Saturday, June 30, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Indo-Pak war enters cyberspace
Case against unidentified persons
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
The city police today registered a case against unknown persons for showing disrespect to the Indian flag in the infamous hacking of a city-based website suspectedly by a notorious hackers club of Pakistan even as the owners of defaced site has decided to stage a protest dharna before the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi.

The police was also seeking legal opinion about the incident under the IT Act 2000 even thought it was not sure whether it can proceed ahead as the IT Act has not been notified so far. However, Internet experts say that the registration of the case is of no consequence as the persons can never be identified or tried.

SSP Kuldip Singh said he was hopeful that soon some technology would be available for identifying the accused and then action could be taken against him. Police sources said there might be a possibility that some city resident might have done it.

The Knitwear Club management committee, the owners of the website, which was hacked and defaced three days ago has, meanwhile, decided to launch an agitation on the issue. Mr Vinod Thapar, president of the club, said that it would not tolerate disrespect shown to the national flag and would stage a protest dharna before the Pakistan Embassy at New Delhi soon.

He said the club was preparing a memorandum on the issue and would also hand it over to the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister for taking proper measures for the security of the Indian web-site.

While panic prevails among several city-based owners of different web-sites in the wake of the hacking of the site of Knitwear club, people well versed with Internet and the problem of hacking are well aware that the incident is only the tip of an iceberg. The hacking of the city-based site has, however, catapulted the city on the map of the ongoing hacking war between India and Pakistan as it is reportedly the first site of the city to be hacked by pro-Pak elements.

In fact not only Pakistan but India, through its own hackers clubs, is also busy round the clock in hacking websites of different countries, especially Pakistan. The hackers club of both the countries have only this job and the moment they succeed in entering into an ‘enemy’ website, they rejoice by releasing the news on the hackers news bulletin on the net.

It reads more or less like a cricket match with one team scoring at one point and the second team at the another. Net surfing reveals that hackers club of both the countries have hacked into several prominent websites of each other in the past. The flow of such ‘ attacks’ has been compared to cross-fire between defence forces at the border of the two countries. However, while the surface war is known to all and sundry, the knowledge of cyber war is confined to Net users only.

One of the news portal on the hackers site at the Net informed that the new frontiers of the Indo-Pakistan war over Kashmir were being fought in the darkened alleys of cyber space. The portal said both the countries were indulging in cyber war for the past several months and almost 10 sites were hacked daily in the process. Interestingly, the Pak hackers seem to be more media-savvy. Every single success is highlighted prominently whereas the Indian hackers seemed to be doing their jobs secretly.

In fact one of the portal said that 635 Indian websites were hacked during 2000. Quoting late Dewang Mehta, former President, Nasscom, the portal said the awareness on e-security was poor in India. Companies here were spending only 0.8 per cent of their IT spending annually as against the world average of 5.5 per cent.

The portal said that the Pak hackers had even managed to hack sites of the Ministry of External Affairs, Bhaba Atomic Research Centre, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research and several other prominent agencies. It added that despite this the insecurity of Indian websites or premium communication facilities had rarely seemed to bother the government.

According to ASP Shiv Kumar posted in Ludhiana, who has just returned from Hyderabad after doing a special course in cyber crime, most of the sites were hosted in USA, 99 per cent of hacking also took place there.

According to him the police is helpless. He added,‘‘First of all it is too difficult to identify the hacker and even if he is identified no action can be taken against the agency or the person responsible in it.’’ The ASP said the IT laws were still being worked upon.

It may be pertinent to mention here that the Punjab police is one of the least prepared to tackle incidents of cyber crime. Admitting this in a news report published in these columns, the DGP Punjab Sarbjit Singh had admitted that they were ill-equipped. However, the police had send several proposals in this regard to the state government but nothing was done in this direction so far.



Accused beyond cops’ grip
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Notwithstanding the rejection of the bail application of six persons of Khanna town, accused of attempting to murder another resident two weeks ago, the Khanna police has failed to arrest them.

While the relatives of the victim allege that the police was under pressure not arrest the accused as they were influential people, the police defence was that it was still investigating the case and would arrest them only if it is satisfied. The latest police stand is quite opposite to the earlier newsreports quoting the SSP R. N. Dhoke that action would soon be taken against the accused.

Jagminder Singh, a Khanna resident, was allegedly beaten and shot at by six persons at Batra Nursing Home, Khanna, on June 13. The police had booked the accused the next day on the charge of attempting to murder Jagminder Singh. The accused included Dr. Ravinder Batra, a step-rother of the injured person.

Police sources said that the case was basically a family dispute. Several other cases were already registered against both the parties. Sources said the police was investigating whether the alleged incident had actually taken place or it was stage-managed.

According to Birender Singh, a relative of the injured, the police was under pressure from influential persons supporting the accused in the case and were, thus, not arresting them. He said the District and Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, Mr S.S. Arora had rejected the bail application of the accused on June 25 but still the accused were moving around scot-free. He also feared that the freedom given to the accused might help them in tampering with the evidence in the case or they may even try to purchase the witness.

The SSP, Khanna, said the police would arrest the accused only if it was satisfied about the involvement of the accused after completion of the investigation. He denied there was any pressure on the police. 



PAU teacher gets show-cause notice
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
In a reversal of events the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has issued a show-cause notice to Dr Prabhjit Singh, a veterinary surgeon in the Department of Surgery, College of Veterinary Sciences, for practicing in a private clinic.

Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, had said that he had stopped the veterinary surgeon’s two increments with cumulative effect as he was found to be flouting the service rules of the university. But the VC had now issued him a show-cause notice only asking him why the action should not be initiated against him. The notice, however, says, ‘‘It is proposed that your two increments should be cancelled with cumulative effect. So you are asked to reply why such action should not be initiated against you.’’

The surgeon has been given 15 days’ time to furnish his reply. The action has been proposed against Dr Prabhjit Singh as per the provisions of the clause 16 and 17 of the statutes regarding the condition of service of officers, teachers and employees. It states,‘‘An employee shall devote his whole time to the service of the university and shall not without express permission of the competent authority, engage directly in any trade or business whatsoever or any other work which in the opinion of the competent authority may interfere with the proper discharge of his duties.’’

Dr Prabhjit Singh said that he was being ‘falsely’ implicated in the case. He said that he would furnish a reply by July 10 and appeal to the authorities to take action only if his involvement in the case was proved. 


Police trying to ‘hush up’ abduction case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
The police is allegedly trying to hush up the kidnapping case of Paramjit Singh reportedly at the behest of some influential persons. Taking serious note of the issue, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, has asked the Superintendent of Police (D) to conduct an inquiry within three weeks.

According to Swaran Kaur, wife of Paramjit Singh, her husband went missing on January 26 after attending his duty in the Government High School, Cemetery Road, near Fountain Chowk. Paramjit, who is said to be about 40, was working as a peon there.

Swaran Kaur and her father, Mehar Singh, today approached the Deputy Commissioner to seek justice.

They alleged that the police was acting in a partisan manner and instead of tracing the missing peon was threatening and harassing them.

Apprehending repercussions, Swaran Kaur and her father today first refused to divulge the names of the people allegedly involved in the case.

They said they feared that the kidnapping was the result of a family feud on some property. However, after being assured by the DC of full security they named the persons, they alleged, responsible for the incident.

Swaran Kaur said her husband was returning from his duty on a bicycle along with a teacher who was riding a separate bicycle. The two were together up to Bharat Nagar Chowk from where they parted ways. While the teacher returned home, Paramjit did not.

His family members grew apprehensive. When they approached the Sadar police, they were told to get the case registered in the Division No 5.

When they went there, they were told to go to Sadar police station. They were made to hop here and there without anyone listening to them.

Ironically the police allegedly detained them for a night and also manhandled some of them. The family members suspect that one of their close relatives was involved in the case.

However, due to the political patronage he enjoyed the police was shielding him.

A distraught Swaran Kaur, while narrating her tale, broke down several times. For the past six months she along with her small children has been waiting for the return of her husband.

She is not sure where her husband is or whether he is alive or not. Added to it is the callous and criminal hostility of the police towards her, which not only ignores her complaints but has also been threatening and harassing her so that she keeps quiet.

“But ultimately I decided to break my silence so that the guilty are brought to book”, she said, while hoping that justice might be done to her.



Protests against unscheduled power cuts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
The Shiv Sena ( Bal Thackery) held a protest march here today demanding a ban on the unscheduled power cuts in the city in general and ward no 17 in particular, including Urban Estate, Vishvakarma Colony, Rajiv Gandhi Colony and the adjoining areas.

Activists, holding candles, raised slogans against the board and marched from Jamalpur Colony to the Focal Point office of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

Mr Sandeep Mittal, district president of the party, submitted a memorandum to Mr D.P. Deol, Executive Engineer, PSEB, at Focal Point, demanding that the unscheduled power cuts in the above colonies should be stopped at the earliest.

The Shiv Sena, in its memorandum demanded,‘‘The power cuts should be stopped immediately. If they are necessary, they should be for a specified time period and the board should inform the public through media in advance so that they can plan their schedule accordingly.’’

The delegation further pointed out that the field staff of the board should be given strict instructions to repair the lines and replace the transformers whenever and wherever required and informed by the public. At present, repair work was not initiated even after hours of complaint.

Question of long queues at the billing counters was also raised by the delegation. Mr Daljit Singh, press secretary, said,‘‘The people have to stand in long queues for hours for paying the electricity bills due to the less number of counters. There is no arrangements of sheds, fans or water for these people. The board should provide all these facilities at the earliest as these people are customers of the board and deserve better treatment.’’

The delegation also pointed out that the electricity connections were not released even after six month of submitting the applications.

Mr Mittal and other members of the delegation urged the board to provide regular power supply and the facilities at the billing counters besides the early sanctioning of new connections.

The copies of the memorandum have been sent to the Chairman, PSEB, the Union Minister of Power and the Minister for Power in the State, Mr Sikander Singh Maluka.



Bank loans for students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Punjab National Bank is offering individual loans upto Rs 7.5 lakh for studies in India and upto Rs 15 lakh for studies in foreign institutions, under its new scheme.

According to a press note issued here today, the loan scheme has been launched to promote better opportunities in education for students. The loans will be given at a simple interest rate of 12 per cent per annum up to Rs 4 lakh and at 13 per cent annual interest rate for amount exceeding this figure upto Rs 15. lakh.

The scheme involves no prepayment penalties and offers a nominal processing fee and minimal paper work. Loans are available for all types of educational, vocational, professional and technical courses of government, semi-government or private institutions.

A reimbursement of the already incurred expenses is also possible under the scheme. Repayment options are comfortable and beneficiaries can begin repaying two years after their studies are over or a month after getting a job, whatever is earlier.



Star show postponed for the third time
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 29
Disappointment prevails among fans of a number of popular cinestars as the much-publicised Fire-n-Show, featuring heart-throbs of Bollywood has again been postponed.

Banners , posters pasted all around the city along with advertisements and reports had made fans go ga-ga about the programme and had heightened the enthusiasm among them. People were literally counting days for the arrival of stars like Salman Khan, Karishma Kapoor, Mahima Choudhry, Twinkle Knanna, Kashmira Shah, Richa Sharma and the golden-voiced singer Sukhwinder.

However, the date problem has seemed to have done it again, with the show having been postponed for the third time now. While sources close to organisers have been heard saying the show had been postponed because of security reasons, the police vehemently denied it.

‘‘We have no problem of providing security for the show,’’ said Mr Pramod Ban, SP city-II. He added that if the police could provide security to political rallies and other functions why will it deny the same to the show of the film stars. The speculation over security problem was rife here because of the attempt to abduct Mamta Kulkarni, a famous actress, in 1999 in the city when she had come to participate in a similar show.

The countdown for the mega show of filmstars had begun on June 22 as they were to perform in South City the next day on June 23. The organisers announced the postponement through dailies and the public just could wring its hand in disappointment.

Mr K. Bajwa who had come from Chandigarh to set up a massive stage for the show said,”This was the biggest stage I was setting up in my career and I had started the work too. But I had to leave the work midway as the show will be held on July 7 now.”

An organiser of the show said, “The show had to be postponed due to date problems of filmstars. When so many famous personalities from film world have to come together, then date problems do arise. We have informed our patrons about the postponement of the show through advertisements. We have convinced the ticket holders that they will see a show of the lifetime. We are using amazing lights. The sound is going to be of 50,000 watts. The firework display will be out of the world. The film stars will present a show that Ludhianivis will find hard to forget. I am cent per cent sure that this time the stars would be here on July 7.”



More clouds for more water for more power
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 29
After a hint of arrival in Punjab on June 23 and 24, monsoons have got held up because of a weak south-easterly current. The state has witnessed sparse rain in the past few days. Dr S.S. Hundal, Head of the Punjab Agricultural University Department of Agro-meteorology, has said that the monsoon clouds, that are on Himachal Pradesh and parts of Uttar Pradesh now, may hit Punjab within the next few days.

Dr Hundal said the prevailing hot conditions will pull in the south-easterly current and heavy rain. Meanwhile, the power-supply position in Punjab has become bad in spite of all thermal plants (Ropar, Bathinda, and Lehra Mohabbat) of the state being fully operational. The hydroelectricity projects have also generated more power than ever because of a rise in demand due to heat. The demand for power crossed the 1,000-lakh-units mark yesterday in the state. With the prevailing heat wave, the demand is likely to be even higher.

The water level in the Gobind Sagar is still 160 foot low (at 1,522 foot against the optimum level of 1,680 foot). The water level in the Pong dam reservoir is also 100 foot low (at 1,289 foot against the optimum level of 1,390 foot). The flow of water into the reservoirs is increasing. The Bhakra reservoir is receiving 23,000 cusecs of water and releasing 21,000 cusecs, while Pong dam is receiving 11,000 cusecs of water. The water-level in the Ranjit Sagar is at the 496 m mark, while the desired mark is 516 m.

The Bhakra Beas Management Board has decided to release more water from Bhakra and Pong dams from July 1. This will result in the generation of more power at the two hydroelectricity units. Besides, the Mukerian and Anandpur Sahib hydroelectricity projects will also contribute in meeting the demand for power. The Mukerian project will generate 49 lakh units of power daily against 30 lakh units at present.

The Punjab State Electricity Board has resorted to weekly power shutdown for the industry from today after a rise in the demand for power in state. The urban areas of Punjab had a four-hour power cut today. The PSEB authorities said tubewells in the state were being provided with eight hours of power supply in three chunks everyday to facilitate paddy plantation. Frequent power cuts disrupted normal life in Ludhiana today.


Little Gates who can open Windows
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Zubeyr Singh may be a kid, who can barely hold a pen, but he knows which key to press at what time. Using his delicate fingers, he navigates the mouse with incredible confidence to explore the data on a computer. Though, due to his age, he is at ease more with games than application software, he can use the Internet and check the e-mail account of his father, Dr Gurcharan Singh, who is the district head of the Indian Medical Association.

Zubeyr does not claim to have a complete command over the computer; nobody can have it, but he has a confidence that is unmatched at least by the other children of his age. He is not as good as an expert, but he is accurate. Even when he plays computer games, he never gives a wrong command.

It is a pleasure to see this little kid use his little fingers on a keyboard like an orchestra conductor who knows his music. Zubeyr’s father, Dr Gurcharan, says, “He picked up computer skills on his own by observing me. Initially, he did not have a good control on the mouse and the keyboard, but he has learnt to use these properly now. He can even type sentences at a good speed.”

There is an unusual thing about this cyber-age kid. When he gets stuck up while operating the computer, he does not call anyone for help. His mother, Ms Sharanjit Kaur, and sister, Zoya, praise him for this. “At an error message on screen, he closes the window and moves on to another program. This way, he has learnt a lot of things on his own,” says his mother.

Zubeyr spends most of his time in front of the computer in playing games. He can play the most difficult of all games with ease. His father says, “He does not like to be disturbed while he is working on the computer. Even if someone disturbs him at such a time, he remains glued to the monitor with his fingers doing the delicate act of pressing the right key at the right time.



Employees seek probe into scam
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
The state working committee of the employees of the Punjab State Employees Board (PSEB) has demanded a high-level probe into the scams of the board that involved a sum of Rs 600 crore in coal bargaining. The committee said there were many scams in the Jalkheri project in the purchase of transformers, meters, cables, undersized conductors, computers and electricity goods.

The salaries of the engineers have been increased from Rs 2700-3000 scale to Rs 9100-10350. At a meeting held here yesterday, the employees federation demanded a probe into the scams. Mr Surjit Singh, state vice-president of the federation, urged the management to accept the demands of the employees, including promotion after every nine, 16 and 23 years. 


Cases of murder, robbery solved
Our Correspondent

Khanna, June 29
The Khanna police has solved two cases of murder and robbery within 24 hours of the incidents, according to the district police chief, Dr Rajinder Namdeo Dhoke. The police has also arrested eight persons — three for murder, two for robbery and three for a dowry death.

The Senior Superintendent of the Khanna police said a Bihari labourer, Dalip Yadav, had been killed in the fields of a man called Prem Singh at Sihan Dod village on June 27. The police learnt that Dalip had a feud with his uncle, Ravi Yadav, over a piece of land in his native village, Bham Ganj in Bihar, for which Ravi had murdered his nephew with the help of two other persons.

The police then, arrested Ravi and his accomplices, Ravi Paswan and Ram Singh.

The police also caught two persons who had robbed a wine shop at Payal on June 26. One of them, Sohan Lal ‘Bittu’ of Takhar Kalan village, was caught after a chase and the police seized a country-made pistol, two cartridges and the stolen money from him, within hours of the incident.

The second man, Hardeep Singh Heera, was caught on June 28. The police has registered a case under Sections 392, 397, and 34 of the IPC and sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act against these men.

For killing a pregnant woman, Kiranjit Kaur, for dowry, the police has arrested three persons — Pargat Singh, Harbans Singh and Rajinder Kaur of Toderpur village.



Entrepreneurship programme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
The Small Industries Service Institute(SISI) will organise a one-month entrepreneurship development programme (EDP) for women on hosiery and readymade garment industry. The training course will be held from July 16 to August 14.

Mr S.S. Bedi, Assistant Director (Hosiery), in a press release issued here today said, “The programme will include lectures by experts on designing of hosiery and readymade garments, colour combination, cutting, stitching, embroidery, modern management techniques and other inputs required to set up a small-scale unit. Practical demonstrations and field visits will be also arranged.”

He said that the candidates who have passed matriculation exam, and belong to Punjab and Chandigarh are eligible for the course. There are 30 seats and the fees of the course is Rs 500 for general category and Rs 250 for SC category students.



Training programme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
One-day skill development programme for the operators of circular knitting machines was held here today. The programme was conducted by the State Bank of India under the Project Uptech Programme for the development of hosiery cluster at Ludhiana.

Addressing the participants, Mr A.K. Agnihotri, Task Force leader, Project Uptech, SBI, said, “The SBI has organised this programme to improve the skills of operators of circular knitting machines. This will help the operators to reduce the breakdown time of the machines as they will be able to remove minor defects and common problems of the circular knitting machines.”

Mr Ajit Lakra, president, Ludhiana Knitters Association, was the chief guest of the programme. Mr Prem Sagar Jain, president, REHMA, spoke about the need for improvement of skills of workers in the knitwear industry. Mr Rakesh Bhan, member, Task Force, SBI, apprised the participants about State Bank’s Project UPTECH Programme for hosiery cluster in Ludhiana. 


350 SBI branches to be computerised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 29
The State Bank of India will computerise its 350 branches and will interconnect them for speedy collection for cheques for payment to the industry. Mr Rajinder Kakkar, Chief General Manager, SBI, Chandigarh, expressed these views at an industrial meeting organised by the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings here today.

Mr Kakkar said the medium-term problems will be removed on priority basis to facilitate the compatible transactions by the enterpreneurs. Mr Kakkar also assured that he will take up the points of cover grants by the banks, power of over drawing to branch managers and payment of recital charges with the higher authorities and will try to get positive replies.

Mr Kakkar also assured that SBI will implement the government and the RBI policies to facilitate the industry, especially the exporters, keeping in view the WTO. An industry-wise survey will be conducted to provide adequate funds to the entrepreneurs on feasible conditions and the bank will try to upgrade the system of working of the industrialists, he added.


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