Wednesday, May 23, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Terrorists return to world of crime
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 22
While a number of terrorists who were spearheading the movement are coming back to the mainstream, several others have been indulging in robbery, kidnapping and even contract killings.

Some former terrorists, absconding in some cases or after having completed their jail term, are going back to their old ways, that is, of looting people through kidnapping or robberies.

The arrest of two former terrorists along with their other gang members recently by the city police is a fresh indicator to this trend. Police sources reveals that several other cases have taken place earlier. While Balwant Singh Sodhi, alias Checker, a former terrorist, was arrested by the Ludhiana police on May 6, Jasbir Singh, alias Jassa, listed in the hardcore category, was arrested as a robber four days ago and the police come to know of his real identity yesterday.

Jasbir Singh was wanted in eight cases of murder, robbery and kidnapping registered against him in various police districts. The Jalandhar police had also recovered 40 kg of RDX from him. He was also booked in a case of sensational kidnapping of a Ferozepore based industrialist from whom he received a ransom of Rs 15 lakh. The terrorist was caught several times but was either released on bail or fled from police custody and again committed crimes. His most recent one was the alleged murder of a city youth. He had tried to steal the car of the youth in Ghumar Mandi early this week.

Balwant Singh also a former terrorist, has been a hardcore one was a headache for various police districts. The enormity of his criminal acts can be gauged from the long list of murders, robberies and snatching incidents registered against him.

According to records, the gang, in a case of contract killing, murdered an aged woman in Noor Mahal village against a payment of Rs 80,000 about three years ago. The main accused, the son-in-law of the deceased, was arrested by the Jalandhar police. He had confessed to hiring contract killers.

The record mention 46 cases of robbery in Phillaur in Jalandhar district and in Phagwara. Most of the time the gang targeted liquor shops and robbed them of cash in the night. The list also includes a dare-devil daylight robbery when the gang members hijacked a truck carrying utensils and robbed the owner of about Rs 2 lakh. The gang was also wanted by the Ludhiana police in two robberies in the Sadar police station area.

According to police sources, the arrest of two former terrorists in cases of contract killing, robberies and kidnappings were isolated cases.



Students decide to continue agitation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 22
The agitating students of the College of Agricultural Engineering (COAE), Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), today announced to stage a dharna in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office tomorrow to press for their demands.

The announcement ended speculations that the strike was likely to be called off shortly. The speculations were fuelled by the reported statement of the Dean, College of Agricultural Engineering, that the students had assured him that they would attend classes from today.

However, the spokespersons of students today said they would continue the strike till all their demands were met. They said they would end their stir after the Vice-Chancellor had arranged their meeting with the Minister for Agriculture, Mr Gurdev Badal.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune here today, the students said all the students of COAE would gather in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office tomorrow and would also request the teachers of their college to join them.

They said the authorities of the university were not helping them and the Vice-Chancellor had refused to meet them unless they were accompanied by their Dean, who refused to accompany them.

They thanked the various unions that had offered them help and aided that they would not like to intensify the stir further and would like to resolve the matter within the university.

The Dean said they had promised him day before yesterday that they would call off their strike and would attend classes from today. He said they had gone back on their promise and he would not waste his time again to meet the Vice-Chancellor.

He had said yesterday that the university authorities had assured the students that they would arrange their meeting with the Minister for Agriculture, Mr Gurdev Badal, after he recovered from his ailment, in connection with which he had gone to Delhi.

He said he had assured the students that the university would write to the Department of Soil Conservation of the state for filling the vacancies of agricultural engineers in the department. He said they were also assured by the Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, that the vocational posts in schools would be advertised soon.

That the students of COAE were agitating since May 9 and were adamant that they would end the stir after they were made to meet the Minister for Agriculture. The students had met the Minister for Education and had called off their strike after the assurances by the minister.



Blast spreads panic in melting units
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 22
The death of two persons in a scrap blast at Focal Point last evening has once again brought to the fore the seemingly ‘forgotten’ danger of explosives which arrive “accidentally” in the city along with the scrap imported from the Middle-East, ordnance factories in the country or scrap of used shells picked up from war exercise grounds.

With as much as 50,000 tonnes of scrap arriving in the city, from the different sources, the city especially the Focal Point, seems to be sitting on a tinder-box. While yesterday evening’s blast took place when one of the victims Mool Chand was trying to retrieve brass from scrap, inquiries revealed that a major accident can take place any moment at the furnace and melting units in Focal Point where huge quantities of scrap was melted for recycling.

As no proper inspection of the scrap is allegedly being carried out in the dry port by the Customs Department, panic has spread among the melting units and the furnace industries in the city. The industry representatives have demanded thorough inspection of the scrap brought here or the introduction of some system which would ensure that such unfortunate incidents do not take place in future.

The District Administration and the police department admitting that it was not practically possible to keep an eye on the scrap coming to the city has again written to the Centre through the state government to introduce a system of seeking a certificate from an exporter or importer that the scrap does not consist of any explosive material. While the SSP, Mr Kuldip Singh, said today that the police department had taken up the matter with the state government, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu had, reportedly written to the state government last month when a huge cache of howitzer shells were recovered from Sirhind Canal near Katani Kalan village. However, no response of the requests has been received so far.

While the import of huge quantities of the scrap is necessary as it is a raw-material for the steel industry, the lack of proper inspection at the Dhandari Kalan dry port coupled with the seeming “helplessness” of the customs police and the Punjab Police to check all consignments threatens the occurrence of such incidents in future also.

Already about 20 persons have lost their lives in similar blasts taking place in scrap. The major incidents included the death of four children in an explosion near a village on Doraha canal in 1994. Nine persons had died in another such blast at GT Road in Dhandari Kalan in the same year. After certain minor incidents a major blast claimed the lives of two more persons at a furnace factory in 1999. Yesterday’s blast also claimed two lives. A number of minor incidents keep taking place from time to time in the city.

According to sources, about three years ago when a number of explosions took place in the city in scrap material. Industry representatives and the Customs officials had mutually decided to have an inspecting agency for checking the arriving consignment. Sources said the private agency was active earlier but it was no longer active for the past few months.

Mr Sanjeev Garg, President of the North India Furnace Industries, said the explosions or the presence of explosives in scrap is not a good news for the Industry, On one hand it spreads panic among the industrialists and the labour, on the other the Industrialist in whose scrap the explosion takes place is booked by the police.

He argued that the scrap buyer cannot be held responsible as he is no position to distinguish between the scrap and explosives. He said 75 per cent of the scrap was imported in the country from the Middle-East. The remaining was from the ordnance factories in the country or from scrap collected from war exercise grounds.

Mr D.S. Chawla, President, United Cycle Parts Association, alleges that explosions were taking place because of the negligence of the authorities concerned to check the presence of explosives. He said it was not clear from where the explosives were mixed in the scrap. He said though huge quantity of scrap was definitely imported from the Middle-East but the city was also importing large quantity of defence scrap. He said the government should identify persons responsible for not defusing the explosives properly and take stringent action against them.

Mr Nanak Singh, Assistant Commissioner (Customs), while defending his department said there was no laxity on their part as whole of the imported scrap was inspected . He said it was wrong to accuse the Customs Department as scrap not only came in containers but through trucks also. He also questioned the theory that scrap from the Middle-East, especially Kuwait, contained explosives in the wake of the Gulf War. He argued that it has been more than 10 years since the war took place and it was not possible that the scrap imported from that country would still consist of explosives.



Clinic fined for power theft
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 22
The enforcement wing of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) got a major breakthrough in checking the power pilferage when Mr A.S. Grewal, Senior Executive Engineer, with his technical staff raided the premises of a dental clinic in Model Town on Monday.

According to Mr H.S. Cheema, Director, Enforcement, the investigating team found that clinic was using 63 kw commercial load against the sanctioned load of five kw.

Further, it was found that the seal of the meter was broken and it had been slowed down by 33 per cent.

The enforcement team, on the spot, imposed a penalty of Rs 2.98 lakh on the clinic authorities and disconnected the power supply, which was restored after the payment of Rs 80,000. The case has been sent to the disputes settlement committee. 


Akali factionalism comes to SHO’s rescue
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 22
Notwithstanding the clean chit given to Ramandeep Singh, SHO, Sadar, in an inquiry conducted against him by the SP (Headquarters) for allegedly manhandling a leader of the youth wing of the ruling Akali Dal, it was actually the factionalism in the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), which ultimately came to his rescue.

Immediately after the district president of the SAD(B), Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, staged a dharna along with some of his supporters outside the residence of the SSP, Mr Kuldeep Singh, the issue took a political turn as his rivals also stepped in to settle score with him.

And at the end of the day, Mr Makkar had to cut a sorry figure with Ramandeep rejoining as the SHO, Sadar.

Although the SP (Headquarters) found nothing wrong in Ramandeep’s conduct with the youth Akali leader, there were other factors also which helped him to come back and made the job easy for the SSP to reinduct him as the SHO, Sadar.

At the same time it was a question of prestige for the police force. On the one hand, it was being accused of the acts of omission and commission and once it acted, the leaders started building pressure against the police.

The police personnel of all ranks were upset and disappointed over the way Ramandeep was removed.

The episode led to a political drama. While Mr Makkar was naive enough to take cudgels openly on a petty issue, his rival Mr Amarjeet Singh Bhatia remained tactful in the game.

Although he remained quiet during the drama, his supporters openly sought expulsion of Mr Makkar for staging dharna against the police.

And most of all, the Minister for Technical Education, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, whose aversion for both the leaders is well known, proved to be most subtle and successful in the entire episode. It was his unambiguous stand on the issue which helped the police to take firm stand.

Irrespective of the fact whether Mr Makkar had taken cudgels on a genuine issue or had overreacted, ultimately he had to strike a bargain in which he got nothing.

Although in the beginning he had claimed a score with the removal of the SHO, at the end he was made to bite the dust.

However, Mr Makkar did not feel that he was let down by the leadership. He claimed that the agreement was acceptable to everyone and he was quite satisfied with it.

He also denied that he had said anything against the police or the government.

He stated that he had to stage a dharna only to press for his demand.

He pointed out that the case against the youth Akali leader had already been withdrawn and the police had apologised for its behaviour with the said leader.



Non-lifting of procured wheat irks agents
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 22
Resentment prevails among the commission agents and labourers, particularly of Sirhind town, against the failure of certain government agencies and the FCI to lift the procured wheat even after one month of purchase.

The commission agents alleged that the government had assured them that the purchased wheat would be lifted within 72 hours, whereas till today more than 30,000 bags of procured wheat were lying in the open in the Sirhind grain market. They said the contractors of the FCI and Punjab Agro were harassing them. They added that their workers had given in writing that they would not be responsible if the bags of wheat were stolen from the grain market. They said last year more than 400 bags of paddy were stolen, causing financial loss to the commission agents. They demanded that the damages be recovered from the labour contractor. Who was supposed to lift the procured wheat within 72 hours.

When contracted, officials of the market committee Sirhind, told that about 19,000 procured bags of Punjab Agro and 8000 of the FCI were lying in the grain market. He said in spite of their repeated warnings it had not been lifted. He said the market committee had issued notices to the labour contractor for damages. As per law, they were entitled to claim 25 paise per bag per day. He said the final notice was yet to be given to contractors as they had failed to lift wheat within 72 hours as per norms. He said the market committee needed complete information to recover the damages. Till the commission agents gave in writing the actual number of bags not lifted, they could not make the damages. He urged the commission agents to submit the records.



Course on juvenile delinquency
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 22
A three-day-course on juvenile delinquency for NGOs got underway at Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, here yesterday.

The object of this course is to acquaint the police officers with the crimes committed by Juveniles and how these crimes can be reduced and controlled. It is also aimed to create awareness among the subordinate police functionaries regarding the various aspects of juvenile delinquency and various laws related with children. About 40 NGOs are attending this course.

While inaugurating the course at the institution Mr D.R. Bhatti, ADGP and Director of the Academy, laid emphasis that the duty of the police officer should be correctional and reformatory rather than punitive towards children. He touched various aspects relating to the juvenile Justice Act, 1986, and stressed upon the police personnel being law enforcing agencies that they should be more positive in their attitude and behaviour towards juveniles. Even the Indian Constitution has incorporated certain articles for the welfare of the children. He advised the participants to be more vocal and courteous, while dealing with juveniles.

He also gave an example that after the First World War in the year 1924 the League of Nations had laid special emphasis on rights of survival, rights of protection, rights of development and rights of participation of child in different spheres of life.

The participating police officers will be having interaction on the various aspects of the juvenile laws with a number of academicians, law officers and officers from police and Jail department.

In the inaugural session Mr Amarjot Singh Sidhu, Joint Director (Legal Studies), of the institute welcomed the chief guest and participants and emphasised the need for understanding the law by the police officers in this era as fast developments were taking place in this modern world. On this occasion Mr Kamal Kumar, Deputy. Director (General) and other senior officers of the academy were also present, on the occasion.



Child care services poor in city: study
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 22
With increase in the number of working women, the day care centres have become essential and play a vital role as the working mothers leave their children at these centres while going to offices and pick them up while returning home. According to a study conducted by Dr (Mrs) Paramjit Nanda for her Ph.D. thesis it was found out that the quality of childcare services was not up to the mark.

A study to analyse the quality of child care services in Ludhiana was carried out in 26 nursery schools and 10 other centres. Twelve quality parameters were checked. These were physical environment (location, surroundings, play area and building plan); interaction among staff and children; curriculum, staff-parent interaction; staff qualifications and training; age for admission; working hours; group size and staff-child ratio; health care; safety precautions, nutrition and food service; opinions regarding licensing and accreditation.

On the basis of scoring, the centres were rated as good (score above 60 per cent), average (score between 40 and 60 per cent) and poor (score below 40 per cent). Results revealed that only 20 per cent centres fell in the category of good centres. Location, surrounding, outdoor and indoor play areas were found to be satisfactory only in good nursery schools and day-care centres. These centres also had good staff-children interaction. In case of centres ranked average (comprised 42 per cent), this interaction was not up to the mark. However, no due importance was given to this parameter by the centres ranked poor.

Curriculum and daily programme of activities were found to be well framed in all three categories of nursery schools, but these were mainly academic in nature. No play-way method, no well-balanced activities to promote all-round development of children were provided. Outdoor space for playing games was inadequate. Few toys and games were stored in glass windows as decoration pieces. Mixed trends were seen in staff-parent interactions.

Majority of the staff in nursery schools were graduates; but very few had a formal training in this field. On the contrary staff members in the day-care centres (except one) were aged, illiterate, but experienced housewives who had had no formal training.

Health care services were unsatisfactory, medical check-up, growth monitoring and record keeping of immunisation of children were totally missing in both types of centres. However, constant adult supervision was available in both types of centres. It was quite satisfying to note that 80 per cent of nursery schools were found to follow ideal working hours i.e. 3 hours per day and 5 days per week. Both types of centres had taken care of licensing and accreditation requirements.

A very low percentage of nursery schools was providing snacks and meals to children. Same was the status of this important aspect in day-care centres. It was found that 80 per cent of the nursery schools allowed admission at the age of 2.6 years, which had a detrimental effect on the development of children. Only one school was found to be following ideal age limit for admission i.e. 3 years. Adult-child ratio was ideal (i.e. 1:10) only in 20 per cent schools. There was over crowding in class rooms. No space for indoor games was available at most of theses centres.



Eight couples tie nuptial knots
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 22
The Shaheed Memorial Sewa Society organised mass marriages of hapless and orphan girls at the Ramgarhia Girls’ College here today.

Eight couples, four Hindus, three Sikhs and one Christian, were married according to their religious rituals. The society donated kitchenware, bicycles, clothes and other necessary items to the newlyweds.

Besides, 12 freedom fighters were also honoured on the occasion. Mr Amar S. Wadhera, president, Punjab Pradesh Freedom Fighters Association, Ms Lila Wati, ex-president, Punjab Pradesh Freedom Fighters Association, Mr Hans Raj Bhatia, president, District Freedom Fighters Association, Ludhiana, Ms Gurdial Kaur, president, Women’s Wing, Ludhiana, Dr Ved Parkash, president, District Freedom Fighters Association, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Bhagwant Singh, president, District Freedom Fighters Association, Sangrur, Dr Prem Sagar, President, District Freedom Fighters’ Association, Ropar, Dr Dulat Ram, president, District Freedom Fighters Association, Patiala, Mr Makhan Singh, president, Freedom Fighters Association, Hoshiarpur, Mr Raghuvansh Chopra, president, District Freedom Fighters Association, Amritsar, and Mr Hira Singh Sachdeva, District Freedom Fighters Association, were among those honoured on the occasion.

Dr G.S. Preet, Director, Health Services, Punjab, was the chief guest. Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, Mr Vajinder Singh, secretary general of the society, were present on the occasion. 


People oppose rationalists
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, May 22
In an interesting incident which took place on Samrala road here yesterday, the members of the local unit of Tarksheel Society, Punjab, were caught in a fix when they had to face the opposition of general public. They had gone there to expose an astrologer, but the situation took a dramatic turn.

According to information available, Tarksheels came to know that an astrologer who had come from outside, claims to foretell future. The secretary of the society Mr Sukhwinder Singh approached him in the disguise of dummy client. The astrologer told him that all the problems being faced by him were due to domestic disputes. He assured him to find a way out and demanded an amount of Rs 350 . Mr Sukhwinder Singh promised to visit him on Sunday. On that day, he went there with some members of the society. When they were planning their action, people from here and there starting gathering. After knowing their intention these people opposed them strongly. They argued that no one has any right to interfere in their beliefs. They argued that the astrologer had only publicised himself and had not claimed to do any miracle. They questioned the rationalists why they did not object to the predictions being published in various newspapers everyday.

The supporters of astrologer suggested the president of society, Mr Nochhatar Singh, and other members of the society that if they really wanted to remove the superstitions from society then they would have to launch a campaign against false notions instead of a campaign against a particular person.



Free courses for women
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 22
The 16th series of various free courses for women organised by the Shri Gyan Sthal Mandir Sabha commenced today, according to Mr Jagdish Bajaj, the sabha president.

The courses, which will be conducted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the temple premises, include those in cooking, English speaking, beautician, toy-making, flower-making and henna application.

Meanwhile, winners of various courses which concluded yesterday were announced by the temple management. In the soft-toy making course, Aarti Thapar stood first while Amandeep and Ritu Jindal bagged the second and third positions, respectively.

In the henna application course, Satinder Kaur topped the examination, while Archna Sharma and Charanpreet Kaur stood second and third.


Bhutta’ sellers do brisk business
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 22
Heat and grime are a part of summers and so are luscious mangoes and several other delicious fruits. Another favourite is corn or “bhutta”. Many persons find self employment in the form of bhutta selling. They buy a few kilograms corn, choose a busy corner, arrange a small tray and by burning charcoal roast the corn. Aroma of roasted corn wafts in the atmosphere tempting the passers-by to stop and get one roasted for themselves.

The corn on the cob is priced according to its size. Ram Sarup, sitting near Kailash Cinema, and many others like him have a brisk sale. They buy around 40 kg of corn cobs and are able to make Rs 100 to Rs 150 everyday. To add more spice, these venders rub corn with lime, salt and red pepper. Most of the sellers sit by the roadside and do their business, while some privileged ones have carts to move about in the city.

In another popular variation of corn, corn cobs are placed in hot sand for a night. By the morning these get cooked evenly. The seller takes out a sizzling corn cob, peels off the outer layers, and rubs lime and salt on it before giving it to the customer.

Corn can also be used to make soups and other delightful savouries like ‘corn fritters’. One can boil, steam or rost these and eat with butter spread on these. These are full of starch and provide good nutrition. 


Vacations — fun time for all
Shivani Bhakoo and Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, May 22
It is fun time for all. With the opening up of summer camps for kids, cooking classes for girls, finishing schools for youth and tour-and-travel packages for families, the city seems to be suddenly bursting with recreational activities for all age groups.

School and college-going students, teachers, housewives, businessmen and even professionals of the city, tired of their monotonous routine, are much anxious and have already made plans to spend summer vacation.

Majority of the leading schools in the city have started hobby classes and summer camps for kids. The Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School, Sarabha Nagar, has arranged skating and gymnastic classes for students of different age groups. Even the playway schools including Disneyland, Lovely Lotus, Sparkle, Hollyhock and Love Dale Nursery School are offering various hobby classes in dance, music, painting, craft and other theme-based activities for the tiny tots.

Aashna, a four-year-old child, seems excited about her dance classes. Leaving back all her hesitations, she is always ready to dance on beats of the latest Hindi numbers like Bumro bumro and Pairon mein bandhan hai.

Even the parents are excited to send their children for such recreational activities. Ms Monica Maini, mother of a four-year-old boy, feels that such camps are the need of the hour. These short-duration courses enhance creativity among the children besides keeping them busy during summer vacation, she believes.

Besides, kids are making beeline to join computer education centres which are offering month-long training courses especially designed for them. Drawing, painting, music, cartoons, games, rhymes and stories, kids are excited to get these all on the computer.

Computer education institutes are also attracting youth. They are joining short-term computer courses in programming, web designing and e-commerce. Sunanda, a BA II semester student, said as the exams were over, this was the time when she could learn and practise for three to four hours at computer centre.

Cooking classes have also become a rage with the school and college-going girls. Beenu Mehta, a Class XII student, said “It is not only me, but also my family members who are happy with my new activity. Everyday they anxiously wait for me to come and prepare new dishes for them.”

Modelling and personality development classes are the latest fad among the youngsters of the city. Several such workshops being organised at Model Town and Civil Lines are receiving tremendous response from the budding models.

Another major attraction this summer is the tour and travel packages offered by various agencies. “Hill stations like Manali, Shimla and Ooty are common only with the middle-class families, but the elite of the city are going in for packages to Europe, Singapore and Mauritius for which they are spending as much as Rs 3 lakh,” said Mr Mohinder Sekhon, owner of a travel agency in Model Town area. Besides, several parents and kids find it convenient to visit their grandparents and distant relatives.



Demonstration by PSEB staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 22
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) held a demonstration at Alamgir office yesterday demanding registration of cases against persons who had a scuffle with the board employees on Saturday and had obstructed them from performing their duty when they had gone to ‘Bains Allied’ factory to install an electronic meter.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Fauji, president, PSEB Employees Federation (AITUC), said,” Under the guidelines of the board, old meters in the Alamgir division had been changed with electronic meters where the total load was more than 70 kw. However, the owners of Bains Allied were not ready for it despite number of visits by the board employees.”

He said the owners were duly informed about the decision of the board to change the meter. On Saturday when some of the board employees went to change the meter they found the main gate of the factory locked. The factory workers were, however, working inside. Further, they found that a connection had been taken from a neighbour’s motor resulting in power theft under the board rules. When the officials tried to disconnect the connection they were attacked by 20-25 workers of the factory at the behest of owner.

Members of the union have urged the administration to take strict action against the culprits. They warned that no work would be allowed in the Alamgir office till the cases were registered against the culprits and false cases against the workers were withdrawn.



5 lakh for Mullanpur
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 22
Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, Dakha MLA, laid foundation stones of various development works in various wards of Mullanpur nagar panchayat yesterday and distributed development grants.

He also inaugurated several projects for water supply and paving of streets and drains and laid the foundation stone of a cremation ground. Addressing a meeting in the office of nagar panchayat later, Mr Khalsa thanked the people of Mullanpur for giving a mandate in favour of joint front candidates in nagar panchayat elections, which led to election of the front nominee as president of the nagar panchayat.

Mr Preminder Kumar Goga, president, nagar panchayat, speaking on the occasion, focused on the ongoing development works and sought the cooperation of the people in the task of giving a facelift to the town. Mr Khalsa presented a cheque for Rs 5 lakh as the development grant promised by him for the success of joint front candidates in the civic elections. He also assured them of more funds, needed for the development of the town.




MR O.P. Munjal, the jovial chairman of a leading cycle manufacturing company is a brilliant poet as well. He loves to recite his own and others’ couplets often. Perfect timing and tuning are his strong points and also make the audience enjoy fully. Mr Munjal recited some such couplets on the annual day function of the Ludhiana Management Association, in praise of the Punjab Governor, Lt Gen (retd) J.F.R. Jacob who was preside over the function. Mr Munjal while praising the Governor said “Suna hai unki surat khuda se milti julti hai, ibadat ki ibadat hai, mohabbat ki mohabbat hai”.

This businessman with a poetic bent of mind had a couplet for each of the achievers, who were presented with the annual awards of the Ludhiana Management Association. For Dr S S. Sandhu he said, “Bahut muddat se dekh raha hai zamana, kitna baddal gaya hai Ludhiana”. Dr Sandhu was honoured for his instrumental role in changing the civic face of Ludhiana. For Mr J.S. Malhotra, who was presented the best manager award he said, “Jo baat tum mein hum dekhte hein, khuda ki khudai mein kam dekhte hein”.

And probably he had reserved the best for the nation. While concluding his address he remarked, “Chehre nahin insan padhe jate hein, mazhab nahin iman padhe jate hein, mera Bharat hai duniya mein aisa desh, ek jagah Gita aur Kuran padhe jate hain”.

Lost battle

Mr D.V. Saharan (81), is one of those old persons who feel that the battle for “respectful development” has been lost due to widespread corruption in the society. Though handicapped, he is still active in garment exports. After getting education from England, he had started his business with a capital of only Rs 400. Today he claims to be paying Income Tax of more than Rs 2 lakh annually. Showing his disgust at the politicians of the city, he says, “The politicians with whom we had worked, have become selfish and corrupt. Even our contemporaries who used to talk of politics with a difference, have failed to work for the public. We have lost the battle of development. Even small countries which had got freedom after us, have developed much more.” Remembering his days, he said, “I used to supply garments to the defence services. Once a Colonel demanded bribe to clear the samples though I had been exporting for the past 13 years. Instead of paying money I reported to the CBI. Consequently, he had to apologise but I decided never to supply any material to the forces in future.” Regarding the cause of this mess, he says sadly, our own generation was so much pre-occupied with freedom movement that it failed to concentrate on the character building of the next generation resulting in chaos all over.


Shopkeepers and residents of the area near Bhadaur House have sought security cover for a slip road at the Matta Rani Chowk as tt has been encroached upon by a ‘religious’ group from the past several days. They have installed a tent, loudspeakers, and a photograph of a goddess on the table, in the midst of road.

The slip road has been closed by tying ropes on both sides. Some bhakts can be seen sitting there for the whole day and asking passers-by to donate money for the annual jagran. However, the blockage of slip road often results in traffic jams. The chowk is already congested due to the parking of mini buses and auto-rickshaws on the road. The people say the traffic policemen standing near the chowk are always busy in challaning the traffic violators, but have little time to remove that encroachment.

Living in style

For all those wanting to live in style here is an example. A local scooter mechanic who has his shop near the Circuit House comes to his shop in the morning daily in a ‘Swank’ car wearing expensive clothes. Before starting his work he parks his car outside his shop, takes off his good clothes and slips into work attire and gets on with his work. True enough if one has a spirit it does not take much to live in style.

Hot ice-cream

Kulfi garma, garam. (hot ice cream) — a contradiction of sorts, quite improbable but not impossible. It has been made possible. This is not to be seen to be believed. But to be tasted and believed. ‘Hot Raft’, the fried ice-cream served with ginger honey sauce. That is what is being served at the Ice Cream festival in the Majestic Park Plaza. The list is very long and there are several varieties. The other varieties include ‘Tall Story’, a tall combination of pineapple, lychee and black currant ice-cream topped with variety of sauces and jujube, ‘Hawaiian Paradise’, served in the shell of pineapple stuffed with rum and raisin ice-cream and many more varieties taking into consideration the voracious taste of Ludhianvis for ice-creams. However, for all those weight watchers, there are mocktails of different juices. But several gave in to the temptation as even big people with bulging tummies were seen finishing the entire ‘Hawaiian Paradise’, even if it mean walking a couple of miles extra to burn those calories.

A novel way

Some people have a peculiar way of giving directions to a lost driver. Some explain it correctly while others get confused themselves. At times the explanation becomes funny especially when one comes across new words or method of explanation. In one such experience, a friend, heading towards a village in the district, asked a villager relaxing under the shade of a mango tree for directions. The villager, instead of explaining it through the customary right-left turns, directed, “go straight and then after taking two ‘conductor side’ turns you will reach the destination.” When a foxed driver asked him what the ‘conductor-side’ was? The villager replied with a contemptuous smile on his face, “ki shehri babu, conductor-side matlab jis passe bus conductor bethda”, meaning the left side.

No respite

Students of city schools have had no respite even after the closure of schools. The school authorities have started fortnight-long courses for kids of KG and class I and II. The little ones will be taught table manners, how to use a fork and a knife, how to use a napkin and lessons in deportment. In two hours’ time after the preliminary classes in good manners, the kids will be taught rudiments of dancing. However, all this does not come for free the parents have to dish out Rs 700 or more for these. Different schools are charging different amount for teaching dance, music and even skating. So summer vacation is going to be hectic time for these tiny tots.

Lottery racket

If one thought only Indians were frauds, come again. people are trying to rope in gullible people all over the world cutting across the continents. These days a company from Australia is sending letters complete with address and congratulations note in for telling the person that he/she has won a lottery amounting to Aus $2,300,00 in cash which will be delivered in an un-marked suitcase in Ludhiana.

However, the joy of the recipient is shortlived as there was always a catch attached to it. In small letters at the end of letter, the person is asked to send $ 19 for entering his name in a Australian Lotto games.

The whole thing is so convincing that one is tempted to send $ 19 that amounts to abouts Rs 1,000. WWSC operates independently of any government organisation as a lottery subscription service provider. As your agent, we enter your games with the official lottery agency.

No responsibility or liability is accepted by WWSC for orders received after the official entry lodgement time has lapsed. All prizes are quoted in Australian dollars and may be converted for international payment.” Better beware of such lotteries.




Labourer murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 22
A labourer was found murdered in a factory in Gill village last night. The police has registered a case of murder and was trying to identify the murderers.

The labourer, Harvilas, seemed to have been beaten to death as his body bore marks of a number of injuries. The police said he had probably bled to death while the post-mortem examination report was still awaited.



Glass fibre manufacturer gets award
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 22
The glass fibre industry of Ludhiana got its due recognition when Mr Mahesh Mangla, Managing Director, Mangla Glass Fibres, was awarded the Rashtriya Rattan Award by the Global Economic Council, New Delhi. He has been awarded for ‘outstanding individual achievements and distinguishing services to the nation’ in the field of glass fibre industry. The award was recently awarded by Dr Bhisham Narain Singh, a former governor of Tamil Nadu and Assam, at a conference on ‘India’s economic liberalisation-gateway to success’.

A pioneer in glass fibre industry, Mr Mangla had established the unit here in 1989. It was the first company in Punjab, which started manufacturing fibre glass by setting state-of-art plant. Earlier, the glass fibre used to be purchased from Delhi and other states. After the setting up of the unit, about 15 units have come up in the city that manufacture fibre glass sheets and domes of various sizes and colours.

The use of glass fibre is picking up in recent years. It is being used for covering swimming pools, open terraces, gardens, factories, buildings, hotels, flats and apartments. The annual production of the industry is around Rs 15 crore. Most of the production is sold in Punjab itself, especially in Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar.

Mr Mangla says, “This small-scale industry is growing at an average rate of 10 per cent per year. Our sale is around Rs 60-70 lakh per year. The high profit in the industry has attracted new entrants and the sale is further increasing with awareness in construction technologies.”

The glass fibre manufactured in the city has quality and price advantage over the imported material. Though the state government has imposed 8 per cent sales tax and 10 per cent surcharge on the glass fibre, but industrialists feel that it should be lowered to 4 per cent to give a boost to the newly developing industry.

In fact, the glass fibre is considered a costly substitute of glass, plywood and cement sheets. The average cost of the glass fibre is Rs 50 per square feet for 2mm sheet as compared to Rs 15 per square feet cost of mirror and other products. However, the glass fibre is considered unbreakable, weather-proof and is available in various colours.



‘Cycle industry should lessen overhead costs’
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 22
Lack of strict labour laws, cheap raw material and high level of industry discipline are some of the reasons for the competitive edge China has in the bicycle market. If the Indian industry can reduce its overhead costs by 10 to 15 per cent, besides improving the labour productivity through zero rejection model of China, no rejection of produced material, the Chinese can be beaten not only in the international market but also at their own turf.

These views were expressed by Mr D.S. Chawla, president, United Cycle and Cycle Parts Association, who recently returned from China after participating in the Shanghai Bicycle Fair held there from May 6 to 9. A 25-member delegation of the association had gone there. According to Mr Chawla, the purpose of the visit was to study how the Chinese were able to produce bicycle and bicycle parts at lesser cost than Indian manufacturers. Apart from the official delegation of the association, some of the exporters of the city had also participated in the fair.

After visiting a number of Chinese factories, the delegation found that the skill and motivation level of Chinese labour was high despite low wages and stiff working conditions as compared to Indian industry. According to Mr Chawla, steel raw material in China was cheaper by 10 to 15 per cent and plastic raw material was cheaper by 50 per cent as compared to India. Similarly, the average rate of interest was not more than 5 per cent. The small loans were provided even at 2 to 2.5 per cent by the government.

Mr Chawla said, “In the near future, there is no fear from the Chinese manufacturers as far as the domestic market is concerned. We will have to learn zero level rejection production methods followed by them. It will definitely cut the cost of production.”

Mr Chawla urged the state and the Centre to provide a conducive environment for the development of cycle and cycle parts industry. He said, “If the inspector raj is abolished and government is ready to improve the infrastructure, the industry can easily grow by 25 to 30 per cent over the next few years despite recession.”

Despite the Chinese threat, the bicycle and bicycle parts exports from India increased to Rs 700 crore in 2000-01 against Rs 500 crore during the previous year. The industry sources say the industry had succeeded in cutting the cost of production by 10 to 15 per cent through their hit and trial methods.


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