Thursday, September 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Students take charge for a day to entertain teachers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 5
Honouring of teachers, cultural programmes, seminars and debate contests marked the Teachers’ Day celebrations in various schools and colleges here today.

In Bharatiya Vidya Mandir of Udham Singh Nagar here, over 10 schoolteachers were honoured. These teachers were Mr Sita Ram, Ms Shama Sharma, Ms Sangeeta Arora, Ms Shobhan Joshi, Ms Saroj Bala, Ms Sarvjeet Kaur, Ms Sunita Rani, Mr Sunil Arora, Ms Neena Sangar and Ms Santosh Mehra. Ms Upasana and Ms Sunita, both teachers, presented dance items. Ms Samriti, Ms Kamlesh Madaan, Ms Indu, Ms Sonia and Mr Baljeet Singh presented group songs in praise of teachers.

A cultural programme was organised by students, where they presented a group song ‘Vishva Guru Tav Archana Mein Aur Arpan Kya Karein’. Jasleen of Class XI spoke on ‘Expectations from a Teacher’. Palak and Monika presented quotations on the role of teachers. Mr M.R. Bhatia, Principal of the school, and Mr Ashok K. Setia, Director of the school, were also present on the occasion.

An inter-house debate contest on ‘Present Education System and Role of Teachers’ was organised in Gupta Model High School here. Meenakshi of Class IX and Manpreet Singh of Class VIII of Aryabhatta House were declared the best speakers. The team of Deepika of Class VIII and Shilpa of Class VI won the second prize. The third prize went to Gaganpreet Kaur of Class IX and Ramanpreet Kaur of Rohini House. Ms Raina Sood of the Sidhwan College of Education and Ms Amardeep Kaur of the Partap College of Education were the judges.

At a cultural programme on the occasion, students presented a choreographed item on the changing education scenario. A comedy skit based on the story of a government school was also presented, where, instead of taking classes, teachers were shown to be spending most of the class time in knitting, gossiping and sleeping.

A western group dance was presented, after which, the programme concluded with a ‘bhangra’ item. Ms Simmi Gupta, Principal of the school, thanked the students on behalf of the teachers.

In Guru Teg Bahadur Public School of Noorwala, students of Classes VIII and X took over the charge of the school for a day. They presented a cultural programme for teachers, following which, teachers were given gifts. Ms Manoj Khosla, Principal of the school, told students about the role of Dr Radhakrishnan as a teacher.

In the local Government College for Women, the students’ council organised a programme on the occasion. Jimmy, a first-year student of arts, recited a self-composed poem on the role of teachers. Shalini gave a solo dance performance on the song ‘Nacho Nacho’. Group dances were presented on the songs ‘Radha Kaise Na Jale’ and ‘Ishk Tera Tadpave’. Dr Harbans Singh, a renowned academician, was the chief guest on the occasion. He talked about qualities of a good teacher, work orientation, patience, regularity, honesty, sense of justice and competence in teachers. Dr Inderjeet Gill Vashisht, Principal of the college, thanked the chief guest for his words.

In the BCM College of Education, a seminar on ‘What Makes a Prominent Teacher’ was held. Mr Tara Singh Hundal, a former Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, recalled various anecdotes from his teaching days. Ms Amrita Gakhar of Kundan Vidya Mandir, Ms Kanchan Kohli of the Government College of Education at Jalandhar and Ms Gurmeet of the BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School of Shastri Nagar here also gave their views on the topic. Prof Sandeep Sahni was the convener of the programme. Dr S.K. Nanda, Principal of the host college, told teachers to follow the path of Dr Radhakrishnan.

In Ramgarhia Girls’ College, final-year students took over the charge of the college for a day. Ritu Sharma made herself the overall head for the day. Ms Kanwaljeet Kaur, Principal of Ramgarhia Girls’ Senior Secondary School, Prof Surinder Kaur and Prof Jasbir Kaur were honoured on the occasion. Ms Harmit Kaur, Principal of the college, teachers would shape the nation’s future.

Teachers’ Day was also celebrated in the Punjab College of Technical Education, where Mr Khushdeep Dharni, Assistant Professor, was declared the teacher of the year. The award carried a scroll and a cash prize. Mr Dharni is mechanical engineer and management postgraduate, who has written various articles on strategic management, operations management and economic development for national and international conferences. Dr K.N.S. Kang, Director of the institute, said teachers were the assets of an academic institution and such awards encouraged them to do even better.



‘Grievances day’ for teachers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 5
On a call of the All-India Federation of University Teachers’ Association (AIFUTA) and its endorsement by the Punjab Agricultural University Teachers’ Association (PAUTA), teachers of the PAU observed Teachers’ Day as “grievances day” to protest against government’s “failure” to solve problems of teachers. In a joint statement issued here today, Dr Hari Singh Brar, PAUTA President, and Dr Madan Lal Gupta, PAUTA Secretary, said the Centre was intentionally reverting from the settlement reached with teachers by Prof Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, after a nationwide strike of teachers three years ago.

Dr Brar and Dr Gupta said PAUTA would intensify its stir if its demands were not met. The demands include the implementation of the decision on the enhancement of the age of superannuation from 60 to 62, super-selection scale for senior professors, implementation of the career advancement scheme from January 1, 1996, instead of July 27,1998, placement of library and sports teachers at Rs 14,940 starting salary, removal of dual scales in the cadre of readers-associate professors and setting up of a committee for the removal of anomalies in the revised pay scales of university teachers.

Teachers did not participate in any Teachers’ Day celebration here today.



Cops beat up villagers on thikari phera
Our Correspondent

Ladian Khurd (Ludhiana), September 5
In an incident of utter high-handedness by the police, four residents of Pak Dil Colony in Ladian Khurd village, about 20 km from here, were mercilessly beaten up by two policemen last night when they were performing thikari phera. The cops were allegedly drunk and were out of their senses when they bashed up the residents who were patrolling the area.

According to one of the victims, Buta Masih at around 12.30 a.m., two policemen came in a truck. The moment they stepped down, they started abusing four of us. They levelled false allegation, saying that the residents of the village did not perform thikari pehra and often slept instead of doing the job seriously. They asked Buta Masih and Raja Ram to run and then hit them on arms and legs with a long stick from the back.

When a Ludhiana Tribune team visited the house of Raja Ram, whose condition was serious, he could not talk. He was in such a shock that he did not know that what he was saying. Since last night, he could not move properly and had developed swelling on various parts of his body. He was brought to his home by some villagers from the spot.

The policemen stopped beating the residents only after the other two victims — Prem Singh and Sucha Singh — retaliated and raised an alarm. After this they left the place.

Many residents alleged that this was not the only incident when the policemen had beaten the residents performing thikari phera. The policemen on night-patrolling often beat the people of the village on thikari phera.

Villagers said the area police post in charge ASI Surjit Singh felt sorry for the incident and invited the villagers for a compromise with the cops. But the villagers reportedly refused to go there.



Police role under question

Ludhiana, September 5
The role of police in a property dispute has come under question after going through various documents and visiting the site.

It was more than 30 years ago when Mr Ravi Sharma’s father got a shop on rent in Lallu Mal Street. After his death in 1993, Mr Sharma started looking after the business. As mutual trust prevailed, the shop owners allowed Mr. Sharma to replace the old-fashioned roof with a concrete one in lieu of some money. But later, they started asking for vacating the shop and stopped accepting the rent as well. That was the beginning of the dispute.

Mr Ravi Sharma filed a suit for permanent injunction in a city court in June 1997 which was decided in December last year in his favour. The court in its orders observed, “This is not the stage to set the respondents at liberty to dispossess the applicant forcibly from the property in dispute. Applicant has prima facie case and balance of convenience in his favour. Applicant, who is running business over the property in dispute, in case is dispossessed forcibly and illegally by respondents, he will suffer irreparable loss. In these circumstances application filed by applicant is allowed restraining the respondents from interfering in possession of the applicant and from dispossessing him forcibly from the shop in dispute till disposal of the suit.”

But while this litigation was on, the story took a new turn on August 13, 1998. Someone told Mr Sharma that a tunnel was being dug up under the foundations of his shop from the rear of the shop.

According to the “Itlahnama” recorded at the police station of Division Number 4 at 5 pm on that day by Mr Sharma, the shop owners had started digging under the foundations of his shop from the plot at the back of the shop which was also the property of the shop owners. Mr. Sukhwinder Singh, ASI, was sent to investigate the matter.

According to the report submitted by the ASI, when he reached the site, a labourer was busy with spade and an iron rod digging out earth from under the shop. A tunnel of sorts which measured seven feet by two feet had been dug up. Upon questioning, the labourer told the ASI that he had been employed on a daily wage of Rs. 80 by Pinki babu, one of the owners, and had been asked to dig up such kind of a ditch as would cause the building to collapse. The building is an old one and at a number of places large chunks of brickwork are missing. During investigations, it was also found that a court case regarding the dispute was already on and the next hearing was slated for September 3, 1998.

The above-mentioned ditch appears to have been dug up with the intention of damaging the building. Pinki did not come forward with any explanation in spite of having been asked to do so. The matter seemed to be of a civil nature, added the ASI in his report.

But following some new developments in the story, Mr Ravi Sharma had to approach the DIG, Ludhiana Range, again with an application on July 16 stating that when he was away to Kedar Nath and Badri Nath recently, the owners taking advantage of the rainy season , threw debris on the roof. Holes had also been made along the wall at the back of the shop to facilitate the entry of rain water into the shop . As a result of seepage, Mr Sharma had to suspend his business as most of the garments kept on the shelves along the wall had been damaged.

Following his initial complaint, SHO, division No. 4 and the DSP concerned had visited the spot separately in July last and issued verbal instructions to remove the debris and repair the holes responsible for water-seepage into the shop. But nothing has been done so far in this connection. The debris continues to lie on the shop and it seeps when it rains.

The DSP concerned, who has been transferred in the meantime, had assured Mr Sharma that the case file had been referred to DA, Legal, for an opinion. The report seems to have gone into the freezer.

Mr Sharma feels that he can get justice if he approaches the SSP , but he is reluctant to do so in view of the past experiences. The lower officers get angry when they are bypassed and as such become more arrogant and abusive. He is also apprehensive about the safety of his life . He wants an early removal of debris from the top of his shop and plugging of holes so that he can start his business again without any fear of further loss.


Punjab seeks funds for paddy purchase
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 5
The Punjab Government has sought a cash credit limit (CCL) of Rs 6,100 crore from Reserve Bank of India to make the purchase of paddy by official agencies of the state government.

According to highly placed sources in the state government, the sanction of RBI is awaited eagerly. The state government has been pressing upon RBI to grant the sanction of the required funds at the earliest so that the procurement of paddy was not hampered.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Punjab Government has also urged upon the Central Government to exempt the state government from paying interest on the funds. The state government has taken a plea with the Central Government that the procurement of paddy and wheat is done by the state procuring agencies on behalf of the union government and the state should not be subjected to the levy of interest.

It is learnt that the interest on the loans from the banks for the purchase of wheat and paddy is paid by the Union Government, but the state government first pays the interest to the banks and the same is reimbursed to the state government later.

The state government has pleaded with the Central Government that it cannot afford a huge amount of interest which may run into about Rs 1,800 crore this year because of the delay in the movement of stocks of wheat and paddy from the state to other states.

The state government has informed the Centre that earlier the movement of procured stocks used to take place within three months of the purchase whereas now this period has extended upto 15 months as a result of which the interest amount is rising manifold.

Meanwhile, inquiries reveal that wheat and paddy stocks more than two years old are still lying in the godowns of Punjab. The wheat stocks procured during 2000-2001 which are to the order of 1 crore tonne are lying unutilised. Besides, 30 lakh to 40 lakh tonnes of wheat are also lying in the godowns.

Although the Central Government has not yet announced the minimum support price of paddy, yet the crop has started pouring in the mandis of border districts of Amritsar and Ferozepore. 


Timely help by anonymous person
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, September 5
The good samaritan has done it again. Paramjit Kaur (27), is alive and recovering well after a heart surgery which she could not financially afford. A Jalandhar-based resident who has remained mysteriously unknown has once again came forward to foot her bill of Rs 40,000. The same person had earlier paid for the double heart valve replacement of Amar Singh last month without his identity being revealed.

Life became miserable for Paramjit Kaur after she came to know that three valves of her heart had developed severe faults and she needed an immediate triple valve replacement — a risky and complicated surgery, beside being unaffordable for her.

The situation became more complex when the leading medical research institutes and heart care centers of Punjab refused to perform the surgery on her as it was a rare and difficult procedure.

A resident of Moga, Paramjit Kaur, approached Dr V.M.Kohli, Chief Cardiac Surgeon, Hero DMC Heart Institute for consultation. She was lucky enough to get a new lease of life as the rare surgery was successfully conducted by Dr V.M.Kohli and his team. Not only this, when she was falling short of Rs 40,000, the good samaritan donated the money for her surgery.

Paramjit Kaur had been suffering from the heart problem from the last ten years and had been getting treatment from various hospitals. But all the hospitals refused to operate upon her as such a surgery was not only difficult but the patients had little chance to survive. Three months ago, her problem became acute and she developed swelling on the feet, her abdomen was filled with fluid, neck veins had become prominent, pulse was high and she complained of breathlessness.

Dr Kohli said that she was told about the high risk factors in the triple valve replacement as she had mitral stenosis, aortic valve stenosis, tricuspid stenosis and severe pulmonary hypertension.

On August 21, her triple valve replacement was successfully conducted by the doctors of Hero DMC Heart Institute. The surgery lasted eight hours. After keeping her under observation of two weeks, doctors have told her that she can lead a normal life.

Today while getting discharged from the hospital, after the successful replacement, Paramjit’s face was beaming with the hope of returning back to normal life. For her it was simply a dream come true as she knew that she had survived the impossible.



‘Astrology-based courses have a future’
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, September 5
A large number of Indians believe in ‘jyotish vigyan’. At sometime or the other in a lifetime, almost everyone consults an astrologer for some reason or the other. The worries may be regarding studies, business, marriage or many other reasons. In spite of astrology being an integral part of our society, there are some who oppose the teaching of astrology at the university level.

The Ministry of Human Resource and Development wanted to introduce an astrology-based subject called ‘jyotir vigyan’ at undergraduate, postgraduate and research levels in various universities of the country. As many as 35 universities had written to the University Grants Commission (UGC) for introducing this course on these campuses by April, 2000, but a writ petition by some scientists had stalled the move. Scientist believed that the course would be a waste of time, money and efforts of the youth.

The Supreme Court had asked the MoHRD and the UGC not to allow universities to introduce the course till further notice. The petitioners believed that it would be irrational and illogical to teach a subject as a science that was not a proven science. However, not everyone believes that way.

The Principal of the local Government College for Women, Ms Inderjeet Gill Vashist, favoured the introduction of astrology-based courses in universities. She said, “Jyotish is one of ancient Indian knowledge systems that should be mass propagated. It is a good idea to introduce the subject at the university level, but it should not be made compulsory for every student. The admission to the course should though entrance tests for judging the interest and aptitude of students.”

A professional, Mr Santokh Singh, says that it is useless to introduce this subject at the university level. He says that the world should rather move ahead and look forward to technological development in the country than explore a subject that could be of no use to society. He says that this is an attempt of the BJP government to saffronise education. “In this hour of recession, the government should introduce vocational courses to help youngsters be productive and work for the development of the country,” he says.

An astrologer, Mr Suresh Atray, also favours the scheme. He says, “Those who object to the scheme should be objective. Astrology is like any other science and no one is being forced to take up the courses. However, no science can predict the future. The Meteorological Department of India had predicted a few days ago that it would rain on August 15 at Red Fort, but it did not happen that way. Should the government close this department for not giving accurate results. Some predictions are based on probability and the event may or may not happen in future,” he says.

He says that an astrologer is like any other professional who should be registered with a national-level professionals body that has a code of conduct.

An undergraduate student, Pooja Aggarwal supports the decision of the government to introduce ‘jyotir vigyan’ in many universities. She says that this a dying knowledge here in this cyber age and needs to be revived. “Introduction of this course at the undergraduate, postgraduate and research levels will help in saving this knowledge and no one will be able to monopolise it,” she says.

A postgraduate student, Manpreet Bawa, also favours the introduction of the subject in universities. She says that Indians accept anything only after the West does it. “Jyotir vigyan should be introduced by universities and incentives should be given to those who want to pursue research in the field,” she says.



Kill us or give us jobs, daily wagers plead
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, September 5
John Milton, the famous English poet, had said that those who stand and wait also serve God. But thousands of daily wagers standing day after day at different points of the city waiting for someone to employ them do not seem to be serving either God, or their families. Their wait starts from 8.30 in the morning and ends at 5.30 in the evening. Only a few lucky ones get employment and the rest of them wait in the hostile conditions.

Standing by the roadside inhaling the noxious fumes of vehicular traffic, tolerating the hot and humid weather and incessant rain, they bear it for they have to keep the home fires burning. There are no taps around, no toilet facilities; yet they have to bear the stressful conditions. They take up eating tobacco, 'zarda' and other drugs to deaden the pain. Bhiku said: “Empty mind is devil’s workshop. It is hard to stand idle for days. So we don’t give all the money to our families. We do eat cheap drugs. Tell me who can tolerate the life of drudgery, penury, hunger, poverty for years? Why doesn’t the government do anything for us? Why don’t they make some ‘mandis’ for us and regulate hiring procedure so that everyone gets some work in rotation. We also do not get any jobs in our home state”.

Due to a slump in the market for the last few years, and economic recession, the construction work has also come to a standstill. Even farmers are under great financial stress. They used to employ a lot of migratory labour from UP and Bihar. But due to mechanisation like using of ‘combine machines’ the labour is rendered redundant. The sad part is that the migratory labour from the poor states of UP and Bihar still keeps coming in the hope of finding employment.

At different places in the city like Ferozepore Road, Ghumar Mandi, Gill Chowk, Samrala Road, Haibowal, Dugri and Model Town, scores of people take their positions on the roadside and wait for the people to hire them. Most of them are unskilled workers hailing from UP and Bihar. But surprisingly more and more Punjabi labourers are joining the long waiting queues of unemployed people. Their ages vary from early twenties to late fifties. All are waiting for people who will take work from them and give them wages that will enable them to feed their starving families.

Kehar Singh said: “I was a ‘rajmistri’ working with a contractor. He paid me Rs 150 per day for a few days. Then he made periodical payments. Finally what I got were excuses and no money. So I quit. Now I stand and wait and inspite of being a skilled worker, I do not get work for many days. We have heard that the government has started recruiting semi-skilled labour, but no one knows where to get registration done. How will we feed our families? Don’t talk of education for us, for we have no money to educate our children. Their future will be perhaps bleaker than ours. Why doesn’t the government put us in a front of firing squad and wipe us out? Both the government’s and our problems will be solved.”

When this correspondent stopped the car to talk to them, at least 50 expectant people surrounded the car hopeful that one of them would get lucky and earn some money. All of them had a sad tale to tell.

Ramkishore, a native of Barabanki, UP, who came with starry dreams of earning enough to live comfortably, is totally disillusioned. He says, “My friend had persuaded me to leave my town assuring me of a good job in Ludhiana. Back home I was working as a daily wager and I was getting Rs 40. Our family had two square meals. We grew our own vegetables. We did not have to pay any house rent. But the lure of earning double the amount of wages brought me here. Out of a month we get jobs just for ten days. My friend could not bear hunger and the anguish of the family and committed suicide with his entire family. I think that’s the only solution. So I will kill my family too .”

Is that the only solution for these luckless labourers — to die unsung and fade away into oblivion?


Man ‘jumps’ into Budha Nullah, still untraced
Our Correspondent

A search-cum-rescue operation in progress on Wednesday to locate a man who jumped into Budha Nullah near Shiv Puri, Ludhiana, on Tuesday. — Photo Inderjit Verma 

Ludhiana, September 5
A man named Nirmal Singh, who is said to have jumped into Budha Nullah at Shiv Puri in old city past evening, has still not been found.

According to eyewitnesses, the man, in an inebriated condition, removed his clothes before jumping into the nullah. They said he had even resisted the efforts of some bystanders who had tried to stop him from jumping.

Residents of the area immediately intimated the police and the Fire Department, who rushed there to launch a search operation. Personnel of the sewerage and water supply wing of the Municipal Corporation also joined the rescue work. Officials at the Salem Tabri police station said the man had not been found so far. Rescuers are perplexed because the spot where the man fell is hardly four-foot-and-a-half deep and the water, too, flows gently there. The possibility that the man might have got out of the nullah a little further from the spot has not been ruled out.

The family of Nirmal, a mason, also rushed to the spot and identified the clothes to be the same that Nirmal had been wearing when he had left the house in the morning. They said he usually returned in the evening and the family had got worried when he had not returned yesterday. Late in the night, someone told the family that a man had jumped into the nullah. The police is investigating the matter.



BJP not to change constituencies of candidates
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 5
The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is understood to have made it clear to all sitting legislators, including the ministers, that they will have to contest from the same constituencies they have been currently representing. The decision is said to have been prompted by the reports that some senior ministers of the party were inclined to switch over to safer constituencies.

In the wake of substantial slide down in the BJP support base in the urban areas and considerable disillusionment against the sitting MLAs.

In Ludhiana, reports were gaining ground that Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, was keen to contest from the Ludhiana West assembly segment. Although the seat is currently represented by Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, the BJP is insisting that the seat should be left to it. Some Akali candidates have also staked claim for this seat.

Mr Tandon currently represents Rajpura from where he won in 1997 assembly elections. Mr Tandon had managed the victory with a thin margin of less than a 1,000 votes. This was when Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who holds considerable clout in the area, was with the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), with whom the BJP had an alliance.

Now Mr Tohra is no longer with the SAD (B) and obviously, Mr Tandon’s position has become more precarious. More so, when there is also an anti-incumbency factor, which may work in these elections.

The BJP sources said, senior party leader and Rajya Sabha member, Lala Lajpat Rai, had also cautioned Mr Tandon about this situation, which is definitely going to arise in these elections. He reportedly told Mr Tandon that it may be very difficult for him to win the election from Rajpura this time, particularly in the face of opposition from Mr Tohra.

But the BJP leader is reported to have shelved the idea of fielding Mr Tandon from Ludhiana West, as it may amount to conceding weakness at Rajpura.

The leadership is learnt to have observed that in case Mr Tandon is shifted to Ludhiana West, it may convey wrong signal to the party rank and file which could feel demoralised.

While it is yet to be decided whether the SAD(B) will leave this seat for the BJP or not, aspirants from both the parties have started staking the claim. The two traditional rivals within the SAD(B), the acting district president, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, and the party vice-president, Mr Amarjeet Singh Bhatia, are also eyeing this constituency. On the other hand, the BJP is reportedly considering the name of Chaudhary Sat Prakash, a senior party leader and an RSS veteran, who has also served as the city Mayor. Prof Rajinder Bhandari is also one of the probables for this constituency.



SAD flays Panthic Morcha, Cong
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 5
A senior SAD functionary and acting president of the district Akali Jatha (Urban), Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, observed that the Panthic Morcha and the Congress were two sides of the same coin.

Addressing a party workers’ meeting at a gurdwara in Naya Mohalla last evening, he said the Opposition parties were resorting to a campaign of false propaganda and disinformation in desperation against the overall development of the state under the SAD-BJP government. “Those who have formed the Panthic Morcha were a bunch of politicians rejected by the masses and now they were seeking support and patronage of the Congress to improve their prospects in the coming assembly elections”.

Mr Makkar announced the formation of the SAD unit in Ward No 50 with Mr Manmohan Singh Sibbal as its president. Mr Sibbal was authorised to nominate the working committee and other office-bearers of the unit.

Meanwhile, the All-India Sikh Students Federation chief, Mr Tejinder Singh Sandhu, has announced that the 57th anniversary of the AISSF would be celebrated here. Addressing a meeting, he said a religious function would be organised on the occasion which would be attended, among others, by prominent religious and political personalities, including several Cabinet ministers.

He said the dates for the function would be announced within the next few days.



BSNL promises better facilities to subscribers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 5
The BSNL has announced the holding of a phone adalat and khula darbar every two months to provide better facilities to the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) subscribers. Besides officials will remain in their offices from 10 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 5 p.m. everyday to listen to the public complaints, said Mr V.S. Srivastava, General Manager, Telecom, at a meeting with mediapersons here today.

While giving the details, he said the department was trying hard to sort out the public grievances in every possible manner. Under the wireless in local loop (WiLL) scheme, the department will install 3,000 new connections till October 2001. About 2,000 connections will be under Transport Nagar Exchange and 1,000 connections will be given under Mata Rani Exchange. Out of 3,000, 2,250 will be the fixed connections and 750 will be the mobile connections. The mobiles will be installed within 25 km area. The outgoing call will be charged at Rs 1.20 for every three minutes and there will be no charge on the incoming call. The monthly rent will be Rs 400, the GM, added.

Mr Srivastava said 10,000 new mobile connections will be provided in the next financial year. Out of these 8,000 connections will be provided to Ludhiana subscribers and 2,000 for Khanna subscribers. By the end of this month, the telephone billing will be done online, he added.

Mr Srivastava said due to technical problems the department was not providing BSNL Internet connections to subscribers. Only 102 BSNL Internet connections were functional in the city.

By November, 2,001, 7000 new telephones will be installed in Aggar Nagar and Dugri area. He said, “the installation of new connections was delayed due to non-electricity connections”, said Mr Srivastava.

The department will also open Internet dhabas soon which will provide every facility to the subscribers at 11 block headquarters in the district, Mr Srivastava said.



Protest against power tariff hike
Tribune News Service

Chhapar (Ludhiana), September 5
The urban development cell of the Indian Youth Congress yesterday organised a protest march against the Akali-BJP government and the Punjab State Electricity Board. Protesters, led by national chairman Pawan Dewan, raised slogans against the government.

The protest march, which started from the District Congress Committee office, ended at Clock Tower where the protesters burnt the effigy of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Dewan said that undeclared power cuts were causing great harassment to students who were preparing for supplementary examinations. He disclosed that due to frequent power cuts several industrial units had closed. Mr Dewan said that during the Akali government electricity tariff had increased manifold in comparison to the previous Congress government.

He pointed out the domestic electricity tariff during the Congress government was Rs 1.27 for 150 units whereas during the Akali government Rs 1.50 were charged for 100 units. Similarly the commercial tariff was Rs 2.50 per unit during the Congress government which is now Rs 3.50 and the tariff for small power industrial unit for 20 KW was Rs 1.76 which presently is Rs 2.50.

While expressing anguish over the slaughter of 32 cows in the Karkass utilisation government plant at Dadyal village in Hoshiarpur district, Mr Dewan said that now the BJP, which always incited public feelings for protection of cow, was exposed as it was alliance partners in the state government responsible for this act. He demanded a CBI probe into the incident.


PFA rakes up bovine trade issue
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 5
The local chapter of the PFA (People For Animals) has again taken up the issue of the bovine trade being carried out at Kila Raipur with the Deputy Commissioner urging him to stop the practice.

In a letter to the Deputy Commissioner, under the sub-head, “export of cattle/cows from the district”, the general secretary of the PFA has stated that it had come to the PFA's notice that cows were being collected at Kila Raipur and it was apprehended that these would be transported out of the state, most probably to West Bengal or some other state near to it.

The letter stated further that as per Section 4-B of the prohibition of Cow slaughter Act, 1955, a declaration to the effect that the cows or its progeny, which are being exported, will not be slaughtered. There were widespread media reports that these cattle were being sent for slaughtering to Bangladesh and West Bengal. It requested the Deputy Commissioner to seek the necessary verifications about the fate of animals sent earlier.

Regarding violations of law as far as cruelty to animals were concerned, the PFA brought to the notice of the deputy Commissioner that a train was intercepted at Faridabad on December 10 last year and an FIR was lodged in this respect. The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Faridabad, found the accused guilty of having committed offences under Section 12 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Similarly, a train was intercepted at Ghaziabad on December 29 last year.



Man shot dead, Rs 34,000 looted
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh (Ludhiana), September 5
An employee of Guru Nanak Kanya Mahavidyalaya was shot dead by three unidentified assailants here this afternoon. The victim, identified as Raj Kumar, was returning from the State Bank of Patiala after withdrawing Rs 34,000.

The assailants decamped with the money. According to sources, Raj Kumar was shot in the neck after he resisted the attempt of the looters.

Bhupinder Kaur, clerk of the same college, had a miraculous escape as she was about 20 yards behind Raj Kumar when this incident took place.


Two travel agents booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 5
The local police has registered a case against two travel agents under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Harminder Singh of Pattil Gill Sudhar. According to the complaint filed by him, he being unemployed wanted to go abroad.

He came in contact with Harjeet Singh of Bardeka and Charanjit Singh of Kothe Sherjang. Promising to turn his dream into reality, they demanded Rs 40,000 from him. He paid this amount in two instalments in January, 1998, and also handed over his passport to them. However, they have failed to honour their commitment even after three years.


Still no derivatives trading in LSE
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 5
The Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE) has failed to start trading in derivatives, which had been started on July 2 after the ban on badla system by the Securities and Exchange Board of India ( SEBI ). The management has failed to convince the BSE or NSE to provide service through its subsidiary LSE Securities Limited at a concessional rate. On the other hand, its members are not ready to contribute the necessary fees of Rs 1.25 crore to start derivatives trading at the NSE and BSE.

Insiders say that brokers are expecting that sooner or later the management would itself spend that amount. However, according to the management, the brokers should contribute up to Rs 7.5 lakh to buy the tickets to conduct business in derivatives since the profits of the LSE had dipped to minimum in recent years. A cut in expenditures has been already announced to save at least Rs 40 lakh per annum. The basement of the building has been given on rent to a bank to earn about Rs 40 lakh extra to meet the LSE expenses.

In fact, the LSE trading volumes have dipped sharply to less than Rs 5 crore daily from Rs 40 crore per day about six months ago. The brokers and investors are blaming the management for not starting the derivatives trading till today, though it has been started by Master Capital Limited in Ludhiana. They say they have suffered loses worth crores of rupees due to delay in derivatives trading.

Mr R.C. Singhal, president, LSE, says, “The board of management has got a letter from SEBI allowing it to start trading in derivatives through its subsidiary LSE Securities Limited. We are trying to negotiate with SEBI to provide us some concession in fees. Hopefully trading would start in the next few days.” He agreed that there is a lot of potential in the derivatives market. The investors will have less risk as compared to earlier trading. The chances of financial scandals will be also less in the new system of trading.

Two seminars have already been conducted by the LSE to create awareness among brokers and investors about futures and options. Brokers agree that the trading in futures would have an advantage of customised contract, pre-agreed price and settlement at specified future date and delivery of assets. The buyers and sellers would enter into a contract in that system for the purchase or sale of a particular asset at specified price on a specified future date.

Mr H.S Arora, managing director, Master Capital Services Limited, is also of the view that there is great scope for trading in derivatives once the brokers change their mind-set and have some basic knowledge of the new system. The Master Capital is providing that service to the investors of the region for the past two months, and the response of the customers is more than satisfactory, he said.


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