Monday, May 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Khanna is scared after robberies
Police to introduce night patrols
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
After six robberies at Khanna in the past week, residents of the town are scared. The police says that it has taken appropriate measures to avert such incidents.

Residents of the outer areas have resorted to night patrols and the Khanna police has decided to introduce ‘thikri pheras’ in the police district. Village panchayats and residents’ committees are helping the police combat the threat of robberies.

Today, it was reported that the police had arrested a number of persons who had carried out three robberies, but the police did not confirm that these were robbers. The Senior Superintendent of Police here, Mr R.N. Dhoke, said the police had rounded up some persons and hoped to solve three cases for robberies, following these arrests.

Already, “a gang of robbers” that strikes at will, has looted goods and cash worth lakhs of rupees here. Labourers have beaten up a number of persons whom they suspected to be robbers. Some of the seriously injured persons had to be taken to hospitals in Patiala and Ludhiana. Such violence is because robbers have mostly targeted migrant labourers here so far. The police said, except a robbery in the house of a bank manager on May 23, the other incidents might be cases of labourers targeting the other labourers. The labourers who were robbed were to return to their houses in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar with the cash and valuables that they had earned after months of labour in the fields here. Most of them were robbed when they were sleeping in the fields.

When contacted, the SSP, Mr R.N. Dhoke, said the police had taken several measures to control the spurt in the robberies. He said the police would introduce night patrols by villagers at several places here. All SHOs here have been told to patrol their areas from 11 pm to 4 am. He said the staff at Police Lines and the District Police Office had also been pressed into 24-hour surveillance service.

Robberies this month

  • May 20: Harbanspura village — nine labourers robbed of goods and cash worth Rs 40,000.
  • May 22: Jethi Nagar — four persons assaulted and goods worth lakhs of rupees looted in a robbery at the house of a bank manager.
  • May 23: Mohanpur village — three houses of labourers looted; Robbers take away more than Rs 5,000 in cash along with some jewellery.
  • May 26: Three robberies at Gagarh Majra and Harbanspura villages.Back

Revival of Indo-Pak cricket Tests hailed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
The possible revival of Indo-Pak cricket matches has widely been hailed by the cricket enthusiasts and others as well. The common people hope that the revival of cricket between the two countries will definitely help in reducing friction between the two countries.

At the same time many persons also opined that the resumption of cricket series between India and Pakistan should not mean that everything will straighten instantly. But this can be viewed in the context of the latest invitation by the Indian Government to the Pakistani military ruler for talks, which has also been positively responded.

The amount of interest an Indo-Pak cricket match generates is unmatched and unparalleled. Even those people, who have otherwise no interest in the game, are keen about the performance of the players with Pakistan. Nipun Vig, Manager at the Majestic Park Plaza, who is quite indifferent towards cricket, welcomed the decision and opined that the two countries should at least meet in the playground. Otherwise all the communication channels seem to have been broken, he said.

According to Mr A.S. Chawla, general secretary of the Satluj Club, it was a long awaited decision by the people, particularly the cricket lovers. He pointed out that a cricket match between India and Pakistan generates a keen and different interest among the people. He observed that cricket had become so popular in the subcontinent when two countries used to play regularly with each other. He said it was a wrong notion to think that cricket matches between the two countries generate tension. “These matches only generate a keen interest and not tension as is commonly perceived”, Mr Chawla remarked.

Mr Darshan Arora, president of the Ludhiana Citizens Council, was more optimistic. He said, it is a healthy development and it will definitely lead to improvement in the relations as he observed that cricket has a sentimental attachment with the people across the subcontinent. These emotions need to channelised in a proper way. Instead of leading to antagonism between the people of the two countries, it can contribute towards building cordial relationships among the people.

Sapna Niharika, a city-based architect, also hailed the decision. She said she fail to understand why so much furore was being created over the matches between India and Pakistan. She feels that it was the high time that at least the people in these two countries give up the mutual suspicion and leave the business of confrontation to the rulers.

Mr R.D. Singh, cricket coach at the Punjab Agricultural University, was the happiest among all. He pointed out that cricket matches between India and Pakistan are full of life. “These matches may be generating so much heat but they generate much more interest and enthusiasm among the cricket fans across the subcontinent”. He regretted that such a live and vibrant game was falling victim to politics.


Baddowal evictions flare up row
3 get notices, others untouched
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
Many persons here are unhappy with the district administration because it has issued eviction notices to only three persons who own buildings within a 1,000-yard radius of the Field Ammunition Depot at Baddowal. There are hundreds of other structures within this radius that also have to be demolished after a court order.

The administration has allegedly not touched several marriage palaces because these belong to some influential persons and targeted only three. Owner of a marriage palace said, “The March 19 order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court implies that all unauthorised structures in the area should be removed. It also says that respondents should remove all such structures within a year in accordance with the law.”

Only owners of marriage palaces — Megha Resorts, Springfields and the White Rock — have received eviction notices.

The other nearby marriage palaces like Cassa Lebran, Turning Point, City Gardens and a farmhouse of a close associate of the Punjab Chief Minister have not been touched.

Also, the administration has not issued these notices strictly according to the High Court order, which says that these should be issued under Section 9 of the related Act. While the administration has asked owners of three marriage palaces to demolish their structures, the notices are silent on the claims under Section 9 of the Act.

While the owners of some of the marriage palaces have appealed against the HC order in the Supreme Court, a public interest litigation filed in this regard by the Ludhiana Citizens Council is also pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The council has demanded a probe into the raising of hundreds of buildings around the Baddowal ammunition depot and allegations of a nexus between officers of the Army, the district administration and some colonisers.

Recent fires in ammunition depots have caused a huge loss to the country and prompted people to think why these occur in India only. Several prominent citizens of Ludhiana have sought the shifting of the Baddowal ammunition depot. In a press note issued here, they have urged the Defence Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Punjab to take the issue seriously.

They say that the recent fire at the Birdhwal ammunition depot has shown that the 20 km radius around every such place is unsafe for living. They say that such depots should be situated at least 20 km away from the populated areas.

Those who have signed the letter include Mr Darshan Arora, Chairman of the LCC; Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, an MP; the city Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal; Mr Som Nath Grower, President of the Chaura Bazar Traders Association; Mr Ramesh Banda and Mr Jagat Singh.


ACs removed under austerity drive
turning into junk
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
A large number of ACs removed from the various departments of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) lie dumped in a store on the campus and face the threat of turning into junk thus putting a question mark on the much-publicised austerity measure scheme under which the AC’s were removed from the departments to be installed in the guest house to generate more revenue.

However, even though about two months have passed since the implementation of the controversial scheme, which had generated lot of heat on the campus due to the opposition by the teachers including some office-bearers of PAUTA, the authorities have still to achieve the aim installing these ACs at guest house.

Resentment is prevailing among the heads of the various departments of the university who are saying that for the last 15 years they had ACs in their rooms but no body objected to it. They are saying that the earlier the university had purchased a number of ACs by spending lakhs of rupees and now all of these were removed and piled up in the store of the Estate Office thereby wasting lakhs of rupees.

The teachers who did not want to be quoted for obvious reasons said that while the world was going hi-tech and even the small firms were providing such benefits in their offices, the PAU being an institution of repute was denying it to its employees.

They said the PAU was facing a deficit of Rs 22 crore and by removing ACs only small fraction of amount was saved. They said that the removal of heaters was, however, a good move as the employees were now pooling in resources to buy small LPG cylinder fitted with a stove to prepare tea in the offices.

They were apprehending that the kits of the ACs which lie removed in the store would be taken away by some employees and replaced with junk and the authorities would not come to know about it. “We know what will happen next. These will be auctioned as they will get converted into junk due to all these reasons.”

Many teachers said that they required ACs badly for their experiments as temperature regulation was must for such experiments being conducted in the labs. A teacher on the condition of anonymity said he had to keep shifting his plants sometimes inside the rooms and sometimes in the corridor as these plants were temperature sensitive. He said that for such reasons the ACs was required but he was not allowed to use it.

Some teachers even said some authorities were getting their houses renovated and offices furnished afresh by spending university money. This was the partisan attitude of the authorities due to which they were forcing the teachers only to suffer, they added.

The Vice-Chancellor of the PAU, Dr K.S. Aulakh, was not available for comments as he was not in the city. A senior official of the university, however, said the Vice-Chancellor had himself removed the two ACs installed in his office and replaced them with the coolers. He also said that ACs installed in the rooms of PA and the secretary to the VC were also removed and the university authorities were not being partial.


Probe human smuggling, demands YC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
The Punjab Youth Congress has urged the state government to order a judicial probe into the alleged involvement of two ministers of the state government, Mr Sujan Singh and Mr Sohan Singh Thadal in the smuggling of youths to other countries. Mr Gurkirat Singh and Mr Amarjt Singh Tikka, leaders of the Punjab Youth Congress, have rejected the party level inquiry ordered by the Chief Minister to investigate the role of ministers. They said it was a mere eyewash to befool the public.

In a press statement issued here today, the leaders said: ‘‘ A number of Akali leaders have sent youths to other countries in the name of religion. They have taken lakhs of rupees from these youths. The government should order a judicial inquiry to know the truth behind such cases.’’

Mr Tikka warned the state government that if the government did not order judicial inquiry, the Youth Congress would be forced to launch a state-wide agitation.

Mr Tikka also said the party had taken serious note of the press statements of Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Law Minister, in which he had alleged the involvement of Mr Amarinder Singh, Congress President, in the registration of a case against Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader, for committing a fraud.

While criticising the statements of Mr Garg, Mr Tikka alleged that such statements were a sign of frustration among the ministers of the Shiromani Akali Dal. The government was indulging in witch-hunting and registration of false cases against Congress workers.

He alleged that the law and order situation in the state was deteriorating. The public was not being provided adequate water and electricity in the rural and urban areas. Instead of solving the problems of the state, the ministers were trying to gain cheap popularity by issuing statements against the President of the Congress in the state.Back


Terrorist surrenders to reason
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
“Bullet is not a solution to any problem,” said Rachpal Singh Lali, a militant who had surrendered before the Jagraon police past month. He was talking to reporters at his residence in Sidhwan Kalan village near here yesterday.

He said a large number of other militant youths, who were living abroad, now wanted to return to India. He said they could return if the government treated them sympathetically and rehabilitated them.

Rachpal had been declared a proclaimed offender in 1980s and had surrendered before the Jagraon Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Jaskaran Singh, past month. He was sent to Central Jail and released on bail later.

He said all revolutions had ended only on the negotiation table and killing innocent persons did not help anyone. 

Lali was a member of the Khalsa Liberation Front and had settled in Manila after living in hiding in several countries. 

His grandmother, Bachint Kaur, said she was happy that he was back.

When asked what had prompted him to join militancy, Lali said and several other youths wanted to avenge Operation Bluestar and the 1984 riots in Delhi. 

He said the police and politicians, instead of cooling the flared tempers, had intensified the hatred for their personal interests.


An academic globe-trotter

IQBAL has been a common name in composite Punjab — Mohammed Iqbal, Iqbal Rai, Iqbal Chand, Iqbal Masih and Iqbal Singh to quote a few. In respect of Ludhiana, let us short-list Iqbal to three: Mohammed Iqbal Ahuja and Iqbal Singh Bhatia. Allama Iqbal is related to Ludhiana by marriage. His Nikah was performed here. Iqbal Ahuja, the test-tube baby genius, earned fame for this city. Dr Iqbal Singh Bhatia developed a rare sense of belonging for Ludhiana and its university. He came here by choice and he justified the choice as wise academic and a practical scientist.

He was a man of simple habits and modest in his social relationships. He despised the rat-race of career-promotion. Although career-conscious, he was never a careerist. It was the Punjab Agricultural University that attracted him. The scientist in him saw an opportunity here. If PAU was his choice, he was the choice of Mr P.N. Thapar, the founder Vice-Chancellor. The true tale of this choice materialised in new possibilities in teaching, research, extension and application. Dr I.S. Bhatia linked the lecture-theatre with the laboratory through the farm, field and yield. At its prestigious Chemistry Department, he had a long inning as Dean.

Iqbal Singh was born on July 14, 1923, in a sleepy hamlet in the district of Gujarat. Though the family was supportive and cohesive, yet it lacked the means to give higher education to its brilliant son. In pursuit of college education, young Iqbal left for Lahore on his own. He won a scholarship, undertook to coach the youngsters of well-to-do families from a small room near the railway station. He walked to Ravi Road, Mohini Road, and Lower Mall on the other side of the city to give tuitions. This self-supporting attitude gave him a sense of dignity. He did his B.Sc. (Hons) and later M.Sc. (Chemistry) from Panjab University in 1945. One of his professor spoke to the SGPC authorities and help came forth. Iqbal Singh accepted the offer and landed in the USA. He stayed at Baltimore and studied at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University and won his doctorate in 1949. He worked at his almamater as Instructor (Teaching) and won fellowships: Chemical Foundation Fellowship, Post-Doctoral and Grafflin Post Doctoral Fellowships.

He returned to a partition-ravaged Punjab, his refugee family desperately looking for a foot-hold. He left for the South, to work at the C.F.T.R.I., Mysore. Later, he joined Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore as lecturer in Organic Chemistry. After some time he accepted the job of a senior Biochemist at Tocklai Experimental Station, Assam.

The scientist in him was longing for laboratory and research. It is here that he made his final choice and joined the PAU in 1965. After guiding more than 100 researchers and scholars for M.Sc. and Ph.D, he retired in 1983.

He was honoured with citations and plaques. He contributed more than 300 research papers to top scientific journals. He presented papers at prestigious seminars and congresses. Panjab University made him a Visiting Professor and nominated him as Fellow. He became an academic globe-trotter from India.

He could speak French and German and was in love with literature, history and philosophy. Iqbal was his favourite poet. This saintly scientist and academic died at Ludhiana on January 17, 1999.


A tailor aiming for record books
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, May 27
Here’s good news for people who hate to change their clothes daily! Twentyseven-year-old Pawan Kumar Kailay, a resident of Goraya, has stitched a jacket that can be worn not just once or twice but 32 times and every time, it will give a brand new look. Sounds amazing! But it’s true, Pawan Kumar also claims to have broken the record of stitching the smallest ever casual wear dress, measuring a mere two inches.

Well, that’s not all. Kailay claims that he is making a jacket that can be worn for about 2400 times, everytime with a new design and colour combination. Atul Kumar, a close friend of Pawan Kailay, says: “The world is full of people who do extraordinary things. And the recognition and appreciation he is getting for his work has not only encouraged him but has also added zest to his interest in work”.

“My family has transport business but I stitch clothes for fun. Making unique and different dresses with numerous reversibles is my hobby”, says Pawan Kailay.

The two-inch suit neatly stitched by Pawan has a kurta and pyjama, measuring one inch each. The amazing work of art studded with attractive buttons, is a white-coloured micro mini suit with red lining. With his creative mind, Pawan has also made a pant using silk cloth which can easily be re-used six times and each time, it presents a fresh look with new design and pockets. For this pant, he used 14 metres of silk cloth.

Pawan Kailay, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, said that he got inspired into stitching by a tailor from Panipat.”I came to know that the particular tailor had stitched a tiny suit. I also wanted to create something new and unique. The things which I have made are the result of six years of hard work. I am quite satisfied with my work”.

This creative tailor wants to enter the Guiness Book of World Records. He does not sell the cute products he makes because he feels that someone may steal his ideas. He also says that many tailors have tried their hands on making such items, but have failed.

Currently, he is all set to prepare a jacket which can be worn for 2400 times and will consume at least 185 metres of cloth.”The jacket will cost me around Rs 1,00,000”, says Pawan Kailey.

Kailey keeps getting orders from customers and a majority of them are the NRIs,some of whom even offered him to accompany them abroad but Pawan refused. “An NRI even offered me a job for Rs 1 lakh per month, which I refused. I want to do something here in my own country. Why should I sell my talent abroad,” he asks.


BJP refutes charges on elevated road project
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
The Ludhiana unit of the Bharatiya Janta Party today refuted the charge that it was hindering the development of Ludhiana by opposing the elevated road project of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.

In a statement, the District president of the BJP, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, observed that the elevated road project would not benefit many people. He pointed out Rs 40 crore was being spent on the project. Instead of spending such a huge amount on this project, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation should concentrate on civic amenities like free drinking water and sewerage.

The BJP leader criticised the leaders of the Bahujan Samaj Party who, he alleged, were playing into the hands of industrialists and capitalists. He alleged that instead of supporting the BJP’s demand for free water and sewerage, which would help the common people, particularly the downtrodden, the BSP leaders were supporting the elevated road project and playing into the hands of Congress leaders.

Mr Sethi claimed that the Municipal Corporation was misleading the public opinion by saying that Rs 40 crore would be provided by the World Bank and the Government of India. He said, the whole amount would have to be generated by the corporation itself.

The BJP leader also criticised the Congress and alleged that the party despite having remained in power for over 40 years had not done anything substantial for Ludhiana.

Supporting the elevated road project, the Shiv Sena ( Bal Thackeray) today warned the BJP that if did not give up its opposition to the project, the sena would start organising protest marches and rallies after June 1.

In a press release here, Mr Sandip Mittal, chief of the Ludhiana unit of the sena, said that the BJP was unnecessarily opposing the project on flimsy grounds. He said the elevated road would ease the flow of traffic in the city.

Making fun of the BJP’s opposition to the project, Mr Mittal said though the BJP held the post of Senior Deputy Mayor as well as that of the Deputy Mayor, none of them had resigned so far in protest against the elevated road move. He said, on the one hand, the BJP men wanted to enjoy the fruit of power, while on the other hand, they were misguiding the public.

It was in the interest of the city and not due to any political considerations that the Shiv Sena had decided to support the City Mayor on the issue of having an elevated road between the Jagraon bridge and Chand cinema. 


BSP to contest all seats in Punjab,
declares Kanshi Ram
Our Correspondent

Doraha, May 27
"The Bahujan Samaj Party favours reservation for jats under the OBC category,'' said Mr Kanshi Ram, President of the party, who was here to attend the Jat sammelan organised by the BSP yesterday.

"Ths reservation," he said "was implemented in the first place in Rajasthan to which the party gave the foremost support and only then followed the consent of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the congress."

In his address, he stressed the need for cooperation and brotherhood among Jats so that they may be accorded a commendable place in the party. Talking about the coming elections, he said: "Our party is not going to enter into any agreement with any party, rather it would fight all the 117 seats alone". We can join hands with the Shiromani Akali Dal only if it supports us on all the basis of populace and we are capable of making our own government in Punjab. For the achievement of this goal, we are making the efforts to join hands with every section of society." He strongly criticised the congress and the akali dal.

He said that wherever the BSP has strengthened, the congress has lost its hold. "The Congress has ruled for a long time by acquiring the votes of backward classes." He said: "Our opposition to Mr Prakash Singh Badal began when it aligned itself with the BJP. Now the situation is that Mr Badal is working against the interests of its people.''

He emphasised 85 per cent of the population of the country was with the Bahujan Samaj Party and they were easily capable of making the government.

All the party workers of the BSP and zamindars from all around ensured their active participation in the sammelan. The others who addressed the sammelan included Mr Sukhbir Singh, Vice-President, Mr Gurdial Chand, Secretary general, and Major Pritpal Singh, President, kisan wing.


Badal-Tohra unity sought
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
Mr Mal Singh Ghuman, a senior Akali leader and member of the SGPC, has called for unity between the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Mr Ghuman was speaking at a function in Chnarthal Mandi village after laying the foundation stone of a building. He announced that Mr Badal and Mr Tohra were leaders of equal stature and they should join hands in the interest of the party. He was of the firm belief that in case the two leaders joined hands, the Akali Dal would get stronger and Punjab would make more progress.

The Akali leader, supposed to be close to Mr Badal, while showering praise on Mr Tohra, exhorted upon the leaders and workers of both parties not to resort to statements which might lead to further differences between the two leaders and hamper the moves of unity.

There were several local leaders owing allegiance to Mr Tohra sitting on the stage while he was addressing the function, and most of the organisers of the function belonged to the Tohra faction.

Mr Ghuman was at the forefront when the supporters of Mr Badal had launched a campaign for the exit of Mr Tohra about two years back. He had backed Mr Badal in his fight against Mr Tohra. 


Fire leaves boy dead, 5 injured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
A two-year-old boy was feared charred to death and five others, including women and children, suffered serious burn injuries when a devastating fire broke out in the dera of Gujjars in Jaspal Banger village, 20 km from here, this evening.

Fire tenders from Ludhiana and other places were pressed into service which managed to control the rapidly spreading fire in an hour. However, by that time a two-year-old unidentified boy was charred beyond recognition, while at least five others were injured when they tried to save their valuables.

According to the police, the cause of the fire could not be ascertained. The dera mainly comprised thatched huts due to which fire spread rapidly giving less time for the inmates to take safety measures. The loss of property was being assessed.


Jawaharlal Nehru remembered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 27
Once again exhibiting sharp inter-party divisions and differences, separate functions were organised by Congress workers to pay homage to first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru on his 37th death anniversary here today.

The urban development cell of the party led by Mr Pawan Dewan organised a function at the Congress Bhavan to observe the day as the Prerna Diwas. Various speakers recalled Nehru’s contribution to the development of free India in general and to the development of Punjab in particular. Terming the Bhakra Dam as the brainchild of Nehru, the speakers opined that Green Revolution in the state would not have been possible without this dam. He was the man who kindled the flame of socialism, secularism and parliamentary democracy in the country, they added.

Among those who were present there were Mr Varinder Gandhi, general secretary of the DCC, Urban, Mr Karan Kalia, Mr Manish Tandon, Mr Tirlochan Singh Grewal, Mr Prem Kumar Passi among others.

Another function was held under the leadership of Mr Parminder Mehta, President, District Youth Congress, Urban, at Chhawni Mohalla in which a large number of youth Congress workers garlanded a portrait of Jawahar Lal Nehru to pay their homage.

Adressing the function Mr. Mehta exhorted the youth to follow the path shown by the great leader and strengthen democracy and serve the country. Others who were also present at the function included Mr Sarabjit Bunty, Mr Pankaj Sood, Mr G.S.Arora, Mr Sabhajit Pandey and Mr Anil Kumar.


Boy killed in road accident
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 27
A young boy of Jamalpur Awana, Deepu, was killed when a truck hit the Maruti Esteem car in which he was travelling with four other youngsters of the same village at Samrala Chowk around 12.45 last night.

A pall of gloom descended on the Dasehra Grounds in the Urban Estate on the Chandigarh road and the night cricket tournament there came to an abrupt end when the news of the accident reached. The boys, some of them members of certain teams, had just left the tournament venue for a geri and to have some “paranthas” at Samrala Chowk.

An injured Nand Lal, alias Nandu (19), of the same village, who was driving the car, is under observation at the Christian Medical College and Hospital, while others, Shivdeep Singh, Montu and Sandeep, escaped with minor injuries.

Nandu, speaking slowly, told this correspondent that the truck driver could not control the vehicle because of its high speed. He denied that any of the boys was drunk at the time of the accident.

Shivdeep Singh is a student, but he refused to divulge the name of his school and other details.

Officials at the Division No. 6 police station said the truck (PAT-9772) had been impounded and search was on for the driver who had fled after the accident.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279,337,427 and 304-A of the IPC.Back


Man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
A middle-aged man committed suicide at Ishar Nagar here last night. His body was found hanging with a piece of cloth from the ceiling of his house by his family members.

According to the police, Paramjit Singh (40) and father of three children, had not been enjoying good mental health for the past two years. He remained depressed and was under treatment.

In a statement to the police, a family member said the deceased was sleeping on the roof with his children. He was not able to sleep and went downstairs. The family members did not suspect anything but were shocked to find him hanging from the ceiling.Back


Booked for threatening suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
In a unique case, the district police has booked a farmer for threatening to commit suicide in front of the Chief Minister’s residence on the basis of his statement published in an English newspaper.

Gurdeep Singh, a 23-old-farmer of Miani village near Sahnewal had in a news story threatened to commit suicide on April 10 in front of the residence of Mr Parkash Singh Badal in protest against the “high-handedness” of the Koom Kalan police post.

The news story also quoted him saying that the government gives Rs 2.5 lakh to next of the kin of a farmer who commits suicide.

Inspector Niranjan Singh, SHO, Koom Kalan police post, said a case had been registered.


Scooter thief arrested
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, May 27
A scooter was allegedly stolen from Lakhowal and the thief has been arrested and sent to jail as claimed by the police.

Amolak Singh of Jandiali village has lodged an FIR with the police that his scooter (PB-63-8066) was allegedly stolen by Niraj Kumar of Nandpur village, while he had parked it outside the dargah of Pir Jhahar Bali on May 24 this year.

The accused was, however, arrested during a naka near Ramgarh chowki. The scooter has been recovered from his custody and Niraj Kumar has been sent to jail. A case under section 279 of IPC had been registered against him.

Girl killed: A tractor-trailer hit three sisters who were going on a cycle. One of the girls died on the spot and the others sustained injuries.

According to Rajpreet Kaur of Lato Dana village, she and her two sisters, Satinderpal Kaur and Gurjit Kaur, were coming from their village on a cycle when a tractor-trailer (PB-10D-1039) being driven by a person of Koom Kalan village hit their cycle. Satinderpal Kaur died on the spot. A case has been registered against the man under Sections 304-A, 337 and 427 of IPC. 


Gur Mandi remains a tinder-box
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, May 27
Experience, they say, is the best teacher. However, it seems that the inferno in Gur Mandi on October 19, 1991, in which property worth crores was gutted and 77 precious human lives lost has failed to impart any lesson to the shopkeepers of perhaps the busiest market of the city.

People still recall that horrifying fire in detail when the lone fire hydrant provided in the market failed to be of any use and how the fire spread from shop to shop with people trapped inside.

At that time more than 20 shops were dealing in firecrackers.

Although the sale of firecrackers in the market was stopped after the tragedy and a number of water hydrants installed after every 50 yards, according to Fire Brigade officials, the market remains a virtual tinder-box due to a number of factors. The shopkeepers were asked at that time to buy their own fire extinguishers to deal with any minor fire that might break out.

Commodities being sold in the market such as lipsticks, candles and various sprays and plastic goods are inflammable materials. There is a complex network of telephone and electricity wires at frequent intervals throughout the market. Also the market, being a hub of business, has been turned into a multi-storeyed complex with narrow staircases. The shops are stuffed to capacity and these summer days plastic covers and tarpaulins have been put up outside shops to provide cover against the sun.

Mr Jagdish Tangri, head of the Gur Mandi Shopkeepers Association, does not speak very well of the Fire Brigade. Skirting the question about the absence of fire-fighting equipment within shops, he said the traders had made their own arrangements after the 1991 incident. A tube-well had been installed and hydrants provided. The Fire Brigade did nothing, he said.

He thinks there are no chances of a similar incident being repeated in the market. There is no fire cracker shop in the market. But what about other combustible and inflammable material in the market such as the sprays, lipsticks and all that? He brushes aside the idea, calling it a “product of inexperience”. He says a couple of years ago, a fire broke out in a shop dealing mostly in imported goods. The shop was totally gutted but the fire did not spread any further.

As for the adequacy of the current fire-fighting equipment in the market which, has been installed by the market union, Mr Tangri says it is capable of looking after any fire incident in the market, independent of the city’s Fire Brigade. Brave words, indeed.


Knitwear exports can grow’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
The current level of exports of knitwear from Ludhiana has exceeded Rs 1000 crore and it has the potential to grow substantially if marketed aggressively. It has been growing at a rate of 20 to 25 per cent since 1995. But after 2004, the industry will have to face the quota-free system and the exports will depend on merit and suitable strategies of the entrepreneurs, said Mr Vinod Kumar Thapar, president of Knitwear Club, here.

Inaugurating the two-day training workshop-cum- seminar on hosiery exports, he said, “The workshop has been organised to prepare the entrepreneurs mentally for diversifying into exports and laying before them the road map for entering export markets. It will also provide them with a plaform to explore opportunities for collective activity required to enter export markets.”

He pointed out that there were only 100 exporters from Ludhiana, which was very less as compared to the 10,000 units operating in the city. Most of the units were producing for the domestic market, which was a seasonal market. In view of the changing scenario, they would have to diversify.

He disclosed that the international experience showed that 40 per cent of the total cloth consumption in the world was knitwear. In India, it was just 15 per cent.

There was great scope to increase the share of knitwears in the domestic market.

Mr Jagat Singh, a consultant on exports, made a presentation on the scope and strategies to increase hosiery exports to Europe and America.

He discussed various topics, including how to plan a foreign trip, contracting for exports, business plans and buying plans in the international market. About 50 entreprenuers were participating in this workshop.

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