Wednesday, April 25, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Farmers block traffic for non-payment
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 24
Around 500 farmers and commission agents blocked traffic on the G.T. Road near main gate of local grain market, supposed to be the biggest in Asia, in protest against the non-payment of sold wheat and for not procuring the discoloured wheat by the procurement agencies here today. Following this report the ADC, Ludhiana, Mr S.R. Kaler, visited Khanna Mandi to control the situation.

Till 12 pm today the procurement agencies had not started procurement and no payment was given for the procured wheat by the Food and Supplies Department . However, Mr Parvin Vij, DFC, Ludhiana, had assured the commission agents yesterday ‘‘That they had received the payment and they would start disbursing it from today.’’

The commission agents and farmers, who came to the mandi to sell their produce, gathered at the main gate of the grain market on the G.T. Road under the leadership of president, Arhtiya Association, Mr Sadhu Ram Nanda, general secretary, Mr Bharpur Chand Bector, press secretary, Punjab Arhtiya Association, Mr Ranbir Sood and Mr Nirmal Parkash. They sat on the dharna on the G.T road and blocked the traffic from both sides.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, reached the spot, along with some other officers and pursued the agitators to leave the G.T. Road and gave them assurance that all wheat lying in the mandi would be procured and also assured them of making the payment for procured wheat as early as possible.

The A.D.C said that all procurement agencies were procuring wheat and the business was going smoothly in the market. He claimed there was no strike in the grain market.

While on the other hand Mr Ranbir Sood claimed that the commission agents were still on strike. He said that the strike would continue till the wheat lying in the mandi had not been purchased.

The ADC, Ludhiana, said he was camping in Khanna Mandi today to monitor the procurement.

Meanwhile, some commission agents alleged that one high official of mandi board had misbehaved them and not allowed them to enter the market committee office. However, he had apologised after that.

The secretary, market committee, Khanna, Mr Jit Komal, said that this time the arrival of wheat was very slow due to the untimely rains. He said only 2,51,900 quintal of wheat had arrived till April 22 this season while last year it was 6,75,350 quintal. Only yesterday the Punsup had purchased 3700 quintal wheat in Khanna Mandi while no other agencies procured a single grain.

Till today the Punsup had procured 44550 quintal, Markfed -74200, Punjab Agro-43500, Pb ware House-19000 Food and Supply -20050, FCI 38800 and private traders 1000 quintal.

Farmers allege harassment
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 24
The Bharti Kisan Union has alleged that whenever the farmers bring their produce to the market, the corrupt government machinery comes into action to make money through their tactics.

Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, national general secretary of the union, alleged that during paddy season the procurement agencies charged Rs 2.50 per bag and they demand the same on wheat also. He said Re 1 per bag was offered which was refused by the agencies.

He said, “On the one hand the wheat yield per acre has gone down due to untimely rains and on the other hand procurement agencies are harassing the farmers”.

He said in Khanna the wheat procurement was not being done properly on the pretext of discolouring. The commission agents had also gone on strike. “Even the attitude of the DFC, Ludhiana, who visited Khanna mandi yesterday was totally anti-farmers. The DFC was not even ready to talk with the farmers,” he alleged.

He further alleged that the DFC misled the arhtiyas and farmers that he had sent a report and a meeting of government agencies was going on at Chandigarh to decide on the issue.

Mr Rajewal said when he contacted the secretary, Food Supply, Punjab, Mr P. Ram on phone, he denied any such meeting going on, but said that clear instructions to purchase wheat had already been issued and all wheat stock would be purchased. He further said that there was no complaint in this regard from any other grain market.

Mr Rajewal said that it was a clear case of corruption and harassment of the farmers by the government agencies.Back


Kisan unions threaten agitation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
The Kirti Kisan Union ( AIKMS) and the Bharati Kisan Union ( Ekta) have condemned the harassment of farmers by purchasing agencies in the state grain markets. At an emergency meeting held here yesterday, the unions asserted that the farmers were forced to wait for more than one week against the claims of the state government about the arrangements in the markets. But the FCI and other state purchasing agencies were not buying the wheat on one account or the other.

Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, while presiding over the meeting, said,‘‘ The government agencies are not purchasing the wheat and the farmers are forced to sell wheat at lower price. The officials of the FCI are creating more problems for the farmers.’’

The meeting unanimously warned the government to take corrective steps to stop the exploitation of the farmers otherwise an agitation programme would be announced on April 30. The unions called upon the farmers to unite against the delay in the procurement of wheat or payment.

The meeting also condemned the Punjab State Electricity Board’s decision not to release electricity connections to the farmers despite the submission of attesting reports. Back


Wheat crop worth Rs 10 lakh destroyed in fire
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, April 24
A major fire broke out at nearby Garhi Bet village at 2 p.m. last evening. Short circuit was reportedly the cause of the fire.

In this incident 80 acres of wheat crop was destroyed. Dalip Kaur, wife of Bhajan Singh, sustained serious burn injuries. The victim was immediately rushed to the local civil hospital, from where he was referred to DMC, Ludhiana.

Mr Kulwant Singh, an arhtia, whose 5 acres were destroyed, criticised PSEB officials for their negligence. He said he had already complained to the area JE, Mr Amar Singh, about the faulty system of wires. It may be called that this is the third biggest incident in the last week.

It is estimated that wheat crop worth Rs 10 lakh got destroyed today. In this incident Mr Jiwan Singh was the biggest sufferer, whose 32 acres were destroyed. The others who suffered on account of the fire are Shingara Singh, Mohinder Singh and Jeet Singh.Back


Punjabi Tribune ‘promotes’ farmers’ cause
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
The Punjabi Tribune has outshone other newspapers in taking up the cause of the farmers of the state, according to a recent study by Punjab Agriculture University (PAU).

The study on the “Projection of current farm problems by the leading Punjabi newspapers of Punjab” has suggested that this newspaper of the Tribune family devoted 5.25 per cent space to farm problems everyday followed by Ajit (3.37) and Jagbani (1.38).

This newspaper gave the maximum coverage to various issues related to plant protection, farm inputs, marketing, natural calamities, loan and miscellaneous problems. The Punjabi Tribune also gave maximun coverage to news projecting the problem of high indebtedness on farmers. It provided 94.15 per cent space followed by Ajit (91.08) and Jagbani (89.62) to this problem.

The study conducted by Maninder Singh, a postgraduate scholar under the guidance of Dr S.S. Gill, Department of Extension Education, further said that the next highly projected problem was the marketing of paddy to which Jagbani gave the maximum coverage followed by the Punjabi Tribune.

The selection of respondents was done by selecting six villages at random from six agro-climactic zones of the state. In all,120 farmers were selected at the rate of 20 farmers from each village. Out of the 120 farmers selected for the study 60 farmers read newspapers and the rest did not.

The coverage was measured in terms of centimeter columns of the space devoted to each problem and suggested solutions from September 1998 to April 1999. The content of the news were analysed according to the various areas of problems of the farmers concerning various farm practices.

It had been seen during the study that 100 per cent of the respondents who subscribed to any of the three newspapers were aware of various farm problems and even the small percentage who did not read any newspapers was aware of the existing farm problems. A higher percentage of the farmers who subscribed to the newspapers had knowledge about the solution of the existing problem.

Besides evaluating the space provided to various problems relating to the farming community the study has suggested that the space given to the farm problems in Punjabi newspapers should be increased in view of the share of agriculture in the gross domestic product of the state.

Keeping in view the role of these newspapers in creating awareness about the farm problems and educating the farmers about their solutions, the newspapers of this language should be encouraged by the government by increasing the flow of official advertisements. A regular subscription to these newspapers in the libraries of panchayats, government offices, educational institutions can also help these newspapers.

The study has also suggested that the newspapers should also take up the cause of teaching the farming community about the problems like water logging, depletion of ground water malpractices in marketing of produce and sale of farm inputs. To meet this objective technically qualified agricultural graduates should be appointed as agricultural correspondents by the leading newspapers, says the study.


Robbery: staff change statements
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
Police investigations into the yesterday’s robbery outside Punjab and Sind Bank are narrowing down the suspicion on some bank employees while the involvement of a senior officer was also not ruled out.

Sources said that the police was, more or less convinced about this theory today when the security guard and the cashier of the bank, from whom two scooter-borne youths had allegedly snatched Rs 7.10 lakh last afternoon, suddenly changed their statement today that the robbers snatched the money bag outside the bank.

According to their latest statement, the incident took place on the Hambran Road. They told the police that they had informed the senior bank officers and it was the collective decision of all that the police should be told that the snatching took place just outside the bank. The two persons also admitted before the police that the security guard was not carrying his gun as he had claimed yesterday.

They told the police that the moment they reached the Hambran Road, two scooter-borne youths — one wearing a helmet and another a turban came from behind and snatched the bag containing the money at gunpoint. The two employees, surprisingly, did not raised an alarm and returned to the bank.

According to DSP Satinder Singh, the decision to change the site of robbery was taken as under the rules the bank was not supposed to carry such an amount on a scooter. He said that the manager of the bank and other officials had also admitted of their collective decision to change the site in the statements. The change of site would also have saved their skin regarding the violation of the rules about carrying the cash.

Interestingly, according to Mr Warryam Singh, SHO, Haibowal, the police was still doubting the latest statement made by the two bank employees. According to him he went with the two employees to the new site on the Hambran Road but found it improbable that the robbery could have taken place.

The SHO said a number of shops and kiosks beside regular rehriwallahs were standing just near the site. Responding to police inquiries they said they did not see any such incident. When the police asked where the robbery took place, the shopkeepers said they had heard took place outside the bank.

Sources said that the changed statements of the bank staff was perplexing and the police was now verifying the antecedents of all employees. It was learnt that the record of telephone calls made from the bank was also being verified.

SHO Warryam Singh said the police was also verifying the possibility of the involvement of the senior officers. Meanwhile, the police has rounded up more than 20 persons having criminal record of involvement in snatching cases. However, no lead had been established. 


Robbers’ gang active in city

Ludhiana, April 24
Next time when you hire an auto-rickshaw from the local railway station, beware, for you may be ‘‘chloroformed and robbed’’ on the way.

A gang comprising a few auto-rickshaw drivers and thugs is active at the local railway station that specialises in spotting migrants and others with money and depriving them of the same after making them unconscious with the help of chloroform.

On Wednesday last, the gang members spotted a group of about 12 migrants soon after they alighted from a train in the evening. They had been working for quite a while as wheat harvesters somewhere else in the state and had all their earnings with them.

The con men, who were quick to spot them, agreed to take them to their next destination in an auto-rickshaw after a bit of haggling. They were most probably bound for Kohara or some other village on the Chandigarh road. But on the way, the migrants, who are generally wary of any foodstuff offered to them, were made to inhale, somehow or the other, enough of chloroform so as to make them unconscious. According to sources, one of the migrants was wearing a gold bracelet and also had money with him.

While some of the migrants were ‘off-loaded’ near the Vardhman Mill on the Chandigarh road, others were thrown away at some other deserted place in the Focal Point area, but not before being deprived of all their earnings and ornaments. Those thrown near the Vardhman Mill were brought to a hospital by some policemen. On coming to their senses, the poor migrants took to their heels without bothering to tell the police about how they fell unconscious.

According to sources, the gang has been active for quite a long time now. But it was only on Wednesday last that they had to complete their ‘operation’ in a jiffy, most probably due to a police ‘naka’ near Jamalpur that night in the absence of which the migrants might have been off-loaded well beyond the limits of the city.

Sources point out that once a group of migrants is deprived of their earnings they are left with little means to reach to a police station and get a report registered. People generally advise them to forget about the incident and be careful in future. Police, they are told, would not be of much help.


Hectic lobbying for PAU posts
Kanchan Vasdev

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
Hectic parleys are on in the process for filling up four prize postings at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here which are already lying vacant or will fall vacant in near future. The posts are Director Research, Dean College of Agriculture and Additional Director of Extension Education.

The post of Director Research will fall vacant on August 31 when Dr M.S. Bajwa will retire on superannuation. The varsity has already advertised the post and invited applications. The last date of receipt of applications for this post was April 16.

Many faculty members of the varsity were vying for the post. Sources said that besides others those prominent were Dr K.S. Sekhon, Dean, Post Graduate Studies and Dr H.S. Dhaliwal, former Director of Bio-technology.

The post of DR was important as the PAU was a varsity based on agricultural research and all important researches undertaken by the varsity were decided by the director.

The post of Dean, College of Agriculture was also vacated by Dr Pal Singh Sidhu who was assigned by World Bank to serve at its office in New Delhi. He left the PAU on April 1 and the office of Dean, College of Agriculture, was taken over by Dr Ranjit Singh who was the officiating dean.

Four faculty members of the varsity were vying for the post of Dean. These included Dr G.S. Dhaliwal, Professor of Ecology, Dr H.N. Khajuria, former Head of Forestry, Dr G.S. Nanda, Head of Plant Breeding and Dr Darshan Singh, Head of Entomology.

The post of Additional Director of Extension Education was also lying vacant. This office was vacated by Dr S.P.S. Brar and the post was not filled after that. The administration had, though, decided against the filling of this post, many faculty members were reported to be lobbying for the same.

The appointments in the university were considered to be a thorny issue and allegations and counter-allegations were reported every time. These being the first appointments after the joining of the new Vice-Chancellor it was being considered as a test on whether he would make appointments on merit or not.

It is worth mentioning here that even for the appointments of the peons in the varsity a month ago it was reported that four Akali ministers had recommended candidates for the same post. It could be well imagined from here that for such prize postings of varsity what kind of lobbying would be done. 


It works like magic

WHEN you first hear about Feng Shui and the exciting promises that it makes, it is absolutely understandble not to believe in it. One can surely be put into doubt when he hears that merely by living in harmony with your environment according to Feng Shui, one can attain all the success, wealth and health that brings satisfaction in life. But Feng Shui does indeed work like magic. There is often a seemingly mysterious force at work. So it perfectly expectable to feel wary and be suspicious of all these claims.

Feng Shui is neither a religion nor a spiritual practice. It does not require you to have faith in it. It is better and a lot easier to be just positive about it. Look on it as a science and as a an ancient theory, that teaches us to live in harmony with the forces of the universe. It does not work overnight. When the energy lines are beneficial, the effect will be felt over a period of time. Feng Shui works for everyone, one just needs to understand how.

No one has ever given any scientific answer to Feng Shui. Nor can I any definitive proof of Feng Shui’s immense potency. But at the same time it won’t require any significant compromise of religious or value systems. It can and does bring so much genuine good luck, so much peace and happiness, that literally you can use it as your personal house door.




Politicians in general and rulers in particular have always enjoyed the privilege of dictating terms. They get things done and undone on their own terms and conditions. Seldom have politicians, more so those in power, been found taking dictation and that, too, from the common people. But they do, although once in a while only. Rather to be specific, once in five years when the elections are round the corner. Amidst speculations that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is going for snap polls, he has already started the ‘election’ campaign, with a number of developmental projects being announced and launched. No matter whether these projects would be completed or not. Only on Sunday, the Chief Minister followed by a long caravan of officers and a few ministers conducted a whirlwind tour of the constituency of BJP legislator and Deputy Speaker Satpal Gosain in the heart of the city. It was interesting to note the Chief Minister taking notes (see the picture) from the public about their different demands and passing them forward to the officers in the district administration. It was an exhaustingly hectic and tiring day for the elderly Badal as he started early in the morning and continued till late in the night. For, he was doing it for himself only. It is not the hard work and labour alone that Mr Badal is banking upon. He does not want to leave any loose ends. He is meticulous, seeking help from supernatural forces. Of late, reportedly on the advice of some astrologer, Mr Badal has been wearing two precious stones; golden topaz and ruby in pure gold, to brighten his chances of success in the forthcoming elections. Good luck, Mr Badal.

Back to square one

The traffic police and Sanitation Department of the city worked overtime to ensure that the Chief Minister’s cavalcade moved about unhindered by traffic bottlenecks on the otherwise congested Brown Road and alleys of Khud Mohalla the other day on the occasion of his favourite sangat darshan programme.

All heaps of rubbish in the area that have been there for years together were removed by the sanitation people well in advance. The Traffic Department also deployed a large force to ensure that the route to be taken by the CM was free of all traffic bottlenecks. Even scooters and cycles were not allowed to be parked along roadside. On the day of the visit, cyclists and scooterists were deprived of using the VVIP route and diverted to other roads.

But as usual, things are back to square one. The traffic cops do not think it is worth the effort to ensure a smooth flow of traffic for the city residents.

The hanky-panky cops

Cops are well known for their hanky-panky dealings. If you ask police officials of a certain police station if they have picked up a certain criminal from an area falling under another police station, they promptly deny it. But when news of the same is carried in a newspaper, they try to cover up their tracks by producing the said man before the press. By that time they doctor the criminal what to say to the press about his detention. It seems the cops can never give up their hanky-panky attitude even while dealing with the press.

Punctuality enforced

The regularity and punctuality drive started by the authorities of Punjab Agricultural University is proving to be working. Although not many people were taking this drive seriously a few days ago, thanks to the surprise checks conducted by the Vice Chancellor, many faculty members have stopped meeting the journalists during the office hours. A colleague had called up a faculty member for an appointment only to hear that “we will meet on the weekend. The VC has started surprise checks and I don’t want to be seen with you. I cannot come at some other place as I am supposed to be here in the office.”

Work delayed

The Northern Railways had given a contract to a Jalandhar-based construction company to renovate the Ist class women waiting room at Ludhiana railway station. According to the prescribed rules, the contractor cannnot use electricity connection at the station to run the floor grinding machine. Consequently, he has arranged a generator to run the machines. He has partly sub-let the project to a labourer, Mr Lalji, promising that he will provide the necessary material to him. Now surprisingly the work is being delayed on peculiar pretexts. Mr Lalji has been waiting for his master to provide diesel to run the generator. While the women passengers have to face the inconvenience due to the unnecessary delay but the labourer is grinding the floors with his hand tools, as he is unable to operate the machine because of peculiar rules. He says: “The work that could have been easily completed within 10-15 days, may not be completed even after two months.” The railway authorities seem to be indifferent regarding the unnecessary delay as they do not have to face the problem themselves, say passengers.

Awardees’ misery

These days Punjabi Bhavan is the venue of many a Punjabi literary book release and prize distribution functions. In fact on the last Sunday their were two functions. Mr Shamsher Singh, an NRI writer, shared the stage with other dignatories. He was to be honoured for his contribution to the Punjabi literature. The function was longish. Then there was a kavi darbar, The function stretched for more than three hours. That is normal. But what was abnormal was that the chief guest and other distinguished people were literally sweating it out for there is no provision of fans on the stage, whereas the fans overhead were whirring over audience. But since the people on the podium could not come off the stage they had to bear the discomfort. The least that can be done is to provide some fans, so the experience of receiving award is a joyous one and not a torturous one.

Why shawls?

Why should all the artistes, writers, and others involved in art and cultural activities be awarded shawls? But imagine the plight of the artistes who would be getting umpteen numbers of shawls. What are they to do with almost similar kinds of shawls that they receive? The colours are also similar, dull, or opaque whites, and off-whites. One of the writers said that he and his fellow friends never accepted shawls as they knew it for a fact that the shawls were taken off dead bodies and sold cheaply in the Mojpura Bazaars. Without casting any aspirations on any organisations, he said that they had become skeptical about accepting shawls. It is time for the organisers to come up with some novel idea than to present shawls each and every time.

A gentle cop

The Police Department can play a very good role in serving for the noble cause of humanity. Policeman Balwinder Singh, reader in the SSP’s office, Ludhiana, is involved in the noble cause for the last many years. Till date he has filled more than 1000 eye donation pledge forms by his personal contacts and with strong motivation. His family, relatives, friends and villagers appreciate his efforts. Recently he motivated the family of Bahadur Singh, who after his death donated his eyes. The cop appeals to the kind-hearted people to come forward and do something best in the interest of the nation.

Club culture

The industrial city has seen mushrooming of ladies and family clubs where Ludhianvis can relax from the routine hectic schedule. Often these clubs organise cultural nights which become a good place for dating for a number of city teenagers. An elite club of the city organised a Baisakhi night earlier this week, which was a hit with the teenagers. Young boys and girls enjoyed each others’ company in presence of their parents. The boys were seen busy with their drinks and girlfriends while their parents enjoyed the function with people of their age. Surprisingly, the ‘modern’ parents no longer object to their kids playing cupid, as they considered it to be a status symbol.

Nearer the church, farther from God

Welcome to the Pollution Control Board Office. Located on Gill Road, the board is perhaps keeping very busy to control the pollution of the city. That’s why its authorities do not find anytime to clean their surroundings. A visit to this office makes one believe that the rules to keep the city pollution free are meant for others and not for the department officials. Because just as you enter the premises, broken sign boards of the department lying in the middle of path and heaps of garbage under the stairs greet you. Perhaps the department officials are too busy in controlling the pollution in the city to pay any attention to their immediate environs.

Licence to kill

The state Director General of Police, Mr Sarabjit Singh, recently drew an interesting parallel with the activities of the famous detective James Bond 007 and the drivers on Indian roads. While speaking at a one-day seminar on Road Safety at CMCH here recently, the DGP informed the gathering that the meaning of the code no. 007 was to have the ‘licence to kill ’. The USA, he said, has less than 20 such agents who are known for the dreadful licence. However, if one looks at the rate of accidents and the number of casualties in the country, which is the highest in the world, one can safely come to the conclusion that thousands of people possess the licence to kill in our country.

Traffic blues

The megacity is fast becoming overcrowded not just in terms of people, but also in terms of vehicular traffic as well. The massive traffic concentration can be seen at places like Jagraon bridge, Dumorian Bridge and Bharat Nagar crossing. Ludhiana is believed to be one of the most congested cities in terms of traffic on the roads. And every day many vehicles are added to this number. The bad situation turns worst once the lights go off and the chaos is worth being seen at the crossings when it is virtually free for all. Probably aware of this reality plus the craze for new and branded cars among Ludhianvis, Daewoo Motors, organised a road show of its latest cars which are being launched in the third quarter of this year in India. The cars with beautiful finish like Nubira II, Magnus and Lamos appeared too seductive, particularly in presence of equally seductive models who were explaining their qualities. And there was a paradox. How will these cars look on Ludhiana roads? Not ugly or out of place, at least.

Beauty or curse

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” wrote great poet John Keats once. But in the present scenario a thing of beauty can become a hindrance for the smooth flow of traffic. The other day a beautiful girl driving her car stopped at the red lights installed at Kachehri Chowk. Within a few seconds many drivers who were also stopping on the red lights turned their back towards her and kept staring at her. Much to the embarrassment of the girl the traffic kept standing even when there was a green light. Some drivers at the back honked continuously to ensure that the traffic started moving.


Signboard at Fountain Chowk roundabout. DMC & Hospital. Cemetery Road. Sentinel


Implement pay panel report: pensioners
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
The Punjab Government Pensioners’ Association has demanded the implementation of the Fourth Punjab Pay Commission report at the earliest that had recommended the benefit of old age allowance for the pensioners at the age of 65 and 75 years at the first and second stage, respectively, way back in February, 1998. At present, this benefit is allowed to them at the age of 70 and 80 years.

Mr Yash Paul Ghai, additional general secretary of the association, in press statement issued here today, sought the implementation of the report at the earliest.

He said,‘‘ Number of benefits and concessions such as higher exemption limit in income tax, concession in rail and air fare, no registration fee for getting telephone connection and old age allowance are allowed to the senior citizens at the age of 65 years. Keeping in view all these factors, the fourth Punjab Pay Commission had submitted its report pertaining to pensioners to the state government.’’

He said though more than three years had elapsed since the report was submitted, however, the Badal administration was dilly-dallying in implementing this important recommendation. There was no point in setting up a pay commission if its recommendations were not to be accepted, he argued

The association has urged the state government to implement the recommendation at the earliest as more than 1.5 lakh Punjab state government pensioners were waiting for a fair deal from the Badal government.


Hassle-free driving licence at a cost
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
Do you want a temporary or a permanent driving licence. Contact an agent outside the District Transport Officer’s office (DTO). Pay him a small amount extra depending upon the ‘genuineness of the case’ besides the necessary documents. You will be called just for the photo session and rest of the formalities will be taken care of him. The licence will be delivered at your residence.

There will no need for taking the medical check up or driving test as the agent can fix up all these. The time consuming process of getting a licence and the indifferent attitude of the licencing authorities have led to a lucrative business for the agents and some of the employees in the DTO office.

According to Mr Bhupinder Singh, DTO, they have send a proposal to the government to legalise the process by granting licenses to 20 to 25 agents in the district. It will help the public as well as department and save time and unnecessary hassles. The proposal is expected to be cleared in the next few days.

This, however, remains a dream for the people standing in the long queue. Mr Charan Singh, a resident of Model Town, who has been coming for the past three days, says, “The lamination machine is not functioning and I am repenting why I had not paid Rs 200 extra to the agent. I have already lost three days work in my factory worth more than Rs 1000. Cannot the authorities arrange some alternatives.”

This is not an unusual incident. The people have to stand under the hot tin sheets for hours. The smell from the public toilets near the parking is intolerable and it is out of question for any sane person to use them. The parking contractor is also alleged to charge more money than what is prescribed under the rules.

Mr Bhupinder agrees that the number of persons applying for the licence has increased manifold in recent past. But the strength of the staff has remained about 12 persons. He adds, “We issue licences to about 2000-2500 persons every month or to about 200 persons on any working day. Out of nine clerks at least four have to go to the courts for different cases. We need about 45 persons to deal with the rush. Despite numbers of reminders the government has not bothered to provide the necessary staff.”

However, he asserts that despite shortage of staff there are no pending cases for more than three days. But there are few takers to buy his assertion. Mr Jugal Kishore standing in the queue, says, “The public is forced to pay to the agents who facilitate the process by paying a ‘cut’ to the department officials. They will arrange blood test and medical fitness report from a MBBS doctor by paying Rs 100 or so and you will not be required to visit the clinic at all. In the same manner the driving test report will be arranged by the paying necessary fee.”

Under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, the applicant has to attach a medical fitness certificate with the application form. The certificate is arranged by paying a specific amount to the doctors or the agent without undergoing any test. It is surprising that number of persons with week eye sight and hearing succeed in getting the licence. It may result into accidents on the road.

Mr Bhupinder Singh admits, “Most of the applicants get fake reports from doctors. We cannot do nothing when the qualified doctors have stamped and signed. It is their moral duty to properly check the person before issuing a certificate.”


Rehabilitation centre denies staff charges
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 24
The Executive Director of the Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre has claimed that a few of its employees are indulging in ‘anti-social’ activities against the interest of the institution.

The management denied the statement that the payslip was not given to them. The payslip as requested by these employees were given in consultation with the legal adviser and all employees were satisfied. The staff were informed and very clearly notified at a recent meeting by the adviser about the Government of India’s notification replacing the word ‘salary as honorarium’. The allegation made against the attitude of the Director is false.

The Director, Dr E.M. Johnson, on behalf of the management, stated, “the matter is in the hands of the Labour Department and the legal adviser, Mr B.D. Arora, is dealing with this matter and hence their protest is illegal till such time the decision is given by the Labour Department”.


Banks’ functioning reviewed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 24
Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over a district-level Review Committee meeting here today asked the bankers to give loans to the weaker section of society on priority basis and emphasised the need to provide financial assistance to the poor with active involvement of NOGs. He also asked the bankers to give more thrust to priority sector lending.

He also reviewed the bank wise and sector wise performance in key areas of lending. He urged the various government agencies to keep proper liaison and cooperation with bankers for improved credit outflow.

Mr D.P.S. Walia, ADC(D), and Mr Harish Chandar, manager, State Bank of Patiala, Sirhind city, also addressed the meeting.


Development is poll gimmickry, feels public
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
Notwithstanding the denials by the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal that the recently intensified campaign in launching various developmental projects is routine, barring few exceptions, the general impression among people remains that these programmes are election oriented given their timing and location.

While the political parties like the Congress reacted on expected lines by attributing political motive to these sangat darshan programmes, the common people also felt that the government was doing it as the elections were drawing closer. “Otherwise how come that now the government felt the need to launch developmental projects on a massive scale in the fifth year of its tenure?”, asked Maj H S Bhinder, an ex serviceman, who is running a security service here.

According to Mr V.K. Syal, a businessman, the recent sangat darshan launched by the Chief Minister only smelt of the hidden purpose. “In fact it is not even hidden but obvious as the elections are round the corner”, he observed. For him, whatever the politicians did, they did with a motive and Mr Badal was doing it for the elections. He pointed out that during all these years the government was claiming that there was a financial crunch and now it had found money for developmental projects to please the people to get votes.

Ms Manpreet, an event manager, who had come from Chandigarh said, she was surprised to see the road blocks in the city as the Chief Minister was on a tour. She questioned the logic behind the Chief Minister himself visiting various areas. “If he really means business and wants development, he can issue orders from his office without putting people to trouble”, Manpreet pointed out.

Gurpreet Singh, who deals in computers, also opined that the sangat darshan was politically motivated. He shared the general view that why the government felt the urgency of going to people now and not earlier.

Senior Pradesh Congress Committee leaders, including Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, Mr R.R. Bharadwaj and Mr Surinder Dawar had also been vehemently criticising the government for launching developmental projects in the state “with an eye on the forthcoming elections”. Mr Dawar pointed out, the programme was partisan as was obvious from Mr Badal choosing only the constituencies represented by the ruling coalition MLAs. “If the government was really sincere, it should have included all constituencies irrespective of the consideration whether they were being represented by the ruling alliance candidates or the Opposition parties”, Mr Dawar pointed out.

Mr Dawar said the Chief Minister seemed to have already launched the campaign for the next elections and he was generously distributing the wealth of the state to serve his own political ends. 


Shobha yatra taken out
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 24
A ‘kalash and shobha yatra’ was taken out from Vishnu temple on the Islamia School road which passed through various parts of the old city here today. The yatra was organised to mark the beginning of ‘Navkundiya Shri Ram Mahayagya’ which will go on till May 2 at the Daresi grounds.

More than 200 women wearing saffron clothes and with pots of Ganga water placed on their heads comprised the ‘kalash yatris’. Hundreds of school children also trotted along merrily. People from all walks of life participated in the yatra which culminated at the Daresi ground in the afternoon. Various tableaux depicting the life of Baba Lal Dyal ji were also on display. Youths displayed ‘gatka’ skills in the yatra.

The highlight of the week-long religious programme would be the ‘katha’ by Jagdaguru Ramanandacharya Swami Shri Harya Charya ji Maharaj from Ayodhya. A number of religious and political personalities are likely to attend the celebrations.


Fraud in city post office
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24
A fraud is reported to have been committed in a post office in the Clock Tower as a number of National Saving Certificates have gone missing from the post office.

A case in this regard has been registered at the Kotwali police station. Mr Joginder Singh Superintendent of the post office, has complained to the police that the certificates have gone missing and a fraud has been played with the post office. The exact amount of the fraud was yet to be ascertained. According to police sources no clue has been found in the case.

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 |