Sunday, May 13, 2001,  Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Registration of case sought against samiti
Officer alleges violation of norms
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
The district villages industries officer, Ludhiana, has recommended the registration of a cheating case against the management of the Kyur Gram Udyog Samiti for its alleged act of taking a subsidy of Rs 4 lakh from the state Khadi Gram Udyog Board by furnishing false affidavits.

Exposing the scandal, the report based on the preliminary inquiry by the DVIO, Mr Bhim Shah, here has found members of the management guilty of violating the rule that a member cannot have a relative in other samiti and of giving false affidavits and addresses and of forging signatures to avail of the loan, especially the subsidy of Rs 4 lakh, from the Khadi Board.

The board is learnt to have received a report and a senior official has been deputed to examine it. Mr Bhim Shah confirmed the contents of the report procured by Ludhiana Tribune, but declined to comment further.

According to a copy of the report, the scandal pertains to the managing members of the Kyur Gram Udyog Samiti. The DVIO states that the members had availed a loan of Rs 12.5 lakh, which includes a subsidy of Rs 4 lakh, from the Khadi Board in 1997 for setting up of a brick-kiln.

However, it was found that the samiti had been formed in alleged violation of the laid down norm that if a persons has some relative in an already existing samiti then he or she cannot form a new samiti and take loan from the board. According to the report, Mr Prem Chand Goyal and Mr Deepak Goyal were earlier members of the Prem Gram Udyog Samiti from which they had resigned and later Prem Chand Goyal formed the new Kyur Udyog Samiti.

However, the new samiti was formed against the rules as Ms Sudesh Goyal, wife of Mr Prem Chand Goyal, was a member of the Prem Udyog Samiti and Ms Renu Kumari, member of the Kyur Udyog Samiti, was wife of Mr Rakesh Kumar, who happened to be the chairman of the Prem Udyog Samiti. In order to avail the loan, the persons had allegedly filed false affidavits that none of their relative was a member of any other samiti.

The second violation was regarding the existence of a person named Deepak Mittal, shown as a member of the Kyur Udyo Samiti. According to the inquiry report, the DVIO checked the address given by him to the Khadi Board and found that no person of this name had ever lived at the given address.

The DVIO also found that Deepak Mittal, secretary of the Kyur Udyog Samiti, was a close relative of Deepak Goyal and the later had allegedly forged his signatures to avail the membership of the samiti and the subsidy. The DVIO claimed that he had got the signatures verified and found these to be of the same person. He also claims in his inquiry report that Deepak Mittal lived in Delhi and had nothing to do with the samiti.


Deepa, Ketan bring computer graphics to city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 12
In an attempt to rope in talent and give computer savvy people of Punjab an opportunity to learn computer graphics and animation the Maya Academy of Advance Cinematics (MAAC) held a seminar at Nehru Sidhant Kendra today. Ketan Mehta and Deepa Sahi were in the city along with the vice- presidents of the company to start a centre in the city. Ketan Mehta, a talented creater of movies like “Maya Memsahib” announced that MAAC was going to start three centres at Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Chandigarh. The students will undergo a comprehensive course covering all aspects of animation from graphic designing to computer animation. The teaching faculty will be from Mumbai. Field trips to Mumbai studio will also be arranged to make the students familiar with the studio surroundings.

Ketan Mehra said he had launched MAAC in 1996 with the dual purpose of providing latest technology in film industry and to upgrade it to match the international standards. The other purpose was to improve the creative contents. Ketan said while he was making “Maya Memsahib”, he realised that in spite of shooting a particular scene 10 times, he could not get the proper special effects. He had to go to Hongkong for the right effects.

Ketan was triggered by a desire to make science fiction film. Since, special effects technology was not available, so Ketan and Deepa Sahi decided to start Maya, The Magic Shop”.

They started a science fiction serial called “Captain Vyom” which was telecast on Doordarshan for one year. They used computer graphics and had a team of techno artists. This was a unique team which had a fascinating mixture of technical knowledge and creativity. “Captain Vyom” attracted international attention and Intel informed them that some of the best work done on PC-based and high quality computer animation was seen in “Captain Vyom”. Intel invested in Maya Entertainment which has now the largest special effects studio in India. He further said that Indians were producing quality work in this field.

Deepa Sahi, the heroine of Maya Memsahib, Tamas, producer, script writer said in fact India should have been the first country to use special effects as Indians are so used to mythological figures. Maya Entertainment has started courses in computer graphics and animation, visual effects for feature films, film scanning and recording, compositing and editing and it will absorb most of the students trained at these centres.

Mr Bijju D, the vice-president of the MAAC, also known as “Dada of fantasy” has given special effects for 23 feature films in two years. He showed some clips of “Captain Vyom”, Discovery Channel, Khiladi No. 420 and Gulaam. In all these animation and computer graphics were used intensely. He said in the film “Gulaam”, Aamir Khan did run in front of the train but since it was risky, they decided to shoot Aamir Khan without the train and the train without Aamir and later on composited the two. He also explained how computer graphics were used in these films.

Rajesh Turakhia, another vice-president of the company, said they were foraying into North as there was a great need for trained animators. Computer graphics and animation was growing at a fast pace.

Ketan Mehta said the course had been designed on their own experiences and they were supplementing the training by introducing their software. He further said “this generation needs a new kind of mind set. Visuals speak so loud and clear that these can cross language barrier. Hence, these courses are very important. Through computer graphics the special effects can be created in a very short time without endangering the life of stunt persons”.


Cyber avtar of Maya Memsahib
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, May 12
“Why do Indians achieve professional heights in leading positions in foreign countries? When Indians have the right tools, they can become explosive,” said Deepa Sahi, who was in the city to start short courses in computer animations and graphics.

Deepa and her husband Ketan Mehta’s “Maya, The Magic Shop” is one of the leading facilities in India with the latest digital technology and an excellent team of techno artists.

Deepa said, “Computer graphics has become very important in every field of our life. It is being used in education. I saw an operation being performed in 3-D computer graphics. It was so vivid that the students would never be able to forget that operation and how it was performed. Education can be made much more interesting with the use of computer graphics. Diagrams in 3-D can make the lessons very interesting for the students. It can be used by architects. In foreign countries, the architects show the design of the house to their clients and all the changes in the house are made on the computers before the final details are finalised. It is wrong to think that computer graphics is only useful in films. Even a fashion or a jewellery designer can show the product to the clients with the help of 3D computer graphics.”

Deepa further said earlier only 2-3 per cent of the movies were using special effects but now almost 30 per cent of the movies are using special effects. People have become very demanding and exacting. In order to compete with international standards we have to improve technical standards of our films and I am glad that as far as technical aspect of the film making is concerned we are doing pretty well.”

She said she had appeared in a short feature film made at FTII and had rave reviews and started her film career.

Anyway, she was not satisfied with her films and when she married Ketan Mehta, their frustration with the poor quality of special effects made them float a company “Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics”, which is producing animators, technicians of international quality. Their latest projects, include a film for children based on Gulliver’s Travels which is quite exciting. She said animations will create a new kind of balance. In reply to a question whether computer graphics would take away creativity, she replied, “No, infact trauma will be reduced as the stuntmen and the heroes will not have to risk their lives. Make belief is a part of film acting like in Tamas, I was supposed to look at the dead body of Om Puri but I was looking at a stone and emoting”.


Power shortage grips city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
With the mercury crossing the 45-degree celsius mark, the power supply in the city has broken down. The industrialists have been forced to close their production units or stop their night shifts. Hundreds of workers have been retrenched. Export orders worth crores of rupees have been cancelled due to delay in delivery as a result of the unscheduled and undeclared power cuts.

The industry representatives say the mismanagement in the Punjab State Electricity Board over the years, inadequate investment in power generation by the present government, overloaded and overutilised transmission lines and widespread corruption in the board have resulted in regular disruption and poor quality of power supply. They allege that the board has increased tariff by imposing fuel surcharge from time to time. Since last tariff revision, the board has increased power tariff by 6 paise per unit and now additional increase of 5 paise per unit has been imposed from April 1. Though more than 50 per cent of small and medium scale industries are paying higher minimum charges due to non-utilisation of electricity due to recession also. They have to pay hefty minimum charges despite the fact that neither the electricity is supplied for adequate time period nor are they supplied required voltage.

Residents allege that the unscheduled power cuts upset their daily routine. The water supply in almost all colonies including Sarabha Nagar, Model Town, Chander Nagar, Atam Nagar, Civil Lines and Sunder Nagar has been badly affected. More than 65 per cent of the city population is solely dependent on about 250 tubewells. The unscheduled power cuts for the past several days have hit the water supply also.

Officials in the Operation and Maintenance Cell of Municipal Corporation say that they cannot supply water through generators as these do not build up adequate pressure and the costs are too high. They allege that they are not provided any information about power cuts.

Meanwhile, medical services in the city have also been affected. Doctors in the local Civil Hospital, CMC, DMC and a number of private nursing homes have expressed concern over unscheduled power cuts which force them to the critical operations in between. The patients and their relatives are also facing lot of problems.

The students and teachers say the regular power cuts have affected the whole atmosphere of education. The shopkeepers in the city centre, Chaura Bazar, Ghumar Mandi, Model Town and other markets say the business worth crores have been lost due to power cuts during evening hours.

The air and noise pollution have also increased substantially because of the increase in the use of generator sets. The Pollution Control Board officials admit that the increase in the use of generator sets has resulted in severe air and noise pollution in the city. The people are not even able to go for a walk due to resulted pollution thanks to power cuts.

Meanwhile, Mr S. K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, says the situation is under control and they were in constant touch with the PSEB officials. Various measures would be taken after taking stock of the situation.

Mr Harmohinder Singh, MLA from Raikote and the District Congress Committee president of Ludhiana (rural), says, ‘‘The power situation is worse in the neighbouring towns and rural area. On an average, electricity remains off for more than 8 hours during a day. During night, electricity goes off at least four or five times.’’

Dr Gurinder Grewal, a leading physician says, ‘‘There seems to be no coordination between the government and the PSEB. The unscheduled power cuts are of varying lengths and have become a routine. There is no accountability and people are made to suffer.’’

Mr Harish Khanna, president, Industry Trade Forum, Ludhiana, says, ‘‘What is the purpose of State Power Regulatory Commission if the board has to announce tariff hike on its own. Is this the way to develop industry in the region.’’

Mr Inderjit Singh Navyug, officiating president, United Cycle and Cycle Parts Manufacturers’ Association, says, The PSEB has no right to increase power tariff unless it provides regular and adequate power supply.

Ms Manpreet, an event management practitioner, says, The overstaffed and corrupt PSEB needs thorough overhauling to make a beginning to improve the situation.

Mr Surjit Singh Guriya, state vice-president, Employees Federation of PSEB, says, The corruption at the Engineers’ level and shortage of staff at the field level should be tackled. The unions should not protect the corrupt members.

On the other hand, Mr J.S. Grewal, Chief Engineer, has big plans to improve the situation. The situation is grim but under control, he says. ‘‘I belong to Ludhiana, and have been sent here on a mission to improve the situation as far as possible within the shortest span of time. But the pubic must cooperate to face the crisis. I have made it clear to my employees that they have to perform or be ready for strict action, he added.

Regarding the present situation, he says, “The system has deteriorated over the years and it is not possible to improve the power supply immediately. The increasing use of air conditioners and unauthorised load has aggravated the problem. The supply has been affected due to high temperature and inadequate rains.’’

We are planning to announce a schedule of power cuts in the domestic and industry sector. Though the cuts depend upon temperature and the day of the week. We are implementing a weekly cut for different industries to save their wage costs. They have been allowed to use generator sets for the unsanctioned load. A notice is being issued in this regard shortly, he says.

To improve the customer services, he says, the time for paying electricity billing has been increased. The Ludhiana will be the first district in the state where the billing counters will remain open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. for cash payments. Separate counters for cheque payments will be opened in all the divisions that will work even up to 9 p.m.

He disclosed that the employees had been given strict instructions that their ACRs would depend upon the checking of power theft in their areas. The SDOs would be held responsible for the power theft in their area. The people would have also to cooperate to get better services. The corruption and power pilferage would be taken up seriously from now onwards. People could directly report to him about the corrupt officials.

Elaborating his action plan, he said the board was changing about 4000 defective meters in the houses where air conditioners were being run without any sanction. It would improve the power supply and check the power theft. The seals would be put on all the meters by the end of June. The board would try to involve community and industry organisations to improve the situation.


Power restrictions condemned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
Mr Dalbir Singh Dhiman, chairman, Mr Baldev Singh, president, and Mr Gurdev Singh, general secretary of the Punjab Sewing Machine Industries Association, respectively, have criticised the deteriorating power situation in the city.

In a press note issued here yesterday they said that small-scale industry was already passing through crisis. Frequent undeclared power cuts and impositions of evening peak-load-hour restrictions on consumers having sanctioned load of 50 kw and above since April 15, were affecting the industry.


Forum rejects PSEB demand
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 12
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has quashed a demand of Rs 30,881 of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) from Mr Kewal Krishan, a resident of New Shivpuri. The forum further directed the PSEB to refund the amount deposited against the disputed demand along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum and to restore the connection of the consumer within a week of the receipt of the order.

According to the complaint, the board officials had recently changed the electricity meter of the consumer. He was not informed about the checking of the meter in the ME Laboratory after which the PSEB raised a demand of Rs 30,881 vide letter on September 25, 2000. The consumer maintained that it was mentioned in the letter that after checking the meter in the laboratory, it was found that it was recording 50 per cent less consumption and that its seals were tempered with. The complainant contested the allegations. He stated that his electric connection was lying disconnected since October 16, 2000. He urged the forum to direct the PSEB to restore his connection and to quash the disputed demand.

The PSEB authorities pleaded that the meter of the consumer was checked on September 2, 2000, and a seal was found missing. The respondent further stated that after checking the meter, it was found that the meter was recording less consumption of energy by 60 per cent. The checking was done in the presence of the consumer and he signed the report. For more specific details, the meter was sent to the ME Laboratory after sealing and packing it properly, the board officials added.

The respondent maintained that after the ME Laboratory checking, it was observed that the current coil had been replaced with a sub-standard one and the meter was recording 50 per cent less consumption of energy and as such the disputed demand was raised.

The forum observed there was no evidence to prove that the meter was packed and sealed properly after removal and the checking was done in the presence of the complainant as the laboratory report did not bear signature of the consumer which was mandatory. The forum further stated that as per rules, a notice had to be issued to the consumer so that he could attend the checking of the meter in the laboratory, but he was not issued any notice. The forum held that the demand was not raised as per the rules of the PSEB and accordingly the same was liable to be quashed.


Whereabouts of INA wealth sought
Naveen S. Garewal

Ludhiana, May 12
The surviving Indian National Army (INA) personnel, having reconciled to the news about the death of Netaji Subhash Chander Bose in an air crash, confirmed by the disclosure of Col. J G. Figgess inquiry report from the British archives, are now coming out openly to divulge more details about the life and times of the INA leader.

“Most of the INA members have known all along that Netaji died following an air crash, but initially none was willing to disclose this out of fear of sabotaging the struggle for Independence and later for one reason or another”, says Captain Amar Singh Wadhera, a close associate of Netaji.

But now, with the truth about Netaji’s death finally out from the British archives, Captain Wadhera sought to know the whereabouts of the huge wealth that was collected by Netaji for the freedom struggle and deposited in the Azad Hind Bank, which was specially opened to prevent misuse of cash and ornaments donated by Indians to strengthen the hands of the INA in its freedom struggle.

“This bank flourished and its branches were opened at Rangoon, Bangkok and several other big cities. Mystery shrouds the whereabouts of this wealth, as after the surrender of the Japanese in 1944, the huge bank balance and gold deposits fell into the hands of the British, who have till date remained mum on the issue”, Captain Wadhera disclosed.

Recalling the events from his INA days, Captain Wadhera says, “It was in 1943 that Netaji left Berlin in a submarine braving great odds to reach Tokyo to take over the command of the INA and to establish the Azad Hind Provisional Government of India in Singapore. After this, government was recognised by several countries, including Germany, Japan and Italy, it declared a war against the British and its Allies, thereby revolutionising the Indian freedom struggle in the Far East”.

Recalling another incident, Captain Wadhera disclosed that a big rally was organised by the Indian Independence League at Singapore to welcome Netaji. “As the huge gathering of Indians in Singapore garlanded Netaji, nearly a truckload of garlands accumulated there”, he said.

After thanking the gathering, Netaji urged the people to help the INA in its struggle to liberate India from the British rule. “People living in the Far East have a responsibility towards their motherland and they should come forward to help the INA to procure arms, food and clothing”, he said. Netaji said that the Japanese could provide the arms, but INA could not depend on them for food and clothing as well. He announced that he would like to auction the garlands that had been put around his neck.

“The bid started with Rs 1 lakh (in 1943 it was more than rupees fifty lakh of today). The first garland was auctioned for Rs 1 crore and 3 lakh, which was purchased by a Muslim industrialist of Malaya, Habibur Rehman. Later he volunteered his services to join the movement. The women offered their valuables and gold ornaments. Total collections at this auction were about Rs 25 crore”, Captain Wadhera nostalgically recalls”.

He also remembers the moment when the Field Propaganda Unit, under his command received orders to despatch three platoons to accompany three brigades, heading for the battlefront. “We were entrusted with the task of laying electric wires/loud speakers in the battlefield so that we could broadcast anti-British sentiments to evoke a revolt by Indians serving in the British army”.

Netaji sent the word that he would meet the 75-odd jawans from the three platoons before their departure. “To our excitement, Netaji called all jawans one by one and told them that their job was most risky and they might get killed. In case they had any fear or doubt, they could stay back and think over. But each and every jawan had responded by saying, “that, hame jane do ham marne ko tyar hain. (Sir, let us go, we are ready to die)” he says. Most of the INA soldiers have hitherto believed that Netaji was very much alive and would resurface some day. The British military documents, supplied by the UK High Commission in Tokyo, contain statements of survivors of the August 18, 1945, plane crash.

The Col J.G. Figgess inquiry report, submitted to the British Government on July 24, 1946, says, “It is confirmed as certain that SC Bose died in a Taihoku Military Hospital (Nammon Ward) some time between 1900 hrs and 2000 hrs local time on the 18th August 1945. The cause of death was heart failure, resulting from multiple burns and shock.” A passenger on the same plane with Bose from Saigon onwards, Lt Col Nonogaki stated further that “S C Bose was sitting next to the petrol tank and owing to the cold, had just donned a rather tight-fitting jacket. It could not easily be removed after the crash when Bose was lying on the ground in flames,” said Lt Col Nonogaki. Netaji later succumbed to burn injuries.


Chaos at Congress function
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 12
Much to the discomfort and embarrassment of senior party leaders, a meeting organised by state unit of Human Rights Wing of the Congress at Shahanshah Palace here today turned into a free-for-all for quite some time and pandemonium prevailed as a former Speaker of Punjab Assembly, Mr Harnam Das Johar, was asked to propose a vote of thanks.

Former Punjab Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, National President of Human Rights Wing of AICC Justice (retd) Rang Nath Mishra, state president of the wing and former Punjab Minister Umrao Singh, Mr Rakesh Pandey, MLA, Mr Iqbal Singh and Mr Jagir Singh Dard, both former members of Rajya Sabha, among other senior party functionaries were present at the function.

This is the second time that Mr Johar has been involved in an unsavoury incident during a public function.

Earlier on April 11, in a state level party rally here, there was a scuffle between Mr Johar and the Congress MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, and both the groups had lodged formal complaints against each other with the party high command.

As Mr Johar stood up to speak, a group of workers started raising slogans against him and charged him of sabotaging the party function.

One party activist Mr Sanjiv Bhardwaj snatched the mike from Mr Johar and said loudly that Mr Johar would not be allowed to speak. In the melee, supporters of Mr Johar and some others also jostled and pushed each other.

Mr Johar denied the charge that he had tried to scuttle the function and further observed that it was an attempt by certain party functionaries to defame him and show him in the bad light before the central leadership of the party.

Earlier, in his speech Justice Mishra, former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, emphasised the dire need for unity and communal brotherhood in Punjab because it was not only among the major producers of the foodgrain but also remained in the forefront to guard the frontiers.

Claiming that the Congress had always championed the cause of human rights, he said the party had taken a right decision to set up a separate human rights wing.

In this context, he also mentioned that in more than one decade of terrorism in Punjab, a large number of precious human lives had been lost and grave violation of human rights of innocent citizens had been caused. Justice Mishra called upon the party workers to unitedly mobilise public opinion for safeguarding human rights of the masses.

Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal alleged that human rights of people had been violated during the four-year rule of SAD-BJP combine in Punjab.

Not only this, the police had become instrumental in perpetuating repression against innocent members of public while the criminals were having a field day, she said.


Mother’s Day holds significance
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
While millions of cards may have been purchased and posted and millions more gifts presented to mothers across the world yet there are hundreds of others who remain ignored and deserted. Rather, in the words of Jamuna Devi, a 70-year-old widow, staying in an old age home, “scorned”.

There are 22 women staying in the old age home and most of them deserted by their children. Quite a few of them come from affluent families and that too from Ludhiana only.

Sixtyfive-year-old Gurdev Kaur is also staying here. Interestingly her son, who runs a flourishing business in the city and lives nearby in the Model Town area only, at a distance not more than a mile, and yet too far. It is three years since she left her home and she hardly remembers whether her only son visited her even once. One of the daughters of Gurdev Kaur is settled abroad, while another is married in Indore. She feels so much desperate that she has not even any regrets. “I could have some regrets only if I had any expectations and I have none,” she remarked rather in a desperate tone.

The story of Joginder Kaur is no different. She came here about three years ago, after life became hell in her own house. This happened immediately after the death of her husband. However, she has only one consolation. Her daughters visit her regularly and also offer her money.

However, there are other like Nitika Sood, Bhumika and Suzy George who would love to do everything for their mothers. According to Nitika, Mothers’ Day holds special significance. “Although everyday of the year is a special day when it comes to loving my mother, but tomorrow it would be different as it holds a symbolic significance that the day is entirely dedicated to the mother,” she remarked. And Bhumika also gives a gift to her mother every year on this day.


NRI moves from pillar to post
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 12
For Mr Shinghara Singh Kooner, a UK-based NRI, it has proved to be a harrowing experience to procure permission for starting a cinema hall in the city. Courtesy, the stubbornness on part of a executive engineer concerned not to grant a ‘no objection certificate’ for the reasons best known to him.

About nine months ago Mr Kooner applied for the permission to start the cinema hall in Jamalpur. He was supposed to get NOC from nine different departments. Although it was a cumbersome process he managed to get the NOC from eight departments but was not lucky enough to cross the last bottleneck.

Mr Kooner has been fulfilling all requirements according to the Punjab Cinema Rules, 1952. However, the objection is being raised in regard to Section 19 of the rule regarding the site. It specifies that the cinema hall cannot be constructed within one furlong of a place of worship or a graveyard or crematorium. However, an amendment called the Punjab Cinema Regulation Amendment Rule, 1973, was made to the rule which reduced the distance to 60 metres in case the cinema hall is sound proof and 200 metres in case it is not sound proof. The amended rule also clarifies that the distance should be measured from exit to exit (the exit of the cinema hall and the exit of the religious or related place)

The NRI argues that the Executive Engineer in the Deputy Commissioner’s office was counting the aerial distance which was not mentioned in the act. He regretted that for the past nine months he has been tossed from here and there wasting his time to get one or other petty objections clarified.

The case was also presented at the sanghat darshan on May 3. However, it also did not serve any purpose as he was told to “satisfy the engineer concerned”. And Mr Kooner “fails to understand, how the engineer could be satisfied” when everything was in order. He regretted that bottlenecks were deliberately being to discourage the investment. “It is not just my loss, but also of the government”, he said, while pointing out that “on an average the government is losing Rs 2 lakh per month which would be otherwise paid as sales tax”.

He disclosed that the graveyard is located on the other side of the road at a distance more than that specified in the Act. 


English translations of Tagore’s works presented
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 12
A literary gathering was arranged at Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle Complex by the Sahitkar Sadan, the literary wing of the study circle. Mr Rajat Das Gupta from Calcutta recited the English translations of Nobel Prize winner Rabindra Nath Tagore’s poems in Bengali on ‘Bhai Taru Singh,’ ‘Banda Bahadur,’ and ‘Guru Gobind Singh.’ Many other poems were also discussed.

Mr Gupta gave a brief description of his professional and literary works. He expressed his faith in the literary depth and universality in the works of famous writers. Mr Balvinder Singh Kanpur, a Sikh philospher and president of the Gurbani Research and Study Centre, dwelt upon the philosophy of the tenth Sikh Guru with reference to ‘Sword and Pen’ and inspiration derived by Rabindra Nath Tagore and Subash Chandra Bose from this philosophy. Rajat D. Gupta was in the city in connection with his book on ‘Computer Rigmarole’ a satirical drama on application of computers in the commercial area.

Eminent scholars who participated in the discussion included Principal Surjit Singh, Dr Ajit Singh Sikka (who presented his book’ The Invincible Khalsa’ to the guest of honour), Prof Balwinderpal Singh, Prof Sarabjit Singh, Principal Satnam Singh, Prof Waryam Singh and Mr Gursharan Singh. 


Cong launches signature campaign
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 12
The District Congress committee launched a signature campaign in the district yesterday to seek the dismissal of Vajpayee government as its misdeeds have been exposed by tehelka expose.

While talking to mediapersons here today Mr Devinder Tayagi, General Secretary, AICC, said, “This signature compaign is a part of nationwide compaign launched on the directions of Ms Sonia Gandhi, President, AICC”. Lashing out against the Centre he said it had failed on every front. “Tehelka episode has exposed the so called honest BJP president, other leaders and officials. He said the entire country had seen on television the BJP president, Mr Bangaroo Laxman accepting bribe.

He said Mr Vajpayee should have resigned on his own, but in spite of demonstrations and protest rallies organised by the Congress and other political parties, he did not resign. He said the Congress had decided to submit a memorandum to the President of India to dismiss Vajpayee government and added that the memorandum would have the signatures of majority of the citizens of the country and the district and even block level units had been asked to seek signatures.

Addressing the meeting Mr Harchand Singh Barast, political secretary to president of the PPCC strongly criticised the BJP-SAD government for its failure. He termed the sangat darshan programme of Chief Minister as a political stunt.

Dr Sakinder Singh, district president, said the people of the state were fed up of the government and added that now the people of the state wanted to see Capt Amarinder Singh, president, PPCC, as the next Chief Minister. 


Law and order situation criticised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 12
The Janata Dal (Secular), Punjab, has expressed serious concern over deteriorating law and order situation in the state and failure of the law enforcement agencies as well as the state government to come to terms with the unabated crimes against life and property of the people.

Mr Harish Khanna, convener of the state unit of the party, has said in a press release that increasing incidents of thefts, robberies, looting, murders, rapes, atrocities on common people, forcible occupation of government and private properties were a cause for concern. The police force was not only harassing and intimidating innocent persons but was conniving with criminal and anti-social elements. He said in the absence of effective action by the government, the rule of law no longer prevailed in the state and the criminals were having a field day. According to Mr Khanna, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal did take notice of the law and order situation in this city, which was going from bad to worse and had directed the Home Secretary and the DGP to review the same by meeting district officials and members of general public. However. much to the disappointment of the city people and representatives of the political parties, what these officials did during their visit to the city was just an eye wash.

The party has demanded that senior government officials, including the Director General of Police and the Home Secretary, should hold an open session with the public and the political parties to assess the ground realities so that remedial measures for restoration of law and order could be initiated without any further delay. 


Transformer a fire hazard
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 12
Have you got a power transformer outside your house? If yes, then beware for in this dry and hot weather it may catch fire any moment it fancies and pose a fire hazard to the neighbourhood.

It happened with Ms Harneet Kaur Mangi, a resident of 117L, Model Town, only a few days ago. The family had gone out somewhere else in the city on May 3. But when they returned at around 6.30 p.m., they found that people from the neighbouring houses and shops were trying to douse a big fire with the help of sand which was fortunately available because of some construction activity in the neighbourhood. Prior to the fire, the power transformer burst up so loudly that a large number of neighbours mistook the explosion to be that of a bomb. The whole neighbourhood flocked to the spot. The fire was doused but not before it had entered the house as well and damaged the various plants grown so fondly by Ms Mangi. The outer boundary wall of the house was also blackened by the fire.

Harneet told Ludhiana Tribune that the transformer had been installed outside her residence about a year and a half in spite of strong verbal protests by her. About some months ago, the transformer produced a lot of sparking about which the authorities concerned were informed immediately but no notice was taken.

Referring to the fire incident, Ms Mangi said they were lucky as far as the time factor was concerned. Had the fire occurred sometimes late in the night, it might have engulfed the whole of the house and even spread further.

The incident has shaken Ms Mangi so much that she dares not move out of the house as the fear of an impending disaster continues to haunt her.

She has written to the SDO, PSEB, Model Town, explaining her predicament in detail and requesting that the hazardous power transformer be shifted to some other safer place. But she is still doubtful about any positive action on the part of the PSEB authorities concerned. Had it happened outside the residence of an influential VIP, the nasty transformer would have been immediately shifted, rues Ms Mangi.


Dharna against highhandedness of ST officials
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, May 12
All establishments of Loha Bazar remained closed here today and people staged dharna on the main road of the bazar in protest against the alleged highhandedness of Sales Tax department officials. Industrialists presented a memorandum to the Chief Minister of Punjab through Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, who had called a meeting of the representatives of the industrialists in the MC office. The representatives were asking for registration of an FIR against the sales tax officials. The Deputy Commissioner assured an action in consultation with the authorities concerned.

According to DDR No 27 lodged at the local police station by Mr Dinesh Kumar, son of Ishwar Chand of Neelkanth Ispat, Motia Khan, Mandi Gobindgarh, on May 11, his tempoo (HR-37-5004) loaded from Patiala with melting scrap was parked at the octroi post of Mandi Gobindtgarh and the driver called him on the phone to make the payment of octroi.

The report says Mr Dinesh Kumar was slapped by the ETO, Mr Magnesh Sethi, of the Enforcement Staff of the Sales Tax Department, Chandigarh, who carried him in his vehicle alleging that Mr Dinesh Kumar had made his driver run away and took him to Sadhugarh where the department had been holding a ‘nakka’ (check post). 

The report further states that a large number of industrialists, and traders from Mandi Gobindgarh reached Sadhugarh and met Capt Shergill, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC), who also had allegedly misbehaved with Dinesh Kumar. 

Representatives of various political parties, industries and traders participated in the dharna, which was addressed by Mr Surinder Singh, president, Steel Chamber, Mandi Gobindgarh, Mr Om Parkash Gupta, president, Beopar Mandal, Mr Parkash Chand Gupta, vice-president, BJP unit district Fatehgarh Sahib. Mr Suraj, general secretary, All India Steel Rerollers Association, Mr Mohinder Pal Gupta, President Furnace Association , Mandi Gobindgarh, Mr Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, member, SGPC, Mr Jagmeet Singh Bawa, president, Anti-Terrorist Front, Punjab, Mr Raj Bansal and Dr Joginder Singh Maini and demanded an FIR against the erring officials.

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