Saturday, October 6, 2001, Chandigarh, India

 

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

 

 

Mela mafia flexing muscles
Tough time ahead for residents
D.B. Chopra


A view of a mela site at Focal Point which will witness hectic activity in the coming days. 

Ludhiana, October 5
Major encroachment of public land by mela mafia has been under way for the past seven days or so at the site of the Focal Point’s weekly Monday market close to Metro Road.

Though Dasehra is three weeks away, the mela mafia has sprung into action this year much earlier than usual for the simple reason that its earnings depend on the duration of the mela. The longer, the better for it.

Already vacant PUDA land near the HIG/MIG Housing Board colony, on which exists a slum colony, has been ‘allotted’ to a magician who has put up a big circus-like tent to show his magical feats. Opposite the big tent, a couple of swings have been made operative. The rest of the huge vacant space to the east is awaiting occupants. Part of it would be occupied by ring stalls, which are banned as a matter of routine by the Deputy Commissioner almost without fail every year, and the variety show theatre.

Once everything is in place, money-minting by illegal means would begin in right earnest. A man would be authorised to cordon off the adjoining service lane to turn the place into a cycle stand and fleece the people in return for anything between Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000. He may do anything. He can bash up a customer who is reluctant to pay the exorbitant charges for parking a cycle for half an hour or so. If a cop is witnessing the incident, he would not come to the rescue of the victim but slowly walk away from the site. Ludhiana Tribune was witness to such scenes at the mela last year. Such is the clout of the mela mafia constituting politicians, cops and criminals.

The gun-shooting stalls, where children and elders test their aims by firing at balloons, would fetch anything between Rs 30,000 and Rs 60,000 to the organisers. Add to it the money from the swings, the ring stalls, the variety show and a host of shopkeepers who put up their shops selling toys, handicrafts and so on. Then there are shops selling snacks and sweets which would be put up along the roads and on the boulevard along the Metro road. It is big money, indeed.

But here is not the end. More money would flow from criminals who would be allowed to operate in the mela area. Among them would be pick-pockets and ‘mufatwars’, who dupe people out of their hard-earned money on the pretext of counting it for them. Rural people and migrants are their favourite targets. These people operate in collaboration with certain mela shopkeepers who set up their shops in melas only all through the year. They would sit at a shop like a customer and identify prospective queries from among the genuine customers. In case the duped man asks the shopkeeper later about ‘the man sitting over there’, he is told that the man had left soon after finishing his pakoras. He was just like any other customer. So that is that. Nobody thinks it wise to go to the police to report a loss of a couple of hundred rupees. And the shows goes on.

Apart from the pick-pockets and the despicable ‘mufatwars’, the mela would also play host to a number of thugs who fleece innocent kids using the ‘doctored’ lottery charts prepared by themselves. Their modus operandi is simple. One of them poses as a customer. He picks some winning numbers and walks away with the ‘booty’. Enough to hook unsuspecting and curious onlookers.

All these unsocial elements and criminals are just waiting in the wings and flexing their muscles in anticipation of a good ‘mela season’ ahead.

And as for the police, the mela provides ideal carnival times from the Thanedar to the lowly cop. They roam about the mela area now and then, only to register their presence, or so it seems. But not a police picket or post is put up anywhere in the mela area where people wronged by criminal elements could report the incidents.

Last year, when Ludhiana Tribune carried the story on ring stalls being run in the mela in contravention of the Deputy Commissioner’s order banning the same, a police party headed by an SP, removed the stalls in the afternoon. But for reasons best known to the then district police chief, the closed ring stalls resumed business at night.
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Hoardings, banners despite HC ban
Tribune News Service


A banner atop a hotel in Ludhiana in violation of the High Court orders. 
— Photo Rajesh Bhambi

Ludhiana, October 5
The ban by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on display of banners on roof tops and erecting of hoardings continues to be violated in Ludhiana. Despite the ban all types of advertisements, including banners and boards, on every electric pole, hoardings and glow signs can be frequently seen in the city.

This was being allegedly done by a few advertisers of the city in connivance with some officials of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. After the ban, the corporation had not auctioned the spots for advertisement. This opportunity was allegedly exploited by a few advertisers who reached an understanding with some corporation officials and utilised all space available in the city to their benefit.

Surprisingly, these boards were being displayed on bus shelters and each nook and corner of the city. An advertiser alleged that bus shelters were being set up at every 25 yards between the Jagraon Bridge and the Bharat Nagar Chowk just to help a handful of advertisers and no tenders were being invited for the same. Repeated pleas to the corporation officials, they said, only fell on deaf ears.

Neon and glow signs could also be seen on display along some hotels and big buildings along the main roads and the side lanes in the city. Most of these could be seen along the Ferozepur road, Bus Stand road and around Bharat Nagar Chowk.

Some aggrieved advertisers revealed that they had found 30 roof tops where big hoardings were on display. Besides there were other places like road near Khalsa College for Girls near Ghumar Mandi, Government College for Women, Rakh Bagh, near the PAU gate number 2 and opposite Guru Nanak Stadium.

The aggrieved advertisers had also written to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, pleading with him to order an inquiry into the setting up of these hoardings in violation of the court orders. They submitted that either the ban should be imposed properly and no selective people should get undue benefit from it, or everyone should be allowed to raise hoardings and other advertisements.

Pleading for immediate action, they submitted before the Chief Justice that in case these advertisers were not discouraged and the corrupt officials of the Municipal Corporation were not taken to task other aggrieved advertisers would be forced to approach the High Court again to seek redressal of their grievances. 
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Oust ministers with Bhaniara links’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
Activists of the Khalsa Action Committee observed ‘pashchatap divas’ (penance day) in protest against the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib by followers of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara at various places in the state. Bhog of akhand path was performed at Gurdwara Chet Ram in Field Ganj here today.

Addressing the congregation, the KAC convener, Mr Charanjit Singh Khalsa, alleged that lackadaisical attitude of the government towards those responsible for the acts of sacrilege had emboldened them to the extent that even after the arrest of Baba Bhaniara, the ‘birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib were being burnt. He further charged certain senior ministers and other functionaries of the ruling SAD (B) with having links to the baba and demanded their ouster. “Akal Takht should also intervene and take action against enemies of Panth,” he said.

The KAC activists, led by Mr Khalsa, later held a demonstration in protest against government inaction on the SGPC proposal to denying the right of vote to Sehajdhari Sikhs and destroyed the forms being distributed for enrolment of Sehajdhari Sikhs as voters for the SGPC elections.

A memorandum was also submitted by functionaries of the Khalsa Action Committee to the district administration to register their resentment against the deliberate delay in the implementation of the SGPC proposal to debar Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting rights. It was pointed out that under a calculated move, enrolment forms for Sehajdhari Sikhs were being distributed while those meant for Kesdhari Sikhs had mysteriously disappeared.
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Net for all BSNL subscribers soon
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
Good news for subscribers of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL)! They will soon be provided with a new facility — Internet for All — for those having personal computers and modems. There will be no registration fee, no password, no waiting list and no extra charge. Subscribers will simply have to fill application forms to use this facility. Mr V.S. Srivastava, General Manager Telecom, said this at a press conference at his office here today.

The GM said the BSNL subscribers all over the country would receive this facility, following a September 28 decision of the Union Ministry of Communications. “The BSNL has already received the ministry circular,” said the GM.

Mr Srivastava said, from April to September, 8,582 new telephone connections had been offered in the district against a capacity of 4,652 connections.

The 113 telephone exchanges in the district had a capacity of 3,17,704 telephone connections, out of which 2,64,371 were functional. There was a waiting list of 25,862 connections till September 30.

In September, 2,122 new connections were given to subscribers and the exchange capacity was increased to 3,192 connections.

Mr Srivastva said the Indian Telephone Card (ITC) that used to be made in Jalandhar, would now be made in Ludhiana. The distribution of this card would begin this month at the Mata Rani exchange, the Miller Ganj exchange, the Hero Nagar exchange and the customer service centre at the Bharat Nagar exchange. Customers shall be able to obtain the ITC cards from the Transport Nagar exchange early next month. The cards shall be available at Rs 105, Rs 210, Rs 525 and Rs 1,050.

The GM said about 360 new STD PCOs had been opened in the district in the past one year, including 72 in the city. Mr Srivastava said 3,000 telephone connections of Dugri that had earlier been under the Transport Nagar exchange, would now be transferred to the Dugri Phase XI exchange this month. The General Manager also said two Internet “dhabas” had been established in Ludhiana, besides one each in Samrala, Doraha, Jagraon, Sidwan Bet, Sudhar and Khanna.

“The new telephone directories, updated upto August 31, will be released in November,” said Mr Srivastava.
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Attestation fee or blatant fleecing
A Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
Authorities of several colleges of the city are fleecing students by charging a fee for attesting photocopies of their certificates and testimonials. This practice has become regular and students pay the amount without any resistance.

Since students have to have attested documents for higher education and jobs, they have no choice, but to pay for these. The fee ranges from Rs 5 to Rs 30 per certificate. While some colleges charge regular students as well as private ones, the other colleges spare their students and charge only private students. Besides, most colleges here do not even issue receipts for this attestation fee. Since college students are already paying exorbitant fee, such extra payment is only adding on to their burden.

While students have not been bold enough to resist this practice, most of them say that they are being exploited by the college authorities. Manisha, an old student of the local Khalsa College for Women, had to pay Rs 25 for getting her certificates attested. “Every time I have to get my certificates attested for applying for some or the other examination, I have to pay the charges. I seems to me as if the college authorities sell their signatures and stamps, which is not justified,” she said.

Vijay Kumar, an old student of Kamla Lohtia Santan Dharam College, needed attested copies of his certificates to apply for admission to a postgraduate course. He said he had to pay Rs 5 per copy for the attestation. Since he had to get four copies attested, he paid Rs 20. Vijay said, “It is my right that the college should attest my testimonials, but it hurts me to see that the college authorities charge me for this purpose.”

Some colleges also charge fee for issuing provisional character certificates and attesting supplementary examination forms. Students of the Arya College for Boys said the college took money only from outsiders and never charged its own students.

The college authorities denied that they took any money for attestation. Mr Budhiraja, Principal of Kamla Lohtia College, denied this categorically and said the college always avoided attesting certificates of outsiders.

Ms Harrrinder Dhillon, retired Principal of the Khalsa College for Women, said the charging of the attestation fee had been authorised by Panjab University. She said it was a common practice, for which, receipt were also issued.

However, the PU officials said there was no such ruling of the university and only a continuation fee was taken from the students while attesting their forms if they were to reappear in some examinations.
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1 killed in mishap; agitated people hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 5
Social, religious and political organisations of the area held a joint dharna on the GT road crossing here yesterday, from 11.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m., in protest against the installation of check-posts at busy crossings of the town.

The persons sitting on the dharna said accidents often took place when the traffic police asked vehicles to pull over at crossings for checking. They added that similarly yesterday Surinder, alias Neelu (35), a resident of Shastri Nagar here, died on the spot when the scooter he was driving (PB-48A-6918) collided with a Tempo (PB-07-7523), which was pulled over by the traffic police. The Tempo was later impounded by the Sirhind police. The deceased was the only son of his parents.

The dharna was lifted on the assurance by Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Harnek Singh Saran, SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, that check-posts would not be installed at crossings.

According to sources, a dharna was also held some time ago when Mr Gurdial Singh, an industrialist, was killed and a traffic in-charge was seriously injured in an accident. Then also, similar assurance was given, but after some time check-posts were again installed at crossings. This caused resentment among people. 
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1,600 proclaimed offenders at large
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Putting a question mark on the efficiency of the Ludhiana district police, a whooping number of over 1,600 proclaimed offenders are at large. The most astonishing part of this ‘police failure’ is that some of these proclaimed offenders are evading arrest as back as 1954. Interestingly, the police, due to some unknown limitations, have not even been able to regularly update the list of proclaimed offenders due to which several of them, who have allegedly died long ago, are still listed as fugitives.

Inquiries revealed that the POs were of two categories. One, who were never arrested and second, who jumped bail on the basis of fake surety. Police blames the high number to the latter category, whereas the sources reveal that there was not much difference of numbers between the two.

While senior police officials seek to dismiss the problem as a normal one prevailing in the entire state, besides claiming that the police was dealing with the matter as a routine affair, sources disclosed that the police administration was drawing flak from the public and the government for the high number and had now deputed special officers in each police station and police post for effective handling of of the problem. The officials have been visiting different places in the state and even in UP and Bihar for apprehending the POs. They have met with mixed success. A police official said in some cases the move came out to be a wild-goose-chase only as the sought-after PO had died long ago. A number of policemen have confessed of this to Ludhiana Tribune. Interestingly, a police official revealed that even the success achieved in arresting some of the accused was an ironic one as it raises the question why the POs said to be moving freely could not be arrested earlier.

According to information available, the highest number of POs belong to the Focal Point and Division No. 6 police stations. Both these areas have about 400 POs each. Sources said most of the population in these areas was migrant in nature due to which the police stations have a high number of proclaimed offenders.

Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, SSP, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune before leaving the city to attend a course in Ranchi said the police could not be blamed for the high number as most of the POs were at large after jumping bail. He said the majority of the POs were migrant labourers and were at large after jumping bail on the basis of false sureties. He said the police could not be blamed for the high number as it had succeeded in arresting the accused initially but when he jumps bail and runs away, the police only has a false address to search for him.

When asked what about the POs who were not arrested, the SSP said it was a routine matter and every district has such number of proclaimed offenders.

Informed police sources, however, persist that the high number of proclaimed offenders in fact reveals a number of related illegal and corrupt activities. They said was it possible that a person can evade arrest without the assistance of some police personnel. They said the jumping of bail by the accused also hints at a racket of forged registries and fake sureties available in the courts.
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Don’t slow down: Mayor to officials
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
The Municipal Corporation has begun to combat fears of local residents that the pace of development works may slacken after the shifting of the MC Commissioner, Dr S.S. Sandhu, who was transferred after the demolition of an outer wall of the local Durga Mata Mandir.

The Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, convened a meeting of the MC officials at his residence yesterday and asked them to maintain the pace of development works.

Almost all senior civic officials, including the Additional Commissioners, JCs, ACs, Superintending Engineers and Executive Engineers attended the meeting.

According to sources, Mr Grewal urged the officials to give top priority to infrastructure development for the National Games that were to be held here in November. Progress of several projects was reviewed at the meeting.

Later, the Mayor said the transfer of Dr Sandhu was an unfortunate incident. He said the officials should not have acted in haste in ordering the demolition of the temple wall, keeping in mind the public sentiments, but Dr Sandhu still had the full authority to clear all encroachments.

He urged the public to cooperate with officials in removing encroachments, particularly from roads and streets, to bring some order to chaotic traffic conditions in the city.

Mr Grewal said, “At the time of the temple-wall demolition, I was in New Delhi and had no information about the encroachment or demolition.”

Meanwhile, many organisations have hailed the decision of the Punjab Chief Minister to transfer the MC Commissioner. Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal, President of the Bharat Ekta Council and an adviser to the ruling alliance in the MC, issued a statement here today that the “hurried demolition” of the temple wall was aimed at maligning the government and creating communal tension.
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Abandoned bridge fascinates people
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, October 5
An abandoned bridge over the Sutlej, which during better times was the main connecting link between the Doaba and Malwa belts for over 80 years, has become an excellent excursion spot for residents of Phillaur, especially the Punjab Police Academy located just near the bridge.

The bridge constructed along the railway overbridge offers some rare spectacles of the Sutlej. Watching a train passing over the once-mighty river is a delight in itself and is relished by children. Further, visitors are elated over the feeling that on old bridge constructed at the place before the present bridge was the main entry point to the kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The bridge directly leads into the king’s fort. One feels thrilled to stand on a historical bridge which in the past was used not only by people for centuries but also by the Sikh and British forces extensively.

It was in 1908 that the old bridge was constructed in the place of an older one. This bridge completed its life about 10 years ago. Then a new and wider bridge was constructed at a distance. Due to this shift in the GT Road, the old bridge was abandoned. However, some residents of Phillaur discovered the place as an excursion spot and a perfect walking stretch without any traffic. These people started walking on the bridge during morning and evening hours. Pritam Singh, a person living near the Sutlej river, said soon the number of persons visiting the place increased and now the bridge that used to be frequented by vehicles was attracting nature lovers.

Gurdev Singh, a resident of Phillaur, who met this correspondent on the bridge and had brought some guests to the place, said people visiting the town have an irresistible urge to see the river from a better place. He said people did not like to view the river from the main bridge as there was too much of noise of the vehicles. It also was an interference in a person’s wish to view nature in silence.

The abandoned bridge on the other hand is without any such disturbances. The attraction is enhanced by the presence of a railway overbridge near it. Sheela, a young girl of Ludhiana, said that she along with her family visits the bridge on weekends to escape from the hustle and bustle of the industrial city and spent quiet moments in the nature’s lap.
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IHRO condemned on molestation issue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
The Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association (PAUTA) has condemned the statement of Mr D.S. Gill, chairperson of the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO), stating that PAUTA was a house divided on the matter of “the alleged molestation of a PAU girl by a teacher”.

In a press release issued here today, the president of PAUTA, Dr Hari Singh Brar, said that the PAUTA executive was unanimous in its stand that an impartial inquiry should be conducted into the whole episode and the guilty brought to book, irrespective of the section to which the accused or the victim belonged.

Dr Brar said that PAUTA was of the considered opinion that justice should be done and neither the teacher nor the student should be victimised or unduly harassed. He further said that if Mr Gill had to say something on PAUTA’s stand, he should have contacted the organisation.

The president said that PAUTA was fully aware of its rights and obligations and nobody should interfere in its functioning unnecessarily. IHRO’s opinion given by Mr Gill that the services of the teacher accused should be terminated was undesirable at this juncture as the outcome of the inquiry was still awaited.

This premature statement of IHRO would make the minds of the members of the inquiry committee biased, said Dr Brar.
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Demonstration against horticulture wing
Our correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
Irregularities in the working of the horticulture wing of the Municipal Corporation came to the fore with a large number of civic employees holding a demonstration in front of the office of the Executive Engineer (Horticulture) at Guru Nanak Stadium here today. The protest was continuing for the past five days, claimed activists of Municipal Workers Union.

Addressing the protesters, Mr Gajraj Prajapati, president of the union, alleged that irregularities in promotions and rampant corruption in the horticulture wing had become a routine. He charged the head of the department with moving a case of a juniormost person for promotion and further that the promotion was being granted in the grounds “other than merit” after a deal had reportedly been struck with one of the worker unions.

Other speakers, including Mr Ram Jatan Pal, general secretary of the union, bemoaned that the workers were being fleeced by certain corrupt employees who demanded money for routine work. The union activists threatened that they would be forced to intensify the agitation if the corrupt elements were not dealt with a heavy hand.
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No one’s tree, everyone’s trouble
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
The long, heavy and dry branches of a eucalyptus tree in Model Town here are so weak that these may fall anytime, threatening the safety of residents of the area. Residents are upset at officials of the local Municipal Corporation who are not doing anything about it, in spite of repeated requests.

The tree is outside two shops in the main market of the area and its roots have breached the walls and floors of these shops, creating problems for shopkeepers. Owners of the shops said, when it rained, branches of the tree shook vigorously, scaring commuters on the road. Residents of the area said, since branches of another dry tree in the area had fallen on a child few years ago, leading to his death, they feared that this might happen again.

Officials concerned of the MC visited the area only two months ago, after residents of the area had written to them regarding the problem several times. The MC officials told a shopkeeper that he would have to keep his first-floor workshop closed the next day as the axed branches of the tree would be allowed to fall on the roof. The shopkeeper kept his workshop closed for almost half of the day, but nobody turned up.

When residents approached the MC officials, they were told that they would first have to seek permission of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for the operation, as the high-voltage electricity supply wires that almost touch the tree might get damaged. When the residents approached officials of the PSEB, they were told that they would have to bear at least six hours of power shutdown for the task. The residents agreed to it, but the PSEB officials did not cut the supply and the MC officials did not revisit.

The residents said they could meet the MC men only after several attempts, following which, they were told to give in written that they were ready to take responsibility for any damage to life and property. The residents objected to this and no solution could be reached.
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Pharmacists flay Punjab Govt
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
The Punjab State Pharmacists Association will hold a state level rally in the Lambi constituency of the Chief Minister Punjab on November 1 to protest against the non-implementation of the accepted demands of the pharmacist cadre.

Mr Kulbhushan Singla, Finance Secretary, in a press statement today said that the association members would gherao the Health Minister, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla in every part of the state in the second stage of the statewide agitation against the non-implementation of their demands.

Mr Sham Lal Sharma, president, said that their demands included change of designation as a pharmacy officer i.e. the pharmacists with eight years of service should be called pharmacy officer, the chief pharmacist (grade 11) should be designated as senior pharmacy officer and the chief pharmacy (grade 1) should be called chief pharmacy officer, removal of pay anomalies, creation, of the post of deputy director, pharmacy, right to write prescription in the absence of medical officer and right to practice after 10 years of government service.
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Engineers seek time-bound promotions
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
A mass deputation comprising of 71 faculty members of the Punjab Polytechnic Engineers Association under the leadership of its president, Mr Jasbir Singh Garcha, met the Technical Education Minister, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, here last evening to press for granting complete parity with the engineering faculty i.e, principals working in state polytechnics with their counterparts subdivisional engineers, executive engineers, superintending engineers and chief engineers working in the design offices of the PWD, including three time-bound promotional scales after four, nine and 14 years of service as granted to the field engineers.

Releasing the proceedings of the meeting to the press, Mr Sukhwinderpal Singh, senior vice president of the association, said that Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, gave a patient hearing and said that the state government would try to remove the gross injustice done to the teaching faculty of polytechnics by granting complete parity to lecturers and programmers, senior lecturers, heads of departments and principals with their counterparts in the design offices of the PWD. The minister told them that he would hold a joint meeting of concerned officials of the department and representatives of the association in the near future after consulting the Director and Principal Secretary of the department to find out ways and means to restore the demanded professional parity of the teaching engineering faculty with their counterparts in the PWD. He also sought the cooperation of the association for providing better technical education to students. The association assured him of all help to maintain better standards of technical education in the state.
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Jagannath rath yatra today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
The Bhagwan Jagannath rath yatra would be taken out tomorrow from the Durga Mata Temple which would culminate at the Haridev Mandir in the evening. The yatra which would cover Chowk Ghanta Ghar, Chaura Bazar and Chowk Division No. 3 en route, is being organised by the ISKCON in collaboration with the Bhagwan Jagannath Rath Yatra Mahotsav Committee, Ludhiana.

A Hare Krishna mahotsav would also be celebrated on October 7 at Maharaja Palace, Ferozepore road, at which Shri Gopal Krishan Goswami would give a discourse from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. A kirtan would also be held. A community kitchen would be held at the end of the mahotsav. Finally, on October 8, Lord Jagannath would be accorded a tearful departure.
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Three injured in road accidents
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
The Model Town police has registered a hit and run case under Sections 279,337 and 338 of the IPC against the driver of scooter ( PB-10-AB-1602) who allegedly hit a cyclist near Lajawab Chowk in the Model Town yesterday and fled from the scene of the accident. The cyclist, Mr Sikander Singh, who fractured his leg in the accident, was admitted to a private nursing home in the locality.

The police has recorded the victim’s statement.

Another accident case was registered at the division number five police station under Sections 279,337 and 427 of the IPC against the driver of a car ( PB 10-AR-4087) who hit a scooterist near Sigma Hospital yesterday and fled from the scene. The scooterist, Mr Amit Kumar, a resident of Railway Colony, was injured in the accident.

In yet another similar case, the division number three police registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC against Sunny, a resident of Fateh Ganj Mohalla, for hitting a cyclist near Baba Than Singh Chowk yesterday while driving a Kinetic Honda. Jogi Tilak, the injured cyclist, was admitted to the Civil Hospital for treatment.

Beaten up: The Model Town police has registered a case under Sections 452,427,506 and 511 of the IPC against Surinder Singh, son of Mr Bashamber Singh and Pappu, son of Mr Bhola Ram and six other unknown persons. The complainant, Mr Prem Chand, son of Mr Hari Singh, resident of Dugri Road, stated in his complaint to the police that the above said accused attacked him while he was sitting in his shop on Thursday and injured him. The case has been handed over to Mr Sukhwinder Singh, ASI.

Gamblers held: During a campaign against gambling, the Civil Lines police on Thursday arrested Mohan Lal, resident of Jawahar Nagar, Ashok Kumar and Balbir Singh, residents of Abdullapur Basti, and recovered Rs 570 from them. Another group of Chattar Singh, resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Gurdip Singh, resident of Gobind Nagar and Sanjiv Kumar, resident of Rishi Nagar, were also arrested and Rs 650 recovered from them. In another swoop, a gambling party, comprising Paramjit Singh, Sunil Kumar and Gurmit Singh was arrested and Rs 710 was recovered from them along with a pack of cards. The division number five police has registered separate cases against the accused under Sections 13,3,67 of the Gambling Act.

Drunken driver held: Paramjit Singh, son of Mr Harbhajan Singh, resident of Ghumar Mandi, was arrested on Thursday by Mr Surjit Singh, ASI, at the Sarabha Nagar police station, on a charge of driving a car rashly in a drunken condition near JK Plaza in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar. A case under Sections 279 of the IPC and 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act has been registered against the accused.

Jagraon

Opium seized: The Humbran police has arrested Farooq Adam of Sibalvari (Bihar) at Purrain village post and seized from him one knife and 320 gm of opium. The accused has been booked under the NDPS Act and the Arms Act.

Poppy husk: The CIA police during patrolling near Bridge Canal at Malsihan Bajhan signalled a scooter rider to stop but he left his scooter and fled. The police took into possession 20 kg of poppy husk which the accused was carrying on his scooter (PBM-2166) and registered a case under Sections 15, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act. The Dakha police has also arrested Balbir Singh of Kot Isse Khan and Jarnail Singh along with 20 kg of poppy husk.

Traffic blocked: Diet students held a protest rally against the burning of the “birs” by followers of Sant Piara Singh Bhaniarawala. They burnt the effigy of the sant and blocked road traffic for about half an hour. They also presented a memorandum to the SDM.

Scooter recovered: The Dehlon police has claimed to have busted a gang of scooter and car thieves with the arrest of Jagpreet Singh of Gondwal and Gurjinder Singh and recovered from their possession two scooters without number plates.

Jagpreet Singh and Gurjinder Singh had stolen the scooter on September 18 from Model Town, Ludhiana. The other scooter was also stolen from the same area on September 29. The gang had hired a Maruti car (PB-08-U-6774) on March 25 from Phillaur to Hambran and later snatched the same at pistol point from the driver. Jagpreet Singh along with Lakhbir Singh of Alamgir had also snatched a golden chain from a woman at Toose village in 1999 for which a case is pending in a Jagraon court. His accomplice Lakhbir Singh has absconded.Back

 

Cycle industry seeks cut in steel prices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
The bicycle industry, which produces material worth about Rs 2000 crore annually here, has urged the Union Minister of Steel, Mr B.K. Tripathi, to take measures to cut the steel prices so that the industry could face the recession in a better manner. They have alleged that due to high cost of labour and corruption, the cost of production of two main steel producers, SAIL and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd, was relatively very high as compared to other producers in the international market.

Consequently, the cycle industry was forced to pay high cost for the basic raw material, resulting in a high cost of cycle and cycle parts.

Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Ludhiana Electroplaters Association, said India was exporting iron ore at rates from Rs 10 to Rs 100 per tonne to other countries. However, at the Mumbai port, the imported iron ore was available at a price of Rs 9 per kg, including cost, insurance and freight charges. The industry of Ludhiana was forced to buy the imported, indigenous steel or even steel prepared by local forging units at a price of Rs 14 to Rs 15 per kg due to a high rate of excise duty and local taxes.

He had participated in the recently held 15th National Steel Consumer Council meeting at Cochin, chaired by Mr Tripathi, and raised the issue.

Insiders said the bicycle industry of Ludhiana which used mostly 16 to 22 mm M.S. round steel, is forced to pay high cost to SAIL and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited. They have alleged that these producers were not catering to the needs of the actual users in the SSI Sector, who were forced to buy from the traders. Further, they have to pay up to Rs 500 per tonne to the PSIEC and the other intermediaries as the handing charges.
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Textile panel secy calls upon states to
avail Central aid
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
The state government should come forward to avail about Rs 20 crore grant, under Critical Infrastructure Building Scheme (CIB) for the development of infrastructure for the textile industry in the city. The Textile Ministry would provide that grant if the state government agrees to contribute its 50 per cent share for the development of specific infrastructure projects, including road repairs, effluent treatment plant or improvement in power supply for the textile cluster, said Mr R.C.M. Reddy, Secretary, Textile Committee, here today.

He was interacting with the industry representatives in a meeting called by the Federation of Knitwear Textile and Allied Industries Association (FEKTAA). The industrialists told him that number of states, including UP West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamilnadu, had already sent their proposals, however, the Punjab Government had not submitted its proposal despite repeated reminders by the industry. Mr Reddy assured them that the committee would take up the matter with the State Industry Department on their behalf, and would assist them in preparing the project proposal.

Commenting on the progress of the textile units at Tirupur, he said,‘‘The Tirupur Exporters Association has taken many initiatives itself, as compared to various Ludhiana associations, to develop the common brand, infrastructure and to avail of the Central Government’s grants. The Ludhiana associations should also come forward to develop common brands and to create quality awareness among the industry members’’.

Illustrating his point, he said, ‘‘The number of units using the facility of the laboratory of the textile committee at Tirupur, to check the quality of their samples, was much higher as compared to Ludhiana’’. Earlier, Mr Vinod Kumar Thapar, president, Knitwear Club, presented a memorandum to Mr Reddy requesting his support to convince the state government to abolish the condition of taking a ‘no objection certificate’(NoC) from the Punjab State Pollution Control Board for the green machinery, which did not create any pollution.

Mr Thapar pointed out that under the state government’s policy, the units would have to get a NoC from the board in case they set up any machinery having a cost of more than Rs 10 lakh. He said there was no logic in the stipulation as most of the machines, purchased by them costed Rs 25 lakh to Rs 50 lakh and did not create any pollution. Mr Reddy assured them his support.

Later talking to the mediapersons, Mr Reddy said that the textile committee would facilitate and provide the necessary support for a base line survey of the textile units, training facilities for the members and to provide consultancy for developing a brand for the knitwear units of the city. He appealed to the industry to take steps to improve the quality of the garments besides lobbying for the infrastructure funds from the state and Centre Governments. 
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LSE to elect president today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
The Board of Directors of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE) will elect its office-bearers tomorrow when the board meets for this purpose. Mr Jaspal Singh is likely to be unanimously elected president of the LSE as his group enjoys an overwhelming majority. Mr R.C. Singal, the outgoing president of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange, during his 1 year tenure has helped the stock exchange in streamlining its working and bringing about improvement in its financial position.

Mr Singal took over as president of the stock exchange on October 5 last year and claims that the exchange is among top seven stock exchanges out of 22 stock exchanges in the country. As a result of persistent effort, more than 7,100 sq ft on ground floor and 800 sq ft in basement has been leased out to a bank netting a cash of Rs 4 lakh per annum.

In December 2000, LSE, through its fully owned subsidiary, commenced operations in capital market segments of the NSE whereas operations with the BSE had commenced in September 2000. This has provided a lot of business opportunity to the members besides helping the investing public. Business opportunities were provided to the members with an option of trading on the NSE through wide area network (WAN), thus adding value to their investments and earnings. Further, the BSE has allowed the provision of trading facilities on WAN throughout the state. This was restricted to Ludhiana Municipal Corporation limits only. For the first time in the history of the LSE, a special committee was appointed to look into various aspects of functioning of the LSE and suggest changes. The committee has submitted its interim report. Besides, economic measures have been taken to make savings of around Rs 30 to 35 lakh on annual basis, says Mr Singal.

The LSE has also taken steps towards commencement of trading in derivative products through LSE securities limited. SEBI has already allowed LSE to act as clearing and trading member in derivative products.
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Shopping by the roadside
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
The new air-conditioned markets and sophisticated shopping ‘malls’ are drawing large number of customers these days. But the city also experiences heavy rush of shoppers by the roadsides.

With the festival season a round the corner, more and more wares were being brought out by the roadside sellers. The Ferozepore road has a large variety of useful consumer goods besides decorative object-de-arts. These objects stand out forcing the attention of passers bye to admire their beauty which stands out in abject ugliness that surrounds them. Just opposite the milk plant, one finds a large variety of ceramic pots in different designs, shapes and sizes in amazing colour combinations. “One haggles as a majority of customers think that they overcharge but seeing the miserable conditions of their existence, I feel that we should pay them whatever price they ask for. In the big showrooms where the prices are exorbitant, no one haggles but with these poor people, people get down from their luxary vehicles to engage in long bouts of haggling”, says Ms H. Dalmia.

Adjacent to the ceramic pots, one can choose from terracota pots of amazing variation, shapes and sizes. Besides pots, they sell flower vases, beautiful hanging bells, and masks which people display outside their newly made houses to ward off the evil eye. Just a few yards away are bronze, copper and silver coloured scenery, figures of Gods that glisten and glint in the sun.

A variety of cane baskets for multiple use can also be seen in large numbers. The royal comfortable ‘moodahs’ which are hardly seen these days are in plenty on the Ferozepore road. There are baby ‘moodhas’, stool kind ‘moodahas’ and full size comfortable ones. Colourful miniature flower trees in myriad colours and flower arrangements also fascinate the people.
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