Sunday, April 15, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


No decision on free water, sewerage
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 14
The state government is yet to take a decision on the proposal of providing free water supply and sewerage facility to residents of Ludhiana. The Municipal Corporation (MC) had adopted a unanimous resolution to this effect in a general house meeting and it was forwarded to the government for approval.

The Punjab Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, said in a news conference here today that the decision for free water supply and sewerage had to be taken in totality and not in isolation for a particular city. “First of all we shall discuss the issue within the party and then the Cabinet would take a final decision on the basis of the recommendations made by the coalition partners.”

Unlike the state president of his party (BJP) Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, the minister did not agree with the common charge of rural bias, levelled against the SAD-B-led government in Punjab. He asserted that development works were being taken up in urban areas, equally at par with those in villages. The government, he claimed, had gone all out to rationalise the sales tax structure. Several major projects were in various stages of completion in various towns and cities. Concessions had been granted in house tax on self occupied houses. Water supply and sewerage projects were being taken up in a big way and an unprecedented number of railway overbridges and river bridges were being constructed.

Terming the allegation of discrimination against the urban areas as unfounded and politically motivated, Mr Tandon maintained that since the SAD-BJP government took over, around Rs 100 crore were being spent on various development schemes every year in Ludhiana city alone. To augment the water supply and sewerage schemes in Punjab, the state government had secured a loan of Rs 300 crore from Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), out of which Rs 150 crore had been allocated to Ludhiana city. In addition, the Union Government was also making available adequate funds through Finance Commission and under its National Slums Development Programme for development works in towns and cities.

Replying to a question about alleged involvement of constituent parties of the NDA government in defence deals, as exposed by Tehelka Dotcom, Mr Tandon observed that right from 1967, when the first non-congress government was formed in the Centre, the Congress had been hatching successive conspiracies to dislodge these governments, one way or the other, to create an impression that the experiment of non-congress government was a failure and parties, other than the Congress could not provide a stable government. Without elaborating further, he said the Tehelka episode was a part of a greater conspiracy.

Persistent queries by the scribes on the arrest of hardcore militant Wassan Singh Zaffarwal being a stage managed affair failed to elicit any further response from the minister, who merely remarked that as far as the government was concerned, Zaffarwal was arrested. He, however, linked this episode to his earlier remarks that under the regime of the SAD-BJP government, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, peace and normalcy had returned back to this border state. “Had it not been the case, militants like Zaffarwal would not have made attempts to join the mainstream.”


Rain brings relief and grief
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Thakkarwal (Ludhiana), April 14
Rain in the region has come as a relief from the hot weather to some, but at the same time it has brought lot of anxiety and apprehension to farmers whose standing and cut crop has been substantially damaged. Besides delaying the process of harvesting, the rain at this time has resulted in a higher moisture content and discoloration of grain, which will only make their task of selling the wheat dauntier.

A visit to some of the villages at Pakhowal Road by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that panic had gripped farmers as they were fearing that the bundles of harvested crop which were lying in the open fields would absorb moisture and become discoloured. The discoloration and the increase in moisture content would render the wheat unfit for procurement.

Many farmers, the Ludhiana Tribune spoke to, expressed their fears and said that they wanted to harvest the crop as early as possible due to unpredictable weather but they were helpless before the forces of nature. They said that it was not possible to work a combine in the fields as it gets stuck due to the moist soil and manually also it was not possible to harvest it.

Mr Zora Singh, a farmer from Tharike village said,”I want to harvest and thrash the crop as soon as possible because I am already scared of the rains. If another spell of such rain is experienced we will be ruined. I am waiting that the fields get dry as soon as possible so that I can get on to my work”

They said that earlier rains had lodged their crop and now when it had matured and they were about to sell it, the weather again played a spoilsport. Mr Surjeet Singh, a farmer of Thakkarwal village said,”We could not sleep yesterday night as it was raining heavily. We kept praying that it does not rain anymore. Otherwise we would be doomed.”

He said that another spell of such rain would not leave anything for them. Showing wet bundles lying in his field he said,”Look at the crop now. It has absorbed all the water and is becoming blackish. Nobody will buy our grains due to the increased moisture content and discoloration.”

He said that the grains of standing crop also absorbed water. Another farmer, Mr Raj Singh, of the same village said that the farmers had already panicked due to the rains that had lashed earlier and they were even harvesting the premature crop.

The experts at PAU, however, said that this rain would not cause much damage to the crop as no more rains were expected. According to Dr K.K. Dhingra, Head, Department of Agronomy, “If the rains persisted it would have been a catastrophe for farmers and a cause of worry for us also.”

Harvest may be delayed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 14
The city was lashed by mild rain shortly after midnight last night which continued till the morning today.

Clouds had been hovering over the city and the surrounding areas for the past couple of days, making people wonder about the fate of the standing wheat which is yet to ripen fully at many places in the countryside.

The rain was accompanied by lightning and winds blowing in all directions. People woke up to a rather nippy morning because of the overnight rain. However, by 9 am, the clouds had vanished, thanks to a moderate breeze blowing westward.

Harvesting of wheat may be further delayed by a couple of days due to the last night’s rainfall.Back



Power cuts residents’ nightmare
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
Though the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) claims to have imposed just a two-hour power cut in Ludhiana, residents have been subjected to six to eight hours of unscheduled power cuts since the past few days.

With power playing truant, it is not surprising that officials of the PSEB in the city have no clue when the supply will be cut and in which part of the city. One official on the condition of anonymity said, “The supply and the cuts are being managed by officials at the head office in Patiala. We are as ignorant about the next cut as you are with no prior information in this regard so we cannot announce any power cuts in advance.”

Officials in the Patiala head office, when contacted, maintained that the state was passing through a severe power crisis. “We are just producing 1500-1600 MW against the capacity of 2500 MW daily. The power generation at thermal and hydro power plants is about 800 MW each”. Unfortunately, there are no chances of any improvement in power supply as the temperature has just started rising, he adds without wanting to be quoted.

According to the board officials in Ludhiana, the city is divided in two parts. The unscheduled cuts are imposed at the most for about two hours in each part. The cuts in the major cities such as Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala are imposed only if there is no other option, say board officials. The cuts in towns and villages vary from five to 15 hours a day.

However, the common citizens feel otherwise. Mr Tilak Raj Kunra, a resident of the Model Gram area, said, ‘‘Power cut last between four and six hours. Further it is imposed during morning and evening peak hours”. The traffic jams at crossings are unmanageable, he adds.

Civil Lines residents were subjected to four-hour cut on Monday night, besides the half a dozen other unscheduled cuts lasting over an hour each throughout the day, much in variance to the claims of PSEB officials.

Industry representatives say they are facing not only power restrictions during peak hours but also during day time. It is resulting in production losses and profit margins.

Mr Sukhdial Singh, president, and Mr Kirpal Singh, general secretary of the Ludhiana Machine Tool Makers Association, respectively, have condemned the board for the erratic power supply. They say, “Frequent power cuts and breakdowns have virtually pushed the already crippled industry on the verge of collapse. The board has been putting the blame on consumers for the loss due to theft”.

They further added, “Monthly minimum charges should be reimbursed to entrepreneurs with retrospective effect or else ensure 24 hours supply should be ensured”.


Investors losing confidence in stock market
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
The investors in Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE) region, that includes Punjab, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, have virtually panicked as the Sensex has touched a new 27-month low. Lakhs of investors in the region burnt their fingers when the Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) slumped to as low as 3120.13 points before closing at 3183.77 on Thursday as the markets lived through another day of widespread tech stock selling.

Mr Tarvinder Dhingra, vice-president, LSE, admitted that no one had expected the market fall to such an extent. The warning of Infosys Management about low profits up to 30 per cent against about 100 per cent profits in the current financial year had provoked the share holders to get rid of tech shares.

Secondly, the admission of Ketan Parekh that his stock market operations was largely financed by the Zee and HFCL managements, drastically hit the market. Mr Dhingra felt that the shareholders felt being cheated by these companies. The FIIs also off-loaded their shares in the market. The investors seemed to have tried to cope up with the resulted losses by off-loading old economy shares, consequently hitting their shares also.

However, the stock market seems to be coming to its real value. Mr H.S. Sidhu, general manager, LSE, felt that investors had lost faith in the tech companies whose shares were manipulated by some brokers. There was no impact of Diwang Mehta’s death on the market.

Mr Dhingra felt the market had touched an all-time low. The Nascom was showing improvement. The market might bounce back to some extent in the near future. But the involvement of companies such as Zee and HFCL in the dubious dealing affected the faith of FIIs and domestic investors in their managements.


Consumers flourish at PSEB’s cost
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 14
Electricity consumers are benefiting every time they approach the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, thanks to the negligence of the officials of the PSEB, who do not adhere to the prescribed norms to book a consumer who tempers with electric meters.

The board will have to bear loss in many cases, as the recovery demands from those who have been indulging in power theft have been quashed by the forum. This amount could have been recovered, had the board officials proceeded carefully.

It is evident from various cases decided by the forum that the PSEB had suffered just because of the non-compliance of rules by its officials. In case of theft of electricity, the board has to overhaul the account. For overhauling an account the department has to remove the meter and get it checked in the laboratory. It is mandatory that after removing the meter the board official packs it in a card box and seal it in the presence of the consumer and gets the seal signed by him. But the rule is generally flouted by the officials and they proceed as per their will.

In a complaint filed before the consumer forum, it was alleged that after changing the meter the officials went away without taking the burnt meter with them. They came after some days and took the meter without properly packing and sealing it. The PSEB raised a demand for theft of electricity as it was found in the ME laboratory that the seal of the meter was tempered with. But the forum decided the case in favour of the consumer and quashed the demand raised by the department for non-compliance of rules by the board officials.

Another loophole is that the board officials do not give any notice to the consumer to be present at the time of checking of the meter in the ME laboratory which is mandatory under the rules. Another requirement is that the laboratory report has to be signed by the consumer confirming that the checking was done as per the rules and it was fair. Non-compliance of this rule was another reason for the forum to decide the case in favour of the consumer.

In a case, the PSEB had pleaded that the consumer was not technically aware about the checking of the meter, so he was not given a notice to be present at the time of checking of the meter in the laboratory. However, the forum decided the matter in favour of the consumer. By not following rules the board officials give a chance to the consumer to draw benefit from their carelessness.


Kirtan singer par excellence

Bhai Samund Singh was born in Mulla Hamza village in Montgomery district on March 3, 1901. His father, Hazura Singh, used to play the taoos, a stringed instrument. He shifted to Nankana Sahib, where he rose to be the head priest. The entire family was a listener of devotional music.

Samund Singh made his debut at Gujranwala and made rapid progress. He was invited by many Singh sabhas. From 1919 to 1947, he performed kirtan at Nankana Sahib. He made his debut on AIR Lahore in 1937. After Partition, he stayed in Amritsar for two years and later shifted to Ludhiana.

He visited almost the entire country in connection with kirtan performances. He used to perform on AIR Jalandhar twice a month, besides performing on AIR stations at Delhi, Lucknow, Calcutta, Patna and Jaipur.

Samund Singh sang Gurbani according to prescribed raagas, with Basant, Sorath, Kanra and Jaijawanti being his favourites. He also had command over Multani, Bahar and Pahari. He knew the logic of words and the magic of music. His musical attainments remained secondary to his sense of conveying the essence of the divine message, the text and its tone.

He was paralysed and struggled as far as he could. He breathed his last in CMC, Ludhiana, on January 5,1972. His admirers set up a music academy in his honour, preserving his instruments as part of archival heritage and annual awards are also instituted.Back


City suffers as leaders fight

Ludhiana, April 14
Ludhiana has carved out an international image, thanks to the large-scale development of industries and the establishment of Punjab Agricultural university. But, alas, Ludhiana has lacked in the development of a political leadership to give a proper direction to it in the recent past. The old guards have passed away and the gap in the leadership is being felt very badly. Whatever political leadership is available in all the political parties of this industrial capital of Punjab is engaged in a power struggle and is not concerned about the development of the town or the difficulties of the Ludhianvis. Ludhiana was the central hub of Punjab state even before the partition of the country and was on the forefront in the freedom movement. After the Independence of the country, when India freedom movement. After the Independence of the country, when India declared herself as a republic, Mr Bhin Sen Sachar contested the first general election from Ludhiana and became the Chief Minister of Punjab. Mr Gopichand Bhargawa was the first Chief Minister of Punjab after the partition of the country.

Ludhiana has produced leaders like Mr Sardari Lal Kapoor, who underwent seven years’ imprisonment during the freedom movement and was a minister in the Darbara Singh government.

The Congress also produced two stalwarts, Mr Satpaul Mittal and Mr Joginder paul Pandey, and they virtually ruled over Ludhiana for three decades. Mr Mittal rose from a poor family and became a member of the Rajya Sabha and also chairman of the parliamentarian committee on population. Similarly, Mr Pandey also had a meterioc rise as he had to leave the country in search of a good living, and after earning good money in UK he returned to his mother land. He also became a minister in the Zail Singh and Darbara Singh governments.

Mr Mittal and Mr Pandy were grassroot workers first and then leaders. Mr Pandey was killed by militants during the height of militancy, and Mr Mittal later died a natural death. Mr Pandey’s one son has joined polities and has been elected twice to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. He is now a sitting MLA.

Mr Mittal’s three sons have not joined politics and they have earned the name in the world now with the establishment of huge telecom firm Bharati Telecom, which is now competing with the world known multinational companies.

Mr Omparkash Gupta was another Congress leader who could be counted among the prominent leaders, and he had been fighting against the Mittal Pandey duo throughout his life. Although Mr Beant Singh also belonged to Ludhiana district, yet he was more concerned with the rural areas. But at the same time he took interest in the development of the urban areas of Ludhiana town.

Ludhiana is feeling the lacuna sofar as the Congress leadership is concerned. The present leaders of the urban areas are just not able to deliver the goods and they have come to occupy their positions because of money power. The present Congress leaders of Ludhiana are badly engaged in a tug-of-war and their only business is to have a showdown with each other. They have no spirit to serve the interests of the people but are interested in their own welfare.

Similarly, the Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) also does not have a leader of high calibre at present. Lala Lajpat Rai was elected MLA in 1957 to the Vidhan Sabha for the first time and later he shifted to the RSS and was involved in the same for almost three decades. He is now a member of the Rajya Sabha and is taking some interest in the local affairs. The BJP had a fine leader in the person of Mr Khushi Ram Sharma, who was gunned down by militants. Mr Satpal Gosain, at present Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, has some sympathy for the people and takes up cudgels with the administration against injustice and high-handedness. However, his spirits, too, have mellowed down after becoming Deputy Speaker. He is losing his image of a ‘dharna leader’.

The BJP leadership is also miserably divided into different groups.

The BJP leadership is divided into Tandon-Mittal groups. Lala Lajpat Rai, at one time, was with Mr Balramjidas Tandon, but has now shifted to the Madan Mohan Mittal group.

Because of the differences in the BJP leadership, the development of Ludhiana town suffers. A section of the BJP leadership is in favour of construction of Rs 40 crore elevated bridge in Ludhiana town, while the other group is opposing it. The elevated project has been prepared by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation to check the traffic congestion on the GT Road passing through the town.

The leadership of the ruling Akali Dal is in no way lagging behind in the war of attrition. A majority of the senior Akali leaders led by veteran Akali leader Surjan Singh have shifted to the All-India Shiromini Akali Dal led by Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Mr Surjan Singh Thekedar, now 86, is a living legend of Ludhiana and a major credit for maintaining communal harmony and peace in this industrial hub of Punjab goes to this old man. He has cordial relations between the two major communities and was instrumental in controlling the rowdy elements in the Akali Dal during the traumatic days, despite provocation from a section of the Shiv Sena activists.

Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, a local practising lawyer and a close confidant of Jathedar Tohra, came into the limelight in 1997 after his election to the Vidhan Sabha from urban constituency of Ludhiana west and his induction into the Badal government. He has been able to make his report with the local population.

Besides, two other legislators — Mr Hira Singh Gabria and Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa — who were elected from semi-urban areas have also joined hands with Jathedar Tohra.

Mr Hira Singh Gabria was the president of the district Akali Jatha, Ludhiana (urban) before his siding with Jathedar Tohra almost two years ago. The president of the ruling Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh, Badal has not succeeded in appointing a successor of Mr Gabria. A big tussle has been going on between Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, vice-president, SAD and Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, who was senior vice-president of the district unit. Both claim to be close to Mr Badal. But both are at loggerheads. They have quarreled a number of times in the presence of Mr badal over the issue of taking over the presidentship of the district unit. Mr Badal may be interested in handing over the district urban unit to Mr Makkar but he is not able to do so in the face of stiff opposition from Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia. 


Conference on road safety at CMC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 14
Road accidents account for 40 per cent of the total accident deaths, according to a study conducted by the Department of Health Education and Family Welfare, CMC, Ludhiana.

Fast driving, traffic congestion, negligence and lack of awareness about road sense and traffic rules are some of the common causes of road accidents. Telephone and electricity poles on the roadside also contribute to road congestion. The roadside hawkers add to the problem, the study reveals. Eighty per cent of the footpaths have been encroached upon by shopkeepers or rehriwalas on most of the accident prone roads.

In view of the above facts, the department, in coordination with the International Union of Health Promotion, will organise a conference at the CMC auditorium on April 20. The aim is to chalk out a low-cost community-based multi-sectoral action plan to bring down morbidity and mortality rates. It will provide a common platform to government and private agencies for finding a solution to the problem of increasing incidents of road accident and providing a framework for better trauma care.


Designer wear? Where is the originality?
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 14
“The only place you can fool all the people all the time is in designer clothes,” says a graffiti. How true it is. Do not think the designer clothes have originated recently. Remember a story of a king who was made a fool by a designer, who had promised him a most astonishing costume at an exorbitant cost? He gave the king one month’s time. The king waited for his new robes and the whole kingdom waited with bated breath for the king to emerge in his designer wear. Everyone gasped when they saw the king. But nobody had the courage to say anything till a boy said: “Look! The king is naked!”

That still goes for the designer clothes of today. The designers may design outlandish clothes just to be different and daring. The lean models with hour glass figures can carry them. But when the people with imperfect figures wear those clothes, they can look quite amusing. The earlier belief of simple living and high thinking has been given a bypass and now it is a status symbol to be dressed in a designer wear. The designer wear is your passport to high society. Earlier, there were western designers of repute like Channal, Christian Dior, which were famous throughout the world.

But now Indian designers are flourishing. More and more people of the elite class flaunt their dresses made by the designers for it costs a neat packet. It has become a status symbol to get the whole wardrobe designed by a famous designer. The men are also wearing designer clothes for men also like ‘power dressing.’ They are spending a lot of money on exclusive clothes. A great change has come over in the wardrobe of men. They are not wearing the conventional staid colours but are experimenting with new colours, new cuts.

The male models can be seen flexing their muscles walking down the ramp wearing very uncommon clothes.

There is nothing wrong with the designer clothes if one can afford them and carry them but the craze has overtaken the youngsters by storm. They want to be seen wearing branded and designer clothes which cost a lot of money and most of the times, they are unaffordable for many parents.

The ‘karigars’ working for designers, copy the designs and offer these to the hi-fi boutiques, who charge a lot of money from their clients saying that the embroidery is exactly the same used by x,y, z designer. The designs are copied by many a people. The same cuts are used by hundreds of boutiques flourishing all over the country Then where is the originality? Designer wear means exclusive wear, but in our country , there are people who can duplicate the designs in no time. So wear the clothes that make you feel good and smart.


Bid to kill child: three held
Jupinderjit Singh and Vijay Bansal

Ludhiana, April 14
Charanjit Kaur, wife of an Army man (posted outside) and resident of Sohian village, near Jagraon, had allegedly developed illicit relations with Chindi, who once worked in her house. Charanjit is mother of three children, including Gurdeep (13).

Gurdeep had witnessed the conduct of his mother with Chindi and abused them in rage.

The mother promised to Gurdeep that she would not meet the man again.

Only a month passed she was again caught by her son in the company of Chindi. Chindi promised to pay Rs 300 to Gurdeep if he kidnaps and murders the minor child of a neighbour.

On Thursday Gurdeep kidnapped the child. As he began to strangulate him, the child’s mother saw him and raised an alarm, which led to the boy’s arrest.

Mr Baldev Singh Brar, SHO, Jagraon, revealed that he attempted the murder on the directions of Chindi. He also spoke the relationship of his mother with Chindi.

The three namely Charanjit Kaur, Chindi and Gurdeep were arrested and booked under Sections 364, 342, 307 120-B and 34 of the IPC yesterday.

The village sarpanch, Mr Sukhdev Singh, when contacted over the phone, confirmed the police version. He said the three had confessed to the crime in front of the village panchayat on Thursday. Back


College principal, 4 others booked for cheating
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, April 14
The principal of a local college and the head of its Physical Education Department have been booked by the city police along with three others for making outsiders play as students in a weightlifting tournament organised by Panjab University.

With the registration of the case, the the weightlifting trophy won by the College in that tournament may be in trouble. The college has been accused of including three players in its team who played on the basis of duplicate Identity cards which amounts to impersonation.

According to a FIR registered by the Haibowal police, Kamal Deep Singh captain of the weightlifting team Government College here had complained to the police that the three players Pardeep Kumar Sharma, Mandeep Kumar and Kuldeep Singh had participated in the tournament on the basis of duplicate identity cards. He had claimed that they were outsiders and not the students of the college.

Later, the Economic Offence Wing of the city police conducted an inquiry and on the basis of its report the Principal of the college and the head of the physical education department and three outsiders have been booked under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC.

Three booked
The Sadar police today booked three persons for duping youths. According to an FIR, the suspects took about Rs 6 lakh from the youths in lieu of sending them abroad. However, neither did they fulfill their promise nor returned the money.

The three booked persons are: Baldev Singh, Rohit and Gursharan Singh. The complaint was lodged by Hagdip Singh, Gurinder Singh and Hardev Singh of Jandiali village.


Arrested for murder
The Khanna police has arrested three persons in connection with the murder of Jagjit Singh Jaggi.

According to a press note issued by the SSP here, Mr R.N. Dhoke, Jagjit Singh of Samrala was shot by a group of four persons following an altercation over the opening of a government wine shop.

The SSP said in the press note that two persons, Ranjit Singh and Umrao Pinder Singh, were arrested on April 8 and Beant Singh was arrested on April 13. The police had seized two guns and four cartridges from them. However , the fourth accused, Sarbjit Singh, was still at large.

Meanwhile in another press note, the SSP, Khanna, claimed that the police had arrested two satta operators identified as Mukhia and Romesh Kumar and seized Rs 102 from them. The police has registered a case under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act.Back

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 |