Tuesday, July 24, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Electrical wing of MC under fire
Councillors seek overhauling of department
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 23
The electrical wing of the Municipal Corporation, responsible for maintenance of streetlights in the city, is under fire, both from the members of public and councillors, for its complete failure to provide streetlight facilities in many of the city localities, delay in execution of the new projects, slack supervisory control and many other irregularities. With the civic body going for privatisation of streetlights in the city on an experimental basis for the last over one month, the situation has taken a turn for the worse.

A large number of colonies, particularly those in the outer wards, were still to have the facility of streetlights, and work was in various stages of progress in many areas all over the city. Quite a few councillors were sore and upset at the inordinate delay in the execution of the ongoing works, poor maintenance of the available streetlight points, resulting in non-functional and partly functional streetlights and alleged large-scale bungling in purchase of fittings and fixtures in the electrical wing.

The brewing resentment of elected representatives of the city came to a flashpoint in the last general house meeting of the MC when a lady councillor, Ms Asha Garg (Congress), sat on dharna in the well of the House to protest against delay in preparation of estimates for street-light works in her ward, reported misplacement of files relating to these works and the apathy of senior officials of the Electrical Department.

Mr Hira Singh Gabria, SAD legislator, who was also present in the meeting, went a step further and asked the councillors to adopt a resolution that the officer incharge of the Electrical Department of the MC, an Executive Engineer, be shifted from his post and sent elsewhere if the working of the department was not to improve. He alleged that the officials cared two hoots for the elected representatives, and at times, provided wrong and misleading information regarding works in their respective areas, which further caused embarrassment to the councillors and legislators concerned.

Many councillors charged the MC Electrical Department with concealing the factual position regarding streetlight points available in their respective wards and those handed over to the contractors for maintenance. In the absence of official information, the councillors were not able to keep the working of the contractors under check, who tended to get away even with poor performance.

According to the MC Commissioner, Dr S.S. Sandhu, the street light points in many city localities were handed over to private contractors for maintenance on an experimental basis. He did not agree that the new system had not yielded the desired results. However, there were complaints against one particular contractor, who had been served with a show-cause notice, which was mandatory under the terms of agreement and the MC contemplated terminating the contract of the defaulter, which would also serve as a deterrent to other contractors.


Crime busters are stress busted
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
If you visit a police station and find that some police officials are being rude to you or beating a person in your presence, sympathise with them. This is what a study on the level of mental stress among policemen recommends.

The Ludhiana police has become the first in the state to take the services of a professional psychotherapist to provide policemen with counselling to cope up with the alarming level of on-job stress that they face. Taking a serious view of the problem, the police has also decided to give a weekly half-day rest to the SHOs of all police stations of the district. More measures to reduce the stress among them are being discussed at the highest level.

Ludhiana has become a sort of a crime capital of the state in the past 6 months. The local police is fighting not only criminals but also stress-related diseases. Authorities have been ignoring this problem in the past, but now they seem to have realised the seriousness of it.

The police has sought the help of a professional psychotherapist, Dr Ashwani Sharma, an NRI, to conduct this study. The doctor says that the stress among policemen here was due to many reasons. It was adversely affecting their performance and making them increasingly rude and arrogant. The job-related stress and no respite from work is affecting their sense of judgement, with the result that the crime is increasing here.

According to the police sources, the study that was conducted on policemen of all ranks, showed that nine out of 10 gazetted officers and about 100 per cent of the personnel of the other ranks were overstressed and overworked. A senior police official said the results of the study were horrifying because these suggested that every policeman was unfit for performing his duty.

Dr Ashwani Kumar said he feared that the results of the study would create a negative image of the force in the minds of the people. He said he had interviewed policemen of all ranks at length in the past two months and conducted one-to-one sessions with some selected personnel. The policemen were also given a questionnaire, on which they had to fill in their comments on the problems that they faced every day.

“After learning about the stress that its personnel face every day, I wondered how the force still continued to perform. In Canada, policemen work only for five days a week, whereas here, they are always on duty. Even when they are on leave, emergencies force them to return to duty. Most policemen face a hard time at home because they are unable to find time for their family members,” said the psychotherapist.

The doctor said the stress among policemen was not just because of more than 16 hours of duty. Policemen face pressures of performance, shortage of staff, seniors, public expectations and political interference. Most policemen said the anti-stress measures that the doctor suggested should be discussed in the presence of senior police officers and their political bosses.

The doctor said the stress that the policemen face is for all to see. An overworked policeman would obviously become irritating and arrogant. He said the policemen had to deal with many thing at one time, which made them angry. The burden of clearing case files was affecting the quality of their work.

The seniors were also under stress because junior personnel approached them for solutions to minor problems that they could not solve due to stress.

If something is not done soon to remove this problem, many policemen will become seriously ill. There have been many cases of nervous breakdown, high blood pressure, intestinal problems and several other illnesses among policemen.


Complete bandh in Sirhind in protest against murder
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 23
A complete bandh was observed in Sirhind town today in protest against the brutal murder of a couple, on a call given by various social and political organisations of the town.

A shok sabha to pay homage to the departed souls was organised at Vishwakarama Bhavan. Various speakers on the occasion strongly condemned the incident and demanded adequate security measures to prevent such incidents.

Addressing the gathering, Prof Balraj Sood, mandal president, BJP, strongly criticised the administration for not taking the incident seriously. He said it is unfortunate that no official attended the funeral of the victims. Criticising the working of the police, he said there is only a police chowki to monitor the security arrangements for the district headquarter town and only five to six employees are posted there. There is also no telephone connection in the police chowki to inform about any such incident.

Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, demanded that night dominance operation and night-patrolling should be intensified and more security personnel should be deployed in the town to boost the confidence of residents.

Mr Ashok Sood, president, municipal council, Sirhind, Mr R.S. Cheema, a former minister, Kirpal Singh Sethi, Rajesh Paul Singh Lalli, Didar Singh Bhatti, senior Akali leaders, Surjit Singh Sahi, Varinder Rattan president and general secretary of the District Beopar Mandal, Shamsher Singh of the Rotary Club, Sanjeev Sharma from the Bharat Vikas Parishad, Charanjeev Sharma from the Lions Club, Pardeep Gupta from the Amar Nath Barfani Sewa Dal also paid tributes to the victims and demanded probe into the incident.

Later a delegation of residents, led by Prof Balraj Sood, met Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Minister for Local Bodies, who happened to be in the town today and apprised him of the situation. The delegation demanded that more security measures should be adopted in the town to protect the life and property of the residents.


Society supports Mayor on road project
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
While shopkeepers and councillors of the Municipal Corporation are gunning for the Mayor of MC, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, residents of the Urban Estate Residents Welfare Society have forward to his support. Supporting his stand on the elevated road project, the residents have expressed their solidarity with him in “his endeavour to execute the development schemes for the welfare of the city.”

The elevated road project was sanctioned by the Mayor on Wednesday in a stormy meeting of the general house of the MC amidst protests by the opposing SAD-BJP councillors. They had even demanded the removal of the Mayor in the wake of the elevated road issue.

Giving him a clean chit, the Urban Estate Residents Welfare Society today called the decision of the Mayor as “beneficial for the city.” The society said the construction of elevated road, linking the Jagraon Bridge with Chand Cinema, would ensure smooth flow of traffic and would remove congestion on the GT road besides reducing pollution levels in the city.

The society held that the elevated road project would be in the interest of the local as well as visiting population of the city. The president of the society, Mr B.R. Kaushal, in a written statement today criticised the councillor of the ward who had lodged her protest against the sanctioning of the elevated road.

Terming her move as having “no mandate of her electorate” to oppose the resolutions by walking out from the general body meeting, Mr Kaushal said that the society was deploring her approach. He said that they were expecting her to assert the resolutions pertaining to the transfer of PUDA colonies to MC for maintenance and development purposes. But she only disappointed her.

The society also endorsed the decision of the general body for taking over the PUDA colonies for the maintenance and development works. The residents urged upon the Mayor and Commissioner of the corporation to pay attention on a priority basis to the improvement of essential services like roads, street lights, drinking water, sewerage facilities and maintenance of parks.

At an emergent meeting of the executive committee of the society the members resolved to extend their support on behalf of residents to the Mayor of the corporation. A copy of the resolution was delivered to the Mayor and the Commissioner of MC. Mr Kaushal said that hundreds of residents of Dugri would call upon the Mayor at his residence on July 24 in the evening at his residence to express their support to him asking him to execute the development schemes for the welfare of the residents of the city.

The issue of the elevated road project was hanging fire in the city for the past many days. The Mayor of the corporation was facing severe criticism at the hands of the shopkeepers as well as the councillors due to vote politics. With the resolution passed by these residents, it is for the first time that residents are coming to the support of the Mayor.


Welfare schemes for SCs, BCs dropped
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, July 23
How is it that government offices are all located in congested localities, are housed in dilapidated buildings with broken floors and old furniture and older discoloured steel cupboards and dusty files?. This correspondent had a tough time locating the Welfare Department for SCs and BCs. It is situated in a congested residential colony near Model Gram Station. Rohi Ram, District Welfare Officer, attends this office only on Thursdays and Fridays as he has additional charge of Deputy Director. For that he has to stay in Chandigarh.

An ex-officer of the department said that Welfare Department is understaffed and, hence, it is difficult to carry on the work. Moreover, this office should be housed in the district administration offices as people have to get papers signed by the DC and grants have to be released by the SDM. Mr Nazar Singh, incharge in the absence of the DWO, said that at the block headquarters, there were only two clerks and one officer. At zila headquarters, there were two assistants and one accounts officer, while at the tehsil headquarters, there were two clerks, one officer and one peon.

He handed over a brochure which had 43 welfare schemes listed for SCs and BCs but many had been dropped due to paucity of funds. The Welfare Department gets a sum of Rs 3.5 crore for ‘shagun scheme’. In the scheme, the poor girls whose income is less than 16,000 per year are given Rs 5,100 on their marriages. This scheme is advertised through TV, media and newspapers. The people get their names registered and the SDM of the city releases the funds.

The Welfare Department has maintained a bank of expensive books used for medical engineering and law studies. The funds are provided by the government and books are given to educational institutes The hostel facilities for both girls and boys have been shut down.

Special grants from Chandigarh to school students are given directly to the DPI of colleges and schools. In the pre-matric scholarship schemes, Rs 500 are given per year to students who bag the first three positions in the class.

In another scheme called attendance scholarship for SC primary girls, regularity is the key for getting a scholarship of Rs 50. The girls who show 70 per cent of attendance and their families have less than 5 acres of land get Rs 50 per month as stipend.

The Welfare Department received a sum of Rs 2.89 crore for the various schemes in the current year. The department has brilliant special scholarship Scheme. In this scheme, three girls and three boys get a stipend of Rs 50. Similarly, the deserving sportsperson get Rs 50 as stipend.

As many as 15 boys and girls get district level stenography lessons at the Language Department and the students get a stipend of Rs 250 for one year. After the training, they are free to get jobs elsewhere. Medical and engineering students apply directly for state-level scholarships and grants are disbursed among the DPIs to be given to the deserving students.

In yet another scheme, wayside cobblers are given a sum of Rs 10,000 to set up kiosks so that they do not have to move around but can sit at one place to earn their livelihood. The department also has dharamshala schemes where they fund Rs 1 lakh for construction of new community centers and Rs 50,000 for repair work. The department has a housing scheme on the anvil but no funds for the new constructions have been sanctioned.

Ten creche centres to look after the working mothers have closed down and only one centre is running at Abdullahpur Basti. Driver training schools provides training to the learner who gets a stipend of Rs1500 whereas the teacher gets RS 2000. A special cell has been made which tracks down the atrocities committed on SCs and BCs. The police has to report such cases to the department. In the legal aid scheme, people are given free legal aid to fight cases and bear legal expenses.

Mr Nazar singh informed that their office was being constructed in the new court complex. Hidden in an obscure place, one wonders how the poor people are able to reach the place far from both the bus-stop and railway station. As the ex-officer commented, shortage of staff was putting a spanner in their work. But it is strange that the government for the welfare of people cannot find enough employees for its own people?


PSEB needs Rs 20,000 cr to meet current demand’
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is unable to meet the current level of electricity demand, about 5000 mw units, during the rainy season, as the total availability of power in the state touched about 4000 mw today including 1569 mw units purchased from the central pool. There is a gap of about 20 per cent in the demand and supply of power when all hydel and thermal units in the state were functioning properly and the state was purchasing power at a much higher rate than the tariff rates in the state.

Mr Kirpal Singh, Member, (Operations), says that the if the applications for the new connections of tubewells, industrial and domestic, were cleared, the demand would increase to 9000 mw units, and to meet that demand the board required at least Rs 20,000 crore investment at the current prices. This is simply not possible.

In the Ludhiana zone alone, say PSEB officials, 27,345 applications for tubewell connections were lying pending by the end of April, 2001. In fact, the board has failed to release tubewell connections even for those applicants who had applied before April 1988. Currently, the board was trying to release connections for the applicants who had applied before 1988.

The officials, who did not wish to be quoted, said,‘‘ The state government’s policy of providing free electricity to the farming sector has virtually boomeranged as neither the farmers could be satisfied due to frequent power cuts nor the new applicants were able to get the connections.’’ The days are not far when the state government in the ensuing elections and the board in the coming years, would have to pay a heavy price for this blunder, said these officials.

Interestingly, the much acclaimed own your tubewell ( OYT ) policy under which the farmers can get new connections by paying about Rs 25,000 to the board has also failed to pick up. Very few connections have been released under that policy, say sources in the PSEB.

In the same manner, only 170 new industrial connections were released by the board in the Ludhiana city during the past one year, despite much higher demand from the industry.


YC stages dharna against insanitary conditions
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 23
Youth Congress activists today took out a protest march and later staged a dharna at the Municipal Corporation headquarters here to focus on the failure of the Health Department in taking preventive measures against diseases and worsening insanitary conditions in the city, which had led to an epidemic like situation, with more and more cases of malaria, gastroenteritis and cholera being reported each day.

The District Youth Congress (DYC) president Mr Parminder Mehta, who led the protesters, while charging the senior officers of Health Department of the civic body with various irregularities and corrupt practices, demanded a high-level inquiry into the working of the department.

In a memorandum submitted to the MC authorities, Mr Mehta alleged that the whole city had turned into a heap of garbage and the inadequate number of safai workers, coupled with rampant corruption in the MC health department, had created the worst kind of insanitary conditions. There had been no recruitment of new safai workers in proportion to the increased city population but the number of supervisory officers had reached a new high.

The DYC President further charged the functionaries of MC Health Department with marking bogus attendance, pilferage of diesel and petrol and other stores. The mohalla safai committees, he said, was another scandal, in which MC officials and councillors concerned were the real beneficiaries, while these committees had failed to serve any useful purpose as far as improvement in the sanitation level was concerned.

Blaming the MC administration with callousness and utter disregard for public health, Mr Mehta said that the level of preparedness of the MC Health Department against the break out of various diseases during rainy season could be assessed from the fact that temporary workers for anti-malaria spray, were yet to be recruited while several city localities were already afflicted with the disease.

According to YC activists, although the condition of sanitation in the entire city was pathetic, to say the least, the situation was worse in the areas of Sherpur, Bhagat Singh Colony, New Subhash Nagar, Rahon Road, New Simla Puri, Simla Puri, Daba Road, Vijay Nagar, Janakpuri, Industrial Area A, Textile Colony, Balmiki Ashram, New Hargobind Nagar, Manjit Nagar, Engine Shed, Abdullapur, Salem Tabri, Shivala Road, Jawahar Nagar Camp, Rupa Mistry Street, Gulchaman Gali, Mandi Bagh Khazanchian, Kundan Puri, Noorwala Road, and Anandpuri. In addition, the sanitation level in most of posh localities in the city also left much to be desired.

Prominent among others present at the occasion were Mr Sarbjit Singh Bunty, Mr G.S. Arora, Mr Kewal Arora, Mr Rajinder Nihala, Mr Charanjit Channy, Mr B.S. Thakur, Mr Anil Sachdeva, Mr Raman Jagdamba, Mr Ashok Arora, Mr Sarbjit Bhatti, Mr Sabhajit Pandey, Mr Raj Kumar, Ms Asha Bansal and Ms Rekha Passi.


Arya Sabha’s call against female foeticide
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 23
The District Arya Sabha, Ludhiana, has given a call for a total ban on female foeticide in the country.

At a meeting of the core group of the Sabha here yesterday, a resolution was passed against the evil prevalent in the country, particularly in the North. The meeting issued an appeal to doctors and the public to stop female foeticide, as apart from being sinful, it would also give rise to a number of social problems. It also called for stricter implementation of the Supreme Court orders in this regard.

The meeting passed another resolution asking the state government to introduce Hindi as the second language and adequate arrangements in schools for those who wanted to take up Hindi. Letters written in Hindi being received by various departments of the Panjab Government should be replied in the same language and for the sake of preserving the Indian culture, arrangements for the teaching of Sanskrit should also be made.

Through another resolution passed unanimously, it was decided to press the state government for declaring Maharshi Dayanand Jayanti as a holiday as the holy man had devoted his life to wards eradicating superstitions and other social evils.

It was decided at the meeting that in order to awaken people about social evils, religious superstitions and make-believe acts, a special campaign would be started, under which functions and family satsangs would be organised at Ludhiana, Sahnewal, Mohi, Jagraon, Payal and other towns in the district. The Arya Sabha would hold special programmes for spreading knowledge about Indian culture among the youth.

The meeting, chaired by Mr Roshan Lal Arya, president, was also attended by Dewan Rajender Kumar, Swami Shobhanand Sarswati, Mr S.B.Bangian, Mr Ramesh Gupta, Prof Yagyadev Tangri, Mrs Indu Aggarwal, Mrs Shubh Lata Bhandari, Mr Dev Pal Arya , Mr Ramesh Sood, Mr Ayodhya Parkash Malhotra, Mr Sant Kumar Arya and others.


Days of SAD-BJP govt numbered’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 23
“The countdown for the downfall of SAD-BJP government in Punjab has begun and the days of Badal regime were numbered”, said Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, a Congress MP, while addressing a party function at Sahnewal, near here last evening. The function was organised by Capt Sukhjit Singh Hara, President, Block Congress Committee, to felicitate Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, the newly nominated president of District Congress Committee (Rural).

Mr Ghalib said corruption had crossed all limits and every section of society was frustrated over the failure of the government. The prices of essential commodities had risen to an abnormal extent and law and order situation in the state had become alarming.

He urged the party cadres to extend their full cooperation to the new DCC chief, Mr Lapran, so that the party could further consolidate its position in rural areas and adequately prepare for the coming assembly elections.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Lapran asked his fellow party workers to propagate the programmes and policies of the Congress among the rural masses and effectively mobilise support so that the party could give the SAD-BJP combine a crushing defeat in the coming elections. Capt Hara expressed gratitude to Mr Ghalib and PPCC President Capt Amarinder Singh for nomination of Mr Lapran as the DCC chief.

Mr Ghalib presented cheques for Rs 1 lakh each for the computer room in the senior secondary school and a library in the dharamshala on the occasion.

The function was largely attended by panches, sarpanches and municipal commissioners of the area and prominent among those present were Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Mr Anand Sarup Mohi, Harpal Singh Sanghowal, Mr Santokh Singh Gill, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa and Mr Kirpal Singh Kuliewal.


Newsletter of ISCT released by Dr Aulakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
Communication technologies, which have brought about a revolution, should be properly utilised for the benefit of the common man. This was stated by Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, while releasing a newsletter, “Communication Today”, of the Indian Society of Communication Technology (ISCT) here last evening at an impressive function in the Kairon Kisan Ghar of the university.

Dr Aulakh laid stress on highlighting the positive effects of mass media and to discourage their negative uses. He said there was an explosion of knowledge in the modern world and the information was to be understood in right perspective, otherwise distortion in communication might result in more harm than good.

Dr B.S. Hansra, Assistant Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, speaking on the occasion, said the ISCT must pursue its aims and objectives by regularly organising various activities. The communication technologies have a great potential, which should be harnessed for the development of the nation.

Dr S.S. Gill, Additional Director of Extension Education and chairman of the society, said communication must be transmitted properly by the sender and understood properly by the receiver. He said the Punjab Agricultural University had been making use of the mass media, like radio, television and newspapers, for the flash messages of the university for the benefit of the farmers.

Dr Avtar Singh, president of the ISCT, while highlighting the aims and objectives of the society said mediapersons, hardware and software technologists, writers, extension workers, science writers, farmers, teachers and students from all over the country were members of the society and the newsletter would act as a link between the exchange of ideas, and information and the members. He also introduced the new executive members to the chief guest and the audience.

Mr Kamal Mohan Chopra, general secretary of the society, conducted the stage, while Dr G.S. Momi, Head of the Department, Extension Education, proposed a vote of thanks.

Earlier, Mr Ranjit Singh Tamber, founder president of ISCT, in an illustrated lecture gave an account of the latest communication technologies, like the internet, cable network, etc and highlighted their healthy and adverse effects on the society.


Happy days are here again for cinema
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, July 23
With a number of good movies being released, the cinema owners in the city have heaved a sigh of relief. They are hopeful of reaping benefits from the recent boom in the film industry, which had been doomed under the dark clouds of recession for the last few years. The movies released recently like ‘Lagaan’, ‘Gadar’ and ‘Aks’ have brought good luck to the cinema owners of the city.

Ms Romla Raikhy, the owner of Malhar theatre, expressed her happiness over good response from the cine-goers after a long time. She said: “Lagaan is doing very well. Good movies are always crowd-pulling. Our business is picking up slowly. The owners of cinema halls have suffered a lot during the last few years due to recession in the market.”

Ms Raikhy added: “People have liked the theme of ‘Lagaan’, as it is different from run-of-the-mill stuff. The movie is drawing crowds from every strata of society, and has done business above expectations.”

Mr Arinder Singh, the owner of Preet Palace, said nothing could be predicted with certainty about the business prospects with the screening of one crowd-pulling movie. He said: “Gadar is doing good business. It is drawing enthusiastic crowds, including children, youngsters and elderly people. Even those who had not seen any movie in a theatre for long, are coming to watch it. People have liked the acting of the stars, and the music, too, has been appreciated.”

Mr Arinder Singh felt that cinema business depended on the quality of the movies. He said that movies with good script, music, dialogues, location and direction had always been crowd-pulling as people preferred watching good movies on the big screen.

Mr Ranjit Singh, manager of Aarti cinema, said that two or three movies had done good business recently. “The trend has changed over the past few years. People want to watch movies with their families. If good movies are produced regularly, the cinema business would definitely pick-up,” he said.

Mr Sumit Kukreja, a student of Arya College, said that he preferred watching good movies in theatres. “I like the mind-blowing digital sound system in theatres. You cannot get the effect on the small screen,” he said.

Ms Shalini, a regular cine-goer, said: “I like watching films in theatres. As you are not disturbed for three hours, you can feel relaxed. Moreover, it is more enjoyable to see movies on the big screen.”


Teej celebrated at ladies club
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 23
The members of the Roopika Ladies Club celebrated the festival of teej in a traditional and colourful way at the club premises today. The club was specially decorated for the celebrations and presented an ambience of a countryside.

The members and guests were dressed in bright Punjabi suits with ‘phulkari’ and ‘baagh’ dupattas. The stage was decorated with ‘charkha’, ‘chulha’, ‘peedhi’, ‘pakkhiyan’, ‘manji’, ‘baltoi’ and ‘chhajj’. A swing (‘peengh’) was tastefully decorated with flowers and fresh leaves.

The ladies sang a number of Punjabi songs. Ms Sukhraj Kaur, newly elected president of the club congratulated the club members and presented the vote of thanks on behalf of the club members. She also announced the new office-bearers of the club on the occasion.

Ms Swaraj Mehta and Ms Susheel Gupta were declared directors. Ms Renu Bambi was chosen the chairperson, Ms Anju Kapoor was declared the convener, while Ms Meena Gurotra was chosen the secretary of the club for the year 2001-2002.


Rousing welcome to Bodhi rath
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 23
A large number of Bodhis gave a rousing welcome to the Bodhi rath that reached here last night. The rath is on an all-India reaching spree. Among the organisations and associations welcoming the rath were the Buddh Dharam Parchar Samiti, Punjab, the Gazetted and Non-Gazetted SC/BC Employees Welfare Federation, the Dr Ambedkar Welfare Council, and organisations associated with Ravidass and federations of municipal workers.

Addressing the gathering at Chowk Ghanta Ghar where the rath was accorded a formal welcome, various Bodhi leaders lauded the efforts of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar in spreading Budhism in the country. They said the spread of Budhism would strengthen the country.

Condemning the killings of Amarnath pilgrims, the leaders also demanded that the elements responsible for the act should be brought to book. Among those who spoke on the occasion were Mr Sube Singh, Mr Raj Kumar Sahota, Mr Bajinder Singh, Mr Shiv Charan Disawar, Mr Gurdev Singh, Mr Jaswant Singh, Mr Madan Lal Josh, Principal Ram Singh Chopra, Mr Jaswant Mitter, Mr Bishambar Dass and Mr Maghar Chand.

The rath was taken in a procession to Qila Mohalla via Chaura Bazar, Partap Chowk and Old Subzi Mandi where the residents greeted the holy rath in large numbers.


Attack on shop: 3 injured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
At least three persons were injured when a shop-owner along with 12 unidentified persons armed with sharp-edged weapons allegedly attacked a neighbouring shopkeeper in the Surya Kiran shopping complex on the Mall Road here this afternoon. The attackers allegedly decamped with about Rs 13,000, besides some gold jewellery.

The Civil Lines police has registered a case against Jaspreet Singh, alias Sonu, and 12 unidentified persons for allegedly attacking and robbing a neighbouring shop-owner, Sohan Lal Chohan. Three workers at the shop suffered injuries with blunt and sharp-edged weapons.

According to Chohan, a tailor in the market was indulging in power theft through a kundi connection with a main line supplying power to the market. He said he stopped him from this practice and with the help of other shopkeepers removed the kundi connection. Later another shopkeeper, Jaspreet Singh Sonu, came to his shop and asked him to return the wires used in the kundi connection.

Chohan said he refused to do so. Later in the afternoon, Sonu with 12 unidentified persons attacked his shop and beat up his three workers.


Police cat, 3 others acquitted in murder case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 23
Mr A.K. Sharma, Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana , has acquitted former police cat, Sukhwinder Singh ‘Bhapp’ (40), Ram Saroop (30), Lakhbir Singh (30), and Darshan singh (32) from the charges of abduction and committing murder of Harbans Lal on June 29,1993.

According to the prosecution, body of Harbans Lal having string marks on his neck was found at a deserted place on June 30,1993. A string along with one dagger, stained with blood, were also found near the body.

Krishan Lal, brother of the deceased, had lodged an FIR against Balraj Singh Gill, councillor (now dead), and his brothers Balwinder alias Palwinder Singh and Tejinder Singh. According to the prosecution, investigations, revealed that councillor and his brothers were not accused rather Ram Sarup, Bhapp, Darshan Singh and Lakhbir Singh had committed murder. So, they were challaned by police.

But deceased’s brother Krishan Lal categorically deposed in the court that police had deliberately twisted the facts and had falsely implicated Bhapp, Darshan Singh and others.

Dissatisfied with the police, he also filed a criminal complaint against Balraj Gill and his brothers. Though court while acquitting four murder accused also dismissed the private complaint filed against Balraj Singh Gill (now dead), Tejinder Singh and Palwinder alias Balwinder Singh.


Investors seek arrest of chairman
Our Correspondent

Samrala, July 23
Incan Mutual Benefit Ltd has defrauded its investors of crores of rupees in Punjab. The Incan Victims Association, Samrala, under the presidentship of Mr Dalip Singh Bhatia, has urged the Punjab Government to arrest Mr Manjit Singh Aujla, chairman of Incan Mutual Benefit Ltd, for duping its investors.

Mr Dalip Singh, while talking to mediapersons here yesterday, said Mr Aujla had duped the investors of Rs 82 lakh in the Samrala area.


FCI workers caught selling wheat
Our Correspondent

Khamano, July 23
The police has arrested some workers of the Food Corporation of India including a driver and a cleaner, who were allegedly trying to sell 250 bags of wheat in the open market after stealing them from the FCI depot. The police caught them red-handed after getting information about their activities. A case has been registered against them.


No clue to abducted child
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, July 23
The local police has not been able to find any clue of the three-year-old girl, Lalita, who was abducted on July 18. After registering an FIR under Section 364 of the IPC, the police had sent teams to nearby places, but without any success. The child was kidnapped by a labourer, Bahadur, from a dharamshala in Sherpur Bet village, near here.


Consumers upset over rise in edible oil prices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
The spurt in the prices of edible oils in the past few weeks have caught the customers unawares. The onset of festival season will further hit the pockets of common man despite government’s much acclaimed edible oil import policy and the better prospects of oilseed crop during the current year in the country.

The rates of edible oil have increased by 15- 40 per cent in the past few days. The inquiries made in the local retail and wholesale market revealed that rates of a 15-litre pack of edible oil have increased from Rs 460 /518 to Rs 560 / 600. Mr Kasturi Lal Mittal, district president, Punjab Pradesh Vyapar Mandal, disclosed that rates of Vanaspati oil, which is mostly made of imported Malaysian palm oil, have increased by Rs 8 to 10 per kg.

The price of some of the popular brands of edible oils such as Crown has increased from Rs 430 to Rs 550 ; Ishvar brand from Rs 485 to Rs 565; and of Gourav brand from Rs 490 to Rs 570 per 15-kg pack.The rates of Rajpura based Amrit brands had witnessed more increase than other companies, though the company has lowered the rates today.

The rates of Savera brand was quoted Rs 530 and Fortune brand Rs 570 per 15-kg pack. The traders said the average rate of edible oil, which was Rs 26-29 per kg, has gone up Rs 34-35 per kg during the past one month. The rate of Gini cotton seed oil has increased from Rs 510 to Rs 610 per 15-litre pack.

Mr Jagjit Singh, president, Wholesale Sugar and Vanaspati Association, pointed out that hike in imported palm oil price was the cause of this price rise. Secondly, the high import duty had aggravated the problem. He admitted that due to price difference of cotton seed oil and soybean, some mills were indulging in adulteration of edible oils. They were putting labels of cotton seed oil on the soybean oil that was much cheaper than it. In fact, only the big companies such as ABC of Rajpura were selling genuine cotton seed oil.

He disclosed that rates of edible oil witnessed a fall of Rs 1- 1.25 per kg during the past two days in the wholesale market. However, the prices are expected to remain stable in the coming days due to festival season and high demand of palm oil in China. The government can check the prices by lowering the import duty from 65 per cent to 35-40 per cent to provide relief to the customers, he added.

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