Wednesday, May 30, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Loan sharks back to their killing ways
Youth’s suicide note identifies four
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
The loan sharks, a term used by the police and the media for financiers who charge exorbitant interests, is being heard here again after a youth’s suicide yesterday.

The sharks were lying low after the arrest of a number of financiers. The media had published reports on how financiers sometimes doubled the debt every 24 hours. They have humiliated several debtors in public here and misbehaved with their wives.

Taranjit Singh, 26-year-old man who ended his life by consuming poison yesterday, was cremated today after a postmortem examination. His suicide note suggests that loan sharks are back. Several new players have taken the place of those who have been arrested.

The yesterday’s suicide is the second such incident this month. Earlier, a migrant labourer had accused a financier of kidnapping his wife to recover the loan. The case is in court now, but the labourer has left the city.

Taranjit’s suicide note tells the tale of harassment he had suffered at the hands of four partners of a finance company. Though the police has registered a case of abetment to suicide against the four persons, including a woman, no arrest has been made so far. These persons are Bobby, Dolly, Lovely and Godawar Singh. The FIR mentions a Grewal Finance Company.

Newsmen got to see Taranjit’s suicide note only today. In this three-page letter, Taranjit Singh who was also called Rinku Makkar has said that he does not want to live in this world of cheaters. He has said that some persons here are charging as much as 27 per cent interest on loans.

In the note, Taranjit says that he was the guarantor of a loan that was given to a vegetable seller by the four financiers. When the seller could not pay some instalments in time, financiers threatened to take away his wife. The vegetable seller ran away and now the financiers were harassing him.

According to the suicide note, financiers had started humiliating him in public. They had visited Taranjit’s shop on the day he killed himself. A travel agent had also duped him of Rs 70,000 on the pretext of sending him abroad.

The bachelor youth did not want his mother to know about his suicide. True to his fear, his mother passed into a coma after hearing the news.

According to the police sources, the city is allowing such business to flourish here. Several persons take loans here to set-up industrial units. Once they are into the trap laid by financiers, there is no way out. Financiers allow a debtor to miss an instalment, after which, they barge into his or her house and say that he or she had obtained a much bigger loan than claimed. Their henchmen always come with them to threaten the borrower.


Samples for physicians on sale
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, May 29
Big pharmaceutical companies come up with new drugs for the treatment of various diseases. The companies try to make doctors aware of the latest medication, its contents, dosage and therefore pass on free samples to doctors. The more famous doctors get more samples as they have a larger number of patients to see. Thus free samples help various companies to promote their drugs.

It is clearly mentioned on the wrappers of such medicines, “physician sample, not for sale”. However, “free samples” are on sale and have flooded the market. The sale of these medicines is unethical and unwarranted.

Free samples are distributed by drug companies as promotional material. These samples are not taxable. Sometimes, companies themselves flood the market with samples and the biggest market of such samples is Bhagirath Place, Chandni Chowk, Delhi. Many shops exclusively deal in the sale of such samples. The biggest distribution market is in Agra. C class wholesalers buy free samples and sell these to small retailers, and thus both wholesalers and retailers have to pay less for the medicine.

Sometimes, free samples are sold by unscrupulous medical representatives. The obvious attraction is money. Companies set very hard targets for medical representatives. In order to push up the sales to meet the targets, they oblige the chemists by giving free samples.

Who buys these samples? Obviously, the illiterate people and the migrant labour which cannot read. According to a doctor, “We do not know what to do with the samples as we receive a lot many. After the expiry date, we throw away the samples.”

Another leading practitioner said, “We give the samples to poor patients and our friends. It is the medical representatives only who sell samples. The motive behind is very obvious.”

Gurmail Medical Hall, a wholesale dealer, says, “We never get any physician samples. We are distributors and stockists. Moreover, if the company is spending Rs 10 crore on any new drug, only 4-5 per cent of the total money will be used for producing samples. The medical representatives are given the samples to give it to the doctors.”

Another doctor says, “Medicines like beta-lock, protabon, injections of omnatax and many antiseptic creams which are expensive never reach the doctors. Omnatax injection costs Rs 100 in the market, but the agents who are selling physician samples sell it to us at half rates. Some companies are sending samples directly to the doctors through courier service. If all companies send samples directly, all problems can be solved.”

A shopkeeper who has a shop in Pindi Gali told Ludhiana Tribune on the condition of anonymity that most of the chemists had free samples not meant to be sold. Sometimes, medical representatives sell these and at other times, they gave these free of cost as the companies provided them with encouraging promotional schemes at the maximum pushing of the sale of drug.

Retailers and doctors practising in small areas buy these samples and try to erase the stamp “physician sample not for sale”. Doctors with poor practice also buy these samples as they are sold cheaply. He further said that when drug inspectors visit the Pindi street, the samples are hidden by the chemists and they can be seen carrying the bundles and scurrying to find safe hiding places.”

Drug inspector Ajay Singla said, “We caught some free samples at some shops last week only. I cannot say whether these shopkeepers hid the samples during our visit. We refer the cases to Drug Controller, Chandigarh, and his department sends notice to the defaulters. The licence is suspended for sometime. We keep visiting the Pindi street once or twice a month to keep a check on the sale of free samples.”


Yoga for Indian hockey team again
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, May 29
After four years the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) has again started giving yoga training to the players to improve their performance in the forthcoming four-nation Samarach Hockey Cup to be held at Moscow from June 12 to 16. Earlier in 1996, the IHF has introduced yoga for the Indian team at the camp before the Champions Trophy which was held at Chennai. Considering the importance of the age- old Indian art, the IHF has appointed a yogacharya, Sanjay Solanki, to the get best out of the players in the various international tournaments.

The 22-member senior Indian hockey team is at Punjab Agricultural University here for a short-duration training camp before leaving for Moscow on June 10. The coaches, Ripudaman Singh, Amarjit Singh and yogacharya Sanjay Solanki, are also here to train the team.

According to Amarjit Singh, almost all boys have international exposure and it would not be difficult for them to go through a rigorous session for preparing themselves for the challenge. He was of the view that introduction of the yoga would be a progressive step as boys need mental peace while playing and the training in Yoga would reduce the stress and pressure they would have at the time of performing in international events. The other most important problem for a player is, how to relax after playing a tense game and yoga helps a lot to cool down physically as well as mentally.

“The proper coordination of body and mind is very essential, especially for a player to perform the best and the great Indian art is quite effective to achieve that state,” said Solanki. While talking to Ludhiana Tribune, he said, “ The main purpose of introducing the yoga is, first, to improve the body movement, and secondly, to learn how to relax physically and mentally after a stressful game.”

The hockey players have to bend the body most of the time to drive the ball which affects their spinal cord and it is very essential for them to do regular exercises to increase the elasticity and strength of the spine, he added. Sanjay is training the boys to do ‘chakra’ and dhanur aasanas” to strengthen their spine.

Sanjay has introduced shav and yognindra aasanas for the players during the camp which gives relief to brain after a hectic day. He opined that it would not be justified to expect major improvement in the performance of players after such a short-duration training camp but it would definitely help the players to achieve to mental and physical coordination to give the best of them.


Agriculture Dept staff in a soup
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
The Agriculture Department is finding it hard to save the employees of the department who have been indicted by the Vigilance Department. The Vigilance Department had recently conducted an inquiry against the involvement of Agriculture Development Officials (ADOs) and higher officials of the department in manipulating the data of fertiliser distribution. They have been found guilty of appropriating lakhs of rupees in connivance with some dealers and fertiliser companies.

The officials have been found wrongly verifying records of fertiliser sales from the dealers to the farmers during 1993-94 and 1996-97. Consequently, the companies claimed subsidies worth crores of rupees from the Central Government, though there was not distribution of fertiliser to farmers.

The department sources say the scandal came to light when some employees were not given their due share and they complained to the higher authorities. An inquiry was ordered by the Vigilance Department that found 16 ADOs and other officials guilty of corrupt dealing. Interestingly, the department has recommended departmental probe against the higher officials and police cases against the ADOs.

Representatives of the ADOs say, “Different yardsticks have been applied to officials and employees to break their unity although the higher officials have themselves provided them the lists of dealers and farmers after two to four months of sales and asked them to verify ‘physically’. It was not possible for them to verify the stocks and sales physically. Surprisingly, the same procedure is followed even today.” They added if an inquiry was ordered in the sale of fertiliser after 1996-97, a scandal worth crores of rupees could come to light.

The ADOs are sitting on a dharna here since May 23 and are demanding the withdrawal of cases against ADOs or cases should be registered against the higher officials also. Dr Nirmal Singh and Dr Amanprit Singh while addressing the employees here today said, “The ADOs would be forced to intensify their stir if the cases were not withdrawn soon.”

Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Minister of Agriculture, Punjab, when contacted in this regard, said, “These employees are involved in a corruption case and have been found guilty by the Vigilance Department. Now we are trying to find a way out to save them.”

In this regard, he further said, “Due to our efforts the companies have deposited Rs 17,35,380, the amount involved in the case.”


Drain makes life miserable
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 29
Thousands of residents of several localities in Field Ganj and the other areas along the open drain between Delhi railway line and New Civil Hospital in the old city are leading a miserable life. This is because of the indifference of the Municipal Corporation authorities and littering by some residents.

Several nullahs flow into the drain from Sham Nagar, Engine Shed, Manjit Nagar, Gill Road and Miller Ganj and bring along domestic waste and effluent from a large number of industrial units. Residents of the colonies along the open drain, dispose of garbage and industrial waste into it, which always keeps it clogged.

Encroachments along the drain and on its covered portion create more problems. A large number of shopkeepers use this space for storing goods and junk and the drain for the disposal of waste.

An unbearable stench emanates from the drain that is a breeding ground for flies and mosquitoes. It posing a serious health hazard. A massive silt deposit at its bottom and overflowing garbage make the drain a terror for residents in rains.

In all 16 ‘kuchas’ of Field Ganj that face the drain and the colonies on its other side, there are walls to prevent water from entering the streets. A resident of the area, Mr Mohan Ahuja, said, in rains, the streets of Field Ganj were under three to four feet of water that often entered houses in spite of the barriers. This water not only damages property, but also leads to outbreak of diseases.

Amit, a college student, said, “Residents of the area have urged the MC several times to regularly desilt the drain and remove the encroachments on the covered portion, but the situation has not improved. The MC officials cannot even imagine our plight.”

As there are no garbage bins in the area, residents throw waste into the drain. “A large number of leather-work units of the nearby Prem Nagar also release plastic bags, junk and leather scrap into it,” says a person who has a shop near the drain.

The MC officials say that the drain is desilted periodically and there are plans to clean several open drains in the city. However, no senior official gives details of these works.


Martyr cremated with honours
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
The mortal remains of Sepoy Harjinder Singh of Sikh Light Infantry, who laid down his life in an encounter with the enemy in the Mendhar Sector of Jammu and Kashmir on May 28, were consigned to the flames with full military honours at his native village, Turmari in Khanna tehsil, here today.

The huge funeral procession was led by a unit of 103 Territorial Army.

Mr S.R. Kaler, Additional Deputy Commissioner of the area, laid a wreath on the body of the martyr on behalf of the state government. The others who laid the wreaths included Mr S.S. Gill, Subdivisional Magistrate of Khanna; Mr B.S. Sidhu, Deputy Superintendent of Police of Payal; Mr Harminder Singh, an MLA of Raikot; Mr Gurkirat Singh, a youth leader; Wing Commander M.S. Randhawa, Deputy Director of the Sainik Welfare Board; and officers of 103 TA Battalion.

Sepoy Harjinder Singh had joined the Army a-year-and-a-half ago. He is survived by his old parents, two brothers and six sisters.

The ADC, Mr Kaler, said the family would get all financial benefits announced by the government, including an ex-gratia grant of Rs 2 lakh, a plot or Rs 5 lakh for the construction of a house and a suitable government job for an eligible member of the family. He said the government middle school of the village would be renamed Shaheed Harjinder Singh Memorial Government Middle School.



CARETAKERS of the Guru Nanak Bhavan, where most of the city’s cultural programmes are staged, need to take a cue from the staff at the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, regarding controlling the mosquito menace in the hall that disturbs the audience. Though the bhavan authorities had been using sprays but the audience were left itching in the two recent shows featuring Kathak danseuse Shobhna Narayan and noted singer Hari Haran. The academy in Phillaur seems to have find a solution for the mosquito menace bugging the audience in the hall there. They put up Katchua Chapp mosquito repellent coil underneath the seats for the ‘comfort’ of the audience and the ‘discomfort’ of the insect. Interestingly, if the Bhavan uses the same strategy, it will have to use more coils as its hall is always filled to the full capacity. Since only the front few rows of the academy’s hall are filled in any function, the staff have to use only few repellents.

Commission agents ?

The commission system is so prevalent in the city that even the servant class has not been spared by it. The city is known for its property dealers who pocket huge profits in the form of commission after finding a plot, house or a rented accommodation for the residents. The chemists, clinical laboratories and even the doctors are known to pocket commission. Servants, of late, have also started looking for residents who require domestic help. They then tell their friends to go and ask for the job. This service they don’t provide for free but take commission from their friends. For instance if the servant is paid Rs 1500 per month the other who got him the job takes Rs 500 as commission.

No blood for bahu rani

Recently a friend had to visit a private hospital to donate blood for a woman who had been admitted there for an operation. According to doctors, nine units of B- negative blood group were required for her operation. But the blood of this group was not available. It was shocking to see that while parents of the patient were running around and making phone calls to their acquaintances to arrange for the blood. Her sister was also pleading her friends and colleagues to donate blood. However, her in-laws and other relatives, who had gathered there, instead of being concerned about her, they were busy cracking jokes and talking about the next dinner. A friend of the patient, who had also come to donate blood, remarked,‘‘ Cannot these people donate blood who are so healthy?. They think it is always the parents’ duty to save their daughter even after marriage.’’

‘Eunuch menace’

‘‘Do we not have any law to stop the menace of eunuchs who have started charging exorbitant amount like brutal kidnappers,’’ said a friend residing in Patel Nagar. He has recently become a father of a son. A group of eunuchs approached him and asked to pay Rs 11,000, a gold bangle and good clothes for all them. When the gentleman tried to evade them, they threatened him to teach a lesson. The grandmother of the new-born child wanted to make a compromise by paying Rs 5100 but they said,‘‘ No, No. Either pay the amount demanded or be ready for a lesson.’’ The women in the family feared the wrath of the eunuchs as they can reportedly put a curse on the new-born child. Last year on Divali the shopkeepers near Chaura Bazar were forced to close down their shutters when some eunuchs approached them to collect their amount.

‘Amrica wala munda’

A man went to a book shop to get some books. There was another man standing there looking really hep. The latter was wearing jeans and a shirt. He had made a plait of his long hair and covered his head with a sports cap. The former could not help staring at the latter. A young girl was also browsing through some books in the shop. The anxious man could not control commenting on this hep gentleman. He went to the girl and said,‘‘ Oh munde nu dekho ji, Ludhiana nu Amrica banaya hoya hai.’’(Look at that boy, Now Ludhiana is being converted into America). The girl looked at the man and smiled at him. The poor man had literally no place to hide when he later saw the girl going with the same ‘Amrica wala munda’ and he came to know that they were husband and wife.

The ‘graceful’ lady

A very graceful looking woman stepped in a beauty parlour and asked a beautician there to do her facial and hair styling. She gave her introduction to the beautician and said,‘‘I often visited your parlour when I was in the city. Now I have settled in California. I have come to you as you are the best’’. The courteous beautician recognised her old client and offered her a cold drink. After doing the facial and the hair style according to the woman’s wishes, the beautician gave her the bill. Poor beautician was surprised to see the ‘graceful’ woman's behaviour changing.The woman said,‘‘I will not give you this much money. Four years back, I used to pay only Rs 200 for the same work and now you are asking for Rs 500. Indians have changed a lot. I wanted to come back to India but after seeing you people, I have decided to stay abroad’’. The beautician kept quiet and asked her to pay Rs 200 only as there were so many customers sitting and she did not want to create a scene.

A ‘necessary’ bondage

It is not always out of cruelty that the parents will tie their toddler with a chain but it may be out of the necessity. People ,especially the slum dwellers living on the roadside, are usually busy working and since they cannot dream of leaving their children in creche or with baby sitters, they have to resort to such methods. Tribune lensman Inderjit Verma clicked this picture of a toddler who was tied by his parents because both of them were busy in making idols of the gods and goddesses. ‘‘We are busy so we cannot take care of him. Of late he has started crawling and might go in the middle of the road. So we tie him with the log of wood,’’said one of the parents.

Night cricket and flyovers

An accident at the Samrala Chowk on Saturday night involving a car full of young night-cricketers and a truck in which one boy died on the spot raises two issues that call for some serious thinking by the city residents and the administration alike. The night cricket, pleasant as it seems in the current hot weather, also provides (mis)opportunities to young players which the day cricket does not or cannot. At night the boys may easily get tempted to have a go at a glass of liquor or worse go for something deadlier. With drugs available freely these days and rich teenagers owning a number of vehicles, how wise it is to allow impressionable teenagers to be out of home all night just for a match that could also be played in the day-time. Match brawls are also more common in the night version of the game. Secondly, a solution to the mad traffic chaos at the Samrala Chowk has to be found. Maybe, Dr. S.S.Sandhu, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, would like to construct a couple of flyovers connecting the city with Chandigarh Road and the Jalandhar Road with Delhi Road.

Freak rains

Freak rains, following the week-long hot weather, seem to have been welcomed by the city residents. As it rained on Sunday evening, the mood of the residents went upbeat. Young boys and other residents of Model Town came out in the market and were seen dancing in the middle of the road. Even the old folk seemed to be enjoying the rainfall on Sunday and Monday evenings as several old couples were seen coming out of their homes and walking by the roadside. The sweet makers of the city had some brisk business as the sale of pakoras, samosas, jalebies, burgers, gol gappas and chaat increased during the one hour of freak rain.

It is not even Hinglish

The other day the Ludhiana Tribune office received an invitation from a Sikh educational institute , but surprisingly the word ‘convent’ was used as part of the name of institute. One wondered how could an educational institute make such a ‘blunder’, as convent is a building in which a community of nuns live. So how can the famous and not-so-famous educational institutes use the word convent as part of their names.It is a wrong use of word and totally misleading. At a recent function, the word chief guest on a prominently displayed placard read‘cheif guest.’ If an illiterate makes this kind of mistake he or she could be excused as they are illiterate. But the educational institutions can not get away with such glaring errors.

Counselling for average students

The CBSE results of X and XII classes are out and pictures of beaming successful candidates are on front pages of all dailies. The parents as well as the successful wards are seen grinning from ear to ear and why not? They had worked hard but so had lakhs of other students who just managed to scrape through or did not get a good percentage. They as well as their parents were feeling demoralised. The cut-throat competition prevailing in the educational sphere causes depression to many such mediocre candidates. To top that the barbs of the parents that so and so student did much better were difficult to tolerate for these students. Admission in good schools and colleges was impossible unless they could find someone with influence to sponsor them. A majority of mediocre students were doomed to live a life of mundaneness. Couldn't the city have a number of councillors to help these dejected students? That is the need of the hour.



Better facilities assured for Amarnath Yatris
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
A delegation of the Bhole Bhandari Charitable Trust, a religious organisation engaged in organising langars and providing tented accommodation, called upon the J and K Minister of State for Tourism, Ms Sukina Itoo, on May 21.It was assured of better facilities for the pilgrims to the holy Amarnath cave this season by the minister.

The delegation, which included the trust president, Mr Rajan Gupta, chairman, Mr Bharat Bhushan and propaganda secretary, Mr Parveen Goel, visited the holy cave by the Pahalgam-Chandanwari-Sheshnag-Panchtarni route on which yatris are not allowed these days because of security reasons. Mr Gupta told the Ludhiana Tribune today that the whole route was heavily covered with snow and there was no trace of a track and the delegation had to face lot of difficulties in trekking on that route.

Mr Gupta told that the size of the naturally-formed ‘Ice Lingam’ was quite big.They had the ‘darshan’ of the holy cave on May 23.

Prior to undertaking the pilgrimage, the delegation called upon the J and K Minister of State for Tourism and submitted a memorandum containing problems being faced by the yatris as well as various langar organisations along with the trust’s suggestions. Also present at the meeting were Mr Parvez Diwan, Commissioner/ Secretary, Tourism-cum-Chief Executive Officer of Shri Amarnath ji Shrine Board (SASB), Mr Naveen Chaudhary, Additional Chief Executive Officer, SASB, Mr Mohammad Ashraf, Director General, Tourism and Mr Sheikh Nissar, Director, Tourism.

Mr Gupta said that a long standing demand of the trust regarding grant of automatic permission to organise langar to all NGOs, which organised langars during the past season, had already been accepted by the SASB. The demand of the trust to increase the number of days from 15 to 25 for registration of pilgrims was also accepted as also the demand for widening and repair of road from Ranga to Baltal. The minister assured the delegation that efforts would be made to provide women doctors en route the yatra and separate toilets for men and women and bathrooms especially for women would also be provided.

The minister and the officers present at the meeting also assured the delegation that the yatra period from increased from 30 days to 90 days as soon as the law and order situation improved in the valley.

Mr Rajan Gupta also demanded that the number of registration counters and centres should also be increased which should be open round the clock to cope up with the heavy rush of pilgrims who should be handed the registration slips within a given time.

The trust delegation appreciated the idea of Mr Parvez Diwan, to start on-line registration of pilgrims through the Internet. The trust demanded that the job could be entrusted to any reputed NGO. Mr Gupta told the officials that the Bhole Bhandari Charitable Trust was the first to start a website on Amarnath yatra,

The minister informed the delegation that land for 10 years’ management contract shall be allotted to NGOs to construct pucca shelters for the convenience of the yatris.

Mr Naveen Chaudhary, suggested that this allotment of land for 10 years would be made next year so as to avoid any inconvenience to the NGOs due to change of land and in the meantime,a master plan would be prepared wherein all facilities to be provided would be taken care of.

However, the demand of the trust for electricity connections to the NGOs was turned down by the minister though it was assured that the mechanics to repair generator sets would be provided by the SASB at nominal charges for the NGOs.

The demand of the trust to lift restrictions on the number of pilgrims i.e. 3500 per day, 2800 from Pahalgam and 700 from Baltal, was also turned down by the minister on the plea of the recommendation of the Sen Committee.

Responding to the demand about the opening of more PCOs along the yatra route and the granting of telephone connections to the NGOs, the minister assured to take up the matter with the authorities concerned.

However, regarding the trust’s demand about the widening and constriction of pucca road on yatra route from Baltal- Chandanwari to the holy cave and pucca road from Ranga to Baltal and Pahalgam`to Chandanwari, the minister expressed her helplessness to do so due to lack of funds with the SASB and J and K Tourism Department.

The Minister told the delegation that the SASB has taken over the maintenance of the last 5.5 km of route before the holy cave. The delegation was also informed that the base camp at Jammu had been shifted to Nagrota and langar would be allowed at Nunwan, about 2 km before Pahalgam and no langar would be allowed at Pahalgam. The trust delegation requested the minister and the officers present at the meeting to decide the langar sites carefully keeping in view the security aspects. The delegation stressed the need to ensure that no mishap due to security lapse takes place as happened last year.


Forum quashes PSEB demand for Rs 69,655
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal has quashed the demand of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for Rs 69,655 from Parveen Singh, a resident of Vikas Nagar. The forum further directed the PSEB to refund the amount deposited against the said demand along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of deposit till the actual payment.

According to the complaint, the consumer received a memo from the PSEB on June 27,2000, demanding Rs 64,390. The consumer stated before the forum that he approached the board officials for clarification of such a huge amount without any default and he was told that the meter was recording less consumption of energy. He had to meet 40 per cent of the demand (25,744) in order to avoid disconnection and the matter was referred to the Disputes Settlement Committee of the PSEB, he added. The committee, instead of giving relief to him, raised additional demand of Rs 5,295, he disclosed. It was alleged that the demand was illegally raised.

The PSEB pleaded that the meter of the consumer was changed vide meter change order of April 24, 2000, and the meter was removed in his presence. The board stated that the meter was properly packed and sealed before sending to the ME Laboratory as per the rules of the department and it was found in the laboratory that the seals of the meter were tampered with. The respondent said that it was a clear case of theft of energy as the checking of meter revealed that it was recording less consumption of energy by 50 per cent. The board maintained that the demand had been rightly raised.

The forum observed that the evidence produced by the PSEB was not sufficient to hold that the meter was duly packed and sealed in a cardbox and the seals were signed by the consumer which was mandatory as per the rules of the department. The forum held that the disputed demand was not raised as per rules and liable to be quashed.


PSEB flouts CM’s announcements
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is least bothered about the announcements made by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Punjab, during sangat darshan. The Chief Minister had assured the industrialists at a meeting here recently that the fuel surcharge of 5 paise per unit would be abolished, but instead of implementing that decision the Chairman of the board increased the fuel surcharge from 5 paise per unit to 11 paise per unit from a back date.

The second decision which the Chief Minister announced was to lift the peak load hours restrictions from the units having a load of 100 KW or below with immediate effect but the Chairman has not yet lifted the restrictions of peak load hours.

Mr Mohinder Paul Jain and Mr Narinder Bhamra, Chairman and General Secretary of the Fastener Manufacturers Association of India, have urged the Chief Minister to withdraw the increased fuel surcharge and abolish peak load hour restrictions up to 100 KW. The high commission charges and minimum charges should be abolished with immediate effect.


PSEB employee held on graft charge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau claims to have caught red-handed a revenue accountant of the Punjab State Electricity Board while accepting a bribe in return of decresing an inflated power bill here today.

According to DSP Saroop Singh Chuhan, Hari Bhagwan, accountant, had demanded a bribe of Rs 1500 from Shamsher Singh, a resident of Salem Tabri, who had applied for the rectification of an inflated power bill. The PSEB employee was caught red-handed in the process in a vigilance trap laid on the orders of the SP, Vigilance, Mr R.P.S. Bajwa.

The DSP said the graft amount had been recovered. The employee was arrested from the PSEB’s office at Fountain Chowk.


Fire officers’ charter of demands
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
The Punjab Fire Service Officers Association has again taken up its long-pending demands relating to tone up of fire services in the state with the authorities.

Mr Lakhwinder Singh, President, has submitted a charter of demands to the Director, Local Government, for immediate acceptance of the demands. To begin with, the association has demanded that the post of Chief Fire officer at Chandigarh, which has been vacant for the past 30 years, be filled at the earliest since a disciplined force like the Fire brigade cannot be allowed to remain without a professional chief.

Secondly, the state government should follow the example of other states like Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal to adopt the Fire Force Bill, 1958, making fire services a state subject. Such a decision would go a long way in upgrading the fire service and enabling it to meet the challenges posed by the rapid industrialisation and urbanisation as also the risk in rural areas.

Thirdly, the association has demanded that the Municipal Corporation and municipal fire services should be integrated to form one unit and all the cadres of the service should be declared as transferable to other stations for ensuring discipline and efficiency.

Fourthly, well trained and qualified staff should be recruited and promoted to fill the existing vacant posts of fireman, leading fireman, driver and telephone operator. Other posts as per norms fixed by the standing Fire Advisory Committee, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, should also be created.

The association has further demanded that in the cities and towns of the state, a no-objection certificate from respective fire brigades should be made mandatory before sanctioning plans of various industrial, commercial and institutional buildings. Similarly, before granting permissions for exhibitions, circus shows, melas, festivals and other temporary structures, a no-objection certificate from the respective fire brigade must be insisted upon by the sanctioning authorities. The association has also demanded the opening of a training centre in the state for the newly appointed staff and where refresher courses for the working officials could be held from time to time.

Finally, regretting that while the state was progressing in the agriculture and industrial sectors, adequate attention was not being paid to the development of fire services. The association has asked the government to open more fire stations in the state to underline the importance of fire services in preventing various kinds of losses due to fires.


Seminar on traffic safety awareness
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
According to a study, one road accident occurs every four minutes and one person dies every five minutes in India. This was disclosed by Mr K.K. Chadda, co-chairman, committee for traffic safety, Rotary Club, during a seminar on traffic safety awareness organised by the Rotary Club here at Kundan Vidya Mandir yesterday.

Stating this in a press statement here today, Mr Chadda said that the seminar was presided over by Rotarian President Harbhajan Singh.

Mr Arun Pal Jain, SP, Traffic, one of the speakers in his lecture, said that there was a great need for road safety education for school children. Practical training about traffic rules should be given to the students in various parks. The authorities should include the children in regulating traffic near their schools during rush hours.

Overloading in school buses and autorickshaws should be avoided. The drivers of vehicles should maintain proper discipline during driving.

Pedestrians, being the most common road users in India, were the most common victims of road accidents. About 42 per cent of pedestrians, 25 per cent scooterists and motorcyclists, 13 per cent cyclists and 8 per cent bus passengers were accident victims in the city.

Mr Chadda in his address said the Rotary Club had designed a sticker on traffic safety to bring awareness among the masses. He said strict implementation of traffic rules with heavy penalties was the need of the hour. Drunken and unskilled drivers who played with others’ lives should be severely punished by the traffic police. Use of mobile phones, smoking, high beam lights and music systems at high volume should be strictly banned.


Don’t shop, give a call
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
If you do not feel like stepping in the crowded streets of Ludhiana to shop, you need not worry. Services are now available at your doorstep, which is a welcome sign for housewives and working mothers. Now, one can even order groceries over the telephone and get cinema tickets delivered at home.

Most fast-food joints and restaurants offer home delivery within a radius, but such joints are only in posh localities of the city. Even popular ‘dhabas’ here have become customer friendly and offer home delivery now.

Cobblers, keymaker, vegetable sellers, pressure-cooker sewing machine and umbrella repairmen, knife sharpners, and fruit sellers have all caught on this trend. One can now order a cassette of one’s choice and it will be delivered to him or her at home. Many beauticians here come to your house do manicure, pedicure and facial jobs.

At weddings, ‘mehndiwalas’ and ‘chooriwalas’ come home. One can even have a visiting tailor. School children are picked from home and dropped back, too. Tele-shopping has added to the comforts of housewives here.

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