Saturday, April 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



FCI loses Rs 2,600 crore
Quality of paddy poor in Punjab
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has lost about Rs 2,600 crore in the past three years due to poor quality of paddy that had been purchased by the agency in Punjab. The stocks lying in FCI stores were piling up, leading to further damage as rice mills have been rejecting it for milling. Surprisingly, the government had reduced the rejection limit for damaged grain to half for milled rice, thus further compounding the problem.

The FCI Quality Control Staff Welfare Association, in a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister, has pointed out that during the current kharif season the government agencies had procured about 110 lakh tonnes of paddy. Only 48 per cent of that paddy was milled by the mills till date. The entire milling used to be completed by March 31 in the previous years. The mills have rejected about 52.8 lakh tonnes of paddy on account of poor quality of paddy during the current year.

Mr Brij Mohan, president of the association, said: ‘‘About 20 per cent of the paddy procured during 1999-00 has remained unmilled and about 40 per cent paddy procured during 2000-01 is also likely to remain unmilled due to bad quality. The government should give serious thought to save the losses that were increasing with the passage of time.’’

He further pointed out during the past few years the increasing use of harvesting machines in the state had led to cutting of unripe paddy. Consequently, the paddy with higher moisture and immature grains was reaching the market. That paddy was mostly affected by blight disease and had black spots due to excessive use of nitrogen and water by the farmers.

During the 1978-94 period, the rejection limit of damaged grains in the raw super fine rice variety was 4 per cent that was decreased to 2 per cent later on. Similarly, the rejection limit in case of common rice had been decreased from 5 per cent to 2 per cent. However, the quality of paddy had drastically reduced during that period.

It may be pointed out that Mr Bhure Lal, Chairman, FCI, in his visit to Punjab during paddy procurement season had also mentioned that 80 per cent of the paddy brought to the mandis was of poor quality in respect of damaged grain specifications.

But the government had enhanced the damaged and discoloured percentage allowance from 3 to 8 per cent and lowered the turnout ratio of rice from 67 per cent to 64 per cent, resulting in Rs 250 crore. The government had also announced Rs 350 crore package for farmers.

The procurement agency had lost about Rs 500 crore in 1999-2000 and Rs 1500 crore in 2000-01, resulting in total losses of Rs 2600 crore in paddy procurement business in the state.

The government had fixed up to 4 per cent organic foreign matter and up to 2 per cent inorganic matter in the paddy. These limits have been reduced to 1 per cent in for the year 2000-01.

The association has asked to revise the limit to 2 per cent so that the millers start milling and the losses of the government could be checked. It would help the FCI to cut down the losses by disposing of the rice through the Public Distribution System. Now the agency was forced to auction the rice at lower prices in the market even if it was damaged just above 0.1 per cent limit than what was prescribed. 



Punjabi youths lodged in Pak jail
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Khamano, April 27
Old parents and relatives of Kulwinder Singh, a resident of Khamano, who is at present lodged in a jail in Baluchistan (Pakistan) are waiting for his release. Kulwinder Singh, along with 28 other Punjabi youths, had gone abroad in search of employment after being lured by greedy travel agents, that landed them in jail.

Kulwinder Singh had gone to Lebanon about two years and three months ago where he worked in a brick factory. The work was very bad and the pay was very low. Sometimes no payment was made to him. There he was lured by an agent to take him to Greece where he was assured of a good salary. When he, with other youths, was en route to Turkey, they were arrested by the Turkish army and handed over to the Iranian army, which in turn handed them to the Pakistan army so that these prisoners could be handed over to India. But the Pakistan army put them behind the bars in the Baluchistan jail. Now the Pakistan authorities have demanded character verification documents from them for their release.

Initially, Gurdip Singh of Burj village had informed his relatives at Morinda and then another youth Buta Singh had also informed his parents, who then informed , the parents of the other youths. In his letter Buta Singh had asked for a police verification report that like of passport verification report from the police station concerned and from the SSP’s Office. He and other youths, had demanded that one copy of this report be sent to the High Commissioner of India at Pakistan, one copy be sent to the Baluchistan jail on the given address and one copy to the SGPC President, Jathedar Talwandi, from where he should send it to Nankana Sahib.

Kulwinder Singh’s father Kaur Singh, with tears in his eyes, said that Kulwinder Singh (25) was the only brother of three sisters. Only one sister was married. Kaur Singh said that now they were waiting for their son to return with some money so that they could marry their daughters and their son Kulwinder Singh.

The father said Kulwinder Singh had given a big amount to the agent to reach Greece, and despite that he was unlucky to be jailed.

The youths have appealed the Chief Minister, Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to take up the issue with the Central Government to get them released.

Meanwhile, when officials concerned were contacted at Fatehgarh Sahib district, the security in charge, Mr Swarn Dass, said the inquiries about police verification of the three persons belonging to the district , had been sent to the police stations concerned for verification and the report of inquiry would be sent to the department concerned as soon as it reached their office.

The three persons of Khamano tehsil, Fatehgarh Sahib district, are Kulwinder Singh of Khamano, Gurdip Singh of Burj and Des Raj of Mustfabad, among 29 persons lodged in the Baluchistan jail.

Meanwhile, Kaur Singh has appealed to the higher authorities to speed up the police verification case to enable his son’s and other youths’ early release.



Computerisation drive comes a cropper
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The computerisation project at the head post office here launched with much fanfare by Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, Communications Minister, in September last year has come a cropper. Although a similar project launched at the same time in other cities like Gurdaspur, Patiala and Jalandhar has been a success, the postal department here has not succeeded in achieving the desired results.

While the other cities have already started transactions using the computers and have been reportedly providing quicker services to the customers, the local postal department has not even completed the process of feeding the details of various records. Due to the delay in full computerisation of the project, the postal department has to field embarrassing queries from the customers who are visibly upset at the slow pace of work.

Mr A.S.I.S Paul, Chief Post Master General, Punjab, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, candidly admitted the failure of the computerisation drive. He was in the city yesterday to survey the progress of the project.

He was unhappy to note that the services provided at local head post office were not up to the mark as half the work was done manually and half through the computers.

Mr Paul said that he had reviewed the progress of the project and was pained to note that much was left to be desired. ‘‘We are only feeding data and records in the computers and are long way away from using it for transaction purpose’’

Talking about the problems crippling the project, Mr Paul said that one of the main reason was the enormity of the task. The post office had a large number of accounts, much more than the other cities. He said as there were over 1.5 lakh saving accounts, a lot of time was required for completion of the work.

Mr Paul said that though arrangements for the proper training of the staff in working on computers was done yet he felt that more effort was required in this direction. He said work was also affected due to a number of teething problems which arose from time to time in handling the hardware and software of the computer terminals.

He said that the work needed to be streamlined so that by the end of June the public should feel the impact of the change in services offered by the post office.

Mr Paul expressed satisfaction at the progress made in the transaction of money orders through the new computerisation system. He said earlier it was a general complaint of the migrant labourers that their money orders were not reaching the destinations in Bihar but after the department began transaction via the satellite using the computers, the number of complaints had come down.



Adultery — thy victim is family
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
When marriages fail, love tends to find expression outside it. The obsession turns fatal at times. In one case, a woman kills her two children to please her paramour. In another, a suspecting husband kills his wife and other family members before committing suicide.

These two are some of the murders that took place in Ludhiana district last month. All six homicide incidents and a suicide reported recently have a common cause — matrimonial discord and extramarital affair. The sudden spree in such incidents has exposed the increasing social tension and the weakness of human relationships.

A study of the cases reveals that emotions are getting out of control at the exposure of the partner’s infidelity or at the suspicion of an illicit relationship. Eleven persons, including four minors, have lost their lives in the past one month. The murders include the killing of two children by their mother in Mullanpur Dakha village and a constable shooting dead five family members before killing himself.

The police found two dead children and their unconscious mother lying on the roadside at Mullanpur Dakha on April 7. It was later found that the woman had feigned unconsciousness and had, along with her paramour, murdered her children so that she could marry him. The murderers confessed to the police that their next target was the woman’s husband.

The city was then rocked by the news of a police constable shooting dead five members of his family and killing himself. Besides the abnormal behaviour of the constable, his suspicion of an illicit relationship between his wife and his father was said to be the main reason behind the shootout.

In another incident, a woman from Savadi village conspired with her paramour to get her son implicated in a kidnapping and murder case as the son had learnt about her illicit relationship. The paramour lured the 13-year-old boy with a payment of Rs 300 to kidnap and murder a neighbour’s five-year-old child. The plan was that the boy would be later caught, thereby removed from their way. Their conspiracy failed when the boy’s bid to kidnap and murder the child was foiled.

In the house of a former sarpanch of Burundi village, a woman was allegedly being physically exploited by her father-in-law for the past several years and when she could not take it any longer, she shot two bullets in the old man’s chest.

A Nepalese youth in the city, Madan Kumar, was having regular fights with his newly-wed wife Mamta, whom he suspected of being close to some of his friends. The arguments took a bloody turn on April 4, when he strangulated her to death.

The trend began on March 19, when the police recovered the body of Balbir Singh. It seemed that he had died in a road accident. It was later found that he was murdered before his car met with an accident. Further investigations revealed that his wife Hardeep Kaur was behind the murder. An illicit relationship was the reason.

The trend continued till today, when a middle-aged man Jagtar Singh consumed celphos tablets after he allegedly could not stop his wife’s illicit relationship with a transporter.


Encroachment bid by revenue officials?
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 27
The alleged attempt to encroach upon a piece of land measuring six kanal and eight marla at Bassi Pathana by the officials from one Jai Krishan Khanna has become a bone of contention for the administration as well as for the revenue officials.

The SDM as well as revenue officials today contradicted the news item published in a section of Press that they have taken the possession of the said land. This alleged possession has also created controversy among the officials who are blaming each other for negligence.

Meanwhile, Mr Jai Krishan Khanna, a social worker of Bassi Pathana, in a complaint to the SSP today alleged that on April 20, Mr Swaran Singh, Tehsildar, Bassi Pathana, accompanied by naib tehsildar, executive officer, M.C, Bassi Pathana, kanungo and halka patwari in his absence attempted to take possession of his land without giving him any prior notice and inspite of the fact that the Civil Court had granted status quo till July 16. He has mentioned that he had the possession of the land (Khasra No. 596) for the past 33 years. The girdwari is on his name and he had been depositing rent in the treasury on the directions of the Tehsildar, Bassi Pathana. He has mentioned that from some sources, he got information that tehsildar may dispossess him illegally and forcibly, so he filed a suit in the Civil Court at Fatehgarh Sahib and the court has granted status quo.

Inspite of that they did fencing of the land and put up a board indicating that was a government land. He has further alleged that all these officials have not only misused their official powers, but have also flouted the direction of the court. He has demanded immediate action against these officials.

However the tehsildar refused that he had gone there or taken the possession of the said land. But in his letter No 11/Rctt. dated April 20, addressed to the secretary (revenue) and a copy to the deputy Commissioner he has mentioned that in reference to a letter No PA/SR/2001-2227 dated April 12, regarding removal of illegal encroachment of land of Khasra No. 596, spot was visited on April by him along with the naib tehsildar, field kanungoo and the halka Patwari. Mr Jai Krishan Khanna was not at home and one of his relative informed that the court had granted status quo so the possession of the land could not be taken in contravention of the court order.

The SDM, Bassi Pathana, also refused that she had ordered anyone to take possession of the said land. She said none of there officials had taken the possession. The Deputy Commissioner has sought a detailed report from the SDM, Bassi Pathana, in this regard.


Minor boy missing
Our Correspondent

Doraha, April 27
A minor boy has been missing from here since April 24.

According to a report submitted to the police, Kuldip Singh alias Pinky, father of Johny alias Gguddu (age 9 years) has said that his son, a student of second standard of Arya School here last ventured out from the house, around 8 p.m. in the evening. He was wearing a brown suit with the ‘Shaktimaan’ written on it and was in black slippers. His parents have searched for him at all possible places but to no avail.

He has further said in his application that hence he does not suspect any one known to him to have a hand in his son’s disappearance.


Feng Shui & the trinity of luck

FENG Shui is not a spiritual practice which creates miracles. But its effects do sometimes appear like miracles. Feng Shui works according to the quality of the energies that surrounds any domestic set-up or work place. When one is going through a time of good fortune according to one’s fate or destiny, beneficial Feng Shui enhances the good fortune, bringing greater good luck. This is based on the philosophy of THE TRINITY OF LUCK. First, there is heaven luck with which one is born. Heaven luck is not within anyone’s control; no one has the control over the circumstances of his or her birth, or of the good and bad periods of his life. This is why all the great cultures of the world have divination methods that attempt to read one’s fate and destiny based on birth charts and other methods of fortune-telling. This is why a prayer is considered so powerful! Earth luck is within our control. It is that luck which comes from the environment and this gets strengthened when the Feng Shui of one’s surrounding is lucky and correct. Feng Shui luck brings opportunities, improves the chances of success, enhances living conditions and creates peace and goodwill in relationships. Feng Shui luck reaches its maximum potential only when it is accompanied by equally strong and excellent mankind luck — and this, as the name suggests, is within our control.

Address your Feng Shui queries to:

E-mail: [email protected]
Postal address: C/o F.S. TIPS
The Tribune, Sector-29, Chandigarh-160020.



41 degrees and no water
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
For about 500 families living around Deep Hospital in Model Town area, it is a harrowing ordeal. For the past three days, they have been getting contaminated water through taps and have to depend daily on the water tanker of the Municipal Corporation.

According to the residents about three days ago running water was contaminated as the water pipe had broken and sewer water was getting mixed with drinking water. Residents alleged that the pipes had not been repaired so far.

According to Dr A.K. Anand, the water is not only not potable, but it cannot be used even for washing.

The pipes reportedly got broken due to the digging being carried out by the Municipal Corporation.

Although the corporation had deployed one water tank, but it hardly suffices for the families.

An angry resident, Mr Parminder Singh Grewal, said, he had not been able to take a bath for the past two days as there was no water. He claimed he had to walk a distance of half-a-kilometre to fetch a bucket of drinking water.

Another resident, Ms Harvinder Pinky, said they had been facing acute hardships especially when the temperature had shot up to 41°C. “We are dying to get a drop of water and nobody seems to be bothered”, she protested.

Several complaints had been received from areas like the Civil Lines and the old city about non-availability of water and electricity. Due to frequent unscheduled power cuts, the water supply had also been affected.

People living in upper storeys have been facing more hardships because of the low pressure of water..


Water supply disrupted
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, April 27
Sahnewal and around two dozen surrounding villages have been passing through a severe water-crises for the past 15 days.

The supply of potable water to the area has snapped. The villages of Nandpur, Pawa and Jugiana have been without water for nearly a fortnight. Malfunctioning of the water supply system has put the residents in a difficult situation. Repeated requests and reminders to the concerned authorities have had no effect. This is not for the first time that the situation has arisen.

Due to the habit of procrastination on the part of the authorities, residents have no choice, but to drink water which is dirty due to the industrial pollution in the area. The underground water in the area has become dangerously contaminated. Effluents from dyeing, textile and chemical units have rendered even the sub-soil water units unfit for consumption.

Since village residents are forced to drink the polluted water, this exposes them to diseases like cholera, juandice, diarrhoea and typhoid.



Powerless to check power thefts
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The power situation is worsening every day. College students taking exams these days are literally forced to ‘burn midnight oil’ due to frequent power failures. Surprisingly, a section of domestic and industrialist consumers in the city are enjoying unlimited power supply and that too without paying anything. Officials in the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) say power theft has reached alarming proportions and is one of the reasons of frequent power cuts. Overloading on the transmission lines often lead to burning of transformers and total blackouts.

Recently, a number of electric gadgets were burnt in the PWD colony when the electricity voltage increased suddenly. Residents in the old city claimed that kundi connections put by their neighbours and some of the industrialists have further aggravated the problem. Mr Balwant Singh, a trader in the Chaura Bazar, said, ‘‘The board is doing nothing to check pilferage. Even farmers are being ensure free supply but urban citizens are forced to buy generator sets or resort to other costly means.’’

In this regard, Mr A. S. Randhawa, Engineer-in Chief, PSEB, Ludhiana, said,‘‘ There are around four lakh meters in the city and we collect Rs 120 crore per month as electricity charges. Undoubtedly, the transmission losses vary between 13-14 per cent of the total consumption. However, about 10-12 per cent of the electricity consumed in the city is pilfered by the commercial, industrial and domestic sector. It means that every month the board has to lose Rs 12-15 crore in power pilferage amounting to more than Rs 150 crore in a year.’’

According to PSEB estimates, there are more than 10,000 industries in the city in the residential areas which have unsanctioned load varying from 10 to 50 KW. The Board officials say, ‘‘Besides industrialists, power is pilfered by traders, shopkeepers and in the labour colonies. Lack of motivation on the part of board employees, uncooperative attitude of the police and administration are the main hurdles to check pilferage.’’

Ms Sony Kondal, a student of BA III said,‘‘ My parents are paying through their nose for the heavy electricity bills. The board has failed to check the power pilferage and we are facing the problem due to board’s inefficiency. Is their no rule to punish the board officials for their inefficiency?’’ Some students and their parents have even threatened to gherao the officials if they failed to check the power pilferage in the city and improve the power condition soon.

Is there any way to check power theft? The board officials are pessimistic. One of them said, ‘‘ It can be checked only in Ram Rajya, not in the present system when the police is not even ready to register an FIR against the culprits. Not even a single person has been convicted by the courts for power theft in recent years.’’ The citizens would have to face even more power cuts in the coming days, he adds.



MC zonal offices fail to serve purpose
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
The decentralisation of Municipal Corporation functioning and shifting of relevant records to the zonal offices at different places in the city have further added to the misery of the city population and the zonal offices have failed to serve the purpose they were supposed to.

Visitors to the MC zonal offices in the B and C zone, complain that no senior officers were usually available and the decision making was still done at the MC headquarters, which necessitated frequent shuttling between the zonal offices and headquarters and causing avoidable delay in getting things done.

The MC officers claim that the entire relevant record had been shifted as far as zone C was concerned. The same would be done for zone B also, which had become functional only a few days ago and people in the areas covered under these two zones, would not have to visit the MC headquarters. The real situation, however, is different, allege visitors to the offices, including concerned area councillors.

Ms Ravinder Kaur Chadha, a Congress councillor, maintains that the working of zone B office of the MC was disappointing for the people. “No senior officer sits in the zone office, nor was any record available. Even if part of the work was done at zonal level, people still have to go to headquarters. The clerical staff just while their time away and do nothing to redress the problems of the visiting residents.”

She was of the opinion that once the MC had decided to decentralise the working and zonal buildings were constructed from public funds, it should have been ensured that these offices served some useful purpose.

Another councillor, Mr Jai Parkash, who is also the member of the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) was also critical of the functioning of zonal offices of the MC, saying the bureaucracy was ruling the roost in the civic body and senior officers were least bothered about the hardship of the residents. “The zonal offices or the MC headquarters for that purpose, could only serve the desired purpose and come up to the expectations of the people only if there was a will to do so among the MC officials and employees.”



Saying it with fruits and flowers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
This is an exhibition with a difference. The theme is ‘fruits and flowers’. There are carved fruits and flowers on each product at display at the exhibition. The three-day exhibition, which started yesterday at a local Ladies Club has been organised by a private company from Delhi.

The organisers, Mr S. Bhalla and Ms Payal Johar, said that over 50 artisans had prepared different products in bright colours. The organisers claimed that quality control was their priority.

The exhibition displays a wide range of products. There are small candles, photo frames, candle stands, platters, ash trays, serving trays, soup bowls and wall clocks. Wax, metal, terracotta, glass, paints have been used for making the products.

Dinner sets with flowers and fruits, are beautifully painted in bright colours of yellow, blue, pink, orange and red, with the products ranging between Rs 45 to Rs 650. Some of the metal products are made from a single piece, while others have been prepared from scrap. Tulips and roses have been carved by artisans on different candle stands.

The candles range from Rs 15 to Rs 250. While photo frames range between Rs 150 to Rs 750, metal products range between Rs 25 to Rs 2000.

The organisers said bud vases, water jugs, ash trays, cereal bowls, tooth paste holders, jars, dip bowls, jam pot sets, butter dishes and pasta trays were the main attractions of the exhibition. 


Ban cow slaughter: Shankracharya
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
Jagadguru Shankracharya of Jyotishpeeth, Swami Madhavashram, has demanded a legislation to ban cow slaughter in the country.

Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, he appealed to all politicians, film personalities and intellectuals to work for total ban on cow slaughter in the country.

He said as long as it was not done, India could not make any progress, financially, socially or spiritually.

In reply to a question, he said that shortly he would start touring different states and meeting respective Chief Ministers to seek their support to the cause.

He said he would also try to convince Opposition leaders of the benefits of a total ban on cow slaughter.

He also stated that he would lead a rally against cow slaughter in New Delhi on November 7 which he claimed would be attended by lakhs of people.


Information on bombs?
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, April 27
According to an FIR (No 49), registered at the Sahnewal police station under Sections 4 and 5 of the Explosive Act and Section 201 of the IPC, a secret information was provided by some unknown person, to Mr Gurjit Singh, Additional SHO, on telephone, that he knew the name of the person who had thrown bombs into the water which were recovered by the police from under the Katani Kalan bridge.

He further claimed these had come in the scrap imported from foreign countries, but refused to tell the name of the person. He said that he was afraid of the man and his life would be endangered in the attempt and that he would disclose the name sometime later.


Club holds antakshari
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
Niharika Ladies Club organised an antakshri for its members at a local hotel here today. The participants were divided into five teams. There were five rounds. The devrani-jethani team of Jasmeet and Roopa came first. The members also played tambola and surprize gifts were given.

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