Wednesday, August 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



MC okays development works worth Rs 10 cr 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 21
The Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) of the Municipal Corporation has approved various development works for the city like laying of roads, paving of streets, laying of water supply and sewerage schemes, development of parks and provision of street lights, in addition to procurement of stores for Health Department and traffic cell worth over Rs 10 crore.

The F&CC, which met here last evening under the chairmanship of Mayor Apinder Singh Grewal gave its assent to tenders received for different development works for a little more than Rs 2.88 crore. Among the projects, for which work orders would be issued, were related to building of roads and streets for Rs 2.19 crore, revised estimates for engineering branch worth Rs 24.60 lakh, sewerage and water supply for Rs 11.76 lakh, street lights for Rs 4.70 lakh and development of parks for Rs 27.80 lakh.

Others present at the meeting were MC Commissioner S.S. Sandhu, Senior Deputy Mayor Jagdish Prasad Loomba, Deputy Mayor Santosh Aneja, Mr Jai Parkash and Mr Hakam Singh Giaspura.

In addition, the F&CC put its stamp of concurrence on new and revised estimates for engineering branch worth Rs 2.57 crore, sewerage and water supply schemes worth Rs 50.10 lakh, street lights worth Rs 1.14 crore, traffic cell worth Rs 7.55 lakh, health branch worth Rs 3.96 lakh, drawing branch worth Rs 2 lakh and park cell for Rs 38.37 lakh.

Following high drama in the morning of a threat from the ruling SAD-BJP combine in the MC to disrupt the meeting of the F&CC on the ground that files pertaining to development works of their respective wards were being deliberately held over by the city Mayor, the meeting adopted another 30 items as a supplementary agenda, which mostly comprised works related to wards represented by SAD (B) and BJP councillors. These works would entail an expenditure of around Rs 3 crore.

Some of the projects, cleared by the F&CC, were laying of road and pavement of streets in Punjab Mata Nagar on Pakhowal Road at a cost of Rs 60.20 lakh, landscaping of the park in Kidwai Nagar at an expenditure of Rs 11.26 lakh, development of Sherpur Chowk (Rs. 10.25 lakh), development of four parks in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar (Rs 16.54 lakh), resurfacing of internal roads on Rani Jhansi Road and Mall Road (Rs 16.47 lakh), providing automatic traffic control signals at Dana Mandi Chowk on Gill Road (Rs 3.92 lakh), purchase of MS tree guards (Rs 28.35 lakh), road marking with thermoplastic paint and purchase of raised pavement markers and high intensity grade retro-reflective boards (Rs 7.07 lakh).

A revised estimate of Rs 49.94 lakh for the ongoing work of providing 800 mm and 400 dia RCC pipe sewer from Basti Chowk on Rahon Road to Budha Nullah for dyeing units was also approved in the meeting. Earlier, the work was allotted for Rs 36.02 lakh but certain additions and alterations led to escalation of the cost of work.



26 buffaloes killed as shed collapses
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 21
Twentysix buffaloes were killed when the shed of a private diary farm collapsed and the concrete roof fell on the animals. While 21 of these died instantly, five more died after being taken out of the debris. Three seriously injured buffaloes are under treatment.

Although owner of the dairy farm Manjeet Singh claimed that 35 of his had buffaloes died, while others were seriously injured, officers of the Animal Husbandry Department said, they had counted only 26 dead animals.

The incident occurred at Haibowal at around 9.30 in the morning, when about 30 buffaloes were tied inside the shed after being served fodder. Instantly one of the outer walls of the shed collapsed and the concrete rooftop fell on the helpless animals. There were wild cries as nobody could help the animals out. By the time some rescue measures could be taken, it was too late.

Although a bulldozer reached the spot within 20 minutes of the accident, but by that time 21 animals had already died. Dr Dalbir Singh, who looks after the animal care hospital run by the People For Animals (PFA) in close vicinity, was one of the few eye witnesses. He, along with, some other people administered shock resistance injections to all animals and with their efforts three animals could be saved. But none of them could stand as they had suffered multiple fractures in their legs and the spine.

Manjeet Singh said he had left the dairy farm only 10 minutes before the incident. He was on way to home with the milk, when he received the news that the shed had collapsed. He attributed the collapse to the problem of water logging in the area. He said due to the accumulation of water, the foundation seemed to have become weak which led to the collapse. He pointed out as nothing was apparent above the ground, he never expected such thing to happen. He had constructed the concrete shed about two and a half years ago.

Some other dairy owners, who were present there, said they had approached the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation several times, demanding the draining out of water. They said as long as a drain was not constructed the problem would persist and there could be many more such accidents. They disclosed that the local councillor, Mr Balkar Singh, had also raised the issue several times with the corporation officials but to no avail.

According to Animal Husbandry officials there were about 300 dairy farms in the Haibowal area consisting of about 40,000 animals. They admitted that most of the dairy farms were overcrowded with animals as no specifications were followed. However, the dairy farm where the accident took place today was not overcrowded as there were only 80 animals in an area of 1,000 square yards.

While the doctors of the PFA hospital, who included its director Dr B S Gill and Dr Dalbir Singh, were already present there as the hospital was situated only next to the dairy farm, a team of five doctors of the Animal Husbandry Department led by a Senior Veterinary Officer, Dr Parshotam Garg and comprising Dr Darshan Goyal, Dr Jatinder Singh, Dr Girdhari Lal and Dr Sukhwant Singh also reached the spot immediately for offering medical aid. The PFA president, Dr Sandeep Jain and the general secretary, Dr Ajay Jain, also reached the spot to provide assistance. However, it was such a ghastly accident that no rescue measures could be taken.



PSEB fined for wrong bills
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 21
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to pay Rs 2,000 on account of deficiency in service to Mr Kulwant Singh, a resident of Model Gram. The forum further directed the PSEB to pay to the consumer Rs 500 as cost of litigation.

According to the complaint, Mr Kulwant Singh had purchased the house in which the meter was installed, from Mr Jagdev Singh. He stated before the forum that after purchasing the property, he had applied for the 10-kw electric connection and change of name. The same was installed but the meter remained in the name of Mr Jagdev Singh.

Mr Kulwant Singh received a bill for Rs 2,935 on October 3, 2000, which was reduced to Rs 1,516 after he challenged it. After that another illegal bill of Rs 13,674 was issued to the consumer in which Rs 11,033 was included as sundry charges on account of wrong tariff of 576 units, he added.

When the consumer approached the board officials for clarification, the matter was referred to the Dispute Settlement Committee (DSC) which directed the consumer to deposit 50 per cent of the amount and he deposited the same. After that the PSEB issued another bill for Rs 25,318 on February 4, 2001 for consumption of 1159 units and an amount of Rs 13,6874 of the previous bill was included in the same in spite of the fact the fact the matter had been referred to the DSC.

It was alleged by the consumer that the PSEB had been deficient in rendering service. He further alleged that he had approached the board officials to correct the demand and not to claim the excess amount but the officials refused to do so.

The PSEB pleaded that the complainant had applied for 10-kw load on October 28, 1999, and a three-phase meter was installed on his premises. It further stated the single-phase meter was removed at the reading of 36645 units but the bills had been sent up to the reading of 35501 units and as such the consumer was to be charged for the remaining 1144 units. A bill for single-phase meter up to December 2000, was sent to the consumer on the basis of average consumption as the latter reading of the meter was not fed in the computer, it added.

The board disclosed that Rs 25,064 was still recoverable from the consumer. It claimed that there was no deficiency on the part of it and the demand had been rightly raised.

The forum observed that the demand had been rightly raised by the PSEB but the charges to be paid by the consumer were not rightly calculated. It stated that there was no point in calculating the balance amount on the basis of average consumption when the actual consumption was there.

]The forum held that there was clear deficiency on the part of the PSEB for sending a wrong bill. The forum further stated that the consumer was bound to pay the charges rightly calculated by the board.



Funds for research work go unutilised
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, August 21
Funds to the tune of lakhs of rupees allocated for research in colleges go unutilised as the Punjab Government does not grant the teachers any paid leave for the purpose.

In such a situation, college teachers have restricted themselves only to teaching work and no research is being carried out by them. The teachers said it was not feasible to perform research after the college hours as it demanded time, concentration and proper study. Even though they were interested in doing some research, they did not want to use their casual leaves for the purpose, they added.

Besides, the teachers said they required at least a month to perform even a minor research, but colleges were already short of staff and work load was so much that they could not afford to take leave. The teachers said the Punjab Government should also adopt a policy to grant leave for research like other states or else the knowledge of its teachers would go stagnant and remain confined to theory work.

During the inaugural session of the Managerial Leadership Development programme for the principals held recently at GGN Khalsa College, Dr G.S. Gosal, former Dean College Development Council, Panjab University, had said no college was taking up research work.

He had urged upon the college principals to encourage the teachers to take up research. However, principals of most of the colleges have said taking up research work was feasible for only the Panjab University staff and not for its colleges due to want of paid leave for them.

Mr Tarsem Bahia, Principal, A.S. College, Khanna, said several college teachers had expressed their desire to take up research work but when they were told that there was no provision for paid leave, they decided to give it up. Similarly, he said teachers also demanded leave for higher education like M.Phil and PhD. But following the UGC notification of 1999, the Punjab Government had dropped the provision for the purpose as higher degrees were no more required for the post, he said.

Professor K.B.S. Sodhi, President, Punjab and Chandigarh Teachers’ Union, said most of the teachers were not made aware by the authorities regarding allocation of funds for doing research. Therefore, he said the teachers did not make use of the funds which went unutilised every year.

Ms Harmeet Kaur, Principal, Ramgarhia Girls’ College, Millerganj, said the Punjab Government had made no provision to pay the salary of the substitute teacher who took up the temporary job after a teacher had gone for research or higher studies.

She said under such circumstances, the colleges had to pay themselves for the salary of the new teacher and, thus, they did not encourage research. She also said there was lack of awareness among teachers regarding the allocation of grants for doing research, due to which they simply concentrated on carrying on teaching work.



Setting an example for humanity
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 21
The parents of Nitika Sood, an 11-year-old school going girl, who had met with an accident and later died, recently have set an example by donating her eyes to an eye bank.

Dr Ramesh, Medical Superintendent, Eye Bank, Mansuran, in a press statement said today that Nitika, a resident of Mullanpur Mandi, was on her way to school when she was hit by a truck. She was brought to the hospital where she was declared dead.

Dr Ramesh said Nitika’s maternal uncle, Parshotam Lal, motivated the parents for donating their daughter’s eyes to the Eye Bank. Her maternal uncle called and asked if the eyes of the deceased were of any use to the Eye Bank, said Dr Ramesh.

“Nitika’s eyes were successfully transplanted to two children. One of her eyes was transplanted to a 10-year-old boy from SAS Nagar and another one was transplanted to a 12-year-old girl of the city. The names of both these children were registered with Eye bank, Mansuran,” Dr Ramesh said.



Personal enmity ruled out
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 21
Police investigations into yesterday’s robbery and killing at a petrol station have almost come to the conclusion that personal enmity does not seem to be the motive behind the murder of the two employees.

The police had yesterday said that personal enmity of some one with Ram Kishan, watchman at Jakson Filling Station, near the Jalandhar bypass roundabout, could be the reason behind the incident. Though the police had not ruled out the robbery motive, it said it had got vital clues about the watchman’s recent quarrel with some neighbours and suspected that money could have been stolen just to befool the police.

However, after questioning about 20 people, who were rounded up as suspects since yesterday morning, the police now almost believes that the robbery was the only motive. Sources disclosed that the rounded up persons included the persons with whom the watchman had some enmity in the recent past.

Sources said the questioning had revealed that the enmity was of a very minor nature and could not have possibly developed to the level of killing a person. A suspect confessed of having an argument with the watchman, but said he could never dream of killing him. Sources said the police had also not got any clue about his involvement.



Municipal Corporation seeks public
help for improving amenities
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 21
The Municipal Corporation has sought cooperation of the public and voluntary organisations in bringing about a qualitative improvement in the civic amenities and providing a responsive civic administration to the city population.

In a specially convened meeting with a group of prominent persons, actively involved in social work under the aegis of Ludhiana Citizens Development Society, the MC Additional Commissioner, Mr Raminder Singh, focussed on the need to create awareness regarding environment, cleanliness, sanitation and tree plantation and make the civic governance responsive and transparent. Mr Singh did admit in the meeting that people were generally sore over lack of response from MC and the gigantic civic problems like choked sewers, lack of sanitation, poor conditions of roads, neglected parks, stray cattle and encroachments.

It was decided in the meeting that the MC would immediately provide dustbins in Rose Garden and Rakh Bagh and sufficient number of signboards will be provided in order to involve the members of public to keep these places clean. Further, the MC would make provisions for separate sheds in Rakh Bagh and Rose Garden for ‘datun chewers’, where taps and dustbins will also be available and the morning walkers would be asked not to chew datun during walks. Sufficient number of toilet blocks will also be provided for the convenience of the public.

In a bid to bridge the communication gap between the civic body and the people, the MC would provide the members of the society, details of various ongoing projects, information on committees for park management, sanitation, preventive steps against diseases as well as names and contact numbers of contractors, entrusted with the work of garbage collection and maintenance of street lights.

According to Mr Raminder Singh, the MC officials would closely coordinate with the members of Ludhiana Citizens Development Society to make the city a better place to live in. The joint meeting of the society members and the MC officials would be held every fortnight in which tasks would be discussed and targets fixed for the next fortnight, he added.



12 hurt as truck, tempo collide
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, August 21
A tempo and a truck collided near Tibba village, 3 km from here today, injuring 12 persons. The condition of two of them was reported to be serious.

According to sources, the tempo (HR-20-9417) was carrying 40 employees who were to participate in a rally at Chandigarh. When it reached the Ludhiana-Neelon bypass, a truck (PB-130-C-1147) coming from Sahnewal side collided with it. The truck dragged the tempo to a distance of nearly 20 feet, viewers said. Ram Murti from Fazilka and Parkash from Arniwala, fell between the two vehicles and were badly injured. Ten other occupants of the tempo also sustained injuries.



Fed up with a fat power bill, try kundi connection

Ludhiana, August 21
Want free power without paying hefty bills standing in a long queue? Welcome to a slum on the PUDA land adjacent to the HIG/MIG colony at Focal Point. Here, power is free.

At night , the slum appears to be a dark patch from a distance. But as you approach it, you notice streaks of artificial light emanating from every jhuggi. Television sets and fans and even coolers are on.

Most of the male population, after a day’s hard work, is drunk and having a nice time.

In order to get a connection, you will have to look around for any of the four persons who are currently drawing power from the main supply lines and distributing it further in return for Rs 50 a month. Initial expenses on wires etc are extra. Very fine, indeed. Pay Rs 50 a month and get rid of the hassle of waiting for your turn to deposit bills and all that. With about 400 jhuggis in the slum, these men are making easy dough.

There is a complication though. Be ready for a bit of high adventure and drama when officials of the Electricity Department arrive on the scene and yank out the connections and snap the wires from the main supply lines. Nothing to worry about much, however, because as soon as the ‘sarkar’ is gone, the ‘kundis’ are again on.

Inquiries reveal that sometime ago, the job of fixing the ‘kundis’ rested with a person, who claimed to have a rapport with the men from the Electricity Department. He used to collect Rs 40 every month from every jhuggi on the plea that he had to forward the same to the ‘sarkari’ men. He carried on with the task for a couple of years quite successfully. His reign came to an end when the department recently launched an anti-power-theft drive and the ‘kundis’ were removed.

But thanks to these enterprising migrants, power supply was restored to these jhuggis a couple of days later. Kundis were back in place. Now, there were two kundis on the pole opposite house number HL 112 and another couple of kundis on the road to Sacred Heart Convent School, which were enough to cater to 400 households.

The number of these kundis might rise further if not checked immediately because any smart migrant might put a kundi of his own and start a business of sorts in emulation of his fellow migrants. Residents of HL-112 had warned these migrants against putting kundis and also threatened them with police action a number of times, but they remained as adamant and stubborn as ever.

Further inquiries revealed that the large-scale theft of power was a well-organised racket with share of the booty going to all concerned. The councillor of the area also reportedly enjoyed a good rapport with various PSEB officials.

Some residents of the jhuggis said they were in favour of paying to the government if they were given connections on a temporary or permanent basis.

There are nearly 40 slums in the city most of which sustain on stolen power. The Department of Electricity loses crores on this count. Raids are conducted from time to time to remove these illegal kundis. But things are back to square one a couple of days later.



Sikh morcha flays Badal’s rating
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 21
Shri Hemkunt Sikh Morcha, a non-political Sikh organisation, has flayed the survey by a news magazine, which has rated Mr Parkash Singh Badal as the number one Chief Minister Panjab ever had.

In a strongly-worded statement issued here yesterday, Mr G.S.Middha, the morcha general secretary, said that the survey was a motivated one and aimed at misleading the masses in view of the forthcoming elections to the state Vidhan Sabha.

He said the morcha would have appreciated the survey, had it been published after the elections were over. But in its present form, the purpose of the survey was obviously to influence the voters, particularly the Sikhs.

Mr Middha further said that if the survey had been on ‘Who has been the most successful Chief Minister in ‘luring’ Sikh votes?’, then Mr Parkash Singh Badal surely deserved the top rating. But as far as the rating on account of good administration was concerned, the late Partap Singh Kairon still remained unsurpassable because he never allowed any kind of communalism to raise its head during his tenure. It was only the administrative capability of the late chief minister which helped him keep the giant Panjab intact, he added.

Mr Middha further said that the morcha appreciated and supported Milkha Singh’s decision to turn down the Arjuna Award as he had been clubbed with sports persons of much lesser achievement and calibre.



A melting pot of different cultures
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, August 21
Ludhiana is fast becoming a melting pot of different cultures. People from UP, Bihar and Rajasthan are the most visible non-Punjabis in the city, be it agriculture, craftsmanship or working as labour force in industrial houses ,or plying of rickshaws, their presence and contribution is hard to miss.

People from UP and Bihar are the backbone of the industry and agriculture. They have created a niche for themselves in these two fields. ‘‘We cannot conceive farming without them,’’ said two farmers, who regularly employ more than 200 labourers from these two states.

It is not only agriculture but employment opportunities in the different industrial units that beckon these people from far-flung areas of Eastern, Western UP and Bihar. These people migrate to the city tired of continuous drought and unemployment in home states. Their life is full of hardships here, but at least they get two meals to eat whereas they had to go to sleep on empty stomach back home.

In fact, craftsmanship comes naturally to the people from Rajasthan. These people can be seen living in shanties on the Ferozepore Road and other important roads. They make beautiful statues of gods, goddesses with plaster of Paris and paint them with luminous colours. Some of them are employed to make marble and Jodhpur stone ‘filigree jaalies’ for terraces and provide aesthetic buildings to the city dwellers.

The artists from Saharanpur do exquisite carving. Beautifully carved woodwork pieces are churned out with amazing ease. At least, it appears so to a casual observer. ‘‘But the truth is that behind each item of woodwork goes hard learning and painstaking practice. Only an expert craftsman can design a piece as flawlessly as they can. And we make it a point to train the boys thoroughly first and then employ them to work for we want our clients to be satisfied with our work,’’ said Amjad Khan, who runs a popular furniture shop.

A relatively unknown but remarkably heart warming fact is that it is the UP Muslims who enliven our Dasehra with their skill and effort. They come a month before the function from different parts of UP and start preparing the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnath. Without these effigies, there would be no Dasehra.

The second generation migrants show an amazing affinity to the Punjabi culture. Unlike their parents who can only speak accented form of Punjabi, the younger generation is fluent in Punjabi. They are learning the Punjabi way of life fast. But it goes to their credit that they respect their culture and enjoy playing Holi to the hilt, fasting on Janmashtami and enjoying the festivities of Dasehra and Divali. Even when they are engaged in the tiring work and have to cook their meals, yet in the evenings they get together and sing folk songs accompanied by the ‘thap’ of the ‘dholak’.



SAD (A) against amnesty to guilty cops
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 21
The controversy generated by the statement of the Union Home Minister, Mr L. K. Advani, about granting amnesty to the cops accused of human rights violation, refuses to die down with the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amristar) strongly opposing any such move.

Addressing a press conference here today, a senior leader of the party Mr Charan Singh Lohara, and the youth leader, Mr Balwinder Singh Bains, alleged that Mr Advani’s statement only proved one fact that which ever government was at the Centre, it had pursued the policy of victimising the Sikhs.

Whether it was the Operation Bluestar or the 1984 Delhi riots, everything was done to hurt the Sikh psyche.

The leaders claimed that they were being made to think that the Sikhs would not get justice no matter whosoever comes to power. “For the last 20 years, the Sikhs have only witnessed massacres and genocide and there seems to be no sense of regret among the rulers”, Mr Lohrara remarked.

The Akali leaders warned that in case the government went ahead with its policy of granting amnesty to the guilty cops, it will further hurt the psyche of Sikhs.

They alleged that these cops had committed grave excesses on the people under various draconian laws and eliminated hundreds of innocent people and their families, for which they should be punished.

The Sikh leaders said the Home Minister should also think of those innocent youth who are languishing in various jails without any trial for last so many years. Why should not be such amnesty for these youth?, they asked.



Waiting for Godot at rly enquiry counter
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana August 21
Thousands of railway passengers, including daily commuters, face problems regularly at the Ludhiana Railway Station thanks to an indifferent attitude and callousness of the railway officials. The commuters feel it is almost impossible to get any information about the timing, arrival, departure or delay of the trains from the railway enquiry office.

One can witness hundreds of railway passengers standing at the railway enquiry office especially before lunch time, when most of the trains leave and reach here, but most of them have to leave the counter without getting any information. Once one enters the office, though a ‘No entry’ sign is marked at its door, one can see that there is no person to attend phone number 131, meant for railway enquiry and the second phone is out of order.

When the Ludhiana Tribune team visited the railway station there was no person to attend a number of persons waiting at two enquiry windows, where the passengers, especially the illiterate migrant labourers, were waiting outside. The single fellow at the enquiry office was busy with the railways’ hotline and the computer network to watch the current position of the running trains.

The second person, who had been missing for past half-an-hour, appeared when his colleague informed him on phone about the visit of press persons. These two told the team that only two persons were manning two public information systems, two phones, railway hotline and computer network, though one computer and one phone were out of order for the past many months.

Mr Depak Kumar, a factory employee, who had been trying to get information about the trains going from Ludhiana to Surat, failed to get information on phone. He said,‘‘No one picked up the phone at the enquiry counter despite number of attempts. Now I will have to visit the railway station myself and waste more than two hours to get that simple information.’’ He was not alone in this case. The railway employees agreed that if the railway enquiry system worked properly, thousands of passengers would be saved from spending more than Rs 50,000 daily on transport and wastage of their time. But they could not help it, as the railway authorities were not ready to increase the staff and to provide adequate infrastructure.

The insiders said in big cities such as Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai, hundreds of persons had been appointed to attend the railway enquires, besides the hundreds of parallel lines. However, only two persons were assigned the duty of providing information to the public at Ludhiana Railway Station, where hundreds of trains passed daily for different destinations.

In fact, the passengers from as far as Jalandhar, Khanna and other towns made enquires from the local office but without any result. The officials said after the introduction of 95-dialing, the phones remained ringing continuously for 24 hours. However, there was no one to attend the calls. Interestingly, no person had been appointed at the enquiry counter at the railway reservation centre reportedly for past two and half years.

The passengers alleged that the station supervisor and Area Traffic Manager had failed to take any action despite number of complaints registered in this regard. When contacted both of them declined to make any comment, saying that they were not authorised to speak to the Press. Only the Public Relations Officer, who sits at Jalandhar, was authorised to say anything. However, Mr Rajesh Khare, PRO, when contacted, said,‘‘I am not aware about the problem.



Gaushala inaugurated at Focal Point
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 21
Mr Lajpat Rai, BJP MP, inaugurated a gaushala at LIG Colony in the Focal Point area here. With this the number of gaushalas in the city has risen to three.

In his address, Mr Lajpat Rai said that it was a step in the right direction as cows, abandoned by their owners, would find shelter and food at the new gaushala. He said cow was the most sacred animal and must be protected and served. He announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the gaushala and promised another grant of Rs 3 lakh next year.

Mr Sat Pal Gosain, who also addressed the gathering, announced a grant of Rs 21,000 from his discretionary fund and lauded the efforts of the Housing Board Welfare Society which had mooted the idea.

Mr Mohinder Pal Jain, chief patron, said that a cow shed, which can accommodate 21 cows, had been constructed at a cost of Rs 7 lakh and further expansion would be done in the near future.

Meanwhile, following the drive launched by gaushala activists to get hold of stray cows and take them to the gaushala, migrants, who used to let their cows wander around in the day, have made arrangements to keep secure their cows at home. This improved the situation as far as the problem of stray cows in the area was concerned.

Residents of Focal Point in general welcomed the opening of the gaushala.



PNB staff observe anti-scam day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 21
Members of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation observed anti-scam day here yesterday. Mr Naresh Gaur and Mr Ashok Awasthy, secretary and president of the federation, respectively, said that no effective remedial measures had been taken by the authorities in the light of the 1991-92 scam that had rocked the financial sector.

Mr Gaur said the recent development in the UTI concerning the US-64 scheme was an example of the devastating effect of the so-called economic reforms. In the banking industry the loot had been continuing for years together in the name of the NPA and one-time settlement. Only small defaulters were being targeted, leaving the big ones out of the purview.

He urged the government to expose the defaulter-bureaucrat-political leaders nexus and declare the default of bank loan as a criminal offence.



A massive PR exercise was started by the local police after the new SSP took charge. The first thing that the new police chief did was to instruct all cops to address complainants as Shriman ji. Media reports suggested a big overhaul of the police force in the days to come. Then came reports that cops had been told to furnish details of their property assets to ensure that they do not amass wealth beyond their known sources of income.

Police reforms have been attempted by higher police authorities from time to time in the past. But higher police officials admit in private that it is next to impossible to reform the cops below the rank of thanedar. The trouble lies in political interference in the day-to-day working of the police. Those police officials who enjoy patronage of ruling politicians give two hoots to their seniors’ reprimands. So things are not likely to change fast as sought to be done by the new police chief of Ludhiana.

New trends

Recently a local institute of fashion designing organised a theme based dance party on college premises. The theme of the party was ‘Hare Krishna Hare Rama’. This, according to the organisers, was done to remind young students who are fond of dancing, particularly to the western tunes, that they should also remember their own culture. So it was a unique experience to watch students dancing, with some wearing saffron attire and displaying the beads of rudraksh. It was a perfect blend of the past and the present with a fine performance by the Rhythmic group, directed by D.J. Pankaj Sharma.

Gender bias

The local police perhaps requires some time to get over the gender bias which seems to be embedded deep inside its psyche. The ‘Shreeman ji’ drive launched by the new SSP is an indication. Under the drive, the phone attendants in various police stations are required to address the person as Shreeman ji before telling his name and about the police station. But the new style has not been digested by feminists who argue that if the caller is a woman even then she is addressed as Shreeman ji. They argue that if the word ‘chairman’ could be changed into chairperson and was accepted internationally then why the local police could not evolve some method that would not annoy the feminists. A police official, however, defended the drive, saying that if the caller was a woman then the attendants immediately resorted to Shrimati Ji. But he had no answer when he was bombarded with a question that what if the woman was unmarried.

The elusive VC

The Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) perhaps finds it very difficult to face the media. That is why he remains elusive most of the time. He is seldom available over the phone and his PA replies very politely over the phone “Saab tan meeting vich ne” and then says,” Tusin apna number de davo te main call back karva devanga”. But much to the disappointment of the reporters, he never calls back. Even at home he is always said to have gone out of station.

The Tribune fan

This man is an avid reader of The Tribune and cannot miss the newspaper even if he is anywhere in the world. The new SSP of Jagraon, Balkar Singh, calls himself a “die-hard Tribune fan” and says he doesn’t enjoy his first cup of tea if he is not with this newspaper. Describing a tale of his fondness for the paper, he says that once he had gone to a remote village for two months in Rajasthan where he discovered that no other newspaper except a local daily was circulated. After talking to the agent he found that The Tribune could be supplied in a village only if its 12 copies were sold everyday. Succumbing to his desire to read it, he subscribed to all 12 copies himself. “And I used to get 12 ‘Tribunes’ everyday for two months,” he says.

Why helmet?

While driving on city roads one often notices scooterists putting on and off their helmets. As soon as two-wheeler drivers see a traffic cop, they wear helmet and as they are past him, they take it off. Helmet wearing has been made compulsory for the safety of the public, but many people seem to wear it out of compulsion lest they should be caught and challaned. The acrobatics of driving and simultaneously putting off and on the helmet can lead to imbalance and cause accidents. Meanwhile, young girls avoid wearing a helmet as it spoils their carefully crafted and beautifully designed hairstyle.

No time to study

In India, education holds little relevance for ministers or politicians. This is at least what a local minister seems to be believe. At a press conference of Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Minister for Technical Education, merits of new courses being introduced by Punjab Technical University were highlighted. The minister said that several IAS officials, police personnel and journalists were opting for technical courses. A reporter from an English daily asked the minister,‘‘Are any ministers or politicians also opting for these courses? The minister was startled for a while and then replied, ‘‘Mantrian da kum hai desh nu chalaana, padan vaste ohnan kol phursat nahin” (Ministers have to look after nation’s administration, they have no time to take up studies).

— Sentinel



3 booked under Copyright Act
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 21
Three brothers, Neeru Kumar, Gopal Singh and Deepu Kumar, were arrested by the police for exhibiting unauthorised films at Neeru Video Centre in Jhujhar Market, Gurdip Nagar. The police seized five TV sets, three VCRs and 10 video cassettes from the centre and booked all of them under Sections 51, 52 and 68-A of the Copyright Act, 1957.

Gambling cases: Ashwani Kumar, a resident of Blancho Mohalla, was arrested by the police when he was alluring people to invest their money in a number game. A case has been registered.



2 PSEB employees held on graft charge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 21
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau has claimed to have caught red-handed two employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) while accepting a graft of Rs 2,000 for not taking action against persons found indulging in power theft.

According to Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, SP (Vigilance), a team headed by Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill, DSP, caught two PSEB linemen, Avtar Singh and Jatinder Nath, while they were accepting a bribe from a decoy customer Hoshiar Singh. The linemen had allegedly demanded Rs 3,000 for the deal but later settled for Rs 2,000 after some bargain.


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