Monday, April 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


3 hurt in clash over house; 5 arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
In a case of lawlessness, three persons, including a woman, were injured when more than 30 persons, armed with guns, swords and sticks, claiming to be close to a local Akali leader, allegedly attacked a house in Ghumar Mandi here this morning.

The injured have been hospitalised. Their condition is stated to be serious but stable.

Apart from beating the injured persons, the attackers smashed a number of cars and damaged the house and certain household items.

Till the evening the police had arrested five persons. Raids to arrest other unidentified attackers was on, the police said.

The shocking incident brought life to a halt in Ghumar Mandi. Quite a crowd had gathered but the attackers continued the rampage. The worst part was that a few of them stripped themselves naked before the victims and challenged them. The attackers openly boasted about the support and influence of a local Akali leader and said no one could ''touch them''.

According to an FIR registered at Division No. 5 police station here today, the families of Gurcharan Singh and Rajkumar had a dispute over a house in Krishna Nagar, Ghumar Mandi, where the incident took place.

Raj Kumar, owner of Raja Electricals, had purchased the house along with Gursharan Singh who owned 25 per cent area of the house. The two later developed some differences and a dispute over property rights ensued.

According to the police, a district court had given a stay order on the property dispute. However, in an alleged violation of the order, the attack took place this morning.

Persons injured said they were beaten up with sticks and hit with swords. The attackers locked them in a room and thrashed them. Even women were not spared. The injured, Ramesh, said the family was taken unawares. They were preparing the Ashtami rituals when suddenly their house was ransacked.

The injured alleged that the police reached quite late even though several neighbours and shopkeepers made frantic calls to it.

The police denied the allegation and said it reached in time and arrested five persons. Those arrested were Gurcharan Singh, his three sons, Daljit Singh, Jagmeet Singh and Manminder Singh, and their servant, Vicky.

The police said it had no pressure from anyone.


Dr Aulakh takes over as PAU VC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
Dr K.S. Aulakh took over as the eighth Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University here today.

Addressing a gathering of university faculty, staff and students, Dr Aulakh said that he would take it as a responsibility and not as a privilege. Dr Aulakh said that managing the affairs of the university was not a one-man show and he would seek the cooperation of all concerned to serve the farmers of the state in a better way. He said he did not believe in sycophancy but in constructive suggestions.

Speaking about the WTO which come into force from today, he said that it was a coincidence that he took over the charge on the day when the WTO had come into force. Dr Aulakh said that Punjab agriculture is at a critical juncture now, but he is confident that dedicated and concerted efforts of PAU scientists, favourable policies of the government and hard-working peasantry would boldly face the new challenges of the WTO and would bring about another revolution in agriculture.

The WTO is both an opportunity and a challenge. There are many safeguards in the WTO to protect the interests of the farmers which need to be implemented. The quarantine laws will have to be strictly enforced in international trade, even inter-state quarantine laws would be necessary to avoid any spread of malady, he felt.

Dr Aulakh further said that marketing intelligence will have to be strengthened to help the farmers in international trade.

PAU not to fill Pro-VC post, says Aulakh
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
Punjab Agricultural University has decided not to fill the controversial post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor till the Punjab and Haryana High Court decides on a petition challenging the post existence.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune here today, Dr K.S. Aulakh, who took over as the eight Vice-Chancellor of the premier agricultural university of the country here, categorically ruled out the filling of the post till the court decided on a writ petition filed by a retired PAU professor challenging the post.

The latest order has, meanwhile, ended hopes of several aspirants for the post. Of these four persons have been named in press reports earlier. The persons have been reported of lobbying for the post. The elevation of Dr Aulakh is being seen as a precedence. It was openly acknowledged that any person holding the Pro-vc's post would be the favourite to become the next Vice-Chancellor.

The order has ended all kind of speculation in the university that whether the post would be filled or not. While one group opposed to the post or for that matter to Dr Aulakh has been vehemently arguing that the post was never legal and thus should not be filled.

Interestingly, the university authorities have also come round to the idea that it would not be proper to fill the post at this juncture. It was agreed that it would become quite embarrassing for the university as well as for the incumbent if the High Court decides against the university in the case.

Prof Balwant Singh had filed a writ petition in the High Court arguing that the post created in November, 1999, was in violation of the university statutes. He had alleged that the former Vice-chancellor, Dr G.S. Kalkat, had got this post created to felicitate the progress of his relative, Dr Aulakh, who subsequently was elevated to the post of VC. The university statutes does not include such a post. No one else than Dr Aulakh was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor ever since the university came into being in 1962.

The university is also contesting the case strongly. The authorities have argued that the post was created with the approval of the board of management.


Rinwa seeks relief for farmers and traders
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
The BJP has urged the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to provide relief to the trade and industry and farmers of the state and to take necessary steps to solve the difficulties being faced by common people.

The Punjab state president of the party, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, along with other office-bearers and activists of front bodies, met Mr Badal in Chandigarh last evening to discuss the political and economic scenario. Giving details, Mr Anil Sareen, secretary, BJP, Punjab, told that the party had laid stress on the need to review the hike in electricity tariff. It was pointed out that the trade and industry sector in the state was passing through a critical time and relief in electricity charges would provide a much needed breather to the people.

The BJP asked the Chief Minister to nominate public representatives in the dispute settlement committees of the Punjab State Electricity Board and to waive the condition of ‘no objection certificate’ (NOC) from Pollution Control Board and Municipal Corporation for the extension of existing load.

According to Mr Sareen, the BJP stressed that the deemed assessment scheme of sales tax had provided tremendous relief to the members of trade and industry and it should be extended up to the assessment year 1999-2000. Further, the condition of H-Form should also be waived. The delegation apprised the Chief Minister of the difficulties being faced by the yarn industry, which called for slashing the rate of sales tax on yarn and abolition of C-Form.

Focusing on the problems being faced by farmers, Mr Rinwa sought a comprehensive food policy to be formulated at the earliest so that the farmers were assured of remunerative price for their produce and effective measures could be taken to check the distress sale of farm produce. The party further wanted that the debts of farmers be written off, particularly in those cases, where the farmers had paid interest equal to the principal amount of loan. It also pleaded for giving new tubewell connections free of cost.

Other issues raised during the meeting by the BJP chief included setting up of Dr Ambedkar Chair, Sri Guru Ravi Das Chair and Sant Kabir Chair at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, hike in the stipend being paid to students of weaker sections, regularisation of overloading in public carrier vehicles.

The deputation comprised, besides Mr Rinwa and Mr Sarin, Gurcharan Kaur, Dr B.C. Kapila, vice-presidents, Mr Sukhwant Singh Dhanaula, Mr Avinash Jaiswal, general secretary, Mr Vinod Sharma, Mr Lakshman Das Sewak, Mr Manjit Singh Rai, Mr Sohan Lal, Cashier, Mr Harjeet Singh, vice president, All-India Kisan Morcha, Mr Anup Singh, Mr Vijay Sampla, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Grewal, President, Yuva Morcha and Ms Trishna Minhas, president, Mahila Morcha.


Second innings of punters: no one out
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
Between Dasehra and Divali past year, the city police had arrested several persons for gambling. The bets were from a few thousand rupees to several lakh rupees. However, now, crores of rupees are changing hands here in betting on India-Australia cricket matches and no offender has been arrested so far.

Recent media reports have mentioned the places where such betting is going on and have given clues to who is organising it, but the police has not done anything about it.

Sources said the police had conducted some fruitless raids in the past two days. It must be frustrating for the police to read the names of gamblers and their dens in the next day’s newspapers after unsuccessful raids.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldip Singh, said it was not that the police was not doing anything. He said, “A number of raids have been conducted, but unfortunately, success has eluded us. It is easy to arrest those who gamble at public places, but not those who do it in closed rooms. We need search warrants and, by the time we obtain these, the gamblers are gone. Tapping someone’s telephone is not as easy as one thinks. The police will soon get hold of these gamblers.”

The incidence of betting assumed serious proportions after the match-fixing scandal. It is now certain that the need to fix matches arises from large-scale betting. Due to this, curbing of this practice at a local level becomes even more essential.

Betting has resurfaced in the city after a few years. Two offenders who belong to Jammu and Bathinda, respectively, and are known by these nicknames, have reportedly returned to the city to re-establish the business.

As far as betting dens are concerned, thanks to modern means of communication, these have now become mobile. Still, certain places like Car Bazaar, Ferozepore Road, Basti Jodhewal and Focal Point are favourite dens of bookies.


Don’t mind the prank, it’s April 1
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 1
On April 1, people become skeptical as they fear someone might play a prank on them. However, due to busy lifestyles, they often fall into traps.

College boys have devised their own way of having fun at the expense of others. They get some new notes of Rs 5 or Rs 2 denominations, after which, they get some paper of the size of the notes cut from a press. These blank papers are bundled together with the real notes on top and left or a road. Invariably, someone picks up the wad and feels happy at his good fortune.

Soon, the boys, who have been trailing the person, approach him and ask him to return their wad of notes. The man sheepishly brings out the wad from his pocket, after which, the boys rip it open to reveal the blank papers and accuse the man of cheating them.

They demand Rs 200 from him and even his pleas to convince them are of no use. Overpowered, the victim of the prank reluctantly takes out Rs 200 to give it to them. The boys, after receiving the money, return it and shout, “April Fool.” The man feels joy, relief and a bit of humiliation.

Girls on the other hand like to play pranks by making crank calls like, “Hello, is it this number? Is your telephone working? Yes — then, why don’t you take a brick and smash it.” It seldom fails to shock the person at the other end. Girls also ask you questions like if your refrigerator was running. When you reply that is running fine, they advise you to stop it from running out of the house. Children like to play silly pranks. They ring the call-bells of houses and hide behind bushes or walls to see the reaction of angry householders. Sometimes, they ring the bell after every five minutes, much to the harassment of house owners, but for children, it is a source of joy.

Many persons fill nicely wrapped sweet boxes with stones and mud and present these to their friends. People are shocked to see the contents of the box, while their friends pat themselves for playing this prank. Harmless pranks are fine, but some persons play rather cruel pranks on others. They call up someone and tell him or her that a relative has met with an accident and the family should reach the hospital immediately. Imagine the shock of the family at hearing this horrible news. They are relieved to find that the relative is fine, but no one can compensate them for the moments of agony that they have spent.

“Those who play pranks should not hurt the sentiments of the others. The mischief should be harmless and it should generate fun and not sadness,” says Ms Priya, a teacher in a local school.


Duplicate telephone bills double postmen’s burden
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, April 1
The callous and irresponsible attitude of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited has doubled the burden on the postmen, besides, harassing customers. The BSNL has issued duplicate bills to the same customers for the same period. The postmen have lodged a protest since it has doubled their work.

A group of postmen told Ludhiana Tribune that when they went to deliver the telephone bills they were told by the customers that they had already received the bill for the same period. When it was verified it was found that the BSNL had issued thousands of such bills in duplicate.

Not only this, the BSNL officials have also issued hundreds of blank bills. The bills only mention the name, address and telephone number of the customer and no details of call or amount to be paid. This has put the consumers in predicament as by the time they would be able to find the amount of the bill, the due date would be over.

Mr Roshan Lal, president, Postmen Union, Ludhiana, said some of the bills issued by the BSNL just mentioned the amount to be deposited and missed the subscriber’s name, address and telephone numbers. He said, earlier also they used to get such bills which were rare. “This time such bills came in bulk. We are being unnecessarily harassed by the BSNLs callous attitude”, said Mr Roshan Lal.

Ms Anita Kumari, a Sham Nagar resident, said she received the bill for the same month twice.

Surprisingly the BSNL General Manager, Mr V. S. Sirvastava, said no action can be taken in this regard as this is an inadvertant error.


Miss World Punjaban contest in Canada
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
“If a language is lost, some thing is lost. But if culture is lost, everything is lost”, this is what Mr Kumar Sharma, a TV producer from Canada has to say about the reasons for his switching over to full time production of Punjab TV programmes.

Mr Sharma says “We have to protect our very valuable heritage not only in India but in the foreign countries, too, where the Indians have settled in large numbers”, he told Ludhiana Tribune here on Saturday.

According to him, after seeing the video tapes of the selection of Miss Punjaban this year, he was impressed as selection of Ms Punjaban was done in a very different manner. The Sabhyacharak Sath, had organised the contest in a very unique manner. “I was impressed as the girls were dressed in typically Punjabi outfits and wore traditional jewellery. When I aired that programme in Canada, it was widely appreciated. So Sabhyacharak Sath and my TV production Aap ke Liye are organising Miss World Punjaban. We will take some participants from India, England and mainly from North America,” he said.

The Sabhyacharak Sath honoured Mr Sharma for his contribution to the growth of Punjabi culture at a simple function at Basant Resorts on Friday. Mr Jagjit Singh, the general secretary of the association , lauded his efforts for promoting Punjabi culture through his TV programmes and magazine. He was presented momentos by Bhagwant Singh Pandher, the chief patron of the society and Jasmer Singh Dhatt, Chairman, Sabhyacharak Sath.

Mr Sharma started as a science teacher at a school here and switched over to a bank job and then migrated to Canada. He paid for time on a multi-cultural Canadian channel and started airing the Mahabharat and India This Week much to the delight of culturally alienated Indians .

In 1995 he started Hum, an English magazine. The magazine of good circulation is popular among South Asian communities of Alberta. Mr Sharma promoted shows of all known Punjabi singers from Daler Mehndi to Kuldip Manak.

He promoted Madhuri Dixit’s show and after that Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, started performing in Calgary. He hosts a programme with a Pakistani, Rizwan Khan, where they show all the educational programmes. All the festivals and the performances of other important achievers are aired on Access Television. Now, most of the children have started speaking Punjabi and watch the programmes. He says, “People are more Westernised in Ludhiana, I find wider gap between parents and children here as compared to Canada. The reason could be that parents have remained traditional whereas the children have become westernised.”

He felt that in Ludhiana, people like to flaunt their wealth whereas in Canada, people take things in their stride. “I wish we could start a united cultural association with India and could exchange the cultural programmes and literary works which will be beneficial to NRIs as well as people here.” Any takers.


INTUC to stage protest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
The Punjab president of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Dr Balwant Rai Kapoor, and other members appealed to all the national-level trade unions to stage a protest on April 16, 2001, to show resentment against the Central Government for presenting 'anti-people, anti-labour and pro-capitalist budget.'

Dr Shiv K. Gupta, vice-president, condemned the Union Finance Minister for amendment in the Industrial Disputes Act Chapter 5-B and the Contractor Labour (Regulations and Abolition) Act, 1970 at the dictates of the businessmen's associations. The ID Act stipulated seeking prior permission from the government before closure or lay-off of any establishment employing more than 100 employees.

Now the BJP government intends to give blanket powers to factory owners, employing less than 1000 workers, that they can close or layoff factories without permission of the government. Despite the landmark judgement of the Supreme Court in Air India Case not to engage contract labour for any perennial nature of job, the BJP government wants to allow freedom to employ contractual labour which may allow exploitation of labour and further lead to unemployment. The budget also proposed to constitute National Company Law Tribunal in place of the BIFR for sick industrial units, which is detrimental to the interests of the workers, as they do not get wages for many months and other terminal benefits in case of sick units referred to the BIFR. The INTUC also condemned the Central Government for reduction of interest rates on small savings, national savings, national saving Certificates, employees provident fund, public provident fund etc from 12 per cent to 9.5 per cent.


Pensioners’ memo to PM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
The Government Pensioners Association, Ludhiana, has submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha urging them to review the Budget proposals regarding reduction of interest rates on provident fund and other small saving schemes, deduction in interest income on bank savings and slashing of the limit for tax deduction at source on the interest income from bank savings.

Mr R.N. Sehgal, President of the association, said: "The proposed reduction of interest rate on small savings schemes and provident fund by 1.5 per cent per annum will be a blow to the retired persons.

We are mainly dependent on interest income from the meagre risk free deposits. This will tend to force us to look at other risk form investments possibilities."

There is no justification in reducing the interest rates on small savings without lowering inflation, he added.


Man arrested with contraband
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
The Division No 4 police of the city yesterday arrested Garish Kumar, son of Mr Harbans Lal, resident of Bapri village in Una district of Himachal Pradesh, and seized 300 gm of opium from his possession.

Sub-Inspector Bhupinder Singh was heading a naka party in Chhowni Mohalla when he spotted the man entering the locality with the contraband in his pocket. On suspicion, he was subjected to a thorough search which led to the recovery of the contraband. The man had come from Himachal Pradesh to sell the opium to someone in Chhowni Mohalla. He has been booked under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

Liquor seized
The Ladowal police yesterday arrested Bhupinder Singh, son of Mr Ram Lubhaya, a resident of Talwandi Kalan, and Satpal Singh, son of Mr Harbhajan Singh, a resident of Ratpalon village, near Phillaur, and seized from them 12 bottles of rum each. Both the accused have been booked under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

Car stolen
An unidentified person had reportedly stolen a car (PB-10-AD-4939) of Mr Lal Jain, a resident of Daresi. According to the complaint, Mr Jain had parked his Maruti Esteem car in front of shop No 118 in the market on March 28 evening. A case has been registered.


MC plot sold illegally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
The Jodhewal basti police has booked a person for cheating a man by selling him a plot actually owned by the Municipal Corporation.

According to a case registered under Section 120, IPC, Jyoti Parkash, a resident of Basant Nagar, had complained that Harpal Singh of the same colony had sold him a plot near Budha Nullah whereas it belonged to the Municipal Corporation.

No arrest has been made so far.


Accountant dupes firm
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
An accountant of a private company has duped it of Rs 16 lakh by preparing false account-sheets and forged cheques. This amount is likely to much more than this, as the police is still studying the documents.

According to an inquiry conducted by the Economic Offences Wing of the police, the accused, Vishal Sharma, was as accountant for the past four years in Indtech Apparels Private Limited and used to deal with the bank on behalf of the company.

Vishal allegedly made fake account statements for the office. He withdrew Rs 16 lakh from the account of the company in the Bharat Nagar branch of the State Bank of Patiala by forging some signatures.


‘Local manufacturers will have to improve quality now’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
Happy Consumers Day, from today i.e., April 1, the day belongs to the consumers. Not playing a April Fool ‘s day joke. The consumer will be able to buy almost all ‘phoren goodies’ at his neighbourhood kiryana store or at special outlets that would be selling their favourite brand of lingerie, chocolates, swim wear, cigarettes, wines, baby foods, milk, cheese, etc. It is all legal, thanks to the lifting of entry barriers to foreign labels, freeing imports of 715 items. The Commerce Minister, Mr Murasoli Maran, has freed imports completely.

Imported goods like TV, milk and milk products will be cheaper than Indian products and will give the manufacturers run for their money.

Kritika Mehra, a student of Leeds University, London, on a holiday, says, “I like the policy as it will make the Indian manufacturers to improve their products to compete with the foreign ones. They will take measures to overcome their shortcomings and make them more economical to be viable with foreign products. I hope these companies will not ruin our economy”.

Mr Inderpal Singh, a whole-seller of grocery items, was not bothered about the imported goods coming to the market. He said, “The goods are not going to make much difference in Punjab. From my past experience, I know that the imported goods would be taxed heavily and hence the consumer will not be tempted to buy these.”

The secretary of the Chaura Bazar Shopkeepers Association, Mr Sanjeev Kumar, was very pessimistic about the future of Indian goods. He said, “From last fortnight, we have had practically no business. Most of the customers are waiting for the foreign goods to arrive so that they have a wider range of choice. We do not know how the things will turn out.”

Subhash, another dealer of toy shop in Gud Mandi, stated that the local manufacturers will now have to be very careful about quality control and will have to improve the goods in order to compete with the imported goods. Though the packing has improved, the quality needs much improvement.

Mrs Bubble , a housewife, was quite excited at the import of goods. She said, “Surely, we the consumers, will benefit. I feel bad for small-scale industries, for they will not be able to withstand the competition and may be wiped out. But the consumer will get better goods. At least for our children we will be able to buy good lead pencils and school bags. Toys of better quality can be had. The range of products that will be available to us is mind boggling and definitely we are excited about it.”

Mrs Chanchal, another housewife, said, “If India has to compete with other countries and become the world power then it has to improve the quality of the products. As we can now import machines, why cannot we make excellent products which can compete favourably with the foreign ones.”

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 |