Saturday, June 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



No takers for industrial plots at Ladowal
Industrialists reluctant to shift their units
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
The Punjab government's much talked-about Ladowal industrial project is heading towards a big failure as most of the polluting dyeing units, presently in the residential area, have not agreed to the Chief Minister's proposal to shift to Ladowal.

The Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) has offered to allot industrial plots at the rate of Rs 550 per square yard at Ladowal after developing infrastructure. The offer was made here yesterday by Mr Kulbir Singh, Managing Director, PSIEC, at a meeting with industrialists. He offered to develop the industrial complex on no-profit-no-loss basis.

He revealed that the PSIEC would construct a dam along the banks of the Sutlej, roads and a composite effluent treatment plant and would provide electricity supply and other facilities at a single window.

The supply of electricity would cost around Rs 26 crore and Rs 16 crore would be given to the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, for the maintenance of infrastructure after a specific period.

However, the representatives of the dyeing and engineering industry have rejected the proposal.

They have demanded that the plots should be provided to them at the rate of Rs 350 per square yard. Mr Vinod Thapar, President, Knitwear Club, said: ‘‘The Chief Minister had himself promised to provide land at the rate of Rs 500 per square yard. However, we have demanded the land at a cheaper rate.’’

Industry sources admit that the cut in land price is being demanded to force the government to abandon the project because they are not interested in shifting to a place far away from their residences and present plants. A number of organisations have even urged the government to declare their residential area, where a majority of the dyeing and electro-plating units — the most polluting industries in the city — are operating, as the industrial area. They have submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister recently in this regard.

In fact, it is only because of the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the industries are not openly opposing the whole project. The court has asked the state government to shift all the polluting industries in the residential area to the outskirts of the city.

However, the argument of the industrialists is that they are already facing difficulties because of recession. So they are not in a position to think of investing big amounts at a new place. Moreover, the track record of the PSIEC in providing infrastructural facilities in the focal points has not been too good, they say.

The industrialists are aware of the government's compulsions in an election year. Their representatives claim that Mr Parkash Singh Badal cannot force them to shift to Ladowal. They say that they can wait till the further orders of the court.


Map of city released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
The much-awaited map of Ludhiana has been released. And this is no ordinary map with ordinary outlines, but a map with a difference. It covers most of the important places of the city, be it the Mini-Secretariat, a leading hotel or a restaurant, not only marked, but also highlighted. Probably that is why Mr Vikas Passi, who has developed this map, calls it Ludhiana Highlighter. Each landmark can be spotted on the map from a distance.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Passi said that all the main roads, including the interior city roads and outskirts, important landmarks and business places, were marked on the map. He said, “The map is beneficial for the public, and has been appreciated by the people from all walks of life. The district administration has also approved it.”

Vikas said he had gone abroad in 1998 where such maps could be seen everywhere. “Since these maps were very helpful for people like us, I decided to make one of its kinds for Ludhiana,” he said.

Vikas took two months to prepare the map. He said that printing and designing of the map turned out to be quite expensive and it cost him around Rs 3 lakh.


Kidney donor ‘robs’ buyer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
An interesting case was registered under Sections 328 and 379 of the IPC at the Division Number Five police station here.

Lt. Col Gurdip Singh Brar (retd), resident of Patiala, lodged a complaint with the police stating that since his sister, Harpreet Kaur’s(55) kidneys had been damaged, he had advertised in the newspapers inviting kidney donors.

In response, Mrs Rajni, wife of Mr Devinder Singh, a resident of Jammu Colony, had contacted him following which Mr Brar had visited the family a number of times. All relevant medical tests of Mrs Rajni, which were required before the actual transplant, had also got conducted by him.

But when he visited the family again on May 24, he was reportedly administered some intoxicant in lemon water offered to him as a result of which he fell unconscious. Mrs Rajni and her husband then allegedly removed his gold chain, a gold bracelet (kara) and Rs. 1500 from him. After that they put him in his car and took off for Patiala. When the car was nearing Patiala, he came to his senses and the duo of husband and wife deserted him there.

However, no arrest has been made so far.


Sangat darshans no help for poor
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
The purpose of the sangat darshan programmes, to make the corruption-ridden administration responsive to people, has been belied. Instead of becoming responsive, it seems, the administration has turned a blind eye as far as cases of poor people are concerned. So much so that a common man seeking justice at these sangat darshans is further harassed and his problem compounded by the lower level officers.

The case of Mr Bhajan Singh, a 66-year-old resident of city, merits attention in this regard. For obtaining a simple ‘farad’ of agricultural land in Dhandra village, Mr Bhajan Singh has been literally running from pillar to post for the past two years with no result in sight. And this is his plight even after attending two sangat darshan programmes chaired by two successive Deputy Commissioners and the one chaired by the Chief Minister himself at Ludhiana on April 22. Mr Bhajan Singh’s fault seems his poverty. He could not afford to grease the palms of the revenue officials concerned so he found his way to the sangat darshan with a hope of getting the ‘greedy’ revenue staff ‘straightened out'.

From one Deputy Commissioner to another, his application was signed several times and referred to relevant officials. Orders were passed for the release of a copy of the required ‘farad’. In spite of the fact that his case had been decided at a sangat darshan programme, said a harried Mr Bhajan Singh, the officials concerned put forth a demand of Rs 2000. When he refused to pay up and instead accused them of incompetency, a case under Sections 107, 151 of the CrPC was registered against him with the obvious purpose of harassing him further and deny him a copy of the ‘farad’ that he wanted. Sangat darshan or no sangat darshan, the officials wanted their ‘fee’.

When Mr Parkash Singh Badal held his first sangat darshan at Ludhiana on April 22, Mr Bhajan Singh, somehow, managed to get his application before the CM. There it was marked to the DSP, in charge of the Economic Offences Wing.

Mr Bhajan Singh then went to the DSP concerned who told him that it was for the revenue officials to give him the copy of the ‘farad’ as desired by him and that he (the DSP) had nothing to do with the case.

It seems along wait ahead of Mr Bhajan Singh for justice as well as the copy of ‘farad’ that he is desperately seeking for.

Sangat darshan programme
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 1
A drive has been launched in the district to remove the encroachments in the district, said Deputy Commissioner Vikas Partap while hearing the complaints of the people during a sangat darshan programme held at Bachat Bhavan here today.

The DC said due to encroachment on Shamlat lands in the villages by influential persons, the development works in the villages have suffered. The panchayat of Fatehpur village complained that they have deposited the required amount for 24-hour power supply with the PSEB but we are not getting regular power supply.

The DC directed the Executive Engineer of the PSEB to do the needful immediately.

On the complaint of old-age pensioners, the Deputy Commissioner directed the District Social Security Officer to complete the record of the pensions of the district.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr G.L. Goel, said AIDS awareness camps would be organised in the villages with the help of panchayats and social organisanons. Mr Devinder Paul Singh Walia, ADC (D), the SSP, Mr H.S. Saran and other senior district officers were also present on the occasion.


Ludhiana resident drugged, looted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
Amarjit Singh Jatwal, a resident of Mohan Singh Nagar and director of Astech Computers, was drugged and looted on his return journey from Delhi two days ago. This was disclosed by family members of Jatwal.

They added that a few of his co-passengers offered him cakes and biscuits to each which did. After eating the same he became unconscious. On gaining consciousness, he found himself in Chandigarh. He discovered that he was without his turban, gold rings, “kara” and money. Somehow, he managed to hire a taxi for Ludhiana.

The family found him to be heavily sedated and got him admitted to the CMC Hospital. The doctors told them that Amarjit Singh had been administered very strong drugs, the effect of which would be there for another two days.


A nexus for a contractual loot
Kuldip Bhatia

No one openly says or admits it. But it is an established fact that in the manner of other departments getting public work done through contractors, a part of the fund, spent by the Municipal Corporation on development work in the city goes into the pockets of all categories of officers, with the exception that a lion’s share goes to elected representatives — certain councillors.

Inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune at various levels in the MC revealed that sums between 15 to 20 per cent of the total expenditure on development work are siphoned off by way of commission, with almost everyone, (starting from low-rung officers to those of higher ranks) sharing the booty. MC officials involved in the execution and supervision of the projects and their superiors, as also those entrusted with the verification of the bills and making payments in the accounts and audit departments, have to be content with one to two per cent of the total amount. The councillors, who have the final say and are required to sign the bills before the payment is made, corner from two to five per cent of the amount in cases of competitive biddings — and more if the work is allotted on higher rates to contractors with the “efforts” of the councillors concerned.

The links among councillors, contractors and MC officers have acquired sinister strength. Without many exceptions, councillors have their own kith and kin working as contractors in gross violation of the provisions of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act which requires that anyone desirous of being enlisted as a contractor with the civic body should not have “any blood relations” among the councillors and MC officers. Ironically, close relatives and family members of many councillors have submitted “no-blood-relations” affidavits”, which are obviously false. But MC officers knowingly look the other way because most of them are involved in the racket.

Knowledgeable sources disclose that some other councillors, not having their close relatives or family members among the contractors enlisted with the civic body, have been patronising particular contractors. They invariably make sure that every bit of work in their ward is done by their favourite contractor. Not only this. Councillors are occasionally reported to have told other contractors not to bid for the work to be undertaken in their wards and leave the field open for their favourites. Many councillors are benami partners with the favourite contractors. This entitles them not only to the percentage but also to a share in the profits. In this way, the councillors have their cake and they eat it too.

The matter was sought to be raised in the MC General House by two SAD councillors, Giani Baldev Singh and Mr Darshan Singh, on May 18. These councillors had demanded that a list of such contractors as were kith and kin or close relatives, MC officials or employees, be laid on the table of the House. However, the item (No. 41) on the supplementary agenda could not be discussed because of the uproar in the House after the BJP councillors staged a dharna on the issue of elevated roads and the agenda was adopted without any discussion. Had the item come up for discussion, many skeletons would have tumbled out of the cupboards and the caucus would have been exposed to some extent.


Ordinance for amending Panchayat Act soon
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
The Punjab government would soon promulgate an ordinance for amendment in the Panchayat Act to provide for a change in the system of election of panchayat samiti members. With the amendment in place, half of the members would be elected through direct elections, while the sarpanches would elect the other half.

This was stated by Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister, Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon, while talking to media persons at Circuit House before presiding over a workers meeting, convened by Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, vice-president, SAD (B), and Mr Pritpal Singh Pali, president, Gurudwara Dukh Niwaran, who is a contender for the post of the president of District Akali Jatha (Urban).

Mr Kahlon said that after the proposed amendment in the Panchayat Act, the government would move the case for elections to 142 panchayat samitis and the zila parishads in the state, to the state Election Commission. When queried about the tentative schedule of the elections, Mr Kahlon remarked that in all probability, these elections would be held before the forthcoming assembly polls in Punjab.

Rebutting the misleading propaganda of the Congress and other opposition parties about the sangat darshan programmes, being undertaken by Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal in rural and urban areas all over the state, the minister asserted that there was no irregularity in release of funds for development works. “It is only the procedure of disbursement of funds, that has been changed to speed up development in towns and villages. Instead of the files moving from the lower level to that of bureaucrats and then on to the ministry level, taking a lot of time in the process, it was the other way round now.” Mr Badal made an on-the-spot disbursement of funds and the plans were made later.

Replying to a question, Mr Kahlon denied that there was any irregularity in utilisation of funds, meant for development. The government had not received even a single complaint to this effect so far, he claimed.

Earlier, in the party workers’ meet, the issue of nominating a president of district akali jatha dominated the proceedings all along. The SAD-B vice-president, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, and Mr Prtipal Singh Pali urged Mr Kahlon to take up the matter with the party leadership. Claiming majority support in the district unit of the party, Mr Bhatia maintained that his group had 1970 delegates out of a total 3000 with it. 6 out of 10 central delegates and 12 out of 13 councillors were also supporting the group.

Mr Kahlon, who is also the member of the party working committee and the political affairs committee (PAC) of the ruling party, assured the workers that he will convey their sentiments to the party leadership and would ensure that the matter of the district party chief was sorted out soon in a cordial and amicable manner.



ASI suspended
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 1
Mr Nirbir Singh, ASI, in charge of the bus stand police post, has been suspended and transferred to the Police Lines for uttering insulting words against Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Agriculture Minister, in the presence of his gunman.

As per information when Mr Gurdev Singh Badal was having his food at a restaurant on the Jagraon-Ludhiana road, ASI Nirbir Singh reached there and asked workers at the restaurant about the minister. He then spoke insulting words against the minister in the presence of his gunman.


Factional fight goes to AICC president
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
The factional fight within the district Congress has taken a new turn with one of the groups approaching the All- India Congress Committee President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, and seeking her intervention to rein in some leaders indulging in anti-party activities. While one group has already met her on the issue, the rival group is bracing up for the showdown.

A delegation of local leaders led by the party MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, and comprising of Mr K. K. Bawa, Nahar Singh Gill, Anandsarup Singh Mohi and others met the AICC President in New Delhi. While the delegation members claimed that they met Ms Gandhi to congratulate her for good performance in the recently held assembly elections, the issue of indiscipline in the Ludhiana Congress also figured during the meeting.

The delegation members said they clarified to Ms Gandhi that any move to initiate any process to change the leadership in the state will convey wrong signals, particularly at a time when the party is preparing for the forthcoming assembly elections. The delegation, with its affiliation to the PCC President Capt Amrinder Singh, well known, supported his leadership, claiming that the party had managed to build up considerable pressure on the government. They said, the PCC president had successfully managed to mobilise the party workers to organise anti-government rallies across the state.

Without mentioning any specific names, the delegation urged upon the AICC President to rein in some of the local leaders who were allegedly indulging in the anti-party activities. Emphasising the urgency to enforce discipline in the party, the delegation expressed apprehension that the activities of these leaders may damage the party prospects and convey wrong message in the public. 


Sena men demonstrate against depot holders
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
The activists of Shiv Sena (Tangri) held a demonstration against rampant corruption in all government departments and total collapse of the public distribution system, with the essential commodities being sold in black market by the ration depot holders in the city.

The party workers, carrying banners and placards and raising slogans against the inaction on the part of the government, marched in procession from Gur Mandi and passed through Saban Bazar Chowk, Chaura Bazar, Girja Ghar Chowk, Books Market, Pindi Street, Hari Dev Mandir Chowk, before reaching Dr Kali Charan Chowk, where a rally was organised.

Speaking at the occasion, the party chief, Mr Jagdish Tangri, observed that people were being held to ransom by corrupt employees in all departments, including police stations, the Railways and transport. The government was watching the situation as a mute spectator. Poor people, in particular, were the worst sufferers of the high handedness of government functionaries.

Focussing on the irregularities, committed by ration depot holders, he said the public distribution had virtually collapsed and people were forced to purchase essential items from the open market at higher prices. He claimed that inquiries made by Shiv Sena activists had revealed that not only the genuine ration card holders were refused the supply of subsidised kerosene and foodgrains by the ration depot holders, a large number of bogus ration cards were in existence at almost each ration depot, which enabled the depot holders to draw these items in excess quantity and sell in the open market at a premium.

Mr Tangri served an ultimatum to the district administration and the state government to curb the menace of corruption in government departments with a heavy hand and take effective measures to check the black marketing of kerosene, failing which the party would launch a mass movement.

Mr Raju Thakur, president of the labour wing of the party, threatened that the party activists would come out in the streets against the ration depot holders, if the government failed to act soon. He said the Shiv Sena would always continue its fight to safeguard the interests of the weaker sections and poor masses.

Among others, Mr Shammi Kapoor, Mr Vijayendra Pal Joshi, Ms Anju Sharma, Mr Rakesh Tangri, Mr Vijay Sharma, Mr Surinder Kali, Mr Gurmel Singh, Mr Gaurav Gupta, Mr Vijay Dabar, Ms Santosh Rani, Ms Kiran, Ms Sunita Rani and Ms Kanta Mishra, were present at the occasion.


Farmers denied water as they refuse bribe
Tribune Service News

Ludhiana, June 1
Several farmers of Nathowal village in Raikote tehsil have alleged that they were denied irrigation water as they refused to pay bribe to the officials concerned. They alleged that some officials of the Irrigation Department were demanding Rs 400 per acre for releasing water for their land.

According to Kripal Singh and Hardayal Singh, two farmers from the village, they had complained to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, about the denial of water to their fields. They said, even the SGPC chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, had recommended their case to the Chief Minister. They said that they had sent registered letters to the Chief Minister’s office about six months ago and there was no response so far. ‘‘Even there was not any acknowledgement from the CM’s office’’, they said.

The farmers also presented their case to the Deputy Commissioner, who has ordered an inquiry into the case and asked that the report be submitted within a week.

The farmers said, according to a mutually agreed upon arrangement, their turn to get water from the distributary would come after every seventh day. Since they refused to pay bribe to the officials concerned, the routine was broken and water was not allowed to flow into their fields from the distributary.

The farmers were now getting water from their own tubewells for the plantation of the paddy crops. They alleged that two officials of the Irrigation Department, whom they identified before the Deputy Commissioner, in connivance with some other farmers of the village were taking all water leaving others high and dry.

The village has about 2,000 acres of land, which is irrigated by the canal. Some people have managed to dig their own tubewells.

However, it is not possible for all farmers to manage individual tubewells and a good number of them depend on the distributary from the Sirhind Canal. Even that water is allegedly to be purchased for a price.


Coping with life after retirement
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, June 1
In a very poignant essay on superannuation, Charles Lamb, noted English essayist, brings out the true dilemma of a person after retirement. The protagonist looks forward to his life after superannuation when he would be able to indulge in all his hobbies, like fishing, reading, gardening, which he was putting on hold. But after he settles down to his retired life, he misses the comforting routine and feels lifeless. He cannot relax as the years of habit make him get up early, but he does not know what to do with all the spare time at his disposal. 

All the expectations of enjoying a retired life peters out. Rather he is miserable, desolate and depressed. This is nothing unusual as per psychologists. The initial euphoria and feeling of freedom vanishes. Rather, after a while, time hangs on the hands. The superannuated people develop a feeling of worthlessness, and lose the verve and hold on life. They feel like fish out of water, and start withering away. Boredom becomes all pervasive. Life seems to be slipping away. Especially those who have no hobbies and are not involved in any kind of social activities, find it difficult to live happily after retirement.

Dr Krishnanan, Head of the Clinical Psychology Department, CMC, says: “I have observed that while people are working, they feel needed and respected. After retirement, they feel useless. For a person’s ego, it is necessary to be felt needed. Routine is comforting. Without a fixed routine, the retired people feel bored and do not know how to pass time. Feeling that children do not have time for them, they go into depression. While some find death to be a more attractive alternative, others try to seek negative attention by throwing tantrums. The old age homes are regarded as ‘grave stations’, the inhabitants of which live in the past. When the present and future have no meaning for a person, that is when he loses the will to live. When someone is not cheerful, his immune system weakens; he becomes receptive to a host of diseases. However, if retired people change their outlook, develop some hobbies, involve themselves in some social projects, they will be better off.”

According to Dr Jaswal, the problems faced by retired people are many, the most acute of which is that of insecurity. Then they have lack of motivation and feeling of alienation from their family as they feel neglected and uncared for. But if they are interactive and in good health, they enjoy the change the retired life offers. Ludhiana Tribune spoke to some retired people to find how they were coping up with the change in their life.

Mr A. Kalia, who has been leading a retired life for the last 25 years, said, ‘’I enjoyed the first few years of retirement because the life in army was very disciplined. I had a house in the city, which I used to visit whenever I needed a change. But ever since we sold that house, I do not feel happy, and find it difficult to pass time.”

Mrs Pushpawati, who retired from a government school as a teacher, said that while she was doing a job, life was at least interesting because going to school meant an outing, and a lot of gossiping. But post-retirement, she is tired of the monotony of household chores. Since she was never a ‘kitty-goer’, she has no friends worth the name. She has started keeping unwell too.

On the other hand, Raj, a tailor, who used to work in a hospital, finds life interesting after retirement. He said: “I have grown my hair long. I feel free, and keep getting work. Retirement! Not a big deal.”

A husband and wife duo had totally different ways of handling life after retirement. While the woman used negative methods all the time for seeking attention and ultimately committed suicide, her husband became indispensible for the family as he started doing all the small household chores.

The key to a happy retired life lies in keeping oneself busy by doing socially useful and productive work, practising yoga, meditation, learning new things and moving on.


Ludhiana leads in producing political leaders, too
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, June 1
Ludhiana has produced not only small-scale industries, but also three chief ministers of Punjab — Bhim Sen Sachar, Justice Gurnam Singh and Beant Singh.

Bhim Sen Sachar was the second Chief Minister of Punjab after the Independence and the first CM of the Republic of India.

Sachar was elected from the Ludhiana South Vidhan Sabha constituency in the first General Elections in 1952 on the Congress ticket. He was elected leader of the Congress Legislature Party on March 5, 1952, and made the CM.

Sachar, a gandhian, was an upright politician, besides a God fearing and secular person. As a schoolchild, this reporter saw Sachar recite Gurbani on the Municipal Gymkhana ground that has now become Guru Nanak Dev Stadium.

The ‘Punjabi Suba’ agitation was at its peaks during his tenure and the police had entered the Golden Temple at Amritsar. Sachar rushed there to apologise to Sikhs. Had he been there in June 1984, too, he would have handled things differently.

Pratap Singh Kairon succeeded him as the CM. Sachar, later, served as the Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa and India’s High Commissioner in Sri Lanka. He was the father-in-law of journalist Kuldip Nayyar and father of Mr Rajinder Sachar, who retired as the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court.

Justice Gurnam Singh, who belonged to Narangwal village of Ludhiana, became the first Congress CM of Punjab, after the party was voted to power in 1967. He was elected from the Kila Raipur constituency that had been formed for the first time. Earlier, he was elected from Raikot in 1962 and made leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly.

Justice Gurnam Singh had retired as a Judge of the Punjab High Court and advocated more powers for the states. As the CM and, later, a representative of the Akali Dal, he was nominated the convener of a committee set up by the DMK to seek more powers for the states.

The first bricks of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant of Bathinda and Guru Nanak Dev University of Amritsar were laid when he was the CM. Justice Gurnam Singh was an intellectual.

His government was brought down by his deputy, Lachhman Singh Gill, who left the Akali Dal along with 17 other legislators to form government with the outside support of the Congress. Gill belonged to Chuharchak village near the Ludhiana district and was elected in 1962 from Jagraon where he had studied. In 1967, he was elected from Dharamkot in the Ferozepore district.

Justice Gurnam Singh again became the Punjab CM in 1969 after the mid-term Assembly poll, but his tenure was again short-lived. He differed with his party chief, Sant Fateh Singh, and the other partymen on the issue of extending support to Giani Bhupinder, a senior Akali Dal leader and the then Jathedar of the Akal Takht, for his nomination to the Rajya Sabha. In his second term as the CM, Justice Gurnam Singh ordered a probe against Lachhman Singh Gill for misappropriation of funds.

Justice Gurnam Singh died in an air crash when he had been designated India’s High Commissioner to Australia. The mishap occurred when he was returning to the state from Madras. Many big leaders, including Kumaramanglam of the Indira government, were killed in this air crash. Mr Parkash Singh Badal succeeded Justice Gurnam Singh as the Punjab CM in 1970.

Beant Singh became the Punjab CM in 1992 after a decade of turmoil in the state. He belonged to Kotli village of the Payal subdivision in the Ludhiana district. Beant Singh was elected from Jalandhar in 1992 after he chose not to contest from the Payal Vidhan Sabha constituency. He had been defeated here by Gian Singh Rarewala in 1967, but had avenged his defeat in 1969. As CM, Beant Singh gave a free hand to the then police chief Mr K.P.S. Gill to uproot militancy from the state. He was assassinated on August 31, 1995, by a human bomb.

Gian Singh Rarewala, who served as a PEPSU Chief Minister, was also close to Ludhiana, because his native village Rara Sahib is in this district. He has the dubious distinction of being the first one to introduce political defections in the country.


Arihant staff denied salary for 3 months
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
About 300 workers of the Arihant Industries here have been denied salaries for the last three months. A delegation of the employees’ union met the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr S R Kaler, here today, who referred the case to the Labour Commissioner.

The workers alleged that despite repeated pleas and representations to the management no salaries were paid to them. They regretted that while the owners indulged in luxuries, they were not prepared to pay salary to the workers.

The workers pointed out, it did not amount to much and the management could pay the salary to them as all employees were being paid a monthly salary of less than Rs 2,000. They disclosed that they had asked the management that if it did not have the resources, it should close down the factory and settle the account of the employees.

Mr Radhey Raman Pandey, one of the factory workers, said the owners were claiming that they did not have the money to pay the salaries to workers, but were not prepared to close down the factory. Mr Pandey said that they were being held to ransom by the management as they were not allowed to leave the job to take another job, as the management would refuse them all benefits then.

Some other workers claimed that they had accumulated huge debts as they did not get their salaries. ‘‘But how long can we manage by taking loans and ultimately we would be forced to starve along with our children’’, one of the workers pointed out.

Mr Kaler said he had referred the case to the Labour Department with instructions that it should be settled within a period of one month. 


Residents resent advance telephone rent
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, June 1
City residents have strongly resented the move to seek advance rent by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) from its subscribers. Not only the city subscribers but the villagers feel that this has caused an extra burden on them. The general feeling is that the decision of taking advance rent from public should be given a second thought keeping in view the overall recession in the market.

Mr Krishan Kumar Aggarwal, a shopkeeper in the Dugri area, said earlier he used to get the bill which was not more than Rs 2500 (for two months) but this time he had received for Rs 4700. ‘‘It is difficult for us to deposit such huge amount. Our business is already going through recession. We were not even mentally prepare for this. The advance rent is a sudden shock. Some relief should be given to the subscribers’’, Mr Aggarwal said.

Mr Gurwinder Singh has a small manufacturing unit in the Industrial Area. He said,‘‘the department hardly provides smooth services to its subscribers, but it is charging us ‘unnecessary’ rent. Without prior information, they are collecting the rent in advance. We hardly use our one of the telephones but we are paying the five months’ rent in advance. We are not happy with the decision of the department’’.

Mr Gurmeet Singh Sekhon, an agriculturist and a resident of Lalton village, said he used to pay Rs 200(for two months) rent on his telephone. ‘‘This time I got the bill for Rs 718 out of which Rs 550 is the rent. The department has given us the facility but we cannot bear the ‘extra burden’. He said that all villagers were unable to deposit such huge amount. He said,‘‘They have decided not to deposit the rent in advance and they will also demand their refund from the department. While most of the time, the phones in the village are out of order, why should we pay the rent up to September?’’

Mr Vikas Jain, an industrialist in Sunder Nagar, said he had many telephone connections in his factory. ‘‘The rent has been charged up to September. The collection of seven months’ advance rent is really not desirable. The industry is already in a bad state and the department wants to generate revenue from the subscribers who are passing from a difficult time’’, said Mr Jain.

Ms Anu Kalra, a housewife, complained that she had two phone connections at her residence. Despite reminders and complaints, the phones were dead most of the time. The amount for local calls had also increased. Ms Kalra said,‘‘Now they are harassing the public by demanding advance rent. If they have the right to collect the rent in advance, they should ensure that proper facilities should be given to the subscribers’’.


Govt ‘responsible’ for recession
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
A well attended rally, jointly organised by the Lok Sangharsh Committee, Punjab, the Kisan Sangharsh Committee, Punjab, the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Naujawan Sabha, Punjab, the Lal Jhanda, Punjab, the Bhatha Mazdoor Union and the Lal Jhanda FCI Workers and Palledars Union at Dehlon town in the Kila Raipur area of the district, yesterday held the state government responsible for deterioration of law and order, financial indiscipline, police repression, mounting unemployment and poverty, criminalisation of politics and steep rise in the prices of essential commodities.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr Tarsem Jodhan, former MLA and President of the Lok Sangharsh Committee, observed that the NDA government was pursuing the policies of globalisation, privatisation and liberalisation, launched by the previous Congress government.

As a result, the agriculture, domestic industry and public sector units were facing an unprecedented recession. The ban on new recruitment in government departments and the compulsory retirement scheme had added fuel to the fire.

Mr Jodhan further alleged that under a calculated move to annihilate the farming community, the government had made all preparations to do away with procurement of foodgrains.

The pensions to senior citizens, widows and destitute women were proving elusive and the poor people were denied the facilities of education and health cover. He said debt-ridden farmers were forced to commit suicide and the public distribution system had virtually been scrapped.

Other speakers at the rally included Mr Sat Pal Bharti and Mr Amarnath Koom Kalan, Vice-President and Secretary, respectively, of CITU, and Mr Kuldip Singh, member, state committee of the MCPI.


Narrow bazars made narrower
D. B. Chopra

Ludhiana, June 1
The narrow bazars of the old city have been further narrowed due to encroachments by none else but the shopkeepers themselves much to the discomfort of customers and passersby alike.

Take for example, the Meena Bazar, which runs parellel to the Chaura Bazar and is one of the major trading centers within the old city limits. It has a large number of wholesale shops dealing in sugar candies, bhujia and a variety of bakery products which are visited by not only the retailers from other parts of the city but also from the neighbouring villages and towns. As a result the market remains a crowded place throughout the day. Traffic jams are long and frequent with hand-carts and cycle-rickshaws often getting entangled into each other. Scooters crawl like snails in this bazar and the condition of the hapless pedestrians is really pitiable, who have to be literally on their toes all the time.

All because the shopkeepers are not satisfied with the space they have got inside their shops. Goods of all kinds are stacked outside the shops covering at least three feet of the road on either side.

While in a few cases this is done out of compulsion, in other cases, the purpose of stacking goods outside shops is to display the same for the benefit of the new and ignorant customers

The adjoining Sarafa Bazar is no better where shopkeepers have made extensions wherever possible. In both of these congested bazars, scooters are parked on both the sides in a haphazard manner. A cycle-rickshaw loaded with passengers as also other passersby have to wait sometime for minutes together before the owner of a wrongly parked scooter arrives on the scene and removes the hindrance or a rehrawallah finishes with his loading or unloading outside a shop. Well, people of Ludhiana may be inconsiderate to their fellow beings but at the same time they must be lauded for the exemplary tolerance and patience they exhibit while waiting for a traffic jam to open up.

Banning the entry of hand-carts and horse-driven rehras in the narrow market can be very helpful in easing the congestion in these narrow markets. But this step cannot be taken unless the shopkeepers also cooperate.

An added nuisance in these narrow bazars is that of the slush which is taken out from the drains and heaped in the middle of the path. Because of a steady flow of traffic, this slush gets carried to the neighbouruing markets imparting an ugly look to the city roads and scattering around a foul smell. 


Snake in tap water
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
Water snakes are well known, but a snake in domestic water, and that, too, flowing out of taps of the Municipal Corporation water connections is far from common. And when this happens it cannot be called anything short of a nightmare. This is exactly what happened to Ms Rajdeep Grewal of Model Town Extension when she tried to fill a water bottle.

“I almost fainted on seeing the slimy creature,” Ms Grewal told Ludhiana Tribune while displaying her catch at her residence here today. Her family members who were still in state of shock hours after the incident, refuse to drink the water from the taps saying: “Wonder what we will get next.” The Grewal family has already piled up several boxes of mineral water, as they do not want to take any chances.

“Had I used the water directly for cooking purpose without bothering to see inside an opaque container, it might have proved fatal,” said Ms Grewal, who has complained about the incident with the welfare society of the area.

Commenting upon the situation, a corporation officer said that the snake might have first entered the tap from the house and later came out with water, or there could be some crack in the water pipe through which the snake made its way.


Panthic morcha in mid-June
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal and Rajya Sabha member, said that the declaration of a panthic morcha would be made in the second week of June and that the Sant Samaj would also ensure its participation. He was addressing the public at Gurdwara Reru Sahib in Sahnewal.

Criticising the existing government, he said: “The promise of a clean administration made by Mr Parkash Singh Badal has not been fulfilled. Nepotism and corruption have crossed all limits. The standard of education has fallen to the 17th position from the seventh position. In schools 14,000 posts of teacher are lying vacant inspite of their having spent lakhs on getting degrees and diplomas. NRIs are prompted to establish industries, while the already established ones are closing down.” He further said: “Our party would welcome talks between India and Pakistan for developing cordial relations.”

The gathering was addressed, among others, by Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, former minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bulara, former MP, Thekedar Surjan Singh, senior Akali leader, Bibi Kuldeep Kaur, president, Women’s Akali Dal, Jathedar Heera Singh Gabria, MLA, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, member, Rajya Sabha. 


Rewarded for bravery
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
Mr Amar Nath, who had been injured by a gunshot in yesterday's robbery attempt on the PAU campus, has been awarded with a certificate for exemplary courage and a cash award of Rs 1000 by Mr G. S. Aujla, IG (Zonal), according to an official press communication here today.


Yoga sammelan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
The Bharatiya Yoga Sansthan, Punjab unit, will organise a yoga sammelan on the PAU lawns here on June 3.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, SSP, will be the chief guest, according to Mr Tulsi Dass Jaitwani, patron of the sansthan.


Four satta bookies arrested
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
In a swoop, the police nabbed four satta bookies yesterday from different parts of the city, according to an official release here today.

All the accused booked under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the gambling Act were released on bail.

In the first case, Mr Dilbagh Singh, ASI, CIA, was stationed at the Raikhy cinema chowk alongwith a police party in connection with checking of bad characters that he got a tip-off from an informer about Ramesh Kumar, alias Neetu, a resident of Railway Colony 10, who was carrying out satta business in the fish market. He was telling the passersby that if their satta number was announced the next day he would pay them Rs 70 in lieu of Re 1.

The ASI carried out a raid and arrested the alleged bookie and recovered from him Rs 640, a pen and some satta slips.

In the second case, Mr Hardev Singh, ASI, CIA, and his police party, on a tip-off arrested Ashok Kumar, son of Mr Narain Dev, resident of Lajpat Nagar, while he was carrying on the satta booking business near the railway lines under the over-bridge, near bus stand, and recovered from him Rs 720, a pen and some satta slips.

Similarly, Mr Rajinder Singh, ASI, CIA, and his police party arrested Raj Kumar, alias Raju, son of Mr Charan Dass, a resident of White quarters, Dhuri Line, from in front of the Lakshmi Ladies Club in Rakh Bagh and seized Rs 705, a pen and some satta slips from him.

The division No 5 police also arrested another bookie from in front of the Lakshmi Ladies Club. Mr Dulla Singh, ASI, was stationed at Fountain chowk along with a police party that an informer told him that Sukhdev Singh, son of Mr Puran Singh, a resident of Partapsingh Wala, was exhorting the people to bet in the matka market. The police party arrested him and seized Rs 535 and some satta slips from him.

Gamblers nabbed: The Division No 6 police yesterday arrested Pawan Kumar, a resident of Islam Ganj, Vimal Kumar, a resident of Vijay Nagar, Jagmohan Singh, alias Jassi, a resident of Baba Dalip Singh Nagar, and Ranjit Singh, alias Gopi, a resident of Prem Nagar, Mohalla Mochian, while the party was gambling. The police seized Rs 14,450 and a set of playing cards from them and booked them under sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act.

Encroachment bid: A major bid to occupy the boulevard along the urban estate park on the Chandigarh road was thwarted by rickshaw-pullers using the place as a stand after high drama yesterday.

According to sources, the roadside vegetable sellers on the Jamalpur side of the chandigarh road had to close business due to the widening of the road under way for the past three days or so. So they were on the lookout for an alternative site. Trouble arose when these vegetable sellers tried to put up their shops on the boulevard along the park.

A horde of rickshaw-pullers, who have been using the boulevard as a stand, gathered on the spot and opposed the move. The situation remained tense for quite some time as more and more rickshaw-pullers gathered at the troubled spot. The irate rickshaw-pullers blocked a whole lane of the Metro road for more than two hours.

However, following intervention by the area residents, the rickshaw-pullers emerged victorious in the tussle and the vegetable sellers had to beat a retreat.


Poppy husk seized: The police has claimed to arrest a man with poppy husk last night at a naka near Ramgarh.

Bhinder Singh of Sahnewal was walking his way near Ramgarh village when SI Gurjit Singh and ASI Charanjit Singh, who had put up a naka, caught the man. Twenty kg of poppy husk was seized. A case has been registered against him.

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