Wednesday, October 10, 2001, Chandigarh, India

 

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

 

 

MC clears projects worth Rs 10 crore
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 9
The Municipal Corporation has cleared several development projects, including those for resurfacing of roads and streets, laying of sewer and storm water pipes, development and renovation of parks and providing street lights worth around Rs 6 crore in the city localities. In addition, a sum of Rs 4.13 crore was provided to sustain 201 mohalla sanitation committees for a period of one year.

The Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) of the MC, which met here last evening, also endorsed a grant of housing loans, totalling Rs 55.36 lakh to the MC employees. Following the expiry of six months’ contract for filling up 204 garbage containers in the city area, a sum of Rs 4.94 lakh has been approved for the MC health branch to engage safai workers on daily wages initially for one month.

The city Mayor, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, presided over the meeting, which was also attended by Deputy Commissioner S.K. Sandhu, who also holds the charge of MC Commissioner. Others present at the meeting were Additional Commissioners Raminder Singh and S.K. Sharma, Senior Deputy Mayor Jagdish Prasad Loomba, Deputy Mayor Santosh Aneja, Hakam Singh Giaspura and the Jai Parkash, members of the F&CC.

The meeting accorded sanction of a sum of Rs 4.13 crore being the matching grant and amount for purchasing necessary equipment for a period of one year for 201 mohalla sanitation committees in the city. The committees were employing 2,662 safai workers in 1210 beats in different city localities.

The F&CC gave a go-ahead for extensive renovation and development of parks and green belts in phase III, IV and V of Focal Point at an expenditure of Rs 52.41 lakh. The Focal Point area, developed and till recently maintained by the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation, has now been transferred to the civic body. Another sum of Rs 5.61 lakh has been provided for development of 13 parks in Blocks E and F in Kitchlu Nagar.

The MC has sought to divert 10.014 hectares of forest department land for construction of foot- paths and service lanes along Ferozepore Road for which a sum of Rs 12.22 lakh was approved as compensation in the meeting. Among other projects endorsed by the F&CC were Rs 8.64 lakh as annual maintenance charges for Sulabh Toilet Blocks in Sector 32-A on the Chandigarh Road and revised estimate of Rs 14.99 lakh for addition and renovation of the Fire Station in the Focal Point.

The F&CC also gave its nod to estimates for development works worth Rs 2.02 crore for the resurfacing of roads and streets, Rs 20.06 lakh for sewerage and water supply works Rs 87.56 lakh for development of parks and Rs 4.20 lakh for purchase of furniture and diaries. The meeting also cleared tenders received for engineering works worth Rs 197.42 lakh, sewerage and water supply projects worth Rs 13.91 lakh, street lights worth Rs 13.09 lakh, development of parks worth Rs 5.61 lakh and purchase of stationery worth Rs 7.02 lakh for issuance of work orders.
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City awaits appointment of Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
Ludhiana still awaits the appointment of a regular Municipal Commissioner even after the former Commissioner, Dr S.S. Sandhu, has been appointed as Managing Director, Punjab State Electronic Development Corporation. While there was uncertainty so far, with some reports even suggesting the return of the controversial Commissioner to Ludhiana, the government is learnt to be looking for his replacement after it finally decided not to take any decision which may once again lead to acrimony.

Currently, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, is holding the additional charge of the Municipal Commissioner. Although no work has been allowed to suffer on account of the absence of a regular person, given the importance of the job, it is being felt that appointment of a regular commissioner was urgently required here.

On the other hand a senior official disclosed that the new appointment would be made within a day or two and the government had already shortlisted a few names. In fact, one name had reportedly been finalised. However, his appointment was changed at the last moment. 
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Wanted cop moving around freely
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
In a blatant case of police inaction, a suspended police Inspector, against whom arrest warrants were issued by a district court in December last year and reissued several times later on as well, is not only moving freely but is even residing in a police colony in this city. While it is obvious that the police official cannot roam freely and reside in a police colony without the knowledge of the local and state police officers, the Punjab Police in different statements to the court first said he was untraceable and then said he was on leave and finally that he was transferred to another police district.

While the summons of arrest warrants of Inspector Shamsher Singh Guddu, former in-charge CIA, Ludhiana, who is presently posted in Patiala, go unattended for the last several months as the man was missing according to the police records, this correspondent traced him easily at his ‘government’ flat in Sarabha police station residential colony of the police.

The easy tracing of the official thus by Ludhiana Tribune gives strong credence to the allegations of Mr G S Grewal, the complainant in the case, in which the police official was wanted, that the local police was ‘shielding’ him. Interestingly, the complainant claimed that he had been meeting senior police officials in Ludhiana all these months and had even recently met Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, SSP, Ludhiana, urging him to arrest the man but the SSP told him he had no knowledge about his whereabouts. The complainant claimed that the SSP had told him that he did not know much about the case as he had joined here recently but assured him that some immediate action would be taken.

However, the complainant, Mr G.S. Grewal, said that even though the Police Department was well aware of the whereabouts of the police official, no one was arresting him. Ludhiana Tribune inquired about the whereabouts of the police official who, interestingly, was declared a proclaimed offender in another case only to be given a supplementary bail later, and met him at his house in Sarabha police colony here.

An unperturbed police official, Shamsher Singh Guddu, however, denied having the knowledge of the issuing of non-bailable arrest warrants. He admitted he was declared a proclaimed offender in another case but had got bail now. He claimed that he was not evading arrest as no one had come to arrest him. The police official said he has now been posted at Patiala and would join duty there this week.

The case pertains to a dispute dated, 1996, over a plot in Transport Nagar. The present complainant Mr Grewal, was booked by the police on the charges of forcibly occupying the plot. However, later on it was found that the case was false. Subsequently, the complainant went to the court, which ordered registration of a case against Inspector Shamsher Singh Guddu for registering a false case.

Later on, the court after summoning him through the SSP, Ludhiana, from July, 1998, to September, 2000, ordered stopping of his salary as he was presented in the court. Ultimately, the court issued non-bailable warrants of the police official in April this year, but the accused continues to be at large.

Mr Grewal alleged that he was now facing threats from the accused. He said the accused has been telling him that he exerts a lot of influence and no one would dare to arrest him.
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PAU awaits grant for National Games
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
With just a month remaining for the arrival of various teams for the National Games, the preparation of their comfortable stay in different hostels in Punjab Agricultural University has been hit allegedly due to the non-payment of the requisite grant of over Rs 13 lakh by the state government through the district administration.

While PAU has been sending reminders to the district administration for the early payment of the grant to felicitate the renovation of the hostels, the district administration has so far not responded. Interestingly, while all the officials of the district administration could not be contacted as they were said to be attending meetings for the preparation of the National Games, a senior official informed that the district administration had no knowledge about the payment of any such grant to the university.

In a letter to the Deputy Commissioner, the PAU authorities said that as per the estimates, the university would require the amount on the repair of 10 hostels, which would be used for housing as many as 50,000 players taking part in the National Games.

Sources in PAU revealed that the Punjab government had asked the university authorities to give a facelift to the hostels so as not to cause any inconvenience to the players staying there during the National Games. The varsity was informed that the government would pay the required grant for this purpose.

Sources said the university subsequently wrote to the district administration for the payment of the grant. The district administration responded by asking the university to prepare an estimate and the required amount would be released.

An university official said the university had already submitted the required estimate to the administration but no response was received. The official said the finance starved varsity had no resources to undertake the renovation and thus the university’s prestige was at stake.

An official of district administration, however, said it had no knowledge of any such payment of grant.
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War on terrorism death warrant for LSE?
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
Brokers and investors at the Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE) are not surprised at the attacks on Afghanistan, but they fear that in case there is a war, it will affect the share market.

They apprehend that the LSE, passing through bad times, will not be able to survive losses in business. Its losses are over Rs 2 crore and are expected to reach Rs 3 crore by the end of the financial year. According to sources, the new management has decided to sell or lease out a part of the building to meet expenses.

According to the balance sheet of the LSE, the losses reached Rs 1.72 crore by March 31 this year as compared to Rs 49.9 lakh during the corresponding period last year. Insiders say the daily expenses of the LSE are around Rs 1 lakh against a meagre income of Rs 20,000 on an average. The LSE charges about Rs 1000 as turnover fees on Rs 1 crore volume and average daily trade volumes are between Rs 20 crore and Rs 25 crore.

Admits Mr H.S. Sidhu, general manager of the LSE, “Like other regional stock exchanges, we are passing through bad times. The decline in trading volumes and non-payment of listing fee by registered companies have resulted in huge losses. The new management, which has just taken over, will try to cut down expenditure as far as possible. The real problem is how to increase the trading volume, the basic source of our income.”

The income of the LSE during 2000-01 increased from Rs 3.78 crore to only Rs 3.90 crore, but its expenses increased from Rs 3.69 crore to Rs 4.39 crore during the same period. A perusal of the balance sheet of the LSE Association Limited revealed that it had not kept a single penny for the contingency fund for the settlement written back as compared to Rs 2.12 lakh kept during the previous year.

The management has decided to write off Rs 75,78,087 as bad debt. It has still unsecured loans worth Rs 1.35 crore, which may not be recovered. There is a substantial increase in the expenditure on personal and administrative expenses.

Mr Sidhu says, “The bad debt has resulted mostly due to non-payment of listing fee by around 100 companies. We have initiated legal action against 40 companies which owe more than Rs 1 lakh each to the LSE. We feel that nothing can be recovered from those companies which have ceased to exist.” The companies which have not paid listing fee include Oswal group of companies and Usha India Limited.

Most brokers are sceptical about the future of the LSE. One of them says the book value of the LSE building is about Rs 5 crore, though the market price of the building is between Rs 40 crore and Rs 50 crore. If losses continue to escalate, the management may be forced to sell a part of the building.

There is a proposal to lease out or sell a part of the building to banks or insurance companies. Unless SEBI intervenes and empowers the exchange to collect listing fee from registered companies and the turnover is increased after the start of derivative trading, it will be difficult to save the LSE from collapse, says another broker.
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‘Bir’ burning issue
Widespread condemnation of sacrilegious acts
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, October 9
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, today reiterated his stand that the issue of burning of ‘Birs’ and the relationship of various leaders of different political parties should be handled with care and by rising above party considerations. He denied that he had walked out of yesterday's meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the party after an altercation with Mr Kartar Singh Badungar.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Talwandi said it was wrong to blame a single political party for patronising Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara or holding anyone responsible for burning of ‘Birs’ without any proper inquiry. Replying to a question about the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, accusing the Congress of being responsible for the current crisis, he observed, ‘‘Not only the leaders belonging to the Congress, but even from our own party have been meeting him of and on.’’ However, he did not mention any names or suggest any action against them.

The SGPC chief defended the decision taken by Bhai Ranjit Singh as the jathedar of Akal Takht in August 1998, in which he had excommunicated Baba Piara Singh. ‘‘So every Sikh, who has met the Baba after that deserves action as he has violated the Akal Takht hukumnama’’, he said. Baba Bhaniara had once again been excommunicated in July this year from the panth by Akal Takht jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti.

Referring to the reports of some altercation during yesterday’s meeting at Anandpur Sahib, Mr Talwandi said, the reports were false. He admitted he had left meeting for sometime, as he was feeling tired after a long journey. He clarified that he had no differences with anyone.

On the reported willingness of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara to appear before Akal Takht, Mr Talwandi said he was only the head of the SGPC and it was up to the Akal Takht jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti to decide on this issue.

The SGPC chief also disclosed that he had submitted all documents, including the newspaper clippings related to the burning of the ‘Birs’ to the five head priests and they would take appropriate action. When asked what action he would like to be taken against those having maintained links with Baba Bhaniara even after the Akal Takht hukumnama, he said the matter could only be decided by the five head priests.

The District Congress Committee (Urban) has charged the SAD with rousing communal passions to draw political mileage in the wake of coming Assembly elections.

A meeting of the DCC, held at Congress Bhavan here under the presidentship of Mr Surinder Dawar, expressed its serious apprehensions over several incidents of sacrilege, which had led to communal tension. The total inaction on the part of the government had raised doubts in the minds of the people about the intentions of the ruling alliance.

The newly appointed conveners of different cells of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee namely Mr Ramesh Joshi, Mr Rajinder Singh Basant and Mr Prem Mittal were honoured.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Dawar expressed gratitude to the party for these appointments and hoped that the new office-bearers would mobilise public opinion in their respective fields to strengthen the party. He said people from all walks of life were feeling frustrated and were looking for an opportunity to throw out the SAD-BJP government.

The DCC chief announced that a district convention of the party would be organised on Shingar Cinema Road here on October 21. Besides, the PPCC President, Capt Amarinder Singh, and Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, MP, many other senior party functionaries would attend the convention. The office-bearers of the district unit of the party, block Congress committees and party councillors were entrusted with duties to make arrangements for the convention.

Mr Ramesh Joshi observed that corruption had crossed all limits and the government had failed to address various other problems like poverty, unemployment and stagnating economy.

Prominent among others present on the occasion were Mr Hem Raj, councillor, Mr Ramesh Mahajan, Mr Nirmal Singh, Mr Tarlochan Singh Sehmbi, Mr Mukesh Jindal, Mr Rajinder Palta and Mr Bharat Bhushan.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the DCC (Backward Classes Cell) held here and condemned the incidents of torching ‘Birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib and asked the government to deal firmly with the culprits.

Addressing the meeting, a former Punjab Minister, Mr Jasbir Singh, claimed that the next government in the state would be formed by the Congress under the leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh. He said the BC Cell would take up the matter with the party leadership at the appropriate level for allotment of party tickets to those belonging to backward classes, minorities and urban Sikhs.

Mr Surinder Dawar, president, DCC, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, Ms Baljinder Kaur, councillor, Mr Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Mr Dibagh Rana, Mr Avtar Singh and Mr Lakhwinder Singh were among those present at the meeting.

The Sarb Hind Shiromani Youth Akali Dal (SHSYAD) has blamed both ruling combine and the Congress for promoting and patronising Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara. The state government had not only gifted away land, belonging to the Forest Department to the self-styled Baba, but senior government functionaries and office-bearers of the SGPC had also lent credibility to him.

In a statement here today, the SHSYAD secretary general, Mr Sukhwinderpal Singh Garcha, said the government patronage had gone to the head of Baba Bhaniara with the result that his followers had burnt 'Birs' to injure the religious sentiments of the Sikhs. Charging the government with causing immense damage to Sikh panth, he said the failure of the government to take timely preventive measures had emboldened the anti-panth elements, who had committed blatant acts of sacrilege.

Mr Garcha called upon the government to register a case of murder against Baba Bhaniara so that no body dared to show disrespect to holy books.

The All-India Sikh Students Federation has, meanwhile, urged the head priest of Sri Akal Takht, Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, to summon all those Akali politicians, who had links with Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara and punish them for religious misconduct.

Addressing a meeting of the federation, its district unit senior vice-president, Mr Varinder Singh Rinku, demanded that the Punjab Minister for Agriculture, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, former president of the Youth Akali Dal, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, senior vice-president of the SGPC, Mr Kewal Singh Badal, and activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), headed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann should be excommunicated from Sikh panth for their anti-panthic activities.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Lok Morcha and the Janata Dal (Secular) have strongly condemned the sacrilege of holy books and the burning of ‘Birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib and demanded severe punishment for all those involved in committing such heinous crimes.

Mr Harish Khanna, convener, Janata Dal (S), and the spokesman, Punjab Lok Morcha, in a press note today said the state government had failed to control the occurrence of such incidents and it should resign on moral grounds.

Mr Khanna said media had published the pictures of Mr Gurdev Badal, State Agriculture Minister, and Mr Jagjit Singh, a senior Congress leader, in the company of Baba Pyara Singh Bhaniara, who was directly involved in these sacrilegious acts. He alleged the Punjab Police had already swooped on the followers of Baba, but why no action was being taken against the minister and the Congress leader.

The Punjab Lok Morcha and the Janata Dal (S) demanded that there should be a CBI or a judicial probe by a High Court Judge into these incidents so as to expose all those involved these acts. The leaders said the guilty should be dealt with severely in accordance with the law of the land. Mr Khanna alleged the state government was playing religious card in order to distract the attention of people from its own failures.

Members of the Punjab Lok Morcha urged upon the people of the state to be vary of the designs of vested interests. He said the morcha held due respect for all regions and would not tolerate any such acts in future.

The morcha deplored that despite being in power and a strong ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the state government had done nothing to get the long-pending demands of the state conceded. The members said even the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had not done anything in this regard. They said the morcha would welcome the PM with black flags on his visit to the state.

Meanwhile, the Punjab State Committee of the MCPI has also condemned these sacrilegious acts. In a press note issued here today, Mr Kuldeep Singh, state secretary of the party, said,‘‘ It appears that certain forces are out to create division among the communities and disturb peace and communal harmony in the state to get political mileage. These forces are hatching conspiracies to consolidate the division among voters with an eye on the forthcoming elections. ’’

The Punjab MCPI appealed to the Punjabis to remain calm and united to defeat the nefarious designs of these forces. Mr Kuldeep Singh further said the transfer of Mr S.S. Sandhu, Commissioner, Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, was a condemnable action and it would discourage and demoralise honest officers in the state.

He said the transfer of Mr S.S. Sandhu showed that the Chief Minister had succumbed to the pressure of the BJP-RSS lobby and was harming the interest of the state. It would encourage encroachments on public places. Mr Badal should withdraw the transfer orders of Mr Sandhu, immediately. He further said the abolition of octroi would result in loss of crores to the corporation and would hamper development work. The party urged the Chief Minister to abandon the policy of appeasing the BJP-RSS lobby and safeguard the interests of the state.

KHANNA: Students of AS College today took out a procession against Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara. They were led by Mr Inderjit Singh and were carrying banners and shouting slogans against the Baba. The procession started from the college and moved towards Gurdwara Singh Sabha on the GT Road. They tried to block traffic there, but elaborate security arrangements made by police foiled their plans.
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LUDHIANA CALLING

Worshiping false heroes. This has become true of some media organisations which have been vying with each other in idolising an ordinary bureaucrat who was replaced over a controversial decision. About 10 days have passed since the officer was transferred out of Ludhiana, after widespread protests across the city. However, the organisations are yet to put a stop on their hero worship to the degree of an orchestrated campaign, trying to create public opinion to glorify the officer and make people speak whatever he did, nobody could do. The common impression sought to be created was that all the development will come to a standstill with the removal of the officer. Opinion was doctored in such a way that it was made out as if everyone in the city, without a single exception, was aggrieved over the decision about his transfer. The officer may produce the alibi that whatever he did was within the precincts of the law. But nobody seems to be bothered about why he failed to visualise the situation that would arise given the sensitivity and volatility of the issue he was handling. And had it not been the timely decision of the Chief Minister to replace him, the city had already been consigned to the flames as tempers were running high and people felt hurt, thanks to the controversial decision.

Damage control

When Ludhiana Tribune exposed the mela mafia last week, the bosses running the show were at a loss as to how to control the damage. As the report was based on facts, they could not issue a denial or an explanation. Nor did they contact the reporter concerned. So they decided to avail the services of a stringer working for a Jalandhar-based Hindi daily. In the news, they said that they had been holding the Dasehra mela with all the “shardha” or faith. But some mischievous elements were publishing misleading news about the mela about which they were going to submit a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.

And as for the religiosity of the mela mafia bosses and their so-called ‘shardha’, Sentinel learns that meat worth Rs 4000 is ordered to be cooked every year on the occasion of Dasehra by the organisers at Sukhdev Nagar in Focal Point, which is consumed both before and after burning Ravana’s effigy — the symbol of evil.

Gambling season

Gambling season in the city is in fill swing, thanks to the approaching festival season. Every small-time and big-time gambler in the city hopes that goddess Laxmi or dame luck would smile on them. Hardly a day passes when the city police does not apprehend some gamblers and recovers money and packs of playing cards. But the recoveries and arrests are not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg as the volume of gambling going on in the city is much higher.

Apart from the local businessmen and industrialists who gamble on a lavish scale in clubs and high-rise mansions, there are those middle class gamblers who gather in a friends’ rooms. And when virtually every local is gambling, why should the migrants lag behind in this respect? And if you think they gamble with low stakes because they are poor , you are mistaken. Sentinel learns that at a particular gambling den in Jiwan Nagar , the ‘bhayya log’ arrive with wads of 500 rupee notes to try their luck.

Young Krishnas

Nearly a dozen children, clad in yellow dhoti-kurtas, with their heads shaved and sporting little ponies (see picture), stole the limelight at the start of the Jagannath Festival at a city hotel on Saturday.

Coming from Vrindavan to participate in the three-day religious festival, these children were the centre of attraction of the large crowd of Krishna devotees that thronged the place. sentinel was told that these children were students in a Gurukul at Vrindavan and they were the ‘born devotees’ of Lord Krishna. Some of these kids were from abroad.

Winter eatables

The weather is still warm and the temperature is hovering around 35°C, the humidity is above 80°C, one is uncomfortable as during the day the heat is exhausting. But a number of cart sellers are carrying peanuts ‘chikkies’ made of gur and peanuts, rice patti (muranda). All these eatables are relished in winters. Jaggery or gur is good for the body during winters as it provides warmth and similarly peanuts should be eaten in winters.

Disrespect shown

A lot of cultural programmes have been organised by SPIC MACAY in different schools. All the artists and the students on the stage take off their shoes to show respect to the stage as they considered it to be a temple. But surprisingly, some of the principals and the chief guest who mount the stage to honour the artist do not remove their shoes and, thus, show disrespect to the stage. These dignatories should be aware of this lapse on their part.

‘Headless’ college

It seems that a head or a principal is a must for maintaining discipline within an institute. This may be apparent at Arya College, where the principal was suspended recently. Boys can be seen passing silly comments at all girls who enter its gates. The non-teaching staff, which is on strike for the past two months, can be seen sitting in the verandah and playing cards during college hours. With no one to stop them, the college atmosphere seems to be getting spoiled day after day.

Shirking work

It is not uncommon these days to hear the slogans of ‘hamari mangein poori karo’ as dharnas and strikes have become a regular affair in the city. The work remains suspended for at least two-three days in the name of strike. Students, teachers and employees of government as well as private sector speak against the ‘system’. But have they ever realised that they are contributing towards spoiling the system rather than improving it?

Poor vocabulary

With the advancement of the information technology every day a new invention can be seen in the computers. But it is really surprising that there is no technology developed to update the dictionary of the computer?

Many words related to computers like internet, netizens, cyber, website are not in the dictionary of the computers. However, this vocabulary should be present in the computers by default. And these are always shown to be as suspect words.

Oh God!

Last Sunday the religious Ludhanvis came out with full enthusiasm to participate in the Jagannath Festival at Maharaja Palace organised by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, commonly known as ISKCON. Since the number of devotees was beyond expectations, the racks meant for keeping the shoes got overloaded and there was no space for the shoes to be kept. The devotees did not want to take any risk with their shoes. So sevadars started supplying polythene bags to the people to carry their pair of shoes with them. The shoes were too costly and the devotees did not mind taking them along while paying obeisance to the Lord.

Ek minute

‘Ek Minute’ is a common phrase often used in the government and public undertaking offices to hold the visitors for more than an hour. But these day, the officials in a nationalised bank near Lakkhar Pul have started using this phrase quite often to avoid customers. Despite the fact that the absence of any official deputed, especially on various counters like ‘Payments’ and ‘Receipts’, could be a harassment for customers, they remain busy in gossip and other activities. The customer has to wait for the concerned official for petty jobs like withdrawal or deposit of money. Whenever, the customers ask for the concerned person, he is told to wait for ‘Ek Minute’ . The person is around and would come soon. But it is deemed to be the duty of the customer to find the concerned official to get his job done.

One can witness at any working day the empty ‘Receipt’ and ‘Payment’ counter. Often the customer has to inquire about the whereabouts of the official on duty officially. Even if there is one customer to withdraw money or deposit money at any counter, he or she has to wait unnecessarily. The five minutes job of depositing money even if there is only one customer, takes more than half-an-hour sometimes. When the customer complains for deficiency in services, he is told, “do not worry, the job will be done in ‘ek Minute’”.

No action

The menace of pollution-creating autorickshaws in the city is no more a secret. However, the transport officials and the traffic police are not ready to take action against them. The reasons were exposed recently when a person visited The Tribune office with a signed affidavit, claiming that the president of an autorickshaw union was issuing cards by collecting Rs 10 per day and Rs 100 per month from the auto-rickshaw owners, in the name of traffic police, to save them from the challans. He said since his son was not ready to pay him the amount, he was badly beaten by the union president and his henchmen, and the police was not taking any action. A story was published in The Tribune very next day. However, no sustained campaign has been launched by the authorities, except denying the absence of any such nexus between the traffic police and the union leaders. Sentinel
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COMMUNITY
 

Transport staff seek inquiry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
The Pepsu Road Transport Employees Union has blamed the management of the Ludhiana depot for the decline in profits of the depot during the past one year. At a meeting held here recently, the Indian National Trade Union Congress discussed the causes of the poor performance. The union has urged the government to transfer the General Manager and order an inquiry into the ‘corrupt’ dealings of the management.

Mr Suresh Chander Sood, general secretary of the INTUC, said, “The position of the Ludhiana depot on the basis of earnings and other parameters of performance has sharply declined. The revenue of the depot has declined to Rs 89.02 lakh in September, 2001, from Rs 96.25 lakh in September, 2000. The earnings from 23 buses under the KM scheme have also declined from Rs 37.24 lakh in August, 2001, to Rs 32.24 lakh in September, 2001”.

He disclosed that the management had failed to take the corrective steps to check the downfall in the revenues. The earnings from the buses in the depot had declined from Rs 11.90 per km in September, 2000, to Rs 10.98 per km by September, 2001. On the one hand, the total number of buses in the depot had reduced to 99 from 104 in a year, but the staff strength has been increased.
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Exhibition of Army equipment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 9
Career counselling cell of BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, in association with the 45 AD Regiment, organised a talk show and an exhibition of Army equipments here today.

Addressing students, Capt S.K. Raju and Lt P.K. Sharma, resource persons, told the students about the process of admission, selection and job opportunities in the Indian Army.

In the exhibition, tanks, telescopes with a visibility range of 12 km, LM 7.62 mm guns, SL 7.62 mm guns, A-56 rifles and radio transmission equipment, including the dated ANBRC 25 W/D radio set and modern VC radio sets, were displayed.

Col Vineet Mohan, Commanding Officer 45 AD, said only daring, intelligent and physically fit students could join Army.

He said they should be prepared for sacrificing their lives for the country. Mr V.K. Syal, member of the school management, Dr Kiran Saini, career counsellor in the school, Mr Satyanand Munjal, president of the school, and Ms Paramjit Kaur, Principal, were present on the occasion.
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BSNL employees to stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 9
Employees of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will observe mass dharna at district-level on October 18, for an early implementation of their demands. Mr Balbir Singh and Mr Balwinder Singh, circle secretary and district secretary BSNLEU, respectively in a joint statement said the BSNL employees today wore demand badges highlighting their demands.
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CRIME
 

Police looking for absconding driver
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 9
The local police is looking for the driver of the truck (PB 03H-2536) who reportedly hit a man near the bus-stop chowk yesterday and fled the scene. The victim was rushed to the Civil hospital who succumbed to his injuries there. The victim is yet to be identified. A case under Sections 279 and 304- A of the IPC has been registered and investigation has been handed over to Mr Hakam Singh, ASI, posted at the bus-stop police post.

THREE INJURED: The Model town police has registered a hit-and-run case under Sections 279, 337, 338 and 427 of the IPC against the driver of a car (PB-10 T-5200) who reportedly hit a scooter and fled the spot. The scooterist Ajay Kumar, a resident of Haibowal Khurd and two ladies riding on the pillion were injured in the incident.

CASE REGISTERED: The Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 307 and 34 of the IPC against Tara Singh of Hoshiarpur, for hitting Harminder Singh, a resident of Gurnam Nagar on Jassian Road, in the stomach with a sharp weapon. According to the complaint lodged by the injured with the police, he and the accused had a quarrel over some matter at a marriage party on Sunday night when the suspect hit him. No arrest has been made so far. Mr Narinder Singh, ASI, Salem Tabri police station, is investigating the case.

GAMBLERS HELD: Continuing its drive against gamblers, the Haibowal police in two raids arrested Santosh Kumar, Naresh Kumar, Vinod Kumar and Raju and recovered Rs 570 along with a pack of playing cards. In the second raid, Varinder Kumar, Rajinder Kumar and Prem Pal, residents of Hargobind Nagar Mohalla, were arrested and Rs 395 were seized from them while they were gambling.

LIQUOR SEIZED: The police on Monday arrested Rattan Singh, a slum dweller and seized 8,430 ml of illicit liquor from his possession. He was arrested from Sham Nagar and booked under Sections 61,1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

BEATEN UP: An incident last night in which a 14-year-old boy was injured allegedly by men running an illegal parking at the mela site in Focal Point here and shots were fired in the air has sent shock waves among area residents. According to information, Mr Paramjit Singh, a resident of HL Colony, near the mela site, took two children on a scooter to the mela last evening. He parked the scooter by the roadside but when he returned he was asked to pay Rs 5 by the man who has been ‘allotted’ the parking space. When he refused to pay and was about to leave the place, he was allegedly attacked by the parking contractor, his younger brother and a host of their supporters from Dhakka Colony. A couple of cops who tried to intervene were also pushed around by Dhakka Colony residents. It was around 8 pm and the mela was full of people. A stampede occurred after the shots were fired. However, the SHO of the Moti Nagar police post maintained that no policeman was beaten or pushed around.

DORAHA
Scooterists injured:
Two scooterists were injured in accidents in the last 24 hours. Mr Vajinder Singh of Chakk Mafi village was injured when a truck coming from the Patiala side collided with his scooter near his village on Monday. He was admitted to a nearby hospital. Mr Kuldip Singh of Upplan village was injured when a four-wheeler (PB-01-2861) hit his scooter at Sahnewal Chowk, on Monday. The driver of the four-wheeler, Parminder Singh of Khanna, fled in his vehicle.

KHANNA
Farmer murdered:
Jasbir Singh, a farmer of Naraingarh village, has been murdered allegedly by Joga Singh, a youth residing in his neighbourhood. A case has been registered under Section 302 of the IPC. The accused has surrendered before the police. The provocation behind the murder is stated to be a petty dispute between him and the accused.

SAHNEWAL
Liquor seized:
The Koom Kalan police has seized 24 bottles of illicit liquor and a knife from the possession of Ajit Kumar Mishra, a resident of Uttar Pradesh. The police has registered a case against him.
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BUSINESS
 

Seven-day working at PNB branch
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
The Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar branch of Punjab National Bank started seven-day working from yesterday. At a function held here yesterday, Mr P.N. Khurana, general manager (Punjab zone), declared the launch of seven-day working at the branch. Mr P.R. Mehta, director of the bank, Mr Chand Singh, assistant general manager, Mr K.I. Singh, senior regional manager, Ludhiana region, Mr S.C. Malhotra, chief manager, Mr P.K. Nayyar, president, AIPNBOA, and other senior officers of the bank were also present at the function.

Loan amounting to Rs 2.63 crore were also distributed on the occasion. These loans were given under various retail lending schemes which included housing, conveyance, consumers durables, trading, personal, pensions and education loan. Mr Khurana also presented trophies to staff members of the branch for winning the Best Branch Award for two years consecutively.
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