Wednesday, April 18, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


The Tribune Vigil
Fleecing at MC parking lot
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 17
The multistorey parking lot at the old headquarters of the local Municipal Corporation on Mata Rani Road here was built for visitors to Chaura Bazar, Partap Bazar, Mali Ganj, Kharadian Bazar, Saraf Bazar, Saban Bazar and Gur Mandi. However, it has failed to serve its purpose.

Visitors complain of overcharging and haphazard parking of vehicles here. 

The details of parking fee covered with paint at the entrance of the parking lot at the old headquarters of the Municipal Corporation on Mata Rani Road, Ludhiana, and (inset) a parking-fee receipt bearing two registration numbers.
The details of parking fee covered with paint at the entrance of the parking lot at the old headquarters of the Municipal Corporation on Mata Rani Road, Ludhiana, and (inset) a parking-fee receipt bearing two registration numbers.

Parking attendants often misbehave with those who protest against overcharging. Dr Raj Pal, a Pakhowal Road resident, was made to pay Rs 10 for parking his car here for less than half-an-hour. His protest that the MC had fixed the parking rate at Rs 5 for 6 hours was fruitless. Though the attendant also allowed the doctor to park his car here for free later in the day, he was made to pay Rs 10 again soon afterwards.

The receipt that was given to him did not have charges printed on it, rather it had the registration number of some other vehicle that had been parked there earlier. The attendant had just crossed out the old registration number and written the new one, which proved that the contractor, too, was being fleeced.

Parking attendants hardly bother to see that vehicles are parked in a systematic way. Often, visitors park their vehicles at the entrance, making it difficult for others to enter or exit the parking lot. There have been times when damage has been caused to parked vehicles and accessories removed from these.

The Lok Sangharsh Forum, a public welfare organisation, has lodged a complaint against the contractor of this parking lot. It has alleged that visitors are made to pay double the daily parking fee and 50 per cent more than the fixed rate for obtaining a monthly pass for parking.

The lift at the parking lot does not function and those who park their vehicles on upper floors have to take the stairs to come down. The MC had planned to build a restaurant on the top floor of this parking lot, but the plan is yet to materialise.

A visit to the parking lot showed that the rates for obtaining a monthly pass were displayed at the entrance, but details of the daily parking fee were covered by white paint.

The MC sources said the contract for managing this parking lot for a year had recently been awarded at Rs 25 lakh. However, going by the number of persons who use the facility everyday, the amount should have been much more than this.


Institution with a mission
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana April 17
“We are taking training to become telephone operators. We have already spent three months and in the next three months we will become proficient and then we hope to get a job”, said Vipin, Dhiraj and Sandeep, who were receiving free training of telephone operators at the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre in Haibowal.

The institute came into existence 35 years ago in a modest building through the untiring efforts of Dr E.M. Johnson (himself visually challenged) and his wife, Sarah, and has blossomed into a full-fledged institution imparting education till class XII to the visually and physically challenged children. About 200 children receive education from this institution and it provides hostel facilities to the students who have come not only from different parts of Punjab but from all parts of the country.

It is a voluntary organisation and basically runs on donations and the honararium for the teachers is received from the Central Social Welfare Board, Delhi. The students are not charged any tuition fees. Moreover, their boarding and lodging is also free. The students who can afford to pay make some payment towards their education. The Christoffel Blinde Mission of Federal Republic of Germany helped Dr Johnson in construction of the building. Sunita and many others, who were the students of the institute are, have become teachers there. Poonam said, “I have studied upto MA and I am appearing for the PCS examinations”.

The centre has three fold mission. The first one is to educate the children. The second aim is to train girls and boys to become financially independent by giving them training in telephone operators and computers and the third aim is to provide shelter to the homeless visually challenged women and keep them gainfully occupied by teaching them knitting, weaving, chalk and ink making. These visually impaired women can do tailoring with the help of special needles.

Ms Leela Chandran, secretary of Dr Johnson for 20 years, says, “This institution provides a very calm atmosphere and most of the staff has been working here for years. But unfortunately, some outsiders are trying to create trouble. Dr Johnson is a very sensitive person and responds to the needs of others. He has got some of the students of the institutions married. Many of our students have found good private and government jobs also.”

During the recess, the children were seen playing happily and they do wish that some people would donate eyes so that they could see. None the less they have accepted their handicap and are living happily.


Kidnapping case registered after four months
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
The mystery surrounding the disappearance of 9-year old Mangat Ram alias Mangi, missing since November 30, has further deepened with the city police converting the case into that of child kidnapping by unknown persons.

With this conversion here today, the case has taken a new twist. It had appeared in the media because a number of dharnas were staged in the city against alleged police inaction in the case. Even traffic was blocked by angry residents a couple of times in the city. The dharnas were led by a number of political personalities, including Mr Tarsem Jodhan and Mr Bhim Sain, the district president of the Samajwadi Party (Mulayam), who also happens to be the uncle of the child.

The case had also run into a controversy of sorts in December when the unidentified body of 14-year-old child was recovered from a vacant plot near the colony. The body was naked but clothes resembling the one worn last by Mangi were lying near the body. The family members had initially identified it as their child but had later refused. They argued they were carried away by the school dress but the body was of a 14-year-old child whereas Mangi was only 9.

Since then, no clue about the whereabouts of the child had been found by the police even though more than four months had passed since the child disappeared. According to sources, the police has now, interestingly, found no clue that the child was kidnapped. Even the parents of the child have not been able to provide any clue in the matter. They have also not received any threat or ransom call.

Mr Satinder Singh, DSP city-II, said the child’s parents were convinced that Mangi was kidnapped. He said that though they do not suspect anybody or have not received any ransom call, the police has registered the case of kidnapping and would inquire on these lines now.

The child Mangi had gone missing on the evening of November 30. He had gone to see a Gurpurab procession but did not return home.


DC orders wheat loss assessment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, has directed officials of the Agriculture and Revenue Departments to assess the damage to the wheat crop because of the recent rain. Officials have been asked to submit their reports by tomorrow, so that the state government can take immediate action on these.

At a meeting of officials of these departments, purchase agencies and SDMs for a review of wheat procurement in the district, the DC told the officials to visit each village to make an accurate assessment of the loss.

Keeping weather in view, Mr Sandhu told officials of all procurement agencies to arrange for tarpaulin sheets to cover the wheat stacked in open. He said auctions should be held daily the wheat should be lifted quickly to make space for the new stock.

The DC said purchase agencies should not leave the protection of wheat to commission agents. He said it was for procurement agencies to ensure that the wheat was adequately covered. The DC directed the District Mandi Officer to ensure that the water accumulated in the mandi was drained out immediately.

He said agencies or officials who were found making selective purchases would face tough action. He said all wheat that was according to specifications would be bought and lifted.


Incomplete mandi hits wheat arrival
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur (Ludhiana), April 17
Farmers bringing wheat to the Mullanpur grain market are having a hard time owing to the state government's failure in keeping its promise of repairing the market before the wheat procurement season.

A view of the Mullanpur mandi where construction work is still on.
A view of the Mullanpur mandi where construction work is still on. — Photo Inderjit Verma

In September last year, the state government had announced that the plinth level of the market would be raised as water from the main Ferozepore-Ludhiana highway and the adjoining areas used to flow into the market due to its low level. As a result the produce stored in the market used to suffer damages.

The government had given the work on contract basis but according to sources the work which was supposed to begin in October last year could begin in this February only. Even the work was delayed due to short supply of cement. The sources said that the awarding of the contract was delayed due to bureaucratic wrangling.

Though the market committee has raised the level of the roads connecting the mandi to the main highway, unless the plinth level of the entire mandi is raised the problem of waterlogging remains. Though the water from the main highway has stopped entering the market, yet the mandi has no outlet and the water accumulates.

A visit to the mandi by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that less than half of the work has been completed so far. The farmers were having a trying time as the market committee had directed them to store the produce in the open nearby. However, certain farmers had half of their produce at the old site and half on the other side. Farmers said the problems would aggravate once the arrival picked up momentum. It is feared that the space will fall short and the produce had to be downloaded in other mandis or on the roads.

Mr Darbara Singh, a farmer who had brought his produce two days ago, said that he was worried as he had kept some of his produce on the main platform and the rest was lying near the commission agents' shops who had moved out of this area because of slush.

The mandi, which holds importance as it caters to the needs of scores of villagers who prefer this mandi instead of Khanna and Mullanpur, had received 518 quintals of wheat till yesterday. The Chairman of the Mullanpur market committee, Mr Jagtar Singh Jangpur, said that four government procurement agencies were buying the produce which was well dried.

He said that the moisture content in the wheat received was even more than 18 per cent. He said that the mandi area under repair was not required as the already repaired area was sufficient for wheat storage.

Mr Jangpur said that the repair work was delayed as it got started only a month ago. He said though it was announced during the paddy procurement season that the level would be raised, the actual work only began after the release of funds and overcoming so many problems. 


Consumer forum directs PSEB to refund
excess amount
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
The District Consumer Disputes Redresal Forum has directed the Punjab State Electricity Board to refund the excess amount charged along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of deposit till the date of actual payment to Mr Swatantar Bhushan Aggarwal, a resident of Tagore Nagar.

According to the complaint, Mr Aggarwal had purchased property in the Rishi Nagar area on April 17, 1998, and he was renovating the house before shifting there. The complainant stated before the forum that some board officials visited his house on May 22, 2000, in his absence and made a false report that he was using 15.583 kv load instead of sanctioned load of 7.400 kv. The complainant further stated that there was a hole in the meter and he was stealing energy. The consumer pleaded that he had yet to shift in the house where the electric connection was installed. As such there was no question of use of unauthorised load by him or stealing energy. The demand of Rs 34,503 was wrongly raised by the board, he added. The complainant stated that he had to deposit Rs 34,503 under the threat of disconnection.

The board pleaded that the complaint was not maintainable since there was no deficiency in services. The respondent stated that the electric connection was checked by the Superintendent Engineer, City Circle, Ludhiana on May 22, 2000, and it was reported that the consumer was using unauthorised load of 8.183 kv as at the time of checking the connected load was 15.583 kv against the sanctioned load of 7.400 kv. The opposite party further stated that the seal was also found broken and there was a hole in the meter. The respondent stated that this was a clear case of theft of energy and the disputed demand was rightly raised.

The forum observed that no report of the laboratory had been produced to prove that the meter was checked and then it was found that the seals were tampered with. The forum further stated that it could not be concluded that the consumer was stealing energy on basis of the fact that there was a hole in the meter. The forum stated that the meter should have been got examined in the laboratory and if it was found after checking the meter in the laboratory that the consumer was stealing energy only then the demand could be raised.

The forum held that the demand regarding the theft of energy was not raised as per rules and liable to be set aside, but the PSEB was justified in raising the demand regarding the use of excess load.


Factionalism mars Ludhiana BJP
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
Widespread disillusionment appears to be gripping the rank and file of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) workers, thanks to the internal power struggle among the party’s leadership. Despite the presence of a senior and veteran leader like Lala Lajpat Rai, who still holds considerable influence over decision making, the party still lacks cohesion with different leaders pulling in different directions.

The sense of desperation among the local BJP leaders is such that an influential local leader remarked, “BJP in Ludhiana is worse than Congress as far as factionalism is concerned.” In fact, he pointed out, factionalism is not new to the BJP in Ludhiana. It has been continuing for decades when two senior leaders, Prof Vishwanath and Kapur Chand Jain, were involved in the struggle of oneupmanship. And the legacy continues till now.

Lala Lajpat Rai has served like a mathematical ‘constant’ to different leadership equations within the party for last five decades, ever since the days of Bhartiya Jan Sangh during the post partition days. Mr Rai, who is basically the man from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has frequently swapped positions between the RSS and the BJP and has continuously enjoyed considerable clout in the decision making process.

Although a respected leader given his age and experience, Lala Ji is also being accused of having taken recourse to the factional politics to cut to size various leaders. However, he has not continuously patronised a single group and has managed to keep each of the groups in good humour at one time or the other.

Currently the BJP is vertically split between the supporters of the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, and the Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balram Ji Dass Tandon. And Lala Ji is understood to be supporting the group led by the former.

The factional tussle has also cost the party dearly which was seen during the last Assembly elections. The drama was unfolded during the previous Assembly elections in the Ludhiana (North) Assembly segment, when two party candidates, Mr Veer Abhiymanyu and Mr Sunil Mehra, filed their papers and both were rejected. While Mr Mehra, who was latter nominated by the party as its candidate, challenged the rejection of papers and the election of Congress candidate Mr Rakesh Pandey. Mr Pandey’s election was set aside first by the High Court and later by the Supreme Court of India on Mr Mehra’s petition.

Despite Mr Mehra winning the case, the party allotted ticket to Prof Rajinder Bhandhari who was badly defeated in the election. This was reportedly done at the behest of Lala Lajpat Rai, who was reportedly not in favour of nominating Mr Mehra as his loyalties were said to be with other group.

The factionalism reached its zenith in Ludhiana when a group of disillusioned leaders led by Mr Krishen Gupta formed ‘Save BJP’ front. Mr Gupta, along with some other leaders, was expelled from the party for six years. However, the expulsion was revoked later. Even the Deputy Speaker and legislator, Mr Satpal Gosain, was also served show cause notice by the party.

The party insiders regret that despite being partners in the government during last about five years, the BJP has not been able to consolidate its position in the city but has instead become weak, primarily due to the factionalism.



What is so special about the countryside. Far from madding crowds of big cities the atmosphere over there is very clean, devoid of toxic gases released by industries, vehicles and other symbols of urban progress. Everybody, particularly the people who live in cities, take pleasure to have those experiences. In order to celebrate Baisakhi, two local clubs (see picture) had created special rural ambience depicting life in countryside. Damsels dressed in traditional Punjabi attire to celebrate Baisakhi took out some time with the chief chef Bhagwat to learn traditional Punjabi food, usually prepared in countryside. This included specially set thatched roofed huts and ovens. Most people enjoyed as long as they were made to look at it. It is not surprising to note that why urban people feel nostalgic about rural life.

PR or secrecy cell?

The District Public Relation Department is perhaps the “secrecy cell” of the city. It seems that everybody except the employees of the department comes to know about the latest happening in the city. Or the possibility may be there that they don’t want to “leak out” the information and keep it to themselves. During the past few days, many ministers came to the city but the department did not either bother to inform the media or they themselves wanted to interview them “exclusively”. The press people come to know about some minister’s visit only when the traffic regulation is stepped up on city roads. The information of Captain Kanwaljit’s visit at Bhaini Kalan was transferred to media only at eleventh hour and journalists had to cancel many of their prior appointments at the last minute.

Cut-throat competition

It is a well-known fact that there is a cut-throat competition among various newspapers but two vernacular dailies seem to have forgotten all ethics of journalism. While one is regularly publishing reports refuting police claims about the cracking of the infamous Sahil kidnapping case, the other has, to the utter surprise of all mediapersons here, taken it up on itself to publish reports amounting to denying the allegation against the police. The exposure has been picked up by other newspapers also. However, the police has maintained a strict silence on the issue. It has neither admitted nor denied or bothered to explain it. As one senior journalist commented, the police does not need to do anything. After all it has got a number of mouth pieces in the media.

Technical and creative

Students of technical colleges of the city are generally believed to be very creative and this was proved at inter-college contests held recently in the city. Participants of the Punjab College of Technical Education were adjudged the overall winners at a contest held at GGN Institute of Management and Technology.

Richa, Simran and Vandana won the first prize in rangoli. Sunny, another student, won the first prize in creative dance. The college team also bagged the second prize in contests for one-act play and case presentation.

Fussy or busy?

Being inaccessible for officials of the local administration is perhaps a way to convey a message that they are very “busy”. One such official who perhaps keeps busy is Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, as it is no easy job to gain access to him without trying for at least five hours. Most of the times his phone is busy and if one manages to get through to his phone attendant and ask for the DC the reply is "Saab doosre phone pe busy hai” (Sahib is busy on the other phone) or “saab tour par hain” (He is on tour)or “thodi der se karna” (Call after some time). The other day it took a colleague four hours to talk to him over the phone after repeated attempts. It seems Ludhiana’s ways catch on with the officials soon enough because when Mr Sandhu came to this city he used to call back but not any more. Why this fuss Mr DC?

Revival efforts

The Research and Development Centre for Bicycle and Sewing Machine was set up by the Punjab Government to develop technologies for the cycle and sewing machine industry. The centre developed light weight cycles and new rickshaws among other things. But recently, the state government stopped annual grants to the centre and left it to the market forces. The centre under the guidance of Mr B.S. Sangha, general manager, decided to provide consultancy to individual units and job work. Today the centre claims to make a annual turnover of more than one crore through own efforts. Mr A.S. Sidhu, Deputy Director, Marketing, says,‘‘ The days are not far when we will able to make the centre a profit-making unit despite government’s indifferent attitude.’’ The centre is employing about 100 persons and running special training courses for the industry as well.

Beautiful flowers

If you love flowering trees, then the delicate light purple silk-like flowers in bunches of jacranda will bring a great joy to the lovers of nature. Those who visit PAU are enchanted by rows jacranda trees bringing forth their blossoms. The light purple colour against the green leaves really refreshes sore eyes. The sad part is that flowers are very delicate and bloom for just 15 days and the heat wilts them away. They, however, have a lesson to give. Bloom wherever you are planted and bring forth your beauty even if it is for a short period. Similarly, let our life not be filled with years but years filled with life even if it is short.

Fashionable students

Wanna see latest trends in shirts, trousers, watches, shoes and jewellery? You need not to switch on the television, go through catalogues of such vanity items or visit showrooms. All you need to do is to stand outside any private school of the city and glance at the teenage students.

Young boys wearing designer shirts, sports watches, shoes, rings in hands and girls putting up latest designs of bracelets and ear rings with Arabic mehndi on hands and colourful clips, rubber bands and friendship bands have become a common site in schools.

Gone are the days when students were given scolding for not cutting their nails properly. But now most of the teachers and principals seem to have become liberal by accepting such changing trends in fashion and allowing students ‘‘freedom of their expression’’.

Stops sans buses

Bus stops in Ludhiana have become absolutely modern. With well lit neon signs these present a lovely picture at night, especially bus stops close to Park Plaza. With coloured and well-lit advertisements, the seats are very comfortable. A security guard is deployed to guard the chairs. Many weary people just rest in those chairs. The irony is that there is poor bus service for such posh bus stops. The private mini-bus service with its dirty yellow coloured buses hardly match the most modern bus stops. Moreover, the buses do not stop at those stops. Are the bus stops only a source of earing money through advertisements? Or is the city going to get a new bus service run by the Municipal Corporation?

Down the drain

Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) was once thought to be one of the few best research institutions in the country. The phenomenal growth and foodgrain output in Punjab was primarily attributed to research work carried out by the scientists at the PAU. This seems to be history now. The university now presents a sloth-stricken look, with deserted laboratories and missing researchers. The results are already there. The university has not brought out any new varieties that could have been claimed really best. Recently, the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor Dr K S Aulakh issued unambiguous directions to ensure punctuality and commitment to work. However, as they say, old habits die hard. A visit to a number of departments just half an hour before the lunch break, on Tuesday, everyone had “already left for lunch”. Inquiries made in various departments were responded with one uniform reply “the person has left for lunch and may not return before 2.30 p.m....and it is best not to check up before 3 p.m”. This may probably the longest lunch break anyone can afford in the world, and people at PAU have best reasons for this as they have been “instrumental” in ushering green revolution in Punjab.

Mosquito-free mushaira

The Centre for Sufi Studies, headed by Mr A A Sidiqui, Director of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Police Academy, Phillaur, organised a mushaira at the conclusion of a two-day seminar and Sufi singing programme. Eminent poets from across the country had been invited. These included famous names like Shaharyar, Mauj Rampuri, Sardar Anjum, Balraj Komal and several others. The mushaira was held in the auditorium of the academy. The organisers had done well to ensure the visitors’ comfort. To ward off mosquitoes mosquitoe, repellants were used. As the mushaira progressed, most of the people left the hall. Quite a few among those who were left in the hall were caught literally napping. For there were no mosquitoes which could disturb their sleep. Aborted function

The state-level function to celebrate the birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, was held on April 14 at the local Daresi Grounds. Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, and a large number of other political leaders were present on the occasion.

Functions were also held in this connection the next day in various parts of the city by second-rung leaders or those who are aspiring to join the mainstream of politics.

Colourful wall posters were pasted all over the Focal Point area with a picture of Dr Ambedkar at the top and the pictures of function organisers below. The Dasehra Ground in the Urban Estate was the venue of the function which was to start at 10 a.m. A number of political names were also mentioned on the posters who were to grace the occasion.

But nobody turned up at the given time. The approach roads to the venue were lined with lime powder and all that. It was around noon that the organisers finally managed to gather some people.

A couple of singing dancers had also been engaged to ''spellbound'' the audience. In the beginning, recorded patriotic songs were played to attract the people. But when nobody turned up, the organisers resorted to playing current popular Punjabi pop numbers which continued even after the function was over.



Child labour, the end of innocence
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
“I work for 12 hours a day at a scooter repair shop and get merely Rs 1,000 per month. I am the eldest and have five younger brothers and sisters at home. My father works off and on. So the burden of running the family lies on my shoulders. I hardly ever get a holiday. My fingers get injured fixing punctures, but there is no respite for me,” says Lakhan, whose family stays in Ludhiana.

According to a study “Child Labour in Small Scale Units of Ludhiana” by Dr Pratibha Goyal, Assistant Professor of Business Management at PAU, she found out to her distress that children, most of them in the age group of 13-14 years, bear the economic burden. Some of them are not even paid any money as they are mere apprentices, whereas according to the Child Labour Act, they should be paid at least 50 per cent of the salary.

Most boys prefer to work in scooter units as scooter shops are found in every locality. Petty scooter repairers are forever looking for cheap labour which they get in abundance. Dr Goyal says, “I was shocked to find that most of the workers were Punjabis and in the age group of 13-14years. Scooter workshops have the maximum number of child labourers, employing 52.44 per cent of them, while the building and construction industry utilises 28.23 per cent”.

These studies are disturbing but what is even more disturbing is the blatant disregard of laws on child labour. One of the laws holds that every child should be allowed at least one day off, but these children get a break once in a blue moon. Piara Singh said, “Asi kidhe pade likhe haan, asi taan saara mahina kam kardein haan. Jo maan baap kehnde theek hai. Ghar vich jad chote bahan bhai hon taan kam karna hi painda hai.”

When he was asked whether he wanted to study, he said, “Yes, all my friends also want to study. We all want to have fun instead of working in factories, dhabas and scooter workshops.” Dr Goyal says in her study that many of these children due to endless toil, meagre means and a faulty diet suffer from various ailments like headaches, dizziness, worm infections and many respiratory problems. At least 75 per cent of them would like to study, but cannot due to economic necessity.

They do not go to doctors, for it means taking a day off and spending money on medicine which they can ill afford. Population could be reason behind the main problem. More children mean more working hands. Dr Goyal says that 13.4 per cent of child labourers come from families with nine members. The Child Labour Act, 1986, holds that no child will be made to work more than three hours at a stretch. But it remains on paper, for all the children work with only half-an-hour break.

The picture is depressing . One such VIP, who runs an industrial unit in the city says, “We prefer them young for they are more innocent and are no threat. After all, we keep hearing of the involvement of servants in thefts, murders and other such crimes. In a way, we are helping them by treating them well.”

There are some kind employers too. Yet, most of them get a full day’s work done. In scooter workshops, 50 per cent of the respondents were working after 7 p.m. ,whereas according to law, no child is permitted to work between 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. According to the study, the work place should be calm but these children work on roads, which are very noisy. 83.3 per cent children said that they were rebuked and treated unkindly.

The study concludes by saying that general protection to the children given should include observance of minimum standards of welfare, safety and health at the place of work. The children should not be allowed to pick up heavy loads. The government has to strengthen the enforcement machinery to plug the loopholes.

Ms Pratibha Goyal says, “Child labour will stop only with the spread of education and control in population. TV, newspapers and radios have to make people aware of the benefits of small families. If given a chance to develop, these children would be assets for the nation. It is for the grown ups to act in this direction in order to give every child a chance and a choice or else the children will keep toiling and see their childhood passing away. 


Punished for ‘restraining’ SDE
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
Mr Ram Samaj, an employee of the Telecom Department, has been punished for refusing to open the GM’s office for a subdivisional engineer who allegedly wanted to entertain a woman there. The enraged SDE not only thrashed Mr Ram Samaj in public, but also got him suspended.

The All-India Telecom Employees Union has demanded a disciplinary action against the SDE (Planning) for allegedly abusing and manhandling Mr Ram Samaj. The incident happened on April 11.

According to a complaint lodged with the GM (Telecom) by Mr Balwinder Singh, Secretary of the Mata Rani Exchange unit of the AITEU, Mr Ram Samaj, who was on leave on April 11, was called by the SDE, Mr R.M. Rai, to his office, where he was allegedly kicked by the SDE in the presence of the Divisional Engineer (Planning), Mr S.C. Sharma, and his staff.

The union said that authorities had acted in a partial way by suspending Mr Ram Samaj without recording eyewitness accounts. Several attempts to contact Mr Rai at his office and home proved fruitless.


Ex-sarpanch booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
The Focal Point has registered a case of cheating against a former sarpanch of Umedpur who allegedly took money from a villager on the promise of implicating the villager's enemies in non-bailable offences.

According to an FIR registered against Daljit Singh by the Focal Point police, he allegedly took Rs 1.75 lakh from Harjinder Singh. The ex-sarpanch had said that he would use the money to implicate the enemies of Harjinder Singh. However, when this was not done the ex-sarpanch returned Rs 70,000 and refused to pay back the remaining amount.

Later, the villager approached the police which got an inquiry conducted by the Economic Offences Wing of the police. On the recommendation of the wing, the police has registered a case.


Heavy rain lashes city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
Clouds which made their appearance on the city’s skies about four days ago continue to hover over the city in spite of a heavy downpour last night that sent whole of the city into a tizzy.

Ever since the beginning of the month of Baisakh, when the people in general and farmers in particular look up for a bright sun, the weather is marked with clouds moving over the city and surrounding areas. The weather has been cloudy for the past four days.

But the rain that started at about 7 p.m. on Monday sent the passersby running for shelter as other normal activities also came to standstill. The rain lasted only for an hour but was enough to flood the city streets and roads making it difficult for various commuters to negotiate with the swirling waters.

The rainfall was preceded by a stormy wind that uprooted a number of trees including a big one on the Rani Jhansi road where the falling tree also snapped electricity wires plunging most of the Civil Lines area into darkness. The power supply in the area is yet to be restored. Power supply in other parts of the town such as the old city and the Focal Point also remained suspended as long as the rain continued to pour heavily. It was only after 8 p.m. or so that the fury of the heavy rain subsided though it continued well past 10 p.m.

Apart from delaying the harvesting of wheat by another week or so, last night’s rain has also damaged the wheat which has already arrived in some grain markets of the state.


Propagate party policies: Dhillon
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Director, Markfed, and in charge of the Ludhiana Rural Assembly segment, exhorted the party ranks to propagate the programmes and policies of the ruling SAD, headed by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and to highlight the development works undertaken by the government.

Addressing a workers meeting in Sham Nagar locality here, Mr Dhillon said the government was observing the year 2001 as the development year. A large network of metalled roads would be completed during the year.

Speaking on the occasion, the YAD activist, Mr Inderpreet Singh Bhattal, expressed gratitude to Mr Badal, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Revenue Minister and Mr Mal Singh Ghuman, Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board for nomination of Mr Gagan Parkash Singh Bhanohar as President of Dakha Unit of SAD(B).


MC employee suspended
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
The Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, Dr S.S. Sandhu, has placed under suspension Mr Kharaiti Lal, mali beldar, in the horticulture wing of the MC for remaining absent from duty without informing his seniors.


Armed robbers loot temple
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
About 25 armed robbers looted the Maa Da Mandir, near Phillaur, last night and injured several caretakers, including women, of the temple.

The robbers decamped with cash and jewellery worth lakhs. The police has registered a case but no arrest has been made so far. According to the police, the robbers beat up Bibi Nimmo and Kamla Devi, besides others. They, along with about 10 other persons, have been admitted in a private nursing home.

Mr Shambu Ram, manager, said that at about 1 a.m. he heard the noise of breaking of doors and windows. Before he could understand what was happening, about 10 persons entered his room and started beating him up. Later he found that about 25 persons had entered the temple premises and ransacked the place.Back


Couple beaten with iron rods
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
The Division No. 5 police has registered a case against five persons, including a woman, for trespassing into a house and beating up a couple living in Sargodha Colony. According to an FIR lodged by Amar Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Manmohan Singh, Tajinder Singh, Harpreet Singh and Alka entered his house yesterday and beat up him and his wife, Prabjot Kaur with iron rods. The two had to seek medical help for the injuries they suffered in the attack. The police said all of them had absconded.

Ashok Bahadur, a resident of Rani Jhansi road, here was injured when a car knocked him down here yesterday. His scooter was badly damaged in the accident.

Jeep stolen
The Division No. 6 police has registered a case of theft of a jeep. Jaspal Singh, the owner, had complained about the theft of his jeep (HR-01-J-1847). A case has been registered against unknown persons.

Resident alleges fraud
The Sadar police station has booked two persons on the charge of defrauding a resident of Manjit Nagar in the sale of a plot. Tarlok Singh and Harnam Singh residents of Chotti Jawaddi and Kheri, respectively, have been booked in the case, but no arrests have been made.

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