Tuesday, September 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Robbers loot cash, jewellery in 3 villages
Our Correspondent

Khamano, September 24
Armed robbers struck in three houses in different villages, situated close to each other, last night. Going by the modus operandi of the robbers in the three incidents as well as in the number of people involved, the police claimed that the robberies were the handiwork of members of one gang.

A large amount of cash and jewellery were estimated to have been stolen by the robbers. Exact amount of loss was being calculated.

According to information available, as many as eight robbers armed with lathis struck at Bhambri village at the house of Gurmel Singh at about 12.30 p.m. The house is situated on the outskirts of the village. According to Gurmel Singh’s son, Sukhjinder Singh (21), he was sleeping in his room with his wife when he heard some noise and came out. He saw seven to eight persons with lathis in their hands were standing around the family members. His mother and grand-mother were sleeping in the verandah. Gurmel Singh had gone to Patiala for some work at the time of the incident.

Armed robbers threatened them to hand over all valuables to them. Some of the robbers entered their house while others stood on guard around them. The robbers opened their boxes and took away gold ornaments weighing about 60 grams. Apart from these, they also took away cash found in the trunk and at other places in the house. The panic-stricken family members could not raise an alarm.

The same gang then later struck at a nearby village and decamped with Rs 7,000 from the house of Sher Singh. The gang also struck at a dera of Gujjar family outside Ranwan village and decamped with Rs 9,000.

According to Sukhjinder Singh, whose house was looted first, the robbers were in their mid-20s and most of them were “clean-shaven”. They spoke Punjabi and two of them were wearing turbans.

According to the SHO, Khamano, Mr Rajwinder Singh, he was informed at about 2.15 a.m. about the thefts and he rushed to the spot. The police and villagers searched several fields around Ranwan village, but the robbers escaped under the cover of darkness. SP (D) Narinderjit Singh of district Fatehgarh Sahib also visited the site in the morning. A case under Sections 132/383 IPC has been registered in the three cases.


Schools fleecing students
Charge high fee for Class VIII exam
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, September 24
In utter violation of the norms laid by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), several unaided schools of the city are charging exorbitant fee for Class VIII examination.

Even though the PSEB has given a fixed examination fee structure to all schools and has even advertised about the same in several newspapers, the authorities in unaided schools seem to be unmindful of the fact and have set their own rates for the examination.

These rates are almost double or triple the amount being charged by the board. Some of the components of the arbitrary fee structure are even five times more than the laid down amount.

In a public notice on August 10 by the secretary of PSEB, it has been clearly mentioned that fee for Class VIII students, who would appear in February, 2002, examination would be Rs 250 payable till September 14. It has also been stated that an additional late fee of Rs 50 would be charged from the students till September 25 and a late fee of Rs 150 would be charged till October 15.

However, when this correspondent posing as a guardian visited a few unaided schools of the city, it was found that the schools were charging the fee exceptionally higher than the amount set by the board. On first request, the Principal of a school at Sham Nagar, refused to give admission as she said she had already sent the examination forms of Class VIII students as the last date was September 14. She, however, said if the school would be paid Rs 300 as late fee, she would admit the child.

When asked to give details of the total fee to be paid, she said admission fee would be Rs 550, tuition fee from July to September would be Rs 330, board fee would be Rs 475 (actual Rs 250) and late fee would be Rs 300 (actual Rs 50).

In a visit to another school in the same locality, the Principal again refused to give admission at first. But later, he said an additional late fee of Rs 500 would have to be paid as the last date was September 14. He said late fee charges could have been less had the amount been paid before September 23.

Giving details of the total amount to be paid, he said admission fee would be Rs 700, monthly fee would be Rs 110, board examination fee would be Rs 350 (actual Rs 250) and late fee charges would be Rs 500 (actual Rs 50).

Since most of the parents of the students studying in the schools seem to be unaware of the PSEB rules, almost all of them have paid examination fee higher than the actual amount. Besides, the parents said the schools were not issuing them any receipts for the amount paid. Similar complaints have been received from unaided schools at Kundanpuri, Shimlapuri and Haibowal.

Commenting upon the situation, Ms Usha Sidhu, District Education Officer, said private schools were out of the jurisdiction of the Education Department. She said if parents complain about high fee charges to the Deputy Commissioner and any such complaint is forwarded to the department, an inquiry may be conducted. She said even though the department was aware that the private schools were acting as education shops and most of them were charging fee exceeding the amount set by the board, the department did not have the powers to take action against them unless a complaint is received.

  Actual exam fee Fee at one school  Fee at second school
Without late fee Rs 250 Rs 475 Rs 350
Till September 25 Rs 300 Rs 775 Rs 850
(with late fee) (250 + 50) (475 + 300) (350 + 500)



Plan on encroachment regularisation draws flak
Kamal Kishore Shankar

Ludhiana, September 24
The government’s plan to regularise encroachment on government land and to allot the land on concessional rates to the occupants has been condemned by local residents. They are of the view that this is not a right step and will lead to chaos as it will encourage encroachment on government land.

Dr Subhash Sachdeva says the government should not have initiated the scheme to write off the government land. He thinks that the government should not approve such a scheme, which will encourage encroachers. After regularising the encroached land, a feeling will prevail among others that there is no harm in encroaching upon government land as after a period of time, the encroachment will be regularised.

He is of the view that the scheme may be approved to get political mileage during the forthcoming state Assembly elections. He says if the scheme is approved keeping in mind the people will be obliged and the ruling party will get a favourable response in the elections, it is mistaken.

Mr Gur Iqbal Singh is of the view that this is not in the interest of anybody to regularise the encroachment on government land. He thinks that this will lead to a chaotic situation in the state and nobody will think even once before encroaching upon government land.

He laments that most part of the city is unplanned, due to which the citizens face a lot of problems. Now the government is encouraging them to make situation worse by approving such a plan. He says in this city everybody needs breathing space, but this plan will lead to a situation where there will be no possibility of margins, which are very important.

A technician, Mr Vinod Sharma, opines that this plan is not good as after regularising the encroachment, there will not be any control over the encroachments here. He says everybody will try to encroach upon government land as he will know that after 5 or 10 years, the encroachment will be regularised, or he can move to the court on the basis of the plan launched.

A financier, Mr Jugal Kishore Jain, opines that the government should not approve such a policy, which will make the situation worse. It should consider all pros and cons before implementing a policy or plan. He says this policy is neither in favour of the government nor in favour of the citizens.

Mr Jain laments that this may be an act to please the people to get advantage in the forthcoming state Assembly elections. He adds that the politicians forget that this plan of regularising encroachments on government land will not please the people, but will create more problems for them. He says it is possible that a large number of people who will be given precious land at throwaway prices are nears and dear of the ruling party.

A transporter, Mr Avatar Singh, has also condemned the plan of the government. He laments that the situation is already chaotic due to encroachment by the people and if the government launches such schemes, then the situation will become worse.

He says the government should not give the precious land at throwaway prices to the people who have encroached upon the land.


Cop pushes man in boiling oil
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
In a bizzare incident, a traffic policeman allegedly pushed a motor cycle driver and threw him into a large pan containing boiling oil outside a sweets shop near Kailash Chowki here this evening. The victim suffered burn injuries on his face and upper parts of his body.

The incident created tension in the entire area as residents and shopkeepers sat on dharna on the Kailash road, blocked traffic and closed shops in protest. The accused cop reportedly fled from the scene.

The incident took place when the victim, Manpreet Singh, a resident of Salem Tabri, who was riding a motor cycle, was signalled to stop by a cop. The driver stopped after some distance, which angered the cop. Both entered into an argument. According to eye-witnesses, the cop then began pushing Manpreet who lost balance and fell into a large pan.

Senior police officers rushed to the scene.


PAU students to resume stir
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
Annoyed at the apathetic attitude of the state government, the students of the College of Agriculture (COA), Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), today announced the resumption of their agitation for their long-pending demands.

The students had earlier called off their agitation twice, which had continued for more than a month each time, as the state government had assured them of fulfilling their demand for recruitment. The government had not kept its promise of advertising the posts.

The students today threatened to obstruct the Kisan Mela that would be organised by the university on September 27 and 28. The spokesman of Punjab Agricultural Students Association (PASA) Kanwaljit Singh said the students had decided to boycott the mela as well as the chief guest.

He said the student leaders had also threatened to stall the efforts of the university to organise the mela peacefully. They also threatened that they would not allow the display of various agricultural devices and would not allow the sale of the seeds to farmers.

Kanwaljit also said the students had boycotted the mela on the campus last year also. He said it was the attitude of the government which was forcing the students to resort to such means of agitation.

He said the government had organised various meetings of ministers with the agitating students time and again and they had promised that the posts of teacher of agriculture in schools would be advertised soon. He added that the Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, and the Finance Minister, Captain Kanwaljit Singh, had assured them that the posts would be advertised soon.


3 industrialists booked for fraud
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
In an unusual case, a case of fraud and cheating has been registered against three industrialists two years after a complaint was submitted to the police.

According to an FIR registered at the Focal Point police station recently, Charan Kaur, Kulwant Singh and Sharan Singh, partners in a rolling mill and residents of Industrial Estate Extension, have been booked on the charges of criminal conspiracy, forgery and cheating their partner Basant Singh. The three have been booked under Sections 406 , 420, 464, 471, 506, read with 120-B, of the IPC.

Heaving a sigh of relief at the registration of the case, though two years after he had submitted a complaint to the police for booking the accused on the same charges, Basant Singh said he was fed up with making rounds of the police station and the senior officers. He added that he could never get the case registered though he had furnished all documents required by the police from time to time. The complaints had been marked for one inquiry or another by different officials. Though the inquiries went in his favour, a case had not been registered.

According to a copy of the FIR, the accused were charged with cheating their partner Basant Singh. The FIR stated that the partners developed differences some years back and decided to part ways. It was mutually agreed that Rs 55 lakh would be paid to Basant Singh by the accused.

He was not paid the whole amount and it was again decided that till the whole amount was paid, the property would not be sold or leased out. The accused leased out the property to some businessman at a monthly rent of Rs 50,000, but informed the complainant that the rent was Rs 10,000. A sum of Rs 15 lakh was also paid to the accused by the businessman.


Of selflessness and backlash
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, September 24
The story of a Sikh doctor who served the injured within minutes of the collapse of the World Trade Center in New York and how he had to face obscenities and discrimination because was a Sikh with a turban and a beard has been put on the Internet.

Dr Navinderdeep Singh Nijher, a fourth-year surgical resident at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, along with Dr Ravi Khothuru and Dr Ravi Pulpatti, volunteered their services and were immediately taken by ambulance and police escort into the city. Dr Nijher writes, “On Tuesday morning (September 11), I was in a conference when news of the plane crashing into the first tower, came to us. We immediately opened our window to get a direct view of the tower, with smoke bellowing from it. Subsequently, the second plane came and hit the next tower as we were watching. As we stood in shock watching this site, the first tower collapsed.”

He says, “As we got within a block of the trade center, initially the police had the area cordoned off because there was concern that many of the other buildings in the vicinity were unstable and could collapse. It was around 11 a.m., an hour after the towers had collapsed. An EMS director came to us and asked us if we could come and take a look at some workers and firefighters who had sustained injuries. As he brought us to the sealed area, we began to see the extent of the devastation. Before we knew it, we were at the base of the World Trade Center. We immediately set up a triage centre on Vesey Street right across the WTC and began giving medicare to some of the injured firefighters. Most of the injuries were smoke inhalation as well as eye injuries from the dust and ash in the area”.

“At around 3 or 4 p.m. the building of the World Financial Center collapsed as we watched from across the west side highway. Once the building collapsed, the rescue effort commenced in full force. We could see flames in the center. The walkway that had connected the WTC to the World Financial Center had completely collapsed onto the west side highway. The search crews began searching the American Express Building. Suddenly, a firefighter yelled that he had found a survivor. We immediately rushed to the spot and found the firefighter helping carry a deputy police chief out of the building. Dr Khuthuru and I went and grabbed the officer who was bleeding from his forehead and was dehydrated and disoriented”.

Dr Nijher further writes, “As far as I know, this was the first survivor found at the site. At this point, we began our next unenviable task. Most of the bodies were mutilated and many were just body parts without recognisable faces. We helped the EMS workers bring in the body bags and then had to declare the victims as dead. The actual details of some of the things I saw would not be appropriate to describe in this context, but one should be able to imagine how horrible it was. After 15 hours at Ground Zero, I and my colleagues returned to the hospital and slept for about one hour before we began our next day’s shift.”

Dr Nijher further says, “The next day, I worked for all day and through the night and finally came home on Thursday afternoon after having worked almost 55 hours straight without rest. I actually live in midtown Manhattan, by the United Nations, and returned to my apartment around 3 in the afternoon. After resting for an hour, I got up to go to the local store and get some pictures developed for my experiences.

“It was at this point, however, that one of the most distressing parts of this arduous experience occurred. While I was walking every person on the street turned around to stare at me as I walked by. Some people voiced obscenities and I was called a terrorist and told to go back to my country. The clerk at the store who was developing these pictures told me it would cost $ 500 for you people. This discrimination and backlash was distressing as I could not believe that after having worked for over two days straight, people who did not know who I was and what I had been through would make these statements”.

He points out, “while at Ground Zero, all I remember is the unity of people of all races working together. No one down there said anything about my turban or beard as all they saw was a fellow American with the same goals as them. This to me was the American spirit, which makes this country great, and not the bigotry and discrimination that I felt two days later.”

He concludes, “I only hope that this experience that I went through can help shed a positive light on the community. People should realise that there was in fact a Sikh at Ground Zero, one who worked alongwith fellow Americans in the darkest day this country has ever experienced.”


Cong flays govt for ‘anti-trade’ policies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
Congress activists charged the Punjab Government with pursuing such economic policies that had virtually annihilated trade and throttled the industry, particularly the small and tiny units, which were finding it difficult to survive.

Addressing a felicitation function organised by Mr Jasbir Singh Chadha, president, Block Congress Committee (Block No 5), here yesterday, the newly appointed convener of the Industry and Trade Cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Prem Mittal, observed that in the face of severe demand recession, other factors like repeated hike in power tariff, erratic supply and multiple taxation, arising from faulty government policies had led to economic stagnation and fall in industrial production. Similarly, for small traders the going had become very tough.

Mr Chadha expressed gratitude on behalf the party to the PPCC President, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, for nominating Mr Mittal, a former Deputy Mayor, as convener of the cell.

Prominent among others present at the function were Mr Surinder Singh Chinda, Mr Kanwardeep Singh Pappi, Ms Ravinder Kaur Chadha, Ms Asha Garg, all councillors, Mr Somesh Aggarwal, Mr Deepak Sood, Mr Sunil Sharma, Mr Gurcharan Singh Pappu, Mr Sanjay Minka, Mr Ravi Soi, Mr Kuldip Singh Kochhar and Mr Gagandeep Singh Dhawan.

In another public meeting held at Durga Nagar here today, a former Punjab minister, Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, a member of the PPCC Disciplinary Committee, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, and the chairman of the Urban Development Cell of the Indian Youth Congress, Mr Pawan Diwan, levelled allegations of nepotism and rampant corruption against the SAD-BJP government. The Congress functionaries alleged that the government had sold off prime land and properties at throw away prices to their favourites and further massive loans were being raised from financial institutions to dole out funds at politically motivated sangat darshan programmes.

Mr Diwan termed the claim of the ruling SAD of being a pro-farmers government as a big fraud. “Under the regime of so called pro-farmers government, the farmers in predominantly agricultural state are forced to commit suicides”.

Mr Akshay Bhanot, district chairman of the Urban Development Cell, Mr Palwinder Singh Taggar, the president, Block Congress Committee, Mr Baldev Sharma, Mr Mohinder Singh Seenh, Mr Balwinder Singh Bedi, Mr Rajesh Chopra, Mr Nirmal Kaira, Mr Kuldip Sharma, Mr Joginder Singh Nagi, Mr Parveen Sharma, Mr Amarjit Rani, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, Ms Amarjit Kaur and Mr Jarnail Singh Jaily were also present among others.


DYC to launch stir against MC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
The District Youth Congress (DYC) today decided to launch a stir against serious irregularities in civic administration, denial of free water and sewerage facilities to the city residents and total collapse of public distribution system in the city.

Addressing a meeting of the executive committee at Congress Bhavan here yesterday, the DYC president, Mr Parminder Mehta, announced that the party would submit a memorandum to the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, on September 25 demanding a high level probe into the contract labour system in the civic body, through which massive funds were being siphoned off.

The party would also press for the implementation of the MC General House decision for the grant of free water and sewerage facility to the city residents, which was subsequently not approved by the State Government. Mr Mehta alleged that the MC parking contractor at the New Subzi Mandi and multi-storey parking, who claimed proximity to a ruling party functionary, was not only fleecing the people by overcharging, but the parking attendants were misbehaving and even manhandling members of public, who complained against their behaviour.

The DYC president lambasted the government and the food and supplies department for the total collapse of public distribution system. The hike in the prices of all essential commodities and black marketing of kerosene and the lack of any action on the part of government officials smacked of connivance at the highest level.

Lamenting the plight of the common man in the state, which he attributed to directionless policies of the SAD-BJP government, Mr Mehta charged the alliance partner BJP with resorting to provocative actions to stir up the religious sentiments of a section of society for political gains

Other party functionaries - Mr Sarbjit Singh Bunty, senior vice-president, Mr Rajinder Nihala, Mr Sabhajit Pandey and Mr G.S. Arora, criticised the hike in power tariff for domestic consumers, failure of the MC administration to shift electric poles from the middle of the widened roads in Janakpuri, Jodhewal Basti, Shivaji Nagar and Pakhowal Road, non- availability of kerosene to poor, specially migrant workers, and police repression against the complainants.


Pareira shares latest beauty techniques
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
“Punjabi women are beautiful, yet there is a lot of scope for further improving their looks by using available beauty aids”, Mr Oscar Pareira, Director, Cheryl’s International School of Beauty, Hairdressing and Cosmetology, Mumbai, expressed these views on the inaugural session of a two-day seminar on beauty and skin treatments, organised by a beauty clinic and institute here today.

Over 300 beauticians from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh attended the seminar in which Mr Pareira demonstrated latest trends in facials and skin treatments.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Pareira said even a goodlooking girl wants to look more beautiful nowadays. “There is so much exposure. The latest trends and styles can be seen on the television. People have become beauty conscious”, said Mr Pareira.

Mr Pareira stressed that Indian women should apply very little make-up. “People should be guessing whether the woman has applied make-up or not”, he said.

Mr Pareira’s clients include leading Bollywood personalities like Mumtaz, Anju Mahendru, Aishwarya Rai, Karisma Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Aamir Khan among others. He said “Aishwarya and Karisma have flawless skin. They are just beautiful. A light make-up applied on their faces adds to their beauty and charm”.

The make-up artist said Kim had always been his favourite among Bollywood actresses because she had maintained herself very well.

“I am surprised to see the response in the seminar. Women want to know the latest trends. The beauticians from other states are also attending this seminar”, said Mr Pareira.

Ms Indra Ahluwalia, director of the institute, said women have benefitted from latest treatments like glycolic acid facial for scars and pigmentation. Vitamin C facial, enzyme treatment fruit peel, treatment for acne and deep-conditioning treatment for hair. She said diet also played a key role in acquiring a glowing skin. “By organising such workshops and seminars, beauty education can be imparted to fashion and beauty-conscious people”, added Indra.


Bus stand, a picture of neglect
A Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
The Ludhiana bus stand is in a bad shape as no one is doing anything to repair its roads and stinking buildings. As one enters the bus stand from either of the two ways, one steps on broken roads with potholes and dust all around. The puffs of dust created by every passing vehicle suffocate passersby. When a bus moves on this surface, it’s a bumpy ride for passengers.

There are deep pits all over the road, where any vehicle can get stuck. Passersby often fall into one of these pits. Mr Gurinder Singh, a regular bus commuter, says that the state of roads in the areas has not changed for the past many years. He says, “I have been coming here for the past ten years, but I have never seen any improvement.” Another daily passenger said the bumpy rides on the road so severe that the heads often bump against the bus top.

Munshi Ram, owner of a scooter stand at the bus stand, who is here since 1980, said he had complained to the authorities concerned about the bad condition of the road many times, but in vain. He said the layer of dust on vehicles parked at the bus stand gave the impression that these had been parked there for months.

Some students who commute daily by bus said it was rather uncomfortable to commute by bus in rains. The pits get filled up with water and, sometimes, it becomes impossible to cross the road.

While a conductor of the Punjab Roadways refused to comment on the state of the bus stand roads, conductor of a private bus service said the authorities concerned had been contacted several times in the past, but now, everyone had realised that such complaining was of no use. He said individuals had spent money on their own to level some of the pits.

The bus stand authorities said the maintenance of the bus stand was the responsibility of PUDA and they could not improve anything on their own. Mr Yashpal, Assistant Station Superintendent, said an improved extension plan had already been given to PUDA. He said the station supervisor wrote once every month to the Director State Transport in Chandigarh about the bad conditions of the bus stand, but no action had been taken so far.


Valmiki convention to be held on Oct 14
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 24
Activists of the Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj (BVDS) from all over the state will participate in the National Valmiki Convention to be held at Nehru Park in Chandigarh on October 14. The Union Minister for Coal and Mines, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, will be the chief guest.

A meeting of the state executive of BVDS, held here last evening discussed arrangements for the convention. Mr Ashwani Sahota, state convener, presided over the meeting, which was attended among others by prominent workers, district conveners, sub-division level office-bearers and state executive members and office-bearers.

According to Mr Vijay Danav, national joint secretary of BVDS, the meeting chalked out elaborate plans for state-level function to be held here on November 1 to mark Valmiki Jayanti when the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, would dedicate the Rs 1.81 crore four-storeyed Valmiki Bhavan, first of its kind in the country, to the community. He claimed that more than one lakh members of Valmiki community from all over the state will participate in the function.

The meeting welcomed the nomination of Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha as Vice-Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and decided to organise a function within a couple of days to felicitate Mr Atwal.


Implement report, say PSEB staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
The Punjab State Electricity Employees Federation at a meeting held here today urged the state government to implement the recommendations of the Fifth Central Pay Commission, especially regarding the payment of dearness allowance to employed family pensioners and re-employed pensioners on their pension.

Mr Surjit Singh Goraya, state vice-president of the federation, in a press note, said the Punjab Government and the board were ignoring the recommendations of the commission. The government had clearly mentioned that these recommendations had been considered and accepted by it and these would be applicable to the Central, state government and boards’ employees. Mr Goraya appealed to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and the Chairman, PSEB, Mr Sudhir Mittal, to implement the recommendations.


Ghuman denies remarks
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
The reported remarks of a senior Akali leader and Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board, Mr Mal Singh Ghuman, suggesting that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, should appear before Akal Takht if it could lead to unity among the Akali groups have created a stir in political circles. However, Mr Ghuman said he had been quoted out of context. He was quoted in a section of the Press that there was no harm in Mr Badal’s going to the Takht. However, he denied that he had made any such suggestion.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune on the telephone from his home in Mullapur yesterday, Mr Ghuman said only those people appear before the Takht who had committed any wrong. “But I do not think that Mr Badal has committed any wrong, so why should he need to appear before the Takht,” he asked, while adding that Mr Badal had strictly been following the panthic agenda.

However, he admitted that he had talked about the “unconditional unity among various Akali factions in the interest of the panth”. He said, “I have always stood for unconditional unity between all factions and Mr Badal’s stand is also the same as he has been repeatedly making offers of unconditional unity.” He pointed out that it was not fair for anyone to lay down conditions for unity.

He said he had been misquoted by some reporters on the issue. Clarifying his statement, he explained, “I had said that there was no harm in going to Akal Takht as every Sikh goes over there and even great leaders like Sardar Fateh Singh and Master Tara Singh have also appeared before the Takht. But I never said that Mr Badal should appear before the Takht for apology.”


Demonstration by bank employees
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
The Punjab Bank Employees Federation, Ludhiana, held a demonstration in front of the Bank of India’s Model Town branch here today in protest against the ‘vindictive’ attitude of the management of the bank.

The workers alleged that in some of the areas, the management was violating the settlements and had unilaterally transferred award-winning staff employees from one district to another, violating the policy of selection area concept. Mr Naresh Gaur and Mr Ashok Awasthy, secretary and president of the federation, respectively, addressed the employees and told the management to desist from such tactics.


Protest march held
Our Correspondent

Amloh, September 24
The Gurdwara Singh Sabha Committee held a protest march here today against the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at Rattangarh village in Ropar district. The rally was addressed by Mr Karamjit Singh Bhagrana, vice-president, Punjab Karamchari Dal; Mr Kahla Singh, circle president, SHSAD; and Mr Ravinder Singh Khalsa, district general secretary, Youth Akali Dal (Mann).


Cheques given to panchayats
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, September 24
Mr Ranvir Singh Libra, a son of Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, Rajya Sabha member, distributed cheques worth Rs 5.75 lakh among various panchayat for development projects, at Ramgarh village, near here, yesterday. Cheques worth Rs 85,000, Rs 40,000 and Rs 1 lakh were given to Ramgarh, Chakli Monga and Ward No 1 of Machhiwara, respectively. Garhi Bet, Ghuharpur (Jhar Sahib) and Loharian villages were given cheques worth Rs 50,000 each. A cheque worth Rs 2 lakh was given to Mand Sherian village for the construction of a community centre.


Poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 24
The police has arrested Gurcharan Singh alias Sonu and Kuldip Singh both residents of Dolewal village, and seized 10 kg of poppy husk from each of them. Two Bajaj Chetak scooter, both without number plates, were also seized from their possession. A case has been registered.

Liquor seized

The local police has arrested Surinder Singh alias Chhinda of Salempura and seized about 15 litre of illicit liquor from him. The police also took into possession him scooter. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Still raided

The Sidhwant bet police on a tip-off arrested Gurdip Singh of Madarpura while he was distilling illicit liquor at a working still at Shafipur village and seized about 26 litre of illicit liquor, 80 kg of lahan along with other implements of the working still. The police also arrested Surinder Singh of Sherewal from Gidderwindi village and seized a working still along with about 11 litre of illicit liquor and 7 kg of lahan. Separate cases have been registered under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.


Held for eve-teasing

Gurpreet Singh of Rampura village was arrested yesterday on charges of eve-teasing. According to a complaint lodged by Bhupinder Singh of Soodanwla village, his niece Reena, who was doing a computer course at Rampura village, was teased and abused on the way by the accused often. Reena told this to Bhupinder Singh, on whose complaint the police arrested Gurpreet Singh under Sections 294 and 506 of the IPC.


Octroi contractor murdered
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, September 24
An octroi post agent was found murdered in an agricultural field behind an octroi post near Pawa Khagat last evening.

The police, claiming that it had found enough evidence about the murderer(s), registered a case against a tea-shop owner. The police was also suspecting the involvement of some other persons in the murder.

According to police sources, the body of the victim, Rajiv Khanna, was found in the fields behind the octroi post.

Sources said the main suspect was a man called Guddu, running a tea-shop near the octroi post.

The police said it had evidence that on the night of September 22, Guddu called Rajiv Khurana, an octroi broker, at the back of the post and allegedly strangulated him to death for money.

It was alleged that as Rajiv living for the past two years at the house of Ashok Bhatia on rent, always had money with him, Guddu became greedy and tried to extract money from the octroi broker.

When the latter refused, he allegedly killed him and absconded.

The body was spotted by Ashok last evening.

The body was lying hidden in the fields. He then informed the brothers of Rajiv, Kamal and Girish, at Haibowal in Ludhiana, who reported it to the Sahnewal police.

The body was sent for postmortem.


3 robberies reported
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, September 24
More than six dozens robbers struck at different places around Goraya in this subdivision and looted cash and gold ornaments worth thousands of rupees late last night.

Confirming the incidents, the police said the robbers first entered a dera and looted Rs 2300 cash and some silver ornaments. Then they struck at Rurrka village and looted Rs 1300 cash and two wrist watches. The robbers next targeted Meet Ram’s house, where they robbed Rs 10,000 cash and gold ornaments.


Industrialists sore over govt apathy
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
Cycle parts, sewing machines, hosiery, hand and machine tools units in Ludhiana are fighting a losing battle for their revival in the wake of the WTO treaty and indifferent attitude of the state government. The industry representatives say that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has failed to keep the promises made at the time of last election.

The Chief Minister, according to them, had promised to abolish octroi, reduce sales taxes, and open a single window system at the district headquarters itself, besides ensuring the abolition of corruption, ‘inspector raj’ from the state. However, the government has failed to fulfill any of these promises. The increase in minimum electricity charges, sales tax, octroi and slow death of government R&D centres have eroded the competitiveness of most of these units. Thousands of units have been forced to close down during the past five years,they maintained.

Mr D.S. Chawla, president, United Cycles and Cycle Parts Manufacturing Association, said,‘‘ Out of about 5,000 cycle part manufacturing units in the city, about 1,000 have been closed down due to the inability to compete with the larger units, worldwide recession and above all the indifferent attitude of the Centre and state government. Instead of providing corruption and ‘inspector raj’- free environment, the corruption and red tapism have rather increased during the present regime. Nothing has been done by the state to reform the Labour, Factory Act stating political compulsions.’’

The industrialists feel that the free electricity to the farming sector is being provided at the cost of industry in the state. The Ladowal industrial complex has failed to start despite repeated announcements by the Chief Minister. Mr Atul Chaturvedi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, in a meeting held here recently had disclosed that the department had proposed Rs 17 crore grant to develop Ludhiana as a textile centre, but the state government had not shown any interest in the project so far.


Are tailors going to be out of business?
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, September 24
People buying clothes off the shelves in the big multinational department stores have made the much-in-demand tailors not so busy. Readymade clothes are available in a wide variety and tempt people to buy these instead of getting a suit stitched by a tailor. Customers generally complain that tailors do not give proper fitting and a customer has to visit his tailor a couple of times before he is satisfied.

During the past decade, the craze for readymade garments has overtaken the urban population be it kids, males or females. The readymade clothes in all sizes, be it for casual or party wear, are available in the market.

But the snag lies in the fact that unbranded readymade clothes cost a packet compared to the tailor-made clothes. Somewhere down the line the much-in-demand tailor of yore has to certain extent gone out of demand. Automation has divided the work, some persons are preparing only collars whereas others are stitching sleeves or stitching buttons. The machines are modern and a large number of shirts or trousers get ready in a short period. Then these are packed and stylishly presented in nice boxes and the buyer is floored.

But according to Mr Atul Soni, owner of Satyam Stores, “Readymade clothes cost almost thrice the price of tailor-made clothes. Even if the buyer purchases the best material and pays for stitching, the entire outfit will be quite reasonable and one would have the satisfaction that one has got the best material and the clothes are made according to his size and his dictates. On the other hand, readymade clothes may be made of inferior material and cost more. Moreover in India readymade clothes do not offer as much choice as in foreign countries. A shirt size 40’’ will have 16’’ collars. This may not fit a man with a thick neck. Similarly the length of size 40” shirt varies. Of course the advantage of readymade is that these are ready to wear”.

Mr Kedar Nath of Raymonds store says,” Seventy per cent of our clients go in for readymade clothes. If the fitting is proper, they do not mind the cost. Mainly we have formal suits as we export them. But youngsters and some other want fancy designs and go in for tailoring as they want certain design copied from foreign magazines. They do not mind coming for trial fittings. But who has the time for two trial fittings and the final fitting? So readymade garments are the choice of majority. All those who think readymade are expensive nurture false notions”.

Kuldip Singh of Fine Finish Tailors, Chaura Bazaar, who sells readymade garments as well as fabrics holds a different view, “My clients prefer getting suit made to order. Almost 70 per cent of my clients are not happy with the fittings of readymade clothes. In coats, they find either the sleeve is long or it is loose or tight. Trousers also do not fit properly. Only ready-made shirts are preferred as these generally fit average people. Actually the standard size does not fit on an average person well. I myself prefer and advise my clients to go in for tailor-made clothes as these give perfect fitting. Since tailoring is not exorbitant in India as is the case in foreign countries, people definitely prefer tailor-made clothes”.

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