheat crop has been found in villages, including Mansooran, Sajada, Jartoli, Kila Raipur and Ghangrana. Kila Raipur and Ghungrana villages experienced hailstones also although the damage was not much there owing to the comparatively smaller size of the hailstones.

Reports of damage have been received from Sherpur village near Jagraon. Mr Harminder Singh, a farmer from that village who was visiting Lalton Kalan, said that in his village many farmers suffered a lot of damage. He said that a farmer who had cultivated wheat in 10 acres of his land had suffered the lodging of the entire crop.


Confrontation led to postponement
Auction of liquor vends
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 30
Senior officials of the Excise and Taxation Department are blaming the local administration, including the police, for ‘non-cooperation, in the preparations for the auction of liquor vends here on March 26. “In fact, some senior officers in the administration appeared to do bidding for others”, a top official of the department revealed, justifying the shifting of the venue to Patiala, where it was scheduled to be held tomorrow.

The confrontation between the Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon, and the Minister for Technical Education, one of whose brothers, Mr Mann Singh Garcha, was a leading liquor contractor, had led to the postponement of the auction. As the confrontation between the two ministers reached a flashpoint, the department decided to refer it to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, This was stated before Mr Justice G S Singhvi and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, by the Deputy Advocate-General of Punjab yesterday during the hearing of a writ petition filed by some liquor contractors.

The excise official said, the matter was later brought to the notice of the Chief Minister, who endorsed the decision to shift the venue to Patiala. The official claimed that a minister had wanted his chair to be placed on the dais with other officers of the department so that he could supervise the auction. This, created suspicion, forcing the department to postpone the auction. Both the minister and the local administration denied any such directive from the minister.

The said official alleged that the people in the local administration were made to do bidding by those who enjoyed considerable clout. He said, this happened not only at the time of the auction, but the entire year, when illegal liquor trade and smuggling was going on. The police was not allowed to act and if it did, the police officials were reprimanded.

Mr Kairon was maintaining a tactful silence during the entire episode. He refused to be drawn into any controversy over the postponement of the auction and the shifting of the venue.

Officials in the local administration said, they had made arrangements for smooth conduct of the auction. The officials denied that any minister had asked anyone in the district administration to put a chair for him on the dais. This was not their job, a senior official added.


3 school employees allege police torture
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jagraon (Ludhiana), March 30
Close on the heels of the alleged custodial death in Khanna, another case of police torture has come to light in a village near this town. Three employees of a school in Sidhwan Khurd were allegedly tortured and illegally detained by the Chowki Maan police. They were charged with stealing three computers and four USPs from the school.

The condition of one of the victims, who had undergone hernia operation few days back, was serious while the other two were facing difficulty in walking. The role of the school authorities, who allegedly did not defend their employees serving them for years and later even tried to do a cover-up operation, is also under cloud.

While the SSP, Jagraon, was not available, the SP (D), Mr Raghbir Singh Sandhu, admitted that the police had picked up about four persons from the school, but denied they were tortured. He said , “They were questioned, but were not tortured as alleged”. He added that the police had not found any clue of theft in the school.

The traumatised victims were so terror-stricken that they were not willing to approach the senior police officials to demand action against the guilty cops. They have instead decided to knock the doors of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, the three victims, Mr Rajinder Singh Jindi, Mr Ganga Ram and Mr Mukhminder Singh, sweeper, watchman and computer instructor, respectively, of the school, told their tale of woes. Jindi and Ganaga Ram have been serving the school for the past 20 years, while the instructor has been employed with the school for the past nine years.

According to them their ordeal began on March 21. On the intervening night of March 20-21, three computers and 4 USPs were stolen. In the morning the sweeper saw that the doors of the computer room were lying open. He reported about it to Ganga Ram, the watchman.

The school Principal, Ms Satinderjit Kaur, reported the matter to the police at which a police party led by the Sub-Inspector, Mr Shevinder Singh Dhillon, came and picked up four persons. Apart from the three victims, the fourth was the head watchman Mr Baljit Singh.

While Mr Baljit Singh was released early, the three persons were allegedly tortured by the police. The victims said they were treated like hardened criminals even though they had no criminal record to their name. “We were stripped and beaten up mercilessly. The police officials wanted us to admit that we had committed the crime,” recalled Jindi with tears in his eyes. They said they were subjected to third-degree torture.

Later, the three were hospitalised. Jindi who had recently undergone a hernia operation began bleeding profusely while urinating. The other two received serious injuries on their legs and toes.

The three persons were picked up during the school hours and were released the next day. The police, interestingly, registered an FIR of theft only on March 24.

However, according to the victims, the school authorities did not allow them to meet outsiders especially media persons for few days. But some how a few reporters succeeded in meeting them. They interviewed the victims in the principal’s office. The victim narrated their tale of woes in the presence of the Principal.

Interestingly, while the Principal told reporters she did not suspect their role in the theft, Capt Darbar Singh, president of the school management board, said a theft had taken place and no one should interfere in the police investigation.


Death due to police torture, says rights body
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 30
The death case of Nahar Singh of Gazipur village, who died in police custody on March 27, took a new turn when a team of a human rights organisation, named National Human Rights Watch, claimed that it was a case of police torture. It also alleged that the deceased was beaten up before his arrest by two police officers posted at the Sadar police station, Khanna.

A four-member team of the organisation visited Khanna and Gazipur village to investigate into the case. The team including Mr Anil Kaushik, patron-in-chief of the organisation, Prof Gurmeet Singh, general secretary, Mr Jasbir Singh, finance secretary, Mr Anil Kumar, joint secretary, said that they met relatives of the deceased and other residents of the village.

They said that from the statements, of these people they came to know that Nahar Singh was beaten up by two policemen of Chakohi village before his arrest by the Sadar police. They also alleged that these two policemen were posted in the same police station.

The team members said that a nambardar of the village, Mr Jagtar Singh, had told them that when he reached the Sadar police station, he was told that a case has been registered against Nahar Singh and he would be produced in the court. Later, the police produced him in the court and got his remand.

Next day when he met Nahar Singh, he told him that he was beaten up and he was not able to eat anything. He requested him to take away his father as he was feared that police would also arrest him.

The team said that the inquiry further revealed that the father of the deceased, who is 85-year-old, was a regular consumer of poppy husk, but was not involved in its trade.

His wife also alleged that her husband’s death was due to police torture. Other relatives also made the same allegations. The team members said that the deceased’s wife, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, suspected hand of village sarpanch in registration of a ‘false case’ against her husband.

The SSP, Khanna, expressed ignorance about the incident. Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr S.S. Gill, has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

Mr Anil Kaushik, patron-in-chief of the organisation, that the organisation would approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court for seeking directions for the holding of a CBI inquiry into the case.


Improvement trust budget passed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 30
The Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) has approved its annual budget of Rs 36.50 crore for the next financial year. With the expected expenditure standing at Rs 37.36 crore, the budget will have a deficit of Rs 0.86 crore, provided the income targets were realised fully. The actual deficit for the next year will, however, depend upon the budgetary performance of the trust.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, the LIT Chairman, Mr M.M. Vyas, said that even though the projected income from sale of properties, a major source of income, remains at (Rs 30 crore) as the previous year, the LIT, would in all probability, do much better during the coming year. In the year 2000 -2001, the Trust had collected Rs 22.65 crore (75.51 per cent) under this head.

Among other sources of revenue, the LIT has proposes to collect Rs 2 crore from fee, another Rs 2 crore from fines and penalties, Rs One Crore from recovery of loans and Rs 50 lakh from interest on investment.

During the next financial year, the Trust proposes to spend Rs 20.60 crore on development works under various schemes, Rs 12.50 crore on cost of land, Rs 15 lakh on computerisation, Rs 35 lakh on maintenance of open spaces and Rs 27.50 lakh towards repayment of government loans.

Giving details of the performance during the current year, Mr Vyas further informed that total receipts till March 30 were Rs 26.65 crore (73 per cent) as against the budget estimate of Rs 36.10 crore, which was later revised to Rs 28.13 crore. The LIT had collected Rs 1.60 crore from the fee, Rs 1.66 crore from fines and penalties, Rs 13.65 lakh from recovery of loans, Rs 19.05 lakh from interest on investment and Rs 39.65 lakh under suspense account, including earnest money deposited by contractors.

He said the focus, during the year 2001 - 2002, will be on putting up a better performance as far as sale of trust properties was concerned. “While general recession in the investment market did affect the sales, we also lost sight of the actual demand in the market, to some extent. The properties to be offered to public in future will be tailor made and conform to the actual demand of the buyers”, he said.

Mr Vyas claimed that certain administrative reasons had also hampered the receipts from sale of properties as the auctions could not be held for quite some time during the current financial year. “Even though the overall performance in meeting the budget targets was not very satisfactory, we can rightly take credit for putting the routine working of the LIT back on track”, he said.


Student held for beating up teacher
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 30
The district police has registered a case against two students of Government Senior Secondary School, Balhari Kalan, and arrested one of them for beating up a teacher of the school.

According to Mr I.S. Randhawa, SP(H), Jagjit Singh was not allowed to copy by the supervisor, in a matriculation examination. After the completion of exams, the student, along with his friend, attacked the teacher in the school. They beat him and took away his turban. The staff complained to the police. The police arrested the main culprit while his friend was absconding.

Mr H.S. Bhullar, DEO(S), said no other untoward incident was reported in the district and the exams were going on smoothly in all the 77 centres. He said indiscipline would not be tolerated. He claimed that the drive to eradicate copying had been successfully implemented in the district. 


Pathological labs mushroom
Our Correspondent

March 30
Mushrooming of pathology laboratories has not really improved the quality of medical tests, as many cases of wrong diagnosis have come to light. Though, many a diagnosis may not be harmful, but some like in the case of Shanti could prove fatal.

Shanti was directed by a physician to take a renal function test. The test, conducted at a wellknown laboratory showed all values of the test within normal limits. Suspecting the result the doctor advised her to repeat the test at another laboratory. The second test confirmed that she was suffering from chronic renal failure.

A city resident, Ashok Kumar always thought his blood group was O negative. For the renewal of his driving licence, he was asked to get his blood group tested again. It turned out to be O positive. The third laboratory again showed it to be O negative. Frustrated Ashok Kumar got it tested from the DMC and finally found that it was O positive. Such cases are endless, with private labs giving wrong results. Areas like Shimla Puri and Subzi Mandi are full of many laboratories which conduct blood, urine and stool tests.

Every laboratory should have an MD in biochemistry , an MD in pathology and an MD in microbiology under one roof. But even the very good laboratories have only an MD pathology and biochemistry and microbiology tests are done by part-time technicians, who work in the hospitals or have left the jobs. Proper facilities for these tests exist only in the medical institutes like the DMC and the CMC. The pathologists do not conduct histo-pathology tests.

The simple hematology test which include HB, TLC, and DLC are very crucial for diagnosis of serious diseases like cancer and thalesemia. It is not possible for a pathologist to see more than 20 slides. But they see more than 40 slides. Pressure of work leads to error.

The vidal test for typhoid should be done by dilution method and it takes 24 hours. In some labs, the test is done by the slide method. Even when the patient is suffering from influenza, the slide shows strains of typhoid. The report is given within half an hour. The doctor going by the report starts strong antibiotics which may lead to renal failure or death.

Even blood culture is done under aseptic conditions.

Doctors are dragged to courts for wrong diagnosis, but the laboratories responsible for the wrong test results go scot free. Dr Gursharan Singh, president, Indian Medical Association, has urged the government to exercise control on the working of these laboratories.


Transport Nagar, Mata Rani areas to get phones

Ludhiana, March 30
Good news for the residents who are living in area marked “technically non-feasible by the telecommunications department. They can now look forward to the wireless local loop (WLL) facility which is going to be introduced by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Over 3000 new telephone connections, (fixed as well as mobile telephone sets) will be provided to the residents without laying of cables. “The residents living in TNF areas would be benefited by this facility”, said Mr V.S. Srivastava, General Manager, BSNL Ludhiana.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune here today, Mr Srivastava said initially the BSNL would instal 3000 new connections out of which 2000 connections would be installed in the Transport Nagar area as a base and 1000 connections will be provided near Mata Rani chowk. The new telephone connections would cover 20 sq km in the area.

The equipment providing the WLL facility is expected to reach here next month. Giving details of the facility, Mr Srivastava said out of 3000 connections, 2250 would be the wireline sets and 750 would be the mobile sets. The subscribers will have to pay the registration charges of Rs 500 for each case. In addition to this, subscribers applying for mobile sets will be paying Rs 500 (once) as activation charges and Rs 10,000 for the instrument (hand free set). The subscribers applying for wireline sets would be paying Rs 10,000 for the instrument which would be refundable.

There will be no free calls for the mobile subscribers. The rates of rent per month would vary between Rs 2000 to Rs 5000 depending on the subscribers demand for local calls, STD and ISD facility in mobile connection. The unit call charges would be Rs 1.20 per call. Mr Srivastava said there will be no restoration charges for the subscribers who have already registered their names in these areas.

When asked whether the BSNL business could be hit by the HFCL, Mr Srivastava stated with confidence, “we take it as a healthy competition.”


Will the bridge over Sutlej materialise?
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, March 30
A bridge across the Sutlej whose foundation stone is going to be laid down on April 8, at the nearby Ghumana village, by the Chief Minister, Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was also built for a while in 1974.

In 1974, the then Chief Minister, Giani Zail Singh, had inaugurated the above said bridge. After inauguration, Gianiji moved towards Machhiwara where he had to address a public rally. After half-an-hour the news was brought to him that tremendous flow of running water had washed away the bridge, which was built by combining boats, Gianiji completed his speech briefly and went away. After that time the bridge had not been constructed. Even the late Mr Dilbagh Singh, (a known honest and prominent minister of the Beant Singh government) could not make this dream come true.

In 1997, before the formation of the SAD-BJP alliance, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal’s (then candidate of the said alliance and presently Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha) efforts again convinced Mr Prakash Singh Badal to construct this bridge. But people were taking this as a rumour till a firm, V.K. Sood and Company, set up its camp again. A ray of hope was created in the people’s minds.

This proposed bridge will make new ways of development between Malwa and Doaba region. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Hari Pal, Xen of PWD (B and R), said that perimeters of this bridge would be 740 m lengthwise and 7 meter breadthwise and 15 spans. Five other small bridges will cost more than Rs 31 crore.

After the completion of the bridge, Nawanshahar, Hoshiarpur, Pathankot, Amritsar and Jammu routes will be through Samrala-Machhiwara because of shortest distance, which would lead to 80 per cent decrease in traffic in Ludhiana city. According to Mr Kashmira Singh, president of the Ghumana Milk Producers cooperative society and Mr Amar Singh, the President of Ghumana Agriculture Cooperative Service Society, the construction of bridge would help the people of this area to touch new dimensions of progress.


SBI employees’ strike on April 4
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 30
The banking operations in the country may come to a halt if the negotiations between the State Bank of India’s employee unions and the management fail, currently going on in Mumbai.

According to Mr Vijay Kalia, zonal general secretary, Punjab, All-India State Bank Officers’ Federation, about 10,000 branches of the State Bank of India in the country, including 30 branches in the city, will remain closed on April 4 if the management does not accept the demands of the employees.

The unions are demanding compensation for the increased workload that has resulted from the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) opted for by about 16,000 clerical persons and more than 5,000 officers of the bank.

Mr Kalia disclosed that in the next few months, a large number of employees were going to retire.The bank was diversifying into other areas and the management should compensate the employees for the increase in workload. The unions are also demanding restoration of petrol allowance, compassionate appointments, and reduction in interest rates for the staff.

The unions have also demanded restructuring of industrial relations machinery and introduction of a fair and equitable career path in the background of the changes in the banking sector. He said from the Ludhiana zone, comprising nine districts, more than 100 officers have opted for VRS. They are demanding compensation and review of welfare measures.

All the bank branches will be closed on April 2. They will open on Tuesday after 2 days. The banking services in other banks will be also hit though they may remain open on April 4 but the clearing house will not open. The industrialists fear that their businesses will be hit badly due to the strike as they will not be able to encash cheques.


Postman to collect phone bills
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 30
The postman will now not just deliver the telephone bill at your doorstep, but also collect the payment and give the receipt in a day or two.

The receipt would be issued on the Chandigarh pattern.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr M.K. Khan, Senior Superintendent Post Office, Ludhiana, said under this scheme, the Branch Post Master (BPM)/Extra Departmental Delivery Agent (EDDA) will get the incentive at the rate of Re 1 per bill deposited in branch office.

Mr Khan said that BPM and EDDA will collect the telephone bills and send all the bills along with the payment to the accounts office where regular receipt on the counter foil of bills would be issued and sent to the Branch Post Master.

Giving details, the SSPO said that the BPM will keep the record of telephone bills receipts, sent to the accounts officer, received back and delivered to the customer.

The official said that service charges for collection of bills from the residence of customer will be Rs 10 and in case the customer deposits the same in in the branch office the charges would be Rs 5 per bill.


Fire-prevention rules being ignored

Ludhiana, March 30
The citizens of this mega city seem indifferent to the safety of their property and lives from fire. After the Dabwali fire tragedy, the then District Magistrate had made certain rules to avoid such tragedies here. But very few people are following those rules.

The high-rise buildings, factories, LPG godowns and congested old markets of the city have been identified as fire-prone areas. The design of every high-rise building is required to be approved by the Fire Department before construction since some fire-fighting equipment cannot be installed after construction. But nobody cares to follow this stipulation.

Everybody blames the Fire Department in the event of a fire, but nobody wants to spend a little on fire-prevention devices. Factories located in residential areas add to the risk. Despite strict instructions to the gas agencies to have their godowns away from the populated areas, some of these are still located in residential areas.

A fire officer, when asked why factories, hotels, restaurants, offices and other places were not checked to ensure fire safety, replied: “Politicians are found in every street. If we check a commercial premises, the owners use their influence to harass us.”

A fire officer said that safety norms demand that every factory should have two exits so that in the event of a fire people inside can find their way out. There should be enough sand, water and fire extinguishers on the premises, depending upon the size of the premises and the number of people working there. Workers in factory, marriage palaces, hotels, restaurants or government offices should be trained in the use of fire-fighting equipment.


Ex-sarpanch acquitted of embezzlement charge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 30
It is a typical case of a person being found guilty of embezzlement by a senior officer and managing to get away with the help of junior-rung officials.

According to a complaint filed by Mr Ranjit Ram, sarpanch of Rahimavad Kalan village in Machhiwara block, his predecessor allegedly embezzled some amount from the panchayat funds and also got away with the crime, although he had been found guilty in an inquiry conducted by the then Secretary, Rural Development, in 1997. He had allegedly embezzled about Rs 2.15 lakh. The inquiry had observed that the sarpanch had tampered with records.

During a hearing conducted by the then DDPO, Mr Bhajan Singh, the sarpanch was acquitted. The DDPO did not take the view of the Block Development Officer or the JE concerned. The complainants were not given a chance to be heard. The case was filed about two months back.

Mr Ranjit Ram and another former sarpanch of the village, Mr Subash Chander, approached the Deputy Commissioner, seeking the reopening of the case and recovery of the embezzled amount from Satpal. They had been maintaining that on the basis of the inquiry of the FCDR, action should have been initiated against Satpal.

The complainants alleged that the administration was taking the side of Satpal and they were told at the sangat darshan that Satpal has been found innocent despite the observations made by the Secretary, Rural Development. Mr Ranjit Ram said although three years had passed since he took over as sarpanch from Satpal, the stock registers had not been handed over to him.


Injured in road accident
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 30
Two persons were injured in an accident on GT Road in the morning today. They were hospitalised at Sidhu Hospital.

As reported, Ms Dhanwinder Prakash Kaur, wife of Prof J.S. Grewal, a resident of Doraha and a teacher at a school in Kaddon, was on her way to her school on her moped (PB-55-5592), when a motorcycle (PB-10-TEMP-X-5982) hit her as a result of which Mr Jatinder Pal Singh, the motorcyclist, and she got injured. They were thus admitted to Sidhu Hospital by the First Aid Post Team.”

One injured

Sahnewal: A scooterist broke his leg when he was hit by a Maruti car at Salempur village near Sahnewal yesterday.

Mr Harmesh Kumar, a resident of Kooka Market of Rahon (Machhiwara), on whose statement an FIR has been registered, was coming from Sahnewal to Machhiwara by his scooter (DEV-6817), when he was hit by a blue coloured Maruti car (PB-13-2604) as a result of which he fell off the scooter and his leg was broken. The accident occurred near Salempur village. A case has been registered under Section 279, 338 and 427 of the IPC. 


Sainik board for raise in allowances
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 30
The district Sainik Board has decided to recommend a raise in travel allowance of ex-servicemen and widows of ex-servicemen from the Rs 100 to Rs 200 and medical allowance to Rs 250 per month as was being given to the pensioners of the Punjab government.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, presided over the board meeting here today. It was also decided to urge the authorities to set up a new Army canteen at Jagraon, as a large number of ex-servicemen of this area had to cover a long distance to purchase the household goods and other items.

Wing Commander M.S Randhawa, Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare Board informed that during the year 2000-2001 the board had arranged to provide financial assistance from different army record offices to 163 ex-servicemen and widows, having poor financial condition and the Flag Day Fund amounting to Rs 3.41 lakh was collected during this year against Rs 2.57 lakh last year.

He said the board had also issued identity cards to 557 ex-servicemen and 416 widows of ex-servicemen and arranged jobs for 86 ex-servicemen.

Mr Sandhu also presented cheques of financial assistance to 12 ex-servicemen and widows.

Among others who attended the meeting include Col H.S. Toor and Mr A.S. Pawar, District Revenue Officer.


MC move a poll stunt?
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 30
The decision of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation to supply free water and provide free sewerage facility in the town for a year in view of its ensuing elections will have serious economic repercussions on the development of the town.

The general house of the Corporation unanimously took this decision while passing the annual budget for the year 2001-2002. The decision may adversely affect the development works of the corporation, particularly the augmentation of sewerage and drinking water facilities in the town.

The elections to the municipal corporations of the state are scheduled to be held in the month of May next year.

Enquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune show that financial institutions will be reluctant to advance funds for development works as there is a feeling that the municipal corporation will not be able to generate enough funds under water and sewerage head during the year.

Under this head, the corporation anticipates and income of Rs 30 crore for the year 2001-2002, against Rs 1 crore for the current year.

The severage project which the corporation has undertaken for the outer colonies may also be affected by this decision. These colonies are inhabited by the lower strata of the society and are dominated by migratory workers.

Even politically, the decision will create problems for the state government as the other three municipal corporations may also follow the example of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. This will create a sort of vicious circle where municipal corporations. This will try to beat each other in the matter of adopting populist measures. This will not be in the interest of the state as the state government is already facing a financial crunch and may find it difficult to meet the financial requirements of the municipal corporations and the municipal councils of the state. 


Akali Dal (A) honours party workers
Our Correspondent

Khamano, March 30
The Akali Dal (A), Khamano circle, has demanded more electricity for the poor, Dalits and farmers in the coming season. At a meeting held today under the chairmanship of Mr Mohinder Singh Meneli, circle president, it also decided to fight against the alleged atrocities being committed on the poor in villages and cities.

The throwing the meat in mosques by RSS and BJP workers was flayed at the meeting. The leaders asked workers to be ready for the coming elections. The poor supply of electricity in areas under Atewali grid was also criticised.

Mr Iman Singh Mann presented certificates of honour to Mr Jang Singh Panaichan, Mr Mohan Singh Kotala, Mr Kaka Singh, Mr Harnek Singh Badesh Kalan, Mr Balwinder Singh Sidhupur and Mr Lal Singh Barwali, party workers of the area, who had actively taken part in the programme held in the memory of birthday celebrations of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale at Fatehgarh Sahib.

The meeting was also addressed by Mr Sadhu Singh Peerjain, president of the district unit, Mr Swarn Singh Fatakmajri, general secretary, Mr Siknade Singh, Mr Ala Singh, Mr Krishan Singh Salana, Mr Ranjit Singh, Mr Ravinder Singh Salana and Mr Mohinder Singh Khalsa.


Under the shadow of alms
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 30
Dressed in typical head gear called Shivji’s mukut with a sheshnaag and strands of thread symbolic of Shiv jatas, Shiv jangans can be seen begging for alms. They also adorn their ears with Parvati Karanphool and sport a big brass round bindi called Parvati’s bindi. In their hands, they carry a bell which is symbolic of Nandi Bail. About 200 of these Shiv Jangans live in Shivpuri and Basant Nagar, Gali No. 8.

They have come from Haryana and keep touring the whole of India. They start their day at 4 am with Shiv aradhana and sit in prayers till 7 am. Although educated up to class VIII, they have learnt the entire Shiv aradhana by rote memory. Suresh Kumar and Lakshmi Narayan told this correspondent that they walk 20-25 km a day all over Ludhiana. They said, “We start at 8 am without tucking in any breakfast. We walk collecting alms and at the end of the day, we have collected about Rs 30-40. People generally give us 5 paisa or 10 paisa . Even our forefathers and fathers have been ardent Shiv bhakts and earning their livelihood by begging.”

They did not like what they were doing but they expressed their helplessness as they said they were not trained for any job. But surely, they would not like their children to follow their profession. They would rather like their children to find proper jobs.

Their guru Om Parkash, holds bhandaras on Shivratris (Sawan and Shivratri Phagun). On those two days, they are invited to perform Shiv pujas at the houses of the people and they earn extra money. But they do not indulge in drinking bhang. They said that they live very spartan lives as they are barely able to feed their families back home.


Rush for constable’s post
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 30
Heavy rush of aspirants for the post of constable in the Indian Reserve Battalion was witnessed today in the Mini Secretariat where the application forms were made available. With only 1000 forms to be sold in the district, as per the quota fixed by the government, the aspirants made a beeline to the counter on the first today. The exact number of the forms sold by the evening however, could not be known.


MC offices open today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 30
Tomorrow being the last working day of the current financial year, the Municipal Corporation offices will function to enable the residents to pay their dues and avail themselves of the facility of remission of interest on arrears, which is available only till March 31. According to an MC press release, all cash windows in the Main Office, Zonal Offices and other collecting points will accept payments from 9 am to 5 pm.


Minor fire
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 30
A minor fire broke out in President Hotel, Bhadaur House, in the afternoon here today. The fire broke out in a store where waste papers were kept. The cause of fire could not be ascertained. Timely arrival of fire tenders saved a major tragedy. 


Man booked for killing father
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 30
The division number five police has registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC against a youth, Vinod Kumar, for allegedly killing his father on Wednesday night.

The police registered the case on the complaint of Ms Sudambri, wife of Satia Singh, a migrant from Pauri Garhwal in Uttar Pradesh, now living in the ESI Complex near Bharat Nagar Chowk. She alleged that her son, living separately in the same house, entered their house at 12 midnight and beat up her husband, who fell from the first floor in the scuffle that followed. Satia Singh was rushed to the Civil Hospital, where he died the next morning. The police is on the look out for the accused.

Cop manhandled
The division number five police registered a case under Sections 353,506 and 186 of the IPC against Ashok Kumar, son of Mr Ram Rattan, resident of Mehmood Pura, for manhandling a cop on duty. Mr Kashmiri Lal, ASI, posted at Jodhewal police station, lodged a complaint that the accused tore up his uniform and threatened him. The police has not been able to arrest the accused so far.

Liquor seized
The division number six police arrested Surinder Singh, son of Mr Teja Singh, resident of Mohalla Manjit Nagar, and recovered 17 bottles of illicit liquor from his possession. The accused, arrested from the grain market near Arora Palace cinema, has been booked under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

Vehicles stolen
The Sarabha Nagar police registered a case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Hardeep Singh, son of Mr Chamkaur Singh, resident of Jawaddi Khurd, against an unknown person who stole his Zen car (PB-10-J-0355) from in front of a house in Sarabha Nagar.

The sadar police also registered a case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Rajesh Sachdeva, resident of Rani Bagh, Delhi, against an unknown person who stole his Maruti van (DL-8-CL-3297) from in front of a PCO near Bridh Ashram, Jodhewal Road, on March 28 at about 8.30 pm.

Arms recovered
The sadar police yesterday arrested Dugar Singh, son of Mr Amar Singh, resident of a village near Payal, and recovered from his possession one desi pistol of 315. bore and two live cartridges of the same bore. The accused has been booked under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.Back


LSE brokers boycott trading, allege harassment
Tribune news service

Ludhiana, March 30
The trading operations at the Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE) came to a halt as the stock brokers boycotted trading to register their protest against the what they termed as “harassment and high-handedness of the income tax officials” who had conducted raids at the LSE on Thursday.

A delegation of the brokers met Mr K.K. Kapila, Income Tax Commissioner, and demanded that the harassment of the brokers should be immediately stopped, otherwise they would be forced to launch an agitation against the department.

About eight teams of the IT Department comprising 5-6 officials had reached the LSE yesterday afternoon with about 200 policemen and conducted enquires from about 30 brokers. Mr K.K. Kapila, when contacted in this regard, declined to give any details of the survey operations, but he said,‘‘ There was no raid. Some officials had, however, gone to the LSE for a survey, which is part of the usual departmental operations”.

Another higher official of the department who did not wish to be named, said: ‘‘These brokers were not depositing their taxes properly while disclosing their income. We had raided on specific information. Secondly, the others have got a message that it would not be easy to conceal income’’.

The brokers, however, denied underpayment of income tax. A leading broker who was also questioned by the department officials, and is an important member of the LSE management said: “The market is already passing through a bad period. The restrictions of SEBI on the short-term trading has resulted in a decrease in average daily trading volume from Rs 100 crore to Rs 15 crore here. The investors are selling their shares and some of the brokers have become bankrupt.’’

‘‘The IT officials forced us to stay in for more than seven hours. No one was allowed to go out or come inside. We were asked to provide information of the trade for the past one year and that too within minutes. Is this the way to conduct survey?’’ asked another broker on the condition of anonymity.

They brokers warned the Income Tax Commissioner of an agitation against the harassment of brokers. ‘‘The department has failed to fulfill its targets of Rs 293 crore collection so they are forcing us to pay hefty taxes or face harassment. In case they had information of tax evasion against any member broker they could have questioned him. We would have cooperated with them voluntarily,’’ said another office bearer of the LSE.

Mr Kapila, however, denied all the allegations of harassment. He said: “Whenever we question anybody, he will allege harassment. But we can not be pressurised by an individual or organisation to stop our duty”. Back


Kheel ke ladoo dearer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 30
The nine days of Navratras have a lot of religious significance for a large number of people. Every year, the number of people fasting during these days is on the rise. Maybe people are getting more religious or want a change of diet, or want to lose weight. But, anyway, it means big business for many people.

The prices of vegetables have shot up. People fasting and their families turn total vegetarians. The lowly potatoes that were selling for Rs 2 last week are selling for Rs 5 as it is the staple vegetable for the fasting people. Similarly, other root vegetables like arbi is selling for Rs 20. In fact, all other vegetables like cauliflower, radish, cucumbers, have registered 100 per cent increase in their prices. Surprisingly, the prices of fruit have not gone up, probably because they were already quite expensive.

Kheel ke ladoo and chikki is also a hot shot favourite and the prices have risen by 30 per cent. One can see them on the carts in the entire city. The special attas of swang, dhadu and singhara are selling for Rs 24. The volume of sales of swang rice atta has shown a considerable upward trend.

During Navratras, people worship Mata Durga. Hence, a lot of small red dupattas are offered in the temples daily, and on ashtmi (8th day of Navratras), the sales of dupattas goes up as these are given as gifts to young girls. The shopkeepers selling these were seen busy selling dupattas to a large number of customers. In short, the traders profit a lot and Navratras bring a boom to business of many.

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