Wednesday, July 11, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



VC withdraws show-cause notice to professor
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
Softening his stand the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Dr K.S. Aulakh, has withdrawn a show-cause notice issued to a professor for speaking to the press about another show-cause notice issued earlier for speaking to the press about the appointment of Dr Aulakh as Vice-Chancellor of PAU.

In a recent letter issued to Dr R.K. Batra, Professor of English, Department of Journalism and Languages, the Registrar of PAU has asked him to refrain from issuing such statements to the press failing which disciplinary action would be taken against him.

As per the memo number Admn. V.AU. -2001/15413 the Registrar has mentioned, “The reply dated 22. 06. 2001 has been considered by VC and found to be unsatisfactory. However, since you have already been penalised for similar offense recently the VC has ordered to advise you to desist from this type of open criticism of PAU authorities and defiance of the rules in future, failing which you will render yourself liable to serious action as per rules.”

The Vice-Chancellor had issued a show-cause notice to Dr Batra recently and had asked him to explain why action should not be initiated against him for speaking to the press about an earlier show-cause notice issued to him and for opposing the appointment of Dr K S Aulakh as VC of PAU by making statements to the press.

Dr Batra was issued the show-cause notice in the wake of the news item carried in Ludhiana Tribune on June 3 in which he had in an interview had said that a professor could not be denied a right to expression as per the rules of the university. Dr Batra was, however, later penalised for criticising the VC’s appointment and his one increment was cancelled by the Vice-Chancellor. Just a few days later Dr Batra was issued another explanation letter for speaking again to the press.

Due to these proceedings which had started against Dr Batra after speaking to the press, resentment was prevailing among various teachers on the campus as they were feeling that proper procedure was not being followed before penalising Dr Batra. The teachers on the condition of anonymity had even expressed their resentment to Ludhiana Tribune and had said that any employee of the university who was to be penalised was first given a show-cause notice with regard to the allegations against him. Later, a chargesheet was issued if the reply was found unsatisfactory.

The teachers had further said that a time of 30 days was then given to the employee for furnishing his reply countering the allegations. If the reply was found unsatisfactory, then an inquiry was initiated against the employee concerned and an inquiry officer was appointed. The teachers had said that this set procedure was not followed in Dr Batra’s case.

Citing an example of chargesheeting of other two employees, the teachers said that while a faculty member was penalised without following procedure, it was correctly followed in the case of two superintendents of the university. The two — R.S. Arora and S.C. Goyal — were issued chargesheets in February and then an inquiry was initiated against them by appointing Dr S.K. Bhatia, Comptroller of PAU, as inquiry officer. But while Dr Batra was penalised within a month of issuing the chargesheet, no action was taken against them even after the issuing of the chargesheet.


Woman, paramour held for murder
Tribune News Service

Jagjit Singh, the one who has been killed.
Jagjit Singh, the one who has been killed.

Ludhiana, July 10
With the arrest of four persons that includes one woman, the Jagraon police today claimed to have solved the case of murder of a 25-year-old youth of Aitiana village, whose decomposed body was recovered from a canal near Rada Sahib Gurdwara yesterday afternoon.

Drawing a parallel with a much repeated plot of a Hindi movie of eliminating a rival lover from the way, the case has become yet another example of a gory end of illicit relationships. Already more than 10 people, including children, have lost their life due to the various fallouts of such relationships in the district in the past few months only.

The police here arrested Gurjit Kaur, her alleged paramour Nihal Singh, his two friends Gurpreet Singh and Sikander Singh this morning. They have been charged with killing Jagjit Singh, a resident of the same village, and conspiring to destroy his body by throwing it into a canal. The youth was missing since July 4 under suspicious circumstances.

SSP Jagraon Jaskaran Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that police inquiries revealed the deceased had a love affair with Gurpreet Kaur, who had allegedly left him for another youth Nihal Singh. Feeling dejected and depressed, the jilted lover, Jagjit Singh, even attempted suicide last month but survived. On July 2, Nihal and Gurpreet Kaur went to Jagraon to get a vehicle repaired. However, Jagjit also arrived on the scene and had a fight with the woman’s second lover.

According to the police, Gurpreet and Nihal Singh, upset at the regular scenes created by the woman’s first lover, then hatched a conspiracy to get rid of him. Along with two other men they called him at some scheduled place far away from the village and murdered him. After strangulating him they threw acid on his face and even severed one of his hands. However, the relatives of the deceased youth still managed to identify the body on the basis of certain identification marks. The four accused have been remanded in police custody.


Four members of octroi gang held
Vendors claim police connivance
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
After lying low for a few months in the wake of a day-light murder of a member of an alleged hafta and illegal octroi-taking gang, the illegal activity has started again at the Vegetable Market near Chowni Mohalla on the busy and narrow portion of the GT road passing through the city.

Though the police today claimed to have arrested four members of this gang, who were allegedly taking illegal octroi (rahdaari) from truck and tempo drivers in the market, inquiries conducted by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that these four persons arrested were just a miniscule part of the gang operating in the area well with the knowledge of the police.

It has been reliably learnt from a number of vegetable vendors as well as transporters that the police swoops down on a few of the gang members, mostly new members, only when there is some urgent need to show a good performance ( or karwai pani in police jargon) is felt. The need can be felt in the wake of the rising media-criticism of rise in crime and the police failure to curb it or when some new police official calls for such an action.

Claiming it to be a huge success of the police under a special drive against anti-social elements ordered by the senior officials, the Salem Tabri police said that four persons — Raghbir Singh, Avinash, Chander, Ravi Sharma and Manpreet Singh — were arrested red-handed while forcibly taking octroi from a number of transporters. The accused were allegedly collecting Rs 25 from each truck driver. The police seized Rs 635 from their possession which they allegedly had already collected from certain drivers.

Sources said the collection figure of Rs 635 sounded quite small but had the police not arrested them today , the youths would have gone back with thousands of rupees stashed in their pockets. Vegetable vendors and truck drivers revealed that even the farmers bringing vegetables from nearby villages were also made to pay.

According to the insiders this was just a tip of the iceberg. The gangs, divided in different groups, targeted the drivers, farmers and vendors. They had ‘fixed’ an amount and any one who refused faced dire consequences.

There had been several instances when the gang members had beaten up some persons who had refused to toe their line. The punishment was that the person was not allowed to operate in the area in the future. The truck drivers who refused to obey also invited the gang members’ wrath. They said that the payment of Rs 25 or even more per day was nothing in comparison to later paying for the repair of the damaged parts of a vehicle, allegedly by the gang members.

A number of vegetable vendors, who talked to Ludhiana Tribune team, were visibly terrified by the activities of such a gang. They said that earlier some people had given press statements and had to suffer lot of harassments. ‘‘We agree to pay for running our business otherwise how will we survive,’’ admitted a vegetable vendor.

It may be recalled here that the menace had assumed alarming proportions in first half of the last year and early this year. It slowed down or stopped for a short while only after a rivalry developed between some gang members. The rivalry had taken a serious turn with the murder of two youths due to which a bandh was observed in the area and traffic jams regularly took place at the GT road.


Carbine seized from guru’s gunman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
The district police today seized a carbine and a few live cartridges from a gunman of Satguru Jagjit Singh in relation with the yesterday’s incident of an altercation between an Army official and gunmen of the Namdhari sect guru in the city.

The police had yesterday registered a case of an attempt to murder against the Army official and his friend for allegedly firing at the convoy of the guru amid doubts over the allegation levelled by the gunmen.

SSP Kuldip Singh said the police had sent the carbine for getting the opinion of the ballistic experts. The opinion would verify whether the gunmen as has been alleged by the army official fired any gunshots. He said the police had registered the case against the Army official on the basis of the first information report (FIR) lodged by the gunmen of the Namdhari guru.

Later, the accused Army official Jagwinder Singh and his friend Jasmaran Singh went to DIG Suresh Arora and complained that they had been falsely implicated in the case as they did not even possess a weapon. The DIG marked an inquiry to the SSP who had entrusted it to a DSP.

The incident took place yesterday afternoon near Vishvkarma Chowk. The gunmen of the Namdhari guru and the car-borne youths had an altercation over the issue of overtaking. While the gunmen alleged that the youths fired at them, the youths alleged that the gunmen had fired at them.


City areas face gastroenteritis threat
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 10
Three deaths have been reported from the Haibowal area during the past two weeks due to gastroenteritis, while many more cases have been reported from other parts of the city during the past few days.

While the Haibowal area has generally been ignored, only yesterday some officials visited the area and distributed some tablets in the area, which were to be used to purify drinking water, said Mr Kailash Singh Jamnal, vice-president of the joint action committee of the Bank Colony, Haibowal. He said three persons — Sher Singh, Khima Devi and Bhagwati Devi — had died in the past two weeks from acute diarrhoea.

The situation has shattered claims of the Health Department of being fully prepared to face threats of any epidemic during monsoons in the district, as cholera and gastroenteritis continue to maintain a tight grip over most parts of the city. Over 15 fresh cases of cholera and 11 cases of gastroenteritis were reported today at various city hospitals.

Sources at the Civil Surgeon Office revealed that so far a total of 409 cases of gastroenteritis and 50 cases of cholera had been reported from the district from January 1, 2001, to July 10, 2001. Besides, a number of cases have been reported in private clinics and hospitals. A doctor and a member of the local unit of the Indian Medical Association said he received over 20 cases of cholera and gastroenteritis everyday at his clinic.

According to reports available from various city hospitals, cholera and gastroenteritis had claimed over six lives this season. Meanwhile, Raghbir Chand Takkar, 65, a victim of cholera from Shimla Colony, Kailash Nagar, died today at Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital. He was admitted to the hospital a few days ago in a serious condition.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr Rajinder Kaur, admitted the fact that the district is grappling with the twin problems of cholera and gastroenteritis. But she expressed her ignorance over six deaths reported by various city hospitals.

Dr Rajinder Kaur, while talking to this correspondent, said that the office had record of only three deaths. “Without the Health Department’s permission, the hospital authorities cannot report the deaths. The hospital authorities will be issued notices to first report about the death at the Civil Surgeon's office”. Mr Kailash, a resident of Bank Colony complained that the residents do not get pure drinking water. He said, “We boil the drinking water but there is always a layer of oil over the boiled water. We are left with no option but to drink the same”, he said. Sonu, a resident of Jawahar Nagar camp, complained about poor sanitation conditions in the camp. He said due to small cracks in water pipes, camp residents got contaminated water.” A number of persons are suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting in the camp but we are not being informed about any preventive measures by the Health Department officials”, he said.

Mr Rakesh Bhatia, an advocate residing in Haibowal Kalan, said,“We get yellow-coloured drinking water.

Cases of cholera and gastroenteritis have been reported from areas like Haibowal, Deep Nagar, Ram Nagar, Shivpuri, Kundanpuri, Churpur Road, Tajpur Road, Field Ganj, Janata Nagar and Guru Nanakpura also.


Water level below optimum in Bhakra, Pong dams
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 10
Despite heavy rain in the catchment areas of Bhakra and Pong Dams, the water level in the two major power generation complexes reservoirs remains below the optimum level. This is rather a matter of concern for the authorities concerned.

The water level in the Gobind Sagar reservoir of Bhakra power complex is reported at 1555 ft against the optimum level of 1680 ft. and Pong Dam 1299 ft. against the desired level of 1390 ft. This indicates that the water in Gobind Sagar reservoir is 130 ft. less and 90 ft. less in the Pong Dam reservoir, respectively. The water in Ranjit Sagar reservoir is also less by 20 meters as the water level was reported at 498 meters yesterday against the required level of 518 meters.

The inflow of water in the Bhakra reservoir on July 8 was the maximum 43000 cusecs and Pong Dam it was 74000 cusecs. It came down to 43000 cusecs and 25000 cusecs on July 9.

The Bhakra and Beas Management Board has reduced the release of water from the two reservoirs to 19500 cusecs from Gobind Sagar and 7700 cusecs from Pong reservoirs — a reduction of 100 cusecs from each — in order to conserve the water in view of the rainfall in the catchment areas and the overall rainfall in the beneficiary states. With the reduction in release of water from the reservoirs, the generation of power from the three main hydro-power stations in also has reduced as the demand for power falls in view of the decrease in the temperature. ‘‘Conservation of water is like putting money in the bank,’’ remarked a senior functionary of the Punjab State Electricity Board, emphasising on the need for conserving water and enhancing the water level in the reservoirs.

Meanwhile, Punjab is not facing any serious power cuts in view of the fall in the demand for power and peak load restrictions are being imposed with a cut of about three hours to meet any emergent situation with short intervals. The power consumption in Punjab was reported at 931 lakh units yesterday. Punjab got 132 lakh units from its own hydro-generation plants, 411 from the thermal plants and 230 lakh units from central projects, respectively.

Despite the claims of the PSEB that the state is not being subjected to the heavy power cuts, the urban areas in towns like Ludhiana have to face the wrath of power shutdowns which are described away by the PSEB authorities under the garb of ‘maintenance.' The different areas of this industrial hub of Punjab have to face shutdown by four to five hours daily. The telephones at the inquiry offices of the PSEB subdivisions are reportedly kept engaged deliberately and the consumers are put to harassment and inconvenience as they do not get any response as to why there is power cut or shutdown.

Enquiries show that Ludhiana has a ring of five substations — Jamalpur, Dhandari, Sahnewal, Lalton and Hambran Kalan — which feed this town and all are interconnected. According to officials of the PSEB no other town in the state has such a huge network of substations to feed Ludhiana town. But they maintain the problem arises with the distribution system. The PSEB authorities ask the distribution controlling officials to have all major maintenance work done by February and March and latest by May 31 before the start of peak summer season. But this is not done as a result of which the long hours shutdowns are taken during the rainy season or when the demand for power picks up during June . The distribution system invariably fails during these months and a number of transformers also get burnt during May and June.

Although the PSEB claims single phase power supply to the ruralities, but it is seldom available round the clock. Rather the power supply position in the rural areas is very pathetic.

Meanwhile, the thermal power plants are facing the shortage of coal as there is erratic supply of the same by the Railways. The thermal plants have coal supply for about 10 days and the daily arrival of coal at three plants namely Bathinda, Lehra Mohabbat and Ropar has been negligible during the past three days.


Infertility centres need close monitoring
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
The penalty imposed by the District Consumer Forum on the Sofat Infertility Centre for allegedly cheating patients has once again brought the operations of these centres into focus. Recently the consumer forum imposed a penalty of Rs 50,000 on the Sofat Infertility Centre, besides asking it to refund Rs 75,000, the fee charged by it from a couple whom it had promised conception.

The doctors, particularly the gynaecologists, are of the unanimous opinion that the mushrooming of the infertility centres need to be checked and their activities monitored. A senior lady gynaecologist who has retired from a premier city medical institutions said these centre were simply befooling the public. She pointed out an average gynaecologist without any claims to any specific techniques can perform the procedures claimed to be done by these centres for a hefty fee.

Referring to the particular case in which the Sofat was imposed penalty, she pointed out, apparently the procedure should not have been so costly. Besides, she added the patient should be clearly told about the success rate of the procedure to avoid any situation which may bring bad name to the medical profession.

Another senior doctor of the city disclosed that basically it was the invitro fertilisation (IVF) procedure which the infertility centres perform. And the success rate worldwide was not more than 25 per cent. And in Ludhiana it was far less than that. But none of the infertility centres mention in their advertisements the success rate of the procedure. The doctor pointed out the Sofat Infertility Centre led in the advertising campaign in all leading newspapers of the country. But nowhere did it mention about the success rate.

The doctor said since it was the most sensitive subject they dealt in, people are usually prepared to any amount they were asked. “These centres are simply exploiting the helplessness of those couples who are not able to conceive,” the doctor pointed out. He said if these centres were to be believed they would claim to perform miracles, while in actual practice they did not do anything.

A leading gynaecologist of the city said basically there were two types of infertility problems. The male reasons or the female reasons. While the male reasons mostly involved less or no sperms called oligosperma, there were several other female reasons which abound in number. The most common problem was in the fallopian tube which was unable to carry the ovum to the uterus. And, the gynaecologist disclosed, it was not that all problems could be corrected. “But these infertility centres will claim to do anything and everything,” she warned.

Usually what the infertility centres do is to take out an ovum and inject it into the uterus or take the sperm and ovum in a test tube for fertilisation. This procedure is called IVF procedure. The zygot (is formed after sperm and ovum gets fertilised) is kept under favourable conditions for some weeks and then it is transplanted into the uterus. And the procedure takes several weeks, while most of the infertility centre claim to perform everything within a span of few minutes. And in the recent case, the patient claimed that she was treated for only 15 minutes and charged Rs 75,000.

It deserves to be mentioned that several of the centres claiming to cure infertility have been accused of giving hefty commissions to the referring doctors. Some of these were raided by the income tax officials and huge recoveries were made from them.


Students resent seniority criterion for admission
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 10
There is widespread resentment among the students seeking admission to BCom, BBA and BCA courses against the seniority criteria set by Panjab University for centralised admissions.

The students said they were surprised to see the merit list which gave a higher rank to the students older by age. The criteria was irrational as students who are incompetent and have failed in some previous class were at an advantageous position, they opined. While other universities adopted the criteria as the last point for resolving the tie, the PU had fixed it as the first one, they added.

Mr Anil Kumar Gupta, a parent, said he had sent representation of the students to the Dean, College Development Council, Panjab University, to look into the matter and said the university should instead prefer using the criteria of marks obtained in immediately lower to the qualifying examination for preparing the merit list.



A politician is the most ubiquitous entity. Be it a celebration or an occasion to mourn. Wherever there is probability of a number of people having gathered together, politicians would always be there. They have sound reasons. Their survival depends on recognition. Particularly at a time when elections are round the corner and parties are to decide about their candidates. This is a marathon race, free for all. And the race course remains to be the media only. With people having little time to join and attend rallies, politicians rely more on the media to bring themselves closer to public. No wonder, every Tom, Dick and Harry has already jumped into the race for tickets. No surprise then that hundreds of functions are claimed to be organised every day by leaders of various parties. Hundreds of photographs are clicked and hundreds of press notes issued. For, their existence has not just to be shown, it has to be established as well, particularly at a time, when elections are round the corner.

Vanishing shehnai

But for the great shehnai maestro Ustad Bismilah Khan, shehnai seems to be doing a vanishing act. Shehnai is probably the only instrument that is played on occasions of celebration as well as mourning, with particular tunes for the particular occasion. But it seems to be on a vanishing course now. Till recent past, every auspicious occasion was marked by shehnai recital, which would continue till the function would conclude. At best, these days people play pre-recorded cassettes of shehnai. It is unfortunate that is being replaced by modern pop music. However, there are many people who will still insist and prefer a live performance of shehnai. (see picture)

Beauty contest

The Pragati Group of India recently organised ‘Nazakat Ms Teen Ethnic 200’ contest at Nehru Siddhant Kendra. The much-hyped show projected as “India’s first ethnic costume based talent, personality and beauty contest” included teenage participants. The USP of the show was that it was traditional, in all rounds, the participants wore ethnic Indian outfits, including sarees, lachas, salwar-kameez and lehangas. There was no vulgarity and exposure by the models. The participants gave spontaneous and “traditional” replies. This is what a finalist had to say in the question-answer session. “If you were to take rebirth, what would you like to become and why? The answer was “I want to become a cow because she gives milk to all”.

New courses

Information technology courses may have almost lost their value after the busting of IT boom. Now a trend of professional courses is on rise in the city — English-speaking and personality development courses. A number of such institutes have come up in the city, where students are taught not only English speaking, but also how to ensure press coverage in English language dailies. Recently, one such institute asked its students to prepare press notes, and to contact offices of newspapers to get proper publicity of their farewell function. They were told, “This is part of their English-speaking and personality development course as they will learn the art of getting free publicity for any organisation through that exercise.” It is another thing that the owner of that institute is teaching in a government college and is allegedly running the institute against service rules and reportedly not paying adequate income tax.

Taste of labour

The Labour Department on the Gill road is playing a significant role in the life of thousands of workers in this industrial town. Though the department has about 100 employees on its rolls including 20 labour inspectors, there is virtually no proper seating space for labourers. Stinking toilets welcome entrants like any other government department. One has to think twice before entering, and it is out of question to use these. The department officials say that they do not have any control on the staff responsible for its cleaning. They cannot do anything to check them. But sanitary workers complain that the labourers do not use these properly. Can’t the authorities think to improve the condition of such basic necessities.

Rainwater muddle

It is now an established fact that the local Municipal Corporation has failed to provide an effective rainwater sewerage in the city. Apart from several low-lying areas of the old city which get water-logged following even brief showers, even Chaura Bazar and the adjoining Meena Bazar are getting water-logged because of poor planning of town planners.

All business activities come to a halt in these trading centres of the city whenever there are brisk showers. Those motorists who have to negotiate the Damoria bridge on their way to work or homes prefer to wait till the rain stops and water recedes. It seems that in its anxiety to build more and more flyovers and elevated roads, the Municipal Corporation has totally lost touch with ground realities.

Tipsy teachers

Ever heard of tipsy teachers on a university campus? If you cannot believe this, have a round of various departments at Punjab Agricultural University. You may find one or two such teachers after taking a round. Many departments are having faculty members who come to their office drunk. In their presence, their rooms smell like a distillery. Some of them are even known among their students as “tipsy sir”. The Vice-Chancellor perhaps needs to issue a circular, directing these teachers not to come drunk during the working hours.


Ludhiana has so many markets with typical names. There is Chaura Bazar, Ghumar Mandi, Ghur Mandi, Sabun Bazar, Dal Bazar, Bardana Mandi, Book Market and so on. But there is a paradox. Chaura Bazar chaura nahin (Chaura Bazar is no longer broad). Ghumar Mandi mein kumhar nahin (No porters in Ghumar Mandi, after whom it was named and Ghur Mandi mein ghur nahin and so on.



NCP a house divided, workers disenchanted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 10
All is not well with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), floated by former Union Minister Sharad Pawar after he parted ways with the Congress. The party, even before establishing itself and consolidating its base in Punjab, particularly in this district, has virtually disintegrated and a majority of the party workers were not only disenchanted but expressed disgust over the ongoing tussle for one-upmanship among various party leaders.

For quite some time now, the state president, Mr Swarn Singh, and the district chief, Mr Rashpal Singh, have been fighting among themselves over several key issues, including appointment of certain office-bearers of the district unit. The trouble began, when a large number of office-bearers, including the senior vice-president and many others, quit in protest against what they termed as the autocratic style of functioning of the district president, while the party leadership claimed that these office-bearers had been expelled.

In a desperate attempt to save the party from disintegrating, the state president held several rounds of meetings with the dissident party functionaries here without taking the district chief in confidence. In at least two meetings, convened by Mr Swarn Singh in the city, the district president was not invited, which in turn, irked Mr Rashpal Singh to the extent that he termed these meetings as well as some nominations made in the district unit as “unconstitutional.”

Mr Rashpal Singh asserted that office-bearers could not be nominated to the district unit without the consent of the district president and further said that even the state president had no constitutional right to remove office-bearers, nominated by the Central leadership and party high command. On the other hand, the state president maintained that resignations of dissenting office-bearers in the district had not been accepted. During his interaction with party activists here, he indicated that the party leadership was being apprised of the prevailing situation and remedial steps to revamp the party, would be initiated soon.

District chief of the NCP Rashpal Singh has, however, charged the state president with pursuing anti-party activities and has further stated that a delegation of party activists would soon meet Sharad Pawar, demanding reorganisation of the state body. The party leadership, he added, would also be asked to clear the confusion, created by Mr Swarn Singh, over some of the key functionaries of the NCP, including heads of different wings of the party.

According to prominent party activists, the NCP had landed itself in trouble from the very beginning for the simple reason that in their haste to set up base in Punjab, the senior party leaders had chosen ‘political novices and immature persons’ as office-bearers at various levels. Some of the senior party functionaries, he disclosed, have had no prior political exposure and grooming, which was the main reason for the crisis, facing the party at the moment.


Advisory panel seeks information centre for pensioners
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 10
The Punjab Government Pensioners’ District Advisery Committee has demanded setting up of a information centre for pensioners in the district administrative office. The committee held a meeting here today with Deputy Commissioner S. K. Sandhu to discuss the matter.

Mr B.R.Kaushal, president, Punjab State Pensioners’ Confederation, said pensioners needed the centre in the mini-secretariat to get the necessary information. Mr Sandhu gave his assurance to the pensioners and said the case for construction of the centre was under process and the drawings were awaited from the state chief architect.

Some of the members complained that certain pension disbursing nationalised banks were not following uniform terms and conditions under the “Loan to Pensioner” scheme in respect of quantum of loan and rate of interest. Mr Sandhu assured to take up the issue of pension disbursing, with the Bankers’ District Coordination and Consultative Committee in the next meeting.

The representatives of the committee appealed Mr Sandhu to personally look into the matter of illiterate female family pensioners, who faced a number of problems while getting the verification documents regarding their age at the hands of Civil Surgeon and Civil Hospital authorities.


Sex education vital for teenagers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 10
In the present-day context when all newspapers are filled with reports of rape, molestation and sexual harassment, it becomes important to educate girls and boys about sex. Sex is certainly not a dirty word. It has been given murky connotations that makes people shirk from talking about it openly.

Seeing increase in sexual abuse cases, it becomes necessary to educate teenagers about sex. Who is going to impart this important education? Parents have brought the children into this world and they have the moral responsibility for their well-being and safety. What about schools? Should not they be giving sex education to the teenagers?

First of all, the parents should talk to both daughters and sons about sex. It is a natural phenomenon. They have to bridge the gap between the half-baked knowledge that children get from friends, movies and the real facts to satisfy their curiosity. This reminds one of an anecdote. A child asked her mother how she was born. The mother replied that her grandmother had found her in a bed of cabbage. So the little girl asked: “How was grandmother born?” The mother replied , “She was left by the stork in the apple tree.” The girl turned around and looked her mother in the eye and said, “You mean to tell me there has not been a single normal child birth in the family.” Parents should give their children correct knowledge of sex according to their level of understanding.

Secondly, the mothers should talk to their daughters very frankly about sex, especially after puberty. They should tell them to be careful of any physical advances by males. This could be dangerous. It is really shocking but true that a large percentage of rapes and molestations can be traced to close friends and relatives. If a girl is not forewarned, how would she know that the protectors could turn predators. How would she react if the heinous act is committed against her by an uncle or a cousin? This way the girl’s life would be scarred for the rest of her life. Her whole view about life would change. One scene from a movie comes to mind in which a girl and her mother return happily from a shopping spree. Three men enter their apartment, snatch their money, kill the mother and rape the daughter and go away laughing. The look on that girl’s face and the trauma were so real that the female audience could actually feel her tragedy. The girl later turns insane as she could not bear the shock.

Mothers ought to take care of their daughters. Fathers, on the other hand, should teach teach their sons to treat women with dignity and respect. Do not give boys unlimited freedom and support the attitude that boys can get away with anything?

It is the sacred duty of teachers to give students correct guidance, right values and knowledge about sex. Society cannot escape its responsibilities. It should set up centres headed by psychiatrists to help boys and girls in need of advice regarding sex.

Girls should learn judo and karate to protect themselves. Boys should not misuse their physical strength. Rather they should protect a girl’s life.

Sex education is the need of the hour, and parents and teachers should clearly do their duty by educating their children about the facts of life.


Resentment against police inaction 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
Relatives of Ms Surjit Kaur, married in Balachaur, near Nawanshahar, have alleged that the police of Balachaur had failed to take action against Mr Gurcharan Singh, husband, Mr Shingara Singh, father-in-law, and Mrs Kartar Kaur, mother-in-law of Ms Surjit Kaur, respectively, who have been torturing her for not bringing adequate dowry.

The police had registered a case against her husband and in-laws on July 1 under Sections 498 A, 323 and 341 of the IPC but no arrest has been made so far “as the police had allegedly taken money to ensure lenient action against the accused.”

According to the FIR registered by Ms Ranjit Kaur, she has three children, including a one-and-half-month-old daughter. Her husband and in-laws used to beat her mercilessly as she had not brought adequate dowry. On July 1, her brother and sister-in-law and mother reached from Ludhiana when she made a phone call to them, as her in-laws had beaten her so that she could ask for a share in property of her parents, which she had declined.

She alleged that her husband, father-in-law, and brother of her father-in-law Piara Singh had beaten her, when she said firm no to their demand. Her brother at Balachaur got her admitted to hospital where she got six stitches on her arm. She said her in-laws had also tried to burn her by throwing her on gas burner, but she was fortunately saved.

Interestingly, Mr Piara Singh, a close relative of Ranjit Kaur’s husband, said, “ We have not beaten Ranjit Kaur at all but she has been injured by her brother, mother and sister-in-law so that a case of dowry and beating can be registered against her.”


Action against looting of Nepalis sought
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, July 10
A meeting of the All-India Nepalese Unity Society, Mandi Gobindgarh, held here, was presided over by unit president Khan Bahadar Vashist.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Shiv Dutt, vice-president of the Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir Samiti, alleged that the Indian police posted on the Indo-Nepal border demanded bribe, anything between Rs 50 and Rs 500, from each Nepali going back to his country with money earned in India. In case a Nepali refused to pay, he was harassed, alleged Mr Dutt, adding that representations had been made to the Human Rights Commission, the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and the DGPs of Delhi and UP to put an end to the exploitation of Nepali labourers.


Industry condemns widening of tax net
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
Industrialists, traders and the general public here have condemned the Central Government’s decision to include 15 new services under the service tax. The Finance Ministry has issued a notification for the inclusion of banking and postal services, repair of two-wheelers, photography, telegraph, telex, videotape production, sound recording service, scientific and technical consultancy and insurance ancillary services. The tax would be applicable from July 16.

Mr Joginder Kumar, President, Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India, has condemned the government’s decision of imposing 5 per cent service tax on the new items. He said: “The decision of the government is illegal and unjustified. The government has imposed extra burden on the industry, which has been reeling under a heavy recessionary trend for the past five years. Now the industry and the other sectors would have to pay extra despite fall in their income.”

He said: “We would like to remind the government that banks are already charging a hefty amount from the borrowers for each and every service being provided by them. The levy of 5 per cent service tax would further add to their cost and the units would become unviable, particularly in tiny and small scale sector.”

He said the rates of basic inputs had gone up considerably along with the electricity and other fuel charges affecting the viability of industry. Instead of complicating the matter, the government should curtail its expenditure. The government should refrain from dwindling away the hard-earned money of the people.

Mr Joginder Kumar urged Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha to withdraw the service tax.


Continue CBI raids, say traders
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 10
The district Beopar Mandal and the district anti-corruption cell have welcomed and appreciated the raids conducted by the CBI on the corrupt officials of the Excise and Taxation Department on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and have demanded that such raids should continue and more corrupt officials be brought to book.

In a press release issued here today leaders of these associations said that a majority of the officials of the department, who had served in the district or reside in the district, have amassed a benami property worth crores of rupees. They said that traders and industrialists of the district, particularly of Mandi Gobindgarh, had been making complaints and giving representations to the higher officials and ministers, but of no use, and not even a single officer had been punished in spite of the proofs submitted by the traders. They said that one of the officials of the department had been making extortions forcibly from the traders and the traders in Sirhind town had observed a bandh and complained to the minister concerned and higher authorities but no action had been taken against that ETO. Rather he had been awarded with a prime post. They warned that if the action was not taken against the ETO, the Beopar Mandal would give the information about his properties and assets to the CBI.

It is worth mentioning that the traders and the industrialists of the district had been demanding the action against officials of the department posted with enforcement wing of the department, as they alleged to have collected properties and assets worth crores of rupees by unfair means and some in connivance with the traders who indulged in tax evasion.

The leaders of the two organisations said that they had prepared a list of corrupt officials of the Excise and Taxation Department and about the estimated amount they had been collecting monthly from traders by pressurising them. This list would be sent to the CBI.

The traders’ organisations and the anti-corruption cell had also urged the government not to shield these corrupt officials.


Indian spinners want level field
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 10
Spinners here have welcomed the decision of the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry to investigate the allegations of dumping of acrylic yarn in India by Nepal.

The Chairman of the National Committee on Textile of the Chamber for Commerce and Industry, Mr S.P. Oswal, said here that this steps was needed to save Indian spinners who were facing huge losses due to the import of acrylic yarn from Nepal. The imposition of an anti-dumping duty after the investigation will provide Indian acrylic-yarn manufacturers with a breather and a level playing field with foreign producers.

For the past five years, the acrylic-yarn industry in India has been facing a recession because of the India-Nepal treaty on trade. The treaty favours Nepalese acrylic-yarn spinners. For them, there is practically no duty on the import of acrylic fibre, whereas, Indian manufactures have to pay a 25.68 per cent duty on the fibre that they import. An Indian spinner spends Rs 17 more per kg on buying raw material than his or her Nepalese counterpart.

The problem with Nepal began in December 1996 when the India-Nepal Treaty was amended and the rule of the origin of fibre was withdrawn.

Before December 1996, the import of artificial fibre and fabrics from Nepal was duty free if the fibre had been made in either India or Nepal. The amendment made Nepalese spinners free to import duty-free acrylic fibre from anywhere in the world and export it to India. Many Indian spinners and acrylic-fibre manufacturers are now planning to close shops, whereas, Nepalese spinning industry is growing rapidly. Nepal has increased the import of acrylic yarn from 160 tonnes in 1996 to 14,000 tonnes in 2000, not due to technological efficiency of Nepalese spinners, but because the India-Nepal trade pact is loaded in its favour.

Indian spinners say that 87 per cent of the acrylic yarn produced in Nepal is exported. They say that reduced profits and high cost of raw material have made Indian spinners unable to compete with their Nepalese counterparts. As Nepal does not have an acrylic-fibre-manufacturing industry, foreign acrylic fibre suppliers are using it as a conduit to dump goods into India.

Mr Oswal said the India-Nepal Treaty should be amended and Nepal should be asked to put customs duty on the import of fibre equivalent to what is levied in India. Duty-free import of acrylic yarn from Nepal should be permitted only if it has been manufactured from a fibre of Indian origin.

He also wants that the government should put quantitative restrictions on duty-free import of acrylic yarn from Nepal.


Chinese flowers flood city markets
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 10
The city streets are flooded with artificial flowers that have been imported from China. Vendors can be seen selling these flowers everywhere here. These flowers, that cost anything between Rs 20 and Rs 200, are a big hit with middle-class buyers.

Selling these flowers has brought handsome returns to Mohan, a migrant labourer who brings these flowers from New Delhi. He sells these flowers in parts and assembled sticks, depending on what the customer needs. These flowers do not lose their appeal even after three years of purchase, so, these perfectly suit the needs of the middle-class customers.

The main targets of flower sellers are housewives, who can be easily convinced to buy such fancy items. Shopkeepers and office-goers also make good customers because the need these items to decorate their shops or offices.

Mr Upinder Singh, a bookseller, says that purchasing fresh flowers everyday is expensive and these imported flowers provides buyers with a smart alternative. These flowers are made up of synthetic cloth or plastic, due to which, these can be washed easily. You may not be able to tell them apart from natural flowers because these look rather real.


Announce export policy: exporters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
The textile, cycle and cycle parts’ exporters here have urged the state government to announce the state export policy that has been delayed for more than four years. The SAD- BJP alliance had promised to do away with the inspector raj, abolish sales tax, simplify sales tax rules and to announce an export policy but not a single promise had been fulfilled yet, the industry representatives said.

The industrialists allege that the alliance had not taken any concrete step to boost the industrial production in the state. The industrialists, especially the exporters, felt that the state government had no interest in increasing the exports as the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, was of the view that the state government did not get adequate taxes from them, forgetting the fact, it would increase employment opportunities.

Mr Satish Dhanda, vice-chairman, Engineering Export Promotion Council and leading exporter, said the Chief Minister had agreed at the meeting of the export promotion board to provide land to the exporters near Kohara village but nothing had been done even after two and half years of the meeting.

He pointed out that the state government had failed to take benefit from Rs 200 crore export promotion fund from the Union Government under which the state governments could withdraw up to 75 per cent of the expenditure incurred on export promotion activities. However, the state had no export promotion policy despite the finalisation of the drafts many times, he lamented.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |