Thursday, April 12, 2001, Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Residents pay for MC bungling in billing
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 11
The Municipal Corporation administration continues to draw flak from the residents for its apathetic and indifferent attitude towards the genuine grievances of the public. Following the report on late delivery of water and sewerage bills and inclusion of old arrears in the current bills, even after these had been paid, there have been complaints from several city localities that residents had been slapped with sewerage bills, when no sewerage facility has been provided by the MC in these areas.

One of the victims of the MC high handedness, Ms Santosh Kumari, widow of an ex-serviceman and mother of six daughters, is a frustrated and dejected woman. A resident of Naveen Nagar on Jassian Road in Haibowal locality, she was astonished to receive a water rate bill, in which sewerage charges were also added, despite the fact that no sewerage has been provided in the locality.

Black flags and banners put up by the ‘Sangharsh Samiti of Chaura Bazar and GT Road traders against the elevated road project in Ludhiana.
Black flags and banners put up by the ‘Sangharsh Samiti of Chaura Bazar and GT Road traders against the elevated road project in Ludhiana. 
 — Photo Rajesh Bhambi

After her repeated visits to the MC office to get the bill corrected proved futile, she raised some money from her neighbours and relatives and paid the amount of Rs 456.75, which included arrears of sewerage charges as well for the previous three months. To her horror, she received yet another bill earlier this week, which included Rs 945 on account of arrears and sewerage charges were added again in the current bill, as well as in the old arrears.

Meanwhile, Ms Santosh says she has been regularly visiting the MC office and knocking at every possible door to get justice but without any result.

The woman, who has no source of income and is subsisting on a meagre monthly pension of Rs 1850, has to support two unmarried daughters also. She has lost all hope of redressal of her genuine problem and many others like her, who were made to pay for facilities which were not available to them.

The matter of wrong billing, inflated bills, non-delivery or delayed delivery of water and sewerage bills and inclusion of old arrears, though having been paid, has been hotly debated many a times in the General House meetings of the MC, with the councillors even citing specific cases, but the MC administration has not been able to evolve any system till date for speedy disposal of complaints of the residents, who continue to be directed from pillar to post with nothing worthwhile coming out of the exercise.

The officials, responsible for billing in the O and M cell of the MC were not available for comments and despite leaving several messages, no one responded to clarify the issue of sending wrong bills and the extent of such complaints from other city localities.


Traders protest against elevated road project
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 11
The sangahrsh samiti of the trade associations of Chaura Bazaar and Old GT Road in the city has put up black flags and banners all over the national highway passing through the city as a mark of protest against the proposed elevated road project between Jagraon Bridge and Chand Cinema here.

The step was taken after a row between members of the samiti and MC employees, who refused to accept the written note of objections against the project saying that the MC administration has invited the members of public and affected persons to give only suggestions and that objections were not to be entertained.

According to Mr Mohinder Aggarwal, convener of the samiti, a deputation of the samiti visited the MC headquarters on Tuesday to submit the objections to the project but employees in the office of the City Mayor refused to accept the memorandum. After a heated exchange and intervention of some political persons, including a councillor, the memorandum was received. To lodge a protest against the MC authorities, the samiti, thereafter, put up black flags and banners.

The memorandum submitted by the samiti said the proposed project would not serve any useful purpose for the simple reason that biggest bottleneck on Old GT Road, the numberless three-wheelers and local buses, would still move on the national highway. It further claimed that the quantum of traffic between Jagraon Bridge and Chand Cinema was negligible and the traffic situation will not ease even after the construction of elevated road.

The samiti pointed out that the proposed project, with an average width of 50-55 feet over the existing GT Road, which is around 66 feet wide, would virtually prove to be a ceiling on the national highway and would block the sun light and air flow. In case of road accidents, occurring on the proposed elevated road, damage to life and property and the vehicles moving on the road below was apprehended.

The samiti has suggested to the MC authorities that rather than rushing with the project, estimated at Rs 40 crore, the work for extension of basic amenities like water supply and sewerage, the construction of flyover to replace wooden foot bridge (Lakkar Pul) and the construction of proposed Ring Road around the city should be taken in hand on priority basis.

The Hotel and Restaurant Association, Ludhiana, has also submitted a memorandum to the MC opposing the project on almost the same lines, according to Mr N.S. Nanda, its president.


Aulakh for futuristic farm technologies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 11
“Research priorities of the university are aimed at evolving cost-effective and environment friendly technologies of crop production keeping in view the future requirements of producing quality produce crops at low cost”, these views were expressed by Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, while talking to mediapersons here today.

Dr Aulakh said these futuristic technologies had a special significance under the World Trade Organisation regime which has already spread its wings.

Dr M.S. Bajwa, Director, Research, showed the mediapersons, the effect of incorporation of paddy straw into the field on the succeeding wheat crop. Dr Bajwa said the incorporation of paddy also adds organic matter in the soil which ultimately improves soil health in the long run. Dr Bajwa further said experiments were being conducted on the rational use of fertiliser/pesticide so as to decrease the cost of production. The excessive use of costly fertilisers not only increased the cost of cultivation but also lowered the quality of produce through pesticide residue.

In the experiment on vegetable production, the mediapersons were shown the techniques of organic farming and protected cultivation. Dr J.S. Hundal, Head of the Vegetable Department, informed that vegetables being highly prone to insect and pests can be successfully grown without the use of pesticides under protected conditions. Various other crops like tomato, capsicum and chilli grown in ‘net houses’ were also shown. Dr Hundal said vegetables grown in these net houses had triple advantage. They were free from pesticide residue, matured early and they yield in double than that of open field cultivation.

In the agronomy research trials farms Dr K.K. Dhingra, Head of Agronomy showed the positive effects of zero tillage technology which give same yield but saved on the cost of tillage which was around Rs 1500-2000 per hectare. Dr K.S. Aulakh said experiments on wheat sowing through bed planting were in the final stages and new recommendations were likely to be made before the commencement of next wheat sowing season.

In the entomology farm, Dr Darshan Singh, Head Entomology Department informed that 60-70 per cent of bored in sugarcane crop could be controlled through the release of ‘trichogramma chilonis parasitoid’. Whereas bio-control method was very effective and eco-friendly. Dr Darshan Singh informed that four sugar mills had already adopted this technology and were helping the farmers.

Later, talking to mediapersons the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, said before making any recommendations to farmers regarding technology/variety, the university will make an extensive research and field trials for at least four years after getting consistent results and also taking into account various released factors concerning environment, cost effectiveness and suitability under prevailing conditions. He called upon the farmers to avoid any unrecommended practice/variety as it will not be adverse for them only but for state also.


Policemen flout NDPS Act 
D. B. Chopra

Ludhiana, April 11
The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) that aims at curbing drug abuse provides for stringent punishment for anyone found in possession of five grams or more of any drug. The Act does not make any differentiation between a smoker or a seller of such drugs.

But it seems the Ludhiana police is not interested in nabbing hashish dealers of the city, but rather let them go scot-free for a gratification. As a result, the city has become easy ground for hashish sellers, while an innocuous smoker trembles at the very thought of getting caught in the act by the cops.

According to reliable sources, a known hashish peddler, SL, also known as a Baba because of his past association with a saint, who operates from Vishwakarma Colony in Focal Point area, was picked up by cops from the Haibowal police station on the evening of March 29, but released later in exchange for nearly Rs. 15,000. He had more than 50 grams of hashish on his person at the time of his arrest, which was, however, never made official.

To begin with, there was an interesting story as to why and how the said peddler was picked up by the cops with the clear purpose of extortion alone. Parveen (not his real name), a constable posted at Haibowal police station, has been a regular visitor to the peddler for fulfilling his personal requirement of the dope. About two weeks before the arrest, he had visited the peddler and bought the dope for Rs 100. But he was highly dissatisfied with the quantity of the dope that he got in return for the money. On the day of the arrest too, the same constable bought the dope for Rs 50, soon after which he was nabbed by the cops and taken to the Haibowal police station.

Whatever money he had on him at that time (he had a whole pocketful as he had just sold a good quantity to another good customers barely a couple of hours ago) was taken away. He was subjected to intense interrogation, during which he revealed the names of some other hashish peddlers of the town. But information was not all the cops were after. A deal was struck for Rs 15,000 for the release of the peddler, which considering the harshness of the NDPS Act, was peanuts. A conviction under the Act may lead to imprisonment for upto ten years and a fine amounting to Rs 1 lakh.

For the cops of a particular police station of the city, it is routine to pick any man from the jurisdiction of another police station. In this case too, the Focal Point police, in whose territory Vishwakarma colony falls, was not taken into confidence by the Haibowal cops.

Mr Waryam Singh, SHO, Haibowal, however, when contacted, denied any knowledge of the arrest to Ludhiana Tribune. He said the Haibowal police had not picked any drug peddler from Focal Point area.

Just coinciding with the release of SL ( Sham Lal), alias Billu Baba, the Daba road cops picked up from their own area a hashish smuggler whose name also begins with B. During interrogation, he confessed to having nearly 200 grams of the contraband at his house, which was later seized by the police. When he pleaded for his release, he was asked to get some other peddler arrested in exchange for his release. He was left with little choice.

The territory of Focal Point police station was again trespassed. This time by Daba road cops, who wanted to catch Billu Baba with the help of Bhola. When the police party accompanied by Bhola reached the slum where Billu Baba lives, the cops gave him Rs 100, with which he was supposed to buy some dope from Billu Baba. At this, Bhola told the cops that their job would be made much easier if they could give him Rs 500 instead. Appreciating the suggestion, the cops gave him Rs 500.

But he outsmarted them all by giving them the slip. The cops waited for some time for his return, but when he did not turn up, they went searching for him all over the town. He is still eluding the police, though he is very much in town and in business too , according to the sources. He cannot be spotted easily as he keeps on changing his appearance with the help of a turban, which he wears and takes off as and when he likes.

Sources confide that the business of hashish is being carried out virtually all over the city by a number of dope dealers.


Medical officer held for accepting bribe
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 11
A local vigilance team led by Mr Sarup Singh Maan, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, arrested Dr Ashok Mehta, Medical Officer, Revamping Centre, Guru Amar Dass Civil Dispensary, Salem Tabri and Dr Ashwini Kumar, Medical Officer, in charge, SHC, Jassian, while accepting a bribe of Rs 4,000 from a private practitioner here today.

According to Mr R. P. S. Bajwa, SP, Vigilance Bureau, the accused had threatened Dr Satbarak Singh that unless he paid Rs 4,000 to them, he would not be allowed to carry on his practice. Mr Bajwa appealed to the public to come forward in getting corrupt officials arrested and claim reward of Rs 25,000 to 50,000 as announced by the state government.


Car at your doorstep
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 11
Want to buy a car? Well you do not have to go to any company or the financier. The important banks like Standard Chartered, ICICI, ABN Amro Bank are into passenger car financing in a big way. The competition is so tough that the customer has to just call up one of the agencies employed by the banks and the agent is at your doorstep. Within 24 hours the car can be yours. The customer is really the king and the service is at your doorstep.

The industries in Ludhiana are suffering due to recession, but not the sale of cars. So probably, Ludhiana is not the right place to get the car financed as the customer is not offered any discounts for there are not distress sale of passenger cars in Ludhiana. One senior manager of the bank said,” In Ludhiana to possess the latest model car is a status symbol. If in a locality, one person has purchased Accent or Honda City, it is sure that within a month there will be four or five cars of the same or little expensive models.”

There are not many formalities as the bankers have the agencies employed who investigate the background of the prospective buyers. The thing they focus on is the continuation of the stay of the customer in the city, a certain intention to pay and capacity to pay. For 90 per cent finance the ‘income tax returns’ are asked for. “In case the person does not have income tax returns, he will be financed up to 60 per cent,” says one of the senior executives of a bank. The mode of procedure is through direct sales agency. The agency people contact through telecalling, road shows, outsource advertisements and cold calling.

He also says they do not charge any fees for processing. They offer discount on interest rate to the customers who are their old clients. Their bulk customers are small business people, small traders, salaried class, self-employed and first-time buyers.

Another executive of the bank says, “These days, people from two-wheelers straight away jump to buying mid-segment cars. Our terms and conditions are simple. About 400 cars are financed monthly by the banks. We charge no processing fee. We have no hidden costs. We give customers option of paying at will and if they want to return the entire money in a lumpsum they are free to do so after one year. We provide quick and efficient service. Our interest rates are very competitive. The future is bright for the car industry. People will be able to pay back the loans in ten years. The interest rate will go down and the dealers will do trading . They will take used cars and give the new ones. The experts predict there will be increase in car sales by 10 to 15 per cent in this fiscal year budget.”

“On the other hand, nationalised banks give loans after a lot of paperwork and inquiries . The rate of interest is almost the same as the private banks, so I prefer to deal with the private banks. Moreover, one has to deposit 20 to 25 per cent of the money of the total cost of the car. The private banks, due to a very stiff competition, provide us service at our doorstep. So all my friends prefer to deal with private banks,” says Mr Rakesh Kumar, a businessman.


She worked her way up
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 11
Out of sheer depression on account of her father’s death, Ms Aruna Sharma walked upto the office of Shri Mahila Udyog Lijjat Papad as her friend was working there. The friend persuaded her to join the company so as to keep busy and come to terms with her sorrow.

Ms Arura Sharma says, “I liked my friend’s suggestion and I joined at a meagre salary of Rs 3 per day. For three months, I worked at the same salary. I found the work absorbing and later I was shifted to the store and I was paid Rs 5 only. I was trying to learn every thing about the running of the centre. After one year my daily income was Rs 27 and at the end of two years I was taking Rs 100 home.”

Though only a matriculate Ms Sharma has been the in charge of the centre since 1989. She says, “When I look back and see how the women working here have turned a losing industry into a profitable one, I have a feeling of great satisfaction.”

When she was made the head of the Mahila Udyog, it had incurred a loss of Rs 5 lakh. Since her predecessor was new and did not know the ropes, many women and traders cheated her. Moreover, the udyog was housed in a very big building with heavy rent and the udyog had four vehicles. The first thing she did after taking over was to sell the vehicles, then she moved to a smaller house. She maintained a strict vigil on the papads made by the women and maintained proper records. By thumb rule, each packet of 200 grams had to have 20-25 papads. She assumed the duties of storekeeper, cashier, alongwith those of the ‘Sanchalika’. She appointed a dealer, who would pick up the stuff so that the sale of the papads was no problem as it was earlier. Ms Sharma said, “After two years, we had paid back the debt of Rs 5 lakh. Now, we have a turnover of 20 lakh in summers and 25 lakh in winters. I do not allow the women to talk and gossip. As many as 400 women come and take the dough and bring back the papads in the evening. A happy family atmosphere prevails here.”

Aruna was asked to start a centre at Karnal. She stayed in Karnal along with nine other ladies for four months and trained women there. Now the Karnal centre has 250 women employees and as a sale of Rs 13.5 lakh per month. However, the centre at Ambala is not doing that well. But it is not running into a loss either.

Ms Aruna Sharma has worked her way up by working sincerely and diligently. She also has the satisfaction of running centres of Sahnewal and Alamgir. Her only regret is that Mahila Udyog has suffered a setback because the government has levied a sales tax on papads. This has slowed the progress otherwise she had planned to involve ladies into making detergents, atta making and production of bakery products. For her sky is the limit and her joy knows no bounds when she sees the women become financially independent.


150 crore to be spent on pensions
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
In the current financial year the Punjab government will spent Rs 150 crore on nearly 10 lakh pensioners against 7.41 lakh pensioners during the last year. The pensions will be given under different social welfare schemes such as old-age pensions, said Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

He said this while addressing villagers at Roar village after distributing the cheques among beneficiaries of the Shagun scheme. He said: “The government will spend Rs 543 crore under the Special Component Plan during the current financial year. The money will be used on various social welfare schemes for the scheduled castes.”

He disclosed that the Shagun scheme was a unique scheme launched by the Punjab Government for the first time in India. The beneficiaries of the scheme in village Chauntta, Katani and Machiwara villagers have been given cheques in Koomkalan constituency.

He appealed to the old age people to apply for the pension. He asked them to open bank accounts after meeting the SDM (East), Ludhiana, on any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

Among others Mr Bhupinder Singh, Naib Tehsildar, Mr Mahinder Singh, Sarpanch, Roar, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Sarpanch, Khasia, and Mr Mahinga Singh, Sarpanch, Meowal were present.


Man loses eye in altercation
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, April 11
An altercation over the alleged nuisance cost Chanan Singh, an SDO working with the state Health Department at Dharamkot in Moga subdivision, his eye here last evening.

According to Chanan Singh, he was relaxing in the verandah of his home when he heard some loud noise from his neighbourhood. He observed that it was Mohinder Singh’s house from where the noise was coming. He ignored the noise as two days back the marriage of Mohinder Singh’s granddaughter was held. His son Jeet Lal, Mahesh and other were enjoying themselves. But after some time, the volume of the noise allegedly increased and became unbearable.

When Chanan Singh asked them to keep silence, one of them threw a bottle at him. The bottle struck the right eye of Chanan Singh. The eye was torn and totally damaged. The family members of the victim also received minor injuries from the splinter of the bottle. The victim was immediately taken to the DMC.

The wife of the victim, Gurmail Kaur, when asked about the incident, started weeping. She alleged that Jeet Lal had thrown a bottle under the influence of liquor, which created a problem for her husband for the rest of his life.

Dr R.K. Grewal, head of the eye department, disclosed that the right eye of the patient was torn. She further said there was no hope of any light in the eye. She said the case was hopeless as the damage had been done before admitting the patient to the hospital. The police had not registered any case till filing of this report.Back


Cop commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 11
An SPO committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at the Police Lines here on Monday.

According to information available, SPO Sandip Singh (23), a resident of Hajooribagh in Batala, posted at the local Police Lines, consumed poison on Monday night and died on the spot.

The marriage of the deceased was fixed for April 15. His family has been informed and the body has been sent to the Civil Hospital for postmortem.


50 bottles of illicit liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 11
In the wake of non-auctioning of most of the liquor vends the city seems to be flooded with illicit liquor as is evident from a spate of recoveries of illicit liquor during the past 24 hours. The city police has recovered 50 bottles of illicit liquor in three different cases.

In two cases registered at the Division Number 1 police station, the police arrested Varinder Tiwari, son of Mr Ram Dev Tiwari, a native of Tulsipur village in Uttar Pradesh and recovered nine bottles of illicit liquor from his possession. In the second case, Rattan Lal, son of Mr Amar Nath, a resident of Jawahar Nagar camp, was arrested with 20 bottles of illicit liquor in his possession.

In the third case, the Division Number 2 police arrested Vijay Kumar, son of Mr Dharam Veer, a Bihari migrant living in Giaspura here, and recovered 21 bottles of illicit liquor from his possession.

The accused have been booked under sections 61,1,and 14 of the Excise Act.

Case registered
Meanwhile, the Division Number 6 police has registered a case under Sections 302 and 309 of the IPC in connection with the killing of family members by a cop on the night of April 10. The cop has committed suicide later. The case has been registered on the statement of Harjeet Singh, the surviving brother of the killer.

Kidnap case
The Division Number 6 police has registered a case of kidnapping under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC against Avinash, alias Goldy, son of Mr Balbir Singh, Sheela Devi, wife of Mr Balbir Singh, Anjana Rani and her husband Narinder Kumar, all residents of Bhagwan Market. Mr Bhupinder Singh, a resident of the same locality had complained to the police that the accused had kidnapped his daughter Jasdeep Kaur aged about 17-18 years on March 12 at about 1 pm.

The case has been handed over to Mr Bavinder Singh, ASI, but no arrest has been made so far.

Dowry case
The Haibowal police has registered
a case of dowry harassment under Sections 406 , 498 A and 120 B of the IPC against Padam Kumar Jain, his father, Chaman Lal Jain, Kanchan Devi, Parshottam and Parveen, all residents of Tagore Nagar on the complaint of Babita, daughter of Mr Darshan Lal Jain, a resident of Madhopuri, alleging that the accused demanded more dowry from her. However, no arrest has been made so far.

Opium seized
The Sadar police yesterday arrested Balbir Singh of Sandaran village from near Gill railway station with 500 gm of opium in his possession. According to the police, Balbir Singh had alighted from the Jakhal-Ludhiana train at about 6 p.m. when a police party which was on its way from Gill village to Manakwal spotted him as he got nervous on seeing the policemen. Suspecting foul play the police party chased the man and caught him after a brief chase.

The accused had brought the contraband for distribution among farm labourers during the wheat harvesting season. The arrested man has been booked under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.

House ransacked
In a daring daylight burglary, burglars broke into a house in Rishi Nagar falling under the Haibowal police station today.

Mr. G.L. Sood, a retired employee and resident of House Number 132 in KVM colony, told Ludhiana Tribune on telephone that he had locked his house at 10 am before going on some errand in the city but when he returned after two hours, he found that his house had been ransacked by intruders who had entered the house in his absence.

All almirahs and drawers apart from briefcases and other things had been searched and things lay scattered all over the house.

According to the Haibowal police, the intruders could not find anything substantial in their search of the house.


Industry threatens protest against power cuts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Mr Mohinder Paul Jain, chairman, and Mr Narinder Bhamra, general secretary, of Fastener Manufacturers Association of India, respectively, have warned the Punjab Government that the industrialists will be compelled to resort to agitations and launch non-co-operation movement if the power supply is not regularised within a day or two. They said the agitation would include dharnas and gheraos of officials.

Mr Jain said there was a great resentment among small-scale industrial units of Ludhiana due to prolonged undeclared frequent power cuts. On the one hand, the PSEB had fixed weekly off-days for the industries and on the other hand, there were prolonged unannounced power cuts, during which the power supply was suspended for hours together. Due to these long power cuts, the entire industry had crippled. The rates of the iron and steel material had touched new heights. The entire production of the small-scale industrial units had been severely affected.

If this situation continued for another week, a large number of small industrial units would be closed down and there would be a great danger of law and order situation going out of control. He urged the government to take corrective steps soon or be prepared for a prolonged agitation.


Uses of cold forging discussed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
The process of cold forging has many advantages over hot forging, which included material saving, improvement in physical properties and elimination of subsequent machining and grinding operations. It also facilitated better surface finishing and tolerance, besides large-scale production. This was disclosed by Mr Ashwani Kumar Ahluwalia, Manager, Cold Forging, Research and Development Centre for Bicycle and Sewing Machine, here yesterday.

He was addressing industrialists in a seminar on ‘Cold forging and forming techniques’. The seminar was organised by the centre under the project of modernising the engineering units of the city.

Mr Stanislaw Ziolkiewicz, an international expert on cold forging and forming, in his presentation on ‘Design of tools for cold forging’, said, “The process of design tools must take into consideration unique work conditions of punch, properties of forming material, possibility of tool sheet, lubrication and forming machines”.

He described various tools for cold forging, including backward extrusion, heading and forward extrusion. Regarding the selection of material he said, “A number of factors, some of which may be conflicting, have to be considered and reconciled such as requirement for toughness and wear resistance; tooling costs; expected level of stress; design of tools; and press characteristics, among others”.

Mr Ashwani Kumar also pointed out that low and medium carbon steel could be easily cold forged. Many stainless steel can be cold extruded. Non-ferrous metals that could be cold extruded include aluminum, lead, magnesium and copper alloys. However, as the cold extrusion facility was expensive, a minimum level of 25,000 to 50,000 units production was necessary for economical viability.

Mr B.S. Sangha, General Manager of the centre, appealed to the industrialists to consider the positive as well as negative points of cold forging before taking any decision. Mr B.M. Syal, Associate Vice-President, Highway Cycle Industry, also addressed the gathering.

Nearly 40 representatives of different cycle and cycle part manufacturing units participated in the seminar.

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