Monday, August 6, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Coal shortage hits power plants
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 5
The three thermal plants of Punjab State Electricity Board located at Bathinda, Lehra Mohabbat and Ropar are facing shortage of coal and have stocks for a few days only. There was some delay in receipt of coal as the PSEB had not made the payments of the coal to the Coal India Ltd. and the Railways had also slowed down the movement of coal because of some arrears.

However, the coal supply position is likely to improve as the PSEB has cleared all dues of the Coal India Ltd and the Railways. According to Mr Suresh Gupta, Member (generation), PSEB, all arrears of the coal supply position is normal now. The PSEB had paid about Rs 25 crore to the Coal India Ltd and the Railways, Mr Gupta said

He claimed that no thermal plant had been closed down for want of coal. As a matter of fact, the PSEB makes arrangements for coal supplies before the start of the monsoons every year, he explained.

According to the information available today, thermal plant at Ropar has coal for six days and Bathinda and Lehra Mohabbat thermal plants have coal for 22 days each. The three thermal plants need minimum of 10 rakes of coal daily.

All the three thermal plants are now a days working round-the-clock and helping the state in tiding over the power supply position. The thermal plants generate more than 450 lakh units of power daily while the hydel projects generate 155 lakh units. The PSEB is procuring 427 lakh units of power from Central projects.

The sources close to the PSEB allege that the state government had committed to pay Rs 250 crore annually in lieu of the free supply of power to the farmers and the same has not been coming as a result of which the financial crises in the PSEB has deepened. However, Mr Gupta denied this and said the state government had been making payment from time to time to the PSEB to tide over the difficult financial position. The state government gave Rs 150 crore as electricity duty collection to the PSEB last year, Mr Gupta said

Meanwhile, the water level in the water reservoirs of the major hydel projects of the region continue to be below the optimum level and the dry spell has been causing concern to the authorities concerned.


Elderly, lonely man seeks justice
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
Phaggan Singh is a lonely man today. This is despite the fact that he has four well-settled sons. Feeling desperate and frustrated, about two months back he disowned them all. Not just that, he is embroiled in a dispute with one of his sons, who refuses to vacate his house in Vishwakarma Chowk. He has already pleaded his case with the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, at the weekly sangat darshan programme seeking eviction of his son from the house.

Phaggan Singh, 70, retired as a havildar from the Indian Army in 1971. He said, “I tried to groom my children in the best possible manner within my means and now they are well established in life”. All his children, after their marriage, started living separately with their families in their own houses, while he was living with his wife in his house.

His wife passed away in November 1999. He started feeling ignored and lonely as his children did not take care of him. “I was left alone. Nobody cared about me. Ultimately feeling desperate and disappointed I decided to disown all my children”, he disclosed, while narrating his tale of woes. However, one of his four sons Kulwant Singh, who was living in his own house in Haibbowal, started living in his (Phaggan Singh’s) house.

Phaggan Singh is irked over it. He claims that his son has rented out his own house and was getting a monthly rent of Rs 3,000. “Why should he stay in my house since I have ceased all relationships with him. They are not even ready to talk to me. They do not offer me even a glass of water”, he said. He feels that Kulwant Singh wanted to grab this house and was staying in it with that sole purpose.

“However”, he asserted, “as long as I am alive, I will not allow this to happen”. Phaggan Singh is not on talking terms with any of his children or grandchildren. He revealed that he takes food in a hotel or some gurdwara. Today he urged the Deputy Commissioner to evict his son from his house who, he alleged, was illegally living there.

He said he could rent the rooms occupied by his son and get some money to make a better living. He is getting about Rs 1,600 as pension which does not suffice his living needs.


We’ll know only on Aug 11: Khan on National Games 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
Though it seems that the 31st National Games, that are to be held in Punjab, will be postponed, Mr Nusarat Ali Khan, Minister of State for Sports, has said that the state government is prepared to host the games in September.

The minister said here today that a final decision regarding the hosting of the games would be taken at a meeting here on August 11. Those who will attend the meeting include the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal; the President of the Indian Olympic Association, Mr Suresh Kalmadi; and the President of the Punjab Olympic Association and the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa. The preparedness of the state for organising the games will be reviewed at the meeting.

The National Games have been postponed twice earlier. If the minister is to be believed, these may now be held on time, but the postponement is also a possibility. The Afro-Asian Games and the South Asian Federation Games have been scheduled too close to the National Games, which may trigger the postponement. Mr Khan said, “The infrastructure is ready and the organisers have made good arrangements for the stay of participants in Ludhiana, Patiala and Jalandhar where various events are to be held.”

The minister said, keeping the circumstances in view, the August 11 meeting would be crucial. He also said the earlier postponements had been due to practical problems that had now been overcome. “Though we expect the National Games to begin on time, a final decision can only be taken by the IOA and the Chief Minister.”

The minister denied that any malafide intention was responsible for the suspension of the District Sports Officer of Ludhiana, Mr Sohan Lal Lote. He said the DSO had been penalised for neglecting his duty. When told that the DSO was still on job, the minister said a subsequent appraisal of the DSO’s job had gone in his favour.

When asked whether the suspension would be revoked, the minister said only the Chief Minister could take a decision in this regard.


Relief given to destitute women
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
The Union Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Mr Shanta Kumar, today exhorted upon social and voluntary organisations to come forward with aid for the poor and destitute. He was speaking here at the annual function for the distribution of relief, which was organised by the Gyan Sthal Mandir Committee.

While appreciating the philanthropic effort by the committee in providing regular relief to 500 destitute women, who have lost their husbands, he assured all possible support from his Ministry for such cause. “The service to humanity is the service to Gods”, he said.

The Gyan Sthal Mandir Committee has been providing monthly relief and ration to over 350 destitute women. The number has been increased to 500 this month. According to Mr Vinod Bharti, vice-president of the committee, applications are invited from destitute women and they are selected on the merit of their case.

Any woman, who has lost her husband and has minor children, is given 10 kg of flour, 2 kg of rice and 14 other household goods, like sugar, salt, soap, every month. However, at the annual function today, 32 items were provided to these women.

The president of the committee, Mr Jagdish Bajaj, expressed his gratitude to the Minister and all the members of the committee, who had been providing donations to ensure timely relief to the poor. He assured that the committee would continue to provide relief and aid to the poor.

Cutting across the party lines, leaders had gathered at the function. The leaders from the BJP, the Congress and the Akali Dal marked their presence at the function.

Mr Vijay Chopra, chairman of the Hind Samachar Group of newspapers, while speaking on the occasion, lauded the contribution of the committee and assured his support for the cause.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included the local MLA, Mr Satpal Gosain, and the BJP District President, Mr Harbans Lal Sethi, and several other local councillors.


MSP for paddy to be announced soon
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
The minimum support price (MSP) for paddy would be announced soon. Disclosing this here today, the Union Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Mr Shanta Kumar, said the Agriculture Price Commission had already submitted its recommendations to the government and a final decision will be taken soon.

Addressing a press conference here today, the Union Minister assured that the government will take the sentiments of farmers and the economic situation into consideration before taking a final decision on the MSP. “I assure you, it would satisfy every one”, he said.

On the issue of procurement, he said the government was perfectly prepared to procure the grains that will start arriving in mandis from the month of October. Addressing a press conference here today, he said, all is set for the procurement of paddy due to arrive in the mandis of Punjab and Haryana.

The Minister said although the foodgrain stock was more than the storing capacity, yet the government, was making all the arrangement for further storage. He said 616 lakh tonnes of food grains was lying in stocks against a storing capacity of 512 lakh tonnes. “Inspite of this the Union Government was making all arrangements to increase the storing capacity so that the last grains of paddy brought by the farmers in the mandis is lifted to their entire satisfaction”.

He said the export targets foodgrains fixed for this year were much higher than those of last year’s, Giving details he said, 50 lakh tonnes of wheat, 10 lakh tonnes of sugar and 30 lakh tonnes of rice are expected to be exported this year against 32 lakh tonnes of wheat 10 lakh tonnes of sugar and 8 lakh tonnes of rice exported last year.

The minister suggested that the farmers should go in for diversification of crops and change over from traditional patterns to multiple crop pattern and start sowing oil seeds and pulses. “This would not only ensure a better remuneration to the farmers for their yield and solve out storage problems but also help the country save the foreign exchange to the tune of crores every year”, he pointed out.

Referring to various welfare measures taken by the government, he said, the schemes include free mid day meals to the school children, Antodhya Programme, Anupurna Yojna and distribution of foodgrains at subsidised prices even to those above the poverty line.


CMC trauma centre inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 5
The Secretary General of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and an MP, Mr Sukhbir Badal, inaugurated the new Emergency and Trauma Centre of Christian Medical College here yesterday. The centre has been built at a cost of Rs 300 crores.

At a function after the inauguration, Mr Badal said the country had to go far before all its citizens had a better healthcare. He said private-sector hospitals had better medicare facilities than hospitals run by the state.

He said Indian doctors were the finest in the world, but they did not have modern equipment. “Though the Punjab Government has spent Rs 500 crore on upgrading facilities in government hospitals, it is still not enough. Corporate houses should set up hospitals in rural areas where these are needed the most. Industrial houses can adopt some municipal wards and maintain medicare facilities there,” he said. He also praised the hospital staff.

The acting Director of the CMC, Dr T.M. Jaison, and Dr J. Jacob thanked those local residents who had raised funds for the centre. Mr Badal presented mementoes to members of the advisory board of the hospital.

Those present on the occasion included the Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Satpal Gosain; and Mr Jagdish Garcha, Minister for Technical Education.

Lieut General R.K. Jaitley, Director General of the Armed Forces Medical Services and an alumnus of the CMC, was one of the special guests. Mr Kamal Oswa of the Nahar Group of Industries, was also a special guest. The Civil Surgeon, Dr Rajinder Kaur, and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, also attended the function. 


Sukhbir hints at early poll
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
While the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has insisted that the elections to the state Assembly would be held on schedule, i.e. in February 2002, the general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal Badal (B), Mr Sukhbir Badal, said here today that the elections could be held any time in November or December.

Addressing a press conference, he said, the party was prepared for the elections. He denied the charges levelled by the opposition parties that the sangat darshan programmes were being organised prior to the forthcoming elections in the state. “If you do not work you are criticised and if you work you are charged of bias”, he said.

He maintained that his party enjoyed cordial relationship with its alliance partner, the Bhartiya Janta Party. “Our alliance is not on any conditions”, said Mr Badal. He said it was all the result of the good relations with the Centre that the Punjab Government had been able to bring development in sectors, like International Airport at Amritsar, oil refinery, waving of Rs 8,500 crore of loan, more railway lines and over bridges. He said the Centre was coming up with solutions for the problems of the state through discussions.

He stated that 99 per cent of the economic demands of the state had been fulfilled. He said the party had always stood for more powers to the state. He claimed that a number of people and leaders of different parties, like the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amristar) and All India Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Tohra, were joining the SAD (B). He said: “It is all due to the objectives and programmes of SAD (B) that the people at the grass roots level are joining the party”.

Talking about Mr Zaffarwal and Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, he said SAD (B) had no part to play in the matter. The party was always against militancy and law the and order situation would be kept under control.

He claimed that the opposition had no issue left it was trying to indulge in baseless criticism against the government. He suggested that the opposition should analyse and appreciate the issues on their merit and not oppose them for the sake of it.


Congress open to alliance with secular forces: Vohra
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
Senior Congress leader and the party treasurer, Mr Moti Lal Vohra, who is also in charge of the party affairs of Punjab, today said his party was open to alliance with any secular party for the forthcoming assembly elections. He said the nature of alliance, if any, would be explored by the Pradesh Congress Committee President, Capt Amrinder Singh, who will make his recommendations to the AICC President for the final decision.

Talking to mediapersons here while on his way to Phagwara, Mr Vohra said although the party was comfortably placed for the elections to the assembly and was confident to go it alone, still it was not averse to an alliance or understanding with like-minded and secular parties.

The senior Congress leader said the party had already geared up for the elections in the state and the mass mobilisation programme had already been launched. He was quite jubilant over the restraint exercised by various PCC leaders, who were otherwise at loggerheads with each other. He said the PCC leaders were unanimous in their resolve that they will fight the elections together.

Referring to the issues to be raised by the party during the elections, he said, the manifesto committee of the state headed by Ms Sukhjindher Kaur Bhinder was holding a meeting tomorrow at Chandigarh. Various issues were being discussed and it will soon be finalised. Subsequently a meeting would be chaired by the Dr Manmohan Singh, who is the chairman of the Campaign Committee of the AICC.

On the issue of allotment of tickets, Mr Vohra said the candidates will be chosen on the basis of merit only. This will include the winnability, credibility and clean image. He disclosed that the party was likely to field young people who made good contribution to the party.

The party will also field a good number of women candidates in the elections, he said. He pointed out that the Congress was the only party which had reserved 33 per cent seats for women in the organisation and added, it would be extended during these elections as well.

Mr Vohra stayed here for sometime before leaving for Phagwara, where he was supposed to address a party rally. He was received here by many party leaders who included the District Congress Committee (Urban) president, Mr Surinder Dawer, the DCC (rural) president Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, the chairman of the PCC Labour and Employment Cell, Mr K.K. Bawa, the Chairman of the Indian Youth Congress (Urban Development Cell) Mr Pawan Dewan, the PCC general secretary Mr Nahar Singh Gill and several others.


Congress prepares for Issru rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
A meeting of the District Congress Committee was held here to review the arrangements for the forthcoming Issru rally scheduled to be held on August 15. The meeting was presided over by the Lok Sabha MP, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, who has been made in charge of the rally.

Briefing mediapersons after the meeting, Mr Dullo said it would be a massive show of strength at Issru on the occasion of the Shahidi Mela and the party had decided to send at least 1,000 workers from each assembly segment for the rally.

In order to specify the representation of each assembly segment, there will be separate enclosures for all the assembly segments. The party leaders will also have a feedback from the workers. The rally is likely to be attended by senior party leaders including Mr Moti Lal Vohra, Ms Ambika Soni and the PCC President, Capt Amrinder Singh.

Among others who attended the meeting included the presidents of the DCC rural and urban, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran and Mr Surinder Dawer, MLAs Mr Amrik Singh from Samrala, Mr Harmohinder Singh from Raikote and former MLAs Mr Ishwar Singh, Mr D.S. Brar, Mr Malkait Singh Dakah, Mr Milkit Singh Birmi and Mr Harnam Dass Johar, besides Mr K.K. Bawa and Mr Nahar Singh Gill.


Illegal construction on overbridge
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 5
An advertising company has constructed a bus shelter on the Jagraon overbridge, despite knowing that such a practice on a flyover could be a traffic hazard. The advertising company has done it without any approval from the municipal corporation.

The company usually constructs these bus shelters on weekends to avoid any disciplinary action against them. According to sources, corporation officials have failed to take any action against such violations.

Advertising companies are allowed to construct bus shelters after obtaining requisite permission from the authorities concerned. The companies are paid for displaying advertisements in these bus shelters by its clients.

Facing tough competition, the companies construct as many bus shelters as possible. Sometimes they gulp hefty sums from the clients by constructing bus shelter on places where bus shelters are not required. Recently a bus shelter was constructed on the Ghumar Mandi Road, near Khalsa College, where there was no bus service.

An advertiser claimed that another advertisers had constructed two illegal bus shelters on the Jagraon overbridge

The firm also alleged that the defaulting firm had earlier constructed two illegal bus shelters on the Mall Road and near Aarti Chowk, which were later demolished by the municipal corporation officials.

Mr Harpal Singh, Traffic Engineer, municipal corporation, said he had no knowledge of such bus shelter on the Jagraon overbridge.


A promising young writer
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, August 5
Little did Anu Kapila know that her writing features and stories for The Tribune and Sunday Observer would one day inspire her to write a novel. Anu, after getting a great numbers of articles published, thought of writing a novel . She says,” I started writing as a teenager as a diversion from studies in school and discovered my potential to write short stories, and finally the novel. Writing for me is food for my soul.”

At the age of 25, she came out with her first novel My Best Friend, published by Minerva Press in June 2001. Anu lives in Sahnewal, was educated in Ludhiana and after her postgraduation in English , took up the job of the lecturer in Doraha. But her passion for writing spurred her on to complete the novel. Although she has never been to London, she chose London as the backdrop of her story. The novel is a tale of friendship, love and companionship. The story revolves round the character Evi Joe Scot, who longs for true friendship. Her trials, tribulations, joys, sorrows, triumphs, dangers and adventures of school life are narrated in the story.

As Evi’s journey from Italy to London begins, her adventures keep the reader turning the pages. She helps her best friend to quit the habit of drugs. The book takes up problems of teenagers.

After writing the novel, the biggest problem for Anu was to find a publisher who had faith in her novel. Some one suggested to get it published by the Writers’ Workshop, Calcutta. They accepted the novel and assured Anu that they would publish it but won’ t distribute it. Finally, Anu found a supporter in Minerva and her first novel is presently available on the Internet at

Mark Syers, Editor-in-Chief of Minerva, says of her work,”The novel is attractively written, and has a pleasing story with charm and individuality. We believe the author would have a significant chance of making a mark with both the Indian and Western reading public.”

A critic has written about her first novel, “ Close your eyes and go back to the days when you were 12 years of age...shy, demure, wary of making friends. It feels good and sometimes you wish to relive those days again. Such nostalgic feelings are beautifully captured by Anu Kapila in her debut novel My Best Friend.”

The Principal of the Government College for Women, Mrs Manjit Sodhia and Head of the English Department, MS Savitri Matta, were very appreciative of her novel and said that Anu had done them and the college proud.

Hardly had the ink dried on the first novel when Anu had the manuscript ready for her second novel, titled Destiny’s Bride. This one is set in Mumbai. A story about two sisters, Richa and Pooja, it has a strong theme and the author studies the psyche of a bride and examines whether relationships are indeed true to nature. However, she is again finding it difficult to get a publisher, as she wants a new publisher to publish her second novel. 


Politeness and policing must go together’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
‘Be polite’ is the latest buzzword in the Ludhiana police. Politeness, according to the new Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Mr Harpreet Sidhu, can prove to be the greatest weapon for a policeman. This, he believes, creates greater confidence in the police, among the public. “And public confidence is the greatest asset for a policeman”, he adds.

Having successfully experimented various people-friendly measures in Patiala, Mr Sidhu is all set to set a new course for the police in the city, as well. “It is not just shriman ji jai hind, we expect from the police, but much more than that”, the new SSP insists.

The SSP has directed all the police stations to ensure that an FIR is registered on each complaint. He has also clarified that registration of more FIRs does not necessarily mean increase in the number of incidents of crime. Citing an example, he disclosed that over 8,000 FIRs were registered in Patiala during the last year, against only about 2,000 in Ludhiana or about 1,800 in Amritsar. 


A taste of Europe
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 5
If you have missed Euro Food Express in the past two days here, you have squandered a golden chance to taste delicious European cuisine. At this two day food show held in a local hotel, there were 100 authentic European dishes prepared by chefs who had been brought here from New Delhi.

The minute one entered the hall, one was struck by the charming European ambience and soft music. Mocktails — the starters — had names like Goan Calado, Hawaiian Dream, Strawberry Delight, Blue Lagoon, and Mint Iced Tea and tasted just as fine. Mr Vikas Srivastava, General Manager of the hotel, said there had been a different menu for every meal and the public response had been good.

Yesterday evening, at the ‘salad junction’, guests didn’t know whether to go for simple salads or and compound ones. Ms Vinita, a guest, said, “The salad bar is a visual treat and there is a wide variety. I am unable to decide which salad to taste as every variety appears to be appetising.”

One of the attractions was ‘Italian at Site Pizza Express’ with a variety of pizza combs. For the figure conscious, there were delightful soups and 15 types of bread. At Rs 250 per plate, one could taste Vegetable Biyaldi, German Roesti, Pommes de Terre Boulangre, Chicken Cacciato, Enchiladas and Lamb Strognaff. A family that was at the show, said, “It is after a long time that we have really enjoyed an evening as there is a dish for everyone here. Mango pancake, mango struddle, mango cheese cake and mango eclairs tempt you to have a helping after helping.”

The band played popular numbers of Venga Boys, Ricky Martin, Cliff Richards and John Denver to please the young as well as the old. A replica of Eiffel Tower gave the show a European touch. Ludhianvis are waiting for the next time when the train arrives.

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