Thursday, August 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Civic body clears projects worth Rs 15 crore
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 1
The Municipal Corporation has approved various development projects worth more than Rs 15 crore for the city. The Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) of the civic body, which met under the chairmanship of Mayor Apinder Singh Grewal, gave its nod to new estimates for building of roads, pavement of streets, laying of water and sewerage pipes, maintenance of parks and providing streetlights, involving an expenditure of Rs 7.93 crore.

In addition, tenders received for works worth around Rs 8.96 crore, for development works in the engineering branch, O and M Cell, Park Cell and Light Branch were cleared for issuance of work orders.

To effectively tackle the persistent problem clogged and overflowing sewers in the city, the MC would purchase a high-pressure silting-cum-suction machine at a cost of Rs 24.60 lakh. A maintenance expenditure of Rs 16.37 lakh for 5 years and another Rs 7.08 lakh for the cost of truck chassis were also sanctioned in the meeting.

The F&CC also gave its go-ahead for payment of a cash awards of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1 lakh, respectively, to Mr Ravinder Khosla, a local architect, and M/s V.K. Bansal & Associates for their first and second best entries for the design and development of the proposed new administrative building of the MC in Sarabha Nagar.

A payment of Rs 48.75 lakh to the Northern Railways as supervision charges for the Dhuri line flyover, being constructed on Link Road here, was cleared in the meeting. The amount is payable by the civic body to the Railways on account of technical guidance and supervision of the engineering staff of Railways for the portion of the flyover on the railway tracks.

The major works for which estimates were approved included resurfacing of ESI Road from Link Road to Kochar Market (Rs 27.83 lakh), waterproofing of the roof of planetarium in Municipal Rose Garden (Rs 2.74 lakh), construction of fire station building near Shingar Cinema (Rs 45.68 lakh), widening of Bindraban Road from Jandu Chowk to Upkar Nagar and Primary School (Rs 12.69 lakh), widening of Sarabha Nagar roads in Blocks F, G, E and D (Rs 26.73 lakh and Rs 15.08 lakh), and widening of road from Tagore Nagar to PAU Gate No 4 (Rs 21.52 lakh).

The meeting further accorded its sanction to tenders received for many a project for issuing work orders. These include widening of road and construction of footpaths in Kailash Nagar, Beri Road and DIG office to Lakkar Pul (Rs 7.31 lakh), construction of roads in Focal Point Phase IV-A (Rs 18.72 lakh), surfacing of roads in the Industrial Area (Rs 9.51 lakh), improvement of ROB junction near the General bus Stand on Model Town Road (Rs 35.23 lakh), construction of footpaths on Club Road (Rs 16.19 lakh), providing water supply hot line in Guru Nanak Stadium (Rs 2.07 lakh), surfacing main sector roads in Focal Point (Rs 29.04 lakh) and the Urban Estate, Phase I, Dhandari (Rs 22.33 lakh).


Principal’s transfer irks villagers
Tribune News Service

Lalton (Ludhiana), August 1
The patronage by a minister to a particular group in this village has fanned the fires of rivalry between the two warring groups. Although an FIR stands registered against one of the main accused Kulwant Singh, an ex-sarpanch, he continues to be at large. The villagers told Ludhiana Tribune team here today that Kulwant Singh was very much in the village and he was not being arrested.

The immediate reason for the rivalry is the transfer of the Principal of the local Senior Secondary School, Ms Sudesh Bajaj allegedly at the behest of the accused. Although the village panchayat led by its sarpanch Mr Trilochan Singh and the panchayats of some adjoining villages had passed a unanimous resolution opposing the transfer of the principal, yet she was transferred as ultimately it was the will of the ex-sarpanch which prevailed. He used his influence with the minister and got her transferred.

The ex-sarpanch was said to be irked over a complaint lodged by the principal against her daughter-in-law who was working as a teacher in the school. The principal had reportedly complained against her with to higher authorities, including the Minister for Education, Mr Tota Singh. Instead of inquiring into the matter and taking any action against the said teacher, the department initiated an inquiry against the principal. The inquiry which was reportedly conducted by a senior officer in the department exonerated her (the Principal). This infuriated the ex-sarpanch and he allegedly abused and threatened Ms Bajaj of dire consequences. Although an FIR has been registered against him, yet no action has been taken so far.

With the inquiry finding nothing wrong against the principal, the department, as it was keen to transfer her, decided to do the same on the pretext of promoting her. Ms Bajaj was promoted and transferred.

As the motive for her transfer was not promotion but to replace her, she forwent her promotion. Taken aback, the authorities in the Education Department within a month of her promotion orders, issued her transfer orders. This time she was not appreciated or promoted, but straightway charged with vitiating the peaceful atmosphere of the school.

After Ms Bajaj got the transfer orders, Kulwant Singh, allegedly in an inebriated condition abused Mr Hakim Singh, Mr Ajit Singh and Mr Ranjit Singh who were supportive of Ms Bajaj. He shouted outside their houses, proclaiming himself to be victorious.

This provoked the villagers and they approached the village sarpanch Mr Trilochan Singh. The sarpanch and three villagers lodged a complaint with the police. Again no action was taken.

Kulwant Singh, who is claimed to be in the village has been challenging his rivals to get him arrested and the transfer orders (of the principal) revoked.

This has added to the already prevailing tension in the village and there is resentment among the local people who feel that the ex-sarpanch was being shielded despite the fact that two FIRs were registered against him.


Tribune Impact
Probe ordered into sale of books
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
The Director, State Welfare Department, today ordered an inquiry into the alleged scandal, involving the sale of books meant for supply to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe children free of cost by a number of shopkeepers in Pakhowal belt of this district.

Following a report exposing the scandal that appeared in The Tribune today, the Welfare Department directed the District Welfare Officer, Mr Rohi Ram, to investigate and report at the earliest. A two-member team of the department that included Tehsil Welfare Officer, Mr Kulwant Singh visited Pakhowal village to inquire into the matter. They are learnt to have questioned the students, school authorities in this regard.

According to sources, the inquiry team has learnt that the incidents of sale of such books were much higher than expected. In fact it has been revealed that the network of the shopkeepers is spread in several villages. The shopkeeper of Pakhowal had bought the books from a book store in Mandi Ahmedgarh.

The members of the inquiry committee went to the Government Senior Secondary School and Government Girls High School at Pakhowal and talked to the teachers as well as students. Sources in one of the schools told this reporter that the inquiry officer had asked some students to produce such books and had collected several copies.

The inquiry team found that in Government Girls High School, the books had been given to the students and there was no major complaint. However, in the other school, the books were yet to be given. It is still to be investigated whether, these books find their way into the shops from this school or were bought by the shopkeepers from other places.

The books in question are supplied to the SC, ST and poor children studying in the government schools by the Welfare Department in collaboration with the Education Department. The aim of the scheme was to encourage the poor children to seek education which they could not get due to financial problems. However, the children were not getting the books from the schools and had to buy them thus defeating the whole purpose of the schedule.


Working couples shunning parenthood?
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, August 1
Double income no kids syndrome, (DINKS), which has rocked big metros, is infecting young couples in Ludhiana, too. It has hit working couples in the high income group in the city, holding responsible jobs, which, besides being stressful, entail a lot of responsibility.

Dr Arun Sood, Senior Consultant, Department of Psychiatry, Christian Medical College and Hospital, is of the opinion that the syndrome is the result of both the partners being stressed out by their demanding lifestyle and environment. They have hardly any time for themselves and find it difficult to bear the hardships of jobs and rear children, which is a fulltime job. So both the parents are postponing raising families even though at times they may think of raising one.

The girls armed with qualifications as good as their male counterparts get lucrative jobs in banks, advertising agencies, fashion houses, newspapers, TV productions, and earn in five figures. They make it clear to the respective bridegrooms that they are not willing to give up their jobs and thus ruin their bright careers. The boys readily accept the condition as double incomes would enable them a good lifestyle.

In the present scenario both the partners are in a tizzy to cope up with the management of household chores plus commuting, which could take more than an hour and that, too, under not ideal conditions. The young managers (both the husband and the wife) have a lot of responsibilities to handle in the office, and by the fag-end of the day, they are totally exhausted. They drive back home amidst the chaotic traffic. The couple would just either boil rice and make ‘dal’ or eat canned food . When their lives are so busy, who wants to clutter lives with the further responsibilities of children?

After other megacities, the syndrome has made its way in Ludhiana, too. A lot of girls are gainfully employed in different organisations and earning well. Satisha and Biren have jobs at managerial levels, between both of them they earn more than 50,000 a month. The only relief they have is that their offices are not at a great distance from their houses. They are fortunate to have a part-time maid. Yet life is endless office work and household jobs. Biren says,” No! Definitely children are out at this point of our life. First of all we have been married just a couple of years. We are still adjusting with each other. We feel that we have to give time to our relationship, plus the pressures of work. So to bring children into the world at this point of time is sheer stupidity.”

Satisha said: “Unconvential though it may sound, but we are not ready to have a kid at this point of time out of choice, for, our jobs keep us fully occupied. We come home all keyed up. There is hardly any time to unwind as I have to prepare dinner. Biren is a typical Indian boy. It is beneath him to do household chores. It is maddening as I bring equal amount of money to the ‘kitty’”.

Another couple working in the media also felt that they had no right to bring children into the world. They said: “We are educated people so we know our responsibilities towards the children. We want our children to be good citizens. When we have no time for ourselves how can we find time for the kids? We have erratic timings. The work exhausts us and we have decided that our careers are important to us. So either children will have to wait or we will adopt a child after sometime when we think we are ready for it. There are millions of orphans. The least we can do is to adopt a child and give good education and home to the child.”

“The rising prices, the need for good education and a certain minimum standard of life has made us decide not to have kids. We are earning well but not enough to bring a child. We want to give the very best to our child. Since we don’t have anybody to take care of children, we do not want to leave our children to mediocre day-care centres. We know that one income is not enough for the standard of living that we have acquired now. We can’t do without two cars. We have no house of our own. Our first priority is to build a home for ourselves,” said Prema, a bank officer and her husband Sunit, also a bank officer.

“It seems in the race of life kids are being left behind. But it is better than bringing children into the world and then couples splitting and children growing as misfits in society,” said Mrs Lal. She has seen the anguish of her grandson who was left shattered by his parents’ divorce. To have or not to have is the decision that rests with couples. But the sad thing is that the intellengentsia is not giving its progeny to society.

Dr Rajiv Gupta, a consultant psychiatrist, talking on the syndrome, said: “Earlier, women were confined to home. But the modern woman is working as an equal partner and spending 12 hours on her job. Society has become advanced and well-educated girls are getting lucrative jobs. There is a conflict between career advancement and child’s care. Since rearing up of children is a full-time job, it creates a lot of contradictions between maintaining a careful balance between the job and family. Moreover, in the nuclear families, most of the decisions are being taken by women. In spite of the husbands wanting children, wives consider their careers to be equally important and feel that they need to work.

Dr Arun Sood said that this syndrome is the result of stressful lifestyles of both the partners. They find little time for themselves and rearing children becomes impossible for them.


Nabbed robbers are notorious criminals
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
The arrest of two robbers from Kheri village by a team of the Sadar police and villagers has turned out to be a major success as the two persons who were nabbed were infact notorious criminals wanted in as many as 28 cases in several police stations of the state. Police investigation has found that the two were involved in hundreds of robbery and snatching incidents in the past few years. The only time they remained “out of action” was when they were behind bars.

Roshan Lal, alias Manjit, alias Joshi, who has several other names also is the alleged leader of a gang. The notoriety of this alleged conman can be gauged from the fact that he along with others had committed as many as 70 robberies and snatching incidents in one day only in the Mansoorpur area of Phillaur in 1995. The act is being quoted as a unique record in the police files. The other arrested person Shakeel (one of his several names) also has several cases against his name.

Addressing mediapersons here today afternoon, SHO Sadar Ramandeep Singh said the accused were wanted in several cases at Phagwara, Basti Jodhewal, Banga, Sahnewal, Focal Point Garshankar, Goraya, Phillaur, and some other police stations of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Jagraon police districts.

The alleged king-pin of the gang Roshan Lal used to plan everything, including selection of the targets as well as the methodology. While answering queries of mediapersons, the accused admitted that he used to buy guns from Rampur in Uttar Pradesh and then selected a target. He lived in rented apartments and used to change them frequently to avoid suspicion. According to the police the accused even shifted from a city after few months of “good work”.

The accused were nabbed red-handed yesterday. In a swift action, angry residents of Kheri and surrounding villages along with certain victims of daylight robbery and police parties from Lalton police post and Sadar police station caught the four alleged robbers after a chase yesterday evening.

The robbers who were on scooters were heavily armed and reportedly fired some shots at the persons chasing them as well as at the police party. However, they were soon overpowered. Some of them even sustained injuries as they fell from the scooters while trying to flee. Two alleged robbers have been admitted to a city hospital.

The robbers struck at a link road in Jassowal village at about 4.30 p.m. They stopped a scooterists and his companions snatched jewellery from the women.

The scooterists, however, chased the robbers after dropping two women at a safe place. Later, others too joined the chasing man. It was alleged that the robbers while fleeing towards the Kheri village snatched jewellery from a couple of other women also.

The robbers kept firing at the chasing persons. A police team from the Sadar police station as well as the Lalton police post joined the chase. The alleged robbers than discarded their scooters and hid in fields.

More police force was called from the Sadar police station and finally by 6 p.m. the robbers surrendered.


State of Parties
Congress is a house divided
New alignments taking place
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 1
Both the urban and rural units of the District Congress Committee Ludhiana, are divided and new alignments are taking place in view of the ensuing Vidhan Sabha elections in March, 2002. The Congress leaders are divided in to different groups and are always on the lookout to settle scores with one another.

The District Congress Committee (rural) has been reconstituted by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Mr Amarinder Singh, after he stabilised his position. He removed Mr Harmohinder Singh, sitting MLA who was heading the DCC (rural) for the past few years. Mr Harmohinder Singh has been removed as he had been siding with Mr Rajinder Kaur Bhathal, former Chief Minister and former President, PPCC. Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran has been brought in as the president, DCC (rural), Ludhiana, with the help of Mr Gurcharna Singh Galib, MP, who is a staunch supporter of the PPCC President. Mr Lapran was once close to the coterie surrounding the late Beant Singh and had joined the Akali Dal at the time of elections to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1997 on assurance of the Chief Minister and SAD president Parkash Singh Badal that he would be inducted as chairman of a corporation. But he was not accommodated by Mr Badal and he made a comeback to the Congress. He had allegedly taken certain benefits from Mr Beant Singh. Now Mr Gurmeet Singh, former political secretary of Mr Beant Singh and other members of the Beant Singh group were siding with Mr Harmohinder Singh, dislodging Mr Lapran from the presidentship of the DCC (rural), Ludhiana. They have made a complaint to the party high command against the PPCC chief and other local leaders who were instrumental in the removal of Mr Harmohinder Singh from the presidentship of DCC (rural).

Ludhiana district has three sitting congress legislators besides, Mr Harmohinder Singh, Mr Amrik Singh (Samrala) and Mr Rakesh Pandey (Ludhiana North).

The District Congress Committee (urban) president, Mr Surinder Dawar, who was aprotege of Mr Beant Singh has already joined the Amarinder Singh camp.

Mr Dawar is a not candidate for the Congress ticket from Ludhiana east Vidhan Sabha segment and Ludhiana north. But since the party high command has decided to give tickets to all the sitting legislators, this will go to Mr Rakesh Pandey, who has been returned from this segment thrice. The other candidate in the fray from Ludhiana east is Mr Pamrinder Mehta, president, District Youth Congress Committee (urban), Mr Mehta is also with Mrs Bhathal, while the District Youth Congress Committee (rural) president Manjit Singh Hambran is with Captain Amarinder Singh.

Ludhiana west segment has Mr Harnam Das Johar, a former Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Mr. Johar has been siding with Mrs Bhattal and the Shamsher Singh Dullo camp but he has reportedly now joined Mr Amarinder Singh. He is likely to be fielded from Ludhiana west from where he was elected in 1992 elections. Mr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia, a former senior mayor of the Municipal Corporations, is also a hot candidate for the Congress ticket from this seat.

The Ludhiana rural segment, Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, is a hot contender and he was elected from this seat in 1992. He also became a minister in the Harcharan Singh Brar Cabinet. Mr Nahar Singh Gill, is another candidate from this seat while Mr Burbur Singh, son of the Late Mr Gurnam Singh is also seeking the ticket from this segment. Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, son of Devinder Singh Garcha is also active within seat.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, who is a sitting up from Ludhiana, is keen to put up his son from the Jagraon Vidhan Sabha segment. Mr Gurdip Singh Bhaini, a former Akali MLA, has also joined the Congress.

The Raikot segment has Mr Harmohinder Singh as sitting MLA and he will get the ticket without any difficulty.

Loyalities will further change in the months to come as the elections to the Punjab Vidhan sabha draw near.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that a senior Punjab police official is bending backwards to please the Congress high command with the purpose of securing a seat for his wife, ‘for a neighbouring Muslim-dominated constituency, much to the discomfort of his superiors in the force.


Daresi massacre accused acquitted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 1
Daljit Singh “Bittu” and Gursharan Singh, alias Gamma, alleged militants, accused of infamous Daresi Ground massacre in March 1986, have been acquitted by the Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, Mr S.S. Arora, as the prosecution failed to prove the allegations levelled against them.

More than 10 persons were killed, early in the morning, on March 27,1986, at Daresi Ground, when ‘shakha’ was being run by the RSS.

According to prosecution, at about 6.15A M , five persons armed with deadly weapons reached Daresi Ground, on two vehicles. There they opened fire from their respective weapons and killed a number of persons besides injuring many others.

An FIR was registered against the accused persons at police station Division No 4, under Sections 302/307 of the IPC and 25 of the Arms Act, on the statement of Sat Pal, a rickshaw puller.

Accused were nabbed by the police of police station Division No 5, in August, 1996, in connection with some other criminal case. Later on they were formally arrested in this case.

As many as 23 witnesses were examined by prosecution in support of their case.

During arguments, defence counsel pleaded that no identification parade of accused persons was conducted after their arrest. Though Sat Pal, complainant and ASI Jagdish had claimed to identify them, but only in court.


How journalists lost credibility
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, August 1
Visualise the following scene, a grocery merchant in the local Chaura Bazaar is attending to customers, suddenly a cop on a scooter screeches to halt outside his shop, “Thanedaar saab ne bulaya hai”, he says. The merchant disposes of the job in hand handing over the shop to his manager and scurries past the waiting customers to take pillion on the cop’s bike.

The merchant is not a crook wanted by the police but is a correspondent of a Jalandhar daily. For him, it is a routine to be taken to the police station for the purpose of briefing him about news. A cop drops him back at the shop where the grocer writes the news before faxing it to the newspaper. The merchant feels elated at the ‘sarkari’ attention which he gets due to his newspaper connection.

Gone are the days when the lone correspondent in the town was greeted as “Editor Saab” on his round of the town which he undertook on foot with a rolled newspaper tucked under an arm.

Now this town of nearly 30,000 inhabitants, is virtually crowded with journalists and none of them is even greeted with as much as “ reporter saab’ by the locals. Reason, the townsfolk do not hold local journalists in esteem anymore.

The town produced its first journalist about four decades ago, when N.D. Salh who was the first man in the town to have passed MA English. He joined The Tribune as special correspondent during the tenure of Mr Natrajan, the then newspaper editor. Later, he joined The Statesman as its special political correspondent at New Delhi. But, he never reported from the town.

It was Chiranji Lal who represented almost all Jalandhar newspapers as well as All-India Radio for years as the lone correspondent of the town. Being a political and business personality as well, Chiranji Lal commanded lot of respect and clout in the town. There used to be a crowd of people at his crockery-renting shop, who used to come to seek his attestation on a variety of official verifications and so on.

In the early eighties, the author became the first correspondent who actually reported the town’s events in The Tribune for a couple of years before being transferred to Ropar. The town was again without a correspondent for quite some time. But slowly and steadily, Jalandhar press recruited innumerable correspondents without bothering about their educational qualifications, ability to write news item, professional ethics and motives etc. A vegetable seller had also once served as a stringer for a Jalandhar daily for many years.

The number of correspondents in the town registered a sudden increase after the massacre of 17 people in Gandhi Chowk during the militancy days. With the arrival of a couple of Hindi newspapers in the region, about a couple of years ago, the number of correspondents in the town has swelled to nearly twenty or so.

And going by the riches acquired by some of these correspondents over the years, many more in the town are aspiring to be correspondents. It matters little to them, whether the newspaper they would get to represent is a daily, weekly or a bi-weekly. It is not an urge to write that they want to fulfil but the greed to make money by misusing their position.

Some traders became stringers to get a press ID-card to snub any inquisitive taxation officer from making inquiries. Then, there are those who are desperate to possess a press ID-card to further their political ambitions and gain social clout. The entry of semi-literate correspondents into the managing committee of government-aided Gandhi School has further spurred these press card seekers.

So far, only vernacular papers were being represented by this kind correspondents. Attempts are now on by certain such new aspirants to convince the English language dailies to appoint their own correspondents in the town. A certain principal of a school, who is on an extension, and is known very well in the town for being quite a character, is trying to be the first regular correspondent in town of a popular English language daily .

People of the town, however, are not very pleased with the growing number of such novice journalists in the town. Slow pace of development works and police excesses are not being reported, issues concerning the public are never seriously taken up, residents allege. They feel that instead of being served, the town was being held to ransom by these so-called correspondents.


Panthic morcha to contest poll
Our Correspondent

Amloh, August 1
The Panthic Morcha will contest the coming Assembly election in the state, mainly on the issues of education, health, corruption and unemployment, as the Congress and the SAD-BJP governments have failed on all these fronts. This was stated by Mr Dhian Singh Mand, the vice-president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), at a press conference held here on Wednesday.

“It is the duty of the government to provide basic education to all. But government schools, particularly those in the remote areas, are being run without teachers. Private schools, in any case, are beyond the reach of poor people. The Panthic Morcha government will provide education free of cost upto graduation level,’’ he said, and rued, that the treatment in hospitals had become so costly that common people were dying for lack of proper medical aid.

Mr Mand alleged that the Congress had sown the seeds of corruption, and the SAD-BJP government had been reaping the fruits. He said unemployment had been continuously rising for the past many years, during the tenure of the present government.

The former MP disclosed that the Panthic morcha would soon be formed, and would include the SHSAD, the SAD (A) and Sant Samaj. He added that a committee, consisting of 11 members, headed by Mr Sarbjot Singh Bedi of Sant Samaj, would be formed to handle the Panthic affairs. A meeting of the Political Affairs Committee would be held in Chandigarh on August 5 to discuss the morcha’s policy in detail, he said. A joint conference of the parties comprising the morcha would be held at Issru village, near Khanna, on August 15.

Mr Mand said his party was open to form a coalition with any party, except the Congress and the BJP. He endorsed the decision to withdraw the voting rights of the Sehajdhari Sikhs for the SGPC elections.

The Akali leader criticised the announcement, made by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to provide a grant of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the farmers who had committed suicide. He said this would entice the poor farmers to commit suicide. He said the SAD (A) would hold a conference at Dewan Todar Mal Hall, Fatehgarh Sahib, on August 6.


Reptile found in tap water
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 1
Mr Sudir Syal, owners of a shop in Mata Rani Chowk area, has complained that he found a reptile in tap water today. He said he was filling a water cooler water he saw a reptile crawling in the water. He immediately turned the tap off and called other shopkeepers.

He said earlier also, in fact only four days ago, he had found a reptile in the tap water and after that he had started using the tap water for washing hands only. He did not use this water for drinking.

“I bring drinking water from my home daily,” he said.

This was not the only incidence when a reptile was found in the tap water. A few days ago; Ms Rajdeep Grewal had also found a ‘snake’ in tap water when she was filling water bottles.

The J.E, Mr Gurcharan Singh, who came to look into the matter, said, “This problem was due to the use of cemented pipes which are not very durable and often break. The reptile must have made its way through a crack in the pipe.” An other official accompanying him said, “The corporation has been using these pipes for the past 10 years. Earlier, the corporation used to have CI pipes which are more durable and dependable. We have written many times to the senior officials in our reports to use CI pipes, but nothing has been done so far. We are government employees and we can only suggest remedial measurers, but the decision has to be taken by the higher authorities.”


Farm labour to gherao DCs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 1
Rural and farm labourers would gherao Deputy Commissioners all over the state on August 7 in support of their demands, according to Mr Gulzar Goria, general secretary, Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha, said in a press statement here today.

Their demands including the distribution of cheap foodgrains among the rural poor through the public distribution system, employment avenues in villages, loans for starting small-scale ventures and higher old-age and widow pensions.

Mr Goria stated education was getting confined to the well-to-do class only and children of poor families were being deprived of the benefits of education. Jobs, governmental or otherwise, were a dream for such people. Moreover, no central legislation was being enacted to safeguard the interests of farm and other labourers and in the cases of death in agricultural accidents, a compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh was seldom paid.


Solar heating system must for new buildings
Our Correspondent

Khanna, August 1
A meeting of the Municipal Council was held here under the chairmanship of Mr Onkar Rai Mehta. The meeting passed a resolution stating that all the new hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, lodges, rest houses, schools, colleges, hostels, banquet halls, community centres, etc built on an area of more than 150 sq m, would be required to install solar heating system, failing which their building plans would not be approved.

In another resolution, the council sought permission of the government to set up a water treatment plant, costing Rs 240.25 lakh, on 35 acres, near Ikolaha village. The opposition members were not in favour of this resolution as they wanted to have a talk with the Sewerage Board official, on the issue.


Free power to vridh ashrams demanded
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 1
A general body meeting of the Punjab State Federation of Associations of Senior Citizens Homes was held on Sunday under the chairmanship of Mr Sarwan Kumar at Nishkam, Ludhiana.

As per a resolution passed in the meeting it was said that majority of the vridh ashrams were run on donations from the public and the Punjab Government could also contribute its bit by allowing free power supply to these ashrams.

It was further requested that the grants, which elapsed on account of one reason or the other, should be restored and released immediately.

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
In the news report “Did BJP boycott Gupta’s visit” published in these columns, it was inadvertently mentioned that Mr Om Prakash Gupta was a BJP legislator while he represented the Congress.


105 kg poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 1
The Focal Point police of the city arrested two migrants living in Gobindgarh Colony yesterday and seized 105 kg of poppy husk from them.

The suspects — Munna and Piara Lal — belong to Sikandarpur in UP. The police has registered a case under sections 15,61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.


The Jodhewal police has registered a case under section 376 and 120 B of the IPC on the complaint of Kulwant Kaur, wife of Nauhria and resident of Bhaironmunna village under Sahnewal police station, against a migrant and Meena Devi, wife of Ashok Lal, a resident of Hathian village. According to the complainant, the accused Meena purchased some milk from the complainant’s house on Monday evening and picked her seven year-old daughter and took her to the migrant who fled the scene after raping the minor girl. No arrest has been made so far.

Case registered

A case has been registered against Tek Singh, owner of a bulb factory near Sahnewal, as an employee of the factory, Mahacharan, fell down in the factory, and later died in hospital.


The Division No 2 police arrested Vijay Kumar Kohli, son of Ram Lubhaya, resident of SBS Nagar, Ludhiana, and seized a knife from him during special checking. A case under the Arms Act has been registered against the accused.


SDO caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
A Sub-divisional Officer of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) was nabbed red-handed by the vigilance officials today while accepting a bribe of Rs 3,000. He was identified as Ajitpal Singh Sahani, working as the SDO, Jeet Nagar. He has been arrested, while his other accomplice Ashok Dutt, a junior engineer, is absconding.

According to a Vigilance Department spokesman, a complaint was received by the department from Mr Tejinder Singh who runs an agro-industrial unit, Bilkhu Agro Industries, situated at Isher Nagar behind Guru Nanak Engineering College, Gill Road, that the SDO was demanding bribe from him.

Mr Tejinder Singh alleged in his complaint that the SDO accompanied by a JE, Ashok Dutt, visited his unit on July 20 and broke open the seals of his electricity meter. They claimed that the meter was running slow. They said that a penalty of Rs 1.5 lakh could be imposed on him. The duo allegedly demanded Rs 15,000 from the industrialist. However, the deal was settled for Rs 13,000. They took Rs 10,000 the same day.

When the industrialist failed to turn up with the balance amount, they summoned him to their office. He was asked to pay the balance amount by July 31. Meanwhile, Mr Tejinder Singh brought the matter to the notice of the Vigilance Department.

Today a trap was laid. Mr Tejinder Singh handed over Rs 3,000 to the SDO, who put the money in his drawer. The vigilance team, raided his office and found the money in his drawer. The currency notes were bearing the same numbers which had been noted by the vigilance officials.

The vigilance officials said while Sahani had been arrested, his accomplice Ashok Dutt was still absconding.


240 bottles of whisky seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
In a joint raid conducted by the Excise and Taxation Department and the local police, two persons were reportedly caught red-handed with 240 bottles of whisky. According to an Excise Department press note, the team raided a house in Phase III, Urban Estate, Dugri, after receiving a secret information. Jagdish Kumar and Gagandeep Singh, were arrested by the police.

The accused reportedly confessed that they had brought 240 bottles of whisky from Chandigarh. The modus operandi of the smugglers was that they used to bring bottles in gunny bags and deliver at homes at a cheaper rate. A case has been registered.


Five-year RI for wrestler
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 1
A wrestler of Bulara village, Mr Joga Singh, 48, has been sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment by a city court for causing grievous injuries with a knife to Jagwinder Kaur of the same village after trespassing into her house on May 6, 1999. Co-accused Shinder Singh (19) has also been awarded four years’ imprisonment.

Mr H.S. Madan, Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, observed that the prosecution had succeeded to prove the allegations against the accused persons beyond any shadow of doubt.


Soda traders flay hike in sales tax
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 1
The government’s decision to impose 8.8 per cent sales tax at the first stage on caustic and baking soda has evoked widespread criticism from the traders here.The Ludhiana Dyes and Chemical Dealers Association has condemned the imposition of sales tax with effect from July 10, 2001, as they claimed, these were intermediate goods, mostly used by soap, paper, electroplating, dyeing and textile industries.

In a memorandum submitted to the state Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the association pointed out that caustic and baking soda were commercial and heavy chemicals, which were mostly used by the industries in bulk. These items were not finished products and were used as raw materials. So there was no justification in imposing the sales tax on them.

Mr Yogesh Kumar Bansal, president of the association, disclosed that total monthly trade of caustic and baking soda in Punjab was about 1000 tonne and 100 tonne, respectively. Most of the supply was from the Punjab Alkalies, Nangal and DCM unit at Rajpura. Interestingly, the DCM unit was enjoying a 7-year tax exemption, but the dealers of other units would have to charge an extra amount of about Rs 90 and Rs 60 on the sale of 50 kg bag of caustic soda and baking soda, respectively. At present the average rate of caustic and baking soda was Rs 970 and Rs 650 for a 50 kg bag.

The traders alleged that the sales tax would not only hit the interests of traders in the state, but also of the state government. The bulk buyers in the state would prefer to buy these items from the Chandigarh and other neighbouring states by paying just 1 per cent Central Sales Tax (CST). Consequently, the government may lose taxes worth crores of rupees every year due to this step.

Mr Bansal alleged that unlike previous practices of issuing notifications 15 days before the date of implementation, this notification had been issued on July 24, after 15 days of the date of implementation. He conjectured that department had clubbed these items with other items, directly sold to consumers through provisional stores. However, these items were used as intermediate goods and the consumers were already paying sales tax on the final products.

The association has urged the CM to abolish the sales tax on these two items at the earliest, which was totally unjustified and arbitrary. The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings has also submitted a memorandum to the Finance Commissioner Taxation, Punjab, in this regard.

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