Wednesday, June 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Night that shook public confidence
Cop penalised for detaining old man
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
ASI Girdhari Lal of the Division No. 2 police station was transferred to the police lines today for illegally detaining a 65-year-old man of Field Gunj. A department inquiry has also been initiated against him for harassing the man’s family.

The ASI acted in violation of a recent order of the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldip Singh, that no women or old man should be brought to the police station unless he or she had committed a serious crime. The orders were issued after an old man had died of a heart attack in custody at the Haibowal police station past month.

The SSP, in the first ‘police sangat darshan’ at Shimla Puri here, had renewed this order to boost the public confidence in police. However, the recent incident seems to have erased the gains of this order.

In Field Gunj at about 10 pm yesterday, some unidentified persons were beating up a youth when one of the old man’s sons, Hitesh, an employee of ‘The Tribune’, intervened and saved the youth. His brother also helped him in this. However, the youth who had been attacked, later, told the police that “these boys knew the attackers”.

The boys said, “ASI Girdhari Lal came to our house at about midnight and took away our father, Mr Rajinder Kumar.” The old man told the ASI that his family had nothing to do with the attack and his sons had only saved the youth.

The ASI allegedly abused the old man in public and at the police station, besides forcing him to reveal the whereabouts of his sons. The pleas of Mr Rajinder Kumar that he was a senior citizen had no effect on the ASI, who continued to behave rudely.

The man kept pleading that the police knew well who the attackers were. He said the youth who had been attacked had also admitted to the police in his presence that the boys had nothing to do with the incident. However, the ASI allegedly kept on harassing the man, who was later released after the intervention of some pressmen.

The ASI, then, registered a case against his sons for assault, though the complainant denied that these two were the ones who had attacked him. Mr Balbir Chand Tiwari, SHO of the Division No. 2 police station, on learning what had happened, reprimanded the ASI and erased the names of the boys from the FIR.

The SSP decided to take a tough action against the ASI and transferred him to Police Lines.


Tipsy cops clash with villagers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
Residents of Pakhowal and its nearby villages decided to discontinue ‘thikri pehras’ or night patrols today in protest against the alleged high-handedness of two “tipsy” personnel of the Raikot police.

The policemen allegedly abused and pushed around a number of villagers who were on the night patrol yesterday.

The two policemen — an ASI and a constable — were in uniform, but the villagers could not identify them because they were not wearing the name plates on their shirts.

These two were in a white Maruti car. The villagers got to know their ranks from the stars on their uniforms.

The villagers said, “The ASI was clean-shaven, while the constable was a Sikh. Senior officials of the Jagraon police district have been informed of the incident.”

Villagers Hari Singh, Daljit Singh, Bittu, Khair Singh and others, said, “These officials misbehaved with patrol teams of villagers at two places. The first incident took place in the main market of the village at about 11 pm when a patrol team stopped a car to check what were its occupants doing there at such odd hour. At this, the two policemen, who were in the car, began abusing them for stopping a police vehicle.”

The villagers reportedly tried to convince the policemen that it was their duty to check each vehicle that passed by at that hour.

However, the policemen got down from the car and pushed them around.

They also beat up a boy who was with the patrol team to force the villagers to open a barber’s saloon at night. The policemen decamped with a VCR and a cassette from the shop.

Later, these policemen clashed with another patrol team at the other end of the village. The policemen were reportedly drunk and not open to reason.

Angry villagers said this attitude of the police officials had hurt them. They alleged that they carried out night patrols without a day’s break, while the policemen on that duty never turned up.

‘Thikri pehras’ were introduced by the district administration and the Police Department to help the police in carrying out night patrols. The need for such public participation in crime-prevention exercises had been felt due to a high incidence of robberies in these villages.


Hills beckon hosiery units of ‘taxing’ state
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
The failure of the state government to announce an export policy has forced owners of a number of local hosiery units to start shifting their business to Himachal Pardesh. The bad condition of roads, telecommunications and power supply in the Industrial Area and Focal Points has aggravated the problem.

The companies that have invested in the new Baddi industrial complex in Himachal Pardesh include Dimple Exports, Rimp Exports, Self Knitting Works, V.K. Kalra, Saluja Fabrics, Mikky International, M.S. Saluja Hosiery and M.K. Aggarwal Hosiery. A number of other companies are planning to shift their production centres to Baddi.

Reportedly, about 100 hosiery manufacturers of the city have bought land at Baddi and many others are planning to follow suit in view the “industry-friendly policies” of the Himachal Pardesh Government.

A delegation of representatives of the local hosiery companies that had recently visited the Baddi complex found that the HP Government offered new investors many sops. These included a 7-year tax holiday, lower rate of the CST than here and exemptions from paying income tax and sales tax. The HP Government also offered them industrial plots at Rs 500 per square yard in the complex, which was half the actual cost of that land.

Mr Vinod Thapar, who had led that delegation, said, “The state government should learn from the HP Government if it wants to check the fight of industry to HP and the other states. Local manufactures prefer to shift to HP than purchasing land in the Laddowal industrial complex.”

The government has failed to attract investors to Laddowal, in spite of cutting the land rate from Rs 750 to Rs 550 per square yard. Representatives of the industry said it was not only the price of land but also the taxation policy that was a deterrent. Sales tax on yarn, waste yarn, finished products and a high octroi duty have affected the profits of the local hosiery industry.

The industry representatives say that a high cost of land in the city and regular power cuts have hit the industry hard. They say that the state government is providing the agriculture sector with free electricity at the cost of industry. A hosiery exporter said, “The state government is more interested in consolidating its rural vote bank than the industry. However, it should remember that only rapid industrialisation in the state can remove unemployment.”

The industry wants a research and development centre for hosiery industry. The Knitwear Club had even proposed that it could provide at least 1,000 persons every year with training and job opportunities through this centre.

Representatives of the industry have urged the Chief Minister of Punjab to announce an economic package for those who want to invest in the Laddowal project, on the pattern of the HP Government.


Laddowal farm employees get first salary
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
After a gap of one year, as many as 181 employees of the Central State Feed Farm at Laddowal, which was merged with Punjab Agriculture University last month, finally heaved a sigh of relief when they were distributed their first salary by the university.

These employees had a hard time during the past 12 months as they were left in the lurch by the state government. The seed farm was transferred to the PAU in mid-2000, but the land was not transferred to the university due to which the university refused to pay salaries to the employees. The employees will, however, have to wait longer for the payment of the arrears of the last year’s salary as the state government would pay it.

With no other source of income, the employees and their families literally starved. As many as three of them, unable to live a life in penury, had committed suicide about two months ago. The shocked state government swung into action and within days the seed farm was handed over to the PAU. The employees were taken on the rolls of the university on May 15.

The Vice-Chancellor of the PAU, Dr K.S. Aulakh, said that the university had paid them the salary for the month of May and their days of hardships were over. He said that from now onwards they were the permanent employees of the PAU. An amount of Rs 1.25 crore would be spent on the salaries of these employees. The university would pay their salaries from its revolving fund.

He said that the university was paying the salary only after the date of joining of the employee in the university and for the rest of the period the Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation would take the responsibility. He said that about 1250 acres of land was transferred to the PAU and the Central State Seed Farm employees were now treated as employees of the university.

He said that earlier there was no allocation in the university budget for making payments to these people besides, if any payment was made, the audit officials was bound to raise an objection. So the university, in order to accommodate them had decided to do it from the revolving fund.

The CM had at that time ordered immediate transfer of about 1,250 acres of land to the university and then the Vice-Chancellor had said that the workers could join duty in the university the next day.

It may be pointed out that lack of concern and indifference by the Punjab Government had pushed nearly 200 families to the brink of starvation. Employees of the erstwhile Central State Farm, Laddowal, on the outskirts of the city have been without salaries for over a year, with the Central Government washing its hands of all liability towards their former employees and the state government dilly-dallying over the issue.

Since last year about three persons had died, one after the other allegedly committing suicide due to financial strain. The crisis started after the 20-year-old lease of the Central State Farm to the Central Government expired and over 2,700 acres of land was returned to the state government.

The state government had, in turn, distributed the land between the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), the Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation (PLDRC) and the Punjab police, while retaining some of it with itself.

As per the agreement between the state and the Central Government, the liability of these workers now rested with the state government, which had, in turn, passed it on to the PAU and the PLDRC, who get major chunks of the farmland.


5 district colleges get PU nod for M.Sc (IT)
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, June 26
Five colleges of the district have been granted affiliation for MSc in information technology by Panjab University, which is likely to begin in August this year.

The five colleges, which have been granted affiliation for the purpose, include Khalsa College for Women, Arya College, Kamla Lohtia Sanatan Dharam College, Ramgarhia Girl’s College and Guru Hargobind College for Women, Gurusar Sadhar. While the first three colleges have been granted affiliation after an inspection by the university team last week, the other two colleges were inspected and granted affiliation last month.

Disclosing this information, Mr Tarsem Bahia, Principal, A.S. College Khanna and member of the inspection team, said even though the colleges have not been sent any written approval, the university inspection team as well as the Vice-Chancellor have given a nod for granting affiliation. He said that the decision of the university would bring cheer to all BCA students as now they would have an opportunity to take the highest degree in information technology in their own district. He said that there would be 30 seats in each college in addition to five seats reserved for the NRIs.

Giving details about the course, Mr B.D. Budhiraja, Principal, Kamla Lohtia SD College, said the classes for the course are likely to commence in August this year, following an entrance test on July 11. He said that only BCA students, scoring at least 50 per cent marks, would be considered eligible for the test. The test would be held at two centres, one in Ludhiana and another at Chandigarh. However, the colleges where the test would be conducted have not been identified as yet, he said.

Regarding the course, Mr Budhiraja said the course would be an alternative for MCA. But in contrast, a graduate in any stream could opt for MCA, whereas only BCA students would be eligible for MSc (IT). He said that the course is likely to be beneficial to the students as it is expected to be updated in tune with the latest demand of the IT industry.

In his visit Dr C.M Behl, Director, Computer Centre, Panjab University, said the syllabi for the two-year degree course had already been designed and approved by the UGC. He said the course would give the students knowledge about the latest softwares in the market, their programming and basic know-how to handle any new software that comes into the market after they complete the course.

Meanwhile, all the five colleges have equipped themselves with at least four computer laboratories, more than 25 computer terminals, printers, modems, licensed softwares, Internet connection and teaching staff for taking BCA (honours) and MSc (IT) courses. 


Training course for farmers at PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
The Directorate of Extension Education, Punjab Agricultural University, will organise a three-month training course for young farmers who are willing to take agriculture as vocation. The course is starting from August and would conclude in October.

The farmers in the age group of 20 to 40 years are eligible for the course. The eligibility for the course is matriculation. Similar training course for the farmers of Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts would be held at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Gurdaspur.

This information was given by Dr Jaspinder singh Kolar, Director, Directorate of Extension Education, here yesterday. He said during the training programme the farmers would be provided practical training in production of crops, fruits and vegetables besides dairy farming, poultry farming, plant protection, maintenance and use of machinery and farm management.

Those seeking admission at Ludhiana are invited to send their applications to the professor and head, Department of Extension Education, PAU, by July 25. The interview would be held on July 26 at 10 a.m. in the Kairon Kisan Ghar. Dr Kolar further said that no further intimation regarding the interview would be sent and the candidates should come with the documentary proof of their age and education qualifications.

The selected candidates would have to deposit Rs 500 as security which would be refundable after successful completion of the course. The training will be imparted free of cost and only nominal charges are required to be paid for lodging facilities at Kisan Ghar.

The applications for the course at Gurdaspur may be sent to the in charge, KVK, Gurdaspur, and interview for this course would be held on July 26 at Gurdaspur.



Blessing in disguise!

MS Shruti Garg, daughter of Mr Rajesh Garg, a trader of Jagraon, has topped the district in the twelfth class exam of the Punjab School Education Board. She has also got a good rank in the entrance test for admission to an engineering college. However, she was forced to leave a coaching institute of Ludhiana near PAU that had declared her unfit for coaching with city students. The institute had even declined to return the fees as ‘it was non-refundable under its rules’. However, the turn of events proved a blessing in disguise. She joined another institute and worked hard for the entrance test. Interestingly, she cleared the entrance test and topped the district in board exam after getting good coaching. Ironically, the results of the institute, which had declined to adjust her with other students, was not even worth mentioning.

Enter my name

Recently a press conference was organised by the Punjab unit of the Samajwadi Janata Party to announce its protest movement against the WTO. The office-bearers disclosed that the purpose of the press conference was to tell the public about a car rally being launched by the party president from Puri to Porbander. One of the office-bearers was feeling uncomfortable. He was heard whispering in the ear of the president, “Please give my name in the press note also.” When he did not get the nod, he prepared a list of office-bearers, including his name, and passed it to the reporter of an English daily. The face of the poor fellow was worth watching, when that reporter, instead of noting down his name, passed the slip to a party worker sitting beside him.


A friend attending a function organised by an MNC dealing in pesticides, at a nearby village, came across the use of ‘Pinglish’ by the representatives of the company in their address to the farmers. Sample this: “Hun sarpanch ji maanyog VC saab nu ik bukka de ke uhna da welcome karange.” The fellow officials as well as others attending the function took a while to understand that by ‘bukka’ what was meant was bouquet. One of them wondered whether the word ‘guldasta’ could not have been used for the benefit of farmers, as the sentence was used again and again for all those welcoming the VC, who was the chief guest. Communicating with the farmers posed maximum problems for the MNC official belonging to Maharashtra. As he was not well-versed with Punjabi, he often got confused while deciding whether he should use ‘shuddh’ Hindi words or their English substitutes. Many a time, he used both, one followed by the other.

Unexpected rains

Pre-monsoons, it seems, are playing games by their unexpected arrival. The showers come down when they are least expected and when most of the commuters are without raincoats or umbrellas. Last Friday the sky was clear in the morning and sun was shining bright. Several businessmen, students and others who started on from their place without any raincoats were thoroughly drenched before they reached their destination as heavy rainfall started unexpectedly. The two girls (see picture) also seem to be heading for an important assignment when they got wet due to the downpour.

Result late

Hundreds of city students who had appeared for the BA final examination conducted by Panjab University this year felt disappointed on Monday. With much curiosity, they went to the bookshops to know their result. They paid Rs 10 and opened the gazette with a hand on their heart. Much to their chagrin, they all saw “RLA” written against their roll numbers indicating their their result was late due to lack of certain information. All such students are now heading towards the university to know the reasons for the delay.

Helpless to serve

The problems of telephone subscribers have not lessened even after the entry of a private company in this field as there is no marked difference in the services of both the players. Once your phone develops a snag, you have to use all your connections, patience and energy to make the phone functional. A friend faced an interesting situation when even after contacting the PA of the general manager of the department, his phone was not repaired even after four days. He contacted another senior official of the department at his residence to get his help. However, he got a fascinating answer “Sir, we cannot force the linesman to repair your phone as they are well organised. Ever I had to cajole their union leader to get my phone repaired. You can convince them or note down the phone number of Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister for Communication. Perhaps he may help you.”



Johar charges SAD-BJP govt with rural bias
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 26
Former Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Mr Harnam Das Johar, has charged the state government with a rural bias and in particular the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, with giving the urban population a step-motherly treatment.

Addressing a joint meeting of Congress and Youth Congress workers at Manjit Nagar here today, Mr Johar observed that the SAD-BJP government had failed on all fronts. The people, gasping under an unbearable burden of taxes and rising prices, were feeling betrayed as the ruling combine had not fulfilled any of its poll promises. He said Mr Badal had realised that the vote bank of his party had eroded and in a desperate bid to win back the support of the people, he was doling out grants indiscriminately all over the state.

The DYC President, Mr Parminder Mehta, focused on the erratic power supply, which had put the normal life out of gear, besides adversely affecting the trade and industry. "On the top of it all, the PSEB has been effecting repeated hike in power tariff and recently the monthly minimum charges were jacked up.

He called for immediate implementation of the MC decision to provide free water supply and sewerage in this city and further demanded that in the wake of rise in the city population, development works should be undertaken at a war footing to ensure basic civic amenities for the people.

Other speakers, including Mr Kewal Arora, Press Secretary of the DYC, alleged that the government was misleading the people about the financial position of the state and funds from the state exchequer were being squandered away on populist measures. The party functionaries also lashed at the ruling party with discontinuing various programmes for the welfare of dalits, poor people and the working classes.

Prominent among others at the meeting were Mr Sarbjit Singh Bunty, Mr Vinod Tina, Mr Avtar Singh, Dr Gurdial Singh, Mr Bachittar Singh, Mr Surinder Kaushal, Mr Sarbjit Bhatti, Mr Pankaj Sood, Mr Santosh Kumar, Mr Jasbir Gill, Ms Bimla Devi and Ms Manjit Kaur.

Earlier, addressing another meeting organised by Koshish — a public awareness body in the Islamganj area, Mr Mehta made a strong plea against encroachments on government land under the garb of religion. He said an increasing tendency by certain self-styled religious groups and individuals to set up religious structures was a dangerous sign, apart from being a sacrilegious act.

Calling the people to come forward and raise a strong voice against such mischievous elements who took the shelter of religion to cover up their nefarious and anti-social activities, the DYC president said concerted efforts by people, coupled with effective measures by the administration, were needed to curb the menace of raising religious structures along the roads, in public parks and vacant government land.


Police-public relations improved: DIG
Our Correspondent

Doraha, June 26
Mr Suresh Arora, Deputy Inspector General of Police, during his recent visit to the first model first aid post at Doraha, expressed his desire to establish a bond of love and understanding between the police authorities and the common people.

“We shall strive to fight and control every crime in the region. The situation has, however, improved for the better. With the commendable performance of the police the relations between police and public have improved considerably. People now look towards the police for security and help, and not with suspicion. More and more people would be made aware of the telephone numbers of these first aid posts,” said Mr Arora. “Sangat darshan programme would be organised twice a week, under the supervision of high officials, so that more problems are solved,” added Mr Arora.

Mr R. N. Dhoke, SSP Khanna, praised ASI Harbans Singh and his first aid team for saving 1,662 road accident victims.

Mr Arora presented a memento to the first aid team and expressing hope that it would keep up its commendable services.


OBC targets 25 pc growth in deposits
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
The deposits of the Oriental Bank of Commerce are likely to increase to Rs 30,000 crore by March, 2002, from the present figure of Rs 24,000 crore, thereby projecting a growth of over 25 per cent. The loans and advances are envisaged to touch Rs 15,000 crore from the present figure of Rs 11,500 crore depicting a growth of over 30 per cent.

These views were expressed by Mr B.D. Narang, Chairman and Managing Director of the Oriental Bank of Commerce. He was here in connection with the inauguration of the new premises of the regional office.

In a press conference, Mr Narang said that the bank would continue to focus on mobilising more current saving accounts business, thereby reducing its dependence on high cost deposits and bringing down the average cost of deposits.

The bank had recently launched loan schemes for increasing its customer base under the category of education loans, housing finance, loans to contractors, government employees, defence personnel and the lease discounting scheme. The work procedures had been rationalised and other schemes redesigned so as to take them market driven and customer friendly, he added.


Dharna in front of MC office
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 26
A large number of residents of the town sat in a dharna in front of the Municipal Council office to protest against the failure of the municipal authorities to provide good roads, streetlights, adequate water supply and proper drainage and sewerage.

The dharna was supported by members of the Block Congress Committee. The participants raised slogans against the municipal authorities for not maintaining cleanliness in the town, especially in the old grain market where a lot of filth and slush.

In a press note issued today, they said that Mr Parkash Singh Badal had claimed that there was no scarcity of development funds, so the president or the executive officer of the Municipal Council must have misused the funds. They demanded immediate inquiry into the works undertaken in the past, and warned that if their demand was not met they would be forced to launch an agitation.


Two labourers killed
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 26
Two labourers were killed while digging a well at Rajgarh Chhanna village, four km from here on Monday. Sudden fall of debris on the labourers buried them deep and their bodies were recovered on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Bodies were handed over to their families for cremation after postmortem.

Three labourers, Balbir Singh (40), Suchha Singh (36) and Ujaggar Singh, all residents of Baraichan village near here, were digging well of Mr Nachhawar Singh. Balbir Singh and Sucha Singh were working in the pit when the incident occurred.

The rescue operations which started at 2.30 p.m. on Monday, continued upto 2.00 p.m. on Tuesday when two bodies were recovered from beneath the debris.

Mr R.S. Jangu, SDM, Mr Rajesh Tripathi, Tehsildar, Mr Jagbur Singh, SHO, alongwith rescue teams of doctors immediately rushed at the place of incident. Fire engine from Mandi Gobindgarh was called. A relief of Rs 75,000 each to the kin of the deceased from the Market Committee funds will be sanctioned, said the ADC.


1 killed, 6 hurt in road accident
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 26
In an accident that took place between a mini bus (PB-04F-9774) and a truck (HR-37A-3099) near Deepak Marriage Palace, G T Road, Chand Singh of Aulakh village and driver of the mini bus was killed and six others were injured.

The bus was carrying students and teachers of Rishi High School, Panj Grahai, for a trip to Mussourie.

The injured included Udham Singh, Roop Singh, Parmidner Singh, Raj Singh and Jagtar Singh.

The driver of the truck has absconded. The police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 338, 427 and 304-A of the IPC.


Three held for selling banned drugs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
Cracking down on the practice of illegal sale of medicines used as drugs by the youths , the city police today raided a number of shops in the Shimla Puri area and arrested three persons.

Inspector Paramjit Singh, SHO, Division No. 6, told Ludhiana Tribune that during the sangat darshan programme organised by the city police at Shimla Puri recently, maximum complaints received were about the open sale of prohibited medicines which could be bought only if prescribed.

The police raided several shops and seized substantial quantity of prohibited medicines. Three persons Narinderjit Singh , Bhupinder Singh and Som Nath have been arrested. The medicines seized included diazepam, proxyvon, amoxycylin and nezapam. The three accused have been arrested under the NDPS Act.

The police said the accused were selling the medicines without any prescription. The high dose was taken by the youths as drugs. Back


Restoration of drawback duty hailed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 26
Hosiery and woollens manufacturers here have welcomed the Central Government’s decision to restore the duty drawback rates with retrospective effect from June 7, 2001. The government had decided to take back its decision of decrease in drawback duty on Friday after much criticism by the industry.

The garment exporters have said that it was a right step in the right direction taken by the Ministry of Finance to boost India’s exports which were already facing stiff competition from countries like China, Korea and Taiwan.

A drawback rate of 8 per cent and a cap of Rs 9 per piece had been announced in the budget for men’s briefs and vests. These have now been raised to Rs 12 per cent and Rs 35 per piece respectively.

For the knitted ladies garments such as shirts, blouses and nightgowns, the drawback rate has been raised from 10.5 to 12.5 per cent and the cap from Rs 14 per piece to Rs 40 per piece. On knitted T- shirts the rate has been increased from 9.5 to 12.5 per cent and the cap from Rs 40 to 40 per piece.

For woven garments, including jackets, dresses and skirts the rate has been enhanced from 12 to 12.5 per cent to between 13.5 and 14.5 per cent. The cap on these items has been raised by Rs 10 to Rs 20 per piece depending on the item.

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